As the Diocese of Tyler enters its 30th year, the Church in East Texas is coming of age. With growth in our Catholic community, we must think beyond today and into the future. As we look to the next generation of the Church, you may ask, how can I direct my giving to where it is most needed? How can I ensure my planned gifts are invested according to my faith? How do I make a LASTING impact? To help your generosity pay dividends for generations to come, the East Texas Catholic Foundation is here to serve. Joseph Strickland Bishop of Tyler
What is the East Texas Catholic Foundation?
The mission of the East Texas Catholic Foundation is to help donors make a lasting impact on the spiritual, educational, and charitable works of the Diocese of Tyler to serve the future of the Catholic Church in East Texas through the grace of stewardship.
The East Texas Catholic Foundation is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation governed by a board of expert trustees who manage the permanent funds and endowments of the Catholic causes you care most about while faithfully stewarding the intent of your gifts.
Managed by a board of clergy and lay leaders in our community, the Foundation serves the parishes, Catholic schools, agencies, and ministries within the 33 East Texas counties comprising the Diocese of Tyler.
For more information: (903)266-2152 email@example.com
This Issue THE MAGAZINE OF THE DIOCESE OF TYLER
Vol. 30 Issue 2 January-February 2017 Catholic East Texas (USPS 001726) is a publication of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, 1015 ESE Loop 323, Tyler, Texas 75701-9663. Telephone: 903534-1077. Fax: 903-534-1370. E-mail: news@ catholiceasttexas.com. ©2016 Diocese of Tyler. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: CET Subscriptions, 1015 ESE Loop 323, Tyler, TX 75701-9663 Published five times per year. Periodical postage paid at Tyler, Texas, and additional mailing office. Subscription is $20 per year. News, calendar and advertising deadlines: Aug. 10, Oct. 10, Dec. 10, Feb 10, April 10. The publisher and editor reserve the right to reject, omit or edit any article or letter submitted for publication. The Diocese of Tyler and/or the Catholic East Texas cannot be held liable or in any way responsible for the content of any advertisement printed herein. All claims, offers, guarantees, statements, etc., made by advertisers are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. Deceptive or misleading advertising is never knowingly accepted. Complaints regarding advertising should be made directly to the advertiser or the Better Business Bureau. Publisher Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland Bishop of Tyler Editor-in-Chief Peyton Low firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor and Photographer Ben Fisher email@example.com Assistant Editor Susan De Matteo firstname.lastname@example.org Spanish Editor Sr. Angélica Orozco EFMS email@example.com
Diocesan News and Calendar
To Govern, Sanctify, and Teach
30th Anniversary of the Diocese
Welcomed as Refugees
The Doctor is In
Turning the Corner
I Will Follow
Fathers and Sons
Susan De Matteo
Bishop Joseph Strickland
Amanda Martinez Beck
An interview with Dr. Martha Lopez Coleman
The Annual Bishop’s Appeal
Book review by Father Matthew Stehling
An interview with seminarian John Simmons
An interview with Terry Braun and Father Justin Braun
Para Gobernar, Santificar y Enseñar
El Amor Derriba toda Barrera
Nuestra Señora de Fátima100 Años desde su Aparición
Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
P. Daniel Daugherty
Hna. Angelica Orozco
Hna. Angelica Orozco
30 Years of the Diocese...of Antioch
All registered parishioners in the Diocese of Tyler receive the Catholic East Texas magazine for free. If you are a member of a parish or mission in the Diocese and you are not receiving your free subscription to the magazine, please contact your parish/mission or complete this form so that we may add you to our mailing list: http://cetmag.org/cetsubscribe 1
Bishop Strickland blesses the â€œEyes of Margilâ€? springs in Nacogdoches during the pilgrimage on December 16.
Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler
As I reflect on the journey of the Diocese of Tyler over the past thirty years, my thoughts turn to the island of Cuba. I can imagine that as you read this your curiosity is piqued: why would our bishop make a connection between the diocese and Cuba? By way of at least a basic explanation, I refer to my recent trip to Cuba in the first days of December. I had the chance to visit this island nation with another bishop and a priest from his diocese, and in many ways it was a chance to visit Catholic Cuba (in as much as that adjective can be used for this communist nation). An image that comes to mind is one which we have all seen in various contexts: that of a random seed sprouting in the midst of a concrete jungle. I certainly saw plants in Cuba defiantly sprouting green in the center of the rubble and crumbling buildings that offer yet another metaphor for Cuba. I suppose all of this leads me to a deeper realization of just how strong is our desire for God and His divine light. No human power can ultimately extinguish that longing in the human heart, and what I witnessed in Cuba gives testimony to that truth. Thus I return to my original comparison between the seedling Diocese of Tyler and the struggling Church in communist Cuba. As a local Church established in these piney woods by the bishop of Rome, the Diocese of Tyler is a seedling that has flourished and grown strong over these thirty years. During a timeframe that overlaps the history of the diocese by twenty years, the Catholic Church in Cuba has struggled to flourish since the 1998 visit of Pope John Paul II to the island. The local Church in the piney woods and the local Church on the isle of Cuba have both faced challenges and seen faith persevere through the years. Interestingly, both local Churches have a long history of Ca-
tholicism. Cuba has Catholic roots that go back to the discovery of the new world, and East Texas has Catholic roots going back three hundred years to the early efforts of Catholic missionaries in the area. In unique ways for both of these diverse communities, the roots of Catholicism that are part of their history have helped to bolster their development in the most recent decades. While the Communist revolution in Cuba in the late 1950â€™s brought dire challenges to the Church, the establishment of the Diocese of Tyler in the late 1980â€™s ushered in great opportunities for growth in the Church. It is uplifting to see the Holy Spirit working in the lives of these diverse peoples, even as one faces debilitating challenges and the other faces exciting opportunities. Ultimately, my brief glimpse into the Church of Cuba and my years of experience with the Church of Tyler lead me to the same conclusion: the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of individual disciples can truly bring about miracles. Whether that disciple is confronting an atheistic regime, or embracing the great opportunities of establishing a new local Church, the Holy Spirit gives both the strength to persevere. What I witnessed in Cuba was the attempt of a government to squelch the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of His people, and the beautiful signs that this attempt was unsuccessful. In contrast, my experience with the communities of East Texas has been to witness the marvelous things that can happen when individual disciples seek to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. The disciple encountering Jesus Christ and being guided by the Holy Spirit is at the heart of the Church. It is a joy to see the Church flourishing, whether that occurs in the midst of great blessings or great obstacles.q 3
For more news, go to: www.dioceseoftyler.org/news
The Diocesan Office of Youth Evangelization is hosting several events for youth and youth leaders in the diocese in the coming months. They include: • Middle-School Youth Retreat Feb 18-19 at The Pines Catholic Camp near Big Sandy (300 White Pine Rd, Big Sandy TX). The weekend will include a zip line, ropes course, sports, Mass, and adoration. Cost is $110 per student and $55 per adult. Only 60 student spots are available. For information, see the Youth Evangelization website. (www.dioceseoftyler.org/ youth) • RUKUS Catholic Music Fest, March 4, at Casa Betania (10645 County Rd 35, Tyler, TX 75706). The day will include music from Kairy Marquez, Kyle Sinkule, and Chad Minchew. Cost is $20 for adults, $10 for ages 11-16; children under 10 who are accompanied by parents get in free. VIP tickets are $30, and include front row parking, covered seating, meet and greets, and a signed poster. For information or to register, see the youth evangelization website. (https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/ youth/?page_id=4219) The Diocesan Office of Faith Formation will hold a formation day for special needs catechesis Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the chancery in Tyler. Esther Garcia, a certified master catechist and director of faith formation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rowlett, will be the main presenter. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications and has over 27 years of experience as a catechist, community, and ecclesial volunteer programs. Also, she has worked as a teacher at the Autism Treatment Center of Dallas. She is specialized in leading catechetical programs for children, youth, adults, and families. In addition, she leads programs in special education – autism and others disabilities – and early childhood in multicultural communities. Esther is a member of the Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, and the Federación para la Catequesis con 4
Hispanos (FCH). She has been a speaker at the Autism Society. Esther lives in Texas with her husband and their two children. Her love for the persons with disabilities and her desire to serve them arose from having her own child, Eric, with autism. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 903-266-2146 by Friday, Jan. 27. Cost is $15 by January 27. Cost at the door or after Jan. 27 is $20. You may email or call and pay at the door. The Office of Faith Formation is sponsoring You Have Put on Christ, an interactive presentation for catechists and all others interesting living as a disciple of Christ, Saturday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Milam Joseph Community Center Building on the campus of Bishop TK Gorman Catholic School in Tyler. Presenter for the day will be Dr. Jerry Galipeau, Vice President and Chief Publishing Officer at J. S. Paluch Company and its music and liturgy division, World Library Publications. Cost is $15 by Feb. 9 and $20 after. For information or to register, email email@example.com or call 903-266- 2146. The diocesan Office for Marriage and Family Life has scheduled marriage preparation weekends for Jan. 27-29, 2017, and April 22-23 (Spanish). A Spanish-language marriage preparation day has been set for Feb. 4 (Spanish). For other dates, registration, and other information, contact the office at 903-534-1077, ext. 165, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Daughters of Divine Hope will offer Mass for bishops and priests who have ordination anniversaries and birthdays, for deacons who have ordination anniversaries, and for deceased clergy Feb. 13 at 11:30 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Lunch will follow in the Cathedral Center. Future Mass and lunch dates include March 13. The American Federation Pueri Cantores, the official student choral organiza-
tion of the Catholic Church, will host two choral festivals in Texas next year. Each year, the organization holds choral festivals for Catholic school and church youth choirs across the U.S. The 2017 Texas High School Choral Festival for singers in grades 9-12 will be held at Chapel of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio on March 3. The next day, March 4, will be the Houston Treble Festival & Mass for singers in grades 4-8 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. For information about AFPC or the festivals, see the website. The Texas Catholic Conference Advocacy Day at the State Capital is April 4, 2017. Advocacy Day is a daylong event with a rally on the steps of the State Capitol with the bishops of Texas to promote the Church’s values of life, justice, charity, and religious freedom to members of the Texas Legislature. After the rally, small teams of Catholics will meet with their state lawmakers and educate them on the Texas bishops’ legislative priorities. Support Catholic Charities East Texas through Amazon.com. When ordering from Amazon, go to Smile.amazon.com and choose Catholic Charities, Diocese of Tyler, as the recipient of the donation from the purchase. The Maria Goretti Network is a peer ministry group for survivors of abuse and their families. The East Texas Chapter of the Maria Goretti Network meets the third Saturday of every month in the Cathedral Office meeting room (not the Cathedral Center) at 7 p.m. For information, contact Peggy Hammett, 903-592-1617, ext. 19, or email email@example.com. The Diocese of Tyler is committed to providing a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults. Please report any questions or concerns about the behavior of church personnel to the diocesan Promoter of Justice, 903-266-2159, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 903939-1037 (fax). All communications are
confidential. The State of Texas requires that any suspicions of abuse of a minor be reported. Contact 800-252-5400. Catholic East Texas, the diocesan magazine, is online! Share the link to our full-color publication with family and friends. The magazine is an evangelical publication designed to implement Bishop Strickland’s vision for sharing the beauty of Catholic teaching, history, culture, spirituality, and liturgy in a way that makes our ancient faith attractive to both Catholics and non-Catholics in Northeast Texas. Every article, column, and review in the magazine is written by the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Tyler. Access the magazine online at:
Crockett St. Francis of the Tejas Church. We need more lectors and altar servers for the English Masses. If you have ever considered helping in the sanctuary please call the church office. You do not have to be a young adult to be an altar server and would be of great help to us.
Emory St. John the Evangelist Church. The parish Valentine Dance will be Feb. 11.
support is appreciated, and special envelopes are now available in the vestibule for your support.
Tyler Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A Bereavement Mass is scheduled for Jan. 21, at the 5:30 p.m. Mass, with a reception in the Cathedral Center following. If you have a loved one that has recently passed away and would like to attend the Mass and reception, please contact the church office at 903-592-1617 or contact Kathy McCabe at email@example.com or 903-561-2849. All current and new lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must attend one of two training dates in January. On Saturday, Jan. 21, there will be two training sessions at the Chapel of Sts. Peter & Paul – 9:30-10:30 a.m. for lectors and 11 a.m.-noon for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. On Saturday, Jan. 28, there will be two training sessions at the Cathedral – 9:30-10:30 a.m. for lectors, and 11 a.m.-noon for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. If you minister primarily at the Cathedral, please attend the session at the Cathedral, and if you minister primarily at the Chapel, attend the session at the Chapel. However, if you minister at both the Cathedral and Chapel, you may attend either day. Also, if there is
a conflict, you may choose whichever one fits your schedule the best. Please call Brian Braquet at 903-592-1617, ext. 114 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cathedral will send a mission team to the Dominican Republic February 19-25. This will be our fifth missionary trip there. We seek to serve our brothers and sisters in conjunction with Young Mission, a well-established voluntary organization that promotes the Catholic faith through works of charity. There are still places available on this mission trip. Participants with medical training are especially needed (doctors, nurses, people with a background in family practice, internal medicine, or pediatrics). Other participants are also welcome. Bilingual skills are welcome, but not required. Please pray for a spirit-filled mission experience for our team and for those we serve. For more information, contact Kelly at jackcajun@aol. com or 903-570-1800. All couples celebrating 5,10,15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55+ years of marriage in the year 2017 are invited to attend the World Marriage Day Anniversary Mass and reception with Bishop Joseph E. Strickland on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. For the registration form and more information, visit dioceseoftyler.org q
Madisonville St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Come join us for Father Barone’s annual Surprise Birthday Party Sunday, Feb. 12, following the 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Masses.
Malakoff Mary Queen of Heaven Church. Right to Life of East Texas is offering four $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors who plan to further their careers (college, trade school, military, other). Theme: In the context of the recent election results in a divided America, what political, ethical, legal, and constitutional advice would you give to state and national elected officials to win the culture war for the pro-life cause. Must be postmarked by Jan. 28. Applications are available in parish office.
