• Reverend Alberto Sto. Domingo Carreon, O.P., PHD

    Birth: August 9, 1923 | Died: March 14, 2022

    Father Albert was born on August 9, 1923, to Hermenegildo Sto. Domingo and Paulina Carreon in Meycauayan, Bulacan, Philippines. As a young boy, he attended daily Mass with his mother and became an altar boy. After finishing grade school, he decided to dedicate his life in the service of the Lord. He entered the Dominican Novitiate in the province of Pangasinan and continued his studies at the Dominican House in Hong Kong. He was ordained as a Dominican Friar on September 21, 1951. Father Albert returned to the Philippines for a brief period and was called back to the Dominican House in Hong Kong to teach. A few years later, he returned to Manila to continue his pastoral work. It was at this time when he became the spiritual advisor of the 7th President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay. In 1958, he was sent to Rome for advanced studies in the prestigious University of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Angelicum, where he was enrolled at Pope Pius XII’s Institute of Social, Political Sciences and Economics. The following year, he became the Ecclesiastical Advisor to the Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, Jose Delgado, MD. Consequently, Michael Cardinal Brown, O.P., the theologian of Pope Pius XII and the Master General of the Dominican Order commissioned him to be his private secretary. To perform this very delicate and sensitive assignment, he took the “Oath of Secrecy” called Anti-Modernistic Pledge of Allegiance of Pope Pius IX. He oversaw the examination and verification of the credentials of priests who were aspiring to be bishops in the Catholic Church. This challenging job took him to numerous parts of the world to perform his investigative work. His findings and recommendations were handled in extreme confidentiality and submitted directly to the Master General of the Dominican Order.

    Following this assignment, he was recalled to Manila, Philippines to teach at Letran College where he became the Dean of the high school department. He was also the moderator of the school band. At night, he pursued his graduate degree in sociology, political science, and economics at the University of Santo Tomas {UST}. Within a year, he orally defended his thesis in public entitled, “A Critical Analysis of the Ecclesiastical Approach to Nationalism”. He graduated at the top of his class as Summa Cum Laude. His thesis started a movement within the Filipino clergy aimed at “Filipinization” of major leadership positions in Catholic universities/colleges in the country. During that time in the 1960’s, these schools of learning were led by foreigners. There were numerous Filipino clergymen who were highly qualified to assume these leadership roles. Father Albert led a group of prominent clergymen from the different Orders in drafting a passionate letter of appeal to Pope Paul VI to give the Filipinos the opportunity to lead these major Catholic learning institutions. It was a difficult struggle but years later, it came to fruition when Leonardo Legazpi, O.P. was installed as the first Filipino Rector of the University of Santo Tomas since its founding in the year 1611. Now most of the Catholic universities/colleges in the Philippines are led by the Filipino clergy.

    Although his tenure at Letran College did not last long, he greatly improved the quality of education in the high school department by hiring highly qualified faculty. His stint at the college was cut short by a request from his Dominican Superiors in Rome. He was sent to the Dominican House of Studies and Novitiate in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico to teach philosophy, theology, and international studies. After a year, he was sent to Universidad Autonoma de Ibero America in Mexico City where he subsequently completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. While he was working on his dissertation, the Philippine Embassy requested the Provincial of the Dominican Order to allow him to assume the position of Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Philippines in the Republic of Mexico. He performed his consular duties for 11 years. Aside from his consular responsibilities, he continued to perform numerous pastoral duties in the community. At that time, he noticed a growing tension between the local Dominican clergy and their Dominican superiors in Spain. Father Albert saw a lot of similarities between the Mexican Dominicans and the Filipino Dominicans in their desire to be autonomous from their foreign superiors. Learning from his experience in the Philippines, Father Albert wrote a proposal to the Vatican to create a new Mexican Dominican Province independent from Spanish domination. The Holy See approved his proposal having seen the success of the reform movement he led in the Philippines. The first Provincial and other superiors of this new Province were all his students.

    After helping the Mexican clergy in their successful fight to be independent from Spain, he petitioned his Superior to allow him to go to the United States so he can help in other communities. God was prompt in his response. On February 8, 1971, he represented the Archbishop of Mexico City, Miguel Dario Cardinal Miranda in the international conference, “Movimiento Familia Cristiano” in Monterrey, Mexico. After delivering the keynote speech, a distinguished looking elderly priest, approached him and asked him if he would like to come to the United States and work with him in his diocese. The priest was Bishop John Morkovsky of the Diocese of Houston-Galveston. Father Albert accepted his offer and on June 11, 1971, he was on his way to Houston, Texas. He became the Director of the Christian Family Movement, Youth Encounter, Marriage Encounter, and the Cursillo Movement.

    In 1974, Father Albert was installed by Bishop Morkovsky, as the founding pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Houston. He personally oversaw the construction and completion of this beautiful church. It was dedicated on April 24, 1976. His congregation had grown so fast during the years that he was their pastor. His parishioners loved him dearly and treated him like he was part of their families. In 1980, Bishop Morkovsky saw the spiritual needs of a growing Mexican American Catholic community in Galveston, Texas. He believed that Father Albert was the best person to lead this congregation. Thus, he became the new pastor of Reina dela Paz Catholic Church in Galveston. With support from his parishioners, they rebuilt and modernized this church. Aside from his busy schedule in his parish, Father Albert also served as a chaplain at the 1200-bed hospital of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and at a 350-bed hospital run by the Sisters of Charity, St. Mary’s Hospital also in Galveston. Most days, he was on 24-hour call duty ministering to the sick and dying. In addition, he was also the chaplain of the Port of Galveston taking care of the spiritual needs of the seafarers. Father Albert was very active in the Galveston Filipino community. He made lifelong friends and had been a constant presence during most family gatherings whether joyful or somber events. He had been the spiritual adviser of the Filipino Catholic community during his time in Galveston.

    On September 1, 1991, he retired from the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston and moved to Southern California. As a retired priest, he continued his apostolic work. He remained active in the Cursillo Movement, took a short assignment to help a parish in Reno, Nevada, and subsequently, assumed parochial duties at the Assumption Catholic Church (Los Angeles) and at the San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church (Los Angeles) where he served until his 96th birthday.

    Father Albert was instrumental in fostering and encouraging religious vocations. Aside from those he guided and sent to the Augustinian and St. Paul Convents, he also sent four “spiritual daughters” to the Dominican Sisters. He was also blessed to spend time with Sr. Exaltacion Quesada, O.P., Sr. Bernadette Izon, O.P., Sr. Lourdes Olivares, O.P., and Sr. Immaculada Aquino, O.P. (+) in Rome, Italy and at the Sta. Catalina Convent. His grandnephew, Father Michael Sales, O.P., claims that Father Albert had been a great inspiration for his steadfast vocation. His ordination to the priesthood made Father Albert overjoyed and grateful.

    Father Albert was multilingual – he was fluent in Spanish, English, his native Tagalog dialect, and the classical languages, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. He loved music. He liked to sing Spanish and Filipino songs, enjoyed karaoke, and played the violin. He was an avid traveler in his younger years and had been to some of the most remarkable places in the world. He found tremendous joy in being around his parishioners, family, and friends.

    Father Albert is survived by his youngest sister, Mercedes (Philippines), numerous nephews, nieces, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Left to cherish his fond and priceless memories is Dolly Halili, whose kind soul, generous spirit, and big heart opened her home to Father Albert where he spent his retirement and his twilight years. Sharing in Dolly’s loss are her siblings, children, and grandchildren who took Father Albert as one of their own and gave him their unconditional love and support.

    The family would like to extend their sincere and heartfelt appreciation, most especially, to Fr. Gustavo Ramon, who fostered a genuine and lifelong friendship with Father Albert. They had developed a solid working relationship for over 20 years. Even towards the end, Father Albert wanted to get out of his hospital bed so he can go to San Antonio Church and help Fr. Gustavo. Our family would like to thank Fr. Paul O’Donnell, Fr. Michael Sales, O.P. the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena of Manila, and other members of the Catholic clergy for the blessing, prayers, and spiritual support they gave Father Albert especially towards the end of his life. Our heartfelt gratitude to Javier Sanchez, whose dedication and assistance allowed Father Albert to perform his daily duties at the church. We will never forget the excellent care, compassion, and love of Father Albert’s caretakers – Dolores Lope, Joy Guemo, Cynthia Vino, Evelyn Consignado, Hazel Pelea, Phepsi Abbott, Venus Paragatos and Edna Honorio. Our family will forever be grateful to them. We would like to thank Marga Reyes who visited Father Albert and played the piano while he sang. These were the occasions that he truly enjoyed. Our family wishes to thank the family of the late Elias Cazares, Sr. and Gloria Cazares of Galveston, Texas for their love, friendship, and support. We would also like to thank the nursing and medical staff of Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Irvine for the excellent care they gave Father Albert during his hospitalizations. Lastly, our heartfelt gratitude to the nursing and medical staff of Kaiser Permanente Hospice for their compassionate care until the end.

    The funeral services for Father Albert Carreon will be held on March 30, 2022. His mortal remains will lie in state at the San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church, 1401 East Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90033. Viewing will begin at 9 AM, followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary, and celebration of the Holy Mass. Internment will follow at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels Mausoleum, 555 West Temple St., Los Angeles, CA, 90012.

    In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church, 1401 East Cesar Chavez Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90033.

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