From the Diocese of Sacramento.
Decree of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos, of the Order of Augustinian Recollects,
Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento
Decree on his virtues
“So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock” (1 Pe 5, 1-3).
The invitation that the Prince of the Apostles directs to those responsible of the Christian communities found in the Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos a quick and generous response. With enthusiasm and concretion for his sheep he was an authentic image of Christ, the Good Shepherd and an incredible witness of his love for the little ones and the poor.
The Servant of God was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico (United States of America) on February 20, 1931 in a deeply religious large family. The high point of his daily life was the recitation of the Rosary. From the moment of his birth, Alphonse manifested two physical characteristics: a severe myopic condition which would be with him throughout his life, and an expressive smile that would illuminate his face.
As a consequence of the grave economic situation of the times, the family moved to Watts, a suburb of Los Angeles, in California. Here, the Servant of God would commit himself more deeply in parish activities and, in spite of his vision problems, he was an excellent student. Upon realizing that he felt pulled towards religious life, he entered the Order of the Augustinian Recollects. There he made his profession on September 3, 1951, being ordained to the priesthood at Tagaste Monastery (Suffern, New York) on May 24, 1958.
He held various positions, such as hospital chaplain, Master of Novices and pastor in Watts at the Church where he grew up, favoring the development of the permanent diaconate. During these years he underwent surgery to help stop the total blindness which threatened him, thus partially gaining his eyesight. The suburb of Watts was well known for its poverty, margination and pervasive crime. In this context, the main concern of this Servant of God was the formation of children and youth and the proposal of alternative experiences thus replacing the criminal gangs to which many fell prey to. This is why he became friends with the lowriders, the drivers that on weekends would show off on the streets and highways.
Because of his pastoral commitment he was appointed the first Director of the Office of Hispanic Concerns of the Bishops’ Conference of California. Here he developed a heavily active pastoral ministry on behalf of the migrants, especially along the border dioceses between Mexico and the United States. In the meantime, he had also been appointed pastor of Cristo Rey Parish in Los Angeles. On November 4, 1981, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, in California.
In all these phases of his life and ministry, the Servant of God, was known for a great simplicity and humility and for a constant joy, even in the midst of sufferings, his patience with which he faced head on the limitations of his eyesight and his kindly treatment of others: all human virtues which harmonized so well with his faith experience. His faithfulness to his religious and priestly vocation found a solid foundation in prayer; it was to prayer that he had dedicated his time and love since childhood. The liturgical celebration and the eucharistic adoration were the most intense nourishment of his life every single day and the permanent fountain of grace for his apostolate. He always nourished a fervent and affectionate devotion to the Virgin Mary, whom he invoked, especially under the title of Guadalupe. He always maintained a very close spiritual relationship with the Augustinian Recollect Family, even when his ministry to the Church would take him to places where there were no convents or monasteries that belonged to the Order.
His commitment to the poor was steadfast and generous, always attentive to the needs of each person and of entire communities. He was decisively committed toward the hispanic workers and migrants, who looked for a better life in the United States, uprooted from their original environment, and were easy victims of opression and injustices. His voice was always loud in defense of the unborn and the service of those in most need, above all in the not so easy mission of organizing the apostolate of the hispanics of California.
The Servant of God died on October 6, 1991 in a highway accident, leaving an indelible memory in all who found in him a solicitous and faithful pastor, especially when they were physically or spiritually in pain.
By virtue of his reputation of holiness, between December 4, 2005 and November 5, 2006, in the ecclesiastical Curia of Sacramento, his diocesan cause was celebrated and its legal validity was recognized by this Congregation with decree of July 4, 2008. Once the Positio was elaborated, following standard procedure, it was discussed if the Servant of God exercised the virtues with heroic degree. And, on March 17, 2016, with a positive outcome, there was a unique meeting of Theological Consultors. Later, in an Ordinary Session, which I, Angelo Cardinal Amato, had the pleasure of presiding over on July 5, 2016, the Cardinal Fathers and Bishops recognized that the Servant of God exercised with heroic degree the theological virtues as well as the cardinal ones and other related virtues.
Finally, and after the Cardinal Prefect, undersigned, gave a detailed account to His Holiness Pope Francis, and after having the proper voting at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on this day, His Holiness has declared: That for the case and its relevant effects, there is record that the Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos, of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, has exercised with heroic degree the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity toward God and neighbor), as well as the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude) and other related virtues.
And it is His Holiness who has mandated that this decree be made public and it be promulgated in the proceedings of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Given in Rome, on the 8th day of July in the year of Our Lord 2016.
Angelo Cardinal Amato, S. D. B., Prefect
Marcello Bartolucci, Titular Archbishop of Mevania, Secretary.