2005 Inductee - Deacon Julian Sepulveda Sr.


2005 Inductee - Deacon Julian Sepulveda Sr.

If the primary purpose of this Hall of Fame is to promote role models and community service, then Julian Sepulveda is extremely worthy of induction. If religious service benefits the community greater than any other type of service then Julian should have been inducted many years ago. Although Julian passed away on February 17, 2004 he is still a presence in many lives.

Julian arrived in Stockton in 1945, after his service as a tank driver during World War II. During the war he vowed to serve the Church if he survived. From 1945 to 1962 he was involved with St. Vincent de Paul. He helped organize food baskets for the needy and Sunday Pancake Breakfasts.

In 1962 he worked with Father Allan, Father Hughes, Father Mccullen and Father Finian to create the first Cursillo in Stockton. The Cursillo is a three-day event “to become closer to the Lord.” Thousands have attended it and Julian helped in over 100 Cursillos.

In 1959 Julian lived in a Cursillo in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked as a cook and a member of a clean-up crew.

“The excitement that was generated from this movement led these men to share with other communities in Washington and Oregon. My father was very much a part of this Cursillo movement for many years,” remembers a family member. The Cursillo also spread throughout the United States and the Philippines.

In 1981 Julian was ordained a deacon at St. Mary’s Church. He devoted his time to baptisms, communion services and religious educational instructions such as catechism. He was a fixture at St. Mary’s Church for decades. As a child this writer has fond memories of ending the Posada, a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter for Jesus’ birth, at the Sepulveda home on Stanislaus Street in South Stockton.

“Julian and his wife, Mary, would take communion to parishioners that were too ill to attend mass,” remembers his daughter Gloria. He also went door-to-door asking for donations to build St. Mary’ s High School and volunteered at St. Mary’s Interfaith Dining Room.

“Julian traveled to many islands in the Delta and migrant camps, bringing the word of God to those who could not attend Sunday Mass. He baptized many children. He especially recalls one instance when he was standing at the altar facing parents and young children to be baptized. He felt so close to God because he was helping to bring these children to Jesus,” recalls one of his children.

Julian was also a Eucharistic minister to the sick, taught religious classes and was active in St. Mary’s parent-teacher guild. Mary and he also taught marriage preparation classes.

Julian was a co-founder of the Catholic Credit Union. He and Mary also helped serve meals to workers on strike with Cesar Chavez.

On the 150th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Church Bishop Blaire, Rev. Mascardo, Rev. Ramirez and Deacon Julian were asked to share their thoughts in a special publication. Julian said:

“To serve this community for the last 56 years has been a wonderful blessing. My late wife Mary and I first came to St. Mary’s in 1945. We volunteered our services to parish groups such as St. Vincent de Paul, Legion of Mary, Guadalupe Society and St. Mary’s Dining Hall. The last 20 years I have had the privilege of serving the St. Mary’s community as a deacon. I have had the opportunity to work with many exceptional priests and parishioners who have supported and guided me in my journey as a Catholic.”

He worked at Sharpe Army Depot as an auto mechanic for 30 years.

It is with great pride and honor that we induct Deacon Julian Sepulveda, Sr. into the Mexican American Hall of Fame in 2005.