2005 Inductee - Rev. Msgr. William Hughes


2005 Inductee - Rev. Msgr. William Hughes

The Concilio has done much to improve the lives of Mexican Americans. Monsignor William Hughes was one of its founders and has given religious comfort, guidance and service to his community since 1962.

Monsignor Hughes, Max Benitez (1992 inductee), Jose Correa (1991 inductee), Richard Lopez (1990 inductee), Gilbert Flores and Genevieve Patron worked together to “initiate the development of an organization (Concilio) that would support and speak for the Hispanic community.”

Father Hughes was ordained in 1947 in San Francisco. After serving as a pastor in San Francisco and Oakland for 14 years he arrived in Stockton to become the associate pastor at St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church in 1962. He left in 1966 to continue his ministry at St. Linus Church until 1968.

Father Hughes was the first to introduce Spanish masses in Stockton. “I’m, not fluent in Spanish, but I get by,” he said modestly.

While at St. Linus he became close friends of parishioners Nash Munoz (1993 Inductee) and George and Susan Casillas (1991 Inductee).

In 1968 St. George’s Catholic Church was where he administered to his flock. He was pastor for 10 years. During that time “he became the spiritual leader and supporter of an effort that would become the voice of the Hispanic community, El Conicilio.” Prior to establishing the Concilio, Max Benitez, Jose Correa and Richard Lopez and he formed the Community Service Organization, a group that dealt with social concerns.

Father Hughes became Monsignor Hughes in 1997. The honorary title was given to him in appreciation for his work in the community and years of service. The title is granted in Rome but the local bishop has to apply for it.

The churches in which he has been affiliated have been in poor and disadvantaged areas. As a pastor of the two most impoverished communities in Stockton, Father Hughes worked very closely with the Mexican-American community and became a close and revered friend.

“I became close to them because I became involved in the key events of their lives, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.”

“As I worked closer with my parish community,” said Father Hughes, “it was apparent that there was a need for a strong voice to speak out on behalf of the Hispanic community. Especially within the immigrant community and with undocumented workers, the abuse and social injustices demanded that the Hispanic community have some representation with the government.”

“There was a need for services to help eliminate social and economic barriers. Undocumented workers needed support and help in completing documentation for permanent residency. The limited English speaking and immigrant population needed assistance in the pursuant of basic civil rights. They needed knowledge and a better understanding of their basic rights as citizens and residents of a community.”

From 1978 to 1992 Father Hughes was a big part of St. Anthony’s Church in Hughson. The church had three weekend Spanish services because of its large Hispanic population.

Since Monsignor Hughes’ retirement in 1992 he has returned to South Stockton to be with “his beloved extended family” and “often honors his friends with his blessings and visits.” He continues to serve Spanish masses and visits the sick, but sees a need for more Mexican American priests. “There are only two American born Mexican priests (in the diocese) despite most of the parishioners being Mexican American.”

It is with great pride and honor that the Rev. Monsignor William Hughes be inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame in 2005.