Page 1


APRIL 2015

Lend a loving hand

South Texas




VOL. 50 NO. 4

Publisher Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL DD Editor Alfredo E. Cárdenas


In this depiction of the sixth Station of the Cross at Corpus Christi Cathedral, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus as he is paraded through the streets of Jerusalem to Calgary. We too are often called to respond, like Veronica, to acts of senseless violence.


Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic

Theological Consultant Father Joseph Lopez, JCL Associate Editor Mary E. Cottingham Administrative Assistant Adel Rivera Correspondents Rebecca Esparza, Luisa Scolari, Dayna Mazzei Worchel If you or someone you know would like to receive the South Texas Catholic call us at (361) 882-6191 Office Address: 620 Lipan Corpus Christi TX 78401-2434 E-MAIL: FAX: (361) 693-6701

Pat 12 Father Donohoe and Crissy Godines of Holy Family Parish in Corpus Christi were among 300 participants at the Amazing Parish Conference on March 19.

Calendar Items Submit your announcements by using our Online form, e-mail, fax, mail, or drop it off at the Chancery office. Only announcements for the month of publication will be included in the print edition, if space permits. All other calendar items will appear on the magazine or diocese Web sites. The South Texas Catholic is not liable or in any way responsible for the content of any advertisement appearing within these pages. 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 to the Better Business Bureau. (USPSN 540-860) Published monthly by the Diocese of Corpus Christi for $25 per year. Periodical postage paid in Corpus Christi Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to South Texas Catholic 620 Lipan, Corpus Christi TX 78401-2434. If you wish to read our Spanish language articles in English visit our Web site and use the Google language translator. Si desea leer nuestros artículos escritos en Inglés en español, visite nuestro sitio web y utilice el traductor de idiomas Google.

INSIDE 4 VIEWPOINTS Violence is rooted in an absence of God in our lives

VOCATIONS 8 Questions parents have about religious vocations

VIDA CATÓLICA 27 Clima de violencia prevalece en la sociedad

NATIONAL NEWS 41 Death penalty interferes with ‘God’s merciful judgment’

FROM THE DIOCESE VATICAN NEWS 17 NEWS 42 Pope says, ‘world is trying to Church, community work together to stem the tide of domestic violence

hide’ wave of anti-Christian persecution

OUR FAITH CATHOLIC EDUCATION 22 Protecting 44 the innocent: The Circle MASS: Liturgy of the Word of Grace

Keep up with the Faith at



Violence is rooted in an absence of God in our lives Bishop Michael Mulvey


South Texas Catholic

Most Reverend Michael Mulvey is bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

take this opportunity to wish each of our readers a very joyful Easter and Easter season. We recall that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to redeem the world. Christ’s love was made manifest in the most perfect way as he sacrificed himself on the cross. Easter can remain a part of our life through our openness to delve into the profound meaning of the Gospels, of Jesus’ own words which he verified through the mystery of His Cross and Resurrection. People of faith are people who remember that the very love of God is renewed for us each day in the Eucharist with the Lord’s body and blood, his self-sacrifice and in the truth of His word. As we are called to “remember” it is obvious that our secular world has “forgotten” or has amnesia regarding God’s love and presence. It is enough to acknowledge the unprecedented wave of violence that is made manifest before our eyes in so many ways. Beginning with life in the womb, violence threatens life at its very conception. The list seems endless: child

abuse and violence in the family, street and gang violence, violence in schools and in public venues, a mere lack of civility among peoples-even to the point of violence in the name of religion. We are witnessing in our time brothers and sisters in faith becoming martyrs for their faith. For them, our thoughts are constant, our prayers are daily. Have you ever asked, “What is the root of violence and why is violence so alive today? Psychology will give a variety of answers: learned by behavior, pent-up emotion, lack of education and the experience of injustice. But let us not delude ourselves. “Violence is an absence.” Violence is rooted in an absence of God. Violence is the absence of the redeeming word of Jesus Christ in peoples’ lives, creating

a darkness that overshadows human dignity. Throughout the year, we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus that tells us: “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies,” “forgive them they know not what they do,” “if someone asks you to go a mile, go two.” These words of Jesus, while challenging and counter-cultural, are a light for every human person to draw their hearts to God. When these words are not present in one’s life, violence will have the upper hand. The new cardinal of Bangkok, Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij recently said in an interview “Secularism is the new way the devil presents himself in the modern world.” Secularism is the absence of God. It looks at the world purely from a human point of

➤ Let us not look at the world through the dark

lens of hopelessness, but let us live our life in light of Christ’s Resurrection. 4  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  |  APRIL 2015

Reform and believe By Msgr. Louis Kihneman, III



Msgr. Louis Kihneman, III is Vicar General of the Diocese of Corpus Christi and pastor of St. Philip, the Apostle Parish.

s we entered the William G. McConnell Unit in Beeville and began to pass the security and many gates on our way to the gymnasium where Mass was to be held, I was reminded of Piri Thomas, who wrote a book called “Down These Mean Streets.” It describes his conversion from being a convict, a drug addict and an attempted killer to becoming an exemplary Christian. One night, Piri was lying on his cell bunk in prison. Suddenly, it occurred to him what a mess he had made of his life. He felt an overwhelming desire to pray. But he was sharing the cell with another prisoner called “the thin kid.” So he waited. After he thought “the thin kid” was asleep, he climbed out of his bunk, knelt down on the cold concrete, and prayed. He said: “I told God what was in my heart…I talked to him plain…no big words…I talked to him of my wants and lacks, of my hopes and disappointments…I felt like I could even cry…something I hadn’t been able to do for years.”

After Piri finished his prayer, a small voice said, “Amen.” It was “the thin kid.” “There we were,” Piri said, “he lying down, head on bended elbows, and I still on my knees. No one spoke for a long while. Then the kid whispered, “I believe in Dios also.” The two young men talked a long time. Then Piri climbed back into his bunk. “Good night, Chico,” he said. “I’m thinking that God is always with us–it’s just that we aren’t with him.” As we entered the gymnasium at state prison, many men who had similar experiences as Piri Thomas surrounded us. Many of them had attended



view. And relations on a human point of view can only look after themselves. And thus we have an increase of individualism; the “me” society, the gratification society, the protective society of all that is “mine.” Brothers and sisters, as Christ’s disciples, as his missionary disciples, we must evangelize others, first by our own example. Let us not look at the world through the dark lens of hopelessness, but let us live our life in light of Christ’s Resurrection. Good will always win out over evil, but if good people do nothing then evil will have the upper hand. Let us not give in to secularism. Let us be careful in what we say. Let us be prudent where we go. Let us be careful at what we look at and what we talk about. We should ask ourselves: “Do our thoughts, words and deeds portray us as people given to this age (secularists) or as children of God?” At the beginning of Mass, as we ask forgiveness we say, “I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed.” Sin is the absence of God. Therefore, if we want to break the tidal-wave of violence, we must begin with ourselves. Daily, let us ask forgiveness for our conformity to a secular mentality, a mentality where God is not present. May this Easter season be a new beginning for us to eradicate violence from our own selves, from our speech, our thoughts, our actions and what we see, so that the Prince of Peace may find in us zealous missionaries of peace.

✝ the ACTS retreat there in the McConnell Unit and had met the Lord Jesus, his forgiveness and had committed themselves to his service. The gymnasium was literally full of men–about 350 men–who were singing, clapping and praising God. On my way to hear confessions, I had no less than 40 men greet me, embrace me and welcome me. The celebration of the Mass with Bishop Michael Mulvey as celebrant was done in sheer joy. That day, we received eight men into the Church. Their sponsors were fellow inmates. They obviously had been touched deeply by God’s love and God’s great forgiveness. It reminded me of the Scripture passage, “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,


that she is a sinner.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?’ Simon said in reply, ‘The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.’ He said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great

love’. (Lk 7:39-47)” When it came time for the Baptisms, there were tears in the eyes of the men to be baptized and of the sponsors. It was deeply moving and a powerful witness for us. The attentiveness of the men during the consecration was truly focused on the Lord with deep faith and gratitude. At the sign of peace, we saw two rival gang members embrace. It brought tears to our eyes. Thus, the men approached Holy Communion as a treasure; and once again, there were tears in the eyes of the men who were just baptized. They knew they were meeting the One who had forgiven them and loved them with all their faults and mistakes. The room was filled with Piri Thomases. I give thanks to God for the opportunity to have shared in the Supper of the Lord with these men of faith.

Headlines from ◗◗ Bookmark our Web site to keep up to date on all the happenings in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

• Corpus Christi parish celebrates Feast Day of St. Joseph with novena

• Diocese makes generous contribution to religious retirement fund

• Eighth grader Gabriel Rauen named state geography bee semifinalist

• Our Lady of Guadalupe in Alice gets new altar

• Catholic Charities in the process of developing new program for autism support

• Band and choir perform assisted living center

• Taft parish prays for canonization of Blessed Jose Sanchez Del Rio • Parish mission will review ‘seven capital virtues’


• Diocese to celebrate bishop’s fifth anniversary

• Eight local art students receive high ratings at regional vase competition

• Texas Catholic Historical Society meets in Corpus Christi

• Stations of the Cross led by fifth grade students

Our Lady of Corpus Christi Sunday, April 12 at 3 p.m.



Questions parents have about religious vocations Father Joseph Lopez, JDL Contributor

Father Joseph Lopez, JCL, is Vocations Director for the Diocese of Corpus Christi.


arents with children considering a life as a priest or religious sister or brother often have many questions. This is the first of two-part series in which we will review some of these questions. Perhaps you have not thought of all these questions or perhaps you have others, but it is important that you honestly consider these questions so that you can provide your son or daughter the support they need. Q. What is the role of parents

in encouraging vocations to their children? Ultimately you love and support them. The grace that God gives to parents is what best nourishes and supports the young person. Thinking always as your son or daughter first is best. Continue to have expectations of him or her.

Q. How can parents talk

about Church vocations when what they know about from personal experience is married life? Parents can talk to their children about the importance of discovering God’s purpose in their lives. It can be helpful to them to hear how you discovered that you were called to marriage.


As Catholics, each of us has a responsibility to learn about each vocation so that we can support others. Parents need to learn about and understand Church vocations as well as marriage and single life. Some resources for doing this are personal contacts with priests and sisters, reading the lives of the saints, literature about Church vocations and Web sites such as

Q. How should I react if my

son or daughter talks to me about becoming a priest, nun or brother? If this has not happened yet, maybe you ought to ask yourself how you or your spouse might react. Would it be a shock? Concern? Skepticism? Would this be a dream come true for you or

your worst nightmare? Knowing and understanding your own feelings and your reasons for them is an important step in knowing how to respond to your son or daughter. The vast majority of teens today feel that if they told their parents they were even “just thinking” about priesthood or religious life, their parents would be completely opposed to the idea, laugh at them or in some other way not take them seriously. A vocation is quite simply a call from God. God gives each one of us a vocation and has blessed us with certain abilities and talents. He calls some of us to be married. Others are called to be single. Still others are called to the priesthood or to religious life. One vocation is not better than another. The hope is that


Q. I just found out my son or

daughter is well along in the decision to enter seminary or a religious community. Why did he or she not talk with me? Try not to be offended or hurt that your son or daughter did not confide in you until now. When discerning a vocation, men and women often wish to keep things confidential from the people closest to them until they are ready to talk about it. Rest assured your son or daughter both needs and desires your support and encouragement. In fact, your support as a parent is most likely valued more than that of any other figure in your child’s life.

Q. We are not a very religious

family. Where did this vocation come from? A son or daughter’s news of discernment to serve the Church takes some parents aback because they do not consider themselves to be a particularly religious family. While a child’s faith, worship and vocational plans are oftentimes influenced by family practices and expectations, a vocation to serve the Church is a call from God, the author

of all life. This call is intensely personal. Although your child desires to discern his or her call with great attention and fidelity, you are not obliged to alter your current religious practices unless you wish to do so. Still, your son or daughter will certainly benefit greatly from your support during his or her discernment.

Q. If I had provided a better model

of marriage for my child, would he or she have chosen to marry? Some parents have expressed remorse that had they offered a more functional, loving model of marriage that their son or daughter would have chosen a married vocation over a single-hearted vocation to serve God’s people and his Church. In other words, an attitude is adopted, “It’s my fault that my son is discerning a vocation to the priesthood.” This is very rarely a reality and this sense of causal-guilt should be abandoned. Although a functional, loving model of married life in the household is very beneficial, several, healthy models of marriage are present in the lives of children and young adults among neighbors, extended family, parishioners, coaches and teachers to name only a few. A vocation comes to a young person in the form of a personal call

from God and should never be seen as a last or only option due to a limitation of choice.

Q. How can I best support

my son or daughter as he or she discerns a vocation to priesthood or religious life? This is another common anxiety. In many other moments in your child’s life, you have felt ready to offer sound advice from your own past experiences. However, because vocations to the priesthood or consecrated life are such unique calls, you may feel unqualified to offer helpful advice. One helpful question you can ask is, “What is the most important thing I can do to assist and support you?” This simple question will mean a great deal. It is a further sign of your unconditional love as a parent. Prayer will, of course, help. Listen without judging or criticizing and reassure your child that whatever the decision, you will love and accept him. Don’t start treating your child differently, and be honest with him or her about your worries and concerns about a vocation. Another helpful question is, “Is your discernment of a vocation something that you’d like me to keep confidential at the moment?” This will assure your son or daughter of your respect for his or her “pace” of discernment and of its public knowledge.

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if your child shows an interest in religious life or the priesthood you will be supportive and encouraging.


Sister Annette Wagner, IWBS is Director of the Office of Consecrated Life for the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Celebrating Consecrated Life:

GIFT TO THE WORLD Sister Annette Wagner, IWBS



ach religious congregation or order has a special gift to bring to the Church…to offer the world. The uniqueness of this charism or spiritual gift marks the congregation with its own personality and dynamic—both internally and externally. Founders and foundresses are inspired and guided by God to establish an identifiable group of individuals who will live and offer this gift— this charism—to those they encounter in community and service. This charism is the lifeblood of a congregation, the Spirit that enlivens and guides decisions affecting all aspects of the members’ lives. It is the treasure that each generation guards, nurtures and shares


with the next generation entering the congregation. Charism is the gift planted in the heart of the young woman or man, drawing her or him to the congregation with that same gift. The process of discernment, the purpose of the initial formation of the candidate is very specific. Both congregation and candidate must verify that the candidate is 1) called to consecrated life; 2) called to live consecrated

life in this congregation; and 3) able to live this call at this time. In other words, does this candidate share the same gift or charism as the congregation? And is she or he ready to live it? Often discussion of charism includes two essential elements: spirituality and mission. These aspects are so intimately intertwined that it is difficult to speak of them separately. A congregation’s charism centers


Charism is the gift planted in the heart of the young woman or man, drawing her or him to the congregation with that same gift. ➤

its members’ spirituality, serves as the heart of their prayer life and encourages certain characteristics in their response to God in their lives. Because true prayer blossoms into good works, or service to others, a congregation’s charism is expressed in its stated mission. That mission or purpose for existence often guides community life and directs service to those with particular needs. When a new congregation is being formed, its charism is a major element of interest. Because the Holy Spirit

continues to nurture and guide the Church in its life and growth, Church leadership is responsible to recognize, welcome and foster any new gifts— or religious congregations—being formed within the Church. So when a new group asks for formal recognition, some questions that may be asked are: What is their charism? Is this a new gift being offered to the Church and the world? What need in today’s world is being addressed? The Diocese of Corpus Christi is blessed with members from 19

different religious congregations of women and five congregations of men—each with a distinct charism. Members of different congregations may have the same ministry and serve the same needs within the diocese. Yet those who know them, who have shared their prayer, who have experienced their service, can tell you that the flavor of each is unique. (To find out more about the congregations in our diocese, visit diocesecc. org/consecratedlife.)


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P.O.Box 53419 Atlanta,  GA  30355 phone:  (404)  467-­‐8041 fax:  (404)  467-­‐8042 APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  11  


More than 300 people from 50 parishes were represented at the Amazing Parish Conference on March 19. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic

‘The parish is where it’s at’ Alfredo E. Cárdenas


South Texas Catholic

ome 300 parishioners, representing 50 parishes from throughout the Diocese of Corpus Christi, gathered at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi on March 19 to seek ways to become an “amazing” parish. Bishop Michael Mulvey said to them, “I want to assure you that I support this effort.”

Bishop Michael Mulvey offers support to building “amazing” parishes. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic


The bishop said that ever since he became bishop five years ago, he has been looking for ways to serve parishes. “To bring the beauty of parishes to life,” has been a goal of his ever since he heard St. John Paul II say in his 2001 Apostolic Letter Novo

Millennio Ineunte that the Church must be made “the home and the school of communion.” “What is unique about Catholics is that we are a community, we do not operate as individuals,” Bishop Mulvey said. It is in the home and



in the schools that young people are nurtured and so the Church, in the form of the parish, should exhibit the qualities of the home, the family and the schools in educating and nurturing the faithful. “We’re not where we should be and can be,” the bishop said, noting that he did not mean that in a critical way. Building communion was one of his goals in inviting the Amazing Parish movement—a group of committed Catholics from around the United States who help parishes by connecting them to resources—to come to the diocese and help build up its parishes. “The parishes is where it’s at,” Dominic Perri, with Amazing Parish, said. The second goal for the gathering was “mission,” the bishop said. Pope Francis, Bishop Mulvey said, often pronounces two words, “the poor and periphery.” The mission of the Church is to identify and serve the marginalized in society. “Communion and mission is what we are aiming for,” Bishop Mulvey said. “The two go together. The more we are on mission, the more we become community. The more we are community, the more we are compelled to go reach out to others.” He urged parish leaders to “discern” their mission as a community. It can be a challenge since “we often hear it’s the same people.” But, the bishop said, the Amazing Parish movement offered parishes an “opportunity to come together, to assist one another, to discover the beauty of parish life.” Perri reminded participants that what they do in their parishes “matters deeply.” The parish is the place where most Catholics encounter their faith. The model the Amazing Parish

Mary Jo Hunter listens as Father James Stembler, pastor at St. Gertrude Parish in Kingsville, offer his thoughts on improving parishes. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic

promotes, Perri said, is “very simple” and is not meant as one that fits all parishes. The model is based on seven traits, three that are considered the foundation of the movement and four that are considered the building blocks. The foundational pillars include

relying on prayer, developing a leadership team and a adopting a clear vision. Prayer must be central to running a parish, Perri said. In the course of the details and procedures involved in running a parish day in and day out, prayer is often forgotten or ignored.

Lydia Boemker, from Christ the King Parish, and Father James Farfaglia, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Corpus Christi, participate in discussion on ways to strengthen parishes. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  13  


Mellie Smithwick and Msgr. Leonard Pivonka discuss ways to continue to build up their parish at St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Alice. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic

A parish should organize regular and intentional prayer “We really need to start having staff meetings…branchefforts. ing out to organizations and get the parish more united “Prayer is number one. You can say that but not mean than what it already is,” Msgr. White, pastor at Ss. Cyril it,” Father Tony Blount, & Methodius, said. SOLT, pastor of St. Anthony Given all the demands of Padua in Robstown said. a parish faces daily, most As a result of the conference, parishes are operating in a Father Blount said his team “maintenance” mode, Perri made the commitment to hold said. They are just trying to Holy Hour once a week. He keep their heads above water. would announce to the parish As the third pillar, the leadto enter names of people that ership team must develop a need prayer in a book held at clear vision of where they the parish office and the staff want to take their parish. would pray for them once a Father Richard Gonzaweek. les, pastor of St. Joseph in “We don’t pray enough,” Beeville, said his team was Father Blount said. already having a lot of open The second foundational discussions at the conference –Father Richard Gonzales, pillar is for the pastor to idenabout ideas to take back to pastor of St. Joseph in Beeville tify a leadership team he can the parish. “We need to set rely on. It is essential to surgoals, not just for projects, round the pastor—who is very often overwhelmed with but spiritually and as a community,” Father Gonzales said. the demands on his time—with support. The four building blocks are forming a good Sunday Msgr. Lawrence White said that even after being a experience, providing opportunities for compelling formapastor for 36 years there was a lot he could learn about tion, building small groups for discipleship and adopting how to bring a parish staff together, to form more of a a missionary zeal. family, community atmosphere. The Sunday experience is where most Catholics

“ We need to set goals, not just for projects, but spiritually and as a community.”



Corpus Christi Cathedral parishioners Neil Hayes and Deborah Shea discuss ideas to take back to their parish. Alfredo E. Cárdenas, South Texas Catholic

encounter their faith. The elements that surround the Mass—the music, message (homily) and ministers—must inspire. God calls Catholics to be formed like Jesus. The parish must offer opportunities for formation. The idea of small groups is as old as the Church. From its earliest times, the Church formed around small groups. These groups are important to help the pastor who is often overwhelmed and cannot take on all the demands made on him. Finally, the parish must perform its work of evangelization with missionary zeal. It must joyfully go about “changing the world.” “We need to have a new zeal,” the bishop said. “We want people to love the Eucharist and the Word of God.

All this is in the spirit of the New Evangelization.” “Although we have a very vibrant parish, there is always room for improvement, there are areas that could use revitalization” Father Paul Hesse, pastor at St. Pius X in Corpus Christi said. He said the conference afforded him and his team an opportunity to learn and implement some new ideas. “I really beTo see more photos of this event lieve in parishes and its structure for evangelizaSouth Texas tion,” Bishop Mulvey said.



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Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Gam & es Santo Niño de Atocha Mission



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Dayna Mazzei Worchel Correspondent


he statistics are startling. Unofficially, about 25 to 35 percent of the 12,000 to 13,000 misdemeanor and felony cases filed each year in the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office are related to domestic violence. And more than 50 percent of those cases are dismissed because of lack of evidence. Local news reports have been telling the horrifying stories of domestic violence in recent months, many ending in murder-suicide. Domestic violence has different faces, experts say. Sometimes, it looks like a black eye, a broken bone or a push down the stairs. Or it can take a less visible form. Like the emotional abuse someone suffers when a partner gets angry at the house not being clean or a meal not being ready on time. But there is one thing that Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka wants the community to know. By the time it gets to his office, it is too late. “I can’t do much when she’s dead. We need early intervention,” Skurka said. With this goal in mind, Skurka met in January with Bishop Michael Mulvey of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi and Frances Wilson of the Women’s Shelter of South Texas to create a plan to

District Attorney Mark Skurka calls for early intervention in domestic violence cases. Dayna Mazzei Worchel for South Texas Catholic

educate the public about domestic violence and offer help to victims and batterers. “People listen to their priests,” Skurka said, which is the reason he approached the diocese. With hundreds of Masses on any given Sunday, there would be a considerable reach, he said. The message is not limited only to the Catholic Church, but all faiths should get

involved, Skurka said. With help from the diocese, support groups or parish committees could be organized to provide help within the parish to those that need it, Skurka said. The committee would consist of a counselor, a social worker and someone to give advice on financial assistance; it would also include a confidential support group. Helping educate the public and creating a safety plan is what the leaders from the Church, district attorney’s office and Women’s Shelter had in mind when they met. Other parts of the plan for early intervention involve distributing information about domestic violence at non-threatening places such as doctors’ offices and women’s restrooms. In December, Skurka hosted a summit in Corpus Christi on domestic APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  17  