Nacogdoches Sacred Heart Church. Our food pantry will be open on the second Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m.-noon. All monetary
“I have one of those, too!” Bishop Strickland compares croziers with the shepherds at the Children’s Mass on Christmas. 5
To govern, sanc
A reflection on the offic As we celebrate thirty years as a local Church among the and the challenges of maturing into early adulthood. As a priest, global gathering of communities that make up the Roman Cath- I have been blessed to be a part of the whole journey of the Dioolic Church, I revert to one of my favorite frames of reference cese of Tyler, and I have embraced the challenging call of being regarding this great mystery that we know as the Body of Christ. her fourth shepherd as she navigated her late twenties. I know I often think of the Church and that many join me in expressing her mission in terms of one inour profound gratitude to the dividual disciple, so to speak; The ancient tradition of our Catholic faith three bishops who guided this the Church is the disciple writ guides all of us from the Bishop of Rome, new local Church for her first large. Thus our thirty year old twenty-five years. Their hard diocese is well beyond her in- to the bishop of a local diocese, to the work and collaboration with fancy, stepping into the com- most recently baptized member, to always priests, deacons, religious and munity of disciples as a young the lay faithful, who came from adult, firmly set on her â€œcareer address the life of the Church with these three dioceses to form one lopath,â€? with the world and its three goals in mind. cal Church, has placed us on a future before her. Our thirtisolid footing which allows us to eth anniversary speaks to our face the future with great hope community of faith beyond her teens or twenties: a young adult and strength. ready to take on her mission. Continuing with this framework of the progress of the dioFour shepherds have guided this local Church as she has cese sharing similarities with the progress of an individual disfaced the challenges of birth and infancy, youthful adolescence ciple, I turn to some basic guiding principles for me as a shep-
ctify, and teach
ce of Bishop
By bishop joseph strickland
herd and for all of us as disciples of Jesus Christ as we seek to the most recently baptized member, to always address the life fulfill our mission. We have all been baptized into the saving life of the Church with these three goals in mind. We the baptized of Jesus Christ, and from that are to live kingly, priestly and moment we share His anointed prophetic lives in the world There is much of the beautiful wonder and thus transform the human mission as priest, prophet and king. The beautiful sacrament that is our Catholic faith that remains un- family. We can say this another of baptism is richly celebrated way: we the baptized, we the known and unexperienced by the people Church, the Body of Christ, are in our Roman Catholic tradition as we are anointed with of God today. It is my firm belief that we to govern, sanctify, and teach sacred chrism and from that the world the wondrous mescan make great progress in addressing sage that the Son of God has moment called to take on this threefold mission of the Son the ills of our day if we are able to know revealed to us. As I mentioned of God. We are literally united above, we have been blessed and share the basic truth that has inspired with shepherds in the first with the anointed one, and being anointed ourselves, we take disciples to lives of holiness through the quarter century of our life as on His life, death and resurreca diocese who have done an ages. tion and are incorporated into outstanding job of embracing His body the Church. these three aspects of our mission. The ancient tradition of our Catholic faith guides all of us Certainly, the missionary challenge of our Catholic faith is from the Bishop of Rome, to the bishop of a local diocese, to to always seek to be moving forward in all three areas, and in 7
the life of the Diocese of Tyler, we have made great progress in all three areas. Acknowledging that this three-fold challenge is always necessarily present, I wish to offer, from my perspective, some thoughts regarding the specific ways my predecessors have brought strength and blessings to the life of the diocese. As a young priest, I worked with our first bishop, Charles E. Herzig, and I would frame his too short time with us in terms of the mission of governing. By necessity, he was faced with countless decisions of governance as he sought to unify three regions of East Texas and bring to birth a new local Church. I can only imagine the daunting task he faced as virtually every aspect of this new ecclesial entity, called the Diocese of Tyler, had to be decided. Of course, as he made basic decisions of governance, he had to make many decisions regarding the teaching and sanctifying offices of the Church as well, but as I reflect on the legacy of Bishop Herzig I focus primarily on his gifts of governance. As I continue to consider the progress of the diocese with our second and third shepherds, I can see the numerous ways they each contributed to the three-fold mission of the Church. Bishop Edmond Carmody came to the diocese as our second bishop in May of 1992. Many of us remember the tremendous growth he inspired and fostered, and I have to say as a priest who was working at his side—it was hard to keep up! In terms of these reflections on our thirtieth anniversary, I would also characterize Bishop Carmody’s eight years with us as a time of significant decisions of governance. Bishop Herzig had laid the basic foundations of the diocese with his critical decisions regarding how the diocese would be established. Bishop Carmody faced the challenge of deciding how, when and where the Church would grow in these thirty-three counties that were becoming the Diocese of Tyler. As you read this, many of you are living your faith in parishes and missions that didn’t exist when the diocese was first formed. We should all say a prayer of gratitude to the Holy Spirit in thanksgiving for our first two shepherds who cooperated with God’s grace and helped us to become a Church founded firmly on rock. In January 2001, Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio was installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, and thus began more than ten years of growth and development. Under
the faithful shepherding of Bishop Corrada, the diocese continued to grow and move forward with her mission. The foundations and new communities established by Bishops Herzig and Carmody continued to flourish and gain strength. As with his predecessors, Bishop Corrada continued to make important decisions about the life of the diocese. He embraced the call to teach with great strength, but I would characterize the years of Bishop Corrada with us as bearing a primary focus on the sanctifying office of the Church and the bishop. Due to his own personal love of the liturgy and developments in the universal church like the new edition of the Roman Missal, Bishop Corrada made great strides in forming the priests, deacons, religious and laity in a love for Christ in His liturgy. As with the entire mission of Jesus Christ in His Church, we can never say that we have completed the task of sanctifying the world in His name. We continue to seek to be more deeply sanctified in the Eucharist, all of the sacraments and all of the means of grace that the Lord in His mercy offers to His body the Church. These reflections on the thirty year journey of the Diocese of Tyler bring us to our present reality and the joyful challenges of the next thirty years and beyond. As disciples baptized into the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and confirmed in the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are all called to live out this triple challenge of our lives. In many ways the greatest hope for this local Church is that, as individual disciples, we all embrace the mission with great energy, strength and joy. We are all called to govern our own lives and make Gospel-based decisions. We are all called to seek a greater sanctity in our own personal lives and develop an ever closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. How are we called as disciples to move forward with the mission of the Church facing the challenges of today? How is the Lord challenging me as your shepherd to lead you into a bright future, imbued with the Light of the Gospel that our world so desperately needs? I believe the answer lies in the prophetic teaching office that we all share and that serves as one of the pillars of my work as bishop. As we look to the next thirty years and beyond, I believe we must embrace the call to teach the truth in new and profound ways. It is impossible for us to make the wise decisions of Gospel-guided governance or to seek authentic and life sus-
I often use the colloquial expression that we in the diocese, and really throughout much of the Church, are in need of “meat and potatoes Catholicism.” I believe this rather quaint image brings home the truth of what our focus needs to be for our future.
The teaching office we share as disciples involves a path of catechesis, of learning clearly and deeply what it is that we believe as followers of Jesus Christ in our Catholic tradition. It also involves a second equally important path of evangelization, of learning why we believe as we do as Catholics and why it makes a difference for the human person.
taining holiness and thus be sanctified, if we do not know the truth that sets us free. Many circumstances from past and present converge in our present day and demand that we humbly acknowledge that there is much of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been ignored or rejected. I often use the colloquial expression that we in the diocese, and really throughout much of the Church, are in need of “meat and potatoes Catholicism.” I believe this rather quaint image brings home the truth of what our focus needs to be for our future. There is much of the beautiful wonder that is our Catholic faith that remains unknown and unexperienced by the people of God today. It is my firm belief that we can make great progress in addressing the ills of our day if we are able to know and share the basic truth that has inspired disciples to lives of holiness through the ages. Taking the call to teach a step further, I would propose that the journey develops into two paths that constantly intersect, intertwine and invigorate each other. The teaching office we share as disciples involves a path of catechesis, of learning clearly and deeply what it is that we believe as followers of Jesus Christ in
our Catholic tradition. It also involves a second, equally important path of evangelization, of learning why we believe as we do as Catholics, and why it makes a difference for the human person. I am confident that, after only a few moments of reflection on these two paths of the teaching mission of the Church, we will all recognize that we face a daunting task for the next years of our journey of faith. There are many false voices that will try to shout us down. There is much apathy and ignorance that can derail our efforts before we can even begin. But let us be inspired by the glorious early days of the Church when she was just taking shape, when many of the solid truths that guide us now were only beginning to be discovered. Let us be teaching disciples that are constantly seeking to learn more deeply ourselves. Let us joyfully and clearly catechize with the basic message of what we believe and set God’s people free in the wonder of His truth. Let us evangelize young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong, thus sharing the dynamic why of our faith. Let us be on our way in Christ.q
We face a daunting task for the next years of our journey of faith... but let us be inspired by the glorious early days of the Church when she was just taking shape, when many of the solid truths that guide us now were only beginning to be discovered.
Catholic Ascension Garden
How will will your your final final arrangements arrangements be be decided? decided? How Rose Lawn’s Lawn’s Ascension Ascension Garden Garden is is aa place place for for all all Catholics Catholics to to Rose have hope and reflection. This area serves as a visual reminder have hope and reflection. This area serves as a visual reminder of the the Paschal Paschal Mystery, Mystery, the the dying dying and and rising rising of of Christ Christ in in which which of we all share. It is the place that reminds us to hold a joyful we all share. It is the place that reminds us to hold a joyful hope for Christ’s return to glory, with all those who have gone hope for Christ’s return to glory, with all those who have gone before us, marked with a sign of faith. Putting plans into place before us, marked with a sign of faith. Putting plans into place now becomes becomes aa testimony testimony to to both both our our faith faith and and our our love love of of now family. It is a loving and considerate thing to do for those we family. It is a loving and considerate thing to do for those we leave behind. behind. Come Come out out and and visit visit our our compassionate compassionate people people leave and find how simple this decision can be. With each sale Rose and find how simple this decision can be. With each sale Rose Lawn will make a donation in your name to the Church of Lawn will make a donation in your name to the Church of your choice or the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. your choice or the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. Rose Lawn Lawn Cemetery Cemetery is is located located on on Blue Blue Mountain Mountain Blvd., Blvd., Rose One block East off Old Jacksonville Hwy, just South of of One block East off Old Jacksonville Hwy, just South Swann’s Furniture. Swann’s Furniture. Christmas Day Mass was celebrated in the recently completed new church at Mary, Queen of Heaven parish, Malakoff.
2003 Blue Blue Mountain Mountain Blvd. Blvd. 2003 Tyler, TX TX 75703 75703 Ph.903-939-9922 Tyler, Ph.903-939-9922
Diocese of Tyler: 30 Years
In 2017, the Diocese of Tyler will honor our past and look forward to the future as we celebrate our 30th year of carrying out the saving mission of Jesus Christ and his Church in East Texas! The Diocese of Tyler was canonically erected on December 12, 1986, by an Apostolic Bull of Pope St. John Paul II which created the new diocese out of territory from the Dioceses of Dallas, Beaumont and Galveston-Houston. On February 24, 1987, the new diocese was officially established as Charles E. Herzig received his episcopal consecration and became the first shepherd of the portion of the people of God in Northeast Texas. Since that time, the diocese has grown from just under 29,000 Christian faithful served by 35 priests and 30 deacons in 41 parishes and missions, to over 122,000 faithful in the care of 102 priests and 107 deacons in 69 parishes and missions.
Throughout the 30th anniversary year, parishes and missions are asked to set aside a time to honor their parish history. Parishes may celebrate their own anniversary date and their patronal feast day, compile a parish history, and recall the clergy, religious and lay faithful who have served their community in the past. The diocesan archives can assist in providing historical information. Works of mercy and charity, undertaken as a community, would also be an ideal way to commemorate the year.
Possible Activities + Remembering and praying for deceased parish priests. + Participate in a parish-wide service project. + Creating a display commemorating parish history. + Honoring parishioners who have given 30 years of service to the parish.
Remembering the Dead As we celebrate 30 years of joyful service, we also remember the faithful departed - clergy, religious and laity - who have contributed to making the Diocese of Tyler a beacon of Christ’s light. Dcn. Albert Stanley Riha Dcn. Jose Carvajal Bishop Charles Herzig Fr. John Culpepper Dcn. William Smith Dcn. H.R. (Bob) Carillo Fr. John Przydacz Msgr. Edward Szapka Fr. Bernard Pustejovsky Fr. Frank Knaresborough Dcn. Anthony George Dcn. Bryan (Bo) Carey Dcn. William O’Sullivan Dcn. Adrian Roden Dcn. Gilbert Shaw Fr. Benjamin Smylie Fr. John Corr Dcn. William Bridwell
5/2/1989 11/19/1990 9/7/1991 9/10/1993 9/21/1995 6/30/1996 9/28/1997 6/8/1998 3/15/1 12/14/2000 1/31/2001 3/6/2002 2/4/2003 8/24/2003 4/21/2004 9/6/2004 7/7/2006 12/21/2006
Dcn. Allen Breaux Dcn. William Kennedy Dcn. Fidencio Ramos Fr. John Whitsell Dcn. Kevin Hayes Dcn. John Borens Dcn. Tim O’Neil Dcn. Dennis Gilchrist Dcn. Keith Woods Dcn. Mark D’Eramo Dcn. Carl Miller Dcn. Michael Doyle Msgr. Theodore Rydelek Msgr. Samuel Metzger Fr. Harold Paulsen Fr. Basil Hoan Dcn. Alex Kobar Fr. Jose Cortez
1/3/2007 9/14/2007 2/5/2009 7/28/2009 4/4/2011 3/6/2012 8/10/2012 8/12/2012 2/18/2013 6/1/2013 9/5/2013 1/9/2015 8/3/2015 2/16/2016 3/9/2016 4/24/2016 7/31/2016 8/11/2016
Dioce Activ and E
Friday, February 17, 2017 - 1:30 p.m. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Tyler, Texas Bishop Strickland will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on Friday, February 17, 2017, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with the priests, deacons and religious of the diocese. Lay representatives from every parish and organization will also join in the Eucharistic celebration. A public reception will follow the Mass.
Diocesan Chalice & Prayers Traveling Parishes during the 30th Anniversary Year During the Mass on Feb. 17, Bishop Strickland will consecrate a 30th Anniversary chalice for the Diocese of Tyler. During the year, this chalice will travel to all parishes in the diocese. At Masses celebrated with the chalice, special prayers will be offered for the diocese: • • • • •
For the Bishop of Tyler For families in the diocese For priestly vocations For the poor and marginalized For the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the diocese.
Charity & Mercy It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones! In our 30 years of ministry to God’s people in East Texas, the Diocese of Tyler has followed the command of Christ and made assisting those most in need, whether physically or spiritually, a central part of our mission. In commemoration of this continued work, the parishes and missions of the diocese will contribute to a special 30th Anniversary fund which will provide assistance to selected organizations serving those who need our help. This will include a special contribution to our sister diocese, the Diocese of San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
Diocese of Tyler: 30 Years
esan vities Events
Mass of Thanksgiving
AS REFUGEES Amanda Martinez Beck tells the story of her family: forced to flee Cuba after the revolution for offering medical care to the wounded, they were saved by the generosity of Catholics in Columbia.
