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Sunday, February 19, 2017
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Monday, February 20, 2016
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
who you are and be that well."
-St. Francis DeSales
Campus Mass and Devotions
Monday - Friday
Friday Rosary at dismissal time.
First Friday Exposition of the Blessed
First Friday of every month when school is in
Decade of the
Rosary at the
Statue of Mary
Wednesdays at 8
Please join us!
For the Church
For those in the St. Mary's High School community
For all the students, faculty, staff, parents and
friends of St. Mary's.
For Those Serving in the Military
For all SM alumni and family serving in the
military. Pray that they be respected and protected,
that their patron saint, St. George, watch over them
and pray to God for their safety, wisdom in their
decision making, fortitude and compassion.
For the Repose of the Souls of
SM Alumni and Friends
Alumni Memorial Page Link
the Holy Father, Bishops, Priests and Religious
For the Repose of the soul of Monsigner Donohue (d.
For the Repose of the soul of Fr. McQuire. (d. 2016)
For the Repose of the soul of Fr.
Peter Carota (d. 2016)
For our Holy Father, Francis l,
all Bishops, Priests and Religious.
Pray that their actions and lives truly exhibit the
values of the Gospel, no matter the cost.
In particular for the members of the order of St.
Francis de Sales who have served the St. Mary's
Community for over 45 years, in particular Fr.
Fallon who has celebrated 54 years as a priest,
Brother James Dorazio, with 46 years as a
religious, Fr. Matthew Issac, and Sister Collette Standard with over 50 years professed, the
Dominicans and Franciscans, all orders and Diocesan
priests that are or have served St. Mary's High
School since its beginnings in 1876.
For continued blessings on Fr. John George O.S.F.S.
who has returned to India after serving the St.
Mary's High School community for 3 years.
the unborn and born victims of abortion
For the innocent victims of abortion,
for those who are suffering the personal devastation
of abortion's aftermath, and that the hearts of
those who promote the killing of the unborn be
changed to affirm life. Pray that the minds and
hearts of abortion providers change to embrace life
and not destroy it. Pray that the United States
recognize the right to life of the unborn.
All those facing
unemployment and financial difficulty at this time
Poor Souls in Purgatory
Christian Martyrs, Victims of Terrorism, Natural
Disasters, Crime and Abuse and Poverty
the repose of the soul of Fr.
For the victims of the Munich, Germany
For the 98 victims of the Nice, France
For the Victims of the San Bernardino
Pray for the 147 Christian martyrs who
were killed by Islamic terrorist
organization al-Shabab at Garissa
University College in Kenya on April 2,
These four sisters, Missionaries of Charity, who
worked with the poorest of the poor in Yemen, died
when four gunmen stormed the nursing home where they
Sister Anselm, 57, was the youngest of seven
siblings in an Indian family of farmers. Fellow
missionaries said she lived and died for the people.
While not much is known about the three other
sisters, including 44-year-old Sister Margherite and
32-year-old Sister Reginette, both of Rwanda, and
41-year-old Kenyan Sister Judith, they are not
forgotten. They were daughters, sisters and
spiritual mothers to many. Bishop Paul Hinder, the
Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, which includes
Yemen, said they “sacrificed their lives by
following their own charism.”
Photos show Yemenis gathering the next day to
protest the attack.
In St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis prayed that
Blessed Mother Teresa “accompany to paradise these
daughters of hers, martyrs of charity, and that she
would intercede for peace and a sacred respect for
The Pope had earlier said of 21 Egyptian Coptic
blood of our Christian brothers and
sisters is a witness that cries out to
be heard,” the pope said. “It makes no
difference whether they be Catholics,
Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” the
pope said, according to a Vatican
transcript. “They are Christians! Their
blood is one and the same. Their blood
confesses Christ.” The Pope urged
Christians toward ecumenism, or unity in
Christian faith. “As we recall these
brothers and sisters who were killed
only because they confessed Christ, I
ask that we encourage one another to go
forward with this ecumenism that is
emboldening us, the ecumenism of blood,”
he said. “The martyrs belong to all
Christians.” -Pope Francis
The following are the names of the 21
Egyptian Coptic Christians that were
beheaded by ISIS:
1. Milad Makeen Zaky
11. Mina Fayez Aziz
2. Abanub Ayad Atiya
12. Hany Abdelmesih Salib
3. Maged Solaiman Shehata
13. Bishoy Adel Khalaf
4. Yusuf Shukry Yunan
14. Samuel Alham Wilson
5. Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
15. Worker from Awr village
6. Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
16. Ezat Bishri Naseef
7. Somaily Astafanus
17. Loqa Nagaty
8. Malak Ibrahim
18. Gaber Munir Adly
9. Tawadros Yusuf
19. Esam Badir Samir
10. Girgis Milad Sinweet
20. Malak Farag Abram
21. Sameh Salam Farug
…and for the countless other Christian
martyrs throughout the world today!
