The Diocese of Sacramento has opened its first cause for sainthood ever for Bishop Alphonse Gallegos.
The Augustinian Recollect first came to Sacramento in 1979 to serve as director of Hispanic affairs for the California Catholic Conference. He became auxiliary bishop in 1981 and became known for his outreach to minorities and his gentle manner.
The opening of the process was marked with a mass Sunday, reported the Associated Press. It could be decades before the bishop is recognized officially for his holiness by the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and beatified.
The bishop’s virtue was also demonstrated in his ability to accept loss and suffering without complaint. The bishop was going blind, and he did not tell most of his parishioners.
"Here was a man who had lost nearly all his eyesight ... but still put other people's needs first," Fr. Samson Silloriquez, postulator general of the order of Augustinian Recollects, told the AP. "He was a person who saw, not through his eyes, but through his heart."
Bishop Gallegos was killed Oct. 6, 1991 when a car slammed into him as he helped his driver push a stalled vehicle off Highway 99.