Lately, I have been struck with how completely the Christian life revolves around the welcome and the hospitality of God. God is persistent in his welcome—He continues to invite us in and to come closer and closer, to know Him more through the sacraments. My husband and I were welcomed into the Catholic Church as converts, and the more I practice the sacraments, the more I see the hospitality of the Gospel. I especially feel the welcome of Jesus when I go to confession. I am received with joy in the confessional as I confess my sins to God and to my priest. It brings me such gladness to know that nothing I confess will cause me rejection. I receive the hospitality of God when the father speaks the words, “Go in peace; your sins are forgiven,” and I am knit once more even further into my local parish, the fabric of God’s Church around the world. What an honor it is for me, then, to extend hospitality to Jesus himself, through the Eucharist. I prepare a place for him in my soul through confession and my body through fasting before Mass. Being Catholic has deepened my understanding of just how central this Christ-like welcome is to the Kingdom of God. It makes me pause and consider how the hospitality of others has affected my life and the lives of the ones I love. I think of my parents and how they welcomed me into the world, and how they fed, clothed, and nurtured me—and continue to do so even as I am grown with 12
children of my own. I only have to look back one generation to see the effects of the Christ-like hospitality that was offered by countless people unknown to me, who welcomed my refugee family after they fled Cuba and the Castro regime in the early 1960s. These people, whether they knew it or not, were living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as a result my life is forever changed. My grandfather was an only child, raised in the tropical paradise of Cuba. His given name Radamés was an unusual one on the island; he was named after the brave Egyptian general who sacrifices his life for love in Aida, his mother’s favorite opera. Life wasn’t easy, but he was smart and he worked hard, eventually earning his degree in medicine, specializing in orthopedics. He married my grandmother Lilia, full of passion and smart as a whip, who had her own degree in pharmacy. They started a family, and life was good. They lived in an apartment in Havana that had a poured marble porch, which stayed nice and cool in the tropical air. One of the bedrooms in the apartment was converted into an exam room for my grandfather’s medical practice. The living room doubled as a waiting room, and my father and his siblings were banished from indoors when school was not in session, spending their days on the cool marble porch. The only time they went back inside was to come to the kitchen for lunch, in shifts,
two at a time. It was a simple life, and they were happy. But five children in a small city apartment that also functioned as a clinic got a bit tight, so they moved into a house outside of Havana, on the lot next door to Radamés’s parents and their banana grove. No longer did my grandfather see patients at home; he opened a clinic in the city and continued his practice there, occasionally teaching at the University of Havana.
On January 1, 1959, Cuba changed forever. Fidel Castro, along with his brother Raúl and the Argentinian reactionary Che Guevara, led a revolution to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro and company promised freedom and equality under their communist rule, but instead one bad government replaced another, with fear, violence, and corruption ruling the day. The changes that needed to happen to bring justice and equality to Cuba’s people did not come, and time would show that the Castro regime destroyed much of the good of the island while keeping the rest for the personal gain of its leaders. In the upheaval of the Revolution, there were many that stood against Castro. These counter-revolutionaries, as they were called, fought as hard as they could to keep Castro from succeeding in his plans for Cuba, and many were wounded or killed in the
effort. My grandparents were not in favor of Castro, but they were private in their dissent, in order to protect their family. One day, my grandfather encountered nuns from a local parish. They made a request of the good doctor—they were caring for some men, some counter-revolutionaries, who were wounded and urgently needed medical attention. Would he help them? The risk of helping these wounded men was very real; the Castro government was merciless on those thought or found to be traitors. For my grandfather, however, it was a matter of duty. The Hippocratic oath was one he took seriously: “Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm.” Years later, one of my fondest memories is of him singing the words of Matthew 25 to me: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that’s what you do unto me!” To deny these wounded Cubans the medical care they needed would be anathema to him. He helped the nuns care for these men and returned quickly to his regular medical practice. Time passed. No action came against my grandfather for the traitorous care he had given to the wounded men, and so my grandparents began to breathe easier. It seemed that no one had found out what Radamés had done. But then, my grandmother’s relative reached out to them with devastating news. She worked a janitorial job in a government building. Rather by accident, she
Radamés and Lilia (left) at a family Baptism in Cuba in 1959. 13
The family in 1999 at Radamés’s funeral. had seen my grandfather’s name on a list. Someone must have reported my grandfather for aiding and abetting the counter-revolutionaries. His name was on a blacklist—a literal sheet of paper with a list of names of people who were considered enemies of the new government. The people on this list had a tendency to be found dead in a ditch, or worse—never found again.
Flight from Cuba
Radamés and Lilia began to make plans to leave Cuba. They would go on vacation, they decided, to visit relatives abroad, and they would simply never return. It wasn’t that easy, though. Because so many Cuban intellectuals and professionals had fled when Castro took power, the Cuban economy was suffering and the government had come down hard on international travel. Each traveler could take only one suitcase and $25 with them. Miraculously, my grandparents obtained visas for a visit to Columbia, and they went on “vacation” with five young children in tow, never to return. The year was 1961, and they left everything they owned and everyone they loved behind, unable even to say a proper goodbye. The boat ride to Bogotá was perilous, but it filled my aunts and uncles with awe. My father has amazing memories of going through the Panama Canal as they approached Colombia from the Gulf of Mexico. When they reached Colombia, finally back on land and safe from Castro, my grandparents took stock: they were in a dangerous city with five children ages 2 to 13. They had little money, few possessions, and only the hope of getting to the United States as political refugees. My grandfather found work as an orderly at a hospital in the city, but when the administration found out that he had taught orthopedics at the University of Havana, they used him as an orthopedic surgeon. Unfortunately, since he had been forced to leave all his credentials behind in 14
Cuba, they exploited him and continued to pay him as an orderly instead of as a physician. Such is the reality for many immigrants and refugees. If it had not been for the generosity of a local Catholic parish, my family may never have survived their time in Columbia. These Catholic brothers and sisters secured an apartment for a Cuban refugee family they had never met before. They paid the rent. Every morning, there was a sack of potatoes on the front step for them to eat. And eventually, once the U.S. Embassy offered political asylum to my family, the Catholics in this parish were able to secure passage for them on a banana boat headed to the Houston harbor. These people who helped my refugee family—these fellow Catholics, separated from me by over 50 years and thousands of miles—practiced the life-saving Gospel of hospitality and welcome. They didn’t know my family. They were simply carrying out what the Catholic faith teaches in the Catechism: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of livelihood he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him” (CCC 2241). These Colombian brothers and sisters did not know that my grandparents would go on to have 2 more children (and in fact, my grandmother was pregnant at the time and told no one), or that their 7 children would all go on to have children of their own. They simply cared for the foreigner in their midst. This love for the foreigner is something that God has consistently revealed to his people. In Deuteronomy 10:17-19, he declares, “For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the
widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.” This Scripture reminds me that the history of God’s people is one of pilgrimage, of being an immigrant nation, strangers in a foreign land. St. Paul says the same of us as Christians, that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and St. Peter repeats the refrain that as part of God’s Church, we are aliens and sojourners (1 Peter 2:11). I have found that because our country is so prosperous and safe, it can be easy for me to settle into the peace and security that I enjoy as a citizen of the United States. But the Catechism prods me to remember that “[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners” (CCC 2440). Even as I enjoy peace and safety, I am still a foreigner, a citizen of heaven. Remembering this causes me to reconsider the realities of the immigrants and refugees I read about and encounter; we are all pilgrims searching for home. The teaching of the Catholic Church, rooted in the kindness and compassion of the God who loves foreigners, challenges me to reconsider my prosperity as a means to welcome others, to practice the hospitality of Jesus Christ in a tangible way. It occurs to me that the life we are called to as Christians, a life filled with the welcome and hospitality of Christ, is a risk. My grandfather risked the security of his life and the lives of his family to offer a healing hospitality to those wounded counterrevolutionaries. This act greatly shifted the course of his life, but God clearly provided for him and his wife and children. The faithful Catholics in Bogotá took a risk in helping unknown refugees navigate life in their country for a few months of their journey to safety and security. I trust that God has rewarded their obedience and sacrifice to care for the resident aliens in their land. The love they showed to their Cuban neighbors strikes me, especially when I consider the tremendous fruit it has wrought. My cousins and I are grown, and many of us have families of our own. We carry the legacy of Colombian hospitality. As my three young children are asleep in their beds, their littlest sister is safe and warm in her mother’s womb. We live here now, in East Texas, in the Diocese of Tyler. And though I grew up Protestant, the kindness of God has drawn all of us—my husband, my children, and me—into the same Catholic Church that my grandparents were baptized into as infants. It is the perfect ending to a story of life, loss, pilgrimage, and finding a new home.
by God. As children of God, we have the honor of defending them against slander, ostracism, and persecution. We speak the truth in love that God shows no favorites and that we are conduits of his welcome to every person, no matter their country of origin or the religion they practice. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports comprehensive immigration reform based on the teaching of the Church in its document “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope,” available on the USCCB website (usccb.org). We can familiarize ourselves with this perspective on immigration so that we can know what the bishops are advocating for, so that we may advocate for it ourselves for the sake of the refugees and immigrants both already in our country and waiting to be allowed in. The third answer is to give. Whether it is time or money we have to share, we give with refugees and immigrants in mind. The second collection can be a place to do this, or we can ask our local parish how we can help with funds or by volunteering hours. From my own experience, I am deeply convinced that the effort and prayer that my family puts into caring for refugees and immigrants will reap a great fruit in God’s kingdom, whether or not we see it for ourselves. I pray that, along with the Colombian brothers and sisters who so impacted my family, we would hear Jesus say this to us: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was…a stranger and you welcomed me…Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:34,35,40). q Amanda Martinez Beck lives Longview, where she and her husband and their 4 children attend St. Mary’s parish. She is a freelance writer and editor.
Pray, Speak, and Give
But I cannot let it be an ending. These unknown Columbian saints have me questioning how my little family here in East Texas can live out the Gospel of the hospitality of Jesus Christ. How can we practically live out the truth of the Scripture and the instruction of the Catechism? How can we welcome others the way that Christ Jesus has welcomed us? The first answer is, of course, to pray. We intentionally pray for immigrants and refugees we know, both personally and through the news. We pray for the situations that cause the need for refugees to find safety, and for immigrants to seek a chance at earning a livelihood when they are unable to in their country of origin. We pray for the fear to decrease in our own hearts so that we can more fully participate in the call to welcome others as Christ has welcomed us. The second answer is to stand for the dignity of refugees and immigrants. Each of these people is loved and cared for greatly 15
The Doctor is
IN Dr. Martha Lopez Coleman attended St. Patrick Catholic School in Lufkin; now she is the principal. She tells us how Catholic education helped her to achieve, and can help students today.
So, you were a student at St. Patrick? Yes, starting in kindergarten! When my parents came to the United States from Mexico, they wanted better opportunities for their children. For them, this meant that education was primary. They chose St. Patrick school, but it was a sacrifice for them to send their kids here. Then, my mother needed surgery, and it simply stretched the family budget too much. My parents had to move me to the public school and enroll my brothers there. We only spent one year away, however, and then we were back at the Catholic school, because my parents could see the difference. Does St. Patrick still have that difference today? Yes. We have a smaller class size here, and that results in extra attention and extra nurturing of each student. I consider personal knowledge of each student—what their challenges are, what their gifts are, what they are struggling with or succeeding in—to be vital to education. We can do that here, in a way that a big public institution cannot. I know each of the kids, and my teachers know each of their kids, very well. When a teacher talks to me about one of their students, I know it’s from a position of real knowledge. I can take them seriously. When a parent contacts me about their child, that child is not just a number; that child is an individual we know well. Catholicism is an integral part of our life here at St. Patrick. We have plenty of non-Catholic parents who see our advantages
My parents had to move me to the public school and enroll my brothers there. We only spent one year away, however, and then we were back at the Catholic school because my parents could see the difference.
ing the meaning and value of their education. They didn’t see the point of learning, or achieving, and I wished that I could talk to them in a religious context. When God is not part of the culture of a school, it’s hard to give students a satisfying answer when they want to know why they should bother trying to learn and improve. In a Catholic institution, we can proudly proclaim that God created us, and gave us gifts to use on behalf of the world. We can teach the kids that learning and growing is something we do for our love of God and other people. It seemed to me that the public
It seemed to me that a public school could only give the “what” of education, but here at St. Patrick, we can also give the “why”. I think a human being needs both of these things to flourish. school could only give the “what” of education, but here at St. Patrick, we can also give the “why.” I think a human being needs both of these things to flourish. The extra nurturing and individual attention I received at St. Patrick as a student definitely helped me get where I am today. My family had the special challenge of learning a new culture and a new language, and through my parents’ sacrifices and determination, we have flourished. I’m grateful for the Catholic education which I received right here, and I’m proud to be the principal of this institution today.q Dr. Martha Lopez Coleman Ed.D. is married to Ray Coleman. They have two daughters: Audrey is 6, and just before press time they welcomed their second daughter, Lyla.
and send their kids here, but I tell them that their children are definitely going to be exposed to Catholicism. We will teach them about the saints, the sacraments, and the virtues. For example, I am proud of the effort we made when Mother Theresa was canonized as a saint, and we studied and celebrated that as a school. What is one secret of academic success? I think that humility is so very important for academic achievement. This was reinforced to me many times during my post-graduate education. When you attempt to master something new, you are beginning from humility—the idea that you do not possess this knowledge, and you are in absolute need for someone else to give it to you. In small ways, whether in class or while studying or researching, humility is necessary to say, ‘I don’t understand. I need this explained more thoroughly.” It’s only through being humble that we can avail ourselves of all of the knowledge that humankind has learned and collected. I learned this in Catholic school, and it has helped me every day since. What do you most enjoy about working in a Catholic school? I worked for the public school system, and so I think I have a keen sense of what we can do differently as a Catholic institution, for both Catholic and non-Catholic students. Working in a public high school, I encountered many students who were question-
Dr. Coleman with daughter Audrey, a 2nd generation student at St. Patrick. 17
Corner the bishopâ€™s annual appeal for the 30th year of the diocese of tyler.
by Bishop Joseph Strickland As 2017 arrives, the Diocese enters a year of ministry full of potential. Reflecting on 30 years as a Diocese, I am greatly looking forward to this year as a special opportunity to set the course for developing the Church in East Texas for the next thirty years. In 1987, one of the most important building blocks Bishop Herzig established was an Annual Appeal, a call every year to parishioners to support the work of the Diocese. Because of the support of Catholics like you, the Appeal has been essential in growing the Diocese and its 68 parishes and missions. 18
If we want the next thirty years to be as fruitful as the last, we once again need your help. Our diocese is turning the corner, and now is the time to prepare for the future of the Church in East Texas. I am deeply grateful for your continued generosity to our diocese over the years. As a measure of wise stewardship, and before we enter a new Bishopâ€™s Appeal campaign, I want to share with you what our financial priorities have been as a Diocese these past few years, and where we are headed in 2017.
The Appeal’s Impact The last three years of the Bishop’s Appeal have been a “game-changer.” The outpouring of generosity has raised our annual campaign from $ 1.5 M in pledges in 2013 to over $ 2.7 M in 2016! Most exciting to me is the increase in participation over the last three years, which has doubled to now over 7,000 participating families. The Bishop’s Guild, a giving society for the Annual Appeal, has experienced a tremendous growth in membership as well. This increase has been an important and timely blessing for the work of the Diocese. In 2013, the Diocese was facing several significant financial stresses. Advised by a tremendous Finance Council of both clergy and professional lay men and women, we have made significant progress these past three years to use wisely the annual appeal funds and address our ministry priorities. With a supported and growing priesthood, strong governance and administration, and a vision for passing on the faith, the next 30 years will be an exciting time for Catholics in East Texas.
mented several new programs, including centralized parish accounting and payroll systems, which are saving parishes and missions time and money so they can focus on what really matters: ministering to the people of God. The Diocese continues to subsidize rural, underfunded parishes and missions with sustainability subsidies. Keeping our rural churches open maintains a Catholic presence across the 20,000 square miles of the Diocese.
