Rev. Msgr. Lonnie C. Reyes


Rev. Msgr. Lonnie C. Reyes, priest, friend, brother, uncle, and advocate of social justice and activist for human rights died on December 18, 2023, in Red Rock Texas at the age of 81. Lonnie was born on June 1,1942 in Lockhart, Texas to José M. Reyes and Ángela Contreras Reyes. Lonnie studied at St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio and earned a Master of Theology at St. Mary’s School of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Austin in June 1969.

Msgr. Reyes served as associate pastor at St. Louis Church in Waco, Associate Director of Mexican American Ministry, Administrator at St. John’s Church in Luling, Texas, Pastor at Cristo Rey Church in Austin, and as Pastor at Sta. Julia Church in Austin.

As pastor, Father Reyes developed and promoted counseling programs and social needs programs for the parish communities he served. He worked with immigrant families helping them find employment and support. He developed a thriving community church in which the contributions of all were valued and accepted.

Msgr. Reyes served as a Liaison for the Bishop as Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese of Austin and provided services as Chancellor for 125 churches in the Central Texas area from 1972 to 1986.

Father Reyes sat on many boards and commissions including the Civil Service Commission for the City of Austin. He served as  Liaison between the City of Austin’s Police and Fire Department for recruitment, evaluation of training programs and operations of personnel. He created and implemented policies to increase minority enrollment in the Police and Fire Department for the City of Austin and developed and implemented policies for minorities and immigrant’s trust in the Police Department.

We, his family, and his friends, were fortunate to walk with him. He imitated Christ in his humanity and inspired goodness and kindness in all of us and helped us see the humanity in all people. He challenged many systems to be more open and responsive to the needs of the people. He strove to guide us all to a better world where everyone was treated with respect and dignity.

Lonnie was preceded in death by his father, José M. Reyes, and his mother, Ángela Contreras Reyes, baby sister Lucía Elizabeth, sister Guadalupe Ybarra, brother-in-law Faustino (Julian) Ybarra, brothers Joe Reyes Jr., sister -in- law, Mildred June Reyes, Fr. Leo Reyes, nieces, Lucy Mosqueda, Mary Ochoa Montez, Cynthia Villanueva. nephews, William Reyes, and Michael Eugene Ybarra.

Lonnie is survived by his sisters, Lucía Reyes, Sister Elizabeth Reyes MPF, Theresa Reyes, and Veronica Darner (Bob Darner), and by his brothers, Tom Reyes (Ramona Reyes), Jon Reyes (Alfredo Muñoz)), David Reyes (Gloria Reyes), and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Funeral Mass was held Friday, December 22, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lockhart, celebrated by Fr. Ed Karasek. A private family internment will be held later.

He touched countless lives, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of many. We are profoundly thankful for the enduring legacy he has bestowed upon us all.

Most of all he was our brother, and he was loved and honored. He will be greatly missed.


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