Welcome Letter from Fr. Peter Escalante
July 12, 2015
It is with a great sense of joy and anticipation that I greet you as the newly appointed Pastor of Mission San Diego de Alcalá and I look forward to sharing my priestly ministry with you. I am writing this letter to introduce myself and to tell you a little about my background, education and ministerial experience.
I was born and raised in San Diego and am the youngest of four children. Two of my sisters, Florence Carey and Virginia Rockwell and their husbands, Richard and Paul, live in the San Diego area. My third sister, Margaret Wakefield and her husband Bob, live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am of Hispanic, Hawaiian and Filipino descent. I attended Our Lady of Angels and St. Rita’s Catholic Grammar Schools and the University of San Diego High School. In 1970, I entered St. Francis Seminary and attended The University of San Diego, graduating in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My seminary education continued at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California and in June of 1977, I was ordained a Deacon and served at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, where Fr. Bill Springer was the Associate Pastor. Upon my ordination to the priesthood in June of 1978, I was assigned to St. Therese Parish where I served as Associate Pastor for three years.
In September of 1981, I began studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where I completed a Masters degree in Spiritual Theology. Returning to San Diego in June of 1983, I was appointed Secretary to Bishop Leo T. Maher where Monsignor I.B. Eagen, then Chancellor of the Diocese, was my mentor. I was also appointed as Director of Vocations and the year after I joined the St. Francis Seminary Faculty where Msgr. Richard Duncanson was Rector. In 1988, I was appointed Director of the Ministry to Priests Program.
In 1990, I returned to parish ministry and have served as Pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Point Loma, St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach, Santa Sophia Parish in Spring Valley and most recently I spent 8 years at St. Joseph Cathedral in San Diego.
As a lifelong San Diegan and priest of the Diocese for 37 years, I am well aware of the rich history and prominence of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. I am honored to be your pastor and follow in the footsteps of such great priests and friends as Monsignors Eagen, Prendergast, Campbell and Duncanson, not to mention, being in the line of succession to Blessed Junípero Serra.
I will be preaching at all Masses this weekend to introduce myself and I look forward to the opportunity to meet you personally in the days ahead and becoming a part of the Mission family. “I have come to serve, not to be served” and I consider it a privilege to be your new Pastor and work alongside our fine Associate Pastor, Fr. Bill Springer. I ask for your prayers, patience, and support, particularly during these initial weeks and months. I assure you that each of you will be remembered in my prayers and at the altar each day.
Let us also remember, in prayer, Monsignor Richard Duncanson as he begins his Pastorate at the Church of the Nativity.
Wishing you an abundance of God’s grace and peace, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Reverend Peter M. Escalante