Fiscal Discipline, Good Stewardship
As our Diocese has matured, so has our presbyterate. As a young Diocese, we have not yet experienced retired priests in large numbers. However, this is changing. Over the next 10 years, 20 of our most experienced pastors will reach retirement age. As a Diocesan family, we of course must take care of our spiritual fathers—our senior priests. With this coming expansion in the number of senior priests, the Diocese faces a new challenge of strengthening our Priest Pension Fund to meet the rise in retired priests. Faced with an underfunded pension fund, through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal the Diocese began sending regular contributions ($100,000 in 2016) to help meet the funding gap and address the soon-to-be increase in retired priests.
Fundamentally, the resources we use, given so generously by faithful like you, must be returned to the service of the Church to teach, evangelize, and make all things new in Jesus Christ. Maximizing the effectiveness and impact of your donation is a responsibility I take very seriously, as did my predecessors. I rely greatly on the advice of the Diocesan Finance Council, a group of lay professionals (including experts in the legal & finance professions, entrepreneurs, and other very talented men and women) and clergy of the Diocese. Over the past three years, we have instituted many programs and measures to improve our fiscal discipline. We restructured our Parish Mission and Assistance Program, which helps parishes and missions by financing building projects and offering options for parish savings. We implemented an improved comprehensive budgeting process for all Diocesan offices. We have also helped the East Texas Catholic Foundation establish itself as a resource for permanent endowments and planned gifts to the Diocese. While these works may seem more “remote” from ministries like faith formation or service to the poor, I assure you that the two are very much related. I believe that excellent stewardship of our resources yields more opportunities to serve in ministry. The transparency and expertise with which the finances of the Diocese of Tyler are handled have allowed us to dedicate more resources to formation and evangelization.
Home Grown Seminarians
Youth in our Homes, In our Universities
A Maturing Priesthood
For the first thirty years, the Diocese has relied on faith-filled missionaries from other regions, other countries even, to come here to East Texas to serve as priests. For the next thirty years, we are building a home-grown priesthood. Over the past 3 years, we have increased funding to our Vocations Office and Seminarian Formation to support vocations at our local ministries. Our 14 seminarians in 2016 came from such places as Nacogdoches, Henderson, Paris, Athens, Mt. Pleasant, and Whitehouse. Each seminarian goes through 6 to 8 years of intense preparation, forming men who will lead and teach thousands. Our seminarian classes continue to expand, and we need them to do so. The growth in the Bishop’s Appeal has afforded larger seminarian classes with greater connectedness to their home Diocese.
Meaningful, Impactful Parish Services “Administration” may not be an exciting word, but, without it, our ministries suffer. Building a Diocese from scratch these past thirty years often required a shoestring budget, and funding administration can be extremely difficult. Our parishes, missions, schools, and ministries rely on the Diocese to advise, manage, and sometimes even fulfill basic administrative and legal services to keep their ministries operating. In 2016, the Diocese imple-
As I expounded upon in my article this issue, To Govern, Sanctify, and Teach (pg. 6), the progress we make over the next 30 years will be determined by how effectively we teach the faith. Looking to the future, we must embrace the challenge of passing on the truth of Jesus Christ to our young people. As our Appeal has grown over the past few years, no area of ministry has received as much increased funding as our evangelization efforts, youth ministries and campus ministries. By establishing a youth office in 2015, expanding our subsidies of our campus ministries at UT Tyler and Stephen F. Austin, and pouring more resources into youth events, programming, and communication efforts like the Catholic East Texas magazine, we are working to get our youth and families excited about what is most essential: life in Jesus Christ.
2017 and Turning the Corner We have come a long way in 30 years. Though we are still a young Diocese, we are beginning to face issues characteristic of a maturing local Church. We are experiencing a growing number of senior priests, and are increasingly looking to our own pews for the vocations that will carry on their legacy. We are solidifying our administration, helping to stabilize our presence among 68 19
parishes and missions. More and more, we are investing in our youth, putting resources into expanded youth and college ministries. So much of what we have accomplished as a Diocese the last few years can be credited to your participation in the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. The growth in the Appeal has allowed us to tackle long-term challenges, as well as expand our outreach in ways we could not imagine in 2013. Thank you for your faith, support, and trust in the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. But we are turning a corner in 2017. On more solid ground, we must look forward to the challenge of teaching the faith in our Catholic Schools, in our faith formation programs, and in our homes. With the help of every member of the faithful, I am confident that we can turn this corner as a Diocese to a hope-filled future of faith in Jesus Christ. Your gifts to the Annual Appeal are a concrete way to say, “This is our faith, this is our home,” and to turn with us to the next thirty years.q
Perspectives on the Annual Appeal. I am excited to have helped the Bishop bring in Mrs. Laura Williams as our new Finance Officer in early 2016. She brings years of experience helping the Diocese of Beaumont develop systems and manage their affairs with transparency and sound fiscal practice. The programs and services our Diocese is now implementing for supporting parish administration and finance will help stabilize the futures of our parishes for generations. Further, the reconstitution and relaunch of the Parish Mission and Assistance Program, the “Diocesan Bank,” refinanced dozens of struggling parish loans in 2015 and 2016, helping parishes and missions get on their feet financially. It also manages parish savings better than ever, giving much needed expertise and tools to parishes to help them save money and finance their much needed building projects. In my time as a member of the Diocesan Finance Council, I think we have come a long way in helping improve the financial situation of the Diocese. However, there are a lot of challenges ahead. The Finance Council oversees and advises the Bishop on the financial administration of the Diocese, with the focus of adhering to budgets and seeks to invest more and more in our seminarians, youth ministries, faith formation, and college ministries. With the success of the Annual Appeal, the increased funding the Diocese has given youth ministry and campus ministry hopefully continues to rise as we tackle the challenge of passing on the faith to the next generation. The growth of the Appeal has also given the Diocese the ability to contribute additional funds into the Priests Pension Plan, assuring our priests that their retirement is secure after they have spent their lives ministering to us.q Mr. Doug Cordell is a member of the Diocesan Finance Council and a board Member of the Parish Mission and Assistance Program. 20
About three years ago I was honored to be appointed to the Priest’s Pension Board. Bishop Strickland chose an incredible group of priests for the new board, men with a range of expertise and experiences from professions held prior. As we began our work, the board focused on 1) establishing a stronger financial basis for the fund and 2) ensuring more equitable and clearer policies for the participating priests. We completely rewrote the trust documents with the purpose of fairness and clarity. We have worked on communicating with the priests of the diocese ways they can better prepare for retirement, including how to save, utilize social security, and maximize the pension contributions they will receive. Currently the Pension Plan is underfunded. We are not in a unique position in this way relative to other dioceses, organizations and businesses. However, any efforts in which the whole Diocese can chip in to help address our funding needs will be crucial to ensuring a dignified standard of living for our senior priests. The commitment of the Diocese to making annual contributions, including the $100,000 contribution in 2016 based on the success of the Appeal, will help make sure our position for the future is solid.q Fr. Daniel Dower, Episcopal Vicar of Education, Secretary for the Priests Pension Board. Over the past few years, we are beginning to see consistently 4-5 men each fall begin seminary formation for the Diocese, and we are going to continue this trend in 2017. The men in seminary are getting the best; the seminaries Bishop has chosen to send our men to are known for excellence in academics and spiritual formation. Our seminarians who have joined the Diocese have a clear sense of identification with the Diocese of Tyler, and are looking forward to serving in East Texas. Bishop Strickland is unwavering in his support of seminarians for the Diocese of Tyler. He communicates with them regularly; each seminarian has his personal cell phone number and has complete access to him if they need to talk. To have such a supportive and accessible Bishop is a great help to the formation and discernment process of these young men. I am always very humbled at the capabilities of these young men, both spiritually and intellectually, and believe these qualities will greatly serve the needs of the faithful. During the last several years, we have also built upon the tradition in this Diocese of encouraging vocations at the local level. Our pastors work to advise and encourage young men to consider the priesthood and offer counsel and support as they discern. We are now seeing the fruits of that, as our seminarians are coming from our local parishes and ministries. It is an exciting time for vocations in the Diocese of Tyler.q Fr. Justin Braun, Director of Vocations, Chaplain of St. John Paul the Great Catholic Campus Ministry.
for your generosity this Christmas in support of our parish food pantries. More than 500 families donated more than $40,000 to feed the hungry across the parishes of East Texas.
Catholic Charities of East Texas
Contact us today to learn more:
Deacon Larry Bate, FICF, MDRT, SKC 903-754-2224 Larry.Bate@kofc.org
Michael A. Calhoun, FICF 903-262-6832 Michael.Calhoun@kofc.org LIFE INSURANCE
LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
RETIREMENT ANNUITIES Gen_Discover_half, Exp. 07/15/17
SILENCE By Father Matthew Stehling
About a year ago, while reading and researching for an article on Graham Greene in a previous issue of the CET, I stumbled across a Japanese Catholic author by the name of Shusaku Endo. I quickly fell in love with his best known work, the 1966 fiction novel Silence. It is a novel that had me thinking and pondering for weeks after I finished it. As soon as I finished, I knew I wanted to share it with the CET readers. The book has now been released as a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese. At the time of writing this article, the movie had not been released in East Texas and so the following regards the novel. (Spoiler Alert)
ndo’s novel Silence follows the experiences of two fictional Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in Japan in the mid-1600s. Japan had first been evangelized by St. Francis Xavier and the Jesuit order in the 1540s. The Tokugawa shogunate in 1620 expelled all missionaries and made Christianity illegal. Fathers Sebastian Rodrigues and Francisco Garrpe set out to minister to the persecuted Christian population and seek out another priest, Fr. Christovao Ferreira, who is rumored to have renounced the faith. The two Jesuits sneak into Japan from Macao with the help of a Japanese Christian named Kichijiro. When they arrive in Japan, Kichijiro leads them to a village of clandestine Christians and are hidden away just outside the village. From their hideout the priests begin to minister to the Christians, baptizing, hearing confessions, and saying Mass for the poverty stricken people. Having to hide throughout the day and only serving the one village, the priests become restless, desiring to seek out other Christians in nearby villages. The two priests decide to separate after local authorities get wind of their presence and begin questioning the villagers. In order to lure the priests out in the open, two of the villagers, Mokichi and Ichizo, are questioned and then tied to stakes in the tidal waters. After a couple of days without food or water and being buffeted by the incoming tides, the two are martyred in the sea. Fr. Rodrigues and Fr. Garrpe part company hoping to expand their missionary efforts but are eventually captured. Fr. Rodrigues begins his trial and torture. The Japanese authorities don’t submit Fr. Rodrigues to outright torture but begin a subtle psychological assault on his faith. They hope to dispirit the underground Chris-
tians by causing the priests to apostatize, to renounce the faith. The Japanese governor, Inoue, questions and debates Fr. Rodrigues, and tries to convince him to step on the fumie (a metal plate with an image of Jesus or Mary) as an act of renouncing the faith. He tortures and even beheads other Japanese Christians to compel Rodrigues to trample the sacred image. The climax of the novel occurs when Fr. Rodrigues is introduced to Fr. Ferreira, who has indeed renounced the faith, taken a Japanese name and a Japanese wife, and is now working for the Governor. The
apostate priest argues that Christianity is not suited to the Japanese culture, that Japan is a “swamp” in which the roots of Christianity cannot be maintained. After days of deprivation and isolation and hearing the cries of others being tortured, Fr. Rodrigues steps on the fumie and is released. The novel gives us a lot to think about. Like with any good piece of literature, there are many themes and questions that arise. And like any good piece of Catholic literature, we can learn more about our own faith as we wrestle with the story.
A fumie (in Japanese fumi “stepping-on” + e “picture”) was a likeness of Jesus or Mary which was used in Japan during the period in which Christianity was outlawed (1629-1856) to discover suspected Christians. It was made to be stepped upon, and the Tokugawa shogunate government of Japan would force suspects to step upon the fumie to prove they were not Christians. “Many Japanese had already trodden on it, so that the wood surrounding the plaque was black with the print of their toes. And the face itself was concave, worn down with the constant treading. It was this concave face that looked up at the priest in sorrow. In sorrow it had gazed up at him as the eyes spoke apealingly: ’Trample! Trample! It is to be trampled on by you that I am here.’” Silence, p187
Faith of our Fathers Silence is not a feel good type of book. It portrays characters suffering in the worst ways imaginable and the protagonist does not live “happily ever after.” This is a novel designed to make you think and to question. One of the first themes that appears is the disillusionment of the priests when faced with the harsh reality of martyrdom. Rodrigues and Garrpe have images that I think many of us may have in our own minds about the martyrs. They picture serene, stoic faces of Christians with visions of angels descending with palm branches as the martyrs receive their eternal reward. This image is found in a lot of Christian iconography, but the characters are taken aback by the violence and the horror of actual martyrdom. Most of all they are surprised by the heavenly silence. What Silence does, I think, is to make us contemplate how frightened even committed, holy people can be when their faith is put to the test by pain and death, especially the pain and death of others they care about. Likewise, in contemplating how terrible an actual martyrdom is, we can come to a new respect for the courage of the many Christian martyrs in our history. When we read that a saint was martyred, we should think about that. One of our hymns, Faith of our Fathers, is about martyrdom. When we sing the chorus, “We will be true to Thee till death,” we should ask ourselves— would I be true to the faith until death? What if it’s a real, frightening, horrible death?
St. Francis Xavier was born in 1506, in the Kingdom of Navarre (present day Spain). He, with St. Ignatius of Loyola, founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1534. They took vows of poverty, chastity, and later, obedience. The order was formally approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. St. Francis Xavier led missions into India and other Portuguese colonies in Asia. He was the first missionary to enter Japan on July 27, 1549. After some initial barriers with language and cultural and philosophical misunderstandings, Christianity began to grow in Japan, particularly in the area of Hirado. St. Francis intended to start missions in China but died before he could begin. St. Francis was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. He is known as the “Apostle to Japan.”
