In 1994, a humble Franciscan priest named Father Stephen Jasso came to the North Side of Fort Worth to serve as Pastor of the historic All Saints Catholic Church.
For over twenty-three years, he has made a profound impact not only on the North Side and in the All Saints Community, but throughout Fort Worth and North Texas. Now, at 85 years young, he is retiring as Pastor of All Saints after 53 years as a priest and 60 years in the religious life.
He will remain at the parish in the role of Parochial Vicar as he enters the twilight of a life well-lived.
In the Catholic faith and tradition, a priest living in the midst of the people, is called to lead and teach through service. He is called to serve others. Father Jasso exemplifies the best of that call to lead and serve.
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I first met Father Jasso in 1994 when he asked me to serve on a Parish Finance Committee and Fiesta Committee. We immediately bonded. He was not only my pastor, but also became my mentor, adviser, and friend. I am also an immigrant born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and Father Jasso understood that we are better as a community when we work together with individuals from all diverse backgrounds.
He was and is a strong advocate for the fair treatment of immigrants. Father Jasso asked our leaders to treat diverse communities with dignity and respect. He was tireless in his efforts for the just cause of comprehensive immigration reform and stood firm against laws which tended to stigmatize diverse and immigrant communities.
Father Jasso was always there for my family and countless families in our city during the loss of a loved one, challenging personal times, and in moments of serious health issues for family members and friends. He was on call to minister and to offer his support.
He did not just preach on Sunday, but also took action. He served on numerous non-profit boards and city task forces. We traveled together along with other city leaders and former Mayor Mike Moncrief to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver to study the issue of homelessness. He spoke up to champion the need for love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. As a member of Mayor Price’s Faith Leaders Cabinet, Father Jasso has been a strong voice for Fort Worth as a compassionate city.
Born in Waco, Texas, the call for leadership and service was instilled at an early age by Father Jasso’s parents. Eventually, he served our country in the United State Army from 1953 to 1955 during the Korean War in the First Armored Division and obtained the rank of Sergeant First Class. He later joined the Franciscan Order in 1957.
He began a journey of faith and service that transformed the communities he studied and served in Pennsylvania, Spain, Peru, Rome, Mexico City, and Fort Worth. In Fort Worth, he is an active and engaged leader working to address the many issues facing not only the faithful at All Saints, but also the North Side, Fort Worth’s growing Hispanic population, and our entire city
Father Jasso has served as a role model for leaders throughout our city under the guiding principle of servant leadership. He is not only the Pastor of All Saints, but also a faithful servant of the people – a servant for every one of us.
Fort Worth is a better place because of a faithful servant named Father Stephen Jasso. We will forever be grateful that our lives were enriched by him.
Sal Espino is a lifelong member of All Saints Catholic Church. He served as a Fort Worth City Councilmember from 2005 to 2017 and as Mayor Pro Tem from 2014-2016.