Hundreds Gather To Remember Father Joe Carroll, One Month After His Death
Father Joe Carroll meant a lot to a lot of people.
“He always treated me with respect and he always inspired me to keep going.”
That quote from Mark Kaleimamahu pretty well sums up what a lot of people who knew Fr. Joe shared about him at the Convention Center Tuesday.
RELATED: Funeral For Father Joe Carroll Held Tuesday At St. Rita’s Catholic Church
Kaleimamahu was once without a home, but he found Carroll and his village and like many, he said the beloved Roman Catholic priest saved his life.
That priest served three different parishes in San Diego before his fellow priests voted for him to take over what was then the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
“He went from a hundred thousand dollar a year program that served peanut butter sandwiches, not even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to a 40-million dollar operation that is more than 3 meals and a cot. It’s a true operation to bring people to a whole, healthy level of living," explained John Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.
As part of the celebration of Carroll's life, a video was shown, featuring some of the people he helped.
“He has done, created things for me in my life. He has changed my life," said Sebastian Herrera, who was once without a home, and now sits on the board of Father Joe's Villages.
And this from Theresa Altorelli - once a client of Father Joe's Villages: "He didn’t call us homeless people, he called us neighbors… he really saved my life.”
“He knew that what he was placed here to accomplish, that he did that as best he could, and that he now was passing it on to others to continue in that work and build on that legacy," said Deacon Jim Vargas, President & CEO of Father Joe's Villages.
While memories were being shared at the Convention Center, less than a mile away - there is concrete evidence of. Carroll's legacy: Father Joe's Villages in the East Village, and just about a block away, the 14-story St. Theresa of Calcutta Villas. It's under construction now, but when it’s finished early next year, it’ll provide about 400 units of housing, a fitting legacy for a man who devoted much of his life helping his fellow San Diegans, or as he might call them, his neighbors.