It’s Just a Formality Another theme that comes up in the novel is the the meaning behind acts of apostasy. The accusers and torturers of the Japanese Christians assure their prisoners that stepping on the fumie is “just a formality.” They don’t care what the accused person holds in their heart and mind, only the outward act of apostasy is required. This is a friction that has always arisen between the Church and secular society, and one that we are confronting in our own culture. The world often says to Christians, “Believe whatever you want to, so long as you keep it within the four walls of your church building.” The temptation presented in the novel is an enticing one. “Just step on the image, and we’ll stop the torture. You don’t really have to mean it.” In a way, we are presented with the same choice. The world would prefer a Church that was only interior. Keep the Faith to yourself. Don’t share it, don’t live it. This is a temptation we face in many ways, from the “Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas” issue, all the way to our opposition to abortion. In large and small ways, every Christian is challenged to uphold their faith publicly. Catholicism has always taught that we need to be public Christians. The Letter of James reminds us that, “faith without works is dead.” A merely interior faith, a private faith, is not the Faith handed on by the Apostles and founded on Jesus Christ. Peter or Judas? Throughout the book, Fr. Rodrigues pictures himself in the role of Christ. He compares his own torture to what Christ experienced in his Passion. He is even betrayed by Kichijiro, the Christian that initially helps him, for 300 pieces of silver. As he witnesses the death and torture of the Japanese Christians, as he himself
suffers, he is met with silence. God seems to ignore his prayers. The silence is finally broken in Rodrigues’ mind as he imagines the image on the fumie telling him to trample, to apostatize. Rodrigues steps on the image of Christ; he gives in. On Calvary, the Pharisees call out to Christ, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The criminal says, “Save yourself and us!” But Christ withstands these temptations. Silence gives us a picture of a failed martyrdom. Fr. Rodrigues gives in to temptation. The final chapter of the novel follows Rodrigues as he justifies his choice and lives in a similar situation as Fr. Ferreira. He is a pitiable character, a failed martyr trying to justify his failure. As I read the novel I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the character, but in the end I can’t agree with his choice. Both the Apostle Peter and Judas in the Gospels betray and deny our Lord. One despaired. The other repented. Fr. Rodrigues faces something of the same choice. As his story ends, he is stubbornly refusing to follow in Peter’s footsteps and admit his own failure. Let us never be like him. If we fail in keeping the faith, in a large or small way, let us ask forgiveness. Some readers view Silence negatively in its portrayal of an apostate priest. Others tend to justify the actions of Fr. Rodrigues in too positive a light. But the novel forces us to look carefully at the themes of martyrdom and publicly living the faith in
our own lives. Would I be able to resist the temptations, withstand the suffering in a similar situation? How do I deal with God’s apparent silence in the face of suffering? We are all given a choice, the freedom to “take up our crosses” and follow Christ, or to betray and deny Him. And its only within that silence that our choices can truly be free.q
Shusaku Endo (1923-1996) was a Japanese author, and one of the few who wrote from a Catholic perspective. He and his mother became Catholic when he was 11 or 12 years old. He saw a Fumie in a museum as a young man, and the impression it made on him eventually inspired him to write Silence, which he adapted into the play The Golden Country and is now a motion picture. Endo has been called “a novelist whose work has been dominated by a single theme... belief in Christianity.”q
An interview with seminarian John Simmons 26
John Simmons is a seminarian for the diocese of Tyler in his second year of formation at Notre Dame Seminary in Louisiana. He is also a convert to the Catholicism. We caught up with him and asked him to tell us the story of his conversion. Please tell us about yourself and your family. I grew up in the Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas. My dad is a Baptist deacon, like my grandfather. My grandfather’s brother is a Baptist pastor. I grew up in a family very involved in Church. As a young man, I was baptized, and I was very involved in Baptist youth groups and all the typical things. I was taught that salvation was a one-time event and I was “saved” in this way, but it never sat well with me. I saw in my own life and the lives of all of my friends that this often led to a feeling of license, of being able to do any sinful thing without any consequences. I just never could accept that the content of one’s life didn’t matter much to God. What was your first experience of the Catholic Church? I went to college at Texas A&M, and like a lot of young people, I didn’t go to church when I was away at school. As a Baptist, I didn’t have the idea that church on Sunday was necessary. One thing I did have, though, was a prayer life. My dad instilled that in me — to pray every day. I always kept doing that. I was in the Corps of Cadets at A&M, and a lot of my friends were Catholic. In my junior year, I was dating a Catholic girl, but I never went to Mass with her. We eventually broke up. That was my first serious breakup, and it was really hard on me. One of my buddies, who was Catholic, saw how depressed I was and invited me to go to daily Mass at St. Mary’s parish next to campus. I didn’t know what daily Mass even was, but I agreed. I found something holy and reverent there, and I was intrigued. I started going with him about once a week.
as we passed with the Blessed Sacrament, they fell down on their knees in adoration. It was very moving for me, and I experienced a conversion. That was the moment when I first knew that Christ was present in the Blessed Sacrament; I had this overwhelming feeling that Jesus was telling me, “I’m here. This is me.” After that moment, I intended to become Catholic. I couldn’t not do it. I came into the Church at Easter, 2006. How do you feel about your time at Texas A&M? For me, it was really good. Just being at A&M was really a sort of preparation for Catholicism. The school has a lot of traditions that, from the outside, are really hard to understand. Once you are part of it, though, you see how it all comes together to make a culture, with a rich history. Catholicism is a lot the same way. That helped me to understand Catholic culture as I was exploring it. You need to take the time to understand what’s going on, since it’s complex and based on a lot of rich history. Certainly, St. Mary’s Student Center at Texas A&M is a good place. If you’re a Catholic high school student searching for a college, take a look at it. It’s a good environment to grow in your faith while you’re at school. How did your first months as a Catholic go? Well, when you first join the Church, you’re on this spiritual high. Everything is new. I wanted to know everything. I went deep into the Catechism of the Catholic Church, learning whatever I could about the Church. I recommend that every Catholic household definitely have two books, a Bible and a Catechism. Pretty much any question you could have about the Catholic faith is answered in the Catechism.
What made you decide to become Catholic? At the time, a Franciscan priest was hearing confessions all day at the parish every Monday, and he agreed to talk with me about the Faith. We met once each week, and he patiently answered all my questions. He brought up the possibility of me going through RCIA, just to learn about the Church. I didn’t know what it was, exactly, but I agreed and started in Fall of 2005. RCIA was an amazing experience. I loved learning all about the Church and seeing how many misconceptions I had about Catholicism. I learned all the Biblical teachings concerning the sacraments, the priesthood, and the various Catholic doctrines. Each week I looked forward to it. Then, one of my friends, who was serving as head Yell Leader that year, came to me and said, “I’m scheduled for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration tonight, but I have a conflict. Can you fill in for me?” Well, I didn’t know what Eucharistic Adoration was, and I hadn’t yet learned everything about our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but I agreed to help him out. I figured I would go, sit in church and read for an hour, and be done. What happened? Well, it happened that I had the last hour of adoration that night, so when the hour was done, I was asked to hold a candle as we followed the Eucharist in procession from the adoration chapel back to the main church. It was pretty powerful for a guy who was just learning about the real presence. I remember that, as we entered the Church, there were people standing in the back, and
John Simmons as a cadet at Texas A&M. 27
When did you start to discern the priesthood? I guess I thought about the priesthood from the first day I came into the Church. In my conversion, I just got the idea that every Catholic man should consider the priesthood. So, I spent an hour talking to a priest about it, and I figured I was done with it. I had fulfilled my obligation. I graduated and started working in commercial real estate in Dallas and the idea faded. I started to feel strongly that I needed to offer myself to some kind of service. At first I thought it must be military service, and so I went through the process to enlist, but despite high test scores and recommendations it never worked out. I was really frustrated at the time, but now I realize it was God mysteriously closing that door because He had something else in mind for me. Then, in adoration (again) I was praying and looking up at the altar and the words, “Feed my sheep” came to me. It was clear and definite, and my immediate answer was, “No way. Not me.” I just shoved that experience to the back of my mind and pretended it never happened. I wasn’t ready to accept a vocation then; I think I wasn’t analyzing things correctly. I needed to first discern how important God is, and what great gifts He gives us, in order to be ready to trust Him on this. Eventually, I was ready to face this possibility.
Up to bat in the annual seminarian softball game. And, we need the Bible; we need to know the scriptures. We need to read it. Every Catholic needs to know that the Bible is a Catholic book. The Bible was written and collected into a single volume more than 1,000 years before there were any Protestants. It was all done by Catholics. It’s our book, and we should know it, really well. It’s a very Catholic thing to know the Scriptures. It’s only by knowing the Bible and the Catechism that we can answer the questions that people have about the Faith. Now, as a Catholic, I realize that most of the Catholics I knew growing up really didn’t know anything about the Church and couldn’t answer any questions about it. That always struck me as odd…why don’t more Catholics know their own Church? We need to help people understand the Faith, and encourage everyone to understand what we’re doing at Mass, in the sacraments, in every part of our Catholicism.
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What advice would you give for young people trying to discern their vocation? Talk to a priest. Don’t be afraid. Fear is a big part of people not discerning God’s will for them. I think we need to keep the basic facts in mind when thinking about our vocations: God wants priests and religious and holy marriages. It’s the devil who doesn’t want those things, and so of course there’s going to be a lot of temptation to not investigate, not pray about it, and to be distracted from discerning a holy vocation. Look around, at our culture, at our media, and you can see how obvious that is. There is a constant message of selfishness and fear foisted upon us from outside the Church. Like our Bishop says, “Even one day of discernment is a gift to the people of God.” That’s so true. Give God that gift. Ask questions; really pray about it. Consider spending time in the seminary or a religious community. I think it’s important for people to understand that seminary formation and formation in religious orders are simply another part of vocational discernment. It is certainly a more intense and serious discernment, nevertheless, it’s still discerning God’s will for one’s life. It doesn’t necessarily mean a man will end up ordained a priest or a woman a solemnly professed nun. However, if a person submits to formation in humility, and is open to God’s will, then that is definitely a gift to God and the Church regardless of the end result. It’s been my experience thus far in the seminary that the majority of men are discerning this call up until the moment the Bishop lays his hands on their head—obviously, some with more confidence than others. That said, I think there is a bit of a stigma outside the seminary that when a man leaves seminary formation it is somehow a bad thing. On the contrary, I’m always happy when a man leaves who I believe has discerned well, because it proves to me that the formation process has been fruitful. God has a plan that many of us can’t understand fully in the moment. Furthermore, I know that that man is now a better asset to the Church and society as a whole because of his willingness to be formed in the person of Jesus Christ. It should be apparent that we need more of that these days and not less. God didn’t call us to mediocrity, so there’s something to be said for laying down one’s
interested in Biblical languages. We start with Latin, and I love it. Already, so much about Sacred Scripture makes more sense to me, by just being able to compare the Latin to the English translation. Simple things pop out in Latin that are sort of masked in the English language, like the primacy of Peter as the head of the Apostles. It’s really evident when you read the Gospels in Latin. After Latin I am looking forward to Greek and I hope to study Hebrew later on. I think that would be a tremendous opportunity to help open the Scriptures up for Catholics. Everything we believe as Catholics is right there in the Bible, and I hope to have all the tools to show people this Catholic truth.
At Texas A&M, John served in Parson’s Mounted Cavalry and the Cannon Crew.
life for the good and preservation of another, whether in the religious or married state. The important thing is that we commit to giving our lives out of love, which St. Paul tells us is the greatest theological virtue (1 Corinthians 13:3). I only mention this because we have had a few guys leave formation early on, and I think it’s important that people have a better understanding of this process. At times, it’s perceived that a man who leaves discernment is somehow a wasted investment. As a man who had a life prior to seminary in the business sector, I know full well the importance and necessity of financial solvency. It’s through the generosity of our benefactors that so many men can study for the priesthood. I can only speak for myself, but I am eternally grateful for this generosity, because it has allowed me to become a better Christian, son, brother, friend, and seminarian. At the same time, we cannot forget the ultimate goal for each and every one of us: the eternal salvation of every soul created by God. There is no amount of money that can ever purchase such a blessed gift. Discernment is a product of God, the Church, and the man in formation. It’s a multi-layered process and not always a straight, one-way street to ordination. Discerning God’s will can be painful and uncomfortable at times as we leave behind the old man and put on the new one(Ephesians 4:22-24), but in no way does that pain or discomfort equate to the joy we will all hopefully experience by being in God’s presence in Heaven.
What would you say to people who are fearful of celibacy and feel they cannot consider a religious vocation because of it? Yeah, celibacy is tough. In my own discernment, I started out like I think everyone does. I thought, “That’s too much. That’s too tough.” But, through discernment, you can learn to trust God on this. You can say, “Okay, God, if you are calling me to this, then you have a plan to allow me to handle this.” We also know that marriage is tough, too. In any Catholic vocation, be it priesthood or religious life or marriage, you have to die to yourself. You can’t live out any of these vocations without God’s help. Discerning celibacy is about discerning something supernatural, and so that really requires quieting the noise from the world. Seminary is a good place to do that. Just don’t shut the door before you give God a chance to work in your life. He is capable of anything, and He can give us the grace to do something extraordinary. What’s your particular area of interest that you look forward to studying? Sacred Scripture. I’m really interested in that. Being in Notre Dame Seminary has shown me that I’m
Any final thoughts? Sure. Treasure the Holy Eucharist. Investigate the Bible and the Catechism. Go where God leads you, and don’t be afraid. Go to confession regularly. Don’t be afraid to get down on your knees in Confession and admit your sins to God. It’s such a beautiful thing, such a rich fountain of God’s mercy. Even if you haven’t been to confession in 40 years, just go. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to—hearing confessions. As amazing as it feels to hear the words of absolution, I can’t wait to be the one speaking those words on Christ’s behalf. I’m looking forward to being an instrument of God’s mercy. I never imagined myself being here. I never, ever thought I would be in the seminary, studying to become a priest. But, looking back over my life, the good and the bad, I can see myself drawing ever closer to where I am today. When you take a moment to look back over your life, you can see God’s hand guiding, in both the things that work out, and the things that don’t. q
John with his family- his father Mark, mother Terry, and sister Katie.
FATHERS & SONS
Terry Braun, father of Tyler priest Father Justin Braun, converted to Catholicism on Christmas Day, 2016. We interviewed them at their home parish, St. Mary’s in Longview, a few days before Terry was to be received into the Church. We asked about conversion, what it’s like to have a priest as a son, and to have a dad about to become Catholic.
it struck me that this forgiveness was different than chastisement. The next years of my life, I worked a lot of Sundays at the steel mill in Longview, so I didn’t go to church with the family often. When I did have Sunday off, I went to Mass and also to parish events. I think a lot of people thought I was Catholic. I didn’t go to Communion, though. Not for 45 years.
Terry Braun: I was raised in central Texas in the country outside of Waco. We went to a little Baptist Church. I went to vacation Bible school and did all the typical things. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, and I went to Sunday school. I was baptized when I was 9 years old. Along the way, my family changed churches to a different Baptist community because of disagreements, then later to yet another one. Of course, as a child, I didn’t understand precisely what happened. I graduated high school in 1966, and left home in ‘68. When I left, I pretty much left the Baptist Church behind. It didn’t inspire me. I can’t pinpoint any one thing, but I think I was most influenced by what I saw as hypocrisy in religion. The moral rules in the Baptist culture I was raised in were very strict, with absolute prohibitions on dancing, and drinking—but I saw that people did them anyway. They’d slip back into church through the side door the next day, and endure a chastisement in the sermon, but something was missing. I knew that these were, basically, good people, but something was wrong in the way sin was dealt with.
Father Justin Braun: As a kid, I knew my dad wasn’t Catholic like me and my mom, but I never felt like my dad was on a different team. He did his part. He got us out of bed for Mass and supported my mother completely in this. I had this recurring thought, though—I really wanted my dad to go to Communion.
