Jorge Sardinas, Jr. College Class of 1971
Father Jorge Angel Sardinas SARDINAS, FATHER JORGE ANGEL, was born Oct. 2,
1950, in Havana, Cuba. He attended Instituto Edison in Havana for six years, and
arrived in south Florida at the age of 10. He attended South Hialeah Elementary,
Hialeah Elementary, Corpus Christi School in Wynwood and Robert E. Lee Jr. High
School in Miami. In the ninth grade, he entered St. John Vianney Minor Seminary
in Miami. He obtained a bachelor's degree in arts in 1973 from St. John Vianney;
a master's in divinity in 1976 from St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in
Boynton Beach; and a master's in theology, again from St. Vincent de Paul
Seminary, in 1977. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 14, 1977,
by the late Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll. After his ordination, Father Sardiņas
served as associate pastor at St. Mary Cathedral in Miami (1977-78); associate
pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee (1978-79); associate pastor at St.
Francis de Sales in Miami Beach (1979-81); associate pastor at St. Augustine in
Coral Gables (1982-85); associate pastor at St. Helen in Fort Lauderdale
(1987-89); associate pastor at Holy Family in North Miami (1990); and associate
pastor at St. Richard, Miami (1994-97). He served as campus minister at Florida
International University from 1985-87, while living at St. Agatha Parish. He
also taught at Msgr. Edward Pace High School from 1993-94. He studied at
Catholic University of America from 1981-82; was a member of the faculty at St.
John Vianney Seminary from 1985-87; and obtained his art degree from the
University of Florida (1990-92). He had been a full time faculty member at St.
Thomas University since 1997 and helped out on the weekends at Our Lady of the
Lakes in Miami Lakes. Funeral Arrangements for Father Jorge Sardinas Deceased:
Tuesday, September 14, 2004. Thursday, September 16, 2004 Wake: St. Anthony
Chapel St. Thomas University 16400 Northwest 32 Avenue Miami 5-10 pm. Prayer
Service at 7 p.m. Mass of Resurrection Friday, 10:30 a.m. Our Lady of the Lakes
Catholic Church 15801 Northwest 67 Avenue Miami Lakes Family Father Jorge
Sardinas' family includes cousins Sarah Saborido, Luis Arrizurieta, Sylvia
Roepke of South Florida; his brother Alfredo Sardinas of the Dominican Republic
and many nieces and nephews. Donations In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent
to: The Father Jorge Sardinas Memorial Fund for St. Anthony Chapel, St. Thomas
University, 16400 NW 32 Avenue or Our Lady of the Lakes Art Docent Program,
15801 NW 67 Avenue, Miami Lakes, FL 33014. To visit this Guest Book Online, go
Posted on Wed, Sep. 15, 2004
Fire kills St. Thomas University art professor in his Fort Lauderdale home
By Herald staff reports Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder All Rights Reserved
A St. Thomas University art professor died in a fire at his Fort Lauderdale home Tuesday night after trying to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose.
Jorge Angel Sardinas, 53, was transported to Broward General Medical Center's emergency room, where a doctor pronounced him dead.
Sardinas' dog also died of smoke inhalation inside the house at 3221 S.W. 20 Court, according to fire officials.
A mass honoring Sardinas will take place at 12:05 p.m. today in the Chapel of St. Anthony at the university, 16401 N.W. 37th Avenue in Miami Gardens.
''St. Thomas University has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of our beloved art professor,'' said Kathleen Lowe, a university spokeswoman.
Sardinas' house still had hurricane shutters on it, which allowed the heat and smoke inside the house to grow, said Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department Acting Division Chief John Ramirez.
The fire started in the bedroom. Witnesses said Sardinas came outside to pick up a garden hose, and went back inside to put out the flames. But he was overcome by intense heat and smoke.
''It looks like the bedroom flashed and burned him,'' Ramirez said.
Sardinas then went into cardiac arrest. Neighbors called the fire department around 10:30 p.m. Sardinas apparently never did call the fire department.
Fire officials warned residents not to try to fight fires on their own.
''A garden hose is no match for a raging fire,'' said Battalion Chief Chris Weir. ``We have the equipment. And we are trained to do it.''
When firefighters went inside, they found Sardinas in the bedroom with the garden hose running.
He had burns on his chest, face and part of his back.
Posted on Thu, Sep. 16, 2004 FORT LAUDERDALE
'Kind, gentle' priest killed in fire had passion for arts
A St. Thomas University art professor and beloved priest at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church dies trying to extinguish a fire in his Fort Lauderdale home.
Herald staff reports
A St. Thomas University art professor, who was a priest at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Miami Lakes, died in a fire at his Fort Lauderdale home Tuesday night. Fire officials said he had tried to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose.
Jorge Angel Sardinas, 53, was taken to Broward General Medical Center's emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.
Sardinas' dog also died of smoke inhalation inside the house at 3221 SW 20 Ct., fire officials said.
Hurricane shutters, which were still attached to Sardinas' house, allowed the heat and smoke inside the house to intensify, fire officials said.
The fire started in the bedroom, officials said.
''It looks like the bedroom flashed and burned him,'' said John Ramirez, acting division chief.
Witnesses said Sardinas had gone outside to get a garden hose and went back inside to douse the flames. But he was overcome by intense heat and smoke.
Sardinas, who then went into cardiac arrest, apparently had never called the fire department. Neighbors called the fire department at 10:30 p.m.
FOUND NEAR BEDROOM
When firefighters went inside the home, they found Sardinas near the bedroom with water gushing from the garden hose. He had burns on his chest, face and part of his back. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fire officials warned residents not to fight fires on their own.
''A garden hose is no match for a raging fire,'' Battalion Chief Chris Weir said. ``We have the equipment. And we are trained to do it.''
MASS AT ST. THOMAS
A Mass honoring Sardinas was held at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday in the Chapel of St. Anthony at St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Ave., in Miami Gardens.
''Father Sardinas had a love and passion for the arts,'' St. Thomas University President the Rev. Msgr. Franklyn Casale said. ``He was devoted to, and intimately engaged with works of art. The Chapel of Saint Anthony, at the heart of our campus, stands as the pinnacle of his life's achievement as an artist and priest.
``We will greatly miss this kind, gentle, and generous colleague and friend. It is hard to imagine St. Thomas without him.''
News of Sardinas' passing shocked parishioners at Our Lady of the Lakes.
Emily Borras, 25, who has attended the church since she was in elementary school, couldn't believe her favorite priest had died.
''He will be greatly missed, and his absence will be felt throughout the church,'' Borras said.
She and her mother, also a parishioner at the church, had discussed taking a Bible class with him because he was so knowledgeable and engaging during his sermons.
`LEARNED A LOT'
''He always knew the history behind the readings,'' said Borras, an international marketing strategist at Motorola. ``I learned a lot from listening to him at church.
``He made you reflect on the passages and on your life.''
There will be a wake in the chapel from 5 to 10 p.m. today, with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
A Mass of Resurrection will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, 15801 NW 67th Ave., in Miami Lakes.
Sardinas' survivors include cousins Sarah Saborido, Luis Arrizurieta, Sylvia Roepke, all of South Florida; his brother, Alfredo of the Dominican Republic; and many nieces and nephews.
Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to: The Father Jorge Sardinas Memorial Fund for St. Anthony Chapel, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Ave., Miami Gardens, FL, 33054 or to Our Lady of the Lakes Art Docent Program, 15801 NW 67th Ave., Miami Lakes, FL, 33014.
A video interview of Sardinas on his design of the Chapel of St. Anthony is available at www.miamiarch.org (click on video streaming).
Photos of Sardinas are available at www.miamiarch.org/sardinas.cfm.
By Noaki Schwartz
September 16, 2004
Every Wednesday, the Rev. Jorge Sardinas celebrated Mass at the Chapel of St. Anthony, where the altar held special meaning for the man who chiseled it out of limestone himself.
But this week, it was the president of St. Thomas University who took the 53-year-old's place during a memorial to honor the priest and artist who died only hours before in a house fire at his Fort Lauderdale home. As the fire department continued to piece together what happened, the news of the popular priest's death hit hard at the campus and Our Lady of the Lakes in Miami Lakes, where Sardinas worked on weekends.
Stunned students and staff filled every seat of the chapel, and others stood at its entrance and in the side aisles. The sound of muffled weeping echoed against the walls.
"He always liked to have a crowd," university President Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale said as he surveyed the room. "Boy, wouldn't he be happy this morning?"
Casale and others painted a loving portrait of Sardinas, the
self-proclaimed hippie who wore Birkenstocks and shirts that were as
The priest carved the baptismal font and designed most of the artwork, including the statues and the stained glass windows. He told students that the arcing rays of red and orange swirling off the cross at the entrance of the chapel were inspired by a desert sunset he once saw.
"This is the accomplishment where both priest and the artist have come together," Sardinas was once quoted as saying in an Archdiocese of Miami profile.
Sardinas was born Oct. 2, 1950 in Havana, and came to the United States at about age 10. As a boy he often made posters for friends and loved ones, but did not take art seriously until he became a priest at 26. He called art another avenue for him to worship, and "to mature in my spirituality."
Cousin Jorge Arrizurieta, who was 13 at the time, remembers the ordination.
"It was clearly a big day for any Catholic family to have the distinction and honor," said Arrizurieta, now 39. "Especially for my grandmother, this was much more important than the birth of her kids."
Sardinas worked at parishes all over South Florida, including St. Mary
Cathedral in Miami, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee, St. Francis de Sales
in Miami Beach and St. Helen in Fort Lauderdale. He also studied at Catholic
University of America in Washington D.C., earned an art degree from the
University of Florida in Gainesville and was on the faculty at St. John
Since 1997, Sardinas had been a full-time faculty member at St. Thomas, where with his wide smile and sense of humor, he quickly became a favorite teacher on campus. Part of his appeal, students said, was a down-to-earth quality, a rejection of the idea that priests have to be superhuman.
"I'm flawed just like everybody else," he once said.
Students also warmed to his quirky personality. They took an active interest in Sardinas' latest coif, which he regularly changed every six months from shaggy to spiked, and his guayabera shirts in shocking colors. Students said Wednesday that he was particularly fond of one that had one pink sleeve and a blue one.
At the memorial, many were still in disbelief and talked about their teacher in the present tense. Carline Estime, 19, who studied with Sardinas for three years, was inconsolable.
"He's going to show us a gladiator movie tomorrow," she sobbed. "He has a wedding to go to in two weeks."
But their teacher was not going to return.
At 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, firefighters were called to Sardinas' Fort
Lauderdale home, which was engulfed in heavy smoke and flames, possibly
because of a cigar. When they arrived, emergency officials had trouble
ventilating the rooms because the hurricane shutters were still up. With the
windows shuttered, smoke and heat in Sardinas' house had nowhere to go, and
once the priest lost consciousness on his living room floor, the air he was
breathing was toxic and superheated, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Battalion
Friends said they thought Sardinas escaped from the house but went back inside with a hose, perhaps to save his dog. If so, it was a fatal mistake.
"We fight fires with hoses that release 200 gallons a minute," said Hanes, who was at the scene Tuesday night said. "A garden hose will release maybe five gallons a minute."
Paramedics administered CPR before taking the priest to Broward General Medical Center, where he died. His dog, Winifred, a dachshund, was found dead inside the home.
After the memorial ended Wednesday afternoon, most of the attendees trickled out. A lone student, Widson Moreau, remained in the pews.
Moreau covered his face and put his head between his knees.
Staff Writer Rafael Olmeda contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Noaki Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright (c) 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel