His ties with the mission in South Africa lasted all his life. It was there that he spent the best years of his life, enjoying much success but also facing many challenges and difficulties.
Fr. Luis Carranza Cervantes was born on 10 July 1948 at Los Reyes, Michoacán (Mexico). Before finishing primary school, he entered the Comboni seminary at Sahuayo, where he began his priestly and missionary formation and attended school. In 1968 he entered the novitiate at Tepepan where he made his first religious profession on 8 December 1970. He was then sent to Elstree in England for the scholasticate and to study theology. At the end of that period, he made his perpetual profession on 8 December 1974 and was ordained a priest on 17 May 1975.
Immediately after his ordination, he was appointed to the minor seminary at San Francisco del Rincón, in the western part of the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, where he served as formator of the young aspirants and as superior of the community. This experience lasted until 1981.
In 1982 he was sent to South Africa where he worked in pastoral ministry and was also rector of the diocesan seminary of Luchau. His ties with the mission in South Africa lasted all his life.
It was there that he spent the best years of his life, enjoying much success but also facing many challenges and difficulties.
On his return to Mexico in 1989, he was again appointed to formation, this time with the duty of accompanying a large group of postulants at Xochimilco in the capital. Fr. Luis had a strong character but also a great heart and a capacity for empathy that helped him to establish lasting friendships. Regarding the young men he was accompanying, he enjoyed friendly and brotherly relations with them: he trusted them and motivated them and so helped them to mature responsibly and acquire important values.
In 1993 Fr. Luis agreed to help the province in the pastoral work being carried out in Valle del Chalco, an enormous parish in the outskirts of Mexico City which had been entrusted to the Combonis just a few years earlier. It was a very demanding service that required a considerable spirit of sacrifice but Fr. Luis had always been completely available to accept whatever service was asked of him.
In 1996 he returned to South Africa where he dedicated himself to ministry in various parishes. He was also a member of the provincial council and was elected vice provincial. After a period of holidays in Mexico and some Sabbatical months spent in the United States.
In 2004 he returned to Mexico and the community of the postulancy, to help with candidate formation and, in 2005, he served for a short period in South Africa at Waterval as parish priest. In 2006 he was appointed to the Comboni Province in The Unites States where he served for five years, firstly in mission promotion at La Grange Park and then in ministry in the parishes of Holy Cross and Saint Cecilia in Los Angeles, California.
In 2013 he returned to Mexico where he served for some years in mission promotion and as superior of the provincial house. In 2017 he went to Rome for the renewal Course which he followed with great interest and enthusiasm. On his return to his province, he happily went to Metlatónoc, another difficult mission, at the service of the Mixtecos. He later moved to the community of Cochoapa.
On 16 March 2020, he went to Mexico City to accompany a group of pilgrims from the diocese Tlapa going to the sanctuary of Our lady of Guadalupe. In the morning he took part in the celebration and, in the afternoon, he came to the provincial house where he was due to take part in the spiritual exercises being held there.
He was happy and content and was already thinking of returning to the mission where, a few days later, the many celebrations of Holy Week would require his presence. On Wednesday 18, he said he was not feeling well but thought he must have caught a cold as he had slept with the window open.
This was the start of what, after various medical examinations and tests, was diagnosed as pneumonia caused by the H1N1 flu virus. After some days in hospital, Fr. Luis was connected to a ventilator to help his breathing but without any improvement. On Monday 30 March he stopped breathing and was revived; on 31 March, at 18.50, he passed away.