Venerable Alfonso Gallegos [Biography]

Alfonso Gallegos was born during hard times.  The Great Depression of the 1930’s was worldwide. It was made more excruciating in the United States of America when the dry spell, the longest in modern American history, struck the Great Plains, affecting mainly the Midwest and the Southwest, the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. These areas became known as the Dust Bowl.

The lack of economic stability and the fear of starvation led people to flee their homelands in search of better opportunities. Thousands fled to California, which itself was reeling from high unemployment and low wages. This economic situation led to social unrest, worsened by the government’s default on spending that adversely affected all public services including education.

It was then during this time in a place not far from California, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that the baby boy Alfonso was born.  It was February 20, 1931.  At the age of 7, the little boy and his family took the lead of the many others and moved to Watts, Los Angeles, California hoping for the better.  Watts was a home to a growing community of Mexicans and Mexican American migrants. It was among them that Alfonso grew up until he left his home in 1950 to enter in the seminary of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in Kansas City. He was ordained priest in 1958.

Four years after his priestly ordination, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish in Watts. Here he dedicated his primary attention to the out-of-school youth who were prone to drugs and criminal activities. But the young Father Alfonso did not judge them, must less evaded them. Rather he spent time with them and encouraged and even helped them to go back to school and obtain university degree. This move brought about a change of life to many who heeded his encouragement. His pastoral care improved the environment of the area. Church attendance increased, crime rates dropped and people felt safe to go around. He infused hope into the community.

Aware of the growing population of the Hispanic migrants in California, in 1979 the California Bishops Conference named Alfonso Gallegos as the first Director of the Hispanic Affairs, California Catholic Conference. Its main objective was to organize and implement programs for the benefit of the Spanish-speaking migrants coming to the United States. In these Hispanic Affairs, Gallegos kept up with legislation and issues affecting the Hispanic community and provided this information to the Bishops. His appointment in 1981 as Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento was a recognition of the new demographics and a response to the need for ecclesiastical leadership for this rapidly growing Hispanic population. Gallegos was the first Mexican-American Bishop to serve the Church in Sacramento since 1861.

He visited and stayed with the migrants in the labour camps, spoke out for them before the government legislators and assured them of the welcoming embrace of the Church. He would spend various nights during the week with the youth in the parks, befriended gang members by talking to them, encouraging them to leave behind drugs and criminal activities and strive for a better future. He blessed the cars of the “low riders” and rode with them. He championed the right of the unborn children. Everyone had a place in his agenda, the poor, the sick, the aged and those in prisons regardless of their creed, colour and culture. He was a Bishop always on the move, spending most of his time with his flock. As one witness during the diocesan process testified, “Bishop Gallegos was always trying to be there for every one, that at times, he would forget to take care of himself”.

Now a day, the world needs shepherds whose life is configured to Christ; shepherds who do not ask for what they stand to gain but what they can give to others; shepherds who do not seek to win people for themselves but to lose themselves for others. People want to see a joyful zeal in the ministers of Christ, ministers who carry out their task with enthusiasm, thus, giving credible witness to the Gospel message. Bishop Gallegos´ life is a response to these noble aspirations. Although throughout his life he had to bear the serious effects of his myopic eye problem, never for an instance did he lose his optimism. His wide smile was a constant mark of his personality. “What a beautiful day!” was his usual expression. He was not a scholar nor considered an intellectual but his preaching touched people’s hearts because God had first touched his own. He chose as motto for his episcopal coat of arms “Love one another”.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, Bishop Gallegos said, “I would like to be remembered as having helped the young people how to appreciate who they are and to value the life God has given them. I would also like to be remembered as having appreciated people and all that they have to offer in making the world a better place to live in” (The Sacramento Bee Magazine, January 18, 1987).

A vehicular accident in the evening of October 6, 1991 claimed the life of this Hispanic Bishop at the age of 60. Earlier during the day, he joined a march against abortion, visited a young AIDS patient and finally administered the sacrament of confirmation to 71 candidates. His funeral claims the record attendance of grieving people in the diocese of Sacramento up to now.

A year after his death, a street connecting the State Capitol Building and the Cathedral of Sacramento was named “Bishop Gallegos Square”. It serves as bridge to bring the teaching of Jesus to the lawmakers, reminding them that one of their important and sacred duties is to help the migrants find a better place for themselves and for their families. His bronze statue stands in this same place. On March 27, 2010, his mortal remains were transferred to a new tomb in Our Lady of Guadalupe National Shrine.

Considering his saintly life and his intercessory prayers before the Lord, the diocesan process for his Cause of beatification and canonization was opened on December 4, 2005 at the Cathedral of Sacramento. After interviewing 130 witnesses and gathering the pertinent available documents, the process was concluded on November 5, 2006. The Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Vatican approved the validity of the diocesan process on July 4, 2008. The Positio on his life, virtues and fame of sanctity was submitted to the same Congregation on June 27, 2014. The Theologians approved his heroic virtues on March 17, 2016. The Congress of the Cardinals and Bishops gave their affirmative votes on July 5, 2016. Finally, on July 8, 2016, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation of the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree attesting to his sanctity of life and the heroic practice of virtues.

With a miracle attributed to his intercession he can be declared blessed and with one more he will be due for canonization.  For now we rejoice and content ourselves with the assurance of his sanctity as the Church recognizes the Bishop of the Barrio as Venerable Alfonso Gallegos.

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< 2019 >
October
SMTuWThFS
  1
  • All day
    October 1, 2019

    LAUNCHING OF ROSARY MONTH

    LAUNCHING OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MONTH OF MISSION

    Note to all Local Priors [for the Book of Masses]: After the feast of the Archangels (Sept. 29), “a Mass is to be offered for the living relatives, friends, and benefactors of the Order” (cf. Add. Code 70d)

2
  • All day
    October 2, 2019

    2nd PRIORS’ MEETING OF THE QUADRENNIUM
    October 2-3, 2019 / Provincial Curia

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Leonardo Pauligue
    Sr. Leah Lachica, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2004-2019)
    Fray Leo Alaras

3
  • All day
    October 3, 2019

    START OF THE NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED (Valencia) /
    OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR (Baguio)

    21st PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Teresita Baco, AR
    Sr. Elyn Joy Olmedo, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1987-2019)
    Fray Bernard Amparado
    Fray Cristituto Palomar
    Fray Joseph Granada
    Fray Jorge Peligro

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ramona Plaza, AR

4
  • All day
    October 4, 2019

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR VOCATION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Manuela Mandia, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2003-2019)
    Fray Celestino Cachapero, OAR

5
  • All day
    October 5, 2019

    WORLD TEACHER’S DAY

    CONSISTORY 2019

    ELECTORS:

    1)  Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot MCCJ (b 1952), President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

    2)  José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça (b 1965), Librarian and Archivist of the Roman Church

    3)  Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo (b 1950), Archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia

    4)  Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez (b 1948), Archbishop of San Cristóbal de la Habana, Cuba

    5)  FridolinAmbongoBesunguOFMCap(b1960),ArchbishopofKinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

    6)  Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ (b 1958), Archbishop of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

    7)  Álvaro Leonel Ramazzini Imeri (b 1947), Bishop of Huehuetenango, Guatemala

    8)  Matteo Maria Zuppi (b 1955), Archbishop of Bologna, Italy

    9)  Cristóbal López Romero SDB (b 1952), Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco

    10)Michael Czerny SJ (b 1946), Under-secretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

    NON-ELECTORS:

    11) Michael Louis Fitzgerald M Afr (b 1937), Apostolic Nuncio (retired)

    12) Sigitas Tamkevicius SJ (b 1938), Archbishop Emeritus of Kaunas, Lithuania

    13) Eugenio Dal Corso PSDP (b 1939), Bishop Emeritus of Benguela, Angola

     

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Miguela Obera, AR

6
  • All day
    October 6, 2019

    SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR THE PAN-AMAZON REGION OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
    October 6-27, 2019

    PATRONAL FIESTA: OUR QUEEN OF VICTORY PARISH
    Xiaogang, Taiwan

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Primitiva Berdejo, AR
    Sr. Noemi Mapa, AR
    Sr. Rona Alaza, AR

7
  • All day
    October 7, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Juliet Natinga, AR
    Fray Ralp Andrew Cepe, Jr. (simply prof.)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2006-2019)
    Fray Henry Santiago
    Fray Anthony Irineo
    Fray Russell Lapidez
    Fray Virgilio Paredes

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Margarita Miranda de Santa Monica, AR

8
  • All day
    October 8, 2019

    USJ-R BALAMBAN (SHS Scouts) joins 8th NATIONAL SCOUT VENTURE CAMP
    October 6-12, 2019 / Theme: “Commitment to Excellence”
    Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

    CST-R SAN CARLOS: 79th HIGH SCHOOL DAYS AND INTRAMURALS
    October 8-12, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Neil Ryan Jarumay
    Ms. Nestoria “Inday” Bad-an (Sister General of the Order)
9
  • All day
    October 9, 2019

    2nd FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNITY OF RECOLETOS DE URBIZTONDO (Pangasinan)

10
  • All day
    October 10, 2019

    ST. THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, Bishop and Patron of Studies

    CLOSING OF PRIOR GENERAL’S RENEWAL VISIT TO COLOMBIA

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Raul Dael, DD [Bishop of Tandag]
    Sr. Ofelia Laspobres, AR

11
  • All day
    October 11, 2019

    ST. POPE JOHN XXIII

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Samuel Eyas

12
  • All day
    October 12, 2019

    BLD. MARIA THERESA FASCE, Virgin

    CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH CENTENARY OOF THE RECOLETOS ARRIVAL IN ROME
    Solemn Mass Presider: Carlos Cardinal Aguiar (Archbishop Primate of Mexico)
    Time: 6:00 PM

    SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR
    TOMA DE HÁBITO
    Time: 9:00 A.M. / CARES, Baguio City
    Presider & Homilist: Fray Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR (Prior Provincial)

    PATRONAL FIESTA: PARISH OF OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED
    Valencia, Negros Oriental / Time: 10:00 A.M.
    Fiesta Mass Presider: Most Rev. Julito Cortes, D.D. (Bishop of Dumaguete)

    FOUNDATION DAY OF TAHANANG TALANGPAZ, TAGAYTAY CITY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Shirley Nonato, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)
    Sr. Marilyn Gustilo, AR
    Sr. Bernarditha Barnido, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Mo. Dionisia Mitas de Santa Maria Talangpaz

13
  • All day
    October 13, 2019

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DECEASED BENEFACTORS OF OAR

    CANONIZATION OF JOHN HENRY NEWMAN & 4 OTHERS:

    -Sister Mariam Thresia of India – Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family;

    – Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini – Foundress of the Daughters of Saint Camillus;

    – Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God; and

    – Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi

    NEGROS ORIENTAL DAY

     

14
  • All day
    October 14, 2019

    150 years ago, on October 14, 1869, together with 17 other Recollect missionaries composing Mission LX, Fray Ezekiel Moreno boarded the frigate Concepción at Cádiz, Spain en route to the Philippines. The group arrived in Manila on February 10, 1870.

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Laura Cabanacan, AR
    Sr. Rhena Sherra Caranzo, AR

15
  • All day
    October 15, 2019

    15th ANNIVERSARY OF SARF-INAGAWAN CHAPTER

    DEADLINE OF AMRSP Logo Contest

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Renz Calex Soriano, OAR (simply prof.)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2005-2019)
    Fray Vincent Cadeliña

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Monica de Espiritu Santo, AR

16
  • All day
    October 16, 2019

    WORLD FOOD DAY 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Pia Pineda, AR
    Sr. Ma. Linda Peña, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1988-2019)
    Fray Manuel Lipardo
    Fray Domingo Saladaga
    Fray William Emilito Villaflor

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    Sr. Margarita de Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

17
  • All day
    October 17, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, D.D. [Bishop of Cubao]
    Sr. Ma. Cirila Uy, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Visitacion de San Miguel, AR
    Sr. Gabriela Garcines, AR
    Sr. Jacinta Mandia Robin, AR

18
  • All day
    October 18, 2019

    SPA VALENCIA: START OF SCHOOL DAYS CELEBRATION

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Arnel Diaz

19
  • All day
    October 19, 2019

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    SARF-VISAYAS REGIONAL GATHERING October 19-20, 2019
    Host: San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Chapter, Talisay

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Arlyn Sarmiento, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Virginia Acha, AR

20
  • All day
    October 20, 2019

    WORLD MISSION SUNDAY

    ST. MAGDALENE OF NAGASAKI, Patroness of the Secular Augustinian Recollects

    PARISH FIESTA OF STA. REMEDIOS PARISH (Tanapag Village, Saipan)

    SARF VISAYAS – RITES OF ADMITTANCE TO THE TRIAL PERIOD AND PROMISED

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ken Oliver Lao

21
  • All day
    October 21, 2019

    ARSE BATCH 2
    October 21-25, 2019
    Facilitator: Fray Lauro Larlar, OAR

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ursulina Balading, AR
    Sr. Ma. Lutgarda Cañete, AR

22
  • All day
    October 22, 2019

    ST. POPE JOHN PAUL II

    BIRTHDAY

    Archbp. Agustinus Agus, DD (Archdiocese of Pontianak, Indonesia)
    Fray Edgar Tubio
    Sr. Teresita Diana, AR

23
  • All day
    October 23, 2019

    ST. WILLIAM THE HERMIT & BLD. JOHN THE GOOD, Religious

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Hernando Coja
    Sr. Herminia Catindig, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1967-2019)
    Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena

24
  • All day
    October 24, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Rafael Cabarles
    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1996-2019)
    Fray Glynn Ortega

25
  • All day
    October 25, 2019

    ST. JOHN STONE, Priest & Martyr

    AUGUSTINIAN SCHOOLS ATHLETIC MEET (ASAM) 2019
    October 26-31, 2019
    Host: Colegio San Agustin, Bacolod City

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Veronica Purto, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1995-2019)
    Fray Joel Dequilla

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (1983-2019)
    Most Rev. Buenaventura Famadico, DD (Diocese of San Pablo)

26
  • All day
    October 26, 2019

    SARF-LUZON REGIONAL GATHERING WITH THE RITES OF ADMITTANCE TO THE TRIAL PERIOD AND PROMISED
    Host: Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish (Tondo Chapter)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Dionisio Selma
    Fray Renie Villalino
    Sr. Rosalie Ubo, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Leonora Mercado, AR

27
  • All day
    October 27, 2019

    PRISON AWARENESS SUNDAY
    160th ANNIVERSARY OF EVANGELIZATION IN TAIWAN (1859 – 2019)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Antonio Limchaypo

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Mo. Presentacion de San Jose, AR
    Sr. Martina Labao, AR

28
  • All day
    October 28, 2019

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR MISSION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Jeana Abejuela, AR

2930
  • All day
    October 30, 2019

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF MOST. REV. NATALE PANGELLI, SX, Bishop of Makeni, Sierra Leone

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristituto Palomar
    Fray Dominador Mercado Jr.
    Sr. Lorlie Decir, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1999-2019)
    Fray Joel Alve

31
  • All day
    October 31, 2019

    SYMBOLIC MISSION SENDING
    (cf. Section for Mission Apostolate)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Nemesio Tolentin

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Albina de la Virgen de Soledad, AR

  

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