Church, community work together to stem the tide of domestic violence


violence called “Stop the Silence,” where legal, law enforce- hand with local authorities, and a caseworker is assigned ment and mental health experts spoke to the public about who can guide the abused individual through the legal ways to solve the problem. The goals of the summit were process, including legal safeguards, Bonilla said. This can to educate, make people aware and to create a specific plan include temporary separation, she said. to help stop the violence. “The Church is here to provide to that person a clear From that summit, which included input from attend- definition of the sacrament of marriage and what a great ees, Skurka decided there was a need to get churches and responsibility and sacred vocation it is. However, when schools more involved, along elements of abuse enter in, with more counseling for kids, it will provide the victim who might not realize that with information on what physical and emotional abuse resources are available, as is wrong. well as pastoral counsel“We need to reach out to ing and prayer, all towards these folks,” Skurka said of the goal of that individual those involved in domestic making the best informed violence. decision for the family. Bishop Mulvey agreed, and Leaving the relationship is the diocese is already taking the last resort and is a deciaction since the meeting. The sion the victim must make bishop directed that the name based on what’s best for the of the Office of Child and family,” Bonilla said. Youth Protection be changed But if counseling is to the Office for Safe Environunsuccessful and divorce ment and Child and Family is the end result because of Resources, and their mission drugs or other factors such be expanded to include refer–Msgr. Thomas P. Feeney, JCL, as domestic violence, one ral and educational services Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Corpus Christi diocesan leader says the to parishioners and pastors in Church will assist in the cases of domestic violence, as well as other social service application for a Church annulment of the failed marriage. needs. “Sacramental marriage is supposed to be a loving rela“The abuse of a person is a sin against the human dignity tionship. No one is required to stay in a relationship where of a person and is against the Church’s teaching. If that’s they are abused,” Msgr. Thomas P. Feeney, JCL, Judicial happening, that domestic home life is disrupted,” Stephanie Vicar of the Diocese of Corpus Christi said. Bonilla, the office’s director said. Wilson, executive director the Women’s Shelter, said the Abusive behavior is not faithful to the marriage covenant, community is becoming more aware of domestic violence, and the two people involved need to seek pastoral and and there is less shame in coming forward now. She would therapeutic counseling separately at the beginning, Bonilla like to see more people of all faiths discussing the issue. said. It is important that the couple first understand the “Bishop Mulvey was extremely receptive to what we problems that need healing within themselves, and then said and I felt like he understood,” she said. come together as a couple to seek reunification if it is in The shelter saw a slight increase in the number of clients the best interest of all involved. The Church’s position is it served from 2013 to 2014, Wilson said. In 2013, there that safety is the primary concern, especially when children were 2,523 people served. In 2014, that number grew to are involved, she said. 2,667. There were 850 people out of that number that One of the community resources to which the diocese stayed at the shelter. will now refer a woman and her children is the Women’s The time when women are in the most danger is when Shelter of South Texas where they can have a safe refuge they leave or just before they leave, Wilson said. “We can in a child-friendly setting. The shelter also works hand in help victims create a safety plan,” she said.

“Sacramental marriage is supposed to be a loving relationship. No one is required to stay in a relationship where they are abused.”



Help is available for batterers Dayna Mazzei Worchel



ome men think violence against their partners is normal because it was all they saw as they grew up. “Men have said to me ‘I always saw my dad beat my mom and my uncle beat up his wife and I thought everybody did that,’” Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said. Domestic violence crosses all races, genders and socio-economic groups. The cycle of violence can start with an argument and escalate quickly from there, sometimes ending in death, Skurka said. According to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics, women made up 84 percent of spousal abuse victims in 2002, the last year for which statistics are available. About seventy five percent of perpetrators were male, according to the DOJ. But there is help for those who batter. It is a special, voluntary 24-week program for male and female offenders at the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, known as the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program. The treatment program takes clients from the 12-county area the shelter covers, including Nueces County, said Kellie Addison, development director

Kingsville, classes are held in a room inside the police department and in Beeville, classes are held in the Bee County Sheriff’s Office. The classes, which include paying a weekly fee ranging from $10 to $30, meet once a week for two-hours Kellie Addison, Women’s Shelter of and focus on accountability, South Texas Addison said. The classes cover topics such as sexual violence, children and how at the shelter. the offenders got to the point of hurtThe Nueces County District ing their partners. Four hundred and Attorney’s Office sends batterers to ninety men have been referred to the counseling, drug treatment and to the program, usually as part of a court battering intervention and prevention order as a condition of parole, and program at the women’s shelter as 408 have completed it. a part of court-ordered treatment, While the top referral source for Skurka said. male offenders to the program is the The classes in Nueces County take Nueces County probation departplace at the Women’s Shelter of South ment, attorneys or judges also refer Texas’ administrative offices, not at participants as a part of their parole the shelter facility, which is at an conditions as does Child Protecundisclosed location for client safety. tive Services, as part of pre-trial The shelter has two other locations. In proceedings.

“If they can’t acknowledge what they’ve done, they can’t be successful in the program.”



➤ who are accepted...for treatment are receptive and learn...from each other... Not all who are referred are candidates for the program. In some cases, the abuser has an alcohol or drug issue, which must be addressed before work begins on anger management, Addison said. Also, some abusers are not willing to admit there is a problem and accept accountability. “If they can’t acknowledge what they’ve done, they can’t be successful in the program,” Addison said. The men who are accepted into the program for treatment are receptive and learn a lot from each other while sharing their stories, she said. Comments from the written evaluations

done at the end of the program show those who abused, feel they have successfully found an alternative way to handle anger. “I learned that when I am in an argument about something, I need to ask my partner if we can discuss it calmly and in a safe manner, ” one wrote. “Listening to the other fathers and husbands in the group helped me see what red flags I need to look for with my wife and kids,” said another. Women who have been abused are notified when the offenders attend these classes.

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Female offenders are counseled in separate groups in a program called Turning Points. Either Child Protective Services or the Nueces adult probation refer the women. “The women who participate in the Turning Points Program do attend classes at our shelter facility, however their violence has been found to be in retaliation or self defense of violence being perpetrated in the intimate partner relationship,” Addison said. In 2014, approximately 30 women participated in the Turning Points program. Currently, there are 10 women participating in this program.


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Help Us Prevent Financial Abuse The Diocese of Corpus Christi at the recommendation of the Diocesan Financial Council and Presbyteral Council have furthered their commitment to good stewardship and nancial accountability on behalf of generous donors by instituting a nancial abuse hotline. The Diocese of Corpus Christi has selected an independent third party, The Network, to provide you with a new way to anonymously and condently report nancial abuse and fraud. Employees, parishioners, volunteers, vendors and other interested parties will be encouraged to report concerns they have regarding nancial misconduct within the Diocese of Corpus Christi. All inquiries will be treated promptly and discreetly. Callers will have the right to remain anonymous. Call 1-877-571-9748

Mount Carmel Home An Assisted Living Facility Operated by the Carmelite Sisters D.C.J. 4130 S. Alameda St. Corpus Christi, Texas 78411

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Bishop Michael Mulvey and the staff of the Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources are committed to assisting in the healing process for victims and survivors of abuse. If you or someone you know is in need of such services, call Stephanie Bonilla, Director of the Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources at: (361) 693-6686 (office) or (361) 658-8652 (cell) for immediate assistance.

