28 August 2011
Father Jesús Alfredo Gallegos Lara is better know as Padre Pistolas, a Michoacán priest famed throughout the region for packing heat and singing ranchera and mariachi music. He also has become famous for promoting public works projects - all to the dismay of his superior, the Archbishop of Morelia. The archbishop once suspended Father Gallegos, but politicians from all sides - who regularly seek out his endorsement, including PAN gubernatorial candidate Luisa Calderón, the president's sister - have urged Padre Pistolas to run for public office, knowing his popularity, moral authority and pull with the local population surpasses that of anyone else in church.
I visited with Padre Pistolas recently - hoping, course, he wouldn't pull out his Colt 45 and, say, "Vaya con Dios, muchacho!" He's folkloric, but also very dedicated to his work - and has done more to improve life in the rundown pueblos he serves than any other public figure. The story ran in The Globe and Mail (click the title of this post to read it.)