Madam Speaker, I rise today in honor and remembrance of Father David Francis Fallon, founding Pastor of La Sagrada Familia Parish. His love, kindness and faithful service on behalf of the people of our community will always be remembered, especially in the hearts and memories of those whose lives he impacted the most--the poor and disenfranchised of our society.
Father Fallon was born and raised in Cleveland as the second oldest of thirteen children, where he learned at a young age the significance of family, faith, hard work and connection to community. Following his graduation from Borromeo College, then Saint Mary Seminary, Father Fallon was ordained into the priesthood on May 30, 1970. His first assignment was at Holy Family Parish and later as Associate Pastor at Saint John Bosco Parish. In 1975, Father Fallon was transferred to Saint Clement Parish in Lakewood. He served for two years before joining a mission team in El Salvador, where he brought faith, hope and a sense of security to his parish there.
Though not of Hispanic heritage, Father Fallon became fluent in its customs, language and culture, and he became warmly embraced as a true son of the people of Cleveland's Hispanic community. He celebrated Masses in Spanish, and began bilingual services for young churchgoers. Reflecting a generous heart, joy for life and humble demeanor, Father Fallon easily drew others to him and his leadership became a guiding light that brought people and organizations together. His diplomacy and commitment to community was evident in the 1998 merging of two Hispanic parishes, San Juan Bautista and Cristo Rey, to form La Sagrada Familia parish.
Under the direction of Father Fallon, La Sagrada Familia has risen as a foundation of strength, support and resources for people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds who seek guidance and support. Father Fallon initiated numerous programs, including a food pantry and clothing outlet where individuals and families in need can obtain free food, clothing and furniture. He organized church volunteers to serve the community in social service, employment and education.
Additionally, Father Fallon inspired others to empower themselves and take pride in their community. He was an active attendee and member of various neighborhood, civic and municipal organizations, and he led numerous efforts in organizing voter registration drives in the Hispanic neighborhood.
Moreover, Father Fallon's commitment to ministering to those who suffered emotional or physical hardships never wavered. He never missed his weekly visits to those who were homebound or those living in the neighboring nursing home. He brought each person the sacrament of communion, a compassionate presence and kind and calming words, comfort, faith and hope to our most vulnerable citizens.
Madam Speaker and Colleagues, please join me in honor and remembrance of Father David Francis Fallon, whose immeasurable service to others, compassion, faith, and a true belief in community has brought healing, hope and restored faith in all of us. I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Father David Francis Fallon. Though he will be deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him well, Father Fallon's compassionate service to others will continue to serve as an example and as a source of hope at La Sagrada Familia parish
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