Alphonse Gallegos

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The Most Reverend
Alphonse Gallegos

Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento
Bishop Alphonse Gallegos.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
Diocese Sacramento
See Sacramento
Appointed 24 August 1981
Term ended 6 October 1991
Other posts Titular Bishop of Sasabe (1981-1991)
Ordination 24 May 1958
Consecration 4 November 1981
by Francis Anthony Quinn
Rank Bishop
Personal details
Birth name Alphonse Gallegos
Born (1931-02-20)20 February 1931
Alburquerque, New Mexico, United States of America
Died 6 October 1991(1991-10-06) (aged 60)
Sacramento, California, United States of America
Buried National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacramento
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
  • "Love One Another"
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Title as Saint Venerable
Attributes Bishop's attire
Styles of
Alphonse Gallegos
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style Servant of God

Alphonse Gallegos (20 February 1931 – 6 October 1991), O.A.R., was an American Roman Catholic bishop titled the as "Bishop of the barrios"; he served as a bishop in Sacramento. Gallegos died in a car crash in 1991 while en route to a function.

He was declared a Servant of God on 5 June 2006.[1] Pope Francis named him as Venerable after the recognition of his heroic virtue on 8 July 2016.

Early life[edit]

Gallegos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico where his father was a carpenter, and his mother a homemaker caring for their 11 children. He had a twin brother, Eloy,[2] grew up in Watts, attended Manual Arts High School and received confirmation from then auxiliary bishop Timothy Manning.[3] Gallegos, as a twin, was so intent on becoming a priest he built an altar in his parents' home.[4]

Gallegos attended Rockhurst University in Kansas City, graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College and St. John's University in New York and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.[5] While a seminarian at the Tagaste Monastery in Suffern, New York, his superiors learned that Gallegos was born with a severe myopic condition.[3] He had eye surgery prior to entering the seminary but wore "Coke bottle thick glasses with his clerical garb" and was nearly blind.[4]

Episcopal appointments[edit]

Gallegos was ordained a Roman Catholic priest for the Augustinian Recollects on May 24, 1958. From 1970 to 1979 he served as pastor of San Miguel and Cristo Rey parishes in the Los Angeles diocese.[3] He was transferred to Sacramento where Gallegos served from 1979 to 1981 as the first director of the Division of Hispanic Affairs of the California Catholic Conference.[6][7]

On August 24, 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed Gallegos auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, in Sacramento, California as the titular bishop of Sasabe.[8] He was ordained bishop on November 4, 1981 by Bishop Francis Quinn.[9][10]

Gallegos was the principal co-consecrator of Bishop David Arias Pérez, OAR, of the Archdiocese of Newark[11] on April 7, 1983.[12]


On October 6, 1991, Gallegos died when he was struck by a car[2] by the side of the road while returning to Sacramento from Gridley, California.[4][1] Because he was known as "the bishop of the barrio",[4] approximately 300 lowrider cars drove in a procession before the bishop’s funeral Mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.[1] The bishop was considered as an unofficial chaplain to lowriders and migrant workers.[13]

Process to sainthood[edit]

Bishop Alponse Gallegos' choir dress, cassock and rochet on loan to OLG from the Augustinian Recollects.

In 2005, after eleven months of scrutiny, the cause for Gallegos beatification was opened by Bishop William Weigand.[7]

In 2009 it was reported that the cause for Gallegos would be advanced. A testimony of his virtues along with reports of miracles attributed to the bishop's intercession will be presented to the Vatican.[14]

On March 24, 2010, Gallegos' body was exhumed and transferred to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at the request of the Augustinian Recollects.[15] This movement is being done as part of his cause towards sainthood.[16] On March 25, 2010, his remains were transferred to the parish he resided in as an auxiliary bishop.[17] This parish is the Sanctuary of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe also known as Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe[18] in Sacramento. Along with Bishop Eugene O'Connell, he would be the second Sacramento area bishop whose remains were moved.[19] If declared a saint, he would become Sacramento's first.[20]


Because he was a Knight and supporter of the unborn, Bishop Gallegos Assembly 2336 [21] and Bishop Gallegos Maternity Home [22] are named for him. In 1997, the city of Sacramento erected a statue of the bishop and named the surrounding square area in his memory.[23]

Ordination history of
Alphonse Gallegos
Priestly ordination
Date of ordination 24 May 1958
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Francis Anthony Quinn
Co-consecrators John Raphael Quinn
Robert Fortune Sanchez
Date of consecration 4 November 1981


  1. ^ a b c Bishop Gallegos’ body will be moved to new tomb in bid for sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-22.
  2. ^ a b "Alphonse Gallegos; Sacramento Bishop". 9 October 1991. Retrieved 30 July 2016 – via LA Times. 
  3. ^ a b c Beatification process opens for former L.A. pastor Retrieved: 2010-03-22.
  4. ^ a b c d Supporters work to boost former Sacramento bishop closer to sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-22. (from The Sacramento Bee Published Friday, July 17, 2009) Archived December 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Alphonse Gallegos; Sacramento Bishop". 9 October 1991. Retrieved 30 July 2016 – via LA Times. 
  6. ^ Ibid. Retrieved: 2010-03-22.
  7. ^ a b Online, Catholic. "Formal Closing of the Diocesan Process for the Cause of Canonization of Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, OA - Prwire - News - Catholic Online". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Sasabe". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, O.A.R." David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Bishop David Arias Pérez, O.A.R." David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Ibid. Retrieved: 2010-03-22.
  14. ^ Supporters work to boost former Sacramento bishop closer to sainthood
  15. ^ Bishop Alphonse Gallegos remains moved in step toward sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-25.
  16. ^ Bishop's Body Exhumed, Moved Downtown Gallegos May Be Considered For Sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-25.
  17. ^ Bishop's Body Moved To Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church Leader Considered For Sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-25.
  18. ^ "Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento - Parishes". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Bishop Gallegos' body will be moved in bid for sainthood Retrieved: 2010-03-23.
  20. ^ "Page not found - FOX40". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  21. ^ BISHOP GALLEGOS ASSEMBLY 2336 Retrieved: 2010-03-26.
  22. ^ The Cause for Beatification of the Servant of God Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, OAR Retrieved: 2010-03-25.
  23. ^ I feel as though I have met him also Retrieved: 2010-03-26.

External links[edit]