Sixty years and still going strong
By Laureen McMahon
The B.C. Catholic
VANCOUVER--Diamond jubilarian Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo may be celebrating 60 years of priesthood, but he remains as active in the Church's mission as when he was first ordained Dec. 21, 1951, in Jalapa, Veracruz, in his native Mexico.
On Dec. 14 Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will celebrate a diamond jubilee Mass at 5 p.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral in honour of Msgr. Lopez-Gallo's 60 years of ministry.
The jubilarian is pastor of St. Pius X Parish in North Vancouver, but the cathedral was chosen, said St. Pius X parishioner Pat Deppiesse, because a long list of Msgr. Lopez-Gallo's friends were planning to come for the celebrations, including several bishops and priests from around the world and other parts of Canada.
After being ordained, Msgr. Lopez-Gallo was first assigned to Coatapec, Mexico. A year later he was sent to Rome, where he earned a doctorate in theology from the Angelicum University. Before his return to Mexico he was invited by Pope Pius XII to work in the Vatican.
Thus began a career filled with fascinating assignments, interesting people, and wonderful trips. Among many highlights was his assistance at the conclaves leading to the elections of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI.
In 1978, after earning canonical and civil law degrees from the Pontifical University of the Lateran, Msgr. Lopez-Gallo was asked by Archbishop James Carney of Vancouver to establish the Vancouver Matrimonial Tribunal.
Today he continues to direct the tribunal and is also judicial vicar for other B.C. dioceses, as well as being pastor of St. Pius X Parish. In addition, as regular B.C. Catholic readers will know, he pens a weekly column on the Catholic faith and Church teachings and traditions for this newspaper.
A decade ago, when Msgr. Lopez-Gallo reached his 50th anniversary of ordination, St. Pius X parishioners published a collection of his newspaper columns in a book titled Succession. One faithful reader commented at that time, "Monsignor realizes that people today yearn for more knowledge of the basics of their faith."
All money from the book sales, said Deppiesse, went to charities supported by Msgr. Lopez-Gallo. The book "was mostly a gift from parishioners to ourselves in appreciation for what he has achieved at the parish," she added.
A limited number of tickets for the jubilee banquet at the Italian Cultural Centre after the Mass are available for $60; they should be ordered by Nov. 15 from Suzie at St. Pius X Parish, 604-929-1404. No tickets are required for the Mass.