Rev. Jorge Ayala Cañez, 75, of Phoenix, AZ, passed away on August 4, 2022, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Jorge was born on June 4, 1947 to Luis and Emilia Cañez in Phoenix. He graduated from Carl Hayden High School in 1966. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1967 and served his country as an Airman for over 5 years. He went on to study and graduated from St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, in Indiana in 1979. He was ordained as a Priest on May 19, 1979 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. Jorge enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1982 and spent over 16 years as a Chaplain and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1998. Since his priestly ordination in 1979, he served at Queen of Peace Parish, St. Margaret Parish, Holy Family Parish, St. Edward Parish and lastly, at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, where he retired in June of 2012. He was a former Third Degree Chaplain of the Holy Family Council #11675, and a Fourth Degree Sir Knight with the Fr. Joseph T. O’Callahan assembly #2609 with the Knights of Columbus.
Jorge loved his family and was there for anyone at any time. He will be remembered for his annual Christmas ornament exchange party he hosted for his family and close friends for over 25 years. Jorge had the love and passion for music, and in his younger life was a founding member and musician in the band, “Music Formula”. He loved being a DJ and proudly called himself “Puro Padre”. He was loved by his parishioners current and past and will forever be remembered for playing his guitar and singing “Feliz Navidad” at all his Christmas Masses. Jorge was full of life and was always on the go. He was a “Techey” before his time and was the king of gadgets. He will be remembered by all for his wonderful sense of humor and for having the kindest heart up to the end. He was the best Brother, Uncle, Nino and friend anyone could ask for. He will be missed immensely.
Jorge was preceded in death by his Parents Jose Luis Sr. and Emily A. Cañez, Brother Louie Jr., and Brother in-law Albert Lopez. He is survived by his Brother David(Louella) and Sisters Patricia(Tony), Rosemary(Ernie), Pauline(Andy), Sandra and Maria-‘Poopsie’, and Sister in-law Lupe, 25 Nieces and Nephews, 42 Great Nieces and Nephews and 8 Great-Great Nieces and Nephews.
Funeral Services will be held at St. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85017, on Friday, August 19, 2022, with Visitation to be held from 9-10am, Rosary prayers at 9:30am, a Mass Celebration at 10:00am. He will be laid to rest at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, 2033 N. 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008. Donations can be made to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at https://giveto.supportbarrow.org/donate-r
My deepest condolences to the Cañez family! So so very sorry for your loss. So devastating… So many special memories of a very special man! My thoughts and prayers are with you all!
Maria, your brother left this world knowing how much he was loved and especially by you. May you find comfort in knowing he will forever be with you. I’m so sorry you’re hurting.
My sincerest condolences to the Cañez family, may all the memories you have of Father Jorge bring you all comfort in this most difficult time. God Bless you all.
May Father Jorge Rest in Paradise & may Perpetual Light shine upon him.
Thelma Moreno Liszak
I will always remember Jorgie during his priesthood studies and playing in his band “Music Formula”. Going out with Sandra to listen to his band was the first time I had ever been to a dances. Thoses times are great memories and they are dear to my heart. My prayers are with the family. Rest in peace Jorgie.
Fr. Jorge was the first Priest I considered a friend. If there was work to be done, even menial work, he was the kind of pastor that would work alongside his parishioners. He was a loving and compassionate man. Funny and kind. He was the one that heard my first confession and was the celebrant at my first holy communion.
Some things I remember about him: After every Mass on Sunday, he’d greet my dad with a smile, they’d joke with each other in there sarcastic banter they always had.
Fr. Jorge also served as a chaplain in the Arizona Air National Guard with my parents.
Once, we went on a Disney trip with our parish and the bus didn’t show up. He was on the phone himself advocating for the families like mine that had shown up in the middle of the night expecting to be on a bus to California. He seldom delegated things like that to anyone because he truly loved the people of the parishes he served.
He was patient with the altar servers (myself included). He allowed girls to be altar servers (when that wasn’t the case in every parish).
He never shooed away transients from the church because he recognized that they were just as much God’s children as any of us. He’d feed them from the burrito or menudo sales and he would talk with them.
Every Christmas at the end of Mass, he’d pull out his guitar and serenade the congregation with “Feliz Navidad.”
He attended every function, greeted every person with equal affection, and even though he ALWAYS had work to do…he always…always made time for anyone who approached him.
And when my dad died just a week before Christmas, he had no thought of the busy Christmas season schedule…he presided over dad’s funeral Mass. The musicians never showed up to the funeral…which made the day all the more heartbreaking because my dad loved music. But Fr. Jorge, as a communion mediation, led those in attendance in “Silent Night.” It was the only song at my father’s funeral, humbly and lovingly sung acapella by those who loved him…led by a man who cared for him…and for us. It was a song that in life made my father emotional every Christmas, so it was very fitting.