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Protecting the innocent: Circle Rebecca Esparza



very diocese in the United States is committed to providing a safe environment for children in churches and parochial schools across the country. The Church has extended that protection so children feel empowered to listen and trust their instinct at all times through a program called “Circle of Grace.” The program is taught in every religious education and school in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Stephanie Bonilla, director of the Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources at the Diocese of Corpus Christi, said education begins as early as pre-kindergarten, with three-year-olds and goes all the way to high school. “The curriculum is broken down by age level and runs side-by-side Catechism teachings. It is designed to be shared in the classroom setting. It’s not sex abuse prevention training, but focuses on teaching children to be aware of the immediate space around them and learn to understand when someone makes them feel uncomfortable,” she said. “Parents need to be aware of the program, so they can help reinforce these values at home.” Children are encouraged to “know who your trusted adults are” and learn to expect respect for the immediate space around them, as well as the space of their classmates. “It can be expanded to take on more prevalent issues like self-confidence and bullying topics,” Bonilla said. “We have Parent Guides available that shows parents what we are


teaching children and opens up the line of communication about honoring the dignity of others, along with themselves. The Church is doing everything it can to foster an environment where little ones feel comfortable and safe.” Bonilla added there is a form in registration packets for religious education and parochial schools if parents would like their children to “opt out” of Circle of Grace training. However, she encourages parents and adult role models to learn about the “Circle of Grace” program and ask interactive questions of their children. “Ignite the conversation with small children and ask them: ‘what is the Circle of Grace? Do you know the song?’” Bonilla said. For middle school children, parents can discuss bullying and what needs to be done to make it stop. “Bullying is an attack on their spirit. Nobody deserves to feel like they are being attacked or made to feel bad,” she said. For high school teenagers, the “Circle of Grace” delves into dating and chastity.

Stephanie Bonilla is director of the Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources at the Diocese of Corpus Christi. “It’s about honoring the dignity of the person, the body that God created for you. For older children, the program is utilized to expand to more sensitive topics. We need to be descriptive and real with them,” Bonilla said. As a parent, it is imperative children learn about important life lessons like drug abuse or underage drinking from reliable sources. “We need to teach them how to handle it. If not, they will try to figure it out on their own. If we shelter them they can never know how to react to the tough issues, like being a good person, what does that mean? And what does grace mean to the female body? These concepts can be molded into conversations parents have with their child, at any age,” she said.


of Grace

Teddy Chavez, 5, simulates his personal “Circle of Grace” during a learning exercise in Ana Liza Stelker’s kindergarten classroom at St. Patrick School. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic

Ana Liza Stelker, a kindergarten teacher at St. Patrick School, said the program is extremely beneficial for all school-aged children, even the little ones. “For the smaller children, we talk about how we are all children of God, from the top of our body and all around our body, too. We talk about who is allowed in our personal space,” Stelker said. “We also have vocabulary words for different grade levels. From Kindergarten, children are taught their Circle of Grace is the “love and goodness of God which always surrounds me and all others.” Children are taught that by putting their arms above their head, then

circling down in front of their body including side-to-side they can imagine the Circle of Grace. This creates a circle, front to back and holds who you are in your body and through your senses. “This program helps the children

differentiate between people with good intentions and those with bad intentions. It lays the foundation for situations that might come up as they grow older and exposed to new and different ideas, concepts,” Stelker said.

Ana Liza Stelker, kindergarten teacher at St. Patrick School, shows students a demonstration of their “Circle of Grace” during a recent classroom exercise. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic



The bystander effect: Stopping the cycle of domestic violence Rebecca Esparza Correspondent


speranza Strong (not her real name) remembers with chilling clarity the precise moment her life would change forever. Her husband had a loaded gun pointed at her head. She could hear her small children scrambling in the next room, whispering among themselves how they could help their defenseless mother. “I saw this look in his eyes I had never seen before: a detached look of rage,” Strong recalled. “And I remember thinking: This is it, it’s over. I prayed immediately and said, ‘Please God, let me live. If I make it through this, I promise I will never come back.’” One of her children escaped out a bedroom window and ran to a nearby convenience store, where the police were called. After what seemed like an eternity, officers calmly entered the living room and her husband handed over his weapon. Strong took her children and never looked back. “I managed to get myself and my children into counseling. We turned to the Women’s Shelter of South Texas for assistance. A couple of years later, I ended up working at the Women’s Shelter,” she said proudly. Today, Strong is a victims’ assistance advocate and helps them with the effects suffered from misdemeanor crime, including assault and family violence. She has seen firsthand what


happens when people refuse to get involved in domestic violence cases: the cycle of abuse continues, many times resulting in death. The act of people who have knowledge about domestic violence, but do nothing to report it to authorities is referred to as the “bystander effect.” “We need more people to stand up and make a statement, but unfortunately, people don’t want to get involved. They don’t want to come to court or make any extra effort. Remember, this could be your daughter, granddaughter, son or grandson. You could make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. According to Erika De La Paz, Prevention and Education Director at the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, bystanders include the silent majority. “It includes anyone who is aware of the abuse, but is not directly involved. Bystanders hold great sway over the outcome of abuse, and can easily align with the perpetrator or the victim. Bystanders have an inherent

Erika De La Paz is Prevention and Education director at the Women’s Shelter of South Texas.

responsibility to prevent and stop abuse,” she said. Strong added it’s time that the community respects the sanctity of all human life by stepping forward and saying something when they see anyone suffering from abuse. “As a community, we need to take that extra initiative to step forward and say something,” she said. “Once you make that call, you have invested time out of your busy life and it is appreciated, but it needs to be followed through. Victims and their abusers need to know someone is watching and that someone cares.” Mary Clary, a parishioner at Corpus Christi Cathedral, said she would not


“Intimate Strangers” by Bill Strain can suggest the brokenness of domestic violence and how too many close their eyes to the problem. Bill Strain Licensed under CC BY 2.0

hesitate to get involved if a family member or friend needed help escaping a domestic violence situation. “I am strong in my faith and therefore believe that if someone is going through something so difficult, we must not judge them, just be supportive and pray for them,” she said. “I would try my best to get them some sort of help, like counseling or help from law enforcement. I wouldn’t be able to sit by and do nothing.” Strong noted she never tells domestic violence victims to leave or not leave. “I tell them to hold the abuser accountable, especially if there are children in the household. Someday your children will be grown men and women and God forbid

your child grows up to be an abuser. Your children could end up in prison, or dead because of the abuse they witnessed growing up,” she said. Those working with domestic violence victims have begun to see five generations of domestic violence victims in some families. “The likelihood a child victim of domestic violence will either be abused or become an abuser as an adult is extremely high. It’s a power and control issue that is a learned behavior, but the time has come to break the cycle,” said Strong, who grew up in a home where she witnessed domestic violence. “My mother was abused by my step-father. As a little girl I remember wondering, ‘is today going to be a good day or a bad APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  25  


“It’s time that the

community respects the sanctity of all human life by stepping forward and saying something when they see anyone suffering from abuse.” day? Will I find my mom beaten, or will I find them arguing?’ I remember being 15-years-old and at the Women’s Shelter. I was the oldest of five children. I swore to myself that I would never marry an abusive man, but that’s exactly what happened.” Strong’s mother died at age 39 from ovarian cancer. “She had to die to leave her abuser. I don’t think she saw any other way,” she lamented. When her first-born son was just three months old, her husband slapped Strong. “I remember thinking: ‘How dare he hit me!’ Unfortunately, I didn’t leave him until my oldest was 11 and my youngest was a baby. It was not the easiest thing to do, but I knew it had to be done for myself and for my children,” she said. Strong speaks to juvenile offenders and to recently released prisoners about her personal story of domestic violence, hoping to spread the message of zero tolerance of violence against women, children and even men. Her oldest son is currently serving time in a Texas prison for domestic violence against his wife. Her other four children are happy, well-adjusted professionals with children of their own. They have each pledged to Strong to live violence-free lives with their families. “Please don’t turn a blind eye to domestic violence. Someone you love may end up dead or seriously hurt. People need to be held accountable for their actions,” she said.


IF YOU ARE: A Victim: • Ask for help; call the Women’s Shelter of South Texas,

1-800-580-HURT (4878). • You do not deserve to be abused by someone you love.

A Bystander: • You are part of the big solution. Do not aid the perpetrator by becoming a collaborator or enabler. • Discourage others from supporting the perpetrator. • Report domestic violence to authorities. Insist they investigate. • Do not provoke the victim into fighting back, or become physical with the perpetrator. Bystanders with respectable authority must stop the abuse immediately, and the perpetrator must face consequences. • Spread a no tolerance message to friends, support those who are abused, and do not normalize domestic violence.

