Bishop Alfonso Gallegos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 20, 1931. On February 24 he was baptized; on December 6, 1931 he received the sacrament of Confirmation; both sacraments in Sacred Heart Church, Albuquerque, NM. On October 6, 1991, Bishop Gallegos presided his last Eucharist at Sacred Heart Church, Gridley, California. He died that night in a car accident, as he returned home to Sacramento. The Sacred Heart of Jesus was present at the beginning and at the end of his life.
The witnesses for his cause of canonization said that:
“He was very good, patient, loving and always treated everyone the same, poor, rich, young, elderly and children. He liked be among people. He visited families in their homes and ate whatever they offered him. He treated others with love and respect as a good servant of God. ”
Another witness said:
“He was pure love, he radiated love, and hegave you love and made you feel loved when you were in his presence.”
He had a great heart which he nourished with the Word of God and Eucharistic devotion.
Bishop Gallegos always went to the source of Love, Jesus in the Eucharist, where his heart is beating and from where he wants to give us a heart like his.“I shall give them a single heart and I shall put a new spirit in them; I shall remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so that they can keep my laws and respect my judgements and put them into practice.” Ezekiel 11:19-20.
Alfonso may not have been an eloquent man, who left behind a legacy of books or many writings, partly due to his poor vision, myopia, with which he struggled his entire life. The bishop was rather an approachable human being who made it a priority to be close to his people, visiting their homes, their workplace and always in search of the lost sheep. As he interacted with his brothers and sisters, he was able to write not with ink, nor on paper, but in the hearts of others, leaving behind a beautiful memory of love and friendship.
Many people remember with great affection their friend “Bishop Al.” Many have asked for his intercession, finding help and consolation, while others their heart of stone has become a heart of flesh: embracing the Catholic faith, leaving their vices behind, reconciling with a loved one; these are a fewfavors attributed to his intercession.
As we venerate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us ask God to give us a heart like his, to be able to love as he loves us,as Venerable Bishop Alfonso Gallegos was able to livethe command of Jesus Christ: “Love one another”, his episcopal motto. May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us correspond faithfully to the love of her son, represented in his Sacred Heart.