Venerable Alphonse Gallegos

Bishop Alphonse GallegosAlso known as

  • Alfonso
  • Bishop of the Barrio


A twin, the son of a carpenter, the eighth of eleven children in his family, Alphonse was born with severe myopia (near-sightendness); he had multiple corrective surgergies over the years, but his sight remained very poor, and he wore extemely thick glasses all his life. His family moved from New Mexico to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California when he was still a small boy. he attended Manual Arts High School.

His home parish, San Miguel, was run by the Order of Augustinian Recollects, and young Alphonse became so close to them that he became an Augustinian novice in 1950. Studied at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. Graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas College in New York. Graduated from Saint John’s Univesity in New York. Graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Studied at the Agustinian seminary, the Tagaste Monastery in Suffern, New York. His vision deterioratied to the point that he prayed the Rosary instead of the Daily Office because he could not read his breviary. Ordained a priest on 24 May 1958.

Served as priest at the Tagaste Monastery seminary for eight years. Novice master at the Augustinian Province of Saint Augustine in Kansas City, Kansas. In 1972 he became pastor of his childhood parish, San Miguel, in Watts, an area that was being ruined by gangs and violent crime in the aftermath of the riots of 1965. Father Alphonse made the parish children his primary focus, and was very active in the parish school. He spent weekends hanging out with Latino lowriders, talking cars and blessing cars and encouraging young men to pursue their education and find a life outside the gangs. He opened his home to anyone in need, tried to help the vulnerable elderly, and expanded his out-reach to all the ethnic communities in his area. Pastor of the Cristo Ray parish.

Member of the Knights of Columbus. First director of the Hispanic affairs office of the California Catholic Conference from 1979 to 1981; the office worked on matters of immigration, migrant workers and evangelization in both California and New Mexico. Chosen Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese of Sacramento, California and Titular Bishop of Sasabe on 24 August 1981 by Pope John Paul II; his episcopal motto: “Love one another”. Known for his support of the culture of life, the pro-life movement, his charity, and his ability to bring together people of all backgrounds.




Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Venerable Alphonse Gallegos“. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 July 2021. Web. 6 December 2021. <>