A Perpetrator: • Stop perpetrating. Stopping can be difficult. • The power and control you feel is false, and will always lead to a bad outcome. • If you cannot stop abuse, seek help. Anger management, emotional pain and domestic violence are a few causes of aggressive behavior. • If you do not stop abusing, eventually someone will stop you. Provided by the Women’s Shelter of South Texas


CNS photo illustration/Greg Tarczynski



LA IGLESIA Y AUTORIDADES CIVIL OFRECEN AYUDA PARA VICTIMAS (Nota del editor: Con esta tarea, nos comprometimos a la investigación sobre la violencia domestica. No de lo malo que está ocurriendo sino orientamos en como podemos ayudar a detener el mal y las opciones y ayudas que las diferentes agencias ofrecen.)


a violencia domestica es un problema muy grave, y cuando las víctimas son personas indocumentadas el abuso es mayor. Además del abuso físico y mental, constantemente las están amenazando diciéndoles, “Voy a llamar a la migra para que te deporten y te voy a quitar a los niños.” La violencia doméstica es un tema que últimamente ha tomado mucha relevancia por el preocupante aumento de víctimas fallecidas, mujeres, niños y en ocasiones seguidas por el suicidio del abusador.


El abusador de la violencia doméstica amenaza a su víctima con quitarle a sus hijos. Foto de padres peleando, por threerockimages

La violencia a aumentado entre parejas de novios cada vez mas jóvenes, también han aumentado las violaciones de estudiantes en los campos universitarios y los ataques a personas de edad avanzada en la vía pública o a personas pertenecientes a minorías. El “bullying” o la intimidación en las escuelas y lugares públicos–cometido cada vez por niños mas pequeños y de manera cada vez mas violenta. Este clima de violencia que prevalece en la sociedad tiene preocupadas a autoridades publicas y a el Obispo Michael Mulvey. El obispo, a dirigido que personal de la diócesis, como también en las parroquias, hagan esfuerzos de contrarrestar la ola de violencia. Si sientes que no estás segura en tu

casa, o sientes miedo de estar o regresar a ella, o sientes miedo cuando tu pareja llega a casa, recuerda que no estás sola. Pero la decisión es tuya, la ayuda ahí esta para ti, solo tienes que pedirla y nadie te va a juzgar, solo a ayudar. En caso de que tengas mucho miedo a hacerlo pero lo quieres hacerlo, pide ayuda a una amiga, vecina o familiar para que ellos hagan el reporte, y si no eres tú la persona que está pasando por esta situación pero conoces a alguien que está en ella, por favor no te quedes callado y denuncia. Tu reporte será anónimo. Al menos, ofrécele este ejemplar para que lo lea y tenga los números de ayuda que se encuentran en la página 35 a la mano.

Luisa Scolari



lguien a quien tu amas te lastima? El amor no debe doler. Si no te sientes segura en tu hogar o si tienes miedo al escuchar que tu pareja llega a casa, tal vez es el momento de preguntarse si no estás viviendo en una situación de violencia doméstica. Pero lo más importante no pienses que no hay salida o sientas que estás sola, porque no es así. No estas sola. Este es el mensaje de uno de los muchos boletines que se distribuyen con información de ayuda para víctimas, que en este caso es del Asilo Para Mujeres. Refugios en el sur de Texas










✪ Shelter ✚ Outreach Office



El Asilo Para Mujeres, mas bien conocido come el Women’s Shelter of South Texas, recibe y ayuda a cualquier víctima de abuso que pida ayuda, sin importarles su estatus migratorio. Desgraciadamente ven que una gran cantidad de víctimas que llegan son personas indocumentadas. El ser indocumentadas las hace víctimas mas vulnerables porque les da miedo acusar al abusador y pedir ayuda porque continuamente son amenazadas con que van a llamar a migración y si tienen hijos que se los van a quitar. Tienen mucho miedo y no denuncian porque desconocen sus derechos. “Nuestra principal preocupación es que estén a salvo, lejos del peligro y ponerlas en un lugar seguro,” Luther Kim, educador de la comunidad para el Women’s Shelter, dijo. “Muchas veces

tienen miedo de acudir a nosotros porque piensan que serán separadas de sus hijos pero esto no es así, nosotros queremos que permanezcan juntos y en nuestras instalaciones recibimos a las madres junto con sus hijos. Pues no queremos que sufran más aparte de la situación tan difícil que están pasando.” El abusador, Kim dijo, quiere mantener a la víctima siempre asustada y eso hace que la Luther Kim victima piense que no hay ayuda. Las aíslan física, económica y emocionalmente para hacerlas dependientes. De esta manera, no pueden escapar el hecho de que no hablan inglés y las hace que se sientan más inseguras. “Nosotros las asesoramos de las ayudas que hay disponible para ellas y las conectamos con las agencias que las ofrecen,” Kim dijo. “Los servicios que nosotros proveemos son el asilo y alimento para ellas y sus hijos en caso de tenerlos y servicio de consejería psicológica en un ambiente seguro y las asesoramos y conectamos con las agencias que les ofrecen ayuda.” La mayoría de las víctimas que recurren a la ayuda de el Women’s Shelter son de origen mexicano. El consulado APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  29  


Asilo para Mujeres ofrece un refugio seguro


El abusador quiere mantener a la víctima siempre asustada y eso hace que la victima piense que no hay ayuda. mexicano está en constante comunicación con el asilo para mujeres para ayudar a sus connacionales. El Women’s Shelter es el primer lugar de apoyo de las víctimas que no tienen a donde ir y la policía las trae aquí, Kim dijo. “Lo triste aquí es que las víctimas en muchas ocasiones vienen a este país huyendo de una situación de violencia en su país y caen en otra relación mas violenta todavía y muchas veces piensan que eso es lo normal porque eso les han hecho creer. Pero por favor, nunca deben de pensar que la violencia es una situación normal.” Los servicios que el asilo para mujeres de Corpus Christi ofrece son: una línea directa de crisis las 24 horas; refugio seguro las 24 horas.; acompañamiento al hospital; consejería para niños y adultos; asistencia con el sistema criminal y legal; y información sobre servicios de ayuda en la comunidad. Todos los servicios están disponibles para los clientes que están en el refugio y lo que no estén en el refugio también. Todos los servicios que ofrecen en el refugio son confidenciales y gratuitos.

Fiscal del condado ofrece ayuda; la tienen que pedir Luisa Scolari



xisten muchas maneras de ayudar a las víctimas de abuso, sean mujeres, hombres o niños, pobres o ricos, documentados o indocumentados o adultos mayores, dijo Laura Garza Jiménez, la Fiscal del Condado de Nueces. “Para nosotros es una víctima y eso es realmente lo importante; solo tienen que pedir auxilio, acercarse a nosotros,” dijo Jiménez. Y ese es el mayor problema, Jiménez dijo. Las victimas tienen miedo de hacer cargos porque están constantemente amenazadas y no están informadas de sus derechos. “Si acuden a nuestra ayuda, Laura Garza nosotros podemos Jimenez aconsejar las para que reciban los beneficios a los que tienen derecho y las conectamos con la ayuda disponible.” La fiscal dijo que no importa la estatus migratorio porque en el caso de abuso no es relevante. La amenaza en que el abusador da un ultimato sobre deportación y perder su niños es una forma de abuso muy poderoso y un recurso muy utilizado. Los abusadores constantemente


recurren a el y empiezan a aislarla de amigos y familiares; no las dejan trabajar o las obligan a trabajar pero les quitan lo que ganan; les niegan el trámite migratorio si tienen derecho a el o les retienen sus documentos; no las dejan manejar; no las dejan salir solas ni al mercado; no las dejan hablar con nadie; y no pueden usar el teléfono o les controlan con quien hablan y que dicen.” “Si estás pasando por alguna de estas situaciones es muy importante que vengas, porque sí hay ayuda, solo tienes que pedirla,” Jiménez dijo. “El camino puede ser largo pero al final, puedes estar aquí, ya que si has sido víctima y tienes alguna falta de inmigración, el gobierno otorga el perdón pero tienes que denunciar y ayudar a la fiscalía.” Jiménez dijo que hay más beneficios cuando están casados, aunque no es indispensable. La victima puede estar casada con el abusador o solo vivir en pareja, incluso el abusador puede estar viviendo casado con otra persona. No se necesita al marido o pareja para solicitar


➤ La amenaza en que el abusador da un ultimato sobre deportación y perder su niños es una forma de abuso muy poderoso. la residencia. Un camino es el recurso permitido por la Ley de Violencia Contra las Mujeres, mas bien conocida come VAWA. Si la victima califica, puede recibir el permiso de trabajo, licencia de conducir, número de Seguro Social y en caso de necesitarlo beneficio de comidas. Otra ley que brinda la ayuda es la de Víctimas de Actividad Criminal, o la Visa U. Si una persona ha sido víctima o testigo de algún crimen, asalto o violación, si ayuda a la policía a levantar los cargos, la victima puede recibir el permiso de trabajo y posteriormente la residencia. Esta visa tiene limites. “No hay razón por la que una persona indocumentada no reporte el abuso,” Jiménez dijo. “Existe el miedo de llamar a la policía porque piensan que serán deportadas. Si usted siente mucho miedo de hacerlo, pida a una amiga o amigo haga el reporte. Si siente que está en peligro o es una emergencia, tiene que llamar a la policía y ellos la van a ayudar. Están entrenados para eso y la policía tiene un programa de asistencia para víctimas en donde le darán toda la información y ayuda necesaria. Victimas pueden llamar confidencialmente y sin obligación a Sarah De León a los números (361) 826-2950 y (361) 826-2952. De León explico que en caso que el abusador llame a inmigración y usted ha sido víctima, no firme una salida voluntaria que en realidad es una deportación y recibe como

Obispo Michael Mulvey y el personal de la Oficina de un Ambiente Seguro y de Servicios para Niños y Familia se comprometen a ayudar en el proceso de curación de las víctimas y sobrevivientes de abuso. Si usted o alguien que usted conoce está en necesidad de estos servicios, llame a Stephanie Bonilla, Director de la Oficina de un Ambiente Seguro y de Servicios para Niños y Familia: (361) 693-6686 (oficina) ó (361) 658-8652 (celular) para asistencia inmediata.

Oficina de un Ambiente Seguro y de Servicios para Niños y Familia

mínimo un castigo por 10 años de no volver a ingresar a los Estados Unidos y si regresa, el castigo se hace permanente. Aunque ellos traten de convencerla de que es lo mejor, es lo peor que puede hacer porque una vez fuera del país ya no puede hacer nada ni regresar, De León dijo. No firme nada y pida ir ante un juez para explicar su caso y pida que la atiendan en español. Si la victima siente que corre peligro y solo son novios y tienen niños, no debe dudar en venir a la oficina del Fiscal del Condado de Nueces. La oficina de el fiscal no esta para juzgar, no les importa si ya fallaste a una cita o mas, ellos entienden que es parte del ciclo por el que victimas pasan. “Si sigue intentando salir de ahí, nosotros le podemos ayudar y no nos importa si es indocumentada o no,” De León dijo. “Y si necesitan, ofrecemos la ayuda en español, tratamos de quitar todos los obstáculos porque sabemos que ya tienen bastantes. “Siempre les vamos a hacer caso porque sabemos que cada vez que regresan, vienen mas golpeadas, o sin trabajo, o sin dinero, o con la amenaza de perder a sus hijos, o en el hospital pues cada vez el abuso es mas severo, siempre va en aumento. Eso es importante que sepan que hay alguien que les puede ayudar a salir del ciclo, que sabemos que después de la crisis viene la luna de miel, el pedir perdón y las promesas que nunca llegan y que pagan muy caro,” De León dijo. Varía el tiempo, pero siempre regresa el ciclo de violencia que tristemente en muchas de las ocasiones termina en la muerte. Para romper el ciclo, lo mejor es denunciar. En ocasiones, personas cerca de la victima saben que se está abusando de alguien pero no saben como ayudar o tienen miedo de involucrarse. “Es muy importante que reportemos si sabemos que se está cometiendo un abuso, nosotros podemos hacer la diferencia en la vida de una o varias personas, sobre todo si hay niños involucrados y lo podemos hacer de manera anónima.” De León dijo. “En nuestra oficina también representamos a los niños abusados, cuando recibimos un reporte se hace una investigación y actuamos para ayudar a la familia y proteger a todos sus miembros.” APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  31  


La violencia afecta a víctimas de cualquier nivel social Luisa Scolari



a violencia intrafamiliar no es un problema solo criminal, es un problema que afecta a toda la sociedad y como sociedad es importante combatirla juntos: escuelas, hospitales, religiosos, médicos y padres de familia. Estos últimos son los mas importantes ya que, lo que los niños viven y ven en su familia y eso es lo que aprenden, no lo que les dicen. Un gran porcentaje de los abusadores crecieron viendo eso en la relación de sus padres y ahora de adultos cuando se sienten frustrados reaccionan de la misma manera agresiva. Lo mismo pasa con las víctimas, inconscientemente aceptan una pareja que abuse de ellas, repiten el mismo patrón porque es lo que han aprendido. “En 1977 empecé a trabajar en el Asilo Para Mujeres y en aquel entonces nos asustábamos al ver un ojo morado, pero con el tiempo la violencia ha ido escalando de nivel de una forma alarmante,” dijo Rosa María Cervantes, quien es coordinadora de asistencia a víctimas con el fiscal de distrito del condado de Nueces. “Parece que se ha dado permiso a mas violencia, es como una competencia de el que asusta más tiene más poder.” Con cada generación ha ido aumentando un poco mas el nivel de violencia, desensibilizando y adormeciendo la conciencia poco a poco. Y el publico se a hecho más acostumbrado a esta realidad


El abuso empieza con un sobrenombre o palabras hirientes, después vienen las amenazas y los empujones y continúa aumentando a los golpes e inclusive uso de armas y en ocasiones termina hasta en asesinato. Para dominar a la víctima, empiezan separándola de la familia y amistades; sacándolas de la escuela o trabajo; haciéndolas sentir que no tienen valor; que ellos–los maridos–les hacen un gran favor de estar con ellas; y les dicen: “no sé que estoy haciendo contigo si no sirves para nada.” “La violencia afecta a víctimas Rosa María de cualquier nivel Cervantes cultural, económico o social,” Cervantes dijo. Esposas de médicos, militares, abogados o policías, no hay distinción. Muchas deciden no denunciar para ‘no perder el prestigio’. Otras deciden ser mártires para una causa que nunca van a ganar. Otras sienten orgullo de ser ‘la que sufre más’. Otras aguantan por la presión de la familia de no ser una ‘fracasada’. Algunas

otras piensan que deben aguantar todo para mantener a la familia unida y no ‘quitarle el padre a sus hijos’. No se dan cuenta que al primer golpe la familia ya está fracturada y eso hace más daño a los hijos.” Es muy importante que denuncien y levanten cargos para poderlas ayudar, Cervantes dijo. Existen muchos programas de ayuda para víctimas de violencia doméstica pero tienen que acercarse a solicitarla. “Para nosotros es muy importante cualquier persona que necesite ayuda y acuda a nosotros,” ella dijo. “Si aplica podremos tramitarle una orden de protección y la pondremos en contacto con otros organismos de ayuda, para que puedan recibir terapia psicológica y asesoría legal.” Es importante que las victimas no sientan que están solas y que serán juzgadas. En caso de que la victima este herida y necesita ayuda o tratamiento medico, el condado también las ayuda con la solicitud del programa de beneficios de compensación que se encarga de pagar los gastos de médicos y hospitales de las víctimas. “Si queremos romper con esta cultura de violencia, tenemos que empezar educando a los niños a sentirse orgullosos de proteger a su familia, de obedecer la ley, orgullosos de su trabajo y respeto por no usar la violencia para resolver conflictos,” Cervantes dijo. Todos pueden hacer algo. Si conocen a alguien persona que está pasando por esta situación y quieren ayudar pero no saben como o tienen miedo de hacerlo, deben pasar lo que saben o repórtalo anónimamente al 911.

DIÓCESIS OFRECE AYUDA A INDOCUMENTADOS QUE SON VICTIMAS DE VIOLENCIA DOMESTICA Personal de Caridades Católicas, en primer plano, Carrie Thompson y Kim Seger asisten a las víctimas indocumentadas de la violencia doméstica. Luisa Scolari por South Texas Catholic

Luisa Scolari



a personal de la Oficina de las Caridades Católicas de la Diócesis de Corpus Christi están capacitados y certificados para ofrecer ayuda legal y psicológica a cualquier víctima de violencia que pida ayuda sin importar de su estatus migratorio. La oficina puede aplicar, de parte de victimas de violencia, para beneficios de inmigración que ofrecen protección. Muchas veces las víctimas al estar siendo abusadas por su esposo o novio piensan que no hay ninguna salida, pero sí hay–no uno,

sino varios caminos para salir de ahí. No están solas, la oficina de Inmigración y Servicios de Refugiados de la diócesis ofrece ayuda, guiando APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  33  


paso a paso y acompañando la victima durante todo el proceso y conectándolas con la ayuda disponible para ellas en su situación. La oficina tiene un equipo de profesionales que ayuda y no importa a que religión pertenezcas, pues aunque la oficina depende de la Diócesis de Corpus Christi, sus puertas están abiertas para atender a cualquiera que acuda ayuda. Tienen una consejera licenciada para brindar terapia psicológica que se enfoca en temas familiares. Sus servicios siempre son confidenciales, no comunican información y también tienen un equipo de abogados profesionales y certificados para asuntos de inmigración que pueden ayudar a victimas arreglar sus asuntos con inmigración y según sea su caso, puedan obtener la Visa U o VAWA por haber sido víctimas de violencia. La oficina desea que victimas se sientan cómodas con su personal y que sepan que no están solas, que ellos entienden bien la situación difícil por la que atraviesan. Les ofrecen consejo legal y les informan de las posibilidades que tienen para que no sientan que tienen que seguir soportando esa situación por creer que no tienen otra opción. Pero la decisión siempre será de ellas y la oficina de inmigración de la diócesis respeta los deseos de su clientela. En caso de crisis les conectan con un albergue seguro para ella y si tiene niños para ellos también para que estén juntos. Alimentos y ropa también están disponibles. La oficina ayuda conseguir los recursos necesario para poder salir de la situación de peligro y violencia en la que viven. No deben de sentir vergüenza en decir que aman a esa persona que las maltrata ya que amar a tu pareja es un sentimiento normal. Lo que no es normal es que su pareja abuse de ella. La oficina de inmigración no juzga las decisiones que han hecho, solo las orientan y enseñan

Ayudenos a Prevenir el Abuso Financiero La Diócesis de Corpus Christi por medio de la recomendación del Concilio Diocesano de Finanzas y el Concilio Presbiteral han llevado su dedicación mas allá para la buena administración y responsabilidad nanciera en nombre de donantes generosos al instituir un “hotline” para reportar el abuso nanciero. La Diócesis de Corpus Christi ha seleccionado un tercer partido independiente, La Red, para proporcionarle a usted con una manera para reportar anónima y condencialmente el abuso nanciero e fraude. Los empleados, los parroquianos, los voluntarios, los vendedores, y otros partidos interesados estan impulsados para reportar las preocupaciones que tengan respeto a la conducta de påca ética nanciera dentro de la Diócese de Corpus Christi. Todas las investigaciones serán tradas inmediatamente y discretamente. Personas que llamen tienen el derecho de mantenerse anónimas.

Llamada 1-877-571-9748


las posibilidades para que puedan tomar una decisión más libre, sin tenerse que preocuparse por, en dónde van a vivir o que le voy a dar de comer a mis hijos? Existen programas de gobierno de ayuda para vivienda y alimentos para estos casos y la oficina las conectan con esa ayuda. También se les conecta con agencias laborales para conseguirles trabajo, pues una vez iniciado su trámite migratorio, en un corto tiempo se obtiene un permiso de trabajo mientras se tramita su residencia provisional. No deben de estar pensando solo en la situación que están viviendo y lamentarse, sino que deben preocuparse con que pueden hacer para mejorar o salir de la situación para el beneficio de su familia. Deben de estar consientes que solo con su amor no va a cambiar su pareja, ya que está comprobado que el abusador no para, sino que por el contrario, las estadísticas dicen que la violencia siempre va aumentar. Sin pedir ayuda, las cosas no cambiarán ni mejorarán, sino que por el contrario, empeorarán. Pero victimas siempre deben de tener presente que tienen el poder de cambiar las cosas. Deben perder el miedo y confiar que hay mucha gente que están dispuestas a ayudarlas y que sepan que no están solas.

Programa de Radio en Español en KLUX 89.5 HD-1 y “Listen Live” en Domingos a las 7:00 a.m. con el P. Juan Fernando Gámez P. José Naúl Ordóñez


Números de teléfono de ayuda para victimas de violencia doméstica Asilo Para Mujeres, Women’s Shelter.......... (361) 881-8888 ...................................... (361) 881-8889 ..........................(800) 580-HURT(4878)

Gabriel Project-Hope House (mujeres embarazadas en crisis)............................ (361) 852-2273

Asistencia para víctimas................ (361) 826-2950 ...................................... (361) 826-2951 ....................................... (361)826-2952

...................................... (877) 894-8463

Compensación para víctimas de crimen en Texas....................... (800) 983-9933 Consejo de Texas sobre la violencia familiar.......................... (800) 525-1978 Coordinador de Asistencia para Víctimas de la Oficina del Fiscal del Condado de Nueces.......................... (361) 888-0410 Departamento de la Familia y Servicios de Protección del estado de Texas, Abuse Hotline............... (800) 252-5400 Derechos de Familia de Texas Hotline............... (800) 777-3247 Fiscal del Condado Nueces.......... (361) 888-0391

Información y Notificación para víctimas

Línea de ayuda para violencia doméstica ..........................(800) 799-SAFE (7233) Línea directa de abuso de niños y ancianos. Departamento de Servicios Familiares y de Protección de Texas............................. (800)252-5400 Línea legal para violencia familiar del Proyecto de promoción de la mujer,...............(800) 374-HOPE (4673) Policía de Corpus Christi emergencia................... (361) 886-2600 Servicios de protección a la familia de Texas....................... (800) 252-5400 Servicios para Víctimas del Crimen.......................... (361) 852-7540 ........................ (800) 607-HAND (4263) Servicios Sociales Católicos Ayuda de emergencia................... (361) 884-0651 APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  35  

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Please join us for the Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School

First Alumni Event Sunday, April 26

10 AM–2 PM • 3114 SARATOGA BLVD. Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School is planning the first reunion for its alumni. The school opened on August 22, 1983, and 32 years later continues to focus on the student’s spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, cultural, and physical development interwoven with the Catholic faith and traditions. The reunion will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26 on the school grounds at 3114 Saratoga Blvd. The event will begin with brunch, followed by a video presentation and a tour of the school. The reunion will conclude with lunch and alumni are welcome to attend the “Burgers-for-BG” festivities that will be taking place at the same date and time at the school.

If you are a former student or graduate of Bishop Garriga please visit the school’s website at to R.S.V.P. or call (361) 851-0853 for more information.


KLUX Radio 89.5 will air all of the evening Holy Week Liturgies live from Corpus Christi Cathedral. Programming available on KLUX 89.5HD-1 will be available simultaneously online as streaming audio at and on its smartphone app. Tuesday evening, March 31, the Chrism Mass will be aired at 7 p.m. on CCN Radio 89.5-2. Regularly scheduled programming from Relevant Radio will be pre-empted. Additionally, streaming video of this Liturgy will be on On Thursday, April 2, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be aired live on KLUX 89.5HD-1 beginning at 7 p.m. On Good Friday, April 3, the radio station will

broadcast special programming commemorