Beloved priest bids farewell after 50 years of service

SAN DIEGO -- A beloved priest celebrated his retirement with the congregation today after serving a Logan Heights church for 50 years.

Hundreds of people waited in line to take a picture and chat with Father Richard Brown at his retirement celebration, hosted at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"Oh I love it," Father Brown said of the festivities. "They know that I love them, and I know that they love me."

"It's bittersweet because it's time for him to rest and relax a little bit for all the hard years of work that he's dedicated to our community and our parish," Patricia Cueva, a parishioner, told FOX 5.

Father Brown has served the church since 1968, becoming a "pillar of the community," in the eyes of churchgoers.

“I went to school here my whole life from kindergarten through 8th grade and at one point in my life I was pretty down and he was there to talk to me and get me through it,” Hector Hueso said.

Even though he is heading into retirement, Father Brown is still preaching love and wants everyone to carry his advice with them.

“Try to live according to the commandments and love your neighbor as yourself, and forgive your enemies and pray for them,” Father Brown said.

Brown will be staying in a retirement home with one of his dear friends.

During his retirement party Saturday night, the State of California and City of San Diego recognized him for his achievements: March 10th is now known as "Father Brown Day" in San Diego.