How did you discover Catholicism? Terry Braun: Well, I met Helen, my wife. I had finished technical school and my mother and I went out to visit relatives in California. I ended up at her birthday party and met her there. I was smitten, I guess you could say, and I start writing to her. We corresponded regularly until I was drafted in May of 1969 and ended up in the Marine Corps. It’s tough to write a letter at boot camp, you just don’t have any time to yourself. After boot camp, I started to have a little free time, and luckily I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, just 90 miles away from her. I’d take a bus and stay with relatives to see her. The Vietnam War was winding down and so I was stationed in Barstow, California. I was in the Marine Corps until April of 1971, and Helen and I were married two weeks later. Now, Helen was a devout Catholic from a Catholic family, and so we were married in the Catholic Church. Although I wasn’t very concerned about religion in my own life, I made a promise to help her raise our children as Catholics, and I took that promise very seriously.
Why not go to Communion? Terry Braun: Well, those were the facts. That was the rule, it was what the Catholic Church taught, and I respected that. Father Justin Braun: My dad taught me about respect. Whenever he came into the Catholic Church building, he always showed respect. He always genuflected to the tabernacle, he would sing with everyone; he participated at Mass. He taught me respect for the Holy Eucharist even though he never received it. Terry Braun: Oh, I was mostly clueless about the doctrines of the Faith, but I was raised in a culture of respect. Respect for God was instilled in me, and so I wanted to be respectful in His Church.
Were you thinking about converting at that time? Terry Braun: In my own mind, at the time, it was “Church is Church.” I wasn’t thinking about becoming Catholic, but I gradually came to realize that Catholicism is different. I knew my wife was going to Confession regularly, and although I didn’t understand the details,
Father Justin Braun, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Tyler, with his dad, Terry Braun. 31
I developed a love for the Eucharist. Terry Braun: So, even though I was uneasy, I supported him. I drove him up to Philadelphia to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. That was a culture shock. Although I had spent all that time on the west coast, I hadn’t been any farther east that probably Shreveport. Philadelphia was foreign territory. When I saw that tiny room he’d be living in—you couldn’t even stretch your arms out; it was so small—I was troubled. Also, being Texans, we tend to be a little more friendly than folks from up there, you know? Father Justin Braun: We were a couple of East Texas boys, and that was our first experience with people from the North! I’m sort of surprised we didn’t just turn around and run back home. Then your son told you he wanted to be a priest. Terry Braun: Yeah, that was a shock. I had a hard time with that. Father Justin Braun: Yeah, I definitely told my mom first! When I finally told my dad, I could tell he was disappointed. I know he wanted me to carry on the family name and bloodline. Neither of my parents said, “no,” but they obviously had misgivings. Terry Braun: Looking back, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. I remember when I was driving him to JV baseball practice one time. It was Holy Thursday. After the drills were over, Justin asked to be excused to go Church, to serve Mass. The coach said to him, “you need to get your priorities straight!” Well, Justin walked off the team, right at that moment. A teenager willing to do that, to give up a sport he loved, I knew he was committed to God. Father Justin Braun: It all started right here, for me, in the adoration chapel at St. Mary’s. My mom got me to go to Eucharistic adoration with her. She didn’t make me pray or do anything in particular, but she did want me to go. In rebellion, I sat in the back and blasted Metallica through my headphones, but eventually Jesus started to work on me. 32
Terry Braun: I remember driving away, and looking in the rear view mirror and seeing him, and I knew we were both wondering, “Is it going to be ok?” It was tough to leave my son. I knew we were both sacrificing. But, it worked out. It turned out that he made a lot of good friends. It was better than either of us thought. As he went through his formation, as he grew in his knowledge, I listened to him. When he was home, that was what he talked about. The faith started to get closer and closer to my heart. It was working on me. Once he was ordained, it became really clear to me that I was missing something. Seeing the Eucharist through his eyes, it has changed me. How did you feel when he was ordained? Terry Braun: Intensely proud of him. Calling him “Father” for the first time was one of the proudest moments of my life. Father Justin Braun: My dad’s conversion is the greatest gift God has given to me since my ordination. My dad is going to have the sacraments. There’s nothing more wonderful. Terry Braun: I’ve been going to Eucharistic adoration with my wife, and there’s a little library in the chapel. I picked things up, read them, and my under-
standing has increased greatly. How can Catholics help people like yourself who are in our midst, but aren’t Catholic? Terry Braun: Be genuine. Never be ashamed about your Catholicism, but practice it honestly. Don’t be a hypocrite. Do what you say, and be honest about it. Be honorable. We live in a place where most of the people, while they may not know all the details of theology, are Christians, and they want to do what’s right. Sure, things have changed a lot in the last 40 or 50 years, and it’s unreal to me the virtues the world has lost, but we retain a culture of respect in East Texas. That helped prepare me for Catholicism, and it has prepared other people. I was taught to do what’s right. Father Justin Braun: And, if you do what’s right, and stick with it, you’ll eventually run into the Catholic Church. Terry Braun: Exactly. On Christmas Day, 2016, Father Justin Braun received his father, Terry Braun, into the Catholic Church. Terry received Confirmation and first Communion from his son. The entire extended Braun family was in attendance at St. Mary’s Church in Longview, for the event. q
The entire Braun clan: three children, their spouses, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild all gathered in Longview for Terryâ€™s reception into the Catholic Church on Christmas Day, 2016.
Catholic East Texas, the diocesan magazine, is online! Share the link to our full-color publication with family and friends. The magazine is an evangelical publication designed to implement Bishop Stricklandâ€™s vision for sharing the beauty of Catholic teaching, history, culture, spirituality, and liturgy in a way that makes our ancient faith attractive to both Catholics and non-Catholics in Northeast Texas. Every article, column, and review in the magazine is written by the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Tyler. Access the magazine online at http://issuu.com/ catholiceasttexas
MonseĂąor Strickland celebra Misa en Parroquia Nuestra SeĂąora de Guadalupe en Tyler.
Al estar reflexionando sobre el caminar de la Diócesis de Tyler, mis pensamientos se remontan a la isla de Cuba. Me imagino que al estar leyendo esto, el gusanillo de la curiosidad los inquieta y se preguntarán, ¿Por qué nuestro Obispo hace una conexión entre nuestra diócesis y la isla de Cuba? Pues muy sencillo, me refiero a un viaje reciente, que hice a Cuba, en los primeros días de Diciembre. Se me presentó la oportunidad de visitar esta nación con otro de mis hermanos Obispos y uno de los sacerdotes de su diócesis y de diversas maneras, esta fue una forma de visitar a la Cuba Católica, si es que se puede utilizar este adjetivo para esta nación comunista. Una imagen que se me viene a la mente es una que muchos de ustedes han visto en varios contextos, la de una semilla retoñando en medio de una selva. Ciertamente vi algunas plantas, en Cuba, que desafiantemente enseñaban sus retoños entre las ruinas de los edificios y estos ofrecen, en sí mismos, otra metáfora para Cuba. Creo que esto me lleva a realizar, con mayor profundidad, lo fuerte que es nuestro deseo de Dios y de su luz divina. Ningún ser humano tiene el poder de desaparecer este deseo del corazón humano y lo que pude presenciar en Cuba da testimonio de esta verdad. Por esto, regreso a la comparación original que hice entre la semilla de la Diócesis de Tyler y las dificultades de la iglesia en la Cuba comunista. Como Iglesia local establecida, en esta área de pinos verdes, por el Obispo de roma, la Diócesis de Tyler es un semillero que ha florecido y ha crecido fuerte a través de estos treinta años. Durante un periodo de tiempo la Diócesis de Tyler y los veinte años de que la Iglesia Católica de Cuba se asemejan en su lucha por florecer, hablamos desde la visita del papa Juan Pablo II, a esta isla, en 1998. Tanto la Diócesis de los pinos verdes y la Iglesia en la Isla de Cuba han enfrentado retos y han visto la perseverancia en la fe a través de los años. Interesantemente, las dos Iglesia locales tienen una larga trayectoria de catolicismo. Cuba remonta sus raíces al descubrimiento del Nuevo Mundo y el Este de Texas tiene sus raíces desde hace trecientos años por los esfuerzos de los misioneros católicos del área. De una forma única para estas dos comunidades diversas, las raíces del Catolicismo, que son parte de su historia, han ayudado para que su desarrollo se fortalezca durante las décadas recientes. Mientras que la revolución comunista en Cuba en los 1950’s trajo retos terribles a la Iglesia, el establecimiento de la Diócesis de Tyler a finales de 1980 proveyó grandes oportunidades de crecimiento. Es muy edificante ver al Espíritu Santo trabajar en las vidas de estos personajes diversos, aunque una enfrentara retos debilitantes y, la otra, oportunidades interesantes de desarrollo. Por último, el vistazo breve a la Iglesia de Cuba y mis años de experiencia con la Iglesia de Tyler me han llevado a la conclusión de que el Espíritu Santo, trabajando individualmente en los corazones de los discípulos puede, de verdad, realizar milagros. Si el discípulo enfrenta un régimen ateísta o abraza una gran opor-
tunidad de establecimiento en una nueva Iglesia local, el Espíritu Santo otorga a los dos la fortaleza para perseverar. Lo que pude apreciar, en Cuba, fue el intento del gobierno por aplastar el trabajo del Espíritu Santo en los corazones de su gente y también los bellos signos de que este intento no tuvo éxito. En contraste, mi experiencia con las comunidades del Este de Texas ha sido la de ser un testigo más de las maravillas que pueden suceder cuando los discípulos buscan cooperar con el Espíritu Santo. El discípulo en su encuentro con Jesucristo y habiendo sido guiado por el Espíritu Santo está en el corazón de la Iglesia y es un gozo el ver el florecimiento de la Iglesia ya sea en medio de grandes bendiciones o enfrentando grandes obstáculos.q
Para gobernar, santificar y enseñar Una reflexión sobre la oficina de obispo Por Monseñor Joseph Strickland
Al celebrar treinta años como iglesia local, entre las numerosas congregaciones globales de las diversas comunidades que forman la Iglesia Católica Romana, me vuelvo a uno de mis cuadros de referencia favoritos con respecto a este gran misterio que conocemos como el Cuerpo de Cristo. A menudo pienso en la Iglesia y su misión como un solo discípulo, y por así decirlo, a esta como el discípulo mayor. Es así que nuestra diócesis, a sus treinta años de fundación, ha terminado su etapa infantil y entra en la comunidad de discípulos como una joven adulta firmemente establecida en su “caminar” con un mundo y un futuro frente a ella. Nuestro trigésimo aniversario habla a nuestra comunidad de fe ya no como a una adolescente ni como una joven en a sus veinte años, sino como a una joven adulta lista para asumir su misión. Cuatro pastores han guiado esta Iglesia local y han enfrentado los retos de la infancia y adolescencia, de esta, al igual que los cambios que trae consigo la madurez. Como sacerdote me siento bendecido por formar parte de toda la trayectoria de la Diócesis de Tyler y he abrazado el reto y el llamado a convertirme en su cuarto pastor en los últimos años de su segunda década. Estoy seguro de que muchas personas se unen a mí al expresar mi más profunda gratitud a los tres obispos que sirvieron como guía de esta Iglesia local en sus primeros veinticinco años. Agradecemos su arduo trabajo y colaboración con los sacerdotes, diáconos, religiosas y fieles laicos provenientes de tres diferentes diócesis, para formar la Iglesia local y por habernos establecido con fundamentos firmes que nos permiten enfrentar el futuro con una profunda fuerza y esperanza. Continuando con este cuadro de referencia sobre el progreso de la diócesis y defiriendo similitudes con el progreso de un discípulo, retomo algunos principios básicos que me servirán, a mí, como pastor y a todos nosotros como discípulos de Cristo, a 36
cumplir con nuestra misión. Hemos sido bautizados en la vida salvífica de Jesucristo ungido como sacerdote, profeta y rey y desde ese momento compartimos su misión. El hermoso sacramento del bautismo se celebra ricamente, en la tradición de la Iglesia Católica Romana y al ser ungidos con el santo crisma somos llamados a abrazar la triple misión de Dios Hijo. Estamos literalmente unidos al Ungido y al ser ungidos nosotros mismos nos revestimos de su vida, muerte y resurrección y somos incorporados a su Cuerpo que es la Iglesia. La tradición antigua de la fe Católica nos guía a todos, desde el obispo de Roma hasta el obispo de la diócesis local y hasta el último bautizado a la vida de la iglesia, con estas tres metas en mente: Nosotros, los bautizados, debemos firmemente vivir nuestras vidas, en el mundo, como reyes, sacerdotes y profetas, y así transformar familias humanas. Podemos decir esto de manera diferente; nosotros los bautizados, nosotros la Iglesia, el cuerpo de Cristo debemos gobernar, santificar y enseñar al mundo sobre el mensaje maravilloso que el Hijo de Dios nos ha revelado. Como mencioné anteriormente, en el primer cuarto del centenario hemos sido bendecidos con magníficos pastores, quienes han hecho un trabajo magnifico, en la vida de nuestra diócesis, al abrazar estos tres aspectos de nuestra misión. Ciertamente el reto misionero de nuestra fe Católica es siempre el ir continuamente hacia delante en las tres áreas antes mencionadas y en la vida de la Diócesis de Tyler hemos logrado un gran progreso, reconociendo que el triple reto siempre estará necesariamente presente. Yo deseo ofrecer, desde mi perspectiva, algunos pensamientos respecto a la manera específica en la que mis predecesores han brindado fortaleza y bendiciones a la vida de la diócesis. Como sacerdote joven, yo trabajé con el primer Obispo, Charles E. Herzig, y enmarcaré su corto periodo con nosotros en términos
de la misión de gobierno. Por necesidad, el Obispo Herzing, se enfrentó con incontables decisiones de gobierno que se vio forzado a tomar, para así buscar la forma de unir tres porciones del Este de Texas y de esta manera dar nacimiento a la nueva Iglesia local. Casi puedo imaginar el temor que sintió al tener que tomar dichas decisiones, virtualmente, sobre cada uno de los aspectos de esta diócesis naciente. Por supuesto que al tomar las decisiones básicas sobre gobierno también debía tomar decisiones con respecto al oficio de la Iglesia de enseñar y santificar, pero en esta ocasión, al reflexionar sobre la legacía del Obispo Herzig me enfocaré primordialmente en sus talentos como gobernante. Al continuar considerando el progreso de la diócesis, con nuestro segundo y tercer pastor, puedo apreciar la gran cantidad de formas en las que cada uno contribuyó a la tripe misión de la Iglesia. En mayo de 1992 el Obispo Edmond Carmody vino a esta diócesis como nuestro segundo pastor. Muchos de nosotros recordamos el desarrollo tan tremendo que el inspiró y adoptó y tengo que admitir, siendo un sacerdote joven me ¡era difícil trabajar a la par con el! Siguiendo estas reflexiones sobre la celebración de nuestro treinta aniversario me gustaría enmarcar los ocho años del Obispo Carmody como un tiempo en el que se tomaron decisiones significativas de gobierno. El Obispo Herzing dejó cimientos básicos al tomar decisiones críticas sobre cómo debía establecerse la diócesis. El Obispo Carmody enfrentó el reto de decidir cómo, cuándo, y hacia donde crecería la Iglesia en estos treinta y tres condados que formaban la Diócesis de Tyler. Muchos de ustedes, al estar leyendo este artículo, están celebrando su fe en una parroquia o misión que ni siquiera existía cuando la diócesis se comenzaba a formar. Dirijamos todos una oración de gratitud, al Espíritu Santo, en acción de gracias por nuestros primeros dos pastores quienes cooperaron con la gracia de Dios y nos ayudaron a convertirnos en una Iglesia fundada firmemente sobre roca. En enero del 2001 El Obispo Álvaro Corrada del Rio fue instituido como el tercer obispo de la Diócesis de Tyler y fue así que comenzaron otros diez años de crecimiento. Bajo el fiel pastoreo del Obispo Corrada la diócesis continuó con su crecimiento y el avance en su misión. Los fundamentos y las nuevas comunidades establecidas por los Obispos Herzig y Carmody continuaron floreciendo y cobrando fuerza. Al igual que sus antecesores, el Obispo Corrada continúo tomando decisiones importantes acerca de la vida de la diócesis y abrazó con gran fuerza y entusiasmo el llamado a enseñar pero yo caracterizaría, los años del Obispo Corrada, como unos años en los cuales el enfoque primordial era el oficio santificador de la iglesia y del obispo. Debido a su amor personal por la liturgia y su desarrollo en la Iglesia Universal, como la nueva edición del Misal Romano, el Obispo Corrada logró grandes avances al formar a los sacerdotes, diáconos, religiosas y laicos en el amor a Cristo en Su liturgia. Al igual que con la misión de Jesucristo en su Iglesia, nunca podremos decir que la tarea de santificar al mundo, en Su nombre, ha llegado a su fin. Continuamos buscando ser santificados de una forma más profunda en la celebración de la Eucaristía, los sacramentos y de todas las formas gratuitas de gracia que el Señor, en su infinita Misericordia, ofrece a Su cuerpo, la iglesia. Estas reflexiones, sobre la jornada de la Diócesis de Tyler en estos treinta años nos ubican en la realidad del presente y los retos que gustosamente abrazaremos por los próximos treinta años. Como discípulos bautizados en la vida de nuestro Señor y Salvador Jesucristo y confirmados en la gracia del Espíritu Santo estamos llamados a vivir este triple reto a lo largo de nuestra vida. De diversas maneras el mayor anhelo para esta Iglesia local es que
cada uno de nosotros, como discípulos, abrasemos nuestra misión con gran grozo, fortaleza y alegría. Estamos llamados a regir nuestra vida personal y a tomar decisiones basadas en el Evangelio. Estamos llamados a luchar por la santidad, en nuestra vida personal, y a desarrollar una relación profunda con Nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Como discípulos, ¿cómo somos llamados a continuar con la misión de la Iglesia enfrentando todos los retos del tiempo presente? ¿Cómo es que el Señor me está retando a mí, como su pastor, para conducirlos a un futuro resplandeciente imbuido en la Luz del Evangelio que nuestro mundo necesita tan desesperadamente? Creo que la respuesta se encuentra, proféticamente, en el oficio de enseñar que todos compartimos y sirve como uno de los pilares, de mi labor, como Obispo. Al visualizar los próximos treinta años creo que juntos debemos abrazar el llamado a proclamar la verdad en formas nuevas y profundas. Si no conocemos la verdad que nos hace libres es imposible, para nosotros, tomar decisiones sabias regidas por del Evangelio o buscar una vida de santidad auténtica y mantenerla, para así poder ser santificados. Muchas circunstancias del pasado y del presente se entrelazan hoy en día y demandan que aceptemos humildemente que hay mucho de la verdad en el Evangelio de Jesucristo que ha sido ignorado y o rechazado. A menudo yo utilizo una expresión popular de lo que nosotros en la diócesis y en realidad en toda la Iglesia necesita y es un “Catolicismo que no le pone mucha crema a sus tacos”. Estoy convencido de que esta imagen, que es bastante pintoresca, nos revela lo que debe ser nuestro enfoque para el futuro. Hay tantas cosas hermosas en nuestra fe Católica que para el pueblo de Dios, hoy día, siguen siendo desconocidas e inexperimentadas. Creo firmemente que podemos lograr un progreso mayor al hablar sobre los males de hoy si somos capaces de reconocer y compartir esa verdad que ha inspirado a los discípulos, a través de los siglos, a vivir vidas santas. Yendo un paso más adelante en el llamado a enseñar, yo propongo que recorramos el camino por dos vías que constantemente se crucen, que se entrelacen y revitalicen. El oficio de enseñar que compartimos, como discípulos, implica el recorrer un jornada de catequesis para así poder aprender clara y profundamente lo que creemos, en nuestra tradición Católica, como seguidores de Jesucristo. También incluye un segundo y muy importante sendero de evangelización, de aprendizaje sobre el porque nosotros, como católicos, creemos lo que creemos y por qué esto hace la diferencia en la vida el ser humano. Yo tengo la certeza de que después de solo unos momentos de reflexión sobre estas dos vías de enseñanza como la misión de nuestra Iglesia, nos daremos cuenta de que estamos enfrentándonos una tarea desalentadora para los próximos años de nuestra jornada de fe. Hay muchas voces falsas que quieren callarnos. Existe mucha apatía e ignorancia que desaminan nuestros esfuerzos desde antes de que podamos comenzarlos. Pero sintámonos inspirados por la gloria de los comienzos de la Iglesia, cuando la diócesis comenzaba tomar forma, cuando muchas de las verdades que hoy nos rigen comenzaban a descubrirse. Seamos maestros y discípulos nosotros mismos, de esos que profunda y constantemente buscan aprender más. Clara y gozosamente catequicemos, llevemos el mensaje de lo que creemos y liberemos al pueblo de Dios con la maravilla de Su verdad. Evangelicemos a los jóvenes, a los ancianos, ricos y pobres, débiles y fuertes y así compartiremos la dinámica de nuestra fe. Sigamos caminando en Cristo.q 37
La celebración de cualquier aniversario, lleva siempre consigo un sin número de memorias y de personas que de alguna forma u otra forman parte de la historia de la celebración. La Diócesis de Tyler, como nos podemos imaginar, cuenta con un sin número de personajes claves que han contribuido de manera significativa e inimaginable a su desarrollo pastoral y ministerial. Uno de estos personajes contribuyentes es el Padre Daniel Daugherty quien, al momento, es el párroco de la Parroquia de St. Jude en Gun Barrell City. ¿Quién es el Padre Daugherty? Preguntarán algunos. El Padre Dan, como le dicen sus feligreses, es uno de los dos primeros sacerdotes ordenados para la Diócesis de Tyler. Su ordenación fue en el año de 1994 por el Obispo Edmond Carmody. Después de su ordenación fue asignado como vicario en la Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion. Su ministerio ahí duro un promedio de un año y después fue enviado como administrador a la parroquia de Prince of Peace en Whitehouse. Al presente, como dijimos anteriormente, el Padre Dan sirve a la comunidad de St. Jude en Gun Barrell City. Una de las características notables del P. Dan es que tiene un don especial para unir las comunidades que son diversas en lengua, cultura y raza. Se nota, en su manera de ejercer su ministerio pastoral, que su corazón es semejante al de Jesucristo, para El todos formamos parte de una sola familia, la familia de Dios. El no ve el color de la piel, ni escucha una lengua diferente, ni se encajona con una forma exclusiva de celebrar la fe, el Padre Dan cree y vive fielmente lo que profesa. “La iglesia es universal, dice, y por eso no hay que excluir a nadie, más bien hay que hacer todo lo posible por ser exclusivos y hacer sentir a todos que son bienvenidos, que la parroquia es casa de todos y que sus puertas están abiertas quienes buscan a Cristo sin importar nacionalidad, raza, cultura o credo”. “Ante las diferencias entre dos culturas, es indispensable que notemos que la diversidad no es un problema, al contrario, es una bendición”, según palabras de algunos clérigos. “Cuando las personas se fijan más en lo que los divide que en lo que los une, se crea un ambiente hostil y se miran con desconfianza. Ante esta realidad, la ignorancia de las culturas es el meollo de todo sentimiento negativo. La realización de que todos somos hermanos se vuelve opaca y no se distingue la verdad” dijo el Padre Dan. Por este motivo, para crear un ambiente de hermandad en su entorno, tanto en su parroquia como con sus hermanos sacerdotes, el Padre Dan procura dialogar y compartir con todos, sin importar su nacionalidad o lengua. Para el, todos los sacerdotes son sus hermanos. Prueba de esto es que el Padre Daugherty ha invitado, en varias ocasiones, a los sacerdotes hispanos a compartir y convivir en su parroquia y aunque no habla el español fluentemente, hace el esfuerzo por comunicarles su alegría recibiéndolos con un abrazo y haciéndoles sentir bienvenidos. El P. Jesus Arroyave, párroco de la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe atestigua: “el P. Daugherty siempre ha sido así, siempre ha mostrado deferencia, respeto y amistad para con nosotros, los
sacerdotes hispanos, nos ha aceptado como hermanos pues nos saluda en nuestra lengua y hace lo posible por entablar un dialogo aunque sea sencillo, con nosotros, cuando nos encontramos”. En su parroquia de St. Jude, el Padre Daugherty celebra la misa en Inglés y también en Español. El atiende pastoralmente a su comunidad aunque hable dos idiomas y celebre la fe de diferente manera. “El centro de la Liturgia es Jesús, no importa el idioma en que la misa sea celebrada, Jesús se hace realmente presente en cada misa y para cada comunidad. A mí no se me dificulta celebrar la misa en Inglés o Español, no me pesa, al contario, gozo las celebraciones porque tengo bien en claro que la Misa es para todos, por todos y para el bien de todos” dijo. “Me gusta la imagen del Buen Pastor, agrega el P. Dan, porque cuando veo que la gente sufre, cuando me doy cuenta de sus necesidades físicas o espirituales, cuando los encuentro cruzando un problema fuerte, cuando los veo sufrir por la pérdida de un ser querido o cuando veo familias batallando financiablemente, quisiera ponerlas sobre mis hombros y así aliviar sus necesidades, así como lo hizo Cristo con la oveja que se le había perdido”. Con estas palabras nos deja en claro que para él, las necesidades de los demás, son importantes. El padre Daugherty se interesa por aliviar las necesidades de aquellos que se acercan a él pidiéndole ayuda de cualquier índole, independientemente de su idioma o color de piel. Él sabe que como seres humanos todos tenemos dignidad y todos merecemos respeto y ser tratados como personas. Por este motivo, el padre procura hacer lo posible por ayudar al que lo necesita y proporciona el apoyo que le piden y que le es posible ofrecer. “Me gustaría, dijo, que pudiéramos de alguna forma investigar las necesidades familiares de nuestros feligreses. A veces tienen necesidad de tener una vivienda decente o no tienen la comida necesaria para mantener una nutrición balanceada o la ropa necesaria para vestir decentemente. Quisiera que nos diéramos cuenta de las necesidades de los que tienen menos para que los que tenemos un poquito les tendamos la mano”. Crear un ambiente de hermandad en una parroquia donde se mueven diferentes culturas es un reto para el sacerdote encargado, pero es un reto que abrazado con amor, puede mover corazones y puede lograr un cambio comunitario para el bien de todos. En estos 30 años, de trabajo arduo, para darle orientación a la diócesis de Tyler, en todos los niveles, el P. Dan Daugherty ha puesto su granito de arena, él ha procurado hacer que tanto la comunidad hispana como la anglosajona se sientan bien en la parroquia donde ejerce su ministerio sacerdotal y la consideren su casa. Esto hace posible que los católicos en esta área del este de Texas expresemos al mundo que comprendemos que ser católico implica tener una mente universal y tener un corazón y una mente abierta para todos. “!El amor derriba toda barrera!, que este sea nuestro lema” dijo el P. Daugherty para concluir. q 39
“Al final mi corazón Inmaculado triunfará” En mayo del próximo año, la Iglesia en el mundo estará celebrando 100 años de la aparición de la Virgen de Fátima a tres pastorcitos cuyos nombres eran: Francisco, Lucia y Jacinta. Es por demás decir que esta diócesis, además de estar celebrando su 30 aniversario de establecimiento, se unirá de una forma especial a este acontecimiento mundial. La diócesis de Tyler tiene la dicha de contar con un grupo de hermanas religiosas que profesan una devoción particular a Nuestra Señora de Fátima, ellas son las Hermanas Dominicas de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fátima quienes llegaron a apoyar al Obispo, en su labor pastoral hace dos años. Sus nombres son: Sor Irene, OP, Sor María del Mar, OP, Sor Yelitza, OP y Sor María Faustina. Aprovechando el “gran acontecimiento” me decidí a ir su convento y entrevistarlas. He aquí el resultado de nuestra conversación.
