Bishop Richard Garcia

About three months after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Bishop Richard Garcia has died due to complications from the disease. The bishop of the Diocese of Monterey was 71 when he died on Wednesday, July 11.

On April 27, the diocese announced Garcia has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, following several weeks of not feeling well.

Since Garcia stepped away from his duties at that time, Father Peter Crivello, who has been second in command at the diocese, has filled in.

Garcia was appointed by Pope Benedict XI appointed as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Monterey in 2006. Prior to that date, he served as a priest in San Jose for 24 years, then a bishop in Sacramento for nine years.

In his years in the Diocese of Monterey, Garcia was an outspoken advocate on issues of climate change and social justice. He has spoken publicly about the importance of welcoming immigrants, and Catholic Charities in recent years has become a go-to contractor to provide outreach services to immigrants with questions and concerns about their status.

Under Garcia's leadership, the Catholic community also supported the creation of Monterey Bay Community Power, a new government entity providing carbon-free power to PG&E customers in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. The Romero Institute, an interfaith policy and law center based in Santa Cruz, was instrumental in gaining support from many Spanish-speaking community members in churches throughout the tri-county area. 

"When Monterey Bay Community Power launched, it was the most diverse of any [community choice aggregation model] in California," according to Benjamin Eichert, director of the Romero Institute's Greenpower initiative. 

Garcia also made news when the Diocese of Monterey came under scrutiny for failure to take action against a priest  accused of sexually abusing boys despite receiving letters from parents alerting him to the abuse years earlier. Instead, Fr. Edward Fitz-Henry was moved from parish to parish, and continued to have contact with youth, until he was eventually removed from the priesthood.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.