Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Monterey dies July 11

The Diocese of Monterey has announced that Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Monterey died July 11. He was 71. He had been diagnosed three months ago with Alzheimer's disease. He was named the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Monterey in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

In a statement, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento said "The news about the death of Bishop Richard Garcia is heartbreaking for all those who knew his strong embracing affection. The clergy, religious and people of the Diocese of Sacramento join with our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Monterey, as well as the family of Bishop Garcia, to mourn the passing of this beloved pastor and dear friend. May the many fond memories of his jovial bearing and tender manner bring us comfort as we commend the kind soul of Bishop Garcia to the merciful arms of Jesus, the Good Shepherd."

Father Peter A. Crivello, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Monterey, announced the following funeral services for Bishop Garcia

Monday, July 16 -- Body lying in repose

Location: San Carlos Cathedral, 500 Church St., Monterey

2 p.m. to 8 p.m. visitation

7 p.m. evening prayer

Tuesday, July 17

Location: Madonna del Sasso, 320 E. Laurel St., Salinas

12 p.m. to 8 p.m. visitation

3 p.m. rosary

Evening prayer: 5 p.m. (for lay people, priests and religious from neighboring dioceses)

Evening prayer: 7 p.m. (for the general public)

Wednesday, July 18

Location: Madonna del Sasso, 320 E. Laurel St., Salinas

12 p.m. to 8 p.m. visitation

 3 p.m. rosary

Evening prayer: 5 p.m. (for diocesan staff, parish staff, school staff, ecumenical representatives, priests, deacons and religious, parish and fraternal organization representatives)

Vigil: 7 p.m. (for the general public)

Thursday, July 19

Location: Madonna del Sasso, 320 E. Laurel St., Salinas

Funeral Mass: 11 a.m.

Committal is private.

In a July 11 announcement, Father Crivello said in the last few days Bishop Garcia had begun to experience additional health complications and continued to receive very attentive care in hospice. "While he was being kept comfortable, last night he began to experience new difficulties. Bishop Garcia passed away at 6:30 a.m."

He added: "Let us offer our prayers, especially in the Eucharist, for the repose of his soul, for the consolation of his family and for our Diocese of Monterey...Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Junipero Serra and all the saints, may God bless Bishop Richard Garcia with eternal rest from his labors and bless our Diocese of Monterey with consolation and peace."

Bishop Garcia served as Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento for nine years. He was named by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 25, 1997, after he served since 1973 as a priest of the Diocese of San Jose. He was ordained by Bishop William K. Weigand in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento on Jan. 28, 1998.

While serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, he was Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Hispanics and other ethnic ministries. In addition, he represented the church to countless pastoral and civic groups and, in particular, gave special attention to the young people of the diocese in Catholic schools, parish faith formation and youth ministries.

On Dec. 19, 2006, Pope Benedict XI appointed him as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Monterey. He was installed during a Mass in the Monterey Convention Center on Jan. 30, 2007. The Diocese of Monterey includes the counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Luis Obispo.

Bishop Garcia served the church faithfully for more than 45 years of his priesthood. In a statement issued July 11, the Diocese of Monterey noted: "Bishop Garcia was known for his very personable, welcoming and friendly demeanor. As a spiritual shepherd, he had a special concern for the poor, the incarcerated, migrant workers and immigrant communities. He always had time for his priests, deacons, religious, seminarians and the people of God throughout the Diocese of Monterey. Bishop Garcia had a special delight for children and was most compassionate to those with special needs. He was proud of his Mexican-American heritage and the diversity of cultures that are represented in the church."