Thousands gather to say good-bye to Father Eddie

Beloved priest died from apparent heart attack

SAN ANTONIO – To Father Eddie Bernal everyone he met became a friend.

"We used to go out two or three times a week to dinner and talk, Talk about politics, talk about San Antonio. I love him," said Anthony Tobias, president and executive director of the Latin American Heritage Society. "I'm going to miss him an awful lot, It's going to be hard."

Everyone at today's funeral mass could tell a similar story. So could people from parishes across San Antonio where Father Eddie served, or who watched his shows on Catholic Television.

"He was able to articulate the faith and led some people in such way that he attracted many to find help," said San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller. "

Friends and parishioners say they'll remember Father Eddie for his kindness, his generosity and his love, including love of being a Texan.

"I'm sure he's up there right now talking to Tom Landry," said St. Benedict parishioner CJ Rios. "He loved the Spurs too."

Father Eddie became a priest in 1987 and for nearly 30 years served the community at St. Matthew's, St. Ann's, St. John Berchman's, St. Leo's and St. Benedict. 

He also co-hosted a show on Catholic TV with the Archbishop. 

"I am filled with hope but it's a very sad situation," Archbishop Gustavo said. "To lose a priest, one of my co-workers. He was very invested in parish life, he was very invested with the people."  

Father Eddie died Sunday of an apparent heart attack.

Bernal was 66.