Bishop David Arias, a great leader of the Hispanic people

Augustinian Recollect Bishop David Arias died on May 9 at the age of 89 in New Jersey (United States). He was recognized by many people as a good bishop and a good religious, mainly concerned with the Hispanic community. This article was written by Fray Eliseo González, OAR, in memory of Bishop David.

I first met Bishop David Arias in November 1997 at Tagaste Monastery, Suffern, New York. I was a seminarian at the time. He came to eat with the Augustinian Recollect community to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. For the next six years Archbishop Arias would not miss that feast day at Tagaste.

I also remember when, along with other Recollect friars, we were present at the blessing of the Guadalupe Center in Union City, New Jersey. Arias was largely responsible for the Diocese of Newark opening this formation center for the Hispanic community. From his time with the Cursillo Movement in New York, Arias was always concerned that the laity be well-formed.

On May 31, 2003 I had the joy of being ordained a priest by the laying on of his hands at Mary Star of the Sea Church, Oxnard, California. He was also present the next day, June 1, for my first Mass. Arias was always ready for the ordinations of deacons and Augustinian Recollect priests.

In 2009 I was assigned to West Orange, New Jersey, where the provincial house of St. Augustine Province was located, with the mission of working for the cause of the venerable Bishop Alfonso Gallegos. Arias a few times a year, always in Augustinian Recollect community meetings.

In March 2010, while I was in New Jersey, I went to visit Bishop David to ask him for a favor: he needed to lend me a mitre of his to wear to the venerable Bishop Gallegos after his exhumation on March 24, 2010. When I arrived at Bishop Arias’ residence, I was impressed by how simple and organized everything was. He received me with great affection. He was very attentive. He showed me the house and the church. It looked like a residence within another residence. It had its own chapel, kitchen, dining room and bedroom, all apart from the rectory of the diocesan fathers. He took me to his room and placed three mitres on his bed and said, “Take whatever you want. I took the most beautiful one to put it on the venerable Bishop Gallegos.

In the summer of 2013 I was assigned to Santa Ana, California, at Our Lady of the Pillar Church. During that time, Monsignor Arias stayed in this community on two occasions. From there, Bishop Arias took the opportunity to visit his brother, Father José Antonio Arias, and his nephews and nieces in Los Angeles.

In June 2016, he stayed at the Pilar Church for a meeting of U.S. bishops in the Southern California area near Santa Ana. By the way, from the Diocese of Orange I was invited to confess to the bishops. I went to confession and I saw Bishop Arias there, living with his brother bishops, very happy. He approached me and greeted me with great affection.

The last time I saw Bishop David Arias was in November 2016 when he traveled to the Cathedral of Sacramento, California, to participate in the Thanksgiving Mass of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos on the occasion of his proclamation as venerable.  The trip was made by bus with a group of pilgrims from the church of Pilar, Santa Ana, and lasted seven hours. In that ceremony Bishop Arias had to unveil the photo of Bishop Gallegos that was lit in the choir of the cathedral. Then I asked the parishioners how a long trip had turned out for Bishop Arias. They told me that he was very happy, ‘quiet’, praying and sharing with the faithful.

On these two occasions when he stayed in Santa Ana, in the church of Pilar, we spoke alone about some topics: his ministry, his love for history and his books on the contribution of Hispanics to U.S. society, his autobiography he was writing and why he thought that St. John Paul II elected him bishop, which was a great surprise to him. His theory was that in his curriculum vitae it appeared that in his studies in Rome he had made the final thesis on the spirituality of St. John of the Cross. Smiling, he told me that that is why he believed he had been appointed bishop by St. John Paul II, because the Pope also had an interest in St. John of the Cross.

For me, Bishop David Arias was a simple, loving and attentive man. Upon learning of his death, I offered the Holy Eucharist for his eternal rest and I could not help but feel again affection and spiritual union with him, since he had ordained me a priest and again Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, united us.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, after learning of the death of Bishop Arias said: “Today, this local Church of Newark is in mourning for a remarkable and reliable pastor who guided the faithful wisely, well and with great pastoral care. David Arias, an Augustinian Recollect, was a great leader who has left a profound imprint on the church in the USA, particularly in the pastoral care of the Hispanic community, which continues to grow.

