Popular priest and community activist mourned

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SAN DIEGO -- A vigil was held Wednesday night in honor of Father Henry Rodriguez at St. Jude's in Shelltown, where he served as a priest for most of his professional life.

Father Henry, as he was known, was a priest for 30 years. He was 61 when he died last week of pneumonia.

His death was a shock to all who knew him.

He has been described as a tireless defender of the poor, migrants and members of the LGBT community. He was also the Catholic Chaplain for the San Diego Police and Fire Departments, a role he filled for more than 20 years.

The most recent illustration of his support for San Diego police officers took place on the night of July 28, when Officer Jonathan "JD" De Guzman was killed in the line of duty. Even though Father Henry was sick, he went to Scripps Mercy Hospital to offer support to De Guzman's family and his fellow officers.

"He was there with us that night, he was there with us the next morning and he was communicating with us even through the weekend after that loss," Sgt. Edward Zwibel said.

"This is the parish where he grew up, this is the love of his life. Kind of nice we could have the funeral right here," said Father John Dolan, a friend and colleague of Father Henry.

Father Henry will be buried Thursday at Holy Cross Cemetery after a 10 a.m. mass at St. Jude's.

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