Home » In Memoriam: Fr. Peter Carota

In Memoriam: Fr. Peter Carota

 

IMG_0413Fr. Peter Carota would be the first to gently correct me for canonizing him, for he could preach the saints’ descriptions of the terrible moment of judgment (double for priests) as well as the subsequent pains of purgatory for most of the elect.

Thus, I don’t want to answer to God for diverting any of his readers from the supreme spiritual work of mercy, namely, praying for the faithful departed.

But Fr. Carota was just that: faithful. So, for the upbuilding of the Church, I must describe more of this man to you. Many of you knew him to be an intractable champion of orthodoxy and tradition, but I want to highlight some lesser-known virtues of this priest of God who brought truth and light during a time of darkness.

First, Fr. Carota wasn’t just a “champion of the right,” or a “mighty whitey” priest of traditionalism. When I first walked into his low Mass on a hot weekday in a poor segment of Phoenix, I could not believe my eyes: I saw from 50 to 100 Mexicans listening to him preach in Spanish. This was a Thursday afternoon, not a Sunday morning! Many priests today talk about social justice, but still want the finest parish. Fr. Carota spent his very last years bringing the fullness of Jesus Christ and His Church to the poor by day, and you readers by night. The Mexicans (with or without papers) responded in droves to his charity and his truth.

Fr. Carota was unafraid to point out that bad leadership in the Church would lose many souls, but he never doubted the very words of the living Son of God: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.”—Matthew 16:18. He loved the Church. He believed in Her. I personally believe he died for Her, perhaps to pave a smoother path for younger, more arrogant traditional priests like myself—that we may begin to live not only truth—but holiness and humbleness and love.

You see, I met Fr. Carota two years ago when we were both wandering the desert in semi-exile from our respective dioceses (literally the Sedona desert, as seen in the above picture.) That very day I took the above picture, he convinced me of the power of forgiveness. Oh yes, many people had told me in one cerebral way or another that I needed to forgive the priests that had rejected me. But Fr. Carota quickly gained a two-fold authority in my life:

1) He had been hurt by brother priests in similar circumstances but the difference is that he had actually forgiven them. So, when he told me that I must forgive, it was not an academic exercise. He had lived it.

2) He did not abandon me when others did, so it cost him something to walk the heat of the Black Canyon, helping a younger brother priest who was spiritually starving.

So, for me, Fr. Carota’s authority was not his website, but the weight of charity and priestly-loyalty. In some sense, Fr. Carota saved my priesthood in the desert when others left me to silently wander. I hope I do not write for his website to be harsh about tradition.  One reason I write for his website is because truth and charity have met in Fr. Peter Carota.  He walked the desert with only the manna from heaven.  May he now enjoy the Promised Land, where Christ has promised to wipe away every tear (Apocalypse 21:4.)

It was a Thursday morning this year, 26 May 2016, when I last texted Fr. Carota that I had offered my Corpus Christ Mass for him. Five hours later he texted me: “I love you.” At first, I thought this was the delirium of his bodily demise. Of course, with all the scandals these days, perhaps I shouldn’t even share that text with you, but I realized that “to the pure, all things are pure,” (Titus 1:15). The reason I include that text in this post is because it was the last text I ever got from Fr. Carota. “I love you” was a fitting last text from the very priest who may have saved my priesthood. Truth and charity met in this man who also showed thousands of his readers how to live non-compromise to God, but compromise to our daily human wills when faced with the option of sacrificial, fraternal love.

There is no flowery terminology to say this next sentence:  Fr. Peter Carota starved to death today. This past year, I would frequently check in with him, and it was always the same story without any complaint:  He could not eat.  His body simply could not assimilate food.  The saints often live a redemptive suffering that is reflective of the century in which they live and die. Did he die “with” the 3 million children who starve to death every year in the world? Or was his physical starvation a reflection and reparation for the spiritual starvation of Catholics and non-Christians across the globe? I don’t know. Perhaps it was a just a long, painful death in reparation for his own sins. This is why the Mass I offer in honor of Our Lady tomorrow will be for the repose of the soul of Fr. Peter Carota, and I ask you to join your prayers to mine.  I will lift up all your prayers on the patten of the offertory tomorrow.

But if comparison to the lives of the saints means anything, then this priest of God finished the course; he kept the faith and he died on a Friday like His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the only high priest. May He rest in Mary’s arms the next day, a Saturday of Our Lady whom he loved as purely as any man I’ve met.

—Fr. David Nix

43 comments

  1. Kathy says:

    I live on the other side of the country from Father Carota in Florida. I have never met Father Carota, but I love him as much as I love my own parish priest. I discovered his blog 2 years ago and looked forward to his posts.

    Today at vespers I sang the Lorica of St. Patrick for Father Carota.

    I clasp unto my heart this day the shielding strength of the Trinity
    By calling on it’s mystic Name the Three in One, the One in Three
    Through whom all nature was created Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
    I praise the God of my salvation, salvation won by Christ the Lord!

    I clasp unto my heart this day with steadfast faith, our Lord made man
    And him baptized in Jordan’s flood, His Cross of death salvation’s plan,
    His rising from the enclosing tomb, His bright ascent to Heaven’s Way
    His coming on the day of doom, I clasp unto my heart this day.

    I clasp unto my heart this day the leadership of God’s strong hand
    His eye to watch, His strength my stay, His ears to hear and understand.
    The Truths God wills that I should teach, His guidance sure, His shielding arm,
    The Word of God which I should preach, the angels guarding me from harm.

    Against the spell of Satan’s wiles, against all lying heresy
    Against all actions which defile, against all crass idolatry
    Against all pride of earthly state, against hell’s pain and bondage stern
    Against that endless fiery fate protect me Christ, till thy return.

    Written on St. Patrick’s breastplate

  2. Linda Bernard says:

    Fr. Peter Carota will be in my prayers and also tomorrow to be joined with your prayers. May he rest in peace. Thank you Fr. David Nix for writing such a beautiful little story about him. I did not know of Fr. Carota, but after reading what you wrote, I feel like I’ve known him always. God Bless you.. Your sister in Christ, Linda Bernard

  3. Laura C says:

    Father Peter you were so special, to me and my whole family… You were an angel here on earth. May your soul rest in everlasting peace.

  4. Charlene Balkoski says:

    Fr. Nix, please offer my prayers for Fr. Carota on your paten tomorrow. God must be happy to have His son home.

  5. Anastacia says:

    Requiescant in pace. I am in a FSSP parish and prayed for him at mass today. I will join you in prayers and keep Father in my Divine Mercy Chaplet.

  6. Jessica sawtelle says:

    I simply knew the man as Peter, he carried me daily while working in the soup kitchen beside my mom. His arms were home and as I child I wouldn’t have known how to describe the feeling of safety or love he so easily provided. I was blessed to have known and been loved by him.

  7. Ryan says:

    I haven’t seen Fr. Peter (as we always called him in the Brentwppd community) in over a decade. I haven’t been a practicing member in Catholicism in a far longer time frame. Although I feel he would forgive me and welcome me back with open arms.

    What I remember about Fr. Peter was his absolute devotion to everyone other than himself. He inspired all those around him to be everything they could be.

    I loved him as a child, as a young teen whom he took to Mexico to meet his parents, and as a man who has strayed from the path he walked so perfectly. I will cherish my memories of him, and am so grateful he was able to spread his love to all.

    My prayers go out to all his friends, parishioners, and readers. He truly was a modern day Saint.

    R

  8. Susie says:

    Father Peter
    You have help me and my family get through so much and we will
    Always be grateful for having the blessing of meeting you.
    We will always have you in our hearts and prayers.
    ❤️ Love you always
    Susie, Alejandro and Alexa Becerra

  9. kelly says:

    Dear Fr. Nix,

    Thank you so much for your kind words about Fr. Peter Carota. Selfishly, I am so deeply saddened to lose Fr. Carota. While I never met Fr. Carota in person, he has been such an inspiration to my life. His blog helped me to get through a very bumpy time in my life especially as it related to my religious life. To me, he was a present day saint. I cannot even begin to think about what life would be without him. It was because of Fr. Carota that I went to my first Latin Mass and the reason today I carried around a large St. Benedict medal. He is also the reason I got several large bags of salt blessed in the traditional rite and frequently use the salt around my home to keep my family safe.

    That said, I know in my heart that Fr. Carota has a really special place in heaven. I can only imagine the joy he experienced as he was welcomed home earlier today.

    Pax Christi,
    Kelly Ruiz

  10. Barbra Ayala says:

    He was a hero to our family….a blessed priest and friend. We worked together for years in the prolife movement. Im so sad, but pray that now, or soon, Father will be with our Heavenly Mother and all the little babies he saved! ❤

  11. Kathleen says:

    I’m another that has never met Fr. Carota, but feels a debt to him for all he did for the faithful through his website.

    He has been and remains in my prayers. I will also pray for his flock and his loved ones who must surely feel the loss sorely, that they be comforted.

    I know he is praying for all of us, we have gained a great advocate.

  12. Imelda says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful Memioradum of Fr. Peter and yes that’s exactly who he was, that love of God he gave all the time. He had a gift that gift of love.

  13. Imelda says:

    I just read this and this describes Fr. Peter.

    “I always believe that love makes someone beautiful; it’s not the physical beauty but the intrinsic beauty.

    Intrinsic beauty is most beautiful.”
    He was full of God.

  14. Pat mahusay says:

    Pray for us Father Peter, you were a special person to all our family and we all love you very much may you rest in peace for ever.

  15. Angelica says:

    Father Peter Carota was willing to go to any length to save souls. He was the most perfect example of a Catholic. I had read in books the way saints had suffered. With Father Peter, I witnessed it. I am grateful to have visited him about 10 days ago. I received so many graces by the time I returned to Phoenix. I prayed at his bedside. He smiled at me and asked when I was leaving. That was my cue to go. I was transformed by the time my husband and son picked me up at the airport. You see, I had been very bitter and hurt because I felt the diocese had turned on me. Imitating Mary was very difficult after my employment separation. The graces I received from visiting Father allowed me to forgive my former employer and have peace. Father was the perfect example of humility.

  16. Marlene Gonzales says:

    Father Peter
    At a time in my life when I was hurt by a thought less Priest, God sent you into my life.I wrote in a letter relating everything and how you restored my faith and made it even stronger. You said you saved my letter and would read it from time to time. You embraced my family. You chose my son’s to be your Altar servers. You visited my family in the hospital, you didn’t need to come. But you went out of your way to visit and give encouragement. You were always thinking of every one else. You officiated my son’s wedding. You came to my house to lead in a rosary when the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was there. I remember when the Father was upset because you invited the neighborhood kids to swim at the rectory pool. You were so delighted that everyone showed up too swim. Years passed and you ended up in Arizona. God would still keep you in our life’s. Carlos and Elissa ended up also working for different parishes in Arizona and became reaquainted with you. I was blessed and got to see you again. You did excercism on some water. I still have a gallon of it. By this time I feel is when you were beginning to be persecuted. You related to us that it hurt you when some of your fellow priest brothers said you were crazy. No Father Peter, you were not crazy. You were a Saint. Thank you sweet Jesus that I was blessed to spend time on this earth with a true Saint. I truly believe God has a very high place for you in Heaven. I will pray for you Father Peter, and Father Peter, pray for me and my family as well.
    Marlene Gonzales and family

  17. Jeanette says:

    “In some sense, Fr. Carota saved my priesthood in the desert when others left me to silently wander.”

    Wow, beautiful words, Fr. Nix, and oh such a heavenly post through-and-through on Fr. Carota.

    Thank you!

    P.S. I will pray for Fr. Carota’s soul, as you have requested, of course, but secretly, I’m wondering what he will be the patron saint of……..

  18. Liz says:

    Father, this is very beautiful. I never knew Father in this life, only from this blog, but I did appreciate his incredible charity balanced with the truth. What a fine example he was for all of us! When I heard of Fr. Carota’s death I immediately prayed for his soul as I figured he would have wanted, and then I quickly asked for his prayers hoping that he had already gained heaven. May God reward him for all that he did. We will be praying for his soul in our prayers this morning and at mass (at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph here in NE.) We will be praying for you and your intentions as well and for Father’s loved ones. I pray for priests to have courage in these hard times. God bless you!

  19. Julie says:

    I am so sad to hear he passed. What a truly amazing priest! I will be praying for his soul. May he rest in the peace of our Savior’s loving arms.

  20. Catherine says:

    Father Carota, I presume you wore the brown scapular, dearest of priests.
    I awoke suddenly last night, just after midnight, and you were there first in my thoughts. I realized it was Saturday, the first Saturday after your death, and smiled in joyful anticipation that She comes to release you from the bonds of Purgatory, per Her Sabbatine Privilege.

    Yes, pray for us, Father Carota.

    As an aside, we had to euthanize a beloved pet yesterday who suffered from 2 serious diseases, with a complication that prevented her from eating. She steadily declined until we returned her to her Creator yesterday. At her death, I thanked Our Father, and presented her to Father Carota, at which I felt a wave of something indescribable envelop me. I believe our little friend who suffered a similar end, is somehow Fr. C’s companion in Heaven.

  21. Elaine says:

    Fr.Nix, thank you for sharing such a beautiful testament about the holy and saintly Fr. Carota.

    As with some others, I never met Fr. Carota but through this website and through his writings, it was evident that he was a faithful son of the Church, living a life of suffering with both humility and grace.

    I am both saddened by his death but in my heart I know that he either is or soon will be, beside Jesus and Mary, joining with the angels in praise and wearing his own crown of glory.

    May we never forget his example and testament to the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Pax Christi,

    Elaine

  22. Susa millhouse says:

    This has brought tears to my heart I thank God for father Carota and I thank God for you as you are the ones who are able to consecrate you Lord I will offer my communion to father Carota tomorrow

  23. Edgardo Cruz says:

    Dear Fr. Nix,

    I am speechless by your reflections, and certainly agree with everything you’ve said about your saintly brother-priest. I never had the chance to meet him in person, but had several email and phone conversations regarding the struggles that Traditional Catholics face today. We were in conversations regarding the possibility of him establishing in Puerto Rico to help our community in our struggles to defend and promote the Traditional Latin Mass. I remember he told me his wish of founding a Traditional missionary order, as well as a TV station were the Traditional Mass could be broadcasted daily.

    I offered the Officium Defunctorum yesterday for the repose of his soul, and tomorrow will ask our priest here to offer the Mass for him as well. Later in the week I will start coordination for a Réquiem Mass. I am so sad I never made it to meet him. May God grant him eternal rest and reward him for his faithfulness.

    In Domino,
    Edgardo Cruz
    President
    Una Voce Puerto Rico

  24. Edwin Gutierrez says:

    There will be a service for Father Corota at the Cathedral of The Annunciation in Stockton, California.

    Beginning with a reception on Thursday July 14th at 5:00pm. Subsequently, a rosary at 6:00pm and a vigil at 7:00pm.

    Father Carota’s funeral will be on July 15th and 10:00am at the Cathedral of The Annunciation in Stockton, California.

    Procession following from Stockton, Ca to Ripen, Ca.

    Gravesite service: 19399 w hwy 120, Ripon, Ca 95366 at St. John Cemetery.

  25. Donna says:

    Bless all holy priest who reject modernism and heresy. I pray for his repose, and for your continued work saving souls.

  26. Ruby says:

    Thank you Father Nix for your words! Father Peter was a great priest and man. I do believe he will be canonized one day, but yes we must pray for him as he would have expected from us. Yes, he was pure and he wanted us to know he loved us.
    It is so moving to read all stories of people who loved Father Peter and didn’t even know him. That’s just the kind of priest he was. I had the privilege of knowing him for the past 12 years and visiting him while he was sick. He was more than our priest, he was our family. May his soul rest in peace!

  27. Carlos tirador says:

    Father Peter man where do I start he was the priest at our parish when I was 13 I still remember when I did my first communion and I was nervous and he said don’t be nervous God is with you he will never leave your side. I remember for a while after I did not go to confession and he came up to me one Sunday and said you haven’t come in for confession and I shared with him that I was nervous because I forgot some of my sins lol (I was 13) and he said don’t worry if you honestly can’t remember God still loves and forgives you so one day I snuck into the church when confessions were going on and made sure he didn’t see me after I finished the following Sunday he came up to me again after mass and said didn’t that feel good and he smiled and he shook my hand and said see you next Sunday Carlos and it amazed how he knew it was me in there when he didn’t see me walk into church that day of confessions and to this day I can still clearly see and remember him smiling at me and telling me God loved me and that he’d always forgive me no matter what as long as I was truly sorry for my sins. You are now with the lord father Peter May you rest in peace.

  28. Kate says:

    I was checking periodically awaiting news that father recovered.
    I found his blog while I was still living in Europe and dreamed to meet him someday. Now I am living in western US and it is never to be.
    I loved the simplicity of his message– every encounter returned to Christ and His Church.
    We need more courageous priests. I am a mother. This is a hard vocation. We cannot do it without priests. Please Father Corota pray for more priests and we will pray for you.

    • Jonathan Byrd says:

      “I loved the simplicity of his message– every encounter returned to Christ and His Church.” That is what always had me coming back to this blog when I would not look at the other ones. He always left you with hope.

  29. Laura Ochoa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post and your last words with Father. He saved not only you in your vocation, but he saved me from leaving the church and ended up being such an influence on me and my family, husband, children, nieces and nephews. I will join in prayer for our friend and dearly departed, Father Peter. Peace be with you.

  30. scott says:

    Thank you for all of your kind words you spoke to me Father.
    You were such a cheerful man, and your words always brought me hope. I will keep praying for you Father, please do the same for me once you’re in Heaven, if you are not there already.

    Your friend always,
    Scott

  31. Jaśmina says:

    I’m from Poland .I like reading of fater’s Carota blog.I hope,that he is in heaven.Father Peter(Piotr) Carota -pray for us!

  32. Mary says:

    Thank you Father Nix. Your story about Father Peter was very inspirational, Father Peter intercession is and we I’ll be very powerful. I truly believe he is a Saint . He resembled Jesus to me and many people. He always was a servant. I remember he told a young teenage boy that we as very depressed , If you want to be happy, just Love JESUS. Our family will always Love and ask Father Peter be to pray for us. Love Matt and Mary Freeseha Family.

  33. Cassandra says:

    Thank you Father Nix. I attended Fr. Carota’s requiem Mass yesterday celebrated by Canon Meney. I am so grateful to you for this beautiful account of so beautiful and loving a priest.

  34. Mary Morris says:

    I am an Asian. Started reading up on the traditional Mass only this year and the chaos that ensued after Vatican ll. Was checking up on the old version of Nicene Creed and stumbled here. Fr Carota is resting in Mother Mary’s arms surely. May God grant Fr Nix the strength to continue the work of Fr Carota.

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