Rector of Cathedral of Christ the Light dies unexpectedly

Fr. Jay Matthews, the first African-American ordained a priest in Northern California, succumbs to apparent heart attack while dining with fellow priests

The Very Rev. Jay Matthews, the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland and a fixture in Oakland’s Catholic community for three decades, died Saturday night of an apparent heart attack. He was 70. (Photo: Diocese of Oakland)

Parishioners and visitors to the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland gathered for Sunday morning Mass, where an announcement was made about the unexpected passing of their rector.

The Very Rev. Jay Matthews had just said mass on Saturday evening and sat down with four other priests for dinner, when he had an apparent heart attack and died at about 7 p.m., Rev. Wayne Campbell told the congregation.

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we remember Fr. Jay,” Campbell said. “We’re half way to the Easter season and Fr. Jay beat us there.”

Matthews, 70, has been a fixture in Oakland’s Catholic community for three decades and was the first African-American ordained priest in Northern California. He joined the priesthood in 1974 and served as pastor of St. Benedict Church in East Oakland for 26 years. In 2015, Matthews became rector of the cathedral.

Matthews also served as a chaplain for the Oakland police and fire departments. In 2014, Oakland City Council proclaimed May 6 as “Father Jay Matthews Day.”

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, took to Twitter to pay tribute to Matthews and said, “Father Jay was a light in our community who lived a life in service to others. I am blessed to have been able to call him my friend.” She added, “He will be missed. My prayers are with his loved ones and his entire congregation.”

Full story at Fox KTVU.

Comments

  1. FrMichael says

    RIP. What a huge loss to the Diocese of Oakland.

  2. Just another unvetted SJW interloper. As reported in CC, Matthews used the Cathedral for a post election anti-Trump protest rally. His comrade Rep. Barbara Lee (“Babs” for short), communist traitor, Soviet/Cuban agent, and Black Panther moll, was the featured speaker.

    Must the Biological Solution be the only line of defense?

  3. May the soul of Fr. Matthews, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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