Nuestra Señora de Fátima
100 Años desde su Aparición 40
¿Cuándo y cómo llegaron a la Diócesis de Tyler? Sor Irene: Llegamos en el año 2014 por iniciativa de Catholic Extension, una organización que busca apoyar a las Diócesis que son misión en su desarrollo. Personas de esta organización nos buscaron y nos pusieron en contacto con el Obispo Joseph Strickland y comenzamos a entablar un dialogo para llegar a un acuerdo. En dialogo con estas dos entidades decidimos que Tyler era un buen lugar para ejercer nuestro ministerio y apoyar la labor pastoral que el Obispo ha planteado en esta área de Texas”. Sor Maria del Mar: “Nos fascinó este lugar porque es bonito, es verde y tiene muchas flores, su gente es muy acogedora y además creemos firmemente que es un lugar de misión, un lugar en el que la tierra es propicia para la siembra”. Como ven ustedes que su carisma florecerá en esta diócesis de Tyler? Sor Irene: Creo que uno de los valores más sobresalientes que hemos visto al hacer nuestro ministerio con los hispanos, es el valor que le dan a la familia. Ellos tienen familias numerosas y hacen todo juntos. Van a misa, se divierten, comen, juegan, etc. Todo lo hacen juntos. También se nota que son gente sencilla, gente acogedora. Creen en nosotros y en la doctrina que les ensenamos. Cuando los visitamos nos ofrecen hasta lo que no tienen. Son muy hospitalarios. Por tener ustedes una devoción particular a Nuestra Señora de Fátima, ¿que nos pueden decir sobre la celebración de los 100 años? ¿Cómo la van a celebrar? Sor Yelitza: Pues con una FIESTA… y también recordando el gran amor que Dios nos tiene porque nos mandó a su Madre. La mandó en un momento preciso para el mundo y la historia de la Iglesia. Ella nos ha recordado que no somos huérfanos, que tenemos mamá y Papá. Sor María Faustina: En Puerto Rico tenemos la segunda réplica de la capilla a nuestra Señora de Fátima y allá habrá una gran celebración en el pueblo y también a nivel congregación. Se harán novenarios en honor de la Madre de Dios, se promoverá el rezo del Santo Rosario, la Celebración de la Santa Misa, se invitarán a predicadores profesionales quienes harán presentaciones sobre la aparición y también habrá una gran procesión. Sor María del Mar: La Santísima Virgen llegó en un momento difícil, cuando ella se apareció a los tres pastorcitos, había guerra y en esta aparición ella pidió que se rezara el Rosario para pedir la paz del mundo, pidió a los pastorcitos que hicieran sacrificios y mucha oración por la conversión de los pecadores y por esta razón, para la celebración aquí en Tyler, tenemos algunas ideas y una vez que se concreticen, en detalles, les haremos saber de qué se trata. Lo que si tenemos ya verificado es una peregrinación de Tyler a Puerto Rico comenzando el día 8 de Mayo al 15 del mismo mes, 2017. También promoveremos el rezo del santo Rosario con las casas de las familias que así lo deseen. Pensando en el mensaje de Fátima, ¿Cómo es que este mensaje se relaciona con su ministerio en esta área del Este de Texas? Sor María Faustina: Todo el mensaje de Fátima sigue siendo actual y tiene que ver con la familia. La Madre Dominga Guzman Florit decía “En todos sitios hay familias que salvar” y esta frase encierra, por así decirlo, parte de nuestro carisma y misión. El mensaje de Fátima se trata de la familia, porque en el milagro del sol, sor Lucia, pudo apreciar a la sagrada familia en el centro de ese astro tan impresionante. Porque el mensaje de Fátima tiene que ver con la fa-
milia nuestra labor, en esta área de Texas, se centra en acompañar a las familias, aconsejarlas y ayudarlas a llegar al cielo. Sor Irene: El diablo está cerca y a veces pareciera como que la gente está viviendo como si Dios no existiera, como si no tuviéramos que rendirle cuentas algún día. La Virgen de Fátima les enseñó a los niños el infierno y eso es lo que les espera a los que no se arrepienten y se convierten. Esto lo entendieron muy bien los niños de Fátima y se esforzaron al máximo por obedecer la petición de las Señora del Cielo, “rezar el Rosario y hacer sacrificios por la conversión de los pecadores y la paz del mundo”. Sor María del Mar: Todos los acontecimientos que enfrenta el mundo al momento no son nuevos, son situaciones aunque de diferente manera, existieron en el pasado y existirán en el futuro, pero no hay que desesperar porque ella, la Madre de Dios, les dijo a los pastorcitos: “al final mi corazón inmaculado triunfara”, y esta promesa nos debe de llenar de entusiasmo y de esperanza. Si hay momentos difíciles en la vida y el mundo se enfrenta al odio y a la guerra, todos estamos contra todos y no nos es posible la fraternidad, pero si oramos, si nos mantenemos en paz los unos con los otros y velamos por construir puentes de encuentro en lugar de barreras que dividen apoyaremos a nuestra Madre para que su corazón triunfe en la vida de todos los creyentes y de esa forma podamos tratarnos como verdaderos hijos de Dios. Ustedes son de una cultura diferente a la de los mexicanos y la mayor parte de los hispanoparlantes, residentes en esta área de Texas son mexicanos, ¿Cómo se han acoplado a las formas de expresión de fe de este pueblo tan diferente al suyo? Sor Yelitza: Son una verdadera bendición. Yo he aprendido mucho porque por ejemplo, hay prácticas de la religiosidad popular que yo no conocía porque son propias de México, por ejemplo: los 46 Rosarios a la Virgen de Guadalupe, la presentación de los niños a los 3 años de edad, la acostada y levantada del niño Jesus, etc. Todas estas prácticas religiosas son muy bonitas y buenas para mantener la fe viva. Sor Irene: Pero, también existe la tentación de hacerse fanáticos y no celebrar estos momentos, que hemos mencionado, con sentido cristiano. Digo esto porque estas mismas personas que celebran estos acontecimientos no van a misa, no practican su fe a través de la caridad ni fortalecen su vida sacramental. Viven como “fanáticos” religiosos. Aquí es donde entramos nosotros, es aquí donde está nuestra labor. Es aquí en donde podemos ver los campos para una nueva evangelización. Aquí, es cuando nosotras vemos a estas familias en sus necesidades más obvias y los acompañamos en su jornada de fe, en todos los sentidos. Es en estas circunstancias cuando hacemos realidad lo que nuestra fundadora quería: “Llevar a Cristo a la familia y la familia a Cristo”. Como hemos podido apreciar, la presencia de las Hermanas Dominicas del Rosario de Fátima es una bendición para esta diócesis. Su labor ministerial y sobre todo su consagración religiosa harán germinar las semillas de la paz que ellas sembrarán en el corazón de cada hogar que visitan. En este año, en el que se celebran los 100 años de la aparición de la Virgen de Fátima, pidámosle a ella que nos siga animando y nos siga llevando de la mano a su hijo Jesús, pues ese es su mayor anhelo y que junto con estas religiosas y los pastorcitos, que la vieron en esa aparición, recemos el Santo Rosario con devoción y hagamos sacrificios por la conversión de los pecadores y la paz en el mundo.q 41
Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
La Diócesis de Tyler es rica en experiencias, en costumbres y en expresiones de fe. Esto se reafirma con el desarrollo que ha tenido en 30 años de servicio desde su fundación. La parroquia de St. Peter Claver también conocida como Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, es un testimonio palpable de lo que se puede lograr cuando se unen las culturas y se involucran las familias. Desde su llegada a esta parte Noreste del Texas, el P. Luis Larrea, el Hno. Simón Nila y otros seis Hermanos iniciaron los trabajos de reconstrucción de la pequeña Iglesia. Luego El P. Luis, Hno. Simón y el Hno. Gustavo López trabajaron hasta el cansancio para lograr lo que, a la fecha, podemos apreciar. El Padre Luis y los Hermanos, llegaron a Tyler, procedente de Los Ángeles el 3 de Febrero de 1998 encontraron una pequeña
capilla, misión de la Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, la cual hasta esa fecha permanecía cerrada y sin actividad pastoral por cerca de 30 años. El Padre Luis y los hermanos emprendieron una tarea titánica de reconstruir una iglesita que se veía en ruinas y abandonada, como sucedió a San Francisco de Asís en la Porciúncula, una iglesita que para muchos era ya un caso perdido. Pero, el Padre Luis y los Hermanos con un gran entusiasmo y amor por la Iglesia, con el apoyo pastoral del Obispo Edmond Carmody, lograron establecer una nueva Iglesia para la Diócesis de Tyler y esa pequeñita porción del pueblo de Dios, que apenas asomaba a ver lo que sucedía, un tanto por curiosidad y otras por necesidad, hoy, se ha convertido en una verdadera Comunidad Eclesial en la que todos son familia y donde todos valen por lo que son.
Gracias al apoyo y entrega del Señor Obispo Alvaro Corrada del Río S.J y con el correr de los años se han alcanzado grandes metas: La reconstrucción total de aquella pequeña capilla abandonada llamada San Pedro Claver, el primer y único Santuario de la Diócesis de Tyler, dedicado a la Santísima Virgen María bajo la advocación de Ntra. Sra. del Monte Carmelo, aulas de clase para el Programa de Formación en la Fe, La Recetoría, Oficinas y el Salón parroquial entre otros. A este santuario llegan personas de todas las regiones del Este de Texas y cuando llegan todo son bienvenidos. Aquí no importa nacionalidad, raza, cultura o lengua. Aquí lo que importa es que quieran abrir su corazón a Dios e implorar su ayuda y misericordia. ¿Cómo se puede lograr el progreso cuando el futuro a veces se ve opaco? Contando primeramente con la ayuda de la gracia de Dios. La Iglesia, sabemos todos es de él y el la lleva por donde a El le place. “Lo más bello que hemos logrado, dice el P. Luis, no es la construcción de un templo, de un edificio, sino la construcción de la Iglesia, del Pueblo de Dios, de todos los que se reúnen para adorar, dar gracias y bendecir a Dios, esto creo yo es el mejor logro” “La comunidad que se reúne aquí, es una verdadera comunidad, digo esto porque les gusta trabajar juntos, les gusta celebrar juntos y les fascina compartir y convivir juntos”. Lograr la unidad en donde la diversidad de culturas, de nacionalidades, de lengua es el pan cotidiano es verdaderamente sorprendente. Esto es posible cuando se cuenta con un líder, como el P. Luis, con carisma, con sentido de liderazgo y con un corazón humano elevado a lo divino. El Padre Luis ha puesto todos los dones que Dios le ha regalado al servicio de aquellos a los que sirve y esto se refleja en la comunidad que junto con el celebra el amor misericordioso de Dios. “Uno de los talentos más sobresalientes del Padre Luis es su forma de predicar. Se ve la unción de Dios cuando habla con la comunidad sobre las verdades de la fe y estoy segura, de que esto ha contribuido sobremanera a la edificación del pueblo de Dios y ha hecho posible que esta comunidad pueda celebrar en diferentes lenguas” dijo la Sra. Betty Murphy, feligrés de esta parroquia desde hace ya más de una década de años”. El santuario de Nuestra Señora del Carmen cuenta con un sin número de ministerios laicales y además es la casa de la Orden Terciaria de San Francisco. Todos los que llegan a este templo encuentran un lugar de fe muy cercano a ellos pues el arte que abriga este templo está compuesto de una variedad completa de imágenes que ayudan y cooperan con la piedad popular de todos
los que llegan a celebrar su fe cada domingo. Damos gracias a Dios por que la pequeña Capilla que era St. Peter Claver, que a la llegada del P. Luis, y después de mucho esfuerzo y trabajo se ha convertido en un verdadero santuario en el que la fe de los bautizados se fortalece y cobra energía. No hay duda que la labor del P. Luis y los Hermanos, especialmente el Hermano Simón han contribuido sobremanera para que el catolicismo en esta área de Texas continúe avanzando y creciendo y no solo eso sino que de diferentes formas la doctrina cristiana se siga impartiendo en sus diferentes dimensiones a tantas familias que carece de conocimiento de la fe. En esta celebración del 30 Aniversario de la Diócesis de Tyler agradecemos también la labor de las religiosas que han formado parte, de una forma u otra, de la labor que el P. Luis ha abrazado con tanto cariño. Sister Teresa Cabral de las hermanas Eucarísticas, que en gloria este, Sister Gabriela Delgado de las Hermanas Marianitas. La colaboración de estas mujeres de Dios han fortalecido nuestro propósito de hacer florecer la semilla de la fe en los corazones de todos los que, hasta la fecha, forman parte de esta comunidad de fe, tan dinámica, activa y entusiasta. ¡En hora buena! Sigamos caminando, sigamos animando a otros a enamorarse del Señor y continuemos evangelizando para que el catolicismo en esta área de Texas cobre energía, vigor y fuerza y podamos mostrar al mundo la alegría que trae consigo el ser, católicos y ser colaboradores de Cristo.q
30 years of the diocese...of Antioch by Ben Fisher, managing editor
When I was investigating Catholicism, a question from my Baptist youth popped up again and again. If the Catholic Church is the “true” Church, why don’t we see bishops and priests running the Church in the Bible? This question causes a lot of people to discount Catholicism, and that’s too bad. Studying the history of another diocese, the Diocese of Antioch, is enlightening. The word diocese is Greek. It comes from Roman secular politics in the Eastern Empire, and it meant the area governed by a city. The group of Christians under the rule of a bishop was originally simply the ekklesia (church) and later the paroikia (parish). As the Church spread and became more organized, it eventually adopted the common term for governance by a city, and all the churches in a region presided over by the bishop in his cathedral came to be called a diocese. Names notwithstanding, when did the Church become organized around bishops? As a child, I was told that this happened after the Roman emperor Constantine “took over the Church” (he actually did no such thing) in the early 4th century. So, is this true? What was the original form of the Church, and how was it organized? Well, we don’t have to wonder, because we possess seven letters from the third bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius. Antioch was an ancient GrecoRoman city in what is now Turkey, on the Eastern bank of the Orontes River, 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It is to Antioch that the early Christians fled during the persecution that began with death of Stephen, the first martyr. It was in Antioch that followers of Jesus were first called Christians, and both Peter and Paul worked there (Acts Chapter 11). Saint Peter was bishop in Antioch before he departed for Rome. When he left, he provided a list of successors. He named first Evodius, and then Ignatius, who assumed the office when Evodius died in about 67 A.D., when the Christian community in Antioch was about 30 years old. Ignatius was a convert to Christianity at a young age, and had been a student of the Apostle John. So, Ignatius was a companion in Antioch of at least two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, and given that Antioch was a crossroads for travel in the ancient near East (Paul departed on his missionary journeys from Antioch, for example), it is likely that he also knew other Apostles. So, Ignatius learned about Christianity from the Apostles, he was ordained by the Apostles, and he was made a bishop by the Apostles. If anyone knew how Christianity was intended to work, as taught by Jesus to His Apostles, it was Ignatius. In about 107 A.D., when he was an old man, Bishop Ignatius was arrested by Roman authorities during the reign of emperor Trajan. As a bishop, he was a prize, and the Romans decided to use him for propaganda value. They shipped him from Antioch to Rome, to die there in front of 80,000 of the Empire’s most prominent citizens in the Coliseum. The journey from Antioch to Rome, by land and sea, took weeks. When the bishop and the soldiers guarding him would stop at various cities, Christians there would come to see the great man, and they took letters he wrote along the way. 44
Ignatius wrote seven authentic letters of which we are aware, to various bishops and dioceses in the ancient world. Translations of them are printed in many different books and are available on many internet sites. What did this man, who learned the faith and Church governance from the Apostles, have to say as he was being taken to his death? “See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.” “Presbyter” is an archaic term for priest. So, Ignatius had three ranks of clergy in his diocese, and taught that the laity are to follow the hierarchy of the Church. He wrote this in 107 A.D., just 15 years or so after the death of the Apostle John. “Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it.” This is still the way it is in the Catholic Church. To be able to licitly say Mass in the diocese, a priest must be given permission by the local bishop. St. Ignatius was granting permission to say Mass to the priests in his diocese in 107 A.D. “Let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrin of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church.” Saint Ignatius is quite clear: without the clergy, there is no Church. Even at this early date in the history of the Church, it was functioning very much as it still does today—as the Catholic Church does today. “Bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds of the earth, are so by the will of Jesus Christ… Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God.” Ignatius here testifies that it is by the will of Jesus Christ that the Church had appointed bishops “to the utmost bounds of the Earth,” already in 107 A.D. Ignatius died in the Coliseum, mauled by lions for the enjoyment of Roman spectators. His bones were collected by the Christians of Rome as relics, and his letters were copied and carried to Churches all over. It is amazing and providential that we have them today. In these seven letters, he teaches Catholic doctrine on the sacraments, the priesthood, Jesus Christ, and many other topics. When I first read the letters of St. Ignatius, I was “blown away.” Here was the smoking gun, an undeniable witness to the Catholicity of the early Church, operating as the Apostles had instructed. As I read more and more of these “Early Church Fathers,” like St. Ignatius, St. Irenaus, St. Clement and others, I saw that they all taught Catholic doctrine. If you have doubts about the Catholic Church and wonder, “Is this the one, true Church?”—ask St. Ignatius, a teaching bishop.q
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Thank you to all the faithful in the Diocese of Tyler for your support of St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry at SFA. 2016 was another great year, and with faith and hope in the loving care of our Father, we look forward to an even better 2017. The lives of our students are being forever changed as they grow in their relationship with Jesus, and their love for God and others is deepened as they come to understand and experience God’s amazing love for them. We wish you all a Christ filled new year!
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