Congressional Tribute

Congressional Tribute

[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 74 (Tuesday, June 3, 1997)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1075-E1076]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office []




of New York

in the House of Representatives

Tuesday, June 3, 1997

Mr. SERRANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Bishop Francisco Garmendia, who will be honored on June 7 for his 50 years of service to the Catholic Church and for the spiritual leadership he continues to provide the Hispanic community in my congressional district, the South Bronx.

As the first Hispanic bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, Bishop Garmendia is truly an example of excellence in leadership. But ask any one of his parishioners and he will certainly tell you that our own “good shepherd” not only leads his flock but sacrifices and cares for it as well.

Born in Lazcano, Spain, Bishop Garmendia was truly raised in the faith. After attending a private school run by the Benedictine Fathers there, Bishop Garmendia entered the seminary in 1935 and, in 1947, was ordained a priest. Almost as soon as he finished saying his first mass his journey of service began, one that would take him across the globe to touch the lives of many.

After studying in England he was transferred to Salta, Argentina, where he taught English and chemistry in the Colegio Belgrano of Salta. When not teaching, Bishop Garmendia would give up his weekends to minister to the native community.

Bishop Garmendia’s understanding of people and his experience with diversity cleared the way for his mission in New York. Since his transfer in 1964, Bishop Garmendia has earned not only the trust and respect of the Church–he was consecrated bishop by Cardinal Cooke in 1977–but also the love and support of the Hispanic community. Over the years, Bishop Garmendia has worked tirelessly to spread God’s Word not just from the pulpit but on radio and television as well.

We also recognize Bishop Garmendia for his tremendous social work and his struggles to provide services for those in need. Among his many accomplishments, Bishop Garmendia instituted the Spanish Orientation Center and sponsored the establishment of The Resource Center for Community Development, Inc., better known as The Hope Line, a free service which provides thousands of immigrants with legal, material, and spiritual assistance. Although he has been threatened by drug dealers and even physically attacked, Bishop Garmendia has not wavered in his commitment to serve his God and his community.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Bishop Francisco Garmendia for his selfless devotion to the Church and the Hispanic community of New York. In a time when service often goes unappreciated, we should recognize great servants like Bishop Garmendia and encourage them to continue in their courageous efforts.


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