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Former Auxiliary Bishop Emilio S. Allué dies at 85

  • Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates the Rite of Final Commendation for retired Boston Auxiliary Bishop Emilio S. Allué outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross April 29. Bishop Allué died April 26 of complications from COVID-19. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • Bishop Emilio Simeon Allué, SDB Pilot file photo

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Boston's senior retired auxiliary bishop, Emilio Simeon Allué, SDB, died at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Boston, on April 26, 2020, due to complications of COVID-19.

Born in Huesca, Spain, on Feb. 18, 1935, his parents were Domingo and Juliana Carcasona; his education began at home and was continued more formally at schools directed by the Salesians of St. John Bosco whose novitiate he entered in 1954 in his native Spain.

He was assigned to the New York based province of his order, and in 1959, he graduated from the order's seminary college in Newton, New Jersey. Sent to Italy, he completed theological studies at Turin, the Salesian birthplace, and in Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood Dec. 22, 1966. He completed doctoral studies in the Eternal City, receiving the Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) in 1969.

On returning to the United States, he became a U.S. citizen in 1974 and completed a second doctorate, this one from Fordham University in 1981, specializing in the history of Christianity.

Between 1981 and his appointment in 1996 as auxiliary of the archdiocese, he served in various pastoral and educational assignments: Rector of Salesian Minor Seminary, Goshen, New York; pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and St. Kieran, Miami, Florida; Rector of the Marian Shrine, Haverstraw, New York, and as parochial vicar at Mary Help of Christians, on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

The Salesians are especially noted for their work with youth and Bishop Allué was no exception. Inspired by the Salesians at a young age in his native Spain, he brought the Salesian spirit to all his assignments.

Fellow Salesians have many stories about him. One in particular shows a wry side of him. The Salesians directed a rather successful summer camp for boys in Newton, New Jersey. Two Salesian brothers who had the run of the camp, which was financially sound and even well off, used to buy whatever they liked for the camp and campers. Father Allué was the treasurer and one day asked that, in the future, the brothers ask him for whatever they wanted. In other words "go through me." Figuring that the gig was up they complied, and never once, no matter what they asked, did he refuse a thing. The pair could not believe their luck so they "pushed the envelope" -- they asked for a bocce court. To their astonishment, two days later, contractors arrived at the camp to install the new bocce court; which added to the luster of their laurels, especially among the older campers.

It was while he was an associate at Mary Help of Christians in Manhattan that he received the call to the episcopate.

Pope St. John Paul II tapped him to be titular bishop of the Albanian titular see of Croe on July 24, 1996; Bernard Cardinal Law ordained him, together with his episcopal "twin," the late Bishop Francis X. Irwin, to the episcopate at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 17, 1996.

At the time of his episcopal ordination, he chose as his episcopal motto on his coat of arms "Da mihi animas" -- "Give me souls"; one of the maxims of Salesian founder St. John "Don" Bosco. He showed himself desirous of fulfilling this in many ways during his active episcopal ministry.

He often quipped that he moved around the archdiocese more than any other auxiliary bishop. He could also have said he moved around the world and the U.S. more than many of his fellow Salesians.

He served as regional bishop of both the West Region (1996-2000) and the Merrimack Region (2000-2010). His offices and residences changed several times in each region, giving rise to the quip about mobility. He also served as episcopal moderator of the Archdiocesan Hispanic Apostolate (2008-2010) during his time as auxiliary bishop.

Always ready with a story, he told his Salesian brothers of an incident in one of the West Region parishes, where he went on a feast of St. Francis of Assisi and blessed peoples' pets. As he was walking along, he saw a young girl with no obvious evidence of a pet and asked which animal she had brought. She turned and pointed -- to her brother.

He celebrated sacraments -- Mass, Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders, the latter twice in particular for fellow Salesians in 2002 and 2012. Fellow Salesians spoke of him with great affection: "he was friendly"; "a hard worker"; "a good community man"; and "excellent administrator."

He retired as auxiliary bishop on June 30, 2010, and remained in residence at St. Theresa of Avila Rectory, West Roxbury (2008-2018). He served as a valued collaborator of Msgr. William M. Helmick, then pastor of the parish, until they both moved to Regina Cleri Residence in late 2018.

Msgr. Helmick said, "He was a delight to live with and work with. He came to live at St. Theresa after he finished in the Merrimack Region. He regularly celebrated the afternoon daily Mass; heard confessions on Saturday; spent time with people listening and advising. He never said no to anything I asked him to do. I used to joke that I was the only pastor in the archdiocese who had a bishop as a curate. He was brilliant, had a great memory and loved to tell stories."

At the time of his death, Bishop Allué was 85 years old, he had been a Salesian for over 63 years, a priest for more than 53 years and a bishop for almost 24 years. Bishop Allué was the only Salesian to have served as a bishop in the United States; there are, however, 130 other Salesians who are bishops across the globe; and of them, six are members of the College of Cardinals.

Due to the restrictions imposed by civil and Church authorities, funeral services for Bishop Allué consisted of the bringing of his body to Holy Cross Cathedral, where Cardinal O'Malley greeted the bishop's body in the hearse from the steps of the Cathedral and celebrated the Rite of Commendation. The funeral cortege then departed for the Salesian Cemetery in Goshen, New York, where Bishop Allué was interred with his fellow Salesians.

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