RIPON – Father Alexandre Pacheco, a former associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca, has been named as temporary pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Ripon.
He is filling in for Father Peter Carota, who left on Nov. 13 for a year-long sabbatical after serving as pastor for 10 years, until a replacement is announced by the Diocese of Stockton.
Father Pacheco, who retired on Sept. 30, 2010 while he was pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Linden, started his new temporary post Sunday, Nov. 18, when he presided over the regularly scheduled Masses during which he made the announcements to parishioners. Still in limbo is the fate of the Traditional Latin Mass which has always been scheduled at 6:30 a.m. on Sundays with Father Carota as the regular presider, except when he was away and other priests filled in for him. Last Sunday, the presider was Father Mark Wagner, the new pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish on Oakdale Road in Modesto.
Father Pacheco’s assignment as temporary pastor for a year is a step up from an earlier announcement from the diocese. Just before the departure of Father Carota, Stockton Diocese’s Director of Communications Sister Terry Davis, said that until a replacement is announced, “other priests” will be filling in to offer the Masses on weekends – two anticipated Masses on Saturday (5 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish), and four on Sunday (6:30 a.m. Latin Mass, 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. in English, and 11:30 a.m. in Spanish, plus daily Masses that are offered at 8 am. Monday to Thursday.
Sister also hinted at that time that Father Carota will not be returning to his old post as pastor after his sabbatical and that he will be replaced.
For the last five years, Father Carota has made the Traditional Latin Mass a central part of his spiritual ministry at St. Patrick’s. The church is one of just a few parish locations in the diocese which regularly offers the Mass in Latin. Pope Benedict XVI gave his blessing for churches around the world to offer the Latin Mass if they could find a priest that knew how to do it.
During his sabbatical, Father Carota will travel and visit various monasteries that offer the Tridentine Latin Mass as the focal point of their spiritual life, including the Benedictine Clear Creek Abbey in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and another monastery in Wyoming. He also plans to start an order of priests whose ministry would be focused on going “around and tell(ing) everybody all the beauty and all the sacredness of the Tridentine Mass which I just discovered five years ago,” he said.
Despite the very early schedule of the Latin Mass at St. Patrick’s, services in the last five years have averaged 70 members of the faithful attending. They range from families with children as young as a few-months’-old infants, to retirees.
St. Patrick’s Church is located in Ripon on the corner of East Highway 120 and Carrolton Road. The parish serves three communities – Escalon, Farmington, and Ripon. Father Carota did not have an assistant pastor; neither did he draw any salary during the years he was pastor.