Eduardo Bresciani Undurraga is pictured in 2017. Photo: Cam Sanders

February 22, 1951 – June 11, 2024

The Rev. Eduardo Roberto Bresciani Undurraga, retired rector of St. Margaret’s Church, South Gate, died June 11 in Santiago, Chile, after an extended battle with ALS. He was 73.

Survivors include his brother, Christian Bresciani of Miami, Florida, and sisters Ana Maria Bresciani Underraga and Paula Bresciani Undurraga of Santiago. A funeral was held on June 13 in Santiago, where he was born and raised.

Bresciani studied at School of Social Work, University of Chile, and worked in that field before moving to the United States in the 1970s. He became a high school counselor in Long Beach. He joined the Order of the Holy Cross, based at the former Mount Calvary Retreat House in Santa Barbara, in 1979, made his life vows on January 1, 1984 (at All Saints, Oxnard) and left the order in October 1985. Eventually he discerned a call to the diaconate and attended the Claremont School of Theology. Bishop Suffragan Chet Talton ordained him as a deacon in 1992; Bishop Fred Borsch ordained him as a priest in 2001.

As a deacon, Bresciani assisted at St. Philip’s Church, Los Angeles, and St. Paul’s Church, Pomona, and was a longtime chaplain at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. He assisted in establishing Hispanic ministry at All Saints, Oxnard, and St. Bartholomew’s, Pico Rivera. After ordination to the priesthood, he assisted at St. Stephen’s, Hollywood, and became the seventh rector of St. Margaret’s, where he served for 18 years. Bresciani’s Facebook posts were full of photos of the families he served at baptisms, confirmations and quinceañeras, a popular rite of passage in the mostly Latino congregation. He was active in the diocese as a member of the Program Group on Hispanic Ministries, continually promoting bilingual ministry.

He retired at 72 and, facing serious health challenges, moved back to his birthplace in Chile to be closer to his sisters.

Bresciani had a lively interest in politics and world affairs. Bishop John Harvey Taylor, who visited Bresciani soon before his recent move, wrote on Facebook and the Bishop’s Blog, “[On his] father’s side, ancestors fought for Italian unity with Giuseppe Garibaldi’s forces. On his mother’s side were heroes of Chilean independence.

“Such stories run deep in a family. His parents were married in November 1947, on the same day as the future Queen Elizabeth and Phillip. When I visited him … at his home in Bellflower, he told me that even though his father, an architect, was born in Santiago, when he’d comment on Chilean affairs, Eduardo’s mother would laugh and say he didn’t know anything about it because he was a foreigner.

“Politics got heartbreakingly serious in 1973, when the U.S., under my former boss Richard Nixon, supported the overthrow of Chile’s elected president, Salvador Allende. Eduardo said eight of his college friends were disappeared by the harsh regime of Allende’s successor, Augusto Pinochet. Eduardo’s family’s political ties kept them safe. He went to school with one of Pinochet’s daughters and remembers the future strong man picking her up after classes when he was a young army officer.”

Eduardo Bresciani poses with members of his congregation of St. Margaret’s Church, South Gate, in late April 2022. Photo: John Taylor