It will be a “double celebration” for Msgr. Harvey Fonseca.

A native of Dos Palos, Msgr. Fonseca has been the pastor at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Livingston for the past 27 years.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood and also the 85th anniversary of the opening of St. Jude’s, which is located just off of Highway 99 in Livingston.

To mark the milestones, Rev. Joseph Brennan, the bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, will elevate the church as a Diocesan Shrine.

Fonseca explained that a shrine is a church which is regarded as a holy and sacred place where there is “extraordinary devotion.”

He added that for many years, pilgrims from throughout the San Joaquin Valley and up and down the state have come to Livingston seeking the intercession of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of difficult causes.

“With countless prayers being answered here through the years, the stream of pilgrims has increased,” said Fonseca.

“The parish made the petition to Bishop Brennan to make the church a local shrine to provide opportunity for diocesan pilgrimages to those who want to experience not only physical healing but also spiritual healing,” Fonseca added.

The final establishment of the shrine will take place at a special Mass in Livingston on Oct. 29, and it will be led by Bishop Brennan.

Raised on a dairy owned by his parents Ned and Mamie, Fonseca graduated from Dos Palos High School.  Prior to entering the seminary at the age of 35, he worked as a land surveyor, a school teacher, and was also elected to the Merced County Board of Supervisors.  He received a Bachelor’s degree in Theology and a Master of Divinity from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon and a Benedictine Oblate of Mount Angel Abby.

Fonseca was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fresno in 1992.  He has served the diocese in Tulare, Merced, Fresno and Hanford.  He has also founded the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission Project in Delhi.

David Borboa