Christian Forgiveness and
"As Bishop of Rome and
pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for
mercy and forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics
towards Christians of other Churches which has not
reflected Gospel values. At the same time, I invite
all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if
they, today or in the past, have been offended by
other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has
happened, but we do not want to let the weight of
past faults continue to contaminate our
relationships. God’s mercy will renew our
relationships." -Pope Francis, January 26, 2016.
Misuse of Religion
"Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates
human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings,
eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere
-Pope Francis January 12, 2015
Proclaiming the Gospel
“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the
pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom
and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of
disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive
letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially
wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like
the church has always condemned them. But the church
does not want to do this. During the return flight
from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual
person is of good will and is in search of God, I am
no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the
catechism says. Religion has the right to express
its opinion in the service of the people, but God in
creation has set us free: it is not possible to
interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I
approved of homosexuality. I replied with another
question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person,
does he endorse the existence of this person with
love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must
always consider the person. “A person once asked me,
in a provocative manner, if I approved of
homosexuality. I replied with another question:
‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he
endorse the existence of this person with love, or
reject and condemn this person?’ We must always
consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery
of the human being. In life, God accompanies
persons, and we must accompany them, starting from
their situation. It is necessary to accompany them
with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit
inspires the priest to say the right thing.
“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament:
evaluating case by case and discerning what is the
best thing to do for a person who seeks God and
grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber,
but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us
to do better. I also consider the situation of a
woman with a failed marriage in her past and who
also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and
she is now happy and has five children. That
abortion in her past weighs heavily on her
conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would
like to move forward in her Christian life. What is
the confessor to do?
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay
marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This
is not possible. I have not spoken much about these
things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we
speak about these issues, we have to talk about them
in a context. The teaching of the church, for that
matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but
it is not necessary to talk about these issues all
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all
equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be
obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed
multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the
essentials, on the necessary things: this is also
what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the
heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the
moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a
house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance
of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be
more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this
proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of
our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon
must begin with the first proclamation, with the
proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more
solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then
you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a
moral consequence. But the proclamation of the
saving love of God comes before moral and religious
imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the
opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the
touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and
ability to meet his people, because those who preach
must recognize the heart of their community and must
be able to see where the desire for God is lively
and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is
not to be reduced to some aspects that, although
relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the
message of Jesus Christ.”
strong leadership and
support to enhance the work
of the local agencies in
their efforts to reduce
poverty, support families,
and empower communities.
Saint Mary’s Dining Room
An interfaith organization
serving the needs of
Stockton's poor and homeless
by providing food, medical
care and clothing.
Red Rhino Orphanage Project
The Red Rhino Orphanage
Project’s mission is to
house and educate some of
the most desperate and
unfortunate children in
Kenya, enabling them to
become contributing members
of society and leaders of
the next generation
Your Local Catholic Parish
present themselves from
youth ministry to liturgy.
Pregnant and Need
Selected Quotes from Church Documents: On Legalized
Abortion (Source: USCCB)
Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a
society moves towards the denial or suppression of
life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary
motivation and energy to strive for man's true good.
If personal and social sensitivity towards the
acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms
of acceptance that are valuable for society also
wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens
moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help.
By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can
better understand the needs of poor ones, they can
avoid employing huge economic and intellectual
resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their
own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous
action within the perspective of production that is
morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting
the fundamental right to life of every people and
“Caritas In Veritate” Encyclical of Pope Benedict
But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators
who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they
have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers
where abortions are performed. … In this sense abortion goes beyond the
responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on
a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on
society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s
promoters and defenders.
Pope John Paul II,
Evangelium vitae (1995), no. 59.
When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that
it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life,
is it not really making a ‘tyrannical’ decision with regard to the weakest
and most defenseless of human beings?....While public authority can
sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which – were it prohibited –
would cause more serious harm, it can never presume to legitimize as a right
of individuals – even if they are the majority of the members of society –
an offense against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a
right as the right to life.
Id., nos. 70, 71.
Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent
human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to
the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the
equality of everyone before the law.
Id., no. 72.
Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and
of use, a civilization of "things" and not of "persons", a civilization in
which persons are used in the same way as things are used. In the context of
a civilization of use, woman can become an object for man, children a
hindrance to parents, the family an institution obstructing the freedom of
its members. To be convinced that this is the case, one need only look at
certain sexual education programmes introduced into the schools, often
notwithstanding the disagreement and even the protests of many parents; or
pro-abortion tendencies which vainly try to hide behind the so-called "right
to choose" ("pro-choice") on the part of both spouses, and in particular on
the part of the woman.
Pope John Paul II,
Letter to Families, February 2, 1994, no. 13
On “social sin”:
Also social is every sin against the rights of the
human person, beginning with the right to life and including the life of the
unborn or against a person's physical integrity…The term social can be
applied to sins of commission or omission-on the part of political, economic
or trade union leaders, who though in a position to do so, do not work
diligently and wisely for the improvement and transformation of society
according to the requirements and potential of the given historic
moment…Whenever the church speaks of situations of sin or when the condemns
as social sins certain situations or the collective behavior of certain
social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations and blocs of nations,
she knows and she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of
the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. It is a case of
the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it;
of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain
social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy
of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take
refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those
who sidestep the effort and sacrifice required, producing specious reasons
of a higher order. The real responsibility, then, lies with individuals.
Pope John Paul II,
Reconciliation and Penance (1984), no. 16
is true that it is not the task of the law to choose
between points of view or to impose one rather than
another. But the life of the child takes precedence
over all opinions. One cannot invoke freedom of
thought to destroy this life…
The role of law is not to record what is done, but
to help in promoting improvement. It is at all times
the task of the State to preserve each person's
rights and to protect the weakest. In order to do so
the State will have to right many wrongs. The law is
not obliged to sanction everything, but it cannot
act contrary to a law which is deeper and more
majestic than any human law: the natural law
engraved in men's hearts by the Creator as a norm
which reason clarifies and strives to formulate
properly, and which one must always struggle to
understand better, but which it is always wrong to
contradict. Human law can abstain from punishment,
but it cannot declare to be right what would be
opposed to the natural law, for this opposition
suffices to give the assurance that a law is not a
law at all…
It must in any case be clearly understood that
whatever may be laid down by civil law in this
matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself
immoral, and such is the case of a law which would
admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can
he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of
such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not
collaborate in its application.
Physician Assisted Suicide
Statement of the California
Catholic Conference on Legalized
October 5, 2015
The Bishops of California, have issued the following
statement after Governor Brown signed ABx2-15
(Eggman) the End-of-Life Option Act:“The
physician-assisted suicide legislation (ABx2-15)
signed today by Governor Brown makes it legal to
prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to assist
terminally ill patients to take their own life.
This law stands in direct contradiction to
providing compassionate, quality care for those
facing a terminal illness.
“All 48 Catholic hospitals in California provide
excellent palliative care services as all medical
facilities for terminally ill patients should but
often do not. As Catholic Bishops in California we
join hands with the disability rights groups,
physicians, other health care professionals, and
advocates for the elderly in opposing
physician-assisted suicide as the wrong way to
advance the human dignity for those facing a
“Pope Francis has warned us about our "throw away
culture." Have we become so callous in protecting
the sacredness of life that we easily approve of a
physician handing over a lethal dose of drugs to
someone to end their life at their most vulnerable
moment when they most need to be cared for with love
“We are particularly disappointed that the very real
concerns and risks posed to our brothers and sisters
in vulnerable communities of the disabled and
elderly have been consistently ignored by our
state’s elected officials. In a health care
system grappling with constantly escalating costs,
the elderly and disabled are in great peril now that
assisted suicide has become legal. Application
of such a law elsewhere shows that the option to
offer the low-cost alternative of lethal drugs
instead of proper medical care is a temptation not
“For vulnerable people, this isn’t compassion.
