“The Bishops cruise”: the lowriders’ tribute to Venerable Gallegos

Hundreds of classic cars gathered in Sacramento to remember the Augustinian Recollect bishop, who often met with this community and blessed their cars.

The traffic on Franklin Boulevard had to be interrupted. This place collapsed with a hundred classic cars that gathered on October 2 for The Bishops Cruise, an initiative of the community of lowriders of Sacramento (USA), in memory of Bishop Alphonse Gallegos. The life and legacy of the venerable Augustinian Recollect are still present in this group, who considered the bishop as a “father”.

Cars of different colors, unique models, in which Gallegos still lives on, three decades after his death. More than a hundred gathered in front of Saint Rose Parish, to remember the bishop they loved so much. “He would come, talk to us to keep us out of trouble and promise us that, if he had to, he would talk to the police to help us,” recalled Richard Alcala, organizer of the event, speaking to KCRA 3.

He was one of the promoters and main supporters of this community. His visits to the lowriders, with whom he conversed, helped and blessed their cars, were commonplace. Eliseo Gonzalez, vice-postulator of the cause of Bishop Gallegos, participated in The Bishops Cruise, blessing the cars, chatting with the car owners and encouraging them:

– God bless you and let’s cruise!

In the 1980s in Sacramento, California, public officials and police experienced many challenges with lowriders as they roamed the city streets, blocking traffic and even being violent at times. Gallegos was a mediator between city officials and lowriders, helping to bring peace and order to the city of Sacramento. “He was like having a father on the street,” says Richard Alcala. This lowrider met the bishop in the late 1970s while riding in his car. Now he has written a play, Burnt tortillas, which will premiere in February 2023.

His funeral was attended by, among others, the lowrider community. After his death, the bishop lives on for this collective and many others. Lupe Trevizo remembers the last time she saw Gallegos: it was during a visit he made to her brother, when he was fighting AIDS. “Even today, when I need comfort, I go to Guadalupe Parish, where his body is,” she says.

“It is beautiful to see how Bishop Alfonso Gallegos is still remembered by many,” says Eliseo Gonzalez. The organizers’ intention is that The Bishops Cruise will stand the test of time as a tribute from the lowrider community to their beloved father.