Beto O’Rourke receives unexpected gift from ailing Fort Worth pastor

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke made a detour Friday night on his way to a rally at Marine Park.

The Democrat trying to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate first stopped at the All Saints Parish — across the street from the rally, in the heart of the city’s north side — to meet Father Stephen Jasso.

It was the first time the two met.

But Jasso, bedridden after being diagnosed earlier this year with ALS, wanted to talk to O’Rourke.

Once O’Rourke walked into the room, he and Jasso spoke for a few minutes about the need for quality public service and how Jasso would like to see effective, transparent politicians in office.

Then they bowed their heads.

Before a small crowd that included state Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, and Fort Worth school trustee Jacinto Ramos, Jasso — who for decades has been known as an influential voice in Fort Worth — quietly prayed.

And then he offered O’Rourke a blessing.

“Lord, we know you are with us,” Jasso said in Spanish. “We know, too, that you want to help this country with good leadership.”

After the short prayer, Jasso gave O’Rourke a copy of his book about reflections. A message inside stated: “With prayers and best wishes for a successful campaign.”

O’Rourke was in town Friday night for a political rally, part of his continuing quest to unseat Ted Cruz.

The race, which has become fierce and costly, is one of the most watched races across the country. Many wonder if O’Rourke can do what no other Democrat has done for more than two decades in Texas: win a statewide office.

But Friday night was an unexpected gift.

O’Rourke said he was glad he had the chance to meet the widely respected pastor who often has served as a voice for Hispanics, immigrants and anyone in need.

“It’s a huge honor to be in his presence and to receive his blessing,” O’Rourke said.

But before he left the room, Jasso let O’Rourke know he prays for all politicians, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents.

“If Ted Cruz wants to come here for a blessing, he can come too,” Jasso said.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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