Body of California bishop transferred in hope of increasing devotion

.- Next month, the body of a California bishop under consideration for canonization will be transferred from a Sacramento cemetery to the parish he served during his lifetime. Supporters of his canonization hope moving his body will make it easier for the faithful to ask for the late bishop's intercession.

On March 27, the body of Servant of God Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, OAR will be exhumed from St. Mary Cemetery and moved to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a parish in the heart of Sacramento where he served, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Bishop Alfonso Gallegos Apocada is the son of Joseph and Caciana Gallegos and had 10 siblings. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 20, 1931. From an early age he suffered from eye problems and had difficulty reading.

At the age of 19 he entered the Augustinian Recollects and was ordained eight years later.

He devoted his ministry to the education of young people and to working with gangs. In 1979 he was named the first director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs of California.

On November 4, 1981, he was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento.

“He was known for his constant joy, the patience he showed with this limited vision and his kindness and affection towards all, even those who made his ministry difficult. He also had an intense prayer life and commitment to the poor and the needy, especially the Hispanic immigrants who sought a better future in the United States,” reports his religious congregation, the Augustinian Recollects.

Fr. Eliseo Gonzalez, vice-postulator for the cause of the bishop's canonization explained to CNA that Bishop Gallegos wanted to be remembered as “having appreciated people and what they have to offer this world.”

“He was a people person,” Fr. Gonzales continued. “He was optimistic and joyful. Everyone seemed to be his friend,” and many considered him “to have been a living saint.”

Bishop Gallegos always supported the right to protest against abortion and prayed for the conversion of abortionists. He preached strongly against the culture of death, abortion and atomic weapons.

He died in an accident on October 6, 1991, when he was struck by a car while helping a driver push his stalled vehicle off the highway. He was 60 years old. Earlier that day he had joined the community in praying the Rosary for the end of abortion.

In 2005, his cause of beatification was opened and one year later the diocesan phase was concluded. Last year, he was declared a “Servant of God.”

Fr. Gonzalez also clarified for CNA that as of now, no miracles on behalf of the Servant of God have been documented. Two miracles will need to be approved by the Vatican for him to become the first saint from Sacramento.

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