Venerable Alfonso Gallegos [Biography]

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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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frei Bo

Frei Bo

Priest-Religious of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. Webmaster.

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< 2021 >
May
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  • All day
    May 1, 2021

    ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER / LABOR DAY

    * DAY OF THE RELIGIOUS BROTHERS

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (2010-2021)
    Fray Mark Ryan Prado

2
  • All day
    May 2, 2021

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (2009-2021)

    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo
    Fray Hector Gonzales
    Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos
    Fray Alexus Mansueto
    Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan
    Fray Jess Marco Sanchez

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Margarita Ponce, AR

3
  • All day
    May 3, 2021

    USJ-R: MOVING-UP CEREMONY (GRADE SCHOOL)

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Roland Cepe
    Fray Invenzor Melgazo
    Sr. Myrna Gimena, AR
    Sis. Alejandra Arnaiz, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Felicitas Lucinario, AR

4
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    May 4, 2021

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR VOCATIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)

    USJ-R: RECOGNITION DAY & MOVING-UP CEREMONY (KINDER) BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Elvira Ignacio, SAR (Provincialate Chapter) Sis. Lydia Rivera, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (1991-2021)

    Fray Sixto Bitangjol
    Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla
    Fray Antonio Zabala, Jr.

    (2008-2021)

    Fray Jose Teodulfo Jadulco
    Fray Ken Oliver Lao

5
  • All day
    May 5, 2021

    400TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INAGURATION OF THE FIRST SAN SEBASTIAN CHUCH & THAT OF THE ENTHRONEMENT OF THE IMAGE OF N.S. DEL CARMEN DE SAN SEBASTIAN

    USJ-R: RECOGNITION DAY (GRADE SCHOOL)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Araceli de Vera, AR
    Bro. Danielito Davis Diesta, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Dalia Santos, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Ronald Capulong (RAY-Urbiztondo)

6
  • All day
    May 6, 2021

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Angustias del Divino Amor, AR

7
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    May 7, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Leopoldo Estioko
    Bro. Patrocinio Ergina, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Bro. Elmar Malvar, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Gloria Arroyo, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Nathaniel Jade Riego (RAY-Cavite)
    Lourdes Isabella Corpuz (RAY-Cebu)

8
  • All day
    May 8, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)
    Fray Dionisio Cachero
    Sr. Honey Mae Boquila, AR
    Bro. Wilson Sy, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Victoria Baluran, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Erlinda Reyes, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Agatha Quillope, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Norberto Vingson, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

9
  • All day
    May 9, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Teresita Caballero, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Elvira Birondo, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Sis. Gina Fernandez, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Kenneleen Slam Alvarado (RAY-Talisay)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Fortunato dela Rosa, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    +Bro. Alfredo Panelo, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    +Sis. Isabel Ursal, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

10
  • All day
    May 10, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Elisa Cañete, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Rodolfo Dayag, SAR (Manila Chapter)

11
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    May 11, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Antonia Silang, SAR (Manila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Restituta Torres, AR
    +Sis. Esmerencia Espeña, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Letecia Alemania, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Luz Kilayko, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

12
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    May 12, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Joseph Granada
    Sis. Lilibeth Layumas, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Josefina Lanase, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Sis. Erlinda Blancia, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Lido Cerna (RAY-Miranila)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (2007-2021)

    Fray James Castelo
    Fray Ralph Laureen Ciceron
    Fray Invenzor Melgazo
    Fray Nestor Raras
    Fray Rellyric Delos Santos

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Eduviges de la Virgen del Carmen, AR
    +Sr. Amanda de la Virgen del Carmen, AR
    +Sr. Paz Reandelar, AR

13
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    BIRTHDAY

    Archbp. Peter Liu Cheng-chung, D.D. (Archdiocese of Kaohsiung)
    Fray Jayferson Baldelovar
    Sr. Ma. Gracelda Bendoval, AR
    Sr. Loraine Lechago, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Manuel Magalona, SAR (Manila Chapter)

14
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    May 14, 2021

    ST. MATTHIAS

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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Nicolasa del Espiritu Santo, AR
    +Sr. Escolastica Calsado, AR
    +Sr. Natalia Paunil, AR
    +Mo. Ma. Bibiana Vendiola, AR

15
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    May 15, 2021

    PATRONAL FIESTA – SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH, CASIAN ISLAND, TAYTAY, PALAWAN

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Vince Adolfo, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Sis. Nydia Cruz, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Mildred Mutia, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    Sis. Corazon Treyes, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Ma. Señora Agbuya (RAY-Urbiztondo)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Gertrudes del Espiritu Santo, AR
    +Sis. Remedios Querubin, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Belen Rigonan, SAR (Manila Chapter)

16
  • All day
    May 16, 2021

    ASCENSION OF THE LORD

    55th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY Theme: “Come and See” (Jn 1:46). Communicating by Encountering People Where and as They Are

    12th FOUNDING ANNIVERARY OF RECOLETOS DE CASIAN COMMUNITY & SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH, CASIAN ISLAND, TAYTAY, PALAWAN (2009-2021)

    FIESTA OF THE OUR LADY OF PEACE AND GOOD VOYAGE PARISH, TONDO

    Fiesta Mass: 9:00 AM
    Presider & Homilist: Most Rev. Nolly Buco, D.D.

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Gracia Pil, AR
    +Sis. Ma. Aurora Hong, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

17
  • All day
    May 17, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Glenda Arañez, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Mark Lorenzo Negre (RAY-Talisay)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Lucina Cabili, AR

18
  • All day
    May 18, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Ma. Belma Agrava, SAR (Manila Chapter)
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    Sis. Mildred Carlos, SAR (Inagawan Chapter)
    Ella Jabagat (RAY-Talisay)
    Rose Ann Dag-um (RAY-Provincialate)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Prudencia Martinez, AR

19
  • All day
    May 19, 2021

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

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Cecilia Bongcawel, AR
    Bro. Sergio Javillo, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Lolita Caabay, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    En Sueno (RAY-Miranila)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Paula de la Purisima Concepcion, AR
    +Sis. Juliet Tano, SAR (Valencia Chapter)

20
  • All day
    May 20, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Don Besana
    Sis. Evelyn Abutin, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Dolores Cañeda, AR

21
  • All day
    May 21, 2021

    20TH ANNIVERSARY OF “BLAZING IN DISGUISE”
    (when the east wing of the seminary building of CARES in Baguio was gutted by fire.)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Victoria Sandiego, AR
    Sr. Sulpicia Geronimo, AR
    Sr. Cynthia Camuta, AR
    Sr. Maria Flor Mejarito, AR
    Sis. Virginia Cosca, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Evelyn Leongas, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Mary Ann Cayabyab (RAY-Urbiztondo)

22
  • All day
    May 22, 2021

    FEAST OF ST. RITA OF CASCIA

    INSTITUTION OF THE MINISTRY OF LECTORATE AND ACOLYTHATE
    RFC Miranila, Quezon City

    USJ-R: COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES (COLLEGE, LAW SCHOOL & GRADUATE STUDIES)

    CSNT-R: THANKSGVING MASS, COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES & MOVING-UP CEREMONY (ALL LEVELS)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Emy Catalonia, OAR
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR
    Sis. Carmen Esnaldo, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Potenciana Gomez, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

23
  • All day
    May 23, 2021

    PENTECOST SUNDAY

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Antonio Diesta, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Dering Quinto, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Epitecia Tonggoy, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Alita Garcia, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Caridad de la Virgen del Rosario, AR
    +Sis. Virginia Auman, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

24
  • All day
    May 24, 2021

    DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN CHINA

    SSCR, MANILA: RECOGNITION DAY (SHS)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Justina de Leon, AR
    Sr. Vicenta Climacosa, AR
    Bro. Jose Ely Honrado, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Christine Salabsab (RAY-Laray)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (1986-2021)
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr. Fray Joel Naranja
    Fray Emilio Edgardo Quilatan

25
  • All day
    May 25, 2021

    75TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY (1946-2021) OF THE VICARIATE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND CHINA

    FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLETOS DE BACOLOD COMMUNITY (1962-2021)

    FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLETOS DE MIRANILA COMMUNITY (1985-2021)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Nicholasa Sabado, AR
    Ella Aiza Jabagat (RAY-Talisay)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Auxiliadora Somosot, AR

26
  • All day
    May 26, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Avelina Tatel, AR
    Sis. Leah Espacio, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Angustias Librea, AR
    +Sis. Dolores Nipales, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

27
  • All day
    May 27, 2021

    AR SISTERS – SOLEMN PROFESSION OF VOWS
    10:00 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Alfreda Lobitaña, AR
    Sis. Menchie Bautista, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Corazon Miranda, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Erlinda de Guzman, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Milagros Comahig, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Jocelyn Nengasca, SAR (Manila Chapter)

28
  • All day
    May 28, 2021

    DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SANCTIFICATION OF PRIESTS

    WORLD DAY OF HUNGER (cf. LAMP 52)

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSIONS (cf. LAMP 5c) SSCR, MANILA: GRADUATION DAY (GRADE 12)

    BIRTHDAY

    Most Rev. Emilio Marquez, D.D. (Diocese of Lucena)
    Sr. Emilia Buenaseda, AR
    Sis. Delia Española, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Jean Blanco, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    Sr. Ma. Carmen Bolaños, AR

29
  • All day
    May 29, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Salome Paderogo, AR
    Sis. Elsa Claver, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Leontina Mira, AR

30
  • All day
    May 30, 2021

    TRINITY SUNDAY

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Cristituto Rey Tepace [deacon]

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Teresita Salada, AR

31
  • All day
    May 31, 2021

    FEAST OF THE VISITATION

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF OUR LADY OF THE VISITATION  PARISH
    (Pasibi East, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan) Fiesta Mass: 4:00 P.M.

    Presider & Homilist: Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, D.D.

    SPA-R: COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Priscilla Salazar, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Fe Violeta Taring, SAR (Valencia Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Almario de la Cerna, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

     

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