Fr. Jorge worked hard, but he never let that harden him to those who sought his counsel. He was down-to-earth, approachable, and joyful. He made it his business to get to know those he ministered to. And for me…he’ll always be the example of what it means to be a man of God. And a man of Love. He’s everything someone could want in a pastor, in a friend, in a priest, and confessor. He will be sorely missed, but I know the Lord will have a special place for him in Heaven. Sleep in Heavenly peace, Fr. Jorge.
“Saints of God, come to his aide.
Hasten to meet him angels of the Lord.
Receive his Soul and present him to God most high.
May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to the bosom of Abraham.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.”
My deepest condolences to the family of dear Father Jorge. He was a very loved individual who impacted many lives especially my family in many different ways. He will be forever missed and loved. The heavens have a new Priest, Guitarist and DJ to play and sing there songs. RIP father Jorge.
What a wonderful life! One of my favorite bands, Music Formula. I loved whe they played post football game dances in the CHHS gym. God rest his soul. Sincere condolences to the family.
Jorge was a wonderful friend ans great great guitarist. He was the most skilled musician on his “Ovation” guitar at St. Meinrad (which was land of a thousand guitars) I recall sharing many a pizza with him at the Unstable also often jamming with him. What a friend, what a talent, what a dedicate priest. You are missed.
Fr. Ken Kelly (ret)
Victor Manuel Ramos Jr
I’m sure we crossed paths at some point in time through my sister Juanita Amelia Martinez. May you rest in peace and look over all your family friends and cherished loved ones.
Victor Manuel Ramos Jr.
Belinda De Los Santos
To His Family, Our condolences to you and may you find comfort and peace in your memories and those shared with you.
Father Jorge always made it so easy to get up Sunday mornings to go to church. He always made connections with true times and the daily readings. As if he knew what one was going through and how to bring that connection of scripture into our hearts and home. We are soo blessed to have been married through him in 2007. He made sure our guest knew how important they were for being there no matter their beliefs. We can’t forget his DJ skills during some church gatherings and his Feliz Navidad hit.
Thank you Father Jorge for your service in every calling of yours, being humble and being YOU. Our family loves you. Till we meet again.
Mollie Martinez (Juanita)
My sincere condolences to all of Father Jorge’s Family and Friends. May our Lords peace reign in your hearts. Hugs to all of you.
There is so much to express and share about Father Jorge and what he was to so many of us. So many stories and words to share . He impacted so many lives in so many different ways. He definitely knew how to meet a person where they were in life. That was my expirience. My husband and I started attending St Edwards in late 1994 when we moved into the community. I was a young mother with a 5yr old and 1yr old. My husband and I were not lets say every Sunday church goers, but when we started attending St Edwards and listened to Father Jorges’ Homilies I remember thinking “was he in my house? How did he know I / we were going through that! As weeks and months went by I remember he would often in the parish announcements call to the community for volunteers for one ministry or another. To come help/serve. I remember the tug at my heart when he would ask for volunteers to help with Catechism. Well years later I have came to realize that the Holy Spirit was working through Father Jorge in calling me to be a Catechist. There are so many stories that come to mind when sharing this with you , I could probably write a book. God through Father is who helped me in my journey to serve in the church even when I might not have felt worthy to do so. It was so often through those Homilies and Just the humble person he was to me and my family as I am sure he was with so many. This helped us get closer to our lord. I am still involved in teaching Catechism. I love what I do ,I love serving our Lord in his children and I give that glory to my Lord who chose Father Jorge to open those doors for me. And I thank the Lord for putting such a wonderful person in my life the lives of my family.
I and my family too have so many fond memories of the Christmas’s when he would play the guitar and sing
Feliz Navidad . When my oldest son received his 1st guitar at 14or 15 I remember how happy my son was that he borrowed his guitar to play for everyone. This went on to be a favorite thing for my son to do for our family.
So many stories we all have. What a blessing he was to all of us.
May god shine his perpetual light upon him . May his example of how to live life be an example for us. He truly was a blessing . We now can continue to ask him to pray for us.
God Bless all his family and his church families and friends.
Roe J Vogeney
Sincerest condolences from The Vogeney Family. It was our honor to have known Fr. Jorge and to have been included in his Holiday Family Mass several times at Christmas and Easter. His family is warm and welcoming, as was he. My heart goes out to his family, and Fr. Jorge, our family will miss you too.
Terry R. Orosco
Our heartfelt condolences to the Canez family. We will remember Father George and his beautiful smile. He will be greatly missed by everyone. May memories bring comfort to the family during this difficult time. May he rest in eternal peace.
The Romero Family