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May-August 2017

Bishop Strickland’s Constitution on Teaching in the Diocese of Tyler


This Issue THE MAGAZINE OF THE DIOCESE OF TYLER

Vol. 30 Issue 4 May-August 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. ©2017 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 Chaplain Father Matthew Stehling Editor Ben Fisher Ben@catholiceasttexas.com Contributing Writer Amanda Martinez Beck

www.dioceseoftyler.org

02 04 18 22 24 28 38 40 46 60 64 68 72

Diocesan News and Events A Teaching Diocese Bishop Joseph Strickland

The Big Lie A new Principal for TK Gorman Borrowed Time

Interview with Father Efren Nano

Spotlight on Catholic Campus Ministry DCYC 2017 Lead all Souls to Heaven Father Matthew Stehling

Una Diócesis que Enseña Obispo Joseph Strickland

La Gran Mentira Tiempo Prestado Lleva al Cielo a todas las Almas Padre Matthew Stehling

Only the Good Die Young Ben Fisher

In this issue of the Catholic East Texas magazine, we are priveleged to publish Bishop Strickland’s Constitution on Teaching. In both English and Spanish, our Bishop lays out his plans for a new teaching structure, a new emphasis on teaching, and his special concern for teaching families about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We also have a special section spotlighting the great work of the ministries on the college campuses in our Diocese. Father Stehling, chaplain of the CET, contributes an explanation of the events surrounding the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima 100 years ago. We interview Father Efren Nano, a priest of the Diocese who is suffering from cancer, and we hear about the realities of the homosexual lifestyle from a man who experienced it, and then reverted to the Faith.

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

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Diocesan News

For more news, go to: www.dioceseoftyler.org/news

Totus Tuus (Totally Yours) is a Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through catechesis, evangelization, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. The goal of Totus Tuus is to help young people grow in the understanding of, and strengthen their faith in, Jesus Christ. Teams of young adults will be travling to various parishes around the Diocese of Tyler to put on these week long programs throughout the summer. A day session for elementary and middle school students runs Monday- Friday and evening sessions for High School students begins Sunday evening - Thursday evening. If a Totus Tuus team is coming to your parish and you’d like to help in some way contact you pastor for more information. June 11-16 Sacred Heart, Texarkana and Sacred Heart, Nacogdoches June 18-23 Our Lady of Victory, Paris and St. Wiiliam, Cathage June 25-30 St. Therese, Canton July 9-14 Holy Trinity, Trinity and St. Mary, Longview July 16- 22 St. Edwards, Athens July 23-28 St. Leo the Great, Centerville 2

Fr. Joe Kannampuzha celebrates 25 years as a priest.

The Diocesan Marian Assembly 2017 The Diocese of Tyler will celebrate the 100 th year anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2017. This great event will take place at the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul and the high school gym on the campus of Bishop T.K Gorman Regional Catholic School. The Marian Assembly is an annual event that focuses on the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. While normally celebrated in October, it was moved to May because of the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. The celebration begins at 10:00 a.m. with the welcoming by Father Raymundo Garcia, and closing with Holy Mass at 4:30 p.m. with the Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop of Tyler.

Father Joe was ordained in India on April 26, 1992 and began his his mininstry in Calcutta with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Father Joe was in Calcutta for five and a half years. At the time Father Joe arrived in Calcutta, the area was 98% Hindu and Mother Teresa was very frail, but the sisters carried on her work. Father Joe said, “I remember Mother Teresa as a living saint with a burning love for Jesus and, whenever a priest came, Mother Teresa would always put her hands over the priest’s head and pray.” Father Joe came to Texas in 1997. His first assignment was associate pastor at St. Mary’s in Longview, he then went to Our Lady of Grace, which at that time was a mission, in Hallsville, Texas. He was then pastor in Sulphur Springs, and is currently pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle in Lufkin.


events for the ship.” Father Mike has served at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Madisonville, Texas for sixteen years. He said, “I am amazed when I realize that this little parish has done over a million and a quarter dollars in construction, remodeling and upgrades. I could not be any prouder of this parish and its wonderful people. And it will be hard to ship off.” The parish is planning a Bon Voyage Weekend scheduled for the end of May on Memorial Day weekend.

The Bishop TK Gorman Catholic School baseball team is enjoying a standout season, ranked #2 in their division in batting average, stolen bases, and home runs. At TK Gorman, registration for the 2017-2018 academic year is open. Bishop Gorman is a college preparatory 6-12 program that focuses on academic excellence with an emphasis on Catholic Christian formation. Bishop Gorman is a Top 50 Catholic High School, 20052015; a Blue Ribbon “Excellence in Education” Award Winner 1998 by the U.S. Department of Education; TAPPS 3A Overall State Champions 2001 and 2002; TAPPS 3A Academic State Champions, 1999, 2000, and 2002; and Middle School PSIA State Academic Champions 2014. For more information, call the school at 903-561-2424 or see the website. www.bishopgorman.net

Father Mike Barone, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in Madisonville, is retiring...but is moving to a new field of ministry. Father Mike, under the direction of the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America, will become a ship’s onboard chaplain. On August 6, he will set sail with the Holland America Line as the onboard chaplain of a cruise ship, ministering to both the passengers and the crew. Father Mike will become the “pastor” to an international crew, about 75% of whom are Catholic. In addition to the daily Mass for passengers, he will offer Mass for the crew at 4:00 a.m., visit the infirmary daily, and be available for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. Speaking about the crews he will minister to, Father Mike said, “Many are away from home for nine months to a year at a time. That means that they are away from Church too! Having celebrated Mass for passengers on the cruises I was on, I was often approached my crew members for my help, guidance and the sacraments. That’s when I began to pray about it and to investigate this ministry.” While some cruise lines will seek clergy assistance for Christmas and Easter cruises, only a few book a priest on every cruise. “That’s why I chose to work with Holland America. Plus I didn’t want to be on a party ship. Holland America markets themselves to a more mature audience with lectures, workshops, and cultural

The Office of Youth Evangelization is sponsoring a Catholic Family Camp weekend June 23-25 at Casa Betania near Tyler, featuring nationally known Catholic speaker Cooper Ray. There will be family activities, Mass and adoration, formation opportunities, campfires, games and skits, and much more! This will be an opportunity to help your family grow closer to one another and to Christ. For more information, see the youth office website www.dioceseoftyler.org/youth 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, 903-2662159, promoter@dioceseoftyler.org, or 903-939-1037 (fax). All communications are confidential. The State of Texas requires that any suspicions of abuse of a minor be reported. Contact 800-2525400. 3


Introduction

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We live in a difficult age which in many ways harkens back to the dark world that Christ was born into, a world where humanity is lost in a darkness that is often of its own making. This darkness is generated by the human heart which ignores God, is totally focused on the self, and has embraced sin as not only acceptable, but as the established norm. We see signs of this darkness here in East Texas, in our beloved nation, and around the world. We curse this darkness and reject it, but we must do much more than light one candle. We must allow the Light of Christ to shine forth in its radiant brilliance. Some time ago, I asked a confirmation candidate what happens to the bread and wine at the consecration at Mass; his response was, “How should I know?” I’m sure that young man’s family and parish had worked hard to teach him, but his response underscores the need for what I am proposing in the attached document. You will note the words of the Ethiopian in Acts 8:31 quoted in Section 1 of this text, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” In an amazing way, they evoke the words of the young man I encountered. Many have made valiant efforts to teach throughout the history of this diocese, and we must begin by thanking God for these dedicated souls, many of whom still have their hand to the plow. It would be absolutely impossible to attempt my bold vision without the strong foundation that these brave souls have provided. The darkness has spread at such a rapid pace that it has simply overwhelmed the methods we have used heretofore. We must seek new and creative ways to teach and share the wonder of our Catholic faith. Not only the Church, but all humanity depends on it. 4

The tragic state of affairs mentioned above must not lead us to despair. The helpful voice of history reminds us that many generations have had to rise to the challenges of their day and have done so with heroic virtue. We are strengthened by the promise of Our Lord, the example of saints throughout history, and our own faith which always leads us to hope. Christ is our hope, and with Him in our hearts no one can prevail against us. The admonition of Saint John Paul II, “Be not afraid,” expresses the strength that flows to us from Christ as we face these daunting challenges. We have all heard the call of Pope Paul VI for a new evangelization, and his successors to the Chair of Peter have echoed it for fifty years. Many have endeavored to answer the question of what this new evangelization actually is. While I certainly can’t claim to have found the answer, I do believe the Institute and new approach to catechesis and evangelization that I propose is an important step. As with challenges the Church has faced before, the success of these new initiatives will be something we accomplish only through God’s grace, arduous devotion, and great sacrifice on the part of all. Please read this Constitution in a spirit of love for the Lord and His Church, pray and reflect on the role you can play, and join me in embracing the challenge of our day to go out to the world bearing the Light of Christ. God bless you and all the faithful of the Diocese of Tyler.

Bishop Joseph Strickland


JOSEPH EDWARD STRICKLAND BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE APOSTOLIC SEE

BISHOP OF TYLER

A Teaching Diocese: Constitution on Teaching the Catholic Faith

To the priests, deacons, religious, catechists and teachers, and all the faithful of the Diocese of Tyler, health and benediction. On the occasion of the 30th year of the Diocese of Tyler, and in order to faithfully exercise the munus docendi, the teaching office entrusted to me as bishop, I present this document to the Diocese. In doing so, I am guided by Christus Dominus, the decree of the Second Vatican Council on the pastoral office of bishop. This document compels me, as chief teacher of the Diocese, to teach: “…according to the doctrine of the Church, the great value of these things: the human person with his freedom and bodily life, the family and its unity and stability, the procreation and education of children” and to do so “in a manner adapted to the needs of the times, that is to say, in a manner that will respond to the difficulties and questions by which people are especially burdened and troubled.” –Christus Dominus, 12 In order that I faithfully discharge this duty to teach, I promulgate this Constitution to guide the teaching of the Catholic Faith in the Diocese of Tyler.

Section 1: A New Emphasis on Teaching The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. –Acts 8:29-31 1. The Diocese of Tyler will be a teaching diocese. This is the goal that we undertake in our 30th year, and which I hope will guide us for the next 30 years and beyond. In this Constitution, I am challenging all members of the Diocese of Tyler to be like the deacon and evangelist Philip: go and join up with all of the people of East Texas and instruct them in the richness of the Catholic Church, founded and instituted by Jesus Christ. We look to encounter, accompany, and offer each and every person the beautiful truths of the Catholic Faith. This is an audacious goal, but with God all things are possible, and we entrust our mission to Him through the intercession of Saint Philip the Evangelist. 2. There is a grave need for this sort of engagement. Our own lived experience and the raw data leaves no doubt about

this: • It is estimated that only 23 percent of U.S. Catholics attend Holy Mass each week. Those 77 percent absent from the Eucharistic feast are not strangers: they are our parents, siblings, spouses, children, and friends. [1] • Today there are over 30 million people in the U.S. who were raised Catholic, who no longer identify as such. This group of people is approximately equal in size to the number of Baptist Christians in the USA. [2] • The number of Catholic weddings has been falling steadily for four decades in the U.S., and less than one-half as many weddings will occur in the Catholic Church in 2017 as in 1990. [3] Closer to home, we recognize that, “the dictatorship of relativism” is on the rise among our young people, even in East Texas, and the level of general knowledge of the Faith among our Catholic adults leaves them vulnerable to false teaching and moral confusion. [4] 3. Clearly we must act, and we will! This Constitution is meant to serve as a road map, a guide, to the reformation of teaching in the Diocese of Tyler. I ask the priests, the deacons, the religious sisters and brothers, the catechists, the teachers, and the faithful of the Diocese to assist in implementing this Constitution. We possess the Faith, a gift to us from God. Our response to God’s gift will be to hand that Faith on to others as an act of selfless love. The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 25 Let us teach with renewed fervor. Let us give the very best of Catholic teaching to every family in the Diocese. Let us be like the Apostles of Christ and the first Christians who taught vigorously and without regard for themselves while thinking only of the other. 5


technology in its proper place as servant of the message. Always, the goal should be convenient and simple accessibility of the very best in teaching materials for every person in the Diocese. Above Christ is the perfect revelation of the Father. In him, all, the goal is to foster and deepen our personal relationship with we have received our greatest knowledge of the living and Jesus Christ. true God; through him, we have learned how we should Most specifically, technology has provided myriad means of live. In order for this revelation to be known, however, it direct engagement, and the Institute will make use of these tools. must first be heard, which immediately implies the necesThe Church has always employed appropriate technological sity of a structured teaching organism to proclaim it. advancement in service of the Gospel, and our interconnected –Bishops as Teachers, USCCB, 2011 world provides the latest of these opportunities. The Institute will 4. This Constitution lays out an audacious, far-reaching plan, employ these techniques in service of the mission of the Diocese. and a new focus for the entire Diocese. We cannot expect big re9. The Institute will coordinate the diocesan functions of catsults through small efforts. What we seek is a wholesale change echist formation and certification. This will include strengthenand improvement in how we teach people in East Texas. To have ing of our volunteer catechists already present in the Diocese, the results we desire, we must be willing to be bold and capable recruiting and forming new catechists, and forming consistent of expressing the faith, “ever ancient, ever new,” with competency opportunities for on-going formation of our catechists while and clarity like never before. keeping continuity with our diocesan history. We will foster an 5. In order to answer the question, “How do we become a attitude which supports every baptized Catholic as one who lives teaching diocese?” I am founding the Saint Philip Institute of and teaches Jesus Christ. The Institute will also be tasked with Catechesis and Evangelization in the Diocese of Tyler. This Instithe responsibility of sacramental preparation, primarily focused tute is charged with providing the parishes of the Diocese with on methodology, curriculum, and mystagogia for families and the materials, expertise, and persons preparing for sacrasupport to perform the mission I am founding the Saint Philip Insti- ments of initiation in whatof teaching as outlined in this stage of life they may tute of Catechesis and Evangelization ever Constitution. The Institute is find themselves. This responfounded for the service of the in the Diocese of Tyler. sibility will be fulfilled in close faithful of the Diocese. collaboration with the Direc6. The Institute is under the governance of the Diocesan tor for Sacramental Catechesis of Children and the team which Bishop, and managed for him by the Institute Director. Additionpromotes the process for the Christian initiation of adults in the al staff will be brought on board to support the Director as he Diocese. implements the goals established by this Constitution. A priest10. It is my goal for the Institute to begin formal operation chaplain will be appointed to promote the spiritual welfare of the by fall of 2017. The goals for the Institute are aggressive, and so Institute. An advisory body will be established in a manner similar it is my expectation that it will require several years for the Instito other free-standing entities such as Catholic Charities. This tute to fully mature into the organization whose many functions body will serve to support and assist the Bishop and the Director I am outlining in this Constitution. The plan for the growth and in fulfilling the mission of the Institute. development of the Institute will be implemented in phases, with 7. The Institute will produce or obtain all of the materials necappropriate and attainable goals during that period. During this essary for teaching in the Diocese, and ensure their suitability. To initial phase, we will not merely be planning; we will be teaching. this end, the Institute is to employ qualified, professional teachers Building new structures while simultaneously teaching is not goof the Faith who can produce teaching materials which are: ing to be easy, but our Diocese has immediate needs, and we will (a) Of high quality, faithful to the teaching of the Catholic always keep them foremost. Church as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 11. A project of primary importance for the Institute will be and the magisterial teaching documents, the creation of a Diocesan Family Catechism to serve as the ba(b) Desirable, engaging and attractive to draw as many peosic and primary teaching document of the Diocese.[5] Although ple as possible to the message of Jesus Christ, and this effort will take time, I look forward to the Diocese possess(c) Useful, offering clear and concise teaching which truly ing this document which will be widely applicable to a variety of informs and educates, and never obfuscates or confuses. teaching situations. It will be completely faithful to the Catechism We will employ these values of quality, desirability, and useof the Catholic Church, but more immediately useful to the peofulness in all of our teaching materials. ple of the Diocese who lack good formation in the Faith. I call on It is my intention that all teaching materials for use in the the Institute to ensure that this Diocesan Family Catechism exDiocese of Tyler be unified and standardized. This most important hibits quality, desirability, and usefulness, and to make it available of tasks is entrusted to the Institute. to everyone in the Diocese. It is also my intention that the Insti8. The Institute is charged with creating new delivery systute tailor study editions to persons according to their season of tems for teaching materials which take advantage of technology life and role within the family. to provide the best and most convenient experience for teachers 12. I am placing the production of the Catholic East Texas and students of the Faith in the Diocese. I desire that the Institute magazine within the Institute. It is my intention that the Catholic take the best techniques from the world of media to enhance East Texas continue to develop primarily as a tool of catechesis teaching in the Diocese. At the same time, I note that media itself and evangelization. It will be a significant resource for the Direcis not an answer to ignorance of the Faith. Christ is our savior, tor of the Institute, and the Director will play a major role in how not technology, and therefore it is important that we always keep the Catholic East Texas is used for the Diocese. As our diocesan

Section 2: A New Teaching Structure

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publication continues to become a more effective teaching resource, it will be a channel for teaching to enter every home in the Diocese on a regular basis. This publication will serve as a touchstone, an anchor which every family member can return to as they journey in faith. 13. I charge the Institute personnel to be accessible and visible to the parishes and missions of the Diocese. It is a primary mission of the Institute to provide opportunities for learning the Faith which have never existed before to the people of the Diocese. My desire is for the Institute to provide seminars, classes, and educational opportunities in every part of the Diocese on a regular basis. The Institute is centrally located in Tyler so that it can be the strongest possible organization for teaching, but its mission is present in all 33 counties of the Diocese. It is to ask constantly, “How can we reach every family more effectively?” 14. In founding this Institute and changing the teaching structures of the Diocese, there is always a temptation to make comparisons to what we have done before. This bears no fruit. In each age of the Diocese, we have always done our best to teach the Faith. This new vision will guide the next age of the Diocese, and again we will do our very best to teach everyone the beautiful and wonderful truths of the Catholic Faith. We build upon every success in our past, and we are eternally grateful to those who have done so much to teach the Faith in our first 30 years. On this foundation, we are unafraid to change and improve in service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will teach in our 21st century world with the fervor of 1st century Christians.

Section 3: A Vision of Teaching the Family So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once.–Acts 16:32-33

Teaching and the Christian Family 15. It is my instruction that we engage the people of the Diocese of Tyler as families, for the family is the basic building block of our Church and human society. I envision teaching being delivered primarily to families, according to their membership.

The experience of learning the Faith will be a family-building and family-strengthening activity in the Diocese. Most basically, engagement of the family means to accompany people according to the reality of their lives. To this end, I see three concerns: (a)engagement of the total family; (b)engagement of the members according to their season; and (c) engagement of members according to their changing challenges. (a) We must engage the total family. The Catholic Faith is not meant to be held by only one person in a household, it is a household practice of the Faith. If one member of a family is preparing to receive a sacrament of initiation, we must have packaged teaching which will bring the rest of the family along the same journey for the sake of unity. Our materials and activities should seek always to speak to the entire family and promote the household practice of the Faith. The fact that these truths about the main questions of faith and Christian living are thus repeated within a family setting impregnated with love and respect will often make it possible to influence the children in a decisive way for life. The parents themselves profit from the effort that this demands of them, for in a catechetical dialogue of this sort each individual both receives and gives. –Catechesi Tradendae, 68 (b) We will engage the members of the family according to their season. Each member of a family is in a season of life. Broadly, we will be conscious of the Season of Infancy from 0 to 4 years of age, the Season of Initiation from 5 to 12 years of age, the Season of Discipleship from 13 to 22 years of age, the Season of Commitment 23 to 30 years of age, the Season of Living the Journey from 30 to 50 years of age, the Season of Maturity from 50 to 70 years of age, and the Season of Wisdom from 70 years on. These are not hard and fast ages, as individuals grow and make vocational decisions at different times, but our engagement should be sensitive to the teaching that will most impact people in these different seasons, particularly in relation to vocational discernment. We will model teaching on the ways family members in these different seasons can enrich each other’s journey. (c) Each member of the family faces individual challenges, and, in order for our teaching to be most useful, we will engage each member of the family according to the challenges they face. When we engage a husband and father, we will give him the critical information necessary to live out his vocation according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, according to his characteristic role, responsibilities, and challenges. When we engage a wife and mother, she also will be given good, clear teaching critical to living her vocation. She will need many of the same things as her husband, but her needs will be different in key areas, and it is our responsibility recognize and respond to her individual needs as completely as possible. To provide teaching which exhibits quality, desirability and usefulness, we will accompany each member of the family through their lives and teach them according to their changing needs. What this points to is a system of teaching which is far from “one size fits all,” but is instead custom-tailored to the members of a household as a family. This is a lofty goal, but it is precisely why I have chosen to chart this new course and found an Institute of teaching, so that this opportunity can be studied and this goal 7


reached. Secular organizations in our world employ this sort of of one full year of learning, formation, and growth for engaged analysis and customization in the service of far less worthy goals. couples before they celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony in We will make every effort at this direct engagement of all the the Diocese. I will issue additional policies concerning the implemembers of our families. mentation of this in the near future. We do not presently have The reality of our time is the support structures in place that the family is fractured Because of the intense attacks on the that will allow this goal to be and undermined in serious marriage in our society, it is imperative fulfilled immediately, but we ways in the day-to-day course that we improve our efforts to build and are already working to develop of society. Underlying this is a these essential tools. nurture strong Christian marriages in fracturing of the human per20. As a Diocese, we will our Diocese. son that results in great consupport the ministry of sponfusion in each of the seasons sor couples. I make special mentioned above. The message of Jesus Christ is the antidote to note of the tremendous service a married couple can provide to this confusion and fracture. We will strive to offer the message the Church by becoming sponsors for the engaged. To the sponof Jesus to the families of the diocese in the best way possible. sor couples who do this work, and for those of you who will hear 16. In engaging the entire Christian family, we will use the this call and respond by becoming trained sponsors: know that opportunity to help parents become teachers of their children. you are in my prayers, and that you have the gratitude of the Through targeted teaching materials for parents delivered apDiocese. You are helping to address one of the most daunting propriately, the Diocese can facilitate parents in assuming this challenges we face. We will support your ministry. God-given role. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care a vocation to a sacred state. -Lumen Gentium, 11 17. We will continue to build on our existing foundation of teaching for those with special needs and ensure these individuals are included in the plan of teaching within the family. All are Children of God and all deserve teaching appropriate to their situation in life. The gift of those with special needs is to be a reminder that we must always be cautious with the temptation of judging as the world does. Lives that seem to lack value in worldly terms are, in Kingdom terms, lives of immense value. We will treasure these lives and seek to live the Church’s teaching that life is sacred from conception to natural death. The elderly are a special gift for our age as well; they must always be engaged as members of the family and we are challenged to be wise enough to learn from them as we still seek to teach them.

Teaching and Marriage

18. Because of the intense attacks on the marriage in our society, it is imperative that we improve our efforts to build and nurture strong Christian marriages in our Diocese. The preparation and continuing support we give to couples entering into matrimony is perhaps the most important project we undertake. I call on this Diocese to radically commit itself to this difficult but necessary job. This is not something that can be done without personal engagement of couples. Good teaching material will be indispensable to this effort, but its success will be dependent upon the efforts of the pastors and married sponsor couples throughout the Diocese. The Diocese will commit itself to this accompaniment model of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony, facilitated by sponsor couples under the direction of the pastor. 19. For this reason, it is my decision to establish the goal 8

Pastors, I recognize that you face great challenges in recruiting enough sponsor couples to make this vision of marriage preparation a reality. I must emphasize your primary role in accompanying couples as they journey toward Holy Matrimony. Together we will embrace the remote, immediate, and continuing aspects of marriage formation.[6] I promise my personal help in this regard. As we reform marriage preparation in the Diocese, I will come to your parish and make a personal appeal to couples to join in this ministry. 21. We will do everything we can to teach married couples that their vocation is to be open to the children that God wills them to have, and we will find every means possible to support these loving couples who dispose themselves to the will of God. For this reason, marriage preparation in the Diocese will include complete training in a method of Natural Family Planning. The intense assault upon sexual chastity which every married couple faces in our society requires a response. Our response will be one of honesty and love, not abandonment. We will ensure that every married couple has the tools to live out the vocation to which God has called them. “Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort.�[7] We will make that cultural effort as a Diocese. It is providential that in 2018 the Church will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Humane Vitae. At its


promulgation, much of the world rejected, and continues to reject, the unchanging truths contained in this teaching of Blessed Pope Paul VI. Fifty-years on, seeing the unrelenting attack on the moral teaching of the sanctity of human life, we understand that the teachings of Humane Vitae are “crucial for humanity’s future,” and it is imperative that we embrace these truths of married love, responsible parenthood, and human sexuality.[8] This will require a great effort and, first, it requires the effort of conversion of ourselves. Chastity “tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.”[9] We will commit ourselves to overcome any duplicity which we have come to rely on concerning this challenging teaching of the Church. If we are to help young married couples to live according to God’s law, then we as a Diocese will have to submit ourselves to that same law and lead the way. I call upon the priests of the Diocese to gently and patiently teach their people on this important but often-neglected topic. We are not yet ready to undertake this complete vision, but we will diligently prepare to do so and implement it in prudent stages.

22. Support for married couples cannot end on their wedding day. We will continue the mentoring process through the first five years of marriage and beyond. If a newly-married couple moves into the Diocese, we must engage them in the mentoring process, and likewise if a couple leaves, we will attempt to “handoff” their mentoring to their new Diocese when possible. It is important to note that Natural Family Planning training does not end on the wedding day; in many ways it has only just begun. The time immediately after the birth of their first child is difficult and trying for many young couples seeking to live according to the teaching of the Church. They need continuing help to learn and live the methods of Natural Family Planning which can enrich every aspect of their relationship as a couple. 23. To facilitate the growth and development of all of these important and challenging ministries, the development of the Institute will include the expansion of the Office of Family Life. The Director of the Institute will supervise a Director of Family Life. This is a teaching office of primary importance to the future of the Diocese. I will charge the Director of Family Life to support the pastors with an organized, reliable network for preparation of engaged couples. We will work to develop this system until it provides the very best support for the pastors, sponsor couples, and engaged couples in the Diocese.

24. I am aware that there are many people in the Diocese who are not able to participate in marriage preparation directly as sponsor couples. As members of the diocesan family, we all have a role in fostering marriage even if we cannot serve as a sponsor couple. Single persons, widows and widowers, and even married couples who do not serve as sponsor couples can all play a role in supporting married and engaged couples, and I thank those who already do so as they live their faith. Please continue your valuable work - you have the support and prayers of the Church.

Teaching and Those in Irregular Marriage Situations

25. I wish to expand and improve our diocesan ministry to those in irregular marriage situations. I commend the good work done by our Diocesan Tribunal and our priests and facilitators for families in the Diocese, and I call for us to expand this effort. It is my goal that this function of our Diocese become much more of a family ministry so that it can visibly complement the canonical process. Every person currently working in marriage regularization in our Diocese performs acts of charity in the course of helping people through these difficult situations, but they need our best support. 26. I charge the Institute to create teaching documents to assist this family ministry of marriage regularization. I commit to making this a special area of my teaching as bishop, and I will use the tools at my disposal to call those in irregular situations to seek the help of the Church. This is a vital teaching area, and it will not be neglected. 27. To the priests of the Diocese: as fathers of our parish families, we know that these children of ours are hurting; they are in need, and we will come to their aid with all haste. As chief teachers of each parish family, you are challenged to make this call regularly in your preaching. To cast the net wider, I will work with the Institute to bring this message to those who do not hear your homilies.

Because Christ desires that we be perfect, our ultimate goal is total marriage regularization in our Diocese. 28. Because Christ desires that we be perfect, our ultimate goal is total marriage regularization in our Diocese. To bring tangible form to this effort, it is my goal that we engage each parishioner in an irregular marriage situation by the year 2020, and that each and every one of those situations is brought to canonical resolution by the end of 2025. Knowing that our diocesan population is not static, this is nevertheless our goal. We will set aggressive goals in service of the people of God so that we never become complacent with human need and suffering. This is a great challenge, but we must share the mercy of Christ with every family in the diocese, especially those most in need of that mercy. We will embrace those who are widowed or divorced as members of the family as well. Individual situations can be complex and painful, but living out our call to be disciples demands that we always accompany and welcome those who face challenging circumstances. 9


Section 4: Teaching and Catholic Schools 29. The Institute that I am establishing by means of this Constitution would not be complete without significant reference to our Catholic schools. Catholic schools in this country have a legacy of addressing all of the elements of teaching that I am expressing in this document and which I am calling this Institute to address. In this way, the main statement that I need to make with regard to the Institute and our Catholic Schools is that they are intimately connected. Specifically, the work of the Institute, as it focuses on catechesis and evangelization, will directly engage and assist our Catholic schools, especially in their efforts to teach the faith in their departments of theology and religion. As the Institute begins to take shape, I will work closely with the Director and the heads of our schools in order to establish clear connections between the Institute and these departments which function at the very heart of our Catholic schools.

Section 5: Teaching, Worship and the Real Presence of Christ They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.–Acts 2:42 30. Our new focus on teaching will include the Sacred Liturgy. As “high priest of this flock,” it is my responsibility to provide proper training in the meaning and practice of Sacred Liturgy in the Diocese of Tyler.[10] It is not enough that our priests are students of liturgy; all the people of the Diocese will be given the opportunity to know and love Jesus Christ in the Mass, and, as a diocesan family, we will increase our love for the liturgy and our devotion to it. An image that I find to be helpful is to compare the liturgy to a dance. In the grand promenade that is the liturgy all have a beautiful role, yet, when one or several aren’t aware of their role, the dance becomes confused and the liturgy is diminished. 31. Therefore, a major goal of teaching in the Diocese will be for the faithful to understand how and why Christ comes to us in the liturgy. The creation of the best teaching materials and the concentrated efforts of teachers around the Diocese are important to this, but nothing can replace the implicit and explicit teaching of the priest who acts in persona Christi Capitis. In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis. – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1548 This expression of the Catechism in persona Christi has been one of the more controversial aspects of the ordained priesthood since the Second Vatican Council. As is always the case, I find it most instructive to return to the documents of the Council themselves as we seek a deeper understanding. Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from the Second Vatican Council, explains this principle:

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The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. – Lumen Gentium, 10 The role of the priest in leading the priestly people can be off-putting to many, and we will seek its full meaning with great humility. As we seek to teach the wonders of our Catholic liturgy, we will continue to return to these challenging words, seeking the balance that the Holy Spirit calls us to. In the Mass, the priest teaches explicitly through his homily and implicitly through his care and fidelity in the celebration. I thank my brother priests for their faithfulness in this area, and I call on them to constantly renew their familiarity with the documents governing the Eucharistic celebration, as well as their devotion to celebrating the liturgy with care and reverence.

In the Mass, the priest teaches explicitly through his homily and implicitly through his care and fidelity in the celebration. 32. It is most explicit in the priest’s ars celebrandi and complete humility and docility to the rubrics and liturgical law that he emphatically stresses the character of “God-centric” worship, rather than “man-centric worship.” Confusion about this has often undermined the authentic reforms proposed by the Second Vatican Council. While we can never discount the prolific and exemplary efforts done in other areas of priestly ministry, we recognize that it is in the context of the worthy and dignified celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the priest is most visibly and authentically able to teach and evangelize the


parish family. 33. Our teaching on the liturgy in the Diocese will be always guided by the documents of the Catholic Church, most especially: The Catechism of the Catholic Church The General Instruction of the Roman Missal and its rubrics Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum 34. It is of singular importance that every Catholic in the Diocese understand the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Institute will be tasked with creating and delivering materials that teach this reality in the best possible manner. I will further call the priests of the Diocese to special Sundays of Eucharistic preaching, and I will support these efforts with direct teaching of my own. We are to instill in the faithful a deep appreciation, what Pope Francis calls an “amazement,” for this reality: The gift that Jesus made of himself, by his voluntary immolation on the Cross, will be light and strength for them. And this Bread of Life has come down to us! The Church’s amazement at this reality is unending. An astonishment which always feeds contemplation, adoration, and memory.– Homily of Pope Francis, Corpus Christi 2015 35. It is a great tragedy and a sad reality that many are unable to recognize the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. I feel very strongly that this unbelief is the “source and summit” of many of our problems. A lack of belief in the unique gift that is the Eucharist leads to an indifference concerning the Catholic Faith. It leads to a lack of evangelical vigor. It leads to a laxity in following the precepts of the Church. It leads to a lack of priestly and religious vocations. And it denigrates a rich family life in the Diocese and in the world. This must end.

It is a great tragedy and a sad reality that many are unable to recognize the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. 36. The faithful of the Diocese will again be taught and encouraged to show proper respect for the Holy Eucharist. This ne-

cessitates instruction in both the interior disposition needed for the worthy reception of Communion, as well as the manner in which the Eucharist is physically received. In order that their external actions reflect an interior faith, the faithful must be trained in proper and respectful reception of the Holy Eucharist according to the licit modes of reception. Respect for the Eucharist is respect for Jesus Christ, present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. We will focus on this Eucharistic faith and form our people in this deep understanding that reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is respect for the person of Jesus Christ present, here and now, in our midst. This reverence is a sign of communion not in “common bread and drink,” but in the Body and Blood of the Lord. By it “the people of God shares in the blessings of the paschal sacrifice, renews the new covenant once made by God with man in the Blood of Christ, and in faith and hope prefigures and anticipates the eschatological banquet in the kingdom of the Father.”–Memoriale Domini, Congregation for Divine Worship, 1969 37. In support of our goal of Eucharistic faith and knowledge, I call upon each parish and mission in the Diocese to arrange for a procession on the Sunday of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi Sunday). A procession, no matter how humble, is a teaching witness to ourselves and to the world of our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

I call upon each parish and mission in the Diocese to arrange for a procession on the Sunday of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. 38. As the Diocese grows in this rich understanding of our Eucharistic Lord, it is my desire that in 2022 (the 35th Anniversary of the Diocese) we host our first Diocesan Synod, whose theme will be The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Family, and will feature a Corpus Christi procession in downtown Tyler with the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Diocese. 39. I ask the parishes of the Diocese to advertise their opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration to their faithful. Adoration should be a public, normal, and easily accessible part of parish life. I commend the pastors of the Diocese for maintaining

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easily accessible and regular Adoration times for their flocks. If a parish or community has no opportunities for Adoration, it should become an immediate project to arrange at least some opportunity for it. I would ask that at least one hour per week be dedicated to praying with the Blessed Sacrament specifically for vocations to priesthood and religious life. 40. As we teach in the context of the liturgy, I call upon the priests of the Diocese, as I have done in the past, to use the Latin language as an aid to enrich the beauty and solemnity of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Striking the proper balance in language is one of the challenges we face regarding liturgy. As we grow as a Diocese, we have significant representation of the languages of English, Spanish, Filipino, and Vietnamese, with others sprinkled into the mix. I turn to Saint Pope John XXIII, the “father of the Second Vatican Council,” for wise instruction here: For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time…of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable and non-vernacular.–Veterum Sapientia This expresses well the value that Latin brings to the liturgy. We will continue to seek to embrace this value and encourage the clergy and faithful to do so as well. Following on this call of Pope John XXIII, the Second Vatican Council continued to urge the proper balance between the vernacular and Latin. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites…In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people…Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.– Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36, 54 Clarity and fidelity regarding proper balance between the use of the vernacular and the use of Latin has proven to be quite challenging for the entire Church. It is no less challenging in our own Diocese. This process will take some time, but the constant tradition of the Church on this matter, like so many others, cannot be ignored. As we seek greater fidelity, let us be aware of the broad spectrum of our Diocese regarding language and how we pray the Liturgy.

As we seek greater fidelity, let us be aware of the broad spectrum of our Diocese regarding language and how we pray the Liturgy. Most of our parishes have masses in English and Spanish, and many families face a division of language between grandparents, parents, and children. Seeking a more balanced ap12

proach to Latin can thus be a special blessing to all the faithful in East Texas. Basic elements of the Liturgy in Latin can and should be a common language of prayer for all, helping unite us as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Of its very nature, Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.–Veterum Sapientia We will ensure, by adequate teaching, that the experience of Latin in the liturgy is an opportunity for greater knowledge, and not confusion. For a people whose experience of liturgy has been almost entirely in the vernacular, to learn various parts of the Mass in Latin can and should be an experience of discovery, perhaps for the first time, of the meaning and beauty of those parts in any language. To call out Sanctus to God can be an opportunity for every Catholic in our Diocese to be taught God’s holiness and majesty anew.

Teaching and Liturgical Ministries

41. In the Diocese, we give thanks for the enthusiastic participation of the laity in the liturgy. As we embark on this new era of teaching, we must support those who volunteer their time and efforts in liturgical ministries with useful instruction. I call for the Institute to produce standardized teaching materials for liturgical ministry in the Diocese. If a member of the faithful is called to serve the Church in one of these ministries, we must respond by helping them understand the theology behind their function in the liturgy and the proper spiritual dispositions that are needed to assist at Mass. 42. The priests and deacons of the diocese need the support of the lay ministers so that they can fulfill their teaching role in the liturgy and create a vibrant parish liturgical culture. An important but sometimes neglected role that can be of immense assistance to the clergy is that of acolyte, a stable ministry of the Church for adult men. I ask the priests to identify and support at least two men in each parish and mission to be instituted as acolytes. Proper training materials and updated procedures for this process will be issued.


43. We will give special consideration to the implicit and explicit teaching that the faithful receive in and from the liturgical ministries. In particular, altar servers, because they are often young, are taught foundational truths by their experiences in this ministry. As such, we will form this ministry in the Diocese to reflect, in truth, the liturgical and vocational realities of the Catholic Faith. Simply, this means that young men and women will have distinct roles, established in new guidelines that I will promulgate, which reflect their co-equal complementarity while embracing the different vocational roles that are part of the plan of God. For young women, to serve at the altar is a learning experience of the mysteries of Christ. For young men, to serve at the altar embodies the extra dimension of vocational discernment for the priesthood. I want every young disciple who wishes to serve to be welcomed to undertake this ministry, respecting the roles God has assigned in His kingdom.

Teaching and Sacred Music

44. The liturgical ministry of music is also important and, in its own way, is a teaching ministry. The implicit teaching of music is either a correct message of the solemnity, joyfulness, holiness, and uniqueness of the Mass, or else it is an incorrect teaching of worldliness, commonness, and unimportance. We have all experienced good music in the Mass, which creates a liturgical environment naturally lifting our souls in prayer; we have all experienced poor music at Mass, which disrupts the prayerful devotion of the community. Faith grows when it is well expressed in celebration. Good celebrations foster and nourish faith. Poor celebrations weaken and destroy faith. –Music in Catholic Worship, USCCB, 1972

varied as any other aspect of our human interaction which involves touching the hearts and minds of the children of God. Basic principles will guide us to seek music and song which echoes the words of the priest in the preface dialogue, “Lift up your hearts.” We will endeavor to ensure that every song and prayer serves to lift our hearts to the Lord.

Section 6: The Teachers of the Faith And what you heard from me through many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well. –2 Timothy 2:2

Priest and Teacher

46. The priesthood is a great and lasting gift given by Christ to the Apostles and their successors for the good of the Church and the whole world. The work of preaching and teaching, incumbent upon them by virtue of their ordination, is of primary importance to the life of the priest.[11] This “calling within a calling” to teach the faith boldly, and to preach the truths of Christ in season and out of season, is vital to the success of our mission to be a teaching Diocese. Foremost among those involved, and most impactful in their breadth of influence are the priests of the Diocese, and it is my intention that each and every parish priest be intimately involved with the formation of souls entrusted to him. 47. To support this goal, I will ask the Moderator of Priests and the Director of the Institute to collaborate on forming a program of on-going priestly formation, which will center on priest study days, the annual priest convocation, and other formative opportunities throughout the year, with a specific attention to the overall program of formation being offered in the Diocese. This effort will help our priests to lead the faithful, the catechists, and all those involved in evangelization at the parish level to succeed, and ultimately to draw the many men, women, and children of our 33 counties into seeing their parish not just as a building,

45. For this reason, we will begin to study ways in which the Diocese can support the music ministry in individual parishes. Our teaching efforts will not neglect the place of beauty in life and in our Catholic liturgy. Our musical heritage calls us to lofty heights which often seem far away from the reality of parish life in East Texas, but we must become a Diocese which sets high goals in the practice of the Faith. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty.” Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. –Evangelii Gaudium,167 We are all familiar with the adage “to sing is to pray twice,” and this frames well the significance of sacred music for the liturgy. We gather to pray, to worship God and to be reminded that we are His children created in His image. Musical tastes are as 13


but as a center of family life. 48. In addition to this on-going training, I intend for the Institute to provide solid catechesis and topic-specific formation for our priests in order to form them as experts in the following areas for preaching and special teaching events in the parishes and deaneries: •The meaning of Baptism and its impact on the life of every disciple •The meaning of Confirmation as it strengthens us in the Holy Spirit •The meaning of and parts of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass •The meaning and spiritual richness of the Real Presence •The vocation to the priesthood and religious life •The vocation to Marriage •The moral guidance of the Decalogue and how the Ten Commandments pervade every moral and ethical decision of the human person •The Great Commandment of the Lord in the Gospel and its meaning for the love of God and neighbor •The Church’s teaching on moral topics, including contraception, euthanasia, gender ideology, same-sex attraction, responsible parenthood, organ harvesting, stem cell research, pastoral care of still-born and unbaptized children •Christian Stewardship It is my express desire that, no matter a particular priest’s background, he should fully engage himself in the munus docendi as the Church envisions, and that he do so in a collaborative and evangelical way that draws all the faithful to rich font of Christ’s love, His Church.

Deacons are not to neglect studies, particularly the sacred ones; let them read assiduously the sacred books of the Scripture; let them devote themselves to ecclesiastical studies in such a way that they can correctly explain Catholic teaching to the rest and become daily more capable of instructing and strengthening the minds of the faithful. – Sacrum DiaconatusOrdinem, 29 to teach the faith. To assist the deacons in this role, I have directed that a continuing formation program for permanent deacons be instituted in the Diocese, and good progress has been made. I congratulate these good men ordained to serve the Lord and their wives for the wonderful fruit they have already born individually and collectively. We will continue to support these efforts in order for them to bear even greater fruit. 50. I will also consider a new formation class of permanent deacons in the Diocese.This means designing a new program of discernment and formation for the diaconate. Because of this focus on the teaching role of deacons, we will focus discernment to bring forth a group of men who have the desire and ability to become great teachers of the Faith and to join their brothers who are already engaged in this important work. The program of formation will strongly stress teaching, and it is my desire that our new permanent deacons be extremely well formed so that they can become these great teachers. This effort will be conducted in cooperation with the Institute and with the consultation of our priests.

Deacon and Teacher

49. The role of the permanent deacon is a teaching role as well.[12] As such, our permanent deacons must be supported with the very best of teaching materials and opportunities for ongoing personal and intellectual formation. It is my desire that our deacons become an indispensable teaching force in the Diocese, assisting the priests in a variety of settings and ministries. Our deacons already serve our parishes in myriad ways, but in this new focus on teaching, the deacons should renew their vigor

Religious Life and Teaching

51. The Diocese has benefitted in its history from the presence of religious sisters and brothers in our midst, and in recent times this influence has begun to increase. This is a tremendously exciting development for the Church in East Texas. To all of the religious in the Diocese: thank you for your lives of devotion and for the wonderful teaching you do. I will work to obtain for you additional sisters and brothers to share the work. I know “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” so together we will 14


ask the master of the harvest to send out more workers into the Diocese of Tyler. [13] It is my hope that the Institute can play a vital role in helping our religious to be aware of and be able to use the newest and best in catechetical material and methodologies to assist them in their indispensable role as teachers of the faith. Catechists: The Life-Giving Gift of Self in Service to the Truth 52. As the Institute grows and fulfills its role of revolutionizing teaching in the Diocese, it is my hope that we will be able to expand the role of professional, credentialed catechists in our teaching effort in the parishes. This is a long-term goal as we have much work to accomplish to prepare the way for such a network in the Diocese. However, the coordination of our efforts to teach must have proper, local and regional management in the long term. 53. Our volunteer catechists are the backbone of teaching the Faith in the Diocese. Their tremendous efforts deserve our praise and thanks, and I propose to give them the very best support we possibly can. The development and certification of catechists is a primary job of the Institute. Our lay catechists have every right to a stellar educational preparation, and to become legitimately respected teachers of the Faith. As dedicated volunteers, they have served well, and we will urge them to new heights in the Art of Catechesis. Any person who takes up this great challenge to teach the faith should be given the opportunity to achieve a comprehensive knowledge of Catholicism, and even to specialize in areas of theology. We will continue to support those already on this path and seek ways to encourage new catechists to join them. The founding of the Institute is done especially with the formation of our lay catechists in mind. This formation should be intensive, but also convenient, placing as few demands as possible on the time and schedule of our volunteers. A technology-driven delivery system for teaching will aid this greatly.

Section 7: Teaching and Evangelization He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”– Mark 16:15 54. Our teaching will begin with the 120,000 Catholics, whether practicing, barely practicing, or non-practicing, in the Diocese of Tyler. We have much work to do among Catholics. However, we will not neglect the non-Catholic people of the Diocese. We have an evangelical responsibility to all people, and this impels us to constantly expand the margins of our efforts. We possess the great and wonderful gifts of the Catholic faith, and it is entirely contrary to the mission given to us by Jesus Christ to keep them to ourselves. As we become a teaching diocese, we will also become an evangelizing diocese. As we embrace this broad challenge, we will acknowledge that we are speaking of the entire population of East Texas, about 1.5 million people in our 33 counties. A constant theme of recent popes is helpful here: we must share our relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Evangelization is sharing our encounter with a person. This will be the touchstone of all we seek to do as an evangelizing diocese. 55. Our teaching encompasses both catechesis and evangelization, recognizing that these have separate purposes. While they are not opposed in any way, we can understand evangeliza-

tion as focused on the initial proclamation of the truth of Jesus Christ, or giving a reason “why?” someone would want to know Jesus Christ. In our skeptical society, this will inevitably also involve giving many other reasons “why” Catholics believe as we do. Therefore, evangelical efforts, in order to be useful, will effectively answer “why?” about the whole spectrum of Catholic beliefs. This is a proclamation that is also sorely needed by even practicing Catholics in many cases. In this way, evangelization is a term that can be applicable to everyone. By catechesis, we mean the organized presentation of the faith which is a lifelong effort of formation. Catechesis, complementing evangelization, answers the question of “what?” as in “What do Catholics believe?” and “What does the Church teach?” I desire that our new emphasis on teaching in the Diocese be both evangelical and catechetical. 56. I charge the Institute to develop, in addition to the many catechetical resources we need as a Diocese, evangelical resources as well. These should be aimed at direct evangelization of people who desire to know “why?” and also indirect evangelization through the preparation of evangelists in the Diocese. In this way, we can assist Catholics in living out their Baptismal responsibilities. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 871 These resources to create evangelists should educate and equip Catholics to answer the question “why?”, and should also encourage them to go out into the world and do so with the help of the Holy Spirit. 57. We will also improve our ministry which incorporates the evangelized into the Catholic Faith, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. I charge the institute to work to improve and standardize the RCIA ministry in the Diocese, and to fully support those pastors, religious and volunteers who work so hard in this ministry. I specifically call for an improvement and extension of the period of mystagogy, the continuing teaching of those who have recently joined the Church. Those who are recently baptized are properly called “neophytes” which comes from a Greek root meaning “newly planted.” The Faith has recently been “planted” in them, and in the period of mystagogy, it must be nurtured. A lack of nurturing in various forms is associated with people becoming disheartened and even leaving the Church after conversion. For this reason, we must accompany neophytes and the newly converted for five years after their entry into the Church. We must not let anyone drift away after reception. We must give them the best of our teaching and fellowship. To those wonderful volunteers who facilitate RCIA in the Diocese: I hope to send you many more seekers in the years to come, and I pledge that you will have the best support of the Diocese to make your work as fruitful as possible. 15


Conclusion

Footnotes

If you have read this Constitution, thank you. You can now see that we have much work to do. In the months to come, there will be many opportunities for you to help. I ask every member of our diocesan family to consider how they can help; we need to have everyone engaged in this daunting but joyful mission. We need sponsor couples and NFP instructors for our marriage formation efforts. We will need more adult instituted acolytes. We need our liturgical ministers to study and become experts in their ministries. Our volunteer catechists will soon have more resources and better training to give them greater expertise and confidence. We will need more volunteer catechists to join this effort. We need to bring all of this to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I ask all adorers who regularly pray in Adoration to make our teaching effort a constant and often repeated petition. May the Blessed, Ever-Virgin Mother of God, the patroness of this Diocese under her title of Immaculate Conception, support us with her maternal strength and protection. May St. Philip the Evangelist and Deacon intercede for us. May the Holy Spirit guide us to share His wondrous truth as never before. And May God bless the Diocese of Tyler as we bring the Light of Jesus Christ to all.q

1. Disciples Called to Witness, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2012 2. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate 3. Ibid. 4. Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, April 18, 2005 5. Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depostium, 3 6. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 66 7. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2344 8. Pope Benedict XVI, International Congress on the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, May 12, 2008 9. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2338 10. Second Vatican Council Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 33. 11. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6 12. Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, 21 13. Matthew 9:37-38

Join us!

For the Diocese of Tyler’s Third Annual Seminarian Softball Classic Field 4 at Faulkner Park 410 W. Cumberland Rd Tyler, TX 75703

SEMINARIAN SOFTBAALSSLIC 2017 CLA

Sunday, June 11

Gates open at 5 PM Bring your family for an afternoon of food, fun, and to meet our future priests!

For more information Contact Elizabeth Carlson at ecarlson@dioceseoftyler.org or (903) 534-1077 ext. 161


THE BIG

18

LIE


Early in 2017, we were contacted by a man who had reverted to the Catholic Faith after spending decades as a practicing homosexual. Although this is a challenging subject, we felt it was important for such a powerful witness to be published. So much of the world today believes the Catholic Church is “homophobic” and places “unjust” restrictions on homosexual behavior. This testimony is a sobering reminder that the teachings of the Church are from God, who understands perfectly the nature and needs of human beings. We have maintained the privacy of this interviewee, and will simply call him “John Doe.” How did you grow up? John: I grew up in what I would call a nominally Catholic family. My mother was not a committed Catholic. She “converted” when she married my dad, but it didn’t sink in. I don’t even know what sort of Protestant denomination she grew up in, since she never talked about it. Although my father and I have had a difficult relationship during my life, I’m so thankful to him that he did take us to Mass and confession. I received all my sacraments and I even went to a parochial school for a few years. I’m not saying he qualified as a great Catholic dad, but he was adamant about us going to Mass, and for that I am profoundly grateful. I think that was a seed which was planted in me and as my life proceeded to spin out of control, it remained with me. I was the youngest of 5 kids, born in the 1960’s. It was a difficult childhood. My dad was a heavy drinker and my mom would, today, have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Of my 5 siblings, only one of my sisters is still Catholic. I think, in retrospect, my dad was just overwhelmed by my mother’s issues. She was depressed a lot, and at the time medical science hadn’t identified the condition, so they gave her treatments which in some ways made it worse. Home life was chaotic and we didn’t have a lot of rules. I spent a lot of my young life on the streets. I did recognize that I should try to make good grades and that might help me to escape the chaos. I liked Mass, it was the one peaceful hour of the week, and even through college I kept going every Sunday. Have you always experienced same-sex attraction? John: I knew all along that I was different. I didn’t really have any real understanding of same-sex attraction as a young person, but I knew that I was having those kinds of feelings. We still don’t know why some men and some women experience same-sex attraction. When I was in college, I read Sigmund Freud’s analysis of why some men are homosexual, and I think it does apply in my particular case. My mother was very needy and I was her youngest child and she clung to me. I was empathetic and wanted to care for her emotional needs, while my dad was distant from us. That’s a pretty classic description of an environment which is associated with a young man developing same-sex attraction. On the other hand, during my life I have known homosexual people, both men and women, who had what I would call “perfect” home lives. I’ve studied this issue for decades now,

and I have plenty of data gathered from people I’ve known. I’m convinced there is no one, single cause of same-sex attraction. I have definitely known homosexual people who experienced sexual abuse as children and teens, and this appears to be at least a partial cause in their cases. There appear to be a lot of things that can contribute to a person suffering from same-sex attraction. What I think I can confidently say about it is: Human sexual development is a fragile thing. It is best when it happens in a loving, stable family environment. It is for this reason that I say: if we had fewer broken homes in the world, we’d have fewer people suffering from same-sex attraction. As a young person, what were your opinions about homosexuality? John: Being born in the early 1960’s, I came of age during a time when the culture at large was starting to celebrate homosexuality. I lived through the rapid switch in American culture when homosexuality when from being “bad” to “good” (which are both oversimplifications of the truth). I can remember my mother pointing out characters in movies and saying, “that man is a homo,” indicating that it was bad. But, just a few years later, I was spending a lot of my unsupervised time watching TV which had homosexual characters cast in a positive light. I remember one particular show I watched had a character who left his wife to go and pursue the gay lifestyle in California, and it was portrayed as perfectly acceptable. When I was sixteen, there was a watershed event. My sister was completing an internship in San Francisco, and my dad gave me permission to fly out and drive back to Texas with her. When I was in San Francisco, she took me to see all of the sights, and we passed through the Castro district, which was a haven for homosexuals. For the first time, I saw men holding hands, and men being proud of homosexuality. I suppose it was then that I first realized that once I was an adult, I could live a homosexual lifestyle. I was somewhat preserved from this lifestyle during my college years by the outbreak of AIDS. For most of the 1980’s, AIDS was something of a medical mystery, and it certainly scared me. I remained “in the closet” during my undergraduate studies, and cultivated the reputation as a bookish nerd, too busy studying to have a social life. At about the time I entered graduate school, I started to venture out to gay bars and meet other gay men. What did you discover? John: Well, I think it’s important that I testify to the nature of homosexual sex. Through personal experience over decades, I can say with confidence that homosexual activity is addictive. Every single person I have ever known who pursued a homosexual lifestyle became addicted to the activity. I, like many other people, have also experienced addiction to alcohol and drugs, and I have known many people who have fought against these addictions, so I know something about addiction. Active homosexuals are, in my experience, sex addicts. Homosexual sex is, like other addictions, life-consuming and soul-killing. 19


Further, I think it’s extremely important that I say this clearly: Homosexual sex is not about love. I can speak from personal experience about gay male culture. I wouldn’t try to speak about females. But, between men, sex is not about love, at all. This is a family publication, so I won’t go into details, but the gay male culture is absolutely depraved. The sexual activity is about dominance and subjugation. It gets extremely dark. In the mass media, right now, a lot of energy is being expended to market and promote the homosexual culture as wholesome. This is a lie, a huge lie. Homosexual sex is not about romance, and it’s the farthest thing from the loving embrace of a married heterosexual couple. Once sex is removed from the context of marriage and family, it is ruined, and it becomes powerfully dangerous. Again, I know what I’m talking about. I was “trained” in this lifestyle in bathhouses and gay clubs, and I lived this lifestyle all over the USA and in foreign countries for decades. I tried extremely hard to find the “wholesome” or “respectful” part of the gay culture during my life. I searched all over for a stable, monogamous, loving homosexuality. I even tried “gay marriage” in an attempt to make homosexual activity mean something more. I have a marriage license issued by Washington State and I tried to live it that way. It doesn’t work. Homosexuality cannot produce a stable, loving relationship, and for the media to claim that it does is just a huge lie. What was the homosexual lifestyle like? John: In my early 30’s, I was fully addicted to the homosexual lifestyle. I was living by day as a professional person, but by night I was going out to gay spots and engaging in all sorts of activities. I might have 3 or 4 anonymous encounters in a day. Doing this sort of thing is extremely harmful to both body and soul. I was left unfulfilled by these encounters, but I was eager for the next one, which is true addictive behavior. Drugs were a constant feature of gay clubs, as was excessive drinking. I was miserable, and sometimes even physically injured, but I kept going back. During this time, I also quit the Catholic Church. I met a man who told me that he had been an active homosexual but he had been “cured” of his same-sex attraction through Christ and was now a married man with children. I was intrigued. He told me that I could never be “cured” as a Catholic because Catholics don’t have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I started to attend this Evangelical church and their homosexual support group. I found out pretty quickly that this man wasn’t “cured” at all. I ended up have a three-year-long affair with him. The “support group” was really just an opportunity for men to meet and go off together. I never stopped believing in God, but I started to go to “gay-affirming” Protestant churches. Addicts often don’t want to hear the truth. I ran away from the truth into untruth. What I found is that, since Protestantism is ultimately built on a foundation of personal interpretation, you can pretty much find whatever you want within it if you look. I would go to these independent Christian churches which really operated like small businesses. They needed you to put money in the collection every week so they could keep the business afloat, and so they would tell you what you wanted to hear. 20

What was their message? John: The theology that they sold me in these gay-affirming churches is that God “made me gay” so therefore I should engage in homosexual sex and be proud of it. God did not make me “a homosexual.” That’s a label placed upon people who suffer from the temptation of same-sex attraction. I have this scar, this same-sex attraction, for whatever reason, but that’s not who I am, any more than anyone else’s temptations define who or what they are. Everyone has struggles with sin. That struggle should not be my identity. God’s law is not some unjust restriction on me. God’s law is a mercy toward me, and as I look back on my life now I see that so clearly. I see that I should have been listening to God, and not to society. I take full responsibility for everything I’ve done, but I also had a culture telling me that I should be proud of being homosexual, and it was selling me a lie about human life. I don’t want anyone else to fall for that lie. What happened to convince you to change your life? John: I tried gay “marriage” but it doesn’t work. You delude yourself into thinking that you’re “in love” and ready to “make a commitment,” but after a while the monogamous sex is no longer exciting and sex is all you had. We tried to have polite society with other “committed” gay couples, but there was no faithfulness and no commitment. It worked pretty well in a large group but when you got down to two couples it went bad most times. I eventually gave up on the idea and took a job with extensive travel so I could get away. I went back to anonymous encounters and developed a serious pornography addiction. I had printed pornography filling my briefcase and I felt compelled to access it every few minutes. I was reaching my personal “rock bottom” point. One night, I was in a hotel room in Kentucky, and I was a wreck. I was suffering these addictions, I was out of control, my career was ruined and I figured I would probably die. I was only middle aged, but I had lost all hope. I really thought I was near the end. So what did you do? John: I prayed. I called out to God to save me, and He responded. I immediately had the distinct feeling that God was going to help me. The despair left me and I knew that I could get my life together. I started on the slow road of getting everything fixed in my life. I got new training and rebuilt my career, I moved to Tyler, and I started really working to end my addictions. In time, I become convinced that I had to return to the Catholic Church. I attended a gay-friendly Protestant church near Tyler for a time, and it was the same “make it up as you go” permissive Christianity that told me everything I did was “ok.” At this church, the sermons were skeptical of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection, and we were taught that these were “primitive notions” and we just needed to follow Jesus as a political radical. I had the realization that this could not be true. Christianity is all of a piece, and if you accept some of the teachings, you have to accept all of them. Picking and choosing within Christianity makes no sense. I needed Catholicism.


How did you come back? John: I went to the Cathedral here in Tyler and went to confession. I was incredibly clumsy and out of practice, but the priest was so kind and so helpful, and I managed to make a confession of my many sins. He absolved me and welcomed me back. I started to go to Mass, and to hear real preaching that didn’t enable my addictions was wonderful. It was revolutionary in my life. I love good preaching now. I need good preaching. I have really experienced the grace of the sacraments. It’s been 3 years since I came back to the Church, and the difference in my life is amazing. God has so much healing waiting for people in the sacraments. I’ll always be the person that I am, and I’ll always have this scar, but I’ve been released from all the compulsions I was suffering from. I’m not even fearful of falling into these temptations again, because I know so intimately the grace that comes from the sacraments. I’m not afraid anymore. The things I did in my life were so awful that only the salvation offered by Jesus Christ could fix them. He fixed them. How would you counsel someone experiencing samesex attraction? John: I want to say very directly to anyone who is suffering from same-sex attraction that God loves you. Don’t despair. If I can be saved by Jesus Christ, anyone can be. If you are young, tell your parents and your priest. Don’t suffer alone. The teaching of the Catholic Church is extremely clear: It is no sin that you simply feel these feelings, but you have to find the support so that you do not act on them. Acting on same-sex attraction is dangerous. These are serious sins which can kill your soul and destroy your life. I know what I’m talking about. Stay in the Catholic Church. The world will tell you that the Church is homophobic and prejudiced against gay people— please don’t believe this lie. This lie cost me decades of my life. I went out and experienced every facet of the homosexual lifestyle and after trying everything and doing everything and living every permutation from the club lifestyle to gay “mar-

riage,” I can tell you: There is nothing you want there. There is only addiction and despair. The teachings of the Church about homosexuality are your lifeline. Follow them. Trust in God, not the media. The media doesn’t love you and doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Take your feelings and frustration and bring them to Jesus in the sacraments. If you sin, immediately give it to Jesus in confession. He will heal you. You might always have same-sex attraction, but you don’t have to suffer the way I did. Parents, if you have a child who takes the very important step of revealing to you that they are suffering from same-sex attraction, respond with love. The teachings of the Catholic Church build strong families, and I believe that strong families can help to preserve people from despair and addiction. Your primary mission in life is the spiritual care of your family. Help your children to build the habit of confessing their sins and receiving the sacraments regularly. Teach them that sex is for marriage and any other use of sex is going to be bad for them and for others. Let me reiterate something I said earlier: I believe that if we had stronger families we would have less same-sex attraction to contend with. I can see the effects of a broken family dynamic in my own life, and I want you to seriously look at your family life. Do you, as a husband and wife, seriously try to model the Holy Family? Do you take your role as a teacher of your children seriously? Do you teach your children the beautiful teachings of the Church and show them that these teachings are important by following them in your own life? You must do these things. Any final thoughts? John: I’m sure if an active homosexual man was here listening to me, he’d say, “you’re just a self-hating gay man.” I say no, I don’t hate myself. For the first time in a very, very long time, I love myself. I see myself as a child of God, with all the dignity He has granted to me. I am more fully alive than I have ever been. For the first time in a very long time, I am not living a life of duplicity. I am more the man God wants me to be. I owe everything to God. q

21


Principal Perry and President Fr. McLaughlin

A NEW

PRINCIPAL FOR TK GORMAN SCHOOL

22

Mrs. Robin Perry has been named Principal of Bishop Gorman Catholic School, effective June 1. The appointment was made by the Very Rev. Dr. Anthony McLaughlin, Vicar General of the Diocese of Tyler and incoming President of Bishop T. K. Gorman Catholic School, following an extensive national search and the assistance of a Principal Search Committee. Mrs. Perry is a lifelong Catholic educator who most recently served as Head of School at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, an all-girls college preparatory school in Memphis, TN. Prior to joining Immaculate Conception as Head of School, Mrs. Perry was first the Academic Dean of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School in Jackson, TN, before being elevated to Principal. She has also served other respected Catholic schools in Tennessee as a History and English teacher at the junior and senior high school levels. Mrs. Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Tennessee, Master of Arts in Teaching, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Memphis, as well as a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University. Fr. McLaughlin said, “Mrs. Perry is known as an exceptional academic and institution-building leader. At Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, she worked tirelessly to integrate the latest educational models and technology into classroom instruction, while building strong constituent relationships at all levels,” said Father McLaughlin. “Perhaps most importantly, Mrs. Perry is a woman of deep and sincere faith, who passionately embraces the ministry of Catholic education as vital to the work of our Church. I am excited for Mrs. Perry’s highly-anticipated arrival to East Texas, so we can begin our work together in ensuring the Gorman school community remains accessible to all, while delivering excellence throughout our mission, and ensuring a robust and sustainable future for Catholic education in the Diocese of Tyler.” In accepting the position, Mrs. Perry stated, “I believe that I am entering the Gorman family at an exciting time in its highlyrespected and storied history, and I see this opportunity as an amazing time to continue to build and foster a strong and highly-supported school community. It’s a great time to be a Crusader with incoming President Fr. McLaughlin leading the school further into the 21st century.” “I am pleased that Mrs. Perry will serve as the new principal of Bishop Gorman


Bishop Strickland blesses the new president and principal. School,” said Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, who confirmed Father McLaughlin’s appointment of Mrs. Perry. “Her background, personality and enthusiasm for Catholic education fit perfectly with our mission to form our students as intentional Disciples of Christ.”q

23


Father Efren Nano talks about having cancer, natural law, and accepting god’s will.

BORROWED

24

TIME


Father Efren Nano, a priest of the Diocese of Tyler, is suffering stage IV cancer in various parts of his body. He continues to offer Mass and pray for the people of the Diocese. We visited him and asked him about his life, his priesthood, and his thoughts about living and dying. CET: Please tell us about your life. Father Nano: I was born in 1957. I have one sister, who is four years older than me. My parents are both Roman Catholic, so I was raised as a Catholic. My mother was the one who was very religious, and would never miss the first Mass every Sunday, at five in the morning. We were obligated to go with her. She wouldn’t go to church without me and my sister, and it was my job to put our contribution into the collection. The province I grew up in is called Camarines Sur, which is in the southern part of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. I was born there, but because of my father’s gambling habit, we lost everything when I was in elementary school. My mother had some real estate properties in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. My mother protected my sister and me by separating from my father, and we moved to Manila. I attended all public schools except for college, which was a private school. The income from my mother’s properties funded my schooling. I attended Far Eastern University in the Manila, where I finished my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1978. I worked for three years for Scott Paper company in the research laboratory. One thing I researched, for example, was how to improve the tensile strength of fibers.

grace for your family. Father Nano: Yes, it was. My father could not remember if he had been baptized or not, so he was given a conditional baptism before the marriage took place. He was more supportive of my becoming a priest than my mother. I was ordained as an Augustinian priest in 1987, thirty years ago. I will have an ordination anniversary in September, if I am still alive then! CET: You were an Augustinian priest in the Philippines, so how did you become a diocesan priest in Tyler, Texas? Father Nano: Well, Philippine law says that those assigned in schools must have at least a Master’s degree, even the administrators. Otherwise, the school will not be authorized to issue diplomas. All the administrators, including the Augustinians, must have a Master’s. At that time, there were very few of us who had a Master’s, so they couldn’t let me do anything else besides school administration. I burned out on that. I had discerned the priesthood—I wanted to be a priest for the people! The provincial superior asked me if I was willing to be a candidate for provincial secretary, second in command to him. I told him I was, under one condition—that when a bishop accepted me, I would go. After I won the election, my secretary mentioned that her brother was a priest on the island of Aruba. Her brother talked to his bishop, who invited me to come. That

CET: When did you discern the priesthood? Father Nano: I had started to think about the priesthood in college. I was in my third year of chemistry, and some seminarians came to promote vocations; even though it was a non-Catholic university, the administration let them in to talk to students. I listened to them and thought, “Well, I’m already in the third year. It would be a waste of money if I stopped now, and my mother wouldn’t be very happy!” So, I decided to finish the whole course, and then I worked to recover the expenses. My mother was happy that I finished the course, but she wasn’t happy when I told her I had decided to enter seminary. She wanted me to continue working because she had no education. Philippine culture is different than American culture: the social security for parents is their children, except for some who work for the government. In the Philippines, 80% of the population relies on their children in their old age, in all aspects—healthcare, housing, and so forth. Because of this, it was sad news for my mother, but she came to accept my decision later on. By this time, my father had reconciled with my family after 20 years of being away. I had not seen him all that time, and one day my mother introduced me to him. She said, “This is your father!” I was shocked. They were not married—neither a civil license nor in the church—and when I joined the Augustinian seminary, I was asked for their marriage license. So, I told them, “You better go to the Church and get married, because I need your marriage license!” And they did! CET: So, you entering seminary was already a source of

Father Efren as a newly ordained Augustinian priest. 25


was the sign I had been looking for. So, I traveled first to Aruba to minister. In Aruba, I met a priest named Alirio Corales, who had been in Perú before coming to the Caribbean. His good friend, Edmond Carmody, had become Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio. When Bishop Carmody was transferred to Tyler, he called Father Alirio and invited him to come. Alirio accepted and was assigned to Diboll. He called me and asked, “Do you want to come to Tyler?” “Where is Tyler?” I asked. “In the state of Texas.” I told him I only knew of two states—California and New York! He said, “Well, Texas is situated between the two.” I said, “Okay!” Bishop Carmody arranged all the papers for me, and I came to Tyler. When he was transferred to Corpus Christi, I went with him, at his request. But after two years, I decided to come back to Tyler. When I returned to Tyler, I asked for excardination from the Augustinians and to be incardinated in this Diocese, so now I am a diocesan priest. I have served at several parishes in the Diocese of Tyler: Mineola, St. Matthew’s in Longview, and Jacksonville. My longest stay was in Mineola, for ten years. The parishioners here are very supportive of the clergy. I ended up loving the place, so in my sickness, I decided to stay here in Mineola. CET: Tell us about your sickness. Father Nano: I was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer in

2014, and it has migrated to my liver, affecting my lymph nodes. The surgeons removed part of my colon, so the chemo has been addressed to my liver and lymph nodes for the past three years. One chemo treatment would work for a while, but then it would stop working, so we would try another. I have had three different mixtures of chemo over the past three years. I had liver surgery last year, and the surgeon in Dallas got every cancerous part he could see. But when I had a PET scan last month, it revealed multiple lesions on my liver. They are unable to operate on them because they are so numerous, and the doctors recommend more chemo. This would be the fourth combination of chemo drugs. As of now we are awaiting the approval of the insurance, but I am already resigned. I will be lucky if I am still be around in 2018. I have to accept reality. CET: How did you respond to the news that you had cancer? Father Nano: The first reaction to my diagnosis was a kind of denial. The doctor told me, “Your colon is in bad shape. How bad? We will know after the surgery.” It was devastating news to me. That is a very human response to not-so-good news. It does not indicate a lack of faith. I think even the saints experienced the same kind of low points in their lives. My low point was after the surgeon (the one who took my colon out) told me the news that I was in stage four. I had a lot of sadness. I was trying to accept that I had cancer, but then—stage four! I was re-

Father Efren (front and center) with his class from seminary in the Philippines. 26


ally down for the first three months. The rational side of me said it would not help to ask God about it. The spiritual aspect, the acceptance, came later on. If this is the cross that Jesus is telling His disciple to carry, I have to carry it—with faith—and gladly. Carrying the cross with a heavy heart won’t help. So, I just accepted it, knowing the Lord is with me…but it did take time. CET: What changed about your spiritual life once you began to live with this disease? Father Nano: The formation I received as a religious with the Augustinians, learning submission and obedience, played a part in my submission and obedience to God. God was preparing me for this kind of submission. I am happy that, despite this illness, I am still an evangelizer. We evangelize, according to St. Francis, and we use words only when necessary. I hope that, through my example, my brothers and sisters will realize that God is good. In sickness or in health, we are the Lord’s. “Miracle” does not mean only medical or physical healing; “miracle” is most of all spiritual healing from the inside. CET: There are many people in our Diocese who have received grave diagnoses and other challenges. What would you tell someone who has just received terrible news? Father Nano: God is with us in sickness and in health. We learn the process of submission and obedience, and God is patient. We accept what life gives us gladly—gladly, because there is no point in resisting the circumstances that life is presenting to us. The hand of God is on all these things. Cancer or no cancer, we are going to our destiny. Our exit from this world is inevitable from the moment we enter it. We are all on borrowed time. Sickness for me is just a moment, a moment of purgation. It is a moment of learning the suffering of Jesus. I am glad that Jesus is giving me this grace of sharing His pain and suffering. Nevertheless, I still have some dark moments, because I have a terminal illness and my time is short. If I opt for no treatment, the doctor gives me six months to live. CET: Why would you opt for no further treatment? Father Nano: Because the trend of my treatments is such that the chemo will only work for a while. In my case, it will not be a cure. The lesions will shrink but not disappear. At some point, that particular mixture of chemo drugs will no longer stop the cancer from increasing, and another one will be needed, and another one. This is the fourth. I can see the writing on the wall. God is giving me signs that my mission is nearing its end. Of course, the Lord wants us to be happy even on earth, even in the midst of pain and suffering. My happiness comes not from my treatment, but from the thought that I share Jesus’s pain and suffering, being with Him on the cross. It’s just like husband and wife, being happy together in sickness and in health. They are happy because they are together. So, if I am with the Lord, despite the nausea and vomiting, I remain happy. CET: In some parts of the world, even in some parts of the United States, there would be doctors who would counsel you to end your life now and submit to euthanasia. As a

Catholic priest, what do you say about that? Father Nano: That would go contrary to God’s law, and natural law. In my living will, I say that if treatment is no longer working, then let nature take its course, which is different than intentionally ending a life. Euthanasia goes against God’s law, as does abortion. I hope our brothers and sisters will come to realize that life has a lot of things that we cannot understand. Faith must come in. Believe in the goodness of God, and you will find meaning in pain and in suffering. If we don’t have God—even if we are not in pain or suffering—our life has no meaning. CET: Did you receive the Sacrament of Anointing? Father Nano: Yes, I received anointing before I was operated on. Bishop Strickland gave me anointing then, and on two other occasions. CET: Should anyone suffering from a terminal illness avail themselves of this sacrament? Father Nano: Yes, absolutely, because in the anointing, we receive not only the forgiveness of sins, but also the inner spiritual grace to have the joy despite the cross. Otherwise we will be miserable. You can see those with faith in submission to the will of God: despite their illness, they have an aura of joy, of happiness. I don’t blame God; I thank him for this opportunity! And one thing—I will not die of old age. I will stay young. I look forward to God’s promised gift of a new body at the resurrection. I want a new one! A new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem, and a new body! I am really looking forward to it all. CET: What would you like to share with the people of our Diocese? Father Nano: We have a very good fraternity in the clergy of the Diocese. We are very good and very supportive, and we have a very loving bishop, who is very fatherly to us. We have been blessed always with bishops who have been faithful to the call of being a good shepherd, and I am thankful to God. I am very happy that I ended up in the Diocese of Tyler. However, even though I am incardinated here in the Diocese, my spirituality is still with the Augustinian spirit. I still practice poverty and praying the hours, if I am not nauseated. I say my Mass every day, here in my room. I use a desk for my altar. As priests, we never stop celebrating the Eucharist unless we are bedridden or we cannot read anymore. Otherwise, as long as I can physically do it, I will continue saying Masses. I’m still one with the Diocese in celebrating Mass. Hopefully, the good Lord will give me a good and happy transition. We must accept that the day we were born, our exit is already programmed. Our entrance is there, and the exit will also come. God is there with us. As he said, “I am with you until the end of time.” And he is not lying. I am happy that I have this opportunity. I would be a hypocrite if I said I accepted with open arms the news that I had stage-four colon cancer. I was really in denial, just like the rest of humanity. But it is good for me to undergo this process of obedience. We are all on borrowed time, and we all have to trust in God.q 27


Students from St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry at Stephen F Austin University in Bethlehem with their Chaplain, Father Denzil Vithanage.


“The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with him in the building of the civilization of love.” Saint John Paul II spoke those words to young people at World Youth Day in 2002. As we contemplate the problems afflicting our world 15 years later, we have to agree with this Great Pope and Saint that the future is in the hands of the young, and their formation in the truth is a primary task assigned to us. As we begin the renewed focus on Teaching in our diocese this year, let us give special consideration to the value of campus ministry in our diocese. To bring a Catholic presence onto the campus and into the lives of students at our secular colleges, this is a great undertaking. Priests, deacons, religious and lay people are working, every day, to build up this important ministry, and to give college students the opportunity to deeply learn and practice the Faith. Saint John Paul, in his encyclical letter Redemptoris Missio, described the situation the Church finds itself in many times in the modern world: Entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of

the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case what is needed is a “new evangelization” or a “re-evangelization.” In East Texas, most of the college students are, in fact, baptized, but as the Saint warned, they often do live a life far removed from Christ and Gospel. The campus ministries of the Diocese of Tyler are excellent examples of this “New Evangelization” at work. By intellectual formation, worship and devotion, and acts of service, they are changing the culture on-campus. They are forming and preparing young Catholics to lead the way forward, and they are changing hearts in this challenging environment. Our campus ministries produce reversions to the faith, life-changing conversions, spiritual growth, and vocations to the religious life and priesthood. These are valuable ministries, central to our mission as a diocese. Thank you for your support, both to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal which helps to fund these ministries, and to each of these ministries directly. -Bishop Joseph Strickland 29


John Paul the Great

Catholic campus ministry at the

University of Texas at Tyler by Father Justin Braun, Chaplain “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” These words in the Letter to the Hebrews, words Bishop Strickland says often, are words that I continue to meditate on as I lean into my second full year of campus ministry at St. John Paul the Great Catholic Campus Ministry, serving college students of the University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College. Our little campus ministry, begun a little over 7 years ago with just a handful of students, has grown into a flourishing community of students, faculty, and friends who gather for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Confessions, world-class formation, and communal life centered always on the person of Jesus Christ 30

and teachings of His Bride, the Church. And while much has changed, the challenges and opportunities remain always the same: adapting to and meeting our students where they are, with the love and joy of Christ, and bringing them ever closer to His Sacred and Pierced Heart. Under the patronage of St. John Paul II, this ministry finds its impetus and mission in his apostolic letter Pastores Dabo Vobois, which means “I will give you Shepherds.” While this letter focused primarily on the formation of candidates for priesthood, its basic contents relay a great vision for the formation of Christian disciples: focusing on their human, spiritual, intellectual, and apostolic (i.e., mission) development. With this in mind, our outstanding staff and lay missionaries have worked tirelessly to help our students delve deeper into their relationship with the Most Blessed Trinity, especially through the gift of Our Lord in the Eucharist and through the inspiration and intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. This is manifest


foot home has ever since served as the home of campus ministry in Tyler, and while some spaces have been painted, interchanged, and totally flipped around in the case of our garage chapel, its cozy couches and busy kitchen have been lived in and loved with the usual affection of a gang of 20 somethings and are showing a little bit of the wear-and-tear one might expect. In light of this, and due to the fact that our numbers have grown from a handful to nearly 125 students a week coming through our doors and taking advantage of our apostolates, it is time for us to do some work to bring our “Blue House” into the 21st century as St. John Paul the Great Student Center, and to have a chapel fitting of Our Lord’s holy Students at the John Paul the Great Ministry currently worship in a presence and a place of prayer that can garage, as they fundraise for the new chapel. really enrich and enliven our students. As we “turn the corner” with our diocese into its 30th year, I want to ask not only in our daily Mass attendance, weekly rosaries led by students, and daily opportunities for adoration, but also in our you to consider partnering with us in continuing to make all regular formation opportunities from a committed group of of this possible. Whether you have a kid in our colleges or priests and catechists who are willing to go into the unknown you have a heart to see young college-aged people continue with our students and lead them to the source of all truth and to flourish in or rediscover their relationship with Our Lord, life, Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is only happening because of whatever you can do to help would be appreciated. As we transition into the next phase of our ministry, and look to your prayerful and financial support. A joyful but challenging part of our ministry is having future expansion, every prayer and dollar helps. I hope that enough space for our students and staff. A few years ago, un- when you come by for a visit next fall, you’ll encounter the der the capable leadership of Deacon Shaun Black and Fr. Hank joyful sound of our students laughing, sharing, and ultimateLanik, the ministry was able to purchase our current student ly, witnessing to the joy of Christ fully alive in their own lives! If you are interested in more information, contact our center, affectionately referred to as the “Blue House,” due to the outstanding generosity of local parishioners and a generous Development Director, Dan Onderko @ 903-830-8917 or grant from the Catholic Extension Society. This 3,500-square- email him at danccmtyler@gmail.com.q

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Dr. Ray Brunson JOINED CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND MISSIONARIES FROM THE DIOCESE FOR A MISSION TRIP TO PERU.

MISSION OF

TRUST

“You want to go on a mission trip to Peru?” The question was slipped into a conversation I was having with Fr. Justin Braun at my Father-in-Law’s 80th birthday party in September, 2016. If anyone knows Fr. Braun, it was more than a question. It was a suggestion that I needed to go on this trip. He gave me a very brief overview. The trip was organized by Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and that it would be a medically oriented mission trip. I am a physician and they were trying to recruit a physician to go on the trip. The students on the trip would be in college with interests in health related careers. I thought about it for a brief moment, and responded that I was interested. My wife was also listening to our conversation and was also very supportive of this trip. More details about the mission trip were forwarded by Meghan Mueller, the FOCUS Medical Missions coordinator at the end of December 2016. She had previously served as one of the UT-Tyler missionaries and is now the Medical Missions Specialist based at FOCUS headquarters in Denver. We would be serving the medical and spiritual needs of the poor outside Lima, Peru. In addition, the goal was to help develop “strong authentic Catholic medical advocates in their future professions.” I thought, what have I agreed to do? I hadn’t taken Spanish in over 30 years. I haven’t practiced anything that resembled primary care medicine in 25 years. I am currently a practicing Radiologist. Basically, I look at diagnostic images (xray, CT, MRI etc.) and do some invasive procedures like image guided biopsies. I started to rethink my original decision and began to come up with all types of excuses not to go. How am I going to take off that much time from work? How much money is this going to cost? You don’t have the training for taking care of primary care patients. You can’t speak Spanish! Honestly, I was already entering a transition year in my life. I had turned 50 this past year and I had already decided to reduce my medical practice time and explore other areas in my life. I consider myself a “revert” to the Catholic Church. I am a cradle Catholic, but was not well formed in our faith. For the past four years I have been exploring my faith and learning about the Catholic Church and her teachings with my wife of 28 years. I have been trying to develop more trust in God and his plans for my future. This has been a difficult part of my transition. Part of the mission was also a spiritual retreat. We were going to have daily Mass, adoration, as well as large and small group discussion time. This much structured prayer time in one week, would be a new experience for me. Fast forward to March 10, 2017, and I am sitting in a small hotel conference room near the Miami airport for some inservice prior to departure. Included in our group are college students from various parts of the country, missionaries from FOCUS, a priest and two nuns from Sisters of Life. We introduced ourselves, attended Mass and ate cheese pizza (a Lenten Friday). We also did a Lectio Divina on Matthew 25:34-40. One


Dr. Brunson in Peru. of the key points brought out from one insightful student was on “I was ill and you cared for me.” He pointed out that the scripture says “care” not cure. It became the central theme of our mission. After a delayed flight from Miami secondary to “difficulties with airspace over Cuba,” and we arrived in Lima, Peru on Sunday at 2 am. That afternoon we visited the area where we would be working and serving. The area is known as Pamplona Alta. It is located in the hills overlooking the city of Lima. It is occupied primarily by people displaced out of their villages in the mountains by the Shining Path, a communist militant group active in the late 20th century.

Homes are built wherever they can find space and from whatever the people can salvage and afford. Their dwellings are on steep hillsides and built on piles of loose dirt and rock. There is almost no vegetation, and the area is susceptible to mudslides and earthquakes. There is no running water and the electric grid is a combination of criss-crossed wires and extension cords. While we were there, they had unusual amount of rain that destroyed parts of communities and caused many deaths. We had clinic for four days in a two story cinder block struc-

ture that also serves as a community center for that area. Over 700 patients cycled through the clinic. We worked closely with local neighbors, Peruvian medical students and physicians who were also volunteering their time. I asked to be paired with a Peruvian medical student to get me up to speed on what we would be seeing and how to treat with the medicines we had on supply. For the first two days, I was matched with a student in his last year of medical school. They go straight from high school into seven years of medical school. Their skill set far exceeded mine at that level of training. They don’t rely on a barrage of tests and imaging studies. They listen to the patient, do an appropriate physical exam, and treat based on their experience. The most common medical conditions we saw were skin conditions, musculo-skeletal pain, and intestinal parasites common to their harsh living conditions. The medical portion of the mission was extremely rewarding for me from the professional aspect, but the spiritual aspect far exceeded my expectations. We were truly caring for these people, and not just their medical needs. The joy and happiness was so evident in all those involved. We were able to eat lunch every day near the clinic site prepared by the neighbors. On Friday of the last day, we were able to celebrate Mass in Spanish on the rooftop of the clinic overlooking the area where we served. Over the course of the week, I was able to observe the students on the trip and really get to know many of them on an individual basis. I was so impressed at how these young people truly loved serving others. They were all so willing to give of themselves and quickly built a team that was caring for patient’s physical and spiritual needs. It will serve them and more importantly their patients over their careers. These young adults are so well formed in their faith thanks to the hard work and dedication of the FOCUS ministers and priests like Father Braun. The effect of having on-campus ministries, like our own John Paul II Center on UT-Tyler campus cannot be overstated. Sharing Holy Hour, adoration and Mass with this group had a profound effect on me. Hearing them sing Salve Regina in harmony was unforgettable. Through my interaction with them, they taught me through example to be a better person, physician and Catholic Christian. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip. It was an experience of a lifetime. I am not sure where it will take me, but I am learning to place more trust in His plan.q Dr. Ray Brunson lives in Tyler with his wife, Kim. They have four children and are parishoners at the Cathedral.


LUMBERJACKS in the Holy Land

The group with Fr. Denzil at the Jordan river

St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry at Stephen F Austin University goes on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was touched deeply by many of my experiences on our mission trip to the Holy Land during this year’s Spring Break. Seeing the desire and enthusiasm of the students to read and learn the Bible, I felt, in a deeper sense, the confirmation of my calling and vocation to the priesthood. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus was a life-changing experience for many of us- the word of God became real. I was awestruck to think that I was at the actual places where Our Lord was born, where He was baptized, changed water into wine, the place of His suffering and betrayal in the Garden of 34

Gethsemane and following in His footsteps as He walked to His death on Calvary. I was there at the Sea of Galilee where He called Peter, Andrew, James and John. I was there at the Church of the Annunciation where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and she said “Yes.” I became emotional many times, particularly as I celebrated Mass at the Church of Holy Sepulchre in the tomb in which Our Lord and Savior was buried. I pray now that every Catholic will be able to visit the Holy Land and have the Bible become real to them- to experience the beauty of the land, to pray in the holy places, and to walk where Our Lord, His Mother and His disciples walked.q Father Denzil Vithanage is the Administrator of the St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry at Stephen F Austin University in Nacogdoches.


The pilgrims visited the shepherds’ field near Bethlehem. This is the traditional site of the Announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, recounted in the Gospel of Luke. The group on the steps of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the site of the crucifixion of Jesus and His tomb. Father Denzil said Mass in the tomb. Pilgrim Hannah Hammons recounts: “Rami, our fantastic tour guide, had scheduled Mass for us at 5 am (yeah, that was rough) in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid (which totally makes up for it). It happened to be so early because the Catholics only get the tomb for religious purposes from 5-9 am every day. I remember Rami saying, ‘Father, no singing, no homily, just Mass.’ Because of the time frame, they try to schedule as many Masses as they can- one every half hour. Father and Andrew were inside the actual tomb where Jesus was laid, and the rest of us were in a still very tiny, circular room just outside where his body would have been prepared. We were going two-by-two into the tomb to venerate the rock. We got two minutes to be in the actual tomb before we switched out and continued slowly circling the tiny room.”

The pilgrims in the pit under the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, which in Latin means “cock’s crow.” It stands on the traditional location of the Palace of the High Priest Caiaphas, outside of which Peter denied Jesus three times “... before the cock crows twice.” (Mark 14:30)

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The pilgrims at the rock of Christ’s agony, in the Church of all Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Please help support St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry at Stephen F Austin University! Want to save souls and change people’s lives for only $10 a month? Investing in St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry, which has been ministering to students since 1959, and is a ministry of the Diocese of Tyler, is a great and easy way to do this. Monthly givers are foundational to this diocesan ministry that touches 700-800 students every year, has over 200 students attend Sunday Mass (30-50 at daily Mass), and currently has 140 students in weekly Bible studies. Whether you already give for the Catholic Campus Ministry at SFA, or have never given, please consider giving to this important ministry on a consistent monthly basis. For just $10 a month you can be part of bringing Christ to the students at SFA. Please visit sfacatholic.net/monthly-giving to sign up now. Thank you!

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

DISABILITY INSURANCE

LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

RETIREMENT ANNUITIES Gen_Discover_half, Exp. 07/15/17


Catholic Charities helps people obtain their GED, a high-school equiva-

lency certification. For people who never completed high school, this is a second chance at education and success. With assistance from the Literacy Council of Tyler, Catholic Charities provides this program at no cost to the students. Not only is this an opportunity for better employment and economic security for our students; as Tyler become a Teaching Diocese, better education is key to understanding the Faith. By furthering one’s education through programs such as the GED, we are better equipped to understand the catechesis of the Church and in turn, pass along Catholic truth to our children and grandchildren. Classes are forming now. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Catholic Charities at 903-258-9492 or email info@cctyler.org

You can help Catholic Charities to offer this opportunity to more people through your donation. With your assistance, we can continue to offer these courses at no charge. Donations can be made online at cctyler.org or mailed to: Catholic Charities-Diocese of Tyler PO Box 2016 Tyler TX 75701


JULY 7-9

DIOCESAN CATHOLIC

I was fortunate enough to attend DCYC 2016. Being there surrounded by people who want to get closer to God is something very special. Attending DCYC for that weekend was truly life changing. It’s really an indescribable feeling. It seemed as if all the negative that was going on in my life, the problems, stress, and being worried were all forgotten for that weekend. The only thing that mattered was my relationship with God to grow and learn as much as possible. That weekend was filled with laughs, tears, creating friendships, and great memories. After DCYC, when I was at home and back to facing reality, I wanted more. I wanted the same feeling I had felt at DCYC. I felt eager and excited to grow in my faith. I had never felt that way before. The feeling grew, and I took it upon myself to find out why I was feeling like that. I read books, watched videos, Spend the weekend at Harvey Hall Convention Center with with people. DCYC will over 400 Catholic Youth from across the Dicoese of Tyler! Be and talked you in a positive way. transformed by the presence of Jesus in the sacraments and truly change make friends that will support you in your walk of faith. It’s an experience that I will always remember. I recommend anyone that

9-12 Grade Registration: May 15-June 15 Late Registration: June 15-July 1

$75 $85


YOUTH CONFERENCE 2017 wants to grow in their faith or just have a good time,

listen to some good music, meet new people, and pray, to attend DCYC this year. I promise you will not regret it. -Patricia Garcia Senior at Malakoff High School

From the DIRECTOR In 2015, DCYC was created and offered 200 young people from 12 parishes a chance to gather, pray, sing, receive the sacraments and grow in their faith. In 2016, DCYC doubled in size serving 24 parishes and 400 participants. It is the goal of Bishop Strickland and the office of Youth Evangelization to give all the young people of the Diocese of Tyler this opportunity. We hope that all 70 parishes will be represented this year. We have scholarship funds available so that no student would be turned away because they can’t afford the fees. If you do not currently have a youth program in your parish, there are likely parishes within 30 minutes who do, and would be happy to bring your students with them. This year’s theme is “Elevate-Where Heaven and Earth Collide.” Our primary focus will be on the sacramental life of the Church. Youth will experience and learn about each sacrament in a powerful and relevant way. We hope all priests, youth ministers and youth of our Diocese will join us July 7-9 at the Harvey Hall Convention Center. Please contact me, Mark Knox, for any further information at: mknox@dioceseoftyler.org or 903-266-2143


100 years ago, tens of thousands of people saw a miracle, and three children received a message. The world has been debating the secrets of Fatima for a century, but ultimately, the message is simple:

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Throughout the 2,000 year history of the Church, there have been many apparitions (appearances) of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to individuals. It may seem strange to non-Catholics (and even to some Catholics) that God would send messages to the world in this way, but what more appropriate person could there be than the Mother of Jesus to deliver these messages? The servants at the wedding feast of Cana are told by Mary, “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you.” (John 2:5) The Church investigates very seriously any visions or messages, as well as those making the claims, ruling out hoaxes and pranksters, and attention-seekers. After careful investigation the Church will either approve or disapprove of the event. While the Church is adamant that no new truth will be added to the Deposit of Faith given by Jesus to his Apostles (see the Catechism, paragraphs 66-67), the Church recognizes that God can send these “private revelations” from time to time, to help the Church live more faithfully. What is important to understand is that in all the approved Marian apparitions it is the same Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who appears. Some of the most famous approved apparitions include Our Lady of Guadalupe at Tepeyac, Mexico to St. Juan Diego in 1531, Our Lady of Lourdes, France to St. Bernadette in 1858, and Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal to three children in 1917. During this centennial of Fatima, there is tremendous interest in this apparition and the enigmatic messages given to the children. From time to time in the last 100 years, the messages of Fatima have provoked all sorts of reactions among the faithful. It’s important to understand that the central message is a simple one: PRAY. A century later, this message is still entirely applicable to us. Portugal, and The War to End All Wars In 1910, Portugal experienced a revolution which expelled the king and ushered in a severely anti-Catholic government. Priests, monks, and nuns were persecuted. Religious holidays were outlawed. Most of the seminaries were ordered closed by the new government. Divorce was legalized and laws passed declaring marriage “merely a civil contract.” The new Portuguese government’s anti-Catholicism was so excessive that, in 1911, the Pope wrote an encyclical condemning it. In late June of 1914, the Austrian Archduke and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Due to military alliances between European powers, his assassination sparked World War I, which lasted until 1918. Technological and industrial advances made the conflict the most devastating and destructive war ever seen at that point in history. Over 16 million people were killed over the course of the war. In Portugal, economic hardship was aggravated by entrance into the war. The Church was suppressed and almost silenced, and the revolutionary government had descended into near-anarchy. In Rome, Pope Benedict XV prayed for God’s intervention to save Europe. Angel of Peace Preparing for the Message In 1916, three children, Lucia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, witnessed three apparitions of an angel near the village of Fatima, Portugal. In her memoirs, Lucia wrote

that the children experienced an intense supernatural feeling that lingered for some time after the apparitions. The angel taught the children several prayers and encouraged them to pray them daily. The three children began to pray regularly for the conversion of sinners, and to offer sacrifices in reparation for the offenses committed against the Blessed Sacrament. A Lady from Heaven On Sunday May 13, 1917, after an early Mass, the three children were tending their flocks near the Cova di Iria, a field owned by Lucia’s family. It was a pleasant day, and after the children had offered the prayers the angel had taught them, several bright flashes of light caught their attention. Afraid a storm might be coming, they decided to return to the village. Another bright flash stopped them and a Lady appeared above a small tree, dressed all in white. Lucia in her memoirs describes the Lady: “She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.” All three of the children could see the Lady but only Jacinta and Lucia could hear her. Throughout the apparitions it was only Lucia who spoke directly to the Lady. Lucia asked where she was from and the Lady responded “I am from Heaven.” The Lady asked that the children return to the same place on the 13th day of the next six months, then she would reveal who she was. Lucia asked about two young girls of the village who had died; if they were in heaven. The Lady responded that one was in heaven while the other was in purgatory and would be for some time. Finally the Lady asked the children a very serious question: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?” A bright light enveloped the children as they agreed to the request of the Lady, and then she asked them to pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world and an end to the war. The request to pray the Rosary was the only one made during each of the subsequent visits of the Lady to the children. The First Secret The apparition in July was one of the most important of the visits the Lady made to the children. A message was given in three parts which Lucia describes as the “Secrets” in her memoirs. News had spread about the children’s vision, and so on July 13th a crowd of about 4,000 accompanied the children to the Cova to meet the Lady. The Lady spoke again requesting the praying of the Rosary for peace. The Lady also said she would reveal who she was with a miracle in October. Many of Lucia’s family and friends had doubted her story about the vision and wanted her to confess to fabricating everything. The Lady promised a miracle to remove their doubts. Lucia had many requests for the Lady from sick and needy members of the village and beyond, and presented them to her. In answer, the Lady said that they must pray the Rosary to “obtain the graces they were requesting.” The Lady again asked the children to pray for the conversion of sinners and then gave to them a frightening vision: “The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth and it was as if it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons, 41


it became an atheistic, communist state.

The children: Jacinta, Lucia, and Francisco at the time of the apparitions. and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now fallen back on every side like sparks in huge fires… amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair which horrified us and made us tremble with fear...” The Lady did not leave them in terror, however. She said to the children, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.” The Second Secret The Lady had not finished with the children yet. She continued to speak to them about praying for peace. She promised that World War I would end, but if people continued in their sinful ways another greater war would break out. If the children and the world did not put our Lady’s message of peace into practice, mankind would descend again into devastating conflict. A great light in the sky would be the sign marking the beginning of the war and the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. Later, in 1938, Lucia (by then a nun) considered the extremely bright Aurora Borealis seen in Europe and America just before the start of World War II, to be this sign. The Lady also made mention of Russia and great evil that would come from that country if Russia was not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. “I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” Later that year, Vladimir Lenin led a revolution in Russia, and 42

The Third Secret Of all the messages of Fatima, the most ink has been spilled regarding the Third Secret. While the first two were spoken to the children, the Third came as a series of prophetic visions: “At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.” This part of the Lady’s message was not revealed publicly until the year 2000 by St. John Paul II, during the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco. It had been written down by Sr. Lucia in 1957 and sealed in an envelope which was eventually stored in the Vatican Archives. The secrecy surrounding the vision has caused wild speculation and conspiracy theories for decades, but according to Sr. Lucia herself, it was a prophecy which was fulfilled during the pontificate of Saint John Paul II.

Tens of thousands of people looked into the sky and witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima.


Interpretation of the Third Secret Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, added commentary and explanation to the vision of the children when the Third Secret was revealed in 2000. Pope Benedict explained that the steep mountain and ruined city can be seen as human history, a steep and arduous journey, but also an expression of human achievement that without the guidance of Christ leads to death and destruction. At the top of the mountains stands our ultimate goal and our sign of hope: the Cross of Christ. The death of the bishop in white (the Pope) was fulfilled with the assassination attempt on St. John Paul II on May 13, 1981. Thankfully the attempt was unsuccessful, but the date, May 13 should by now be familiar. John Paul II himself attributed his survival to the direct intervention of Our Lady. He said it was a “mother’s hand” that guided the bullet’s path, and on May 13, 1982, St. John Paul traveled to Fatima to thank Our Lady for her intervention. He placed the bullet that struck him on the altar, and it now resides in the crown of the statue of our Lady of Fatima. Missed Appointments Returning to the apparitions themselves, the August apparition was delayed until the 19th of the month. A plot, instigated by a local political administrator and fallen-away Catholic, caused the children to be questioned, intimidated, and imprisoned in order to force them to reveal what the Lady had said to them. The children, being so young, suffered greatly because of this treachery, but steadfastly refused to reveal what the Lady had asked them to keep secret. The children were eventually released, but had missed the appointment with the Lady. The pressure from the local authorities was causing tensions in Lucia’s house, particularly between her and her mother, who thought Lucia was making the whole story up. On August 19, a Sunday, again while they were tending sheep, Our Lady appeared to the three children and again asked them to return to the Cova on the 13th day of September, and to pray the Rosary for the conversion of sinners. When the day came for the September apparition, a great crowd had gathered. The imprisonment of the children had caused a great deal of talk and word had spread fast. The message to pray the Rosary daily for peace was repeated, and a promise was made of a miracle in October. She encouraged and praised the children for their penances and prayers. There were many who also saw a light in the east and many priests (some sent by the local bishop to investigate) gathered to witness the apparition. The Day the Sun Danced As October 13 approached, the secular press and anti-clerical government began to put pressure on the children. Articles mocking the children and pilgrims were common, and the children were publicly called liars and hoaxers. Many family members and neighbors were irritated by the commotion, and resented the attention on the small town. People traveled for days to the Cova to witness the miracle. It is estimated that between 40,000 and 80,000 souls were in the Cova itself, and possibly another 20,000 within a 25 mile radius of the Cova, on the day of the miracle. It had been raining for a day and the entire countryside was muddy. Finally the Lady appeared: “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon re-

To delve even deeper into the history and application of the Message given at Fatima I highly recommend Fr. Andrew Apostoli C.F.R., Fatima for Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope, 2010 by Ignatius Press. Fr. Apostoli presents a very readable and thorough account of the events surrounding the Apparition of Fatima. As he describes the events and the messages, he gives important insight to how the message applies to our lives 100 years later. He is also not afraid to confront the more conspiratorial ideas that have arisen concerning the Third Secret and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, showing very clearly how the Consecration was completed by St. John Paul II in 1984. After the historical and theological breakdown of the message and the sequence of events, Fr. Apostoli offers some great insight of the message of Fatima as a defense against an everspreading modern atheistic secularism. He also notes the connection of Our Lady of Fatima to the Muslim people and as a bridge to bringing Muslims to Christ. (Fatima is the name of one of Mohammed’s daughters as well as a Muslim Princess during the Muslim occupation of Iberia who converted to Catholicism). A very useful appendix of the book includes a detailed explanation of the First Saturdays Devotion and the prayers given to the children by the Angel and Our Lady. Fr. Apostoli’s book reminds us of our Lady’s ultimate message of Hope that in the end her “Immaculate Heart will Triumph.” The book can be found at the Ignatius Press website (ignatius.com) as well as amazon.com and in many Catholic bookstores. 43


turn to their homes.” She also pleaded, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.” Lucia called to the people to look at the sun. Tens of thousands of people, both believers and skeptics, all claimed to see the sun (which miraculously did not harm their eyes) move and dance around in the sky and appear to fall toward the earth. Meanwhile, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco saw a different vision. As Our Lady disappeared, the entire Holy Family then appeared to the children. The Child Jesus blessed the world by making the sign of the Cross. The Holy Family disappeared and Our Lady appeared once again, this time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Children The two youngest visionaries Jacinta and Francisco, died just two years after the apparition at Fatima. They both contracted influenza in the great Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1919. Lucia went on to join the Dorothean Sisters in 1925, and later the Discalced Carmelites in 1946. Sister Lucia continued to receive private revelations of the Blessed Mother in the convent. She died in 2005 at the age of 98. Jacinta and Francisco were beatified (the last step before being canonized saints) by Saint John Paul II, and they are expected to be canonized by Pope Francis on May 13th of this year, at the shrine. Sister Lucia’s cause for canonization began in 2008, and is proceeding. First Saturdays One of the requests made by Our Lady to Sr. Lucia in the private revelations in the convent was the Devotion of the First Saturdays. Our Lady promised to “assist at the hour of death,

with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.” This devotion is kept in many Churches around the world. Fatima for us What are we to make of this apparition? One thing we can see is God’s penchant to speak to the lowly, those “unimportant” to the world. In the midst of a terrible world war and political upheaval, an apparition was sent to three poor farm children. Despite their complete lack of influence and sophistication, the messages and devotions of Fatima have spread around the world and had tremendous influence. The site of the apparition receives over eight million visitors in a normal year, and will receive many more in this centennial. We can also see God teaching the world, just as He did in the Life of Jesus Christ, that politics and war are not the solutions to the world’s problems. Rather, prayer and penance and faith are. Our Lady is always there as an aid to us in times of great trouble. It is important that we listen to her because she will always lead us back to her Son, Jesus Christ. Whether it’s praying the Rosary and meditating on its mysteries (which are the events of Christ’s Life) or faithfully participating in First Saturday devotions, or praying the prayers revealed at Fatima, true devotion to Our Blessed Mother leads us back to Christ, the source of our salvation. A deeper understanding of Fatima on this 100th anniversary can help us to have a deeper understanding of Christ’s will for us in our times.q Father Stehling is the administrator of St. Leo the Great parish in Centerville, Texas.

Prayer of Consecration of the Diocese of Tyler to the Immaculate Heart O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary as the fairest of your daughters, as your own Mother and as your holy spouse. In union with Mary, we magnify you and worship your complete dominion over all things. Almighty God, we ask that you hear our prayers that we present to you through the hands of our Blessed Lady, as we consecrate ourselves freely to her Immaculate Heart. Glorious Queen of Heaven and Earth, ever mindful of the great love which you have for all of the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of your divine Son, to you do we come, before you we offer ourselves, all the Faithful of the Diocese of Tyler. Gather under the protection of your mantle the Bishop and all the priests and deacons who serve in union with him in the Diocese of Tyler. Under your special care, we place all the consecrated religious and all the lay Faithful of Christ. We ask that you stir the hearts of all so that more will answer the call to offer themselves in service in Christ’s holy priesthood and the consecrated life. We place before you all of our families. We especially beg your maternal care for all unrepentant sinners, the sick, the poor, the tempted and all who are in particular need of your intercession. Draw us, O Immaculate Virgin, more intimately into the Eucharistic Heart of your Son, offered for us in sacrifice on Calvary and now waiting for us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. May the love of the Heart of Jesus which enflames your Immaculate Heart enflame, too, our tepid souls, so that we may truly proclaim by our words and by our lives the Kingdom of Heaven, the Reign of the Sacred Heart of your divine Son. May we always remain faithful to your motherly care for us. We confidently hope in your love and in the power of your intercession, now and at the hour of our deaths. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! 44


The Shrine at Fatima

Consecration of the Diocese, May 13, 2017 My Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Faithful, On Saturday, May 13, 2017, the world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young children in Fatima, Portugal. Our Lady told the three children, “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.” I wish to inform you that on this day, at a Mass celebrated at 4:30 p.m. at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul to conclude our Diocesan Marian Conference, I will entrust the Diocese of Tyler to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I invite you to join me at the conference and the Mass. I have decided to make this consecration so that we, as individuals, families, and parishes, can grow in holiness and fruitfulness under the special protection of the Mother of God, who continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of the body of Christ. In this way, we look to Mary’s Immaculate Heart as a remedy against the evil and darkness that seem to be growing each day. We make consecrations like this, which are self-offerings that have God as the object, because, as St. Louis Marie de Montfort says, our Lord Jesus came into the world through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and He wishes the world to come to Him through her as well. “Seen in the light of Christ’s words (cf. John 19:25-27), the act of consecration is a conscious recognition of the singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage, of the many maternal functions she has, since she is a true mother in the order of grace to each and every one of her children.” The act of consecration is made to the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust ourselves completely, so as to keep our baptismal commitments and live as her children. Our consecration is merely a willing, loving act of devotion which recognizes this filial relationship we have with our Heavenly Mother. It is important that we have a proper understanding of con-

secration to Mary. We can see clearly that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the image of discipleship; her heart is completely conformed to the Sacred Heart of her Son, on fire with the love of God. It is a model for the kind of heart which we ought to have, the living heart which replaces our hearts of stone (cf. Ezekiel 36:26). Mary is a sure and certain path toward union with the will of God and union with her Son. Consecration to Mary deepens and strengthens our commitment to Christ. For this reason, consecration to Mary must explicitly state that our ultimate end and goal is God and His will. We entrust and commend ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, for she leads us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus without fail. Mary is not God; She is not the fourth person of the Holy Trinity. Her role is in no way a rival to her Son, but is always meant to magnify the Lord for the marvels He has worked through her. Nevertheless, it was God’s will that Mary play a significant part in our Christian lives and, in particular, with our sanctification. Mary is perfectly honored when we associate ourselves with her heart and embrace her words, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I also take this occasion to strongly encourage each of us individually, and our families together, to take up those specific acts commended to us by Our Lady at Fatima: wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel, performing acts of reparation and sacrifice, practicing the devotion of the Five First Saturdays, and, most especially, praying the Holy Rosary daily. It is my prayer that this act of devotion will be an opportunity of grace for all and that it will be pleasing to the loving Son of the Virgin Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and honor forever. Ad Jesum Per Mariam,

Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland Bishop of Tyler 45


Introducción

Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo, Vivimos en una era difícil la cual, en muchas maneras, regresa al mundo sombrío en el cual Cristo nació – un mundo donde la humanidad se pierde en una oscuridad que con frecuencia es producto de su propia creación --. Esta oscuridad es generada por el corazón humano que ignora a Dios y esta totalmente ensimismado, y que además ha adoptado el pecado no solamente como aceptable, sino como una norma establecida. Nosotros vemos esta oscuridad aquí en el Este de Texas, en nuestra querida nación, y alrededor del mundo. Nosotros maldecimos esta oscuridad y la rechazamos. Sin embargo, debemos hacer mucho más que encender una vela. ¡Tenemos que dejar que la Luz de Cristo brille en su radiante esplendor para que así pueda vencer las tinieblas! Hace algún tiempo, le pregunté a un candidato para la Confirmación, “¿Qué pasa con el pan y el vino en la consagración durante la Misa?” La respuesta del candidato fue, “¿Cómo debería saberlo?” Estoy seguro que la familia y la parroquia del joven trabajaron arduamente para enseñarlo, pero su respuesta subraya la necesidad de lo que estoy proponiendo en este documento. Usted notará las palabras del etíope en Hechos 8:31 citadas en la Sección 1 de este documento: “¿Cómo lo puedo entender, si nadie me lo explica?” En una manera sorprendente, estas palabras evocan la respuesta del joven que me encontré en aquella Confirmación A lo largo de la historia de la Diócesis, muchos han hecho valerosos esfuerzos para enseñar y debemos empezar por agradecerle a Dios por estas almas dedicadas, muchas de las cuales aún tienen sus manos en el arado. Sería imposible el intentar la audaz visión que se perfila en la siguiente constitución sin el fuerte fundamento que estas valientes almas han proporcionado. La oscuridad se ha esparcido a un paso tan rápido que simplemente ha abrumado los métodos que hasta ahora hemos usado. Ahora, debemos buscar nuevas y creativas maneras de enseñar y compartir la maravilla de nuestra Fe Católica. No solamente la Iglesia, sino toda la humanidad dependen de ello. El estado trágico de los asuntos previamente mencionados no 46

debe llevarnos a la desesperación. La voz servicial de la historia nos recuerda que muchas generaciones han tenido que levantarse y enfrentar los desafíos propios de sus días y lo han hecho con una virtud heroica. Nosotros somos fortalecidos por la promesa de Nuestro Señor, el ejemplo de Nuestra Señora y los Santos a través de la historia, y nuestra propia experiencia de fe la cual siempre nos guía a la esperanza. Cristo es nuestra esperanza y con Él en nuestros corazones nadie puede prevalecer contra nosotros. La admonición de San Juan Pablo II, “¡No Teman!” expresa la fuerza que fluye hacia nosotros de Cristo al enfrentarnos a estos extraordinarios desafíos. Todos hemos escuchado el llamado del Beato Pablo VI para una nueva evangelización, y sus sucesores a la silla de Pedro lo han repetido por cincuenta años. Muchos han tratado de responder a la pregunta de que es en realidad esta nueva evangelización. Ciertamente, no puedo aseverar haber encontrado la respuesta; sin embargo, estoy convencido que el Instituto y nuevo enfoque a la catequesis y evangelización que propongo en esta Constitución es un paso importante. Al igual que con los desafíos que la Iglesia ha enfrentado antes, el éxito de estas nuevas iniciativas será algo que solamente lograremos por la gracia de Dios, ardua devoción, y gran sacrificio por parte de todos. Por favor lean esta Constitución en un espíritu de amor por el Señor y su Iglesia, oren y reflexionen en el papel que ustedes pueden desempeñar, y acompáñenme a abrazar el reto de nuestro día de ir al mundo portando la Luz de Cristo. Pidiéndole a Dios que fortalezca la Iglesia de Tyler e invocando Su bendición para ustedes, yo soy Suyo en Cristo,

Reverendísimo.- Joseph E. Strickland Obispo de Tyler


JOSEPH EDWARD STRICKLAND por la gracia de Dios, y de la Santa Sede Apostolica

OBISPO DE TYLER

Una Diócesis que Enseña: Constitución en Enseñar la Fe Católica

A los sacerdotes, diáconos, religiosos, catequistas y maestros, y a todos los fieles de la Diócesis de Tyler, salud y bendición. En la ocasión del año 30º de la Diócesis de Tyler, y para fielmente ejercitar el munus docendi, la oficina de enseñanza ha confiado en mí como obispo, yo presento este documento a la Diócesis. Al hacerlo, yo soy guiado por Christus Dominus, el decreto del Concilio Vaticano II en el oficio pastoral de obispo. Este documento me obliga, como maestro líder de la Diócesis, para enseñar: … por consiguiente, cuánto hay que apreciar la persona humana, con su libertad y la misma vida del cuerpo, según la doctrina de la Iglesia; la familia y su unidad y estabilidad, la procreación y educación de los hijos” y para hacerlo “con métodos acomodados a las necesidades de los tiempos, es decir, que respondan a las dificultades y problemas que más preocupan y angustian a los hombres.”–Christus Dominus, 12 Para que yo fielmente desempeñe este deber de enseñar, yo he promulgado esta Constitución para guiar la enseñanza de la Fe Católica en la Diócesis de Tyler.

Sección 1: Un Nuevo Énfasis en Enseñar El Espíritu Santo dijo a Felipe: “Acércate y camina junto a su carro”. Felipe se acercó y, al oír que leía al profeta Isaías, le preguntó: “¿Comprendes lo que estás leyendo?”. El respondió: “¿Cómo lo puedo entender, si nadie me lo explica?”. Entonces le pidió a Felipe que subiera y se sentara junto a él. –Hechos 8:29-31 1. La Diócesis de Tyler será una diócesis de enseñanza. Esta es la meta que hemos emprendido en nuestro 30º año, y la cual yo espero nos guiará por los próximos 30 años y más allá. En esta Constitución, estoy incentivando a todos los miembros de la Diócesis de Tyler a ser como el diácono y evangelista Felipe: vayan y únanse con toda la gente del Este de Texas e instrúyanles con la riqueza de la Iglesia Católica, fundada e instituida por Jesucristo. Buscamos para encontrar, acompañar, y ofrecer a cada una y todas las personas las hermosas verdades de la Fe Católica. Esta es una meta audaz; sin embargo, con Dios todas las cosas son posibles y nosotros confiamos nuestra misión a Él por la intercesión de San Felipe el Evangelista.

2. Hay una necesidad grave por esta clase de compromiso. Nuestra propia experiencia vivida y los datos brutos no dejan lugar a duda acerca de esto: • Se estima que sólo el 23% de los católicos de Estados Unidos asisten a Misa cada semana, el 77% ausente de la Fiesta Eucarística cada semana no son extraños: son nuestros padres, hermanos, cónyuges, hijos y amigos. [1] • Hoy en día hay más de 30 millones de personas en EE.UU. que fueron criados católicos, que ya no se identifican como tales. Este grupo de personas es aproximadamente igual en tamaño al número de cristianos bautistas en EE.UU. [2] • El número de bodas Católicas ha estado disminuyendo continuamente por cuatro décadas en EE.UU., y las bodas que ocurrirán en la Iglesia Católica en el 2017 son menos de la mitad de las del 1990. [3] Más cerca al hogar, reconocemos que “la dictadura del relativismo” está en aumento entre nuestra gente joven, incluso en el Este de Texas, y el nivel de conocimiento general de la Fe entre nuestros adultos católicos los deja vulnerables a falsas enseñanzas y confusión moral. [4] 3. ¡Claramente debemos actuar, y lo haremos! Esta Constitución está destinada para servir como hoja de ruta, una guía, para la reformación de la enseñanza de la Diócesis de Tyler. Les pido a los sacerdotes, a los diáconos, a las hermanas y hermanos religiosos, a los catequistas, a los maestros, y a los fieles de la Diócesis su ayuda en implementar esta Constitución. Nosotros poseemos la Fe, un don de Dios para nosotros. Nuestra respuesta al regalo de Dios será pasar esa fe a los demás como un acto de amor desinteresado. Toda la finalidad de la doctrina y de la enseñanza debe ser puesta en el amor que no acaba. Porque se puede muy bien exponer lo que es preciso creer, esperar o hacer; pero sobre todo debe resaltarse que el amor de Nuestro Señor siempre prevalece, a fin de que cada uno comprenda que todo acto de virtud perfectamente cristiano no tiene otro origen que el amor, ni otro término que el amor.–Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, 25 Vamos a enseñar con un fervor renovado. Vamos a dar lo mejor de la enseñanza católica a cada familia en la Diócesis. Vamos a ser como los Apóstoles de Cristo y los primeros cristianos que enseñaron vigorosamente y sin consideración por si mismos mientras pensamos sólo en el otro. 47


Sección 2: Una Nueva Estructura de Enseñanza Cristo es la revelación perfecta del Padre. En él, nosotros hemos recibido nuestro mayor conocimiento del Dios vivo y verdadero; por él, hemos aprendido como debemos vivir. Sin embargo, para que esta revelación sea conocida, primero debe ser escuchada, lo cual inmediatamente implica la necesidad de un organismo estructurado de enseñanza para proclamarlo. –Bishops as Teachers, USCCB, 2011 4. Esta Constitución establece un plan audaz, de gran alcance, y un nuevo enfoque para toda la Diócesis. No podemos esperar grandes resultados por esfuerzos pequeños. Lo que buscamos es un cambio al por mayor y mejoramiento en como enseñamos al pueblo en el este de Texas. Para tener los resultados que deseamos, debemos de estar dispuestos a ser audaces y capaces de expresar la fe, “siempre antigua, siempre nueva,” con capacidad y claridad como nunca antes. 5. Para responder a la pregunta, “¿Cómo nos convertiremos en una Diócesis de enseñanza?” Yo estoy fundando el Instituto San Felipe de Catequesis y Evangelización en la Diócesis de Tyler. Este Instituto está encargado de proporcionar a las parroquias de la Diócesis los materiales, la experiencia, y el apoyo, para realizar la misión de enseñanza como se perfila en esta Constitución. El Instituto está fundado para el servicio de los fieles de la Diócesis. 6. El Instituto está bajo la gubernatura del Obispo Diocesano, y dirigido por él, por el Director del Instituto. Personal adicional será traído a bordo para apoyar al Director mientras él implementa las metas establecidas por esta Constitución. Un sacerdote-capellán será nombrado para promover el bienestar espiritual del Instituto. Una organización asesora será establecida en una manera similar a otras entidades autónomas tales como Caridades Católicas. Esta organización servirá para apoyar al Obispo y al Director en realizar la misión del Instituto. 7. El Instituto producirá u obtendrá todo los materiales necesarios para enseñar en la Diócesis, y asegurar su idoneidad. Para este fin, el Instituto está por emplear maestros calificados, profesionales de la fe que pueden producir materiales educativos que sean: (a) De alta Calidad, fieles a las enseñanzas de la Iglesia Católica como se expresa en el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica y los documentos de enseñanza magisterial, (b) Convenientes, comprometidos y atrayentes para acercar a cuanta gente sea posible al mensaje de Jesucristo, y (c) Útiles, ofreciendo enseñanza clara y concisa la cual verdaderamente informe y eduque, y nunca complique o confunda. Emplearemos estos valores de Calidad, Conveniencia, y Utilidad en todos nuestros materiales de enseñanza. Es mi intención que todos los materiales de enseñanza para el uso de la Diócesis de Tyler sean unificados y normalizados. Esta es la tarea más importante confiada al Instituto. 8. El Instituto está encargado de crear nuevos sistemas de entrega para los materiales de enseñanza lo cual tomará ventaja de la tecnología para proveer la mejor y más conveniente experiencia para los maestros y los estudiantes de la fe en la Diócesis. Yo deseo que el Instituto tome las mejores técnicas del mundo de los medios de comunicación para mejorar la enseñanza en la 48

Diócesis. Al mismo tiempo, me di cuenta que los mismos medios no son la respuesta a la ignorancia de la fe. Cristo es nuestro Salvador, no la tecnología, y por lo tanto es importante que siempre mantengamos la tecnología en su lugar apropiado como servidor del mensaje. Siempre, el objetivo debe ser conveniente y de simple accesibilidad de lo mejor en los materiales de enseñanza para cada persona en la Diócesis. Sobre todo, el objetivo es promover y profundizar nuestra relación personal con Jesucristo. Más específicamente, la tecnología ha proporcionado innumerables medios de compromiso directo, y el Instituto hará uso de estas herramientas. La Iglesia siempre ha empleado avance tecnológico apropiado en el servicio al Evangelio, y nuestro mundo interconectado provee las últimas de estas oportunidades. El Instituto empleará estas técnicas en servicio para la misión de la Diócesis. 9. El Instituto coordinará las funciones diocesanas de la formación de catequistas y acreditación. Esto incluirá la fortificación de nuestros catequistas voluntarios ya presentes en la Diócesis, reclutar y formar nuevos catequistas, y ofrecer oportunidades constantes de formación continua de nuestros catequistas al conservar la continuidad con nuestra historia diocesana. Nosotros promoveremos una actitud la cual apoyará a cada católico bautizado como alguien que vive y enseña a Jesucristo. El Instituto también tendrá el deber de responsabilidad de preparación sacramental, primeramente enfocándose en metodología, currículo, y mistagogia para las familias y personas que se están preparando para recibir los sacramentos de iniciación en cualquier etapa de la vida en que se encuentren. Esta responsabilidad será realizada en colaboración cercana con el Director de Catequesis Sacramental de Niños y el equipo que promueve el proceso de iniciación Cristiana de adultos en la Diócesis. 10. Mi meta para el Instituto es que inicie su operación formal para el otoño de 2017. Las metas para el Instituto son ambiciosas, así que requerirá varios años para que el Instituto madure plenamente en una organización cuyas funciones estoy resumiendo en esta Constitución. El plan para el crecimiento y desarrollo del Instituto será implementado en faces, con las metas apropiadas y accesibles durante ese período. Durante esta fase inicial, no estaremos simplemente planeando, estaremos enseñando. Edificar nuevas estructuras mientras enseñamos simultáneamente no va a ser fácil; sin embargo, nuestra Diócesis tiene necesidades inmediatas y siempre las mantendremos al frente. 11. Un proyecto de principal importancia para el Instituto será la creación de un Catecismo Familiar Diocesano para que sirva como el documento básico y principal de enseñanza de la Diócesis.[5] Aunque este esfuerzo tomará tiempo, anhelo el momento en el cual la Diócesis tenga este documento que será ampliamente aplicable para una variedad de situaciones de enseñanza. Será completamente fiel al Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, pero más útil inmediatamente para las personas de la Diócesis a quienes les falta una buena formación en la fe. Apelo al Instituto para asegurar que este Catecismo Familiar Diocesano exhiba calidad, conveniencia, utilidad, y para tenerlo disponible para todos en la Diócesis. También es mi intención que el Instituto adapte ediciones de estudio para las personas de acuerdo a su etapa en la vida y su papel dentro de la familia. 12. Estoy poniendo la producción de la revista Catholic East Texas dentro del Instituto. Es mi intención que la Catholic East Texas continúe su desarrollo primeramente como una herrami-


enta de catequesis y evangelización. Será una fuente muy significativa para el Director del Instituto, y el Director tendrá un papel mayor en como la Catholic East Texas es usada para la Diócesis. Mientras que nuestras publicaciones diocesanas continúan para ser una fuente más efectiva de enseñanza, será un canal para enseñar y entrar a cada hogar en la Diócesis en una base regular. Esta publicación servirá como una piedra de toque, una ancla a la cual cada miembro de la familia puede regresar en su caminar en la fe. 13. Yo encargo al personal del Instituto a ser accesible y visible para las parroquias y misiones de la Diócesis. Es una misión primaria del Instituto proveer oportunidades para aprender la fe lo cual nunca ha existido antes para la gente de la Diócesis. Mi deseo es que el Instituto proporcione seminarios, clases, y oportunidades educacionales en cada parte de la Diócesis en forma regular. El Instituto está centralmente localizado en Tyler y así pueda ser una organización lo más fuerte posible para enseñar, pero su misión está presente en todos los 33 condados de la Diócesis. Es preguntarse constantemente, “¿Cómo podemos llegar a cada familia más efectivamente?” 14. Al fundar este Instituto y encargarlo de las estructuras de enseñanza de la Diócesis, siempre está la tentación de hacer comparaciones en lo que hemos hecho antes. Esto no tiene fruto. En cada era de la Diócesis, siempre hemos hecho lo mejor para enseñar la fe. Esta nueva visión guiará la próxima era de la Diócesis, y una vez más haremos lo mejor para enseñarles a todos las hermosas y maravillosas verdades de la fe católica. Nos cimentamos sobre cada éxito del pasado y estamos eternamente agradecidos a todos aquellos que han hecho tanto para enseñar la fe en nuestros primeros 30 años. En este fundamento, no tenemos temor a cambiar y mejorar en el servicio al Evangelio de Jesucristo. Enseñaremos en nuestro mundo del siglo 21 con el fervor de los cristianos del 1er siglo.

Sección 3: Una Visión de Enseñanza en la Familia En seguida le anunciaron la Palabra del Señor, a él y a todos los de su casa. A esa misma hora de la noche, el carcelero los atendió y curó sus llagas. Inmediatamente después, fue bautizado junto con toda su familia.–Hechos 16:32-33

La Enseñanza y la Familia Cristiana 15. Es mi instrucción que involucremos a todas las personas de la Diócesis de Tyler como familias, porque la familia es el

bloque básico de la construcción de nuestra Iglesia y la sociedad humana. Yo imagino la enseñanza ser entregada primeramente a las familias, de acuerdo a su membresía. La experiencia de aprendizaje de la fe será una actividad de fomento de la familia y fortificación de la familia en la Diócesis. Más básicamente, el compromiso de la familia significa acompañar a la gente de acuerdo a la realidad de sus vidas. Con este fin, yo veo tres intereses: (a)compromiso de la familia entera; (b)compromiso de los miembros según su temporada; y (c) compromiso de los miembros según sus cambios desafiantes. (a) Debemos involucrar a toda la familia. La fe católica no debe ser llevada solamente por una persona en el hogar, es una práctica domestica de la fe. Si un miembro de una familia se está preparando para recibir un sacramento de iniciación, debemos empacar enseñanza que se traerá al resto de la familia por el mismo camino por el bien de la unidad. Nuestros materiales y actividades deben buscar siempre hablar a toda la familia y promover la práctica doméstica de la fe. El hecho de que estas verdades sobre las principales cuestiones de la fe de la vida cristiana sean así transmitidas en un ambiente familiar impregnado de amor y respeto permitirá muchas veces que deje en los niños una huella de manera decisiva y para toda la vida. Los mismos padres aprovechen el esfuerzo que esto les impone, porque en un diálogo catequético de este tipo cada uno recibe y da.–Catechesi Tradendae, 68 (b) Involucraremos a los miembros de la familia según su etapa en la vida. Cada miembro de la familia es un ciclo en la vida. En general, seremos conscientes de la etapa de Infancia de 0 a 4 años de edad, la etapa de Iniciación de 5 a 12 años de edad, la etapa del Discipulado de 13 a 22 años de edad, la etapa de Compromiso 23 a 30 años de edad, la etapa de Vivir la Jornada de 30 a 50 años de edad, la etapa de Madurez de 50 a 70 años de edad, y la etapa de Sabiduría de 70 años y más. Estas edades no son inalterables y absolutas, ya que las personas, crecen y toman decisiones vocacionales en tiempos diferentes, pero nuestro compromiso debe ser sensible a las enseñanzas que más impactarán a las personas en estas diferentes etapas, particularmente en relación al discernimiento vocacional. Nosotros modelaremos la enseñanza en maneras que los miembros de la familia en estas diferentes etapas puedan enriquecerse mutuamente. (c) Cada miembro de la familia enfrenta desafíos individuales, y, para que nuestra enseñanza pueda ser más útil, involucraremos a cada miembro de la familia según los desafíos que ellos enfrenten. Cuando tengamos a un esposo y padre, le daremos información relevante necesaria para vivir su vocación según las enseñanzas de la Iglesia Católica, de acuerdo a su papel característico, responsabilidades, y desafíos. Cuando tengamos a una esposa y madre, a ella también le proporcionaremos una formación relevante y clara, fundamental para vivir su vocación. Al igual que su esposo ella necesitará muchas de las mismas herramientas, pero sus necesidades serán diferentes en áreas clave, y será nuestra responsabilidad reconocer y responder a sus necesidades individuales lo más completamente posible. Para proporcionar enseñanza que muestre calidad, conveniencia y utilidad, acompañaremos a cada miembro de la familia en sus vidas y les enseñaremos según sus cambiantes necesidades. 49


Lo que este punto señala es un sistema de enseñanza que está muy lejos de ser “una talla única,” por el contrario es un sistema diseñado a la medida de los miembros del núcleo familiar. Este es un noble objetivo, pero es precisamente el por qué yo he trazado este nuevo rumbo y fundado un Instituto de enseñanza, para que esta oportunidad pueda ser estudiada y este objetivo sea alcanzado. Organizaciones seculares en nuestro mundo emplean este tipo de análisis y personalización en el servicio de objetivos menos dignos. Haremos todo lo posible en este compromiso directo de todos los miembros de nuestras familias. La realidad de nuestro tiempo es que la familia esta fracturada y debilitada en formas graves en el curso del día a día de la sociedad. Fundamentalmente esta es una fractura de la persona humana que resulta en una gran confusión en cada una de las etapas previamente mencionadas. El mensaje de Jesucristo es el antídoto para esta confusión y fractura. Nos esforzaremos para ofrecer el mensaje de Jesús a las familias de la Diócesis en la mejor manera posible. 16. Al involucrar a toda la familia cristiana, tomaremos la oportunidad para ayudar a los padres a ser maestros para sus hijos. A través del material de enseñanza diseñado, la Diócesis puede facilitar a los padres a desempeñar mejor este papel confiado por Dios.

su éxito dependerá de los esfuerzos de pastores y las parejas casadas orientadoras de toda la Diócesis. La Diócesis se comprometerá con este modelo de acompañamiento de preparación para el Sacramento del Matrimonio, facilitado por las parejas orientadoras bajo la dirección del pastor. 19. Por esta razón, es mi decisión establecer la meta de un año de aprendizaje, formación, y crecimiento para las parejas comprometidas antes de celebrar el Sacramento del Matrimonio en la Diócesis. Emitiré políticas adicionales concernientes a la implementación de esto en un futuro cercano. Actualmente no tenemos listas las estructuras de apoyo que nos permitirá cumplir esta meta inmediatamente, pero ya estamos trabajando para desarrollar las herramientas esenciales.

En esta especie de Iglesia doméstica los padres deben ser para sus hijos los primeros predicadores de la fe, mediante la palabra y el ejemplo, y deben fomentar la vocación propia de cada uno, pero con un cuidado especial la vocación sagrada.– Lumen Gentium, 11 17. Continuaremos desarrollando nuestro programa existente para personas con necesidades especiales de forma que ellos sean incluidos en el plan de enseñanzas dentro de la familia. Todos son Hijos de Dios y todos merecen la enseñanza apropiada de acuerdo a su estado de vida. El regalo de aquellos con necesidades especiales es recordarnos que siempre debemos tener cuidado de no caer en la tentación de juzgar como lo hace el mundo. Las vidas que parecen carecer de valor en términos del mundo son, en términos del Reino, vidas de un valor inmenso. Nosotros atesoraremos esas vidas y procuraremos vivir lo que nos enseña la Iglesia que la vida es sagrada desde el momento de la concepción hasta la muerte natural. Al igual que los ancianos son un regalo especial para nuestra edad; ellos siempre deben de ser incluidos como miembros de la familia y nosotros somos desafiados para ser lo suficientemente sabios para aprender de ellos mientras y al mismo tiempo buscaremos la manera de enseñarles. La Enseñanza y el Matrimonio 18. Debido a los intensos ataques al matrimonio en nuestra sociedad, es imprescindible que mejoremos nuestros esfuerzos para construir y cultivar matrimonios cristianos fuertes en nuestra Diócesis. La preparación y continuo apoyo que le demos a las parejas que contraigan matrimonio es quizás el proyecto más importante que emprenderemos. Exhorto a esta Diócesis a comprometerse radicalmente con esta difícil, pero necesaria tarea. Esto no es algo que se puede hacer remotamente. Buen material de enseñanza será indispensable para este esfuerzo, pero 50

20. Como Diócesis, apoyaremos el ministerio de parejas orientadoras. Resalto de manera especial el enorme servicio que un matrimonio puede proporcionar a la Iglesia al ser orientadores para las parejas comprometidas. Para las parejas orientadoras que hacen este trabajo, y para aquellos de ustedes que escuchan este llamado y responden al convertirse en orientadores entrenados; sepan que están en mis oraciones, y que tienen la gratitud de la Diócesis. Ustedes pueden ayudar a abordar uno de los retos más abrumadores que enfrentamos. Nosotros apoyaremos su ministerio. Pastores, reconozco que enfrentan grandes desafíos en el reclutamiento de suficientes parejas orientadoras para hacer realidad esta visión de la preparación matrimonial. Sin embargo, debo enfatizar su papel primordial en acompañar a las parejas en su preparación hacia el Santo Matrimonio. Juntos afrontaremos los tres aspectos de la preparación matrimonial remota, inmediata, y proxima.[6] Me comprometo personalmente a ayudar en esta área. Mientras reformamos la preparación matrimonial en la Diócesis, iré a sus parroquias y haré una invitación personal a las parejas para que hagan parte de este ministerio. 21. Haremos todo lo posible para enseñarles a las parejas casadas que su vocación es estar dispuestos a tener los hijos que Dios quiere que tengan, y nosotros encontraremos todos los medios posibles para apoyar a estas amorosas parejas que se entregan a la voluntad de Dios. Por esta razón, la preparación matrimonial en la Diócesis incluirá un entrenamiento completo en un método de Planificación Familiar Natural. El intenso asalto sobre castidad sexual que cada matrimonio enfrenta en nuestra sociedad requiere una


respuesta. Nuestra respuesta será una de honestidad y amor, no abandono. Nos aseguraremos que cada matrimonio tenga las herramientas para vivir la vocación a la que Dios les ha llamado. “La castidad representa una tarea eminentemente personal; implica también un esfuerzo cultural.”[7] Nosotros haremos ese esfuerzo cultural como Diócesis. Es providencial que en el 2018 la Iglesia celebrará el quincuagésimo aniversario de la Encíclica Humanae Vitae. Al momento de su promulgación, gran parte del mundo la rechazó, y continúa rechazando, las verdades invariables contenidas en esta enseñanza del Beato Papa Pablo VI. Durante cincuenta años, hemos visto el ataque continuo a la enseñanza moral de la santidad de la vida humana, entendemos que las enseñanzas de Humanae Vitae son “cruciales para el futuro de la humanidad” y es imperativo que interioricemos estas verdades de amor conyugal, paternidad responsable y sexualidad humana.[8] Esto requerirá un gran esfuerzo y, en primer lugar, requiere el esfuerzo de nuestra propia conversión. La castidad “No tolera ni la doble vida ni el doble lenguaje.”[9] Nos comprometeremos a superar cualquier duplicidad en la cual hemos llegado a confiar concerniente a esta vital enseñanza de la Iglesia. Si queremos ayudar a los matrimonios jóvenes a vivir conforme a la ley de Dios, entonces como Diócesis tendremos que someternos a esa misma ley y guiar el camino. Invito a los sacerdotes de la Diócesis para que gentilmente y pacientemente instruyan a su comunidad en este importante, pero con mucha frecuencia olvidado tema. Aún no estamos listos para llevar a cabo esta visión en su totalidad, pero diligentemente nos prepararemos para hacerlo e implementarla en faces adecuadas.

Las enseñanzas de Humanae Vitae son “cruciales para el futuro de la humanidad.” 22. El apoyo a los matrimonios no se puede acabar en el día de su boda. Continuaremos con el proceso de asesoría por los primeros cinco años y más. Si una pareja de recién casados se cambia dentro de la Diócesis, debemos involucrarlos en el proceso de asesoría, y de la misma manera si una pareja se va, trataremos de “pasar” su asesoría a su nueva Diócesis cuando sea posible. Es importante señalar que la preparación de Planificación Familiar Natural no termina el día de la boda, en muchas maneras solamente ha iniciado. El tiempo inmediatamente después del nacimiento de su primer hijo es difícil y complicado para muchas parejas jóvenes que buscan vivir según la enseñanza de la Iglesia. Ellos necesitan ayuda continua para aprender y vivir los métodos de Planificación Familiar Natural lo cual los enriquecerá en cada aspecto de su relación como pareja. 23. Para facilitar el crecimiento y desarrollo de todos estos importantes y complejos ministerios, el desarrollo del Instituto incluirá la expansión de la Oficina de Vida Familiar. El Director del Instituto supervisará al Director de Vida Familiar. Este es un oficio de enseñanza de primordial importancia para el futuro de la Diócesis. Encomendaré al Director de Vida Familiar apoyar a los pastores con un sistema organizado y confiable para la preparación de las parejas comprometidas. Trabajaremos para desarrollar este sistema hasta que proporcione el mejor apoyo para los pastores, las parejas orientadoras, y las parejas comprometidas en

la Diócesis. 24. Me doy cuenta de que hay muchas personas en la Diócesis que no pueden participar en la preparación matrimonial directamente como parejas orientadoras. Como miembros de la familia diocesana, todos tenemos un papel en promover el matrimonio aunque no podamos servir como una pareja orientadora. Las personas solteras, viudos y viudas, e incluso matrimonios que no pueden servir como parejas orientadoras pueden desempeñar un papel guiando a las parejas casadas y comprometidas y les agradezco a aquellos que ya lo hacen al vivir su fe. Por favor continúen con su valiosa labor – ustedes cuentan con el apoyo y las oraciones de la Iglesia. Enseñanza y aquellos en Situaciones de Matrimonio Irregular 25. Deseo ampliar y mejorar nuestro ministerio diocesano a aquellos en situación matrimonial irregular. Felicito el buen trabajo realizado por nuestro Tribunal Diocesano y nuestros sacerdotes y facilitadores para familias en la Diócesis, pido para que podamos ampliar este esfuerzo. Es mi meta que esta función de nuestra Diócesis se convierta más en un ministerio familiar que visiblemente pueda complementar el proceso canónico. Cada persona que en este momento trabaja en la regularización matrimonial en nuestra Diócesis realiza actos de caridad en el proceso de ayudar a las personas en estas difíciles situaciones; ellos necesitan nuestro mejor apoyo. 26. Encargo al Instituto de crear documentos de enseñanza para ayudar a este ministerio familiar de regularización matrimonial. Me comprometo a hacer de esto un área especial de mi enseñanza como obispo, y utilizaré las herramientas a mi disposición para llamar a aquellos en situaciones irregulares a buscar la ayuda de la Iglesia. Esta es un área vital de la enseñanza y no la descuidaré. 27. A los sacerdotes de la Diócesis: como padres de nuestras familias parroquiales, sabemos que estos hijos nuestros están sufriendo, están en necesidad, y vendremos en su ayuda a toda prisa. Como maestros líderes de cada familia de la parroquia, ustedes son estimulados para hacer este llamado regularmente en sus predicaciones. Para lanzar la red más ampliamente, yo trabajaré con el Instituto para llevar el mensaje a quienes no escuchan sus homilías. 28. Porque Cristo quiere que seamos perfectos, nuestra meta definitiva es una regularización matrimonial total en nuestra Diócesis. Para dar una forma concreta a este esfuerzo, es mi meta que involucremos a cada feligrés que se encuentra en una situación matrimonial irregular para el año 2020, y que todas y cada una de esas situaciones sean llevadas a la resolución canónica para fines de 2025. Si bien nuestra población diocesana no es estática, este es nuestro objetivo. Estableceremos metas ambiciosas en servicio al pueblo de Dios por lo que nunca estaremos satisfechos con la necesidad y sufrimiento humano. Este es un gran desafío, pero debemos compartir la misericordia de Cristo con cada familia en la Diócesis, especialmente los más necesitados de esa misericordia. Acogeremos también a todos los que son viudos o divorciados como miembros de la familia. Determinadas situaciones pueden ser complejas y dolorosas, pero el vivir nuestro llamado a ser discípulos nos exige que siempre acompañemos y recibamos a aquellos que enfrentan circunstancias difíciles. 51


Sección 4: La Enseñanza y Escuelas Católicas 29. El Instituto que estoy estableciendo por medio de esta Constitución no estaría completo sin una referencia sustancial a nuestras escuelas católicas. Las escuelas católicas en este país tienen un legado de dirigir todos los elementos de enseñanza que estoy expresando en este documento y en el cual estoy motivando al Instituto a dirigir. De esta manera, la declaración principal que necesito hacer con relación al Instituto y nuestras escuelas católicas es que estén íntimamente conectados. Específicamente, el trabajo del Instituto, como se centra en la catequesis y evangelización, directamente participará y ayudará a nuestras escuelas católicas, especialmente en los esfuerzos de enseñar la fe en sus departamentos de teología y religión. Mientras que el Instituto empieza a tomar forma, trabajaré cuidadosamente con el Director y los rectores de nuestras escuelas para establecer conexiones claras entre el Instituto y estos departamentos que funcionan en el corazón de nuestras escuelas católicas.

Sección 5: La Enseñanza, Alabanza y la Presencia Real de Cristo Todos se reunían asiduamente para escuchar la enseñanza de los Apóstoles y participar en la vida común, en la fracción del pan y en las oraciones.–Hechos 2:42 30. Nuestro nuevo enfoque en la enseñanza incluirá la sagrada Liturgia. Como “sumo sacerdote de este rebaño,” es mi responsabilidad proporcionar el entrenamiento apropiado en el significado y práctica de la sagrada Liturgia en la Diócesis de Tyler.[10] No es suficiente que nuestros sacerdotes sean estudiantes de liturgia; a todas las personas de la Diócesis se les dará la oportunidad para conocer y amar a Jesucristo en la Misa, y, como una familia diocesana, aumentaremos nuestro amor por la liturgia y nuestra devoción a la misma. Una imagen que encuentro para ayudarnos a comparar la liturgia es el baile. En el gran paseo de la liturgia todos tenemos un hermoso papel, sin embargo, cuando uno o varios no están conscientes de su papel, el baile se hace confuso y la liturgia decrece. 31. Por lo tanto, una meta mayor de enseñanza en la Diócesis será para que los fieles entiendan como y porque Cristo viene a nosotros en la liturgia. La creación de los mejores materiales de enseñanza y los esfuerzos concentrados de maestros por toda la Diócesis son importantes para hacer esto, pero nada puede reemplazar la enseñanza implícita y explicita del sacerdote quien actúa in persona Christi Capitis.

Lumen Gentium, la Constitución Dogmática sobre la Iglesia del Concilio Vaticano II, explica este principio: El sacerdocio ministerial, por la potestad sagrada de que goza, forma y dirige el pueblo sacerdotal, confecciona el sacrificio eucarístico en la persona de Cristo y lo ofrece en nombre de todo el pueblo a Dios.– Lumen Gentium, 10 El papel del sacerdote al guiar al pueblo sacerdotal puede ser considerado inconveniente para muchos. Por consiguiente, nosotros buscaremos su significado completo con gran humildad. Al pretender enseñar las maravillas de nuestra liturgia católica continuaremos volviendo a estas desafiantes palabras buscando el equilibrio, al que nos llama el Espíritu Santo. En la Misa, el sacerdote enseña explícitamente a través de su homilía e implícitamente por su atención y fidelidad en la celebración. Le agradezco a mis hermanos sacerdotes por su fidelidad en esta área, y les hago un llamado para que constantemente renueven su familiaridad con los documentos que rigen la celebración Eucarística, así como su devoción al celebrar la liturgia con atención y reverencia. 32. 32. Es más explícito en el ars celebrandi del sacerdote su completa humildad, docilidad a las rubricas y normas litúrgicas que enfatizan vehementemente el carácter de adoración “centrada en Dios,” en lugar de adoración “centrada en el hombre.” Desafortunadamente, confusión en este aspecto con frecuencia ha debilitado las reformas auténticas propuestas por el Concilio Vaticano II. Mientras que no podemos nunca subestimar los esfuerzos prolíficos y ejemplares hechos en otras áreas del ministerio sacerdotal, reconocemos que es en el contexto de la celebración digna y solemne del Santo Sacrificio de la Misa que el sacerdote es más visible y auténticamente capaz de enseñar y evangelizar a la familia parroquial.

En el servicio eclesial del ministro ordenado es Cristo mismo quien está presente a su Iglesia como Cabeza de su cuerpo, Pastor de su rebaño, Sumo Sacerdote del sacrificio redentor, Maestro de la Verdad. Es lo que la Iglesia expresa al decir que el sacerdote, en virtud del sacramento del Orden, actúa in persona Christi Capitis. – Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica 1548 Esta expresión del Catecismo in persona Christi ha sido uno de los aspectos más controvertidos del sacerdocio ordenado desde el Concilio Vaticano II. Como es siempre el caso me resulta más instructivo volver a los mismos documentos del Concilio para buscar un entendimiento mucho más profundo. 52

33. Nuestras enseñanzas en la liturgia en la Diócesis siempre serán guiadas por los documentos de la Iglesia católica, más especialmente:


El Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica La Instrucción General del Misal Romano y sus rubricas La Constitución en la Sagrada Liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium Exhortación Apostólica Postsinodal Sacramentum Caritatis Instrucción Redemptionis Sacramentum 34. Es de singular importancia que cada católico en la Diócesis entienda la Presencia Real de Jesucristo en la Santísima Eucaristía. El Instituto tendrá la tarea de crear y entregar materiales que enseñen esta realidad de la mejor manera posible. Más adelante llamaré a los sacerdotes de la Diócesis a Domingos especiales de predicación Eucarística, y apoyaré estos esfuerzos con enseñanza directa de mi parte. Debemos inculcar en los fieles una profunda apreciación, lo que el Papa Francisco llama “maravillarse,” por esta realidad:

El respeto por la Eucaristía es respeto por Jesucristo, presente en Cuerpo y Sangre, Alma y Divinidad. 37. En apoyo a nuestra meta de fe y conocimiento Eucarístico, recurro a cada parroquia y misión en la Diócesis para organizar una procesión el domingo de la Solemnidad del Santísimo Cuerpo y Sangre de Cristo (domingo de Corpus Christi). Una procesión, no importa lo humilde, que esta sea es testimonio evangelizador para nosotros mismos y para el mundo de nuestra fe en la Presencia Real de Jesucristo en la Sagrada Eucaristía.

El don que Jesús hizo de sí mismo, inmolándose voluntariamente en la cruz. Y este Pan de vida ha llegado hasta nosotros. Ante esta realidad nunca acaba el asombro de la Iglesia. Un asombro que alimenta siempre la contemplación, la adoración, y la memoria.– Homilía del Papa Francisco, Corpus Christi 2015 35. Es una gran tragedia y triste realidad que muchos no son capaces de reconocer al Señor Jesús en la Eucaristía. Estoy plenamente convencido que esta incredulidad es la “fuente y culmen” de muchos de nuestros problemas. La falta de creencia en el regalo único que es la Eucaristía conduce a una indiferencia concerniente a la fe Católica. Conduce a la falta de vigor evangélico. Conduce a un descuido en seguir los preceptos de la iglesia. Conduce a la falta de vocaciones sacerdotales y religiosas. Y menosprecia una abundante vida familiar en la Diócesis y en el mundo. Esto debe terminar. 36. Los feligreses de la Diócesis serán una vez más enseñados y animados a mostrar el respeto apropiado por la Santa Eucaristía. Esto requiere instrucción en ambas la disposición interior necesaria para la digna recepción de la Comunión, al igual que la manera que la Eucaristía es recibida físicamente. Para que sus acciones externas reflejen una fe interior, los fieles deben ser entrenados en recepción apropiada y respetuosa de la Santa Eucaristía según las modalidades licitas de recepción. El respeto por la Eucaristía es respeto por Jesucristo, presente en Cuerpo y Sangre, Alma y Divinidad. Nos enfocaremos en esta fe Eucarística y formaremos a nuestro pueblo en este profundo entendimiento de que reverencia al Santísimo Sacramento es el respeto por la persona de Jesucristo presente, aquí y ahora, en medio de nosotros. Esta reverencia es un signo de comunión no en “pan y bebida común” sino en el Cuerpo y Sangre del Señor. Por estos “el pueblo de Dios comparte en la bendición del sacrificio pascual, renueva la nueva alianza una vez hecha por Dios con el hombre en la Sangre de Cristo, y en fe y esperanza presagia y anticipa el banquete escatológico en el reino del Padre.”–Memoriale Domini, Congregation for Divine Worship, 1969 (traducido)

38. A medida que la Diócesis crece en este intenso entendimiento de nuestro Señor Eucarístico, es mi deseo que para el 2022 (el 35º Aniversario de la Diócesis) tengamos nuestro primer Sínodo Diocesano, cuyo tema será La Eucaristía: Fuente y Culmen de la Familia, y contará con una procesión de Corpus Christi en el centro de Tyler con el clero, religiosos, y los fieles de la Diócesis. 39. Les pido a las parroquias de la Diócesis que anuncien a sus fieles las oportunidades para la Adoración Eucarística. La adoración deber ser una parte pública, normal, y fácilmente accesible de la vida parroquial. Felicito a los pastores de la Diócesis por mantener fácilmente accesible horarios de adoración regular para sus comunidades. Si una parroquia o comunidad no tiene oportunidades para la adoración, esto debe convertirse en un proyecto inmediato para organizar al menos algunas oportunidades para hacerlo. Les pediría que al menos una hora por semana sea dedicada para orar ante el Santísimo Sacramento específicamente por las vocaciones al sacerdocio y la vida religiosa. 53


40. Mientras enseñamos en el contexto de la liturgia, hago un llamado a los sacerdotes de la Diócesis, como ya lo he hecho antes, para usar el idioma Latín como un apoyo para enriquecer la belleza y solemnidad de la celebración del Santo Sacrificio de la Misa. Encontrar el equilibro apropiado en el idioma es uno de los desafíos que enfrentamos con respecto a la liturgia. Mientras crecemos como Diócesis, tenemos una representación significativa de otros idiomas aparte de Ingles, Español, Tagalo, y Vietnamita, entre otros. Regreso al Santo Papa Juan XXIII, el “padre del Concilio Vaticano II,” por su sabia instrucción aquí: “De hecho la Iglesia, al abrazar en su seno a todas las naciones, y estando destinada durar hasta el fin de los siglos, exige por su misma naturaleza una lengua universal, inmutable y no popular”.–Veterum Sapientia Esto expresa bien el valor que el latín trae a la liturgia. Continuaremos buscando abrazar este valor y alentamos al clero y a los fieles a hacerlo también. Siguiendo este llamado del Papa Juan XXIII, del Concilio Vaticano II continúa recomendando el equilibrio apropiado entre la lengua vernácula y el latín. Se conservará el uso de la lengua latina en los ritos latinos, salvo derecho particular … En las Misas celebradas con asistencia del pueblo puede darse el lugar debido a la lengua vernácula, principalmente en las lecturas y en la «oración común» y, según las circunstancias del lugar, también en las partes que corresponden al pueblo.– Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36, 54 Claridad y fidelidad respecto al equilibrio adecuado entre el uso de la lengua vernácula y el uso del Latín ha demostrado ser un gran reto para toda la Iglesia. Esto no es menos laborioso en nuestra propia Diócesis. Este proceso tomará algún tiempo, pero la tradición constante de la Iglesia en este asunto, al igual que en muchos otros, no puede ser ignorado. Mientras buscamos una mayor fidelidad, debemos conscientes del amplio rango en nuestra Diócesis respecto al y como nosotros oramos la liturgia. La mayoría de las parroquias tienen Misas en Ingles y Español, y muchas familias enfrentan la división del lenguaje entre abuelos, padres e hijos. El buscar un acercamiento más equilibrado al Latín puede ser una bendición especial para todos los fieles en el Este de Texas. Los elementos básicos de la liturgia en Latín pueden y deben ser un idioma común de oración para todos, ayudando a unirnos como Iglesia: Una, Santa, Católica y Apostólica. De hecho la lengua latina, por su naturaleza, se adapta perfectamente para promover toda forma de cultura en todos los pueblos: no suscita envidias, se muestra imparcial con todos.–Veterum Sapientia Nos aseguraremos, mediante la enseñanza adecuada, que la experiencia del Latín en la liturgia es una oportunidad para un mayor conocimiento y no confusión. Para las personas cuya experiencia de la liturgia ha sido casi enteramente en su lengua vernácula, el aprender varias partes de la Misa en latín puede y debe ser una experiencia de descubrimiento, quizás por la prim54

era vez, del significado y hermosura de esas partes en cualquier idioma. El clamar Sanctus a Dios puede ser una oportunidad para cada católico en nuestra Diócesis para enseñarle nuevamente la santidad de Dios y su majestad.

La Enseñanza y los Ministerios Litúrgicos

41. En la Diócesis, damos gracias por la participación entusiasta de los laicos en la liturgia. Mientras nos embarcamos en esta nueva era de enseñanza, debemos apoyar a aquellos que ofrecen su tiempo y sus esfuerzos en los ministerios litúrgicos con instrucción útil. Yo le pido al Instituto producir materiales de enseñanza estandarizados para el ministerio litúrgico en la Diócesis. Si un miembro de los fieles es llamado para servir a la Iglesia en uno de estos ministerios, nosotros debemos responder a ayudarlos a entender la teología detrás de su función en la liturgia y la disposición espiritual apropiada que es necesaria para ayudar en la Misa. 42. Los sacerdotes y diáconos de la Diócesis necesitan el apoyo de los ministros laicos para poder cumplir su papel de enseñanza en la liturgia y crear una cultura litúrgica vibrante parroquial. Un papel importante, pero a veces descuidado que puede ser de inmensa ayuda para el clero es el de acólito, un ministerio establecido por la Iglesia para los hombres adultos. Les pido a los sacerdotes identificar y apoyar al menos a dos hombres en cada parroquia y misión para ser instituidos como acólitos. Los materiales de capacitación adecuados y procedimientos actualizados para este proceso serán emitidos.

43. Le daremos consideración especial a la enseñanza implícita y explícita que los fieles reciben en y de los ministerios litúrgicos. En particular, monaguillos, porque a menudo son jóvenes a quienes se les enseñan verdades fundamentales mediante su experiencia en este ministerio. Como tal, formaremos este ministerio en la Diócesis para reflexionar, de verdad, las realidades litúrgicas y profesionales de la Fe Católica. Simplemente, esto significa que los hombres y mujeres jóvenes tendrán diferentes roles, establecidos en nuevas regulaciones que publicaré, y que reflejen su igual complementariedad mientras que abarcamos los diferentes papeles vocacionales que son parte del plan de Dios. Para las mujeres jóvenes, el servir en el altar es una experiencia de aprendizaje en los misterios de Cristo. Para los hombres jóvenes, el servir en el altar encarna la


extra dimensión de discernimiento vocacional para el sacerdocio. Quiero que cada discípulo joven que desee servir sea bien recibido para emprender este ministerio, respetando los papeles que Dios ha asignado en Su Reino.

La Enseñanza y la Música Sagrada

44. El ministerio litúrgico de la música también es importante y, a su manera, es un ministerio de enseñanza. La enseñanza implícita de la música es un correcto mensaje de la solemnidad, gozo, santidad y unidad de la Misa, o corre el riesgo de convertirse en una enseñanza incorrecta de la mundanalidad, la preponderancia y la intrascendencia. Todos nosotros tenemos que experimentar una buena música en la Misa, la cual haga un ámbito litúrgico naturalmente elevando nuestras almas en la oración; todos nosotros hemos experimentado música mediocre en la Misa, la cual interrumpe la devoción devota de la comunidad. La fe crece cuando es bien expresada en la celebración. Las buenas celebraciones fomentan y nutren la fe. Las celebraciones mediocres debilitan y destruyen la fe. –Music in Catholic Worship, USCCB, 1972 (Traducido) 45. Por esta razón, empezaremos a estudiar maneras en las cuales la Diócesis puede apoyar al ministerio de música en las parroquias individuales. Nuestros esfuerzos de enseñanza no descuidarán el lugar de la belleza en la vida y en nuestra liturgia Católica. Nuestra herencia musical nos llama a alturas elevadas que con frecuencia parecen muy lejos de la realidad de la vida parroquial en el Este de Texas, pero debemos ser una Diócesis que pone metas altas en la práctica de la fe. Es bueno que toda catequesis preste una especial atención al «camino de la belleza». Anunciar a Cristo significa mostrar que creer en Él y seguirlo no es sólo algo verdadero y justo, sino también bello, capaz de colmar la vida de un nuevo resplandor y de un gozo profundo, aun en medio de las pruebas. En esta línea, todas las expresiones de verdadera belleza pueden ser reconocidas como un sendero que ayuda a encontrarse con el Señor Jesús. –Evangelii Gaudium, 167

Todos conocemos el dicho “el que canta ora dos veces” y esto enmarca muy bien la relevancia de la música sagrada en la liturgia. Nos unimos para orar, para alabar a Dios y para recordar que somos sus Hijos creados en su Imagen. Los gustos musicales son tan variados como cualquier otro aspecto de nuestra interacción humana la cual consiste en tocar los corazones y las mentes de los hijos de Dios. Los principios básicos nos guiarán a buscar la música y cantos que repitan las palabras del sacerdote en el prefacio dialogado, “Levantemos el corazón.” Nos empeñaremos para asegurar que cada canto y oración sirva para levantar nuestros corazones hacia el Señor.

Sección 6: Los Maestros de la Fe Lo que oíste de mí y está corroborado por numerosos testigos, confíalo a hombres responsables que sean capaces de enseñar a otros.–2 Timoteo 2:2

Sacerdote y Maestro

46. El sacerdocio es un don grandioso y perdurable dado por Cristo a sus Apóstoles y sus sucesores para el bien de la Iglesia y del mundo entero. La obra de predicar y enseñar obligatoria en ellos por la virtud de su ordenación, es de primordial importancia para la vida de un sacerdote.[11] Esta “llamada dentro de una llamada” para enseñar la fe valientemente, para proclamar las verdades de Cristo a tiempo y destiempo, es vital para el éxito de nuestra misión para ser una Diócesis que enseña. Principalmente entre aquellos implicados y más impactante en su amplitud influyen los sacerdotes de la Diócesis, y es mi intención que cada sacerdote parroquial participe cercanamente con la formación de las almas encomendadas a él. 47. Para apoyar esta meta, le pediré al Moderador de los Sacerdotes y al Director del Instituto colaborar en formar un programa de formación sacerdotal continua, la cual se centrará en días de estudio sacerdotal, la convocación anual de sacerdotes, y otras oportunidades formativas en el transcurso del año, con una atención específica para el programa de formación ofrecido en la Diócesis. Este esfuerzo ayudará a nuestros sacerdotes a conducir a los fieles, los catequistas, y todos los involucrados en la evangelización a nivel parroquial para tener éxito, y por último para atraer a muchos hombres, mujeres, y niños de nuestros 33 condados de ver a su parroquia no sólo como un edificio sino como un centro de vida familiar.

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48. Además de esta continua capacitación, pretendo que el Instituto proporcione catequesis sólida y formación de temas específicos para nuestros sacerdotes para formarlos como expertos en las siguientes áreas para predicar y para eventos especiales de enseñanza en las parroquias y decanatos: El significado del Bautismo y su impacto en la vida de cada discípulo • El significado de la Confirmación como nos fortalece en el Espíritu Santo • El significado de y las partes del Santo Sacrificio de la Misa • El significado y riqueza espiritual de la Presencia Real • La vocación al sacerdocio y a la vida religiosa • La vocación al Matrimonio • La dirección moral del Decálogo y como los Diez Man damientos penetran en cada decisión moral y ética de la persona humana • El Gran Mandamiento del Señor en el Evangelio y su significado para el amor de Dios y al prójimo • Las enseñanzas de la Iglesia en temas morales, incluyendo contracepción, eutanasia, ideología de géneros, atracción al mismo sexo, paternidad responsable, recolección de órganos, estudio de célula madre, cuidado pastoral de niños nacidos muertos y sin bautizar • Administración Cristiana

Es mi expreso deseo que, sin importar los antecedentes particulares del sacerdote, él debe involucrarse a sí mismo en el munus docendi como lo visualiza la Iglesia, y que él lo haga en una manera colaborativa y evangélica que atraiga a todos los fieles a la fuente abundante del amor de Cristo, su Iglesia. Diacono y Maestro 49. El papel del diácono permanente es también un papel de enseñanza.[12] Como tal, nuestros diáconos permanentes deben ser apoyados con los mejores materiales de enseñanza y oportunidades de formación continua personal e intelectual. Es mi deseo que nuestros diáconos sean una fuerza de enseñanza indispensable en la Diócesis, ayudando a los sacerdotes en una variedad de ámbitos y ministerios. Nuestros diáconos ya sirven

en nuestras parroquias en maneras innumerables, pero en este nuevo enfoque de la enseñanza, los diáconos deben renovar su vigor para enseñar la fe. No interrumpan los diáconos sus estudios, especialmente los sagrados; lean asiduamente los divinos libros de la Escritura; dedíquense al aprendizaje de las disciplinas eclesiásticas de manera que puedan explicar rectamente a los demás la doctrina católica y ser cada vez más capaces de instruir y consolidar las almas de los fieles. – Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,29

Para ayudar a los diáconos en este papel, he indicado que un programa de formación continua para diáconos permanentes sea instituido en la Diócesis, y se ha hecho un buen avance. Felicito a esos buenos hombres ordenados para servir al Señor y a sus esposas por el maravilloso fruto que ellos han dado individual y colectivamente. Continuaremos apoyando estos esfuerzos para que ellos produzcan frutos incluso más grandes. 50. También consideraré una nueva clase de formación de diáconos permanentes en la Diócesis. Esto significa formar un nuevo programa de discernimiento y formación para el diaconado. Debido a este enfoque en el papel de enseñanza de diáconos, enfocaremos el discernimiento para presentar a un grupo de hombres que tienen el deseo y la habilidad para convertirse en grandes maestros de la fe y para que se unan a sus hermanos que ya están comprometidos en esta importante obra. El programa de formación fuertemente hará hincapié en la enseñanza, y es mi deseo que nuestros nuevos diáconos permanentes sean extremadamente bien formados así que puedan ser estos grandes educadores. Este esfuerzo será conducido en cooperación con el Instituto y con la consultación de nuestros sacerdotes. La Vida Religiosa y la Enseñanza 51. La Diócesis se ha beneficiado en su historia por la presencia de hermanas y hermanos religiosos en medio de nosotros, y en los últimos tiempos esta influencia ha empezado a aumentar. Esto es un desarrollo tremendamente emocionante para la Iglesia del Este de Texas. Para todos los religiosos en la Diócesis: gracias por sus vidas de devoción y por la maravillosa enseñanza que hacen. Trabajaré para obtener para ustedes hermanas y hermanos adicionales para compartir la obra. Sé que “La cosecha es abundante, pero los trabajadores son pocos,” por eso unidos le pediremos al dueño de los sembrados que envíe trabajadores a la Diócesis de Tyler. [13] Es mi esperanza que el Instituto pueda desempeñar un papel vital en ayudar a nuestros religiosos a estar conscientes y puedan usar el más nuevo y mejor material catequético y las metodologías para ayudarles en su papel indispensable como maestros de la. Catequistas: El Don Vivificante de Sí Mismo en Servicio a la Verdad 52. Mientras el Instituto crece y cumple su función de revolucionar la enseñanza en la Diócesis, confío que podremos ampliar el papel de los catequistas profesionales, acreditados en nuestro esfuerzo de enseñanza en las parroquias. Esta es una meta a largo plazo ya que tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer, para preparar

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La fundación del Instituto está hecha especialmente con la formación de nuestros catequistas laicos en mente. el camino e implementar tal sistema en la Diócesis. Sin embargo, la coordinación de nuestros esfuerzos para enseñar debe tener un manejo apropiado, local y regional a largo término. 53. Nuestros catequistas voluntarios son la piedra angular de la enseñanza de la fe en la Diócesis. Su enorme esfuerzo merece nuestro elogio y agradecimiento, y propongo darles el mejor apoyo que nos sea posible. El desarrollo y acreditación de catequistas es un trabajo primordial del Instituto. Nuestros laicos catequistas tienen todo el derecho a una preparación educativa estelar, y convertirse en maestros de la fe legítimamente respetados. Como voluntarios dedicados, ellos han servido bien y nosotros les instamos a nuevas alturas en el Arte de la Catequesis. Cualquier persona que quiera tomar este gran desafío para enseñar la fe se le debe dar la oportunidad de alcanzar un conocimiento extenso del catolicismo, e incluso especializarse en áreas de teología. Continuaremos apoyando a aquellos que ya están en este camino y buscaremos maneras para animar a nuevos catequistas a unírseles. La fundación del Instituto está hecha especialmente con la formación de nuestros catequistas laicos en mente. Esta formación debe ser intensiva, pero también conveniente, poniendo tan pocas demandas como sea posible en el tiempo y horario de nuestros voluntarios. Un sistema de entrega manejado con tecnología para enseñar apoyará esto enormemente.

Sección 7: La Enseñanza y la Evangelización Entonces les dijo: «Vayan por todo el mundo, anuncien la Buena Noticia a toda la creación.– Marcos 16:15 54. Nuestra enseñanza empezará con los 120,000 católicos, ya sean practicantes, escasamente practicantes, o nopracticantes, en la Diócesis de Tyler. Tenemos mucho trabajo que hacer entre los católicos. Sin embargo, no descuidaremos a las personas que no son católicos en la Diócesis. Tenemos una responsabilidad evangélica con todas las personas y esto constantemente nos impulsa a expandir los márgenes de nuestros esfuerzos. Poseemos los grandes y maravillosos dones de la fe Católica, y es totalmente contrario a la misión que nos fue dada por Jesucristo de mantenerlos para nosotros. Al convertirnos en una Diócesis que enseña, nos convertiremos también en una Diócesis evangelizadora. Al abrazar este extenso desafío, reconoceremos que estamos hablando de toda la población del Este de Texas, alrededor de 1.5 millones de personas en nuestros 33 condados. Un tema constante de los últimos papas ayuda aquí: debemos compartir nuestra relación con la persona de Jesucristo. La evangelización es compartir nuestro encuentro con una persona. Esto será la piedra de toque de todo lo que buscamos hacer como una Diócesis evangelizadora. 55. Nuestra enseñanza abarca catequesis y evangelización, reconociendo que éstos tienen propósitos independientes. Mientras que no se oponen de ninguna manera, podemos entender la evangelización como centrada en la proclamación inicial de la verdad de Jesucristo, o dar una razón al “¿Por qué?” alguien

querría conocer a Jesucristo. En nuestra escéptica sociedad, esto inevitablemente también involucrará el dar muchos otros “porqués” los católicos creemos como lo hacemos. Por lo tanto, los esfuerzos evangélicos, para poder ser útiles, deben responder efectivamente al “¿por qué?” acerca de todo el espectro de las creencias católicas. Esto es una proclamación que es también sumamente necesaria en muchos casos incluso para los católicos practicantes. De esta manera, la evangelización es un término que puede ser aplicable para todos. Por catequesis, nos referimos a la presentación organizada de la fe lo cual es un esfuerzo de formación de toda la vida. La catequesis, complementando la evangelización, responde a la pregunta “¿Qué?” es decir “¿Qué creen los católicos?” y “¿Qué enseña la Iglesia?” deseo que nuestro nuevo énfasis en la enseñanza en la Diócesis sea ambos evangélico y catequético. 56. Encargo al Instituto desarrollar también, en adición a los muchos recursos catequéticos que necesitamos como Diócesis, recursos catequéticos. Estos deben encaminarse directamente a la evangelización de las personas que desean saber “¿por qué?” y también evangelización indirecta a través de la preparación de los evangelizadores en la Diócesis. De esta manera, podemos ayudar a los católicos a vivir sus responsabilidades Bautismales. Son fieles cristianos quienes, incorporados a Cristo por el bautismo, se integran en el Pueblo de Dios y, hechos partícipes a su modo por esta razón de la función sacerdotal, profética y real de Cristo, cada uno según su propia condición, son llamados a desempeñar la misión que Dios encomendó cumplir a la Iglesia en el mundo. – Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, 871 Estos recursos para crear evangelizadores deben educar y equipar a los católicos para responder a la pregunta “¿por qué?”, y también los debe animar a salir al mundo y hacerlo con la ayuda del Espíritu Santo. 57. También mejoraremos nuestro ministerio el cual incorpora a los evangelizados dentro de la fe católica, el Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos. Encargo al Instituto trabajar para mejorar y estandarizar el programa de RICA en la Diócesis, y apoyar completamente a esos pastores, religiosos y voluntarios, quienes trabajan arduamente en este ministerio. Pido específicamente por un mejoramiento y extensión del periodo de mistagogia, la enseñanza continua de esos que recientemente se han unido a la Iglesia. Aquellos quienes han sido recientemente bautizados son propiamente llamados “neófitos” lo cual viene de un origen Griego que significa “recién plantado.” La fe ha sido recientemente “plantada” en ellos, y en el periodo de mistagogia, debe ser nutrida. Una falta de nutrición en varias formas es asociada con personas que se desaniman e incluso dejan la Iglesia después de la conversión. Por esta razón, debemos acompañar a los neófitos y los recién convertidos por cinco años después de su entrada en la iglesia. No debemos dejar a nadie a la deriva después de la recepción. Debemos darles lo mejor de nuestra enseñanza y fraternidad. A esos maravillosos voluntarios, quienes facilitan RICA en la Diócesis: Espero enviarles muchos más buscadores en los años venideros, y prometo que ustedes tendrán el mejor apoyo de la Diócesis para hacer que su obra sea los más fructífera posible. 57


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Conclusión

Notas al pie

Si usted ha leído esta Constitución, gracias. Usted ahora puede ver que tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer. En los próximos meses, habrá muchas oportunidades para que usted ayude. Le pido a cada miembro de nuestra familia diocesana el considerar como pueden ayudar, necesitamos tener a todos comprometidos en esta colosal, pero gozosa misión. Necesitamos parejas orientadoras e instructores NFP para nuestros esfuerzos de preparación matrimonial. Necesitaremos más adultos instituidos como acólitos. Necesitamos ministros litúrgicos para estudiar y ser expertos en sus ministerios. Nuestros catequistas voluntarios pronto tendrán más recursos y mejor capacitación para darles mayor experiencia y confianza. Necesitaremos más catequistas voluntarios que se unan a este esfuerzo. Necesitamos poner todo esto ante nuestro Señor en el Santísimo Sacramento y les pido a todos los adoradores que oran regularmente en adoración que hagan nuestro esfuerzo de la enseñanza una petición constante y repetida con frecuencia. Que la Santísima, Siempre Virgen Madre de Dios, la patrona de esta Diócesis bajo la advocación de la Inmaculada Concepción, nos sostenga con su fuerza maternal y protección. Que San Felipe Evangelista y Diácono interceda por nosotros. Que el Espíritu Santo nos guíe para compartir Su verdad maravillosa como nunca antes. Y que Dios bendiga la Diócesis de Tyler al llevar a todos la Luz de Jesucristo. q

1. Discipulos llamados a dar testimonio, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2012 2. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (Traducido) 3. Ibid. (Traducido) 4. Homilía del Papa Benedicto XVI, 18 de abril de 2005 5. Constitución Apostólica Fidei Depostium, 3 6. Exhortación Apostólica Familiaris Consortio, 66 7. Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, 2344 8. Papa Benedicto XVI, Congreso Internacional en el 40 aniversario de Humanae Vitae, Mayo 12, 2008 9. Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, 2338 10. Concilio Vaticano II Constitución Sacrosanctum Concilium, 33. 11. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6 12. Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, 21 13. Mateo 9:37-38


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La Gran

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Mentira


A principio del 2017, fuimos contactados por un hombre que había vuelto a la fe Católica después haber pasado décadas como un homosexual practicante. Aunque este es un tema difícil, sentimos que era importante publicar este poderoso testimonio. Gran parte del mundo de hoy cree que la Iglesia Católica es “homofóbica” y que impone “injustas” restricciones al comportamiento homosexual. Este testimonio es un recordatorio aleccionador de que las enseñanzas de la Iglesia son de Dios, quien entiende perfectamente la naturaleza y necesidades de los seres humanos. Hemos mantenido la privacidad de este entrevistado, y simplemente lo llamaremos “Juan De Tal.” ¿Cómo creció usted? Juan: yo crecí en lo que normalmente se le llamaría una familia católica. Mi madre no era una católica entregada. Ella se “convirtió” cuando se casó con mi papá, pero no se profundizó. Incluso ni siquiera sé en qué tipo de denominación protestante creció ella, ya que nunca habló acerca de esto. Aunque mi padre y yo hemos tenido una relación difícil durante mi vida, yo le agradezco porque él nos llevó a Misa y a la confesión. Recibí todos mis sacramentos e incluso fui a una escuela parroquial por algunos años. No estoy diciendo que él se calificaba como un gran padre católico, pero él era firme en que nosotros fuéramos a Misa, y por eso yo le estoy profundamente agradecido. Creo que fue una semilla que se plantó dentro de mí y cuando mi vida procedió a girar fuera de control, permaneció conmigo. Yo fui el más chico de 5 hijos, nací en los 1960s. Fue una infancia difícil. Mi papá era un bebedor empedernido y mi mamá hoy, habría sido diagnosticada con un trastorno bipolar. De mis 5 hermanos, solamente una de mis hermanas aún es católica. Al mirar mi pasado, yo creo que mi papá estaba abrumado por los problemas de mi madre. Ella se deprimía mucho, y en aquel tiempo la ciencia médica no había identificado su condición, así que le daban tratamientos los cuales de alguna manera la empeoraban. La vida de hogar era caótica y no teníamos muchas reglas. Yo pase mucho tiempo de mi joven vida en la calle. Me di cuenta que si trataba de tener buenas calificaciones eso me podría ayudar a salir del caos. Me gustaba la Misa, era la única hora pacífica de la semana, e incluso cuando asistí a la universidad seguí asistiendo cada domingo. ¿Usted siempre ha experimentado la atracción al mismo sexo? Juan: yo siempre supe que era diferente. Realmente yo no tuve ningún entendimiento real de la atracción al mismo sexo cuando era joven, pero yo sabía que estaba teniendo eso tipo de sentimientos. Aún no sabemos por qué algunos hombres y algunas mujeres experimentan atracción al mismo sexo. Cuando estuve en la universidad, leí el psicoanálisis de Sigmund Freud de por qué algunos hombres son homosexuales, y creo que se aplica a mi caso en particular. Mi madre me necesitaba y yo era su hijo más joven y se aferró a mí. Yo era empático y quería cuidar de sus necesidades emocionales, mientras que mi papá se distanciaba de nosotros. Esta una descripción bastante clásica de un entorno familiar que se asocia con un joven que

está desarrollando la atracción por el mismo sexo. Por otra parte, durante mi vida he conocido a personas homosexuales, tanto hombres como mujeres, que tenían lo que podríamos llamar una “perfecta” vida de hogar. He estado estudiando este tema por décadas, y tengo los datos suficientes recopilados de personas que he conocido. Estoy convencido de que no hay nada que cause la atracción al mismo sexo. Definitivamente conozco personas homosexuales que experimentaron abuso sexual cuando niños y adolescentes, y esto parece ser por lo menos una causa parcial de sus casos. Al parecer hay muchas cosas que pueden contribuir para que una persona sufra de atracción al mismo sexo. Lo que creo y lo que puedo decir confiadamente es que: El desarrollo sexual humano es una cosa frágil. Sería mejor que ocurriera en un ambiente familiar amoroso y estable. Es por esta razón que yo digo: si tenemos menos hogares rotos en el mundo, tendríamos menos personas sufriendo por la atracción al mismo sexo. Como una persona joven, ¿cuáles eran sus opiniones acerca de la homosexualidad? Juan: Habiendo nacido a principios de los 1960s, llegué a la mayoría de edad durante una época cuando la cultura en general empezaba a celebrar la homosexualidad. Viví el rápido cambio en la cultura Americana cuando la homosexualidad paso de ser algo “malo” a algo “bueno” (lo cual ambas son simplificaciones excesivas de la verdad). Puedo recordar a mi madre señalando personajes en películas y diciendo, “ese hombre es un homo,” indicando que era malo. Pero, unos años después, yo estaba pasando mucho de mí tiempo sin supervisión mirando TV que tenía personajes homosexuales en su elenco en una luz positiva. Recuerdo una obra en particular que miré, tenía un personaje que dejó a su esposa para irse a seguir su vida en el estilo de vida homosexual en California, y era presentado como perfectamente aceptable. Cuando tenía dieciséis años, hubo un evento de parte aguas. Mi Hermana estaba completando una internado en San Francisco, y mi papá me dio permiso de volar de ida y manejar de regreso a Texas con ella. Cuando estaba en San Francisco, ella me llevó a ver todos los lugares de interés y pasamos por el distrito de Castro, que era un paraíso para homosexuales. Por primera vez, mire hombres agarrados de la mano, y hombres orgullosos de la homosexualidad. Supongo que fue entonces cuando entendí que por primera vez era un adulto, podría vivir un estilo de vida gay. Yo estaba de alguna manera preservado para el brote de este estilo de vida durante mis años de universidad. Por la mayoría de los 1980s, el SIDA fue como un misterio médico y ciertamente me asustaba. Yo permanecí “en el ropero” durante mis estudios de pregrado, y cultivé la reputación de un matado estudioso, muy ocupado estudiando para tener una vida social. Para el tiempo que entré a la escuela de postgrado, empecé a atreverme a ir a los bares gay y conocer otros hombres gay. ¿Que descubrió usted? Juan: Bueno, creo que es importante que testifique en la natu61


raleza del sexo homosexual. A través de la experiencia personal durante décadas, puedo decir abiertamente que la actividad homosexual es adictiva. Cada persona que he conocido que persiguió un estilo de vida gay se convirtió en adicto a la actividad. Yo, como muchos otros, también he experimentado la adicción al alcohol y drogas, y he conocido muchas personas que han luchado contra las adicciones, así que sé algo sobre la adicción. Los homosexuales activos son, en mi experiencia, adictos al sexo. El sexo homosexual es, como otras adicciones, consumo de la vida y muerte del alma. Además, creo que es muy importante que lo diga claramente: el sexo homosexual no es sobre el amor. Puedo hablar desde mi experiencia personal sobre la cultura gay masculina. No trato de hablar de hembras. Pero entre los hombres, el sexo no es por amor, en todo. Esta es una publicación familiar, así que no entraré en detalles, pero la cultura gay masculina es absolutamente depravada. La actividad sexual es de dominación y sometimiento. Es extremadamente sombría. En los medios de comunicación, ahora mismo, se gasta mucha energía para comercializar y promover la cultura homosexual como integra. Esto es una mentira, una mentira enorme. El sexo homosexual no es romance, y está muy lejos del abrazo amoroso de una pareja heterosexual casada. Una vez que el sexo es quitado del contexto del matrimonio y la familia, se arruina y llega a ser poderosamente peligroso. Una vez más, yo sé de lo que estoy hablando. Fui “entrenado” en este estilo de vida en las casas de baños y clubes gay y yo viví este estilo de vida en todos los Estados Unidos y en países extranjeros por décadas. Intenté arduamente encontrar la parte “integra” o “respetuosa” de la cultura homosexual en mi vida. He buscado por todas partes una homosexualidad estable, monógama, cariñosa. Incluso intenté el “matrimonio gay” en un intento de que la actividad homosexual significará algo más. Tengo una licencia de matrimonio expedida por el estado de Washington y traté de vivir de esa manera. No funciona. La homosexualidad no puede producir una relación estable, amorosa, y el que los medios de comunicación clamen que sí, es sólo una mentira enorme. Como ¿cuál era el estilo de vida homosexual? Juan: A principios de mis 30s, estaba totalmente adicto a estilo de vida homosexual. Yo estaba viviendo por el día como una persona profesional, pero por la noche salía a los sitios gay y participaba en todo tipo de actividades. Podía tener de 3 a 4 encuentros anónimos en un día. Hacer este tipo de cosas es extremadamente peligroso para ambos el cuerpo y el alma. Yo quedaba insatisfecho por esos encuentros, pero estaba ansioso por el siguiente, lo cual es un comportamiento de verdad adictivo. Las drogas eran un distintivo constante de los clubs homosexuales, al igual que las bebidas en exceso. Yo era desdichado, y algunas veces incluso físicamente lesionado, pero seguí regresando. Durante ese tiempo, También dejé la Iglesia Católica. Conocí a un hombre que me dijo que había sido homosexual, pero que él había sido “curado” por Cristo de su homosexualidad y ahora era un hombre casado con hijos. Yo estaba

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intrigado. Él me dijo que nunca podría ser “curado” como un católico porque los católicos no tienen una relación “personal con Jesucristo.” Yo empecé a asistir a la iglesia Evangélica y a su grupo de apoyo homosexual. Muy pronto descubrí que este hombre no había sido “curado” del todo. Terminé por tener una aventura con él por tres largos años. El grupo de “apoyo” era simplemente una oportunidad para que los hombres gay se conocieran y salieran juntos. Nunca dejé de creer en Dios, pero empecé a ir a iglesias protestantes “de aceptación gay” Los adictos a menudo no quieren escuchar la verdad. Escapé de la verdad dentro de la mentira. Lo que descubrí fue que, ya que el protestantismo en última instancia se construye en una interpretación personal, más o menos puedes encontrar lo que quieras encontrar. Yo iba a esas iglesias cristianas independientes que realmente funcionan como pequeños negocios. Ellos necesitaban que pusiera dinero en la colecta cada semana para poder mantener el negocio a flote, así que me dirían lo quisiera escuchar. ¿Cuál era su mensaje? Juan: La teología que me vendieron en estas iglesias afirmaba que Dios “me hizo homosexual” por lo tanto, debo participar en el sexo gay y estar orgullosos de ello. Dios no me hizo “un homosexual.” Esa es una etiqueta que se coloca en las personas que sufren la tentación de atracción al mismo sexo. Yo tengo esta cicatriz, esta atracción al mismo sexo, por cualquier razón, pero no es quien soy, como cualquiera, a nadie más sus tentaciones le definen quién o qué son. Todos tienen batallas con el pecado. Esa lucha no debe ser la marca que la sociedad le pone. La ley de Dios no es alguna restricción injusta para conmigo. La ley de Dios es misericordia para mí, y cuando ahora miro hacia atrás en mi vida veo tan claramente. Me doy cuenta que debí de haber escuchado a Dios, y no a la sociedad. Yo tomo plena responsabilidad por todo lo que he hecho, pero también tenía una cultura diciéndome que debería estar orgulloso de ser homosexual, y me estaba vendiendo una mentira acerca de la vida humana. Yo no quiero que nadie más caiga por esa mentira. ¿Qué pasó para convencerlo a cambiar su vida? Juan: Intenté el “matrimonio” homosexual pero no funcionó. Te engañas al pensar que estás “enamorado” y listo a “hacer un compromiso,” pero después de un tiempo ya no es emocionante el sexo monógamo y el sexo es todo lo que tienes. Intentamos tener sociedad cordial con otras parejas gay “comprometidas”, pero no había fidelidad ni compromiso. Funcionó bastante bien en un grupo grande pero cuando estabas entre dos parejas fue muy malo la mayoría de las veces. Eventualmente me di por vencido en la idea y tomé un trabajo con viajes extensos y así me podía escapar. Regresé a los encuentros anónimos y desarrollé una grave adicción a la pornografía. Yo he imprimido pornografía llenando mi portafolio y me sentía obligado a tener su acceso cada pocos minutos. Yo estaba llegando a mi punto personal de “tocar fondo.” Una noche, estaba en un cuarto de hotel en Kentucky, y ya era un


despojo. Sufría por estas adicciones, estaba fuera de control, mi carrera estaba arruinada y pensé que probablemente iba a morir. Estaba solamente en mi mediana edad, pero ya había perdido toda esperanza. Yo realmente pensé que mi final estaba cerca. ¿Entonces que hizo usted? Juan: Yo oré. Le imploré a Dios que me salvara y Él respondió. Inmediatamente tuve la sensación perceptible de que Dios iba a ayudarme. La desesperación me dejó y yo sabía que podía conseguir rehacer mi vida. Despacio empecé en el camino para conseguir el arreglar todo en mi vida. Tome nuevos entrenamientos y reconstruí mi carrera, me mudé a Tyler, y empecé a realmente luchar para terminar mis adicciones. Al poco tiempo, yo me convencí de que tenía que regresar a la Iglesia Católica. Asistí a una Iglesia protestante gay amigable cerca de Tyler durante tres años, y fue lo mismo de cristiandad permisiva “compénsalo a medida que avanza” que me dijo que todo lo que hice estaba “bien”. En esta iglesia, las predicaciones eran escépticas del Nacimiento Virginal y la Resurrección, y se nos enseñó que estas eran “nociones primitivas” y que sólo teníamos que seguir a Jesús como un político radical. Yo comprendí que esto no era verdad. La cristiandad es toda de una pieza, y que sí tú aceptas algo de las enseñanzas, tienes que aceptar todo de ellas. Escoger y elegir dentro de la cristiandad no tiene sentido. Yo necesitaba el Catolicismo. ¿Cómo fue que regresó usted? Juan: Fui a la Catedral aquí en Tyler y me fui a confesar. Estaba increíblemente torpe y fuera de práctica, pero el sacerdote fue tan amable y tan útil, y me las arreglé para hacer una confesión de mis tantos pecados. Él me absolvió y me dio la bienvenida por mi regreso. Empecé a ir a Misa, y a escuchar la predicación real que no permitía mis adicciones, fue maravilloso. Fue algo revolucionario en mi vida. Ahora me encanta la buena predicación. Yo necesito buena predicación. Yo realmente he experimentado la gracia de los sacramentos. Han pasado 3 años desde que regresé a la Iglesia, y la diferencia en mi vida es admirable. Dios tiene tanta sanación esperando por las personas en los sacramentos. Siempre seré la persona que soy, y siempre tendré esta cicatriz, pero ya he salido de todas las obsesiones por las que tanto sufría. Incluso ni siquiera tengo miedo de caer otra vez en esas tentaciones, porque yo conozco íntimamente la gracia que viene de los sacramentos. Yo ya no tengo miedo. Las cosas que yo hice en mi vida fueron tan horribles que solamente la salvación ofrecida por Jesucristo podía arreglarlas. Él las arregló. ¿Cómo aconsejaría usted a alguien que está experimentando la atracción al mismo sexo? Juan: Quiero decirle muy directamente a cualquier persona que esté sufriendo de atracción al mismo sexo que Dios te ama. No te desesperes. Si yo puedo ser salvado por Jesucristo,

cualquiera puede serlo. Si eres joven, Dile a tus padres y a tu sacerdote. No sufras solo. La enseñanza de la Iglesia Católica es extremadamente clara: No es pecado que simplemente sientas esos sentimientos, pero tú tienes que encontrar el apoyo para que no actúes en ellos. Actuando en la atracción al mismo sexo es peligroso Estos son pecados graves que pueden matar tu alma y destruir tu vida. Yo sé de lo que estoy hablando. Quédate en la Iglesia Católica. El mundo te dirá que la iglesia es homofóbica y prejuiciosa contra las personas homosexuales, por favor no creas esta mentira. Esta mentira me costó décadas de mi vida. Yo salí y experimenté todas las facetas del estilo de vida homosexual y después de intentarlo todo y hacer de todo y vivir cada permutación de la forma de vida del club al “matrimonio homosexual”, puedo decirte: allí no hay nada que tú quieras. Sólo hay adicción y desesperación. Las enseñanzas de la Iglesia sobre la homosexualidad son tu salvavidas. Síguelas. Confía en Dios, no en los medios de comunicación. Los medios no te aman y no tienen su mejor interés en tu corazón. Toma tus sentimientos y frustraciones y entrégaselos a Jesús en los sacramentos Si tú pecas, inmediatamente entrégate a Jesús en la confesión. Él te sanará. Puede que siempre tengas atracción al mismo sexo, pero no tienes que sufrir de la manera que yo lo hice. Padres, si tienen un hijo/a que da el importante paso de revelarles a ustedes que está sufriendo de atracción al mismo sexo, respondan con amor. Las enseñanzas de la Iglesia Católica edifica familias fuertes, Yo creo que las familias fuertes pueden ayudar a preservar a personas de la desesperación y la adicción. Su misión principal en la vida es el cuidado espiritual de su familia. Ayuden a sus hijos a construir el hábito de confesar sus pecados y recibir regularmente los sacramentos. Enséñenles que el sexo es para el matrimonio y cualquier otro uso del sexo va a ser malo para ellos y para otros. Permítanme reiterar algo que dije antes: yo creo que si tuviéramos más familias fuertes tendríamos menos atracción al mismo sexo con que lidiar. Puedo ver los efectos de la dinámica de una familia rota en mi propia vida, y quiero que ustedes miren seriamente a su vida familiar. ¿Ustedes, como marido y mujer, en serio intentan modelar a la Sagrada Familia? ¿Toman en serio su papel como maestros de sus hijos? ¿Enseñan a sus hijos las hermosas enseñanzas de la Iglesia y les hacen ver que estas enseñanzas son importantes para seguir en su vida? Deben hacer todas estas cosas. ¿Algún pensamiento final? Juan: Yo estoy seguro que si un hombre homosexual activo me estuviera escuchando, diría, “tú eres solamente un hombre gay que te odias a ti mismo.” Yo digo que no, yo no me odio a mí mismo. Por primera vez en mucho, muy largo tiempo, me amo a mi mismo. Yo me veo como un hijo de Dios, con toda la dignidad que Él me ha otorgado a mí. Estoy más plenamente vivo como nunca lo estuve. Por primera vez en muy largo tiempo, no estoy viviendo una doble vida. Yo soy más el hombre que Dios quiere que sea. Yo todo se lo debo a Dios. q

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El Padre EfrĂŠn Nano habla acerca de tener cĂĄncer, la ley natural, y aceptar la voluntad de Dios.

Tiempo

Prestado


El Padre Efrén Nano, es un sacerdote de la Diócesis de Tyler, él sufre por cáncer en IV etapa en varias partes de su cuerpo. Él continúa ofreciendo Misa y orando por la gente de la Diócesis. Lo visitamos y le preguntamos acerca de su vida, su sacerdocio, y sus pensamientos sobre la vida y la muerte. CET: Por favor cuéntenos acerca de su vida. Padre Nano: yo nací en 1957. Tengo una hermana, que es cuatro años mayor que yo. Mis padres ambos son Católicos Romanos, por eso yo crecí como un católico. Mi madre que era muy religiosa, nunca faltaba a la primera Misa del domingo, a las cinco de la mañana. Estábamos obligados a ir con ella. Ella no se iba a la Iglesia sin mí y sin mi hermana, y era mi trabajo poner nuestra contribución en la colecta. La provincia en la que crecí se llama Camarines Sur, la cual está en la parte sur de la isla de Luzon en Filipinas. Allí nací yo, pero debido al hábito de apostar de mi padre, lo perdimos todo cuando yo estaba en la escuela primaria. Mi madre tenía algunas propiedades de bienes raíces en Manila, la ciudad capital de Filipinas. Mi madre nos protegió a mi hermana y a mí al separarse de mi padre, y nos cambiamos a Manila. Yo asistí a todas las escuelas públicas excepto por la Universidad, la cual era una escuela privada. Los ingresos de las propiedades de mi madre financiaron mi escuela. Yo asistí a la Universidad Far Eastern en Manila, donde terminé mi Licenciatura en Química en 1978. Trabajé por tres años para la compañía de Papel Scott en el laboratorio de investigación. Una cosa de las que investigue, por ejemplo, fue como mejorar la fuerza de tención de las fibras.

Padre Nano: Sí, lo fue. Mi Padre no podía recordar si él había sido bautizado, así que se le dio un bautismo condicional antes de que el matrimonio tomara lugar. Él me apoyó más en que yo fuera un sacerdote que mi madre. Fui ordenado un sacerdote Agustino en 1987, hace treinta años. ¡Yo tendré un aniversario de ordenación en septiembre, si para entonces, aún estoy con vida! CET: ¿Si usted era un sacerdote Agustino en Filipinas, cómo fue que llegó a ser un sacerdote diocesano en Tyler, Texas? Padre Nano: Bueno, la ley Filipina dice que aquellos asignados en escuelas deben tener por lo menos un grado de Maestría, incluso los administradores. De otra manera, a la escuela no se le autoriza para dar diplomas. Todos los administradores, incluso los Agustinos, deben tener una Maestría. En ese entonces, había muy pocos de nosotros que teníamos la Maestría, así que no me dejaban hacer ninguna otra cosa aparte de la administración escolar. Me cansé de eso. ¡Yo había discernido el sacerdocio—yo quería ser un sacerdote para el pueblo! El superior provincial me preguntó si estaba dispuesto a ser candidato a secretario provincial, segundo en el mando suyo. Le dije que sí estaba, bajo una condición-que cuando un obispo me aceptará, yo me iría. Después de que gané la elección, mi secretaria mencionó que su hermano era un sacerdote en la isla de Aruba. Su hermano habló con su obispo, quien me invitó a venir. Era la señal que había estado buscando. Así que, viaje primero a Aruba para ministrar. En Aruba, conocí a un sacerdote llamado Alirio Corales, que

CET: ¿Cuándo discernió usted en el sacerdocio? Padre Nano: Empecé a pensar en el sacerdocio en la universidad. Estaba en mi tercer año de química, y unos seminaristas llegaron a promover las vocaciones; aunque era una universidad no católica, la administración les permitió entrar para hablar a los estudiantes. Yo los escuche y pensé, “Bueno, estoy ya en el tercer año. ¡Sería un desperdicio de dinero si me detuviera ahora, y mi madre no estaría muy contenta!” Así que, decidí terminar el curso entero, y luego trabajé para recuperar los gastos. Mi madre estaba feliz por que terminé el curso, pero no lo estaba cuando le dije que había decidido entrar al seminario. Ella quería que yo siguiera trabajando porque ella no tenía educación. La cultura filipina es diferente de la cultura americana: el seguro social para los padres son sus hijos, excepto para algunos que trabajan para el gobierno. En Filipinas, el 80% de la población depende de sus hijos en su vejez, en todos los aspectos: salud, vivienda y así sucesivamente Debido a esto, fue una noticia triste para mi madre, pero después llegó a aceptar mi decisión. Para ese entonces, mi Padre se había reconciliado con mi familia después de 20 años de estar alejado. Yo no lo había visto en todo ese tiempo, y un día mi madre me lo presentó. Ella me dijo, “¡Este es tu Padre!” yo estaba impactado. Ellos no estaban casados—ni por lo civil ni tampoco por la Iglesia—y cuando entre al seminario Agustino, me pidieron su licencia matrimonial. Así que les dije, “¡Más les vale que vayan a la Iglesia y se casen, porque necesito su licencia matrimonial!” Y así lo hicieron. CET: Entonces, el entrar al seminario era ya una fuente de gracia para su familia.

Padre Efrén recién ordenado como Sacerdote Agustino. 65


había estado en Perú antes de venir al Caribe. Su buen amigo, Edmond Carmody, se había convertido en el Obispo Auxiliar de San Antonio. Cuando el Obispo Carmody fue transferido a Tyler, llamó al Padre Alirio y lo invitó a venir. Alirio aceptó y fue asignado a Diboll. Él me llamó y me preguntó, “¿Usted quiere venir a Tyler?” “¿Dónde es Tyler?” le pregunte. “En el estado de Texas.” ¡Yo le dije que sólo conocía dos estados, California y New York! Él me dijo, “bueno, Texas está situado entre los dos.” Le dije, “¡Está bien!” El Obispo Carmody preparó todos los papeles para mí, y vine a Tyler. Cuando él fue transferido a Corpus Christi, yo me fui con él, por petición suya. Pero después de dos años, decidí regresar a Tyler. Cuando regrese a Tyler, yo pedí la excardinación de los Agustinos y ser incardinado en esta Diócesis, por eso ahora soy un sacerdote diocesano. Yo he servido en varias parroquias en la Diócesis de Tyler: Mineola, la de San Mateo en Longview, y Jacksonville. Mi estancia más larga fue en Mineola, por diez años. Los feligreses aquí son muy comprensivos con el clero. Yo terminé por amar este lugar, por lo que en mi enfermedad, decidí quedarme aquí en Mineola. CET: Cuéntenos acerca de su enfermedad. Padre Nano: A mí se me diagnosticó con cáncer de colon en cuarta etapa en el 2014, y ha emigrado a mi hígado, afectando mis ganglios linfáticos. Los cirujanos me quitaron parte del colon, por lo cual la quimioterapia se ha dirigido a mi hígado y ganglios linfáticos por los últimos tres años. Un tratamiento de quimioterapia trabaja durante un tiempo, pero si dejará de trabajar, entonces se trataría otro. He tenido tres mezclas diferentes de quimioterapia en los últimos tres años. Tuve cirugía de hígado el año pasado, y el cirujano en Dallas sacó cada parte cancerosa

que podía ver. Pero cuando tuve una evaluación PET (Tomografía de Emisión de Positrones) el mes pasado, reveló múltiples lesiones en mi hígado. Ya ellos no pueden operar porque son muy numerosas, y los médicos recomiendan más quimioterapia. Esta sería la cuarta combinación de fármacos de quimioterapia. A partir de ahora estamos esperando la aprobación del seguro, pero yo ya estoy resignado. Tendré suerte si aún estoy aquí en el 2018. Yo tengo que aceptar la realidad. CET: ¿Cómo respondió usted a la noticia de que tenía cáncer? Padre Nano: La primera reacción a mi diagnóstico fue una especie de negación. El doctor me dijo, “Su colon está en muy mal estado. ¿Qué tan mal? Lo sabremos después de la cirugía.” Esto fue una noticia devastadora para mí. Esta es una respuesta muy humana ante no muy buenas noticias. Esto no indica falta de fe. Creo que incluso los Santos experimentaron el mismo tipo de puntos bajos en sus vidas. Mi punto bajo fue después de que el cirujano (el que sacó mi colon) me dio la noticia de que estaba en la cuarta etapa. Yo sentía mucha tristeza. ¡Estaba tratando de aceptar que tenía cáncer, pero luego, en la cuarta etapa! ¡Yo estuve realmente deprimido en los tres primeros meses! Mi lado racional me decía que no serviría de nada pedirle a Dios. El aspecto spiritual, la aceptación, llego después. Si esta es la cruz que Jesús les está diciendo a sus discípulos para que carguen, yo la tengo que cargar—con fe—y alegremente. Cargar la cruz con un corazón abrumado no ayuda. Por eso, sólo lo acepte, sabiendo que el Señor está conmigo…pero me tomó tiempo. CET: ¿Qué cambió en su vida espiritual una vez que comenzó a vivir con esta enfermedad?

Padre Efrén (frente y centro) y su clase en el seminario en Filipinas. 66


Padre Nano: La formación que recibí como religioso con los Agustinos, aprendiendo la sumisión y obediencia, desempeñó un papel en mi sumisión y obediencia a Dios. Dios me estaba preparando para este tipo de entrega. Me alegra saber que, a pesar de esta enfermedad, yo todavía soy un evangelizador. Evangelizar, según San Francisco, y utilizamos palabras sólo cuando sea necesario. Espero que, a través de mi ejemplo, mis hermanos y hermanas se den cuenta que Dios es bueno. En la enfermedad o en la salud, somos del Señor. “Milagro” no sólo significa sanación médica o física; “milagro” es sobre todo una sanación spiritual del interior. CET: Hay muchas personas en nuestra Diócesis que han recibido un diagnóstico grave y otros desafíos. ¿Qué le diría usted a alguien que apenas ha recibido noticias terribles? Padre Nano: Dios está con nosotros en la enfermedad y en la salud. Aprendemos el proceso de la sumisión y la obediencia, y Dios es paciente. Aceptamos lo que la vida nos da con gozo— alegremente, porque, de nada sirve resistirse a las circunstancias que nos presenta la vida. La mano de Dios está en todas estas cosas. Cáncer o no cáncer, estamos caminando hacia nuestro destino. Nuestra salida de este mundo es inevitable desde el momento en que entramos en él. Todos nosotros tenemos el tiempo prestado. La enfermedad para mí es sólo un momento, un momento de purgación. Este es un momento de aprender el sufrimiento de Jesús. Estoy muy contento de que Jesús me está dando esta gracia de compartir Su dolor y sufrimiento. Sin embargo, aún yo tengo momentos oscuros por tener una enfermedad terminal y mi tiempo es corto. Si yo opto por ningún tratamiento, el doctor me da seis meses de vida. CET: ¿Por qué optaría usted por ningún otro tratamiento? Padre Nano: Porque la tendencia de mis tratamientos es tal que la quimio sólo funcionará por un tiempo En mi caso, ya no será una cura. Las lesiones se encogen pero no desaparecen. En algún punto, esa mezcla particular de medicinas de quimioterapia ya no detendrá el aumento del cáncer, y se necesitará otra, y otra. Esta es la cuarta. Puedo ver la escritura en el muro. Dios está dándome señales de que mi misión se acerca a su fin. Por supuesto, el Señor quiere que seamos felices incluso en la tierra, incluso en medio del dolor y el sufrimiento. Mi felicidad no viene de mi tratamiento, sino del pensar que comparto el dolor y sufrimiento de Jesús, el estar con Él en la cruz. Es como cuando un esposo y esposa, están felices juntos en la enfermedad y en la salud. Ellos están felices porque están unidos. Por lo tanto, si yo estoy con el Señor, a pesar de las náuseas y vómitos, sigo siendo feliz. CET: En algunas partes del mundo, incluso en Estados Unidos, habrá doctores que le aconsejarían terminar su vida ahora y someterse a la eutanasia. ¿Cómo un sacerdote Católico, usted que dice acerca de eso? Padre Nano: Eso iría en contrario a la ley de Dios, y la ley Natural. Es mi voluntad de vida, yo digo que si el tratamiento ya no funciona más, entonces dejemos que la naturaleza tome su curso, el cual es diferente a terminar una vida intencionalmente. La eu-

tanasia va en contra a la ley de Dios, como lo es el aborto. Yo espero que nuestros hermanos y hermanas lleguen a darse cuenta que la vida tiene muchas cosas que nosotros no podemos entender. La fe debe entrar. Crea en la bondad de Dios, y usted encontrará sentido en el dolor y en el sufrimiento. Si no tenemos a Dios—incluso si no tenemos dolor o sufrimiento—nuestra vida no tiene sentido. CET: ¿Recibió usted el Sacramento de la Unción? Padre Nano: Sí, recibí la unción antes de ser operado. El Obispo Strickland me dio la unción entonces, y en otras dos ocasiones. CET: Cualquier persona sufriendo de una enfermedad terminal, ¿debe aprovechar este sacramento? Padre Nano: Sí, absolutamente, porque en la unción, no sólo recibimos el perdón de los pecados, sino también la gracia spiritual interna de tener alegría a pesar de la cruz. De otra manera estaremos abatidos. Usted puede ver a aquellos con fe y sumisión a la voluntad de Dios: a pesar de su enfermedad, ellos tienen un aura de gozo, de felicidad. ¡Yo no culpo a Dios; yo le agradezco por esta oportunidad! Y una cosa—no voy a morir de viejo. Yo estaré joven. Espero la promesa de Dios el regalo de un cuerpo nuevo en la resurrección. ¡Yo quiero uno nuevo! ¡Un paraíso nuevo, una tierra nueva, una nueva Jerusalén, y un cuerpo nuevo! Yo realmente estoy esperando todo esto. CET: ¿Que le gustaría compartir con la gente de nuestra Diócesis? Padre Nano: Tenemos una muy buena fraternidad en el clero de la Diócesis. Somos muy buenos y muy comprensivos, y tenemos un muy cariñoso Obispo, quien es muy paternal para con nosotros. Siempre hemos sido bendecidos con obispos quienes han sido fieles al llamado de ser un buen pastor, y yo estoy muy agradecido con Dios. Estoy muy feliz porque voy por terminar en la Diócesis de Tyler. Sin embargo, aunque yo estoy incardinado aquí en la Diócesis, mi espiritualidad aún está con el espíritu Agustino. Yo aún practico la pobreza y orar las horas, si no tengo nauseas. Yo digo mi Misa todos los días, aquí en mi habitación. Yo uso un escritorio como mi altar. Como sacerdotes, nosotros nunca paramos de celebrar la Eucaristía al menos que estemos postrados en una cama o que no podamos leer ya más. De otra manera, mientras yo pueda físicamente hacerlo, continuaré diciendo Misas. Aún soy uno con la Diócesis al celebrar Misa. Esperanzadamente, el buen Señor me dará una buena y feliz transición. Debemos aceptar que el día que nacimos, nuestra salida ya está programada. Nuestra entrada está allí, y la salida también llegará. Dios está allí con nosotros. Como él lo dijo, “yo estaré siempre con ustedes hasta el fin del mundo.” Y Él no está mintiendo. Estoy contento de tener esta oportunidad. Yo sería un hipócrita si dijera que acepte la noticia de que tenía cáncer de colon de cuarta etapa con los brazos abiertos. Yo verdaderamente estaba negado, al igual que el resto de la humanidad. Pero es bueno para mí experimentar este proceso de obediencia. Todos nosotros tenemos el tiempo prestado, y todos nosotros tenemos que confiar en Dios. 67


Lleva al Cielo

a todas las almas

Hace 100 años, decenas de miles de personas vieron un milagro, y tres niños recibieron un mensaje. El mundo se ha estado debatiendo los secretos de Fátima por un siglo, pero ultimadamente, el mensaje es simple: ORAR

Por el Padre Matthew Stehling Durante los 2,000 años de historia de la Iglesia, ha habido muchas apariciones (apariencias) de María, la Madre de Jesús, a individuos en la Iglesia. Les parecerá extraño a los no católicos (e incluso a algunos católicos) que Dios envíe mensajes al mundo de esta manera, pero ¿qué persona más apropiada puede haber que la Madre de Jesús para traer estos mensajes? A los sirvientes de las bodas de Cana se les dice por medio de María “Hagan todo lo que él (Jesús) les diga.” (Juan 2:5). La iglesia investiga muy seriamente cualquier visión o mensajes, así como a aquellos que hacen reclamos, descartando a charlatanes y bromistas y solicitantes de atención. Después de una cuidadosa investigación la Iglesia aprobará o desaprobará el evento. Mientras que la Iglesia es persistente de que ninguna verdad nueva se añadirá al depósito de la fe dada por Jesús a sus apóstoles (ver el Catecismo, párrafos 66-67), la Iglesia reconoce que Dios puede enviar estas “revelaciones privadas” de vez en cuando, para ayudar a la Iglesia a vivir más fielmente. Lo que es importante entender es que en todas las apariciones Marianas aprobadas es la misma María, la Madre de Jesús, quien aparece. Algunas de las apariciones más famosas aprobadas incluyen Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en el Tepeyac, México a San Juan Diego en 1531, Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, en Francia a Santa Bernadette en 1858, y Nuestra Señora de Fátima, en Portugal a tres niños en 1917. Durante este centenario de Fátima, hay un tremendo interés en esta aparición y el mensaje enigmático dado a los niños. De vez en cuando en los últimos 100 años, los mensajes de Fátima han provocado todo tipo de reacciones entre los fieles. Es importante entender que el mensaje central es uno simple: ORAR. Un siglo después, este mensaje es aun enteramente relevante para nosotros. Portugal, y la guerra para terminar todas las guerras En 1910, Portugal experimentaba una revolución la cual expulsó al rey y dio paso a un gobierno severamente anticatólico. Los sacerdotes, monjes, y monjas eran perseguidos. Los días 68

festivos religiosos fueron ilegalizados. El nuevo gobierno ordenó cerrar la mayoría de los seminarios. El divorcio fue legalizado y pasaron leyes declarando el matrimonio “simplemente un contrato civil.” El anti catolicismo del nuevo gobierno Portugués era tan excesivo que en 1911, el Papa escribió una encíclica condenándolo. A finales de Junio de 1914 el archiduque de Austria y heredero al imperio Austrohúngaro, Franz Ferdinand (Francisco Fernando), fue asesinado en Sarajevo, Bosnia. Debido a alianzas militares entre los poderes europeos, su asesinato fue el estallido de la Primera Guerra Mundial, la cual duró hasta 1918. Avances tecnológicos e industriales hicieron del conflicto la Guerra más desbastadora y destructiva jamás vista en ese punto de la historia. Murieron más de 16 millones de personas durante el curso de la guerra. En Portugal, las dificultades económicas se agravaron por la entrada en la guerra. La Iglesia fue suprimida y casi silenciada, y el gobierno revolucionario había descendido a casi anarquía. En Roma, el Papa Benedicto XV oraba por una intervención de Dios para salvar a Europa. El Ángel de la Paz preparando para el mensaje En 1916 tres niños, Lucia Santos y sus primos Francisco y Jacinta Marto, presenciaron tres apariciones de un ángel cerca de la aldea de Fátima, Portugal. En sus memorias, Lucia escribió que los niños experimentaron una sensación intensa supernatural que permaneció por algún tiempo después de las apariciones. El ángel enseñó a los niños varias oraciones y los animó a rezarlas diariamente. Los tres niños empezaron a orar regularmente por la conversión de los pecadores, y a ofrecer sacrificios en reparación a las ofensas cometidas en contra del Santísimo Sacramento. Una Señora del Cielo. El domingo 13 de Mayo de 1917, después de ir a Misa temprano, los tres niños estaban cuidando sus rebaños cerca de


Cova de Iria, un campo que pertenecía a la familia de Lucia. Era un día muy placentero, y después de haber ofrecido las oraciones que el Ángel les había enseñado, varios relámpagos luminosos llamaron su atención. Con temor de que una tormenta podría estar llegando, decidieron regresar a la aldea. Otro relámpago los detuvo y un Señora apareció encima de una carrasca, vestida toda de blanco. Lucia en sus memorias describe a la Señora: “Ella era más brillante que el sol, irradiando una luz más clara e intensa que un vaso de cristal, lleno de agua cristalina, atravesado por los rayos del sol más ardiente.” Todos los tres niños podían ver a la Señora pero sólo Jacinta y Lucia podían escucharla. Durante las apariciones era solamente Lucia quien hablaba directamente con la Señora. Lucia le preguntó de donde era ella y la Señora le respondió “Soy del Cielo”. La Señora les pidió a los niños regresar al mismo lugar el día 13 de los próximos seis meses, entonces les revelaría quien era ella. Luia le preguntó acerca de dos muchachas jóvenes de la aldea que habían muerto, sí es que ellas estaban en el cielo. La Señora le respondió que una estaba en el cielo mientras que la otra estaba en el purgatorio y estaría allí hasta el fin del mundo. Finalmente la Señora les hizo una muy seria pregunta: “¿Queréis ofreceros a Dios para soportar todos los sufrimientos que Él quisiera enviaros, en acto de desagravio por los pecados con que es ofendido y de súplica por la conversión de los pecadores?” Una luz brillante envolvió a los niños cuando accedieron a la petición de la Señora, y luego ella les pidió rezar el Rosario diariamente por la paz para el mundo y el fin de la guerra. La petición de rezar el Rosario fue la única hecha durante las visitas subsecuentes de la Señora a los niños. Primer Secreto La aparición en Julio fue una de las más importantes de las visitas que la Señora hizo a los niños. Un mensaje fue dado en tres partes el cual Lucia describe como los “Secretos” en sus memorias. La noticia de la visión de los niños se había esparcido, y por lo tanto el 13 de Julio una muchedumbre de casi 4,000 acompañaron a los niños a la Cova para reunirse con la Señora. La Señora habló otra vez pidiendo la oración del Rosario por la paz. La Señora también dijo que revelaría quien era ella con un milagro en octubre. Muchos de la familia y amigos de Lucia habían dudado de su historia acerca de la visión y querían que confesará haber inventado todo. La Señora prometió un milagro para quitar sus dudas. Lucia tenía muchas peticiones para la Señora de miembros enfermos y necesitados de la aldea y más allá, y se las presentaba a ella. En respuesta, la Señora le dijo que ellos deberían rezar el Rosario para “obtener las gracias que estaban pidiendo.” La Señora les pidió otra vez a los niños que rezarán por la conversión de los pecadores y les dio una visión espantosa: “Nos mostró un gran mar de fuego que parecía estar debajo de la tierra. Sumergidos en ese fuego, los demonios y las almas, como si fuesen brasas transparentes y negras o bronceadas, con forma humana que fluctuaban en el incendio, llevadas por las llamas que de ellas mismas salían, juntamente con nubes de humo que caían hacia todos los lados, parecidas al caer de las pavesas…. entre gritos de dolor y gemidos de desesperación que horrorizaba y hacía estremecer de pavor.” Sin embargo la Señora no los dejo en el terror. Ella les dijo

a los niños, “Visteis el infierno a donde van las almas de los pobres pecadores; para salvarlas, Dios quiere establecer en el mundo la devoción a mi Inmaculado Corazón. Si se hace lo que os voy a decir, se salvarán muchas almas y tendrán paz.” El Segundo Secreto La Señora aún no había terminado con los niños. Continúo hablando con ellos acerca de rezar por la paz. Ella prometió que la Primera Guerra Mundial iba a terminar, pero si la gente continuaba ofendiendo a Dios, otra guerra peor iba a comenzar. Si los niños y el mundo no ponían el mensaje de paz de nuestra Señora en práctica, la humanidad caería otra vez en un conflicto devastador. Una gran luz en el cielo sería la gran señal para la humanidad del inicio de la Guerra y la persecución de la Iglesia y del Santo Padre. Luego, en 1938, Lucia (para entonces una monja) consideró que esta señal fue la extremadamente brillante Aurora Borealis vista en Europa y América justo antes del inicio de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La Señora también mencionó a Rusia y gran mal que vendría de ese país si Rusia no era consagrada al Inmaculado Corazón. “Vendré a pedir la consagración de Rusia a mi Inmaculado Corazón y la Comunión reparadora de los Primeros Sábados. Si se atienden mis deseos, Rusia se convertirá y habrá paz; si no, esparcirá sus errores por el mundo, promoviendo guerras y persecuciones a la Iglesia.” Más tarde en ese año, Vladimir Lenin guió una revolución en Rusia, y se convirtió en un estado ateo, comunista. El Tercer Secreto De todos los mensajes de Fátima, más tinta se ha gastado debido al Tercer Secreto. Mientras que los dos primeros fueron dichos a los niños, el Tercero vino en una serie de visiones proféticas: “Al lado izquierdo de Nuestra Señora un poco más en lo alto vimos a un Ángel con una espada de fuego en la mano izquierda; centelleando emitía llamas que parecía iban a incendiar el mundo; pero se apagaban al contacto con el esplendor que Nuestra Señora irradiaba con su mano derecha dirigida

Miles de personas vieron el milagro del sol. 69


Tercer Secreto fue revelado en el año 2000. El Papa Benedicto explicó que la montaña escarpada y la ciudad en ruinas pueden ser vistas como la historia humana, una escarpada y costosa subida, pero también una expresión de creatividad humana que sin la guía de Cristo nos lleva a la muerte y destrucción. En la cima de las montañas está nuestra última meta y nuestra señal de esperanza: la Cruz de Cristo. La muerte del obispo vestido de blanco (el Papa) se cumplió con el atentado de asesinato a San Juan Pablo II el 13 de mayo de 1981. Afortunadamente el atentado fue infructuoso, pero la fecha, 13 de mayo ahora debe ser conocida. El mismo Juan Pablo II atribuyó su sobrevivencia a la directa intervención de Nuestra Señora. Él dijo fue una “mano materna” la que guió el trayectoria de la bala, y el 13 de mayo de 1982, San Juan Pablo II viajó a Fátima para agradecerle a Nuestra Señora por su intervención. Puso la bala que lo hirió en el altar, y ahora reside en la corona de la estatua de Nuestra Señora de Fátima.

Los niños: Jacinta, Lucía y Francisco hacia él; el Ángel señalando la tierra con su mano derecha, dijo con fuerte voz: ¡Penitencia, Penitencia, Penitencia! Y vimos en una inmensa luz qué es Dios: ‘algo semejante a como se ven las personas en un espejo cuando pasan ante él’ a un Obispo vestido de Blanco ‘hemos tenido el presentimiento de que fuera el Santo Padre’. También a otros Obispos, sacerdotes, religiosos y religiosas subir una montaña empinada, en cuya cumbre había una gran Cruz de maderos toscos como si fueran de alcornoque con la corteza; el Santo Padre, antes de llegar a ella, atravesó una gran ciudad medio en ruinas y medio tembloroso con paso vacilante, apesadumbrado de dolor y pena, rezando por las almas de los cadáveres que encontraba por el camino; llegado a la cima del monte, postrado de rodillas a los pies de la gran Cruz fue muerto por un grupo de soldados que le dispararon varios tiros de arma de fuego y flechas; y del mismo modo murieron unos tras otros los Obispos sacerdotes, religiosos y religiosas y diversas personas seglares, hombres y mujeres de diversas clases y posiciones. Bajo los dos brazos de la Cruz había dos Ángeles cada uno de ellos con una jarra de cristal en la mano, en las cuales recogían la sangre de los Mártires y regaban con ella las almas que se acercaban a Dios.” (Congregación para la Doctrina de Fe, El Mensaje de Fátima) Esta parte del mensaje de la Señora no había sido revelado públicamente hasta el año 2000 por San Juan Pablo II, durante la beatificación de Jacinta y Francisco. Había sido escrito por Sor Lucia en 1957 y sellado en un sobre el cual eventualmente fue almacenado en los Archivos del Vaticano. El secreto que rodea la visión ha causado una salvaje especulación y teorías de conspiración por décadas, pero según la misma Sor Lucia, fue una profecía que se cumplió durante el pontificado de San Juan Pablo II. Interpretación del Tercer Secreto Joseph Ratzinger, más tarde el Papa Benedicto XVI, agregó un comentario y explicación a la visión de los niños cuando el 70

Citas Perdidas Regresando a las apariciones mismas, la aparición de agosto fue atrasada hasta el día 19 del mes. Un complot, instigado por un administrador político local y un católico caído, causó que los niños fueran interrogados, intimidados, y encarcelados para forzarlos a revelar lo que la Señora les había dicho. Siendo tan jóvenes, los niños sufrieron mucho debido a esta traición, pero se negaron a revelar lo que la Señora les pidió que mantener en secreto. Los niños fueron finalmente liberados, pero habían faltado a la cita con la Señora. La presión de las autoridades locales causaba tensiones en casa de Lucía, particularmente entre ella y su madre, quien pensaba que Lucía estaba inventando toda la historia. El 19 de agosto, un domingo, otra vez mientras estaban cuidando las ovejas, nuestra Señora se apareció a los tres niños y una vez más les pidió volver a la Cova el día 13 de septiembre y a rezar el Rosario para la conversión de los pecadores. Cuando llegó el día de la aparición de septiembre, se había reunido una gran multitud. El encarcelamiento de los niños había causado una gran cantidad de habladurías y la noticia se había extendido rápidamente. Se repitió el mensaje para rezar el Rosario todos los días por la paz, y se hizo una promesa de un milagro en octubre. Ella animó y elogió a los niños por sus penitencias y oraciones. Hubo muchos que también vieron una luz en el este y muchos sacerdotes (algunos enviados por el obispo local a investigar) se reunieron para presenciar la aparición. El Día que el Sol Bailó Como se acercaba el 13 de octubre, la prensa secular y el gobierno anticlerical comenzaron a presionar a los niños. Artículos burlándose de los niños y de los peregrinos eran comunes, y a los niños públicamente se les llamo mentirosos y charlatanes. Muchos miembros de la familia y vecinos se irritaban por la conmoción y resintieron la atención en la pequeña ciudad. Las personas viajaban durante días a la Cova para presenciar el milagro. Se estima que entre 40.000 y 80.000 almas estaban en la Cova misma y posiblemente otros 20.000 dentro de un radio de 25 millas de la Cova, en el día del milagro. Había estado lloviendo por todo un día y el campo entero estaba lodoso. Finalmente apareció la Señora: “Quiero decirte que hagan aquí una capilla en mi honra;


que soy la Señora del Rosario; que continúen rezando el Rosario todos los días. La guerra va a acabar y los soldados volverán con brevedad a sus casas.” Ella también suplicó, “No ofendan más a Dios Nuestro Señor, que ya está muy ofendido.” Lucia le pidió a la gente mirar hacia el sol. Decenas de miles de personas, tanto creyentes y escépticos, todos clamaron ver al sol (que milagrosamente no dañó sus ojos) moverse y bailando alrededor en el cielo y parecía caer hacia la tierra. Mientras tanto, Lucia, Jacinta, y Francisco miraban una visión diferente. Mientras Nuestra Señora desaparecía, la completa Sagrada Familia entonces se apareció a los niños. El Niño Jesús bendijo al mundo haciendo la señal de la Cruz. La Sagrada Familia desapareció y Nuestra Señora apareció otra vez, esta vez como Nuestra Señora del Carmen. Los Niños Los dos videntes más jóvenes Jacinta y Francisco, murieron solo dos años después de la aparición en Fátima. Ambos contrajeron influenza en la gran epidemia de Gripe Española de 1919. Lucia se fue a unir a las Hermanas de Santa Dorotea en 1925, y más tarde a las Carmelitas Descalzas en 1946. La Hermana Lucía continúo recibiendo revelaciones privadas de la Santísima Virgen en el convento. Ella murió en el 2005 a la edad de 98 años. Jacinta y Francisco fueron beatificados (el último paso antes de ser canonizados santos) por San Juan Pablo II, y se espera que sean canonizados por el Papa Francisco el 13 de Mayo de este año, en el santuario. El caso de canonización de la Hermana Lucia empezó en el 2008, y sigue procediendo. Los Primeros Sábados Una de la peticiones hechas por Nuestra Señora a Sor Lucia en las revelaciones privadas en el convento fue la Devoción a los Primeros Sábados. Nuestra Señora prometió “asistir en la hora de la muerte con las gracias necesarias para su salvación, a todos los que, durante cinco meses, en el primer sábado, se confiesen, reciban la Sagrada Comunión, recen el Rosario y me hagan compañía durante 15 minutos meditando en los misterios del rosario con el fin de desagraviarme.” Esta devoción es conservada en muchas Iglesias por todo el mundo. Fátima para nosotros ¿Qué vamos a hacer de esta aparición? Una cosa que podemos ver es la predilección de Dios para hablar con los humildes, los “poco importantes” para el mundo. En medio de una terrible guerra mundial y la agitación política, fue enviada una aparición a tres niños de granja pobres. A pesar de su completa falta de influencia y sofisticación, los mensajes y devociones de Fátima se han esparcido por el mundo y han tenido una gran influencia. El sitio de la aparición recibe más de 8 millones de visitantes en un año normal y recibirá muchos más en este centenario. También podemos ver a Dios enseñando al mundo, al igual que lo hizo durante la vida de Jesucristo, que la política y la guerra no son las soluciones a los problemas del mundo. Más bien, lo son la oración, la penitencia y la fe. Nuestra Señora siempre está presente como un auxilio para nosotros en los tiempos de grandes apuros. Es importante que la escuchemos porque ella siempre nos guía de nuevo hacia su

Hijo, Jesucristo. Ya sea rezando el Rosario y meditando en sus misterios (que son los eventos de la Vida de Cristo) o fielmente participando en las devociones de los Primeros Sábados, o rezando las oraciones reveladas en Fátima, la verdadera devoción a nuestra Santísima Madre nos lleva nuevamente a Cristo, la fuente de nuestra salvación. Una comprensión más profunda de Fátima en este 100 aniversario nos puede ayudar a tener una comprensión más profunda de la voluntad de Cristo para nosotros en nuestros tiempos.q El Padre Stehling es el administrador de la parroquia San León Magno en Centerville, Texas.

Las oraciones de Fátima La mayoría de los católicos conocen la Oración de Fátima recitada después de cada misterio del Santo Rosario ¡Oh Jesús mío, perdónanos, líbranos del fuego del infierno, lleva al cielo a todas las almas, y socorre principalmente a las más necesitadas! (Dada por nuestra Señora el 13 de Julio de 1917) Sin embargo hay cuatro oraciones más dadas por el Ángel de la Paz y Nuestra Señora en el transcurso de las Apariciones. Oración del Perdón: Dios mío, yo creo, adoro, espero y te amo. ¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no adoran, no esperan y no te aman! (Dada por el Ángel de la Paz, primavera 1916) Oración del Ángel de la Paz: Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo, Espíritu Santo, yo te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes, sacrilegios e indiferencias con que Él es ofendido. Y por los méritos infinitos del Sagrado Corazón y del Inmaculado Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los pecadores. (Dada por el Ángel de la Paz, otoño 1916) Oración a la Eucaristía: Oh Santísima Trinidad, Yo Te adoro. Dios mío, Dios mío, yo Te amo en el Santísimo Sacramento del Altar. (Dada por nuestra Señora el 13 de Mayo de 1917) Oración de Sacrificio: Oh Jesús, te ofrezco este sacrificio por tu amor, por la conversión de los pecadores y en reparación de los pecados que tanto ofenden al Inmaculado Corazón de María. (Dada por nuestra Señora el 13 de Julio de 1917) 71


Only the Good die young

by Ben Fisher, Editor

40 years ago, singer/songwriter Billy Joel released the song, “Only the Good Die Young.” It’s now an “oldie” and you can occasionally hear it play in supermarkets. Nobody thinks about it anymore. In 1977, though, it caused a controversy in the Catholic world. The song is written from the point of view of a young man attempting to, ahem… steal the virtue…of a Catholic girl named Virginia. Billy Joel was raised nominally Jewish in New York, where there were recognizable ethnic Catholic cultures. Years later, Joel said that Virginia was inspired by a real IrishCatholic girl he had a crush on in high school. The young man in the song attempts a variety of gambits to convince Virginia to give in to his desires. He attempts to convince her that the Church is keeping her from enjoying life: “That stained glass curtain you’re hiding behind, never lets in the sun.” He attempts to convince her that sexual sin is inevitable: “Sooner or later it comes down to fate, I might as well be the one.” He attempts to convince her that everyone else is enjoying sex except the Catholics. He casts sinners as happier than saints. He questions the existence of heaven and whether it could be better than sex. In short, he tries pretty much everything. When the song was released, it sparked outrage among the Catholic community in the USA. It was banned on many Catholic-owned radio stations and on Catholic college campuses. Catholic groups staged write-in campaigns to have it removed from radio playlists. Several Catholic dioceses across the country spoke out against it. Joel later said, “As soon as they banned it, it started shooting up the charts. I wrote letters to the Archbishops saying, ‘Please ban my next record!’” Surely, Catholic parents and their pastors didn’t want every Catholic youngster to hear that sexual sin was inevitable and that everyone might as well give in because the Church is against pleasure and heaven isn’t real. Having that message coming from every radio was no doubt extremely distressing… but now it seems quaint. The sexual revolution that led Joel to write his anthem about Catholic “repression” has matured quite a bit since 1977. In this world today, pornography that caters to every possible desire, natural and unnatural, is available on every cell phone. Mobile apps to match people up for anonymous sexual 72

encounters are big business. In short, today a song about a Jewish boy trying to have sex with a reluctant Catholic girl seems downright innocent. We could list the multitude of ways that our sexual culture has gone very quickly in the wrong direction since 1977. But, another aspect of this comes to my mind. How long has it been since anyone wrote a song about Catholics being different? A long time. In 1977, ethnic Catholics in the United States were very busy trying to “fit in” to American society. Less than a decade before, many American Catholics had rejected the teaching of Pope Paul VI, reiterating the ancient principle that artificial Billy Joel contraception is sinful. Catholics went from being known for large families, to having the same size families as everyone else. Catholics moved out of their ethnic neighborhoods and mixed into the suburbs, and the old ethnic parishes died out. The Catholic cultures that Billy Joel knew as a youth in 1950’s and 60’s New York faded into the melting pot. Catholics started to be divorced at the same rate as everyone else, and to have abortions at the same rate as everyone else, and now it’s very difficult to pick Catholics out of a crowd in most places. Who would write a song about us now? Nobody. In the 40 years since “Only the Good Die Young” was released to such controversy, Americans have embraced individualism a variety of ways, and every brand markets itself to people who want to be “different” and “individuals.” Nobody wants to “follow the crowd” or be known as a “conformist.” Well, once upon a time, we Catholics were different. We didn’t conform to society. We were so different that people wrote songs about us, and they resonated with the entire nation. As a culture, Catholics once lived very differently than other people, but we largely gave that up. I would absolutely love it if a new song came onto popular media today complaining that Catholics are too virtuous. I wouldn’t demand that the radio station ban it. I wouldn’t write letters about it. I’d say, “Thank God. We’re still different enough that people notice.” It’s worth noting that Virginia, in the song, never gives in. At the end, she is still praying the rosary, and the boy is still pleading with her. q


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