Legionaries of Christ [continue to implode] ending their role in Sacramento [California] area
By Carlos Alcalá
The Modesto Bee
The Legionaries of Christ are withdrawing from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, ending the prominent Catholic religious order’s presence in the Sacramento region.
The change, effective July 1, follows the order’s decision last year to close two schools here.
The Legionaries have endured controversy and scandal in the past decade involving some of their best-known leaders.
Local officials say the local withdrawal is a product of the order shrinking and re-evaluating where to focus its priests.
“It’s a consolidation. We’ve lost some members,” said the Rev. Lino Otero, who will join other members of his order in New York after the changeover.
Two others now assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe will be reassigned to other parishes outside the Sacramento Catholic Diocese, in what was described as a normal process within the church.
“Many places it happens even more often,” said Otero, who has been in the parish 10 years.
“I’ve seen a number of priests come and go, and that’s what they do,” agreed Elena Gutierrez, a longtime Our Lady of Guadalupe parishioner.
Gutierrez has led the catechism program and is now directing the church’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.
She praised the order’s impact on a large parish that was experiencing internal conflict when the Legionaries took over its management, about 12 years ago.
“They have brought peace,” Gutierrez said. “They worked terribly hard.”
“Bishop (Jaime) Soto is sad to see them go,” said Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the Sacramento Catholic Diocese.
Administration of the parish will now be managed by the diocese, which operates all but nine of the 100 parishes in the area.
Those nine are managed by other orders, including Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans.