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

EPILOGUE

After working on the life and times of Fr. Luis Olivares for many years, there is a feeling of accomplishment in completing the biography, but also some sadness in finishing a project that I thoroughly enjoyed and found fulfillment in. I never met Fr. Luis, but I feel that I now know him. I can identify with him at many levels, especially his Catholic education and background, as well as his political progressiveness. I admire him and what he accomplished or set out to accomplish. He fought the good fight and always kept his principles guided by his faith. It was and is a faith steeped in social justice and the biblical call to treat everyone as children of God. I further admire his strong leadership and his ability to articulate his views and his charismatic qualities. He was an elegant man, an intellectual, and, of course, an activist. He possessed a prophetic voice that reached many. I admire all of this. Sometimes when I give what I think is a good lecture, maybe even an excellent lecture, and leave the classroom thinking I had hit it out of the ballpark, I think of how Fr. Luis must have also felt when he delivered his Sunday homilies. At the same time, when he had to leave as pastor of La Placita and deal with rejection, I can also sympathize with him, since we all face rejection from time to time in our own lives. Although I personally never seriously considered the priesthood, I respect those like Olivares who entered it, despite the child abuse scandals that have enveloped the Church in recent times.

Despite his many positive attributes, he was not perfect. Like all of us, he had flaws. He indeed, as most acknowledge, possessed a big ego and a certain self-indulgence that manifested itself in his taste for nice clothes, cars, and restaurants. He did not live a life of poverty, even though he embraced the poor. He struggled with his vows of chastity and celibacy like all priests. He was a human being, perhaps a prophet and maybe even a martyr to his cause, but still a human being. But he was a good priest and a good pastor and he gave everything to the people he worked with and the marginalized that he embraced: the farmworkers, the people of East Los Angeles, the Central American refugees, and the Mexican undocumented immigrants.

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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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