Jesuit Father James R. Gallas died on Sept. 1, 2017 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California. He was 86 and had been a Jesuit for 68 years, a priest for 55.
Born in Los Angeles on June 1, 1931, Fr. Gallas attended Blessed Sacrament School, Hollywood, and Loyola High School, Los Angeles, and entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in 1949. His training took him to Spokane (MA, philosophy, Gonzaga), and Alma College, Los Gatos, a campus of Santa Clara University, (MA, theology). He was ordained a priest at Blessed Sacrament Church, Hollywood, in 1962. He later earned an MA in clinical health education from the University for Humanistic Studies, San Diego.
Fr. Gallas’ early ministry was in the high school classroom at Loyola High School, Los Angeles, as a teacher of geometry and Latin (1956-59), and religion (1964-65). The bulk of his ministry, however, was as a parish priest and hospital chaplain. He served a vibrant African American community at Christ the King Church, San Diego, 1965-1977, as assistant pastor (and pastor, 1967-1973), where the Sunday liturgies attracted large crowds.
Fr. Gallas also served at his home parish, Blessed Sacrament, in Hollywood, from 1978-1981 and 1994-2004. Again, he was at the center of a large, active urban parish which served a multi-cultural community. In a change from parish work, he became a chaplain, first at Rosary High School, Fullerton, 1984-1985, and then at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Orange, where he served from 1985 to 1993. His last posting was to the Jesuit Community in Fresno, where he ministered to the Latino community, 2005-2017.
Fr. Gallas is survived by a sister, Lillian Cannon, of Camarillo and nieces.