Reverend Joseph E. Bishop

Pastor Emeritus

St. Isidore Parish 1973-1997

Thursday, December 21, 2000; Appeal-Democrat Newspaper:

"...A vigil service will begin at 7 p.m. today at St. Isidore Catholic Church with Bishop Richard J. Garcia presiding. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at the church with Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento officiating. Burial will be in Sutter Cemetery...."


The above was part of the obituary that was in our local newspaper. It doesn't tell the whole story about Fr. Bishop who was our second pastor after the founding of St. Isidore Parish. With the aid of parish pictures and gracious appreciation to the feature newspaper reporter who wrote about Fr. Bishop upon his death, the following is presented as a respectful remembrance of Fr. Bishop who touched so many peoples' lives during the 24 years that he shepherded the St. Isidore Parish Community.


YC clergyman remembered
Longtime pastor called 'people's priest'

Molly Green
Appeal-Democrat: Saturday, December 23, 2000

"The life of 'a people's priest' who had the ability to reach across cultural divides to help people of all backgrounds was celebrated Friday when more than 1,000 people packed St. Isidore Catholic Church for the funeral service of the Rev. Joseph E. Bishop, 68. Bishop had served as pastor at St. Isidore Catholic Church for 24 years, retiring in 1997. But his service to the community continued well beyond his pastoral duties and the years he oversaw the congregation.

"Those who knew Bishop say he took an interest in all people. Monsignor James Kidder recalled how Bishop's young life provided him the tools to reach across cultural differences and build relationships with people from all walks of life.

"...'Father Bishop was born in and grew up in diversity,'said Kidder, telling how Bishop, born in Pittsburgh, Pa., was raised by his mother, never knowing his father.

"Bishop's mother worked as a housekeeper during the depression. One job had her working for a Hungarian family. It was there the young Bishop learned to speak Hungarian. Later his mother worked for a Jewish shopkeeper and the boy learned Yiddish.

"A German family employing his mother provided an opportunity to learn that language. At a young age, Bishop had been exposed to different cultures and ways of living.

"But it wasn't until Bishop entered the priesthood and traveled to California that he learned Spanish, the language he used to help so many in the Yuba-Sutter area.

"...'He identified with people's adversity,'said Kidder. 'It was who he could reach to reconcile with God.'


"Ruben Rojo first came to know Bishop in 1969. 'We call him Father, and that is exactly what he was,'said Rojo. 'They called him a people's priest.' Bishop took an interest in the needs of people as individuals. 'Not only spiritual needs,'said Rojo. 'All needs.' If people needed food, shelter or just some one to listen, Bishop was there to help, said Rojo.

"Sheila Garlock, principal at St. Isidore Catholic School from 1981 until just recently, expressed the same type of reverence for Bishop. 'He truly exemplified all a person would like to find in a priest,'she said. Bishop was committed to the area's youth and their education, said Garlock. 'He helped adolescents find their way when they got lost,' she said. Garlock said it wasn't uncommon for Bishop to open his home to young people who were struggling, not only during his priesthood, but even after he retired.

"To provide a constructive place for youth to keep active, Bishop founded the Center for San Filipe on Percy Avenue in Yuba City, said Rojo. The center was a place that offered activities for young people and all types of assistance for members of the Mexican community, such as help with income taxes, immigration and child services. 'Father Bishop took it upon himself to look out for the unfairness, for the living conditions in labor camps,'said Rebecca Espinoza. Espinoza said growing up, her mother was a cook at one of the camps and she remembers Bishop celebrating Mass 'in the open air' to the men who were unable to get to church services. Bishop intervened when farmworkers were denied pay for work they had done, said Espinoza. He contacted advocacy groups that could offer legal assistance and workers received what was owed to them, explained Espinoza.

"Always willing to listen and help with problems or offer encouragement, that is how Bishop is known by young people. Christina Garcia, 21, said Bishop was often at school functions. 'He was out there with us,'she said. 'He encouraged kids to stay away from trouble,'Garcia added.

"Ricardo Favila, 23, said he knew of youth who were involved in drugs and turned to Bishop for help. Bishop stirred young people in a direction that would offer them a future, encouraging them to get an education and go to college, said Favila.

"He encouraged people of all ages. Church Deacon Eldon Vignery said Bishop encouraged him to become a deacon. 'Father Bishop was my mentor and spiritual director,'he said. 'I'm going to miss him. He was like a second father to me,'Vignery said.

"Rojo also will feel a great loss. 'I personally lost a great friend.'

"Bishop, suffering from lung cancer, had been very ill for about a month and requested to spend his last days in his home, said the Rev. Manuel B. Soria. 'Sunday we gave him the Sacrament of the Sick and he died one hour later. He was at peace,'said Soria. 'The grace of the Sacrament was so powerful. It was beautiful,'he added.

"The Most Rev. William K. Weigand, bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, presided over the Mass of Christian Burial which brought 50 priests from all over the northern part of the state.

Following the Mass, concluding services and internment were at Sutter Cemetery and a reception was held at Franklin Hall at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City."


June 10, 1958 Pontifical College Josephinium, Columbus, Ohio

Priestly Assignments

1958-1964 Holy Rosary Church,
Woodland, California
Assistant Pastor
1964-1965 Catholic University of America
Washington DC
Social Work Studies
1965-1966 Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Sacramento, California
Assistant Pastor
1966-1969 St. Isidore Church
Yuba City, California
Assistant Pastor
1969-1973 North Valley Apostolate for Spanish Speaking
1973-1997 St. Isidore Church
Yuba City, California

Bishop Weigand


Fr. Bishop's GravesiteFr. Bishop's Gravesite

December 22, 2000 Funeral Mass Booklet
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