Father Luis Olivares, a Biography: Faith Politics and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles

By Mario T. García | Go to book overview

FOUR
Company Man

Luis Olivares walked on cloud nine after his ordination. He was finally a real priest. This was no longer playacting, as a child, at being a priest. It was a long process, and it seemed light years ago since he first entered the seminary at age thirteen. Unlike some of his fellow seminarians who had dropped out, he displayed the commitment and tenacity to achieve his goal. He might not have been competitive in sports, but he had excelled academically and overcome all hurdles to his ordination. With that, he was now ready to embark on what he was certain would be a proud and productive career as a Claretian.


I

It was Camelot in Washington. Americans, especially younger ones, expressed excitement about the election to the presidency of the youthful John F. Kennedy in 1960. This seemed to have also affected Luis Olivares. Not that he was political—he was not. But American Catholics, including Mexican American Catholics, enthusiastically welcomed the election of the first Catholic president. Mexican Americans for the first time organized in a national presidential election through Viva Kennedy clubs throughout the Southwest and Midwest, where most Mexican Americans lived, in support of Kennedy. They identified with his seeming underdog status in a country that was still predominantly Protestant, in which Catholics were an often-persecuted minority. In that election, Mexican Americans voted overwhelmingly for Kennedy. It is not known if Olivares voted, but as a Mexican American Catholic he very likely identified with Kennedy and supported his election.

Moreover, Olivares was part of the sixties generation, and he also welcomed the new decade and the spirit of renewal and change that President Kennedy called for in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” But this new spirit

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Father Luis Olivares, a Biography: Faith Politics and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Prologue 1
  • Introduction 5
  • One - San Antonio 31
  • Two - Seminary 56
  • Three - Priesthood 86
  • Four - Company Man 124
  • Five - Conversion 154
  • Six - Organizing the Barrio 181
  • Seven - Community Priest 207
  • Eight - Preparing Sanctuary 248
  • Nine - Declaring Sanctuary 307
  • Ten - Expanding Sanctuary 343
  • Eleven - The Good Pastor 390
  • Twelve - ¡presente! 445
  • Epilogue 498
  • Acknowledgments 501
  • Notes 503
  • Bibliography 539
  • Index 545
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