Bishop Gallegos: An Example for Our Times
“How glorious is that kingdom where all the saints rejoice with Christ; clothed in white robes, they follow the lamb wherever he goes.” The Church prays this antiphon for the canticle of Mary on the Solemnity of All Saints. The saints behold God, and from their place in heaven they spur us on to victory and faithfulness and remind us that we are called to holiness.
Many of the religious families in the Church have provided us with saints. These families, through the living out of their different charisms, give to the universal Church examples of holiness to be followed. These holy men and women prove to others that holiness is possible. Their example is especially meaningful, perhaps, to the men and women of each particular community.
In our Recollect family we have many examples of holiness. At the present time, the Order counts thirty-two men and women who are in the various stages of process toward possible canonization. Among these Recollects is The Servant of God, Bishop Alfonse Gallegos (1931-1991). The front cover of our province Newsletter (Volume XLI, Number 2 + Summer 2014) features the saintly Bishop. On June 25, the Positio Super Virtutibus on the life, virtue, and fame of sanctity of Bishop Alfonse was presented to Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, by Father Miguel Miró, OAR, Prior General, Father Samson Silloriquez, OAR, and Father Eliseo Gonzalez, OAR, at the Vatican.
The Servant of God was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 20, 1931, professed vows in the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1951, was ordained a priest on May 24, 1958, and consecrated an Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento on November 4, 1981. His life tragically ended in a vehicular accident on October 6, 1991.
The holy Bishop was known for his love for the weakest of our society, the poor, the youth, the immigrant, the ill, and above all the unborn. He was a devotee of our Blessed Mother. During my novitiate year, the Bishop paid a visit to the novitiate in Monteagudo, Spain. On that day, he spoke to our novice class of his love for our Lady of Guadalupe. He referred to our lady as “la morenita de Tepeyac,” the dark one of Tepeyac Hill. Tepeyac is the location of our lady’s apparitions in what is today the city of Mexico. I had the privilege of meeting the Bishop on only a few occasions; there are, however, a number of friars in our province who knew the bishop on a much deeper level. Some lived and ministered with him, and at least one was ordained to the priesthood by him. It is my hope that in future issues of our Newsletter, these friars will write and share with us their memories and recollections of The Servant of God. Bishop Gallegos remains a wonderful example of holiness in our own day and age.
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
June 27, 2014
Father Joseph J. Gallardo, OAR