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< 2020 >
January
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  • All day
    January 1, 2020

    SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

    53rd WORLD DAY OF PEACE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Celerina Hifarva, AR
    Sr. Cristita Cha, AR

2
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    January 2, 2020

    SPA-VALENCIA: RESUMPTION OF CLASSES

3
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Gregoria Ibarra, AR
    Sr. Ma. Bella Mojica, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Clemencia Ranin, AR

4
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    January 4, 2020

    RST: START OF ENROLMENT
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Regina Cadiz, AR
    Sr. Adelaida Elli, AR

5
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    January 5, 2020

    SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY

    PROVINCE-WIDE CHRISTMAS PARTY
    Venue: Provincial House / 6:00 P.M.

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Cleofe Claro, AR

6
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    USJ-R CEBU, UNO-R, CST-R, CSNT-R: RESUMPTION OF CLASSES

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Juana de la Merced, AR

7
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    January 7, 2020

    GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING
    January 7-11, 2020 / Rome

8
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    January 8, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Fray Nero Bautista (simply prof.)
    Sr. Leticia Cerdeño, AR

9
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    January 9, 2020

    TRASLACION OF THE BLACK NAZARENE AND “DUNGAW”

    [cf. GENERAL CURIA CALENDAR]: ENCOUNTER WITH THE OAR PARISH PRIESTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
    January 9-10, 2020 / Cebu City

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Rosario Bianes, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Dominga Gargarita, AR

10
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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11
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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12
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    FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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    Sr. Fortunata Gaspillo, AR

13
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    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
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    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

    RST: START OF REGULAR CLASSES

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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14
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    INSTALLATION OF ARCHBISHOP RICARDO LINGAN BACAY
    (Archbishop of Tuguegarao)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Emilia Madrigal, AR

15
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Valerie Con, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Virgin de la Consolacion, AR

16
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    January 16, 2020

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD RELATIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

    Note: Outgoing Apostolic Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbp. Gabriele Giordano Caccia reports today to his new assignment (in New York, as Permanent Observer to UN)

    BIRTHDAY
    Mo. Maria del Carmen, OAR (Bacolod)
    Sr. Zerah Cordero, AR

17
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    January 17, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Celedonia de la Santissima Trinidad, AR
    Sr. Maria dela Consolacion, AR
    Sr. Cesaria Barbarona, AR

18
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    January 18, 2020

    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
    January 18-25, 2020
    Theme: They Showed Us Unusual Kindness (cf. Acts 28:2)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa

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    January 19, 2020

    FEAST OF THE STO. NINO
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cleofe Maria Agua, AR
    Fray Jay Jasper Jamelo (simply prof.)

20
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    January 20, 2020

    ST. SEBASTIAN (MANILA & CAVITE COMMUNITIES, DIOCESE OF BACOLOD)

    RAY NATIONAL SUMMIT
    Theme: “I am RAY: a Message and a Messenger” Inclusive Dates: January 20-24, 2019
    Venue: Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary, Baguio City

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Adelina Reyes, AR

21
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    BIRTHDAY
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22
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    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Victor Bendico, DD (Bishop of Baguio)

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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Gertrudis del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Cresencia Vailoces, AR

24
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    BIRTHDAY
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25
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    SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
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    Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D. (Diocese of Novaliches)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Lucia Sagmit, AR

26
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    January 26, 2020

    3rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 67th WORLD LEPROSY DAY

    SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD
    [NOTE:Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio Aperuit illis, published on 30 September 2019, establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the Word of God.”]

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristopher Maspara

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
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    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)

27
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    January 27, 2020

    CSNT-R TALISAY: 49th FOUNDATION DAYS
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marilyn Cula, AR
    Sr. Remilyn Leonido, AR

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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Fernanda del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Ines Garcia, AR

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31
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    CST-R: CULMINATION OF BIBLE DAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Josephine Ativo, AR

 

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