The Rev. Msgr. Agustin R. Martinez, 91, an associate pastor of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart since 1956, died Sunday at Howard University Hospital. He had cancer.
Msgr. Martinez came to Washington from Argentina, planning to stay only for three months, but was persuaded to remain here because of the need for a Spanish-speaking priest, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington.
The Shrine of the Sacred Heart is located at 16th Street and Park Road NW and has many Spanish-speaking parishioners, the spokesman said. Msgr. Martinez active as an associate pastor until April, he said.
Msgr. Marinez was born and educated in Spain. He held doctorates in philosophy, dogmatic theology and canon law. He was ordained in 1911 and for the next 11 years was director of the College of San Juan Bautista in Santona.
While there he was named canon of the royal chapel and preacher to the king of Spain. In 1917 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
During the 1919 world-wide flu epidemic, Msgr. Martinez's school was turned into a temporary hospital, which he manned single-handedly for three months. He received the Silver Cross of the International Red Cross. He also held the Medal of Queen Isabella the Catholic.
He left Spain to become the pastor of a church in Cordoba, Argentina. In 1929, he began a 27-year relationship with the Seminary at Cordoba, where he was prefect of students and professor of dogmatic theology, sacred scripture and apologetics. He was rector for many years.
Msgr. Martinez was named a domestic prelate in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.
He is survived by two sister, Catalina Martinez-Modenes and Felissa Martinez-Modenes, both of Madrid, Spain, and a brother, Alejandro, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It is suggested that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a scholarship fund at Sacred Heart School.