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Bishop Alfonso Gallegos, Augustinian Recollect, is recognised for his heroic virtues in the diocese of Sacramento, of which he was a bishop

Bishop Alfonso Gallegos, Augustinian Recollect, is recognised for his heroic virtues in the diocese of Sacramento, of which he was a bishop
22-11-2016 Estados Unidos
On the 19th November, a thanksgiving was celebrated in Sacramento, California, USA, on the occasion of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos, Augustinian Recollect, being declared “Venerable” in a decree signed by Pope Francis on the 8th July 2016.
The event was celebrated in three stages.

First stage

This took place in an assembly-room of Blessed Sacrament cathedral at 12 noon. Richard Garcia, bishop of Monterey, California, lead the prayer. There followed a talk by Fray Samson Silloriquez, postulator of the Order of Augustinian Recollects before the Holy See, which dealt with the declaration of the heroic virtues of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos.

Fray Samson used the occasion to set out the Church`s parameters for recognising and putting forward to the public someone`s holiness. This was a help in locating where we are with Bishop Alfonso Gallegos` cause. This part concluded with the laying of flowers and the blessing of the statue of the Venerable, which will be installed beside the cathedral in Alfonso Gallegos Square. Jaime Soto, bishop of Sacramento, performed the blessing.

Second stage

The second part was the Eucharistic celebration in Blessed Sacrament cathedral, at which Bishop Jaime Soto presided. At this celebration, and following the entrance procession, Bishop Richard J Garcia solemnly read out the biography of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos, in the presence of the postulator, Fray Samson Silloriquez, the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Fray Miguel Miró, and the vice-postulator, Fray Eliseo González.

After this came the unrolling of the banner of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos, which hangs from the cathedral choir. At the offertory, relatives of Bishop Alfonso Gallegos brought up the books of the positio and the relatio et vota. Following the celebration, refreshments were served in the cathedral hall.

Third stage

Finally, those taking part went as pilgrims to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento, where the remains of Bishop Alfonso are interred. In the shrine, a short Liturgy of the Word was celebrated, flowers were laid and there was a prayer for the rapid beatification and canonization of Bishop Alfonso, lead by Fray Eliseo González. Bishop David Arias, the Augustinian Recollect auxiliary bishop emeritus of Newark, brought this moving event to a close and gave the solemn blessing

Biographical details

Alfonso Gallegos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1931, into a large family of eleven children. He was brought up in the Catholic faith. From his adolescence, he underwent many operations to his eyes. These problems with his vision were to trouble him throughout his life.

In 1950 he entered the Kansas City novitiate of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. Having completed the novitiate and philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1954. During the first years of his priesthood, he was assigned to formation duties in formation houses; later, he was to dedicate all his energies to pastoral work, especially among the most socially marginalized groups of people, such as Hispanics and immigrants, together with young people.

As a consequence of this, his work and his dedication to the humblest people started to gain prestige and fame. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Sacramento and consecrated in 1981. He died in a traffic accident in 1991. His death and his funeral were major events in Sacramento, with thousands of people in attendance.

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