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Apr 01, 2016 | Paulette E. Martin

San Mateo Community Celebrates the Rev. Alejandro Montes’ Retirement and Birthday

It was day of mixed emotions for those who attended the Rev. Alejandro S. Montes’ birthday and retirement party on March 29. The entire community of San Mateo, Houston (Bellaire), as well as city leaders gathered to commemorate Montes’ 30 years of ministry and service in the community and with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

 

The energy of appreciation and respect people have for Montes could be felt amongst the vibrant and joyful crowd that filled the San Mateo’s parish hall.

 

One of the keynote moments of the evening was when Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner recognized Montes for his engaging work, not only in his parish, but within the community.

“Through his work at the church, he has engaged the community in many different ways: … hosting the Houston Food Bank and providing a public space for many organizations ranging from healthcare to law consultation,” Turner said.

 

The mayor then congratulated and commended Montes by proclaiming March 29, 2016 as “Father Alejandro Montes Day.”

 

Bishop Andy Doyle and the Diocese of Texas also wrote a proclamation presented to Montes at his retirement event. It cited his faithful ministry in the Diocese since 1989 and his work with the poor and immigrant populations of the Southwest Houston area in which he has worked for so many years. Montes is the first priest who has led his Spanish-speaking congregation to self sufficiency in the diocese and welcomes people from more than a dozen countries as part of the church’s congregation.

 

Part of Montes’ ministry has been as an active member of Bellaire’s PACA Police And Clergy Alliance for more than 10 years. The organization is comprised of members of a diverse group of volunteer clergy and lay people of various faiths willing to abide by all City Ordinances and Houston Police Department policies.

 

Houston Interim Police Chief Martha Montalvo, the highest-ranking Hispanic Law Enforcement in the United States, has served the department for 35 years. She paid tribute to Montes and said that she believed the prayers she received from the priest brought hope and spiritual well-being to her work.

 

The Rev. Alejandro Montes and his wife Laura along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Interim Police Chief Martha Montalvo. 

“He was committed to the organization. He did a lot to help people who were victims of crime and also helped the officers,” Montalvo said.

 

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael B. Curry, also sent Montes a congratulatory message.

 

“I want to thank you for being an advocate for recently arrived people, whether they are documented or undocumented—standing up for them. I want to thank you for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and being on the vanguard for the Jesus Movement ... You have followed our Lord Jesus Christ and served in his name. Well done! Good and faithful servant,” Bishop Curry said.

 

Perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the night was when a video created by his son, the Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, vicar of St. Mary Magdalene in Manor, showed the beginnings of Montes’ work as an advocate and priest in Peru and illustrated his history at San Mateo.

 

The video included family photos, footage of his grandson’s wedding and a song he composed that was sung by his daughter, Sandra T. Montes, Music and Choral Director of the parish.

 

Without a doubt, the entire community of San Mateo and those who have been touched by Alejandro’s ministry will miss him very much.

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