San Diego Dominican priests recalled to Spain, subject of documentary by Father Ibáñez

Father Benito Retortillo, OP and Father Epifanio Rodriguez, OP will return to Spain on July 1, 2013.
Last week I had the honor and pleasure of granting an interview to Pluma Pictures, which is making a video documentary of the contributions the Dominicans made to San Diego and south Texas. The occasion that prompted the documentary is the fact that the Dominicans are recalling all their Spanish friars back to Spain, including Father Epifanio Rodríguez and Father Benito Retortillo, both longtime pastors in San Diego as well as Alice, Benavides, and Freer. They will return to Spain on July 1, 2013.

Father Armando P. Ibáñez, OP is the producer of the video. He is an old friend and a San Diego native, the son of Gerónimo H. Ibáñez and Vicenta E. Pérez. Father Ibáñez was born in San Diego and raised in Alice. After serving as a reporter for the Alice Echo-News and the Corpus Christi Caller he joined the Dominican order at the age of 39 and was ordained a priest at St. Francis de Paula in San Diego on December 11, 1993, becoming only the second priest from a town with a long and storied Catholic history.

In my interview, Father Ibáñez asked about the history of the area, including its political and Church history. He also asked about the history of the Dominicans in the area as well as their influence on my life. As editor of the South Texas Catholic, I recently wrote an article on the Dominican history in south Texas and published a second article on Fathers Epi and Benito.

My interview with Father Ibáñez was fairly lengthy. The documentary will be 26 minutes long so much of my interview will not make the final cut. Father Ibáñez will let me have an unedited copy of the interview and if there is anything worthwhile I will share some of it in future posts.

Father Epi and Father Benito will have a despedida on June 16 after the 11 a.m. Mass. The documentary may be released the following week. Check with Pluma Pictures to see when it is actually available in DVD. I will post that information as it becomes available.