There’s nothing in this law that supports or
promotes the common good. This bill does
nothing to validate the lives of the vulnerable.
If anything, this bill says just the opposite and
only serves to increase their emotional burden.
And it facilitates subtle but potent pressures on
the elderly and the disabled to end their lives
rather than become a financial or emotional burden
on their children.
“Nothing illustrates what is wrong with this bill
more than how it got to Governor Brown’s desk having
failed to even get out of committee in the normal
legislative process. In a special legislative
session called to help fix a $1 billion gap in Medi-Cal
funding and other health-financing issues, the
Legislature and Governor did not address the
problems nor offer ways to bring down the cost of
healthcare. Millions of people on Medi-Cal are
still not eligible for palliative or other
‘end-of-life care.’ Instead, lawmakers’
solution to bringing down health care costs is to
allow physicians to end a person’s life. This
will adversely affect the poor, as those with
resources will always have access to palliative
care. This is not compassion.
“The California Catholic Conference has been very
proud to work with Californians Against Assisted
Suicide and its partners from the disability-rights
community, advocates for the elderly, physicians’
groups and other health care professionals during
the debate on physician-assisted suicide. We
thank all these members and the thousands of
Catholics throughout the state who expressed their
opposition for their outstanding work and we will
continue to stand with them in efforts to protect
the most vulnerable Californians.”
News and Information
tradition of offering Masses for others,
particularly the dead, originates in the very early
Church. Inscriptions discovered on tombs in Roman
catacombs of the second century evidence this
practice. The Church's reasoning was well explained
by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical "Mirae caritatis"
(1902) emphasizing the connection between the
communion of saints with the Mass: "The grace of
mutual love among the living, strengthened and
increased by the sacrament of the Eucharist, flows,
especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass],
to all who belong to the communion of saints. For
the communion of saints is simply ... the mutual
sharing of help, atonement, prayers and benefits
among the faithful, those already in the heavenly
fatherland, those consigned to the purifying fire,
and those still making their pilgrim way here on
earth. These all form one city, whose head is
Christ, and whose vital principle is love. Faith
teaches that although the august Sacrifice can be
offered to God alone, it can nevertheless be
celebrated in honor of the saints now reigning in
Heaven with God, who has crowned them, to obtain
their intercession for us, and also, according to
apostolic tradition, to wash away the stains of
those brethren who died in the Lord but without yet
being wholly purified."
If you would like to request that Mass be offered
for a particular intention, a request form can be
found at this
Catholic Schools Week 2017
Members of St Mary's Campus Ministry Team with Mr. Kevin
Costello and Ms. Laura Howze represented the school at the
annual Catholic School Week Mass..
Dedication of Statue of St. Francis De Sales
On January 26, 2017, Fr.
John Fallon, O.S.F.S.,
the President Emeritus
of St. Mary's High
School dedicated the
statue of St. Francis De
Sales that now graces
the courtyard of the
school. Fr. Fallon
prayed that the statue
would serve as a
reminder to all of the
spirituality of St.
Francis, known as the
"saint of the ordinary"
and follow his example
in their daily life.
The sculptor and artist
who designed and made
the statue, Mr. Tony
Ramirez, SM Class of
1969 was also present to
celebrate the event,
joining the Oblates of
St. Francis De Sales who
have served the school
for 46 years.
Message from Fr. Matthew
As we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis de Sales on
January 24th, I wanted to assure you that we Oblates
of St. Francis de Sales are holding you in prayer.
This week to celebrate the legacy of the gentleman
saint is an opportunity to remember the presence of
all people who help us to advance the mission
entrusted to us by our Gentle God.
While St. Francis de Sales' legacy is rich and vast,
certain themes that he championed speak to us at
different times in our lives, both personally and
collectively. Presently, our nation is struggling
through some crises and questions that are related
to race and divisions especially rose from the
recent political turmoil. In this context our
Patron's notion of "unidiversity", how all people
are one within the immense array of uniqueness that
characterizes the human family, is significant to
Although we are created in our own individuality and
uniqueness, we are not left alone in our personal
bubble to float through life. The reason we as
humans develop things like race or ethnicity is so
we can relate our similar uniqueness with others. It
helps us through the personal difficulties in life
to have someone who is like us to lean on and
understand our problems…. I don't think that St.
Francis de Sales' idea of unity in diversity meant
simply RAMS brotherhood and sisterhood. Imagine a
world where that brotherhood and sisterhood we see
here in the St Mary’s campus everyday extended to
the whole world around us. No longer is that
homeless person on the corner just another person
living in a box; he is our brother or sister.
Imagine how that would change the way we treat him.
Seeing all of our neighbors as our sisters and
brothers is foundational to the Kingdom of God that
Jesus inaugurated. St. Francis de Sales' commitment
to this Kingdom is evident in his embrace of the
Gospel, which he inspires us to live with gentleness
and humility—two of Francis' most cherished virtues
which Jesus exemplified (MT 11:29).
I invite everyone to imagine a world where we treat
all people—whether they are similar to us or not—as
brother or sister. And, on this feast day, I amplify
that invitation: How would the world change if we
treated all people with gentleness as we related to
them with humility?
May our gentleness and humility bless God and all of
God's people as we live Jesus and help his Holy
Spirit build that Kingdom. Thank you for your
friendship and your partnership in ministry with us.
Happy Feast Day!
-Fr. Mathew Issac OSFS
Campus Ministry Performs
The students at Annunciation and Presentation
received a special Christmas treat as Kevin Costello
and the members of the St. Mary's Campus Ministry
team presented the play "Gloria" that tells the
story of the one angel who, though not fitting in as
a singer, not being able to quite accomplish all of
the angelic tasks expected, was nevertheless given
the honor of announcing the birth of Jesus.
Second Annual Mission Trip
the 2nd annual St. Mary' s High School Mission Trip!
Monday, ApnI17. 2017 through Saturday, April 22.
2017 (Easter break)
New Orleans, Louisiana
This trip is provided by Catholic Mission Trips.
Work projects in New
Orleans are focused on disaster relief and
assistance for !he elderly and underprivileged.
Projects in New Orleans can include framing.
roofing. siding. sheetrock, flooring, insulation,
paining. and landscape work.
Current sophomores, juniors and seniors.. Space is
limited, so there will be preference to seniors. We
will also need 2 or 3 parent chaperones
Final cost will depend on our group's ability to
fundraise and secure
sponsorships, but our goal is $500 to $750 per
person. which would include air and ground
transportation. lodging and and meals.
For more information contact Director of Campus
Ministry, Mr. Kevin Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (209) 951-3340, X 222.
Students Share Salesian Spirituality
Michael Reyes, Alisha Miller, Grace Lin-Cereghino,
Tim McGuire, and their moderator Mrs.
Sharion Piasecki participated in the
2016 Salesian Leadership Camp. They were
joined by other representatives from
Salesian High Schools from across the
country in Michigan. Thecamp provided a
week of faith building, sharing ideas
and new friendships.
The students will share share their new
experiences with the St. Mary's student
body. In true Salesian fashion they live
out our school motto: Be who you are,
and be that well" - St. Francis de Sales
Venerable Bishop Alphonse
On July 8, 2016 Pope Francis signed a decree
recognizing the heroic virtues of the Servant of God
Alphonse Gallegos a member of the Augustinian
Recollect Friars. As a result the late auxiliary
bishop of Sacramento will now be known as Venerable
It is the latest step in his beatification cause,
which started ten years ago.
Bishop Gallegos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
in 1931, one of Joseph and Caciana Gallegos’ 11
children. Because Alphonse was born nearly blind,
his parents moved the family to Los Angeles when he
was very young order to get him better medical care.
Following two surgeries, the boy gained the ability
to see much better, at least for a time.
According to the biography provided by his religious
order, the Augustinian Recollect Friars, “The
Gallegos household was one of prayer and deep faith.
The recitation of the Rosary and catechism lessons
were the order of the day. St. Joseph was chosen as
the patron saint of the family.”
Growing up in the barrio of Watts, the family
attended the relatively new San Miguel Church on
East 108th Street. The aforementioned Recollects ran
the parish, and young Alphonse found his vocation
serving the Mass at their feet.
In 1950, he entered the Recollects’ New York
seminary where he spent the next eight years. His
never perfect eyesight became progressively worse,
and because of this, he had a hard time completing
his academic work to his superiors’ satisfaction.
They debated whether to ordain him, but in the end
it was decided that “his holiness, humility, and
community spirit” were unsurpassed and were the very
qualities they wanted in a priest. He received Holy
Orders on May 24, 1958.
For the first 14 years of his priest he served as
chaplain to hospitals and convents and in various
capacities in his Order’s houses of formation. Then
in 1972, his superiors appointed him pastor of his
home parish of San Miguel.
The race riots of the late 1960s had altered Watts
for the worse. Those families that could afford to
move did. They were replaced by illegal immigrants
who were at that time coming to the US in ever
greater numbers. “The new pastor dedicated his
energies to revitalizing a declining community
concentrating on the education of the children, the
strengthening of the family, and the evangelization
of the youth.
“It was in Watts that Father Al became known as the
‘chaplain’ of the ‘low riders’, the street gangs of
Latino youth who dedicated their talents to
customizing their cars. His Friday and Saturday
night visits to the street corners became legendary.
Working with his fellow-religious, Fr. Gallegos
revitalized the ‘barrio’ leading the members of the
Parish Council to send a letter to his superiors
stating: ‘It is a very rare occasion that anyone can
take hold of a community that is spiritually dying
and with the grace of God make it reborn through
that person’s faith in Our Lord and love for his
The talent he displayed in working with the
California’s rapidly changing Catholic Latino
community led to his appointment as head of a newly
created office at the California Catholic
Conference, the Division of Hispanic Affairs.
Two years later Pope St. John Paul II made him
auxiliary bishop of Sacramento, and he received
consecration to the episcopacy on November 4, 1981.
He quickly became an icon in the Golden State’s
capital diocese. Sacramento is located two hours
northeast from San Francisco, and the diocese
stretches from San Francisco’s East Bay up to the
Oregon border and encompasses almost all of
California’s northern half. It is a huge territory
bejeweled with tiny farming communities in which
Hispanics abound. And while many are middle class
and even affluent, a large number also populate some
of the poorer sections of the See’s larger cities.
Thus Gallegos found himself interacting not only
with field hands and construction workers but with
gang bangers, just like in Watts.
The remarkable thing about this bishop, however, is
how easily he moved in whatever crowd he happened to
find himself. He was an exceptional priest and had a
noteworthy ability to charm people with the love of
Christ, appropriate for someone whose episcopal
motto was, “Love One Another.”
Many in the Anglo community knew him primarily
because of his lion-like defense of the unborn.
“His advocacy on [the babies’] behalf … was
eloquently present in the street demonstrations
and in the chambers of the state” Legislature.
It is not for nothing that a prominent pro-life
institution in northern California is a shelter
for unwed mothers named “The Bishop Gallegos
On the night of October 6, 1991, Bishop Gallegos and
his driver were returning home from tiny Gridley,
California, north of Yuba City. (Because His Grace’s
eyesight was nearly non-existent, he could not drive
himself.) Some stories say they had stopped to help
a stranded motorist. Others say their car broke down
in the fast line, and as the two frantically pushed
to get their vehicle to the median, another driver
struck him, sending him flying 50 feet through the
air. He landed on his head, instantly killing him.
Because of his reputation as the “Bishop of the
Barrio,” roughly 300 lowrider cars formed part of
his funeral procession from the parish of St. Rose
where he lived to the city’s gorgeous Cathedral of
the Blessed Sacrament.
Initially interred in Sacramento’s St. Mary
Cemetery, his remains were exhumed in 2010 and moved
to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on T
Street, several blocks from California’s Capitol.
Now that His Excellency has been declared
“Venerable,” the next step involves obtaining two
miracles. The first is required for beatification,
when he will be called “Blessed,” and the second for
canonization, when the Church will propose him as an
example for all the faithful.
Read more about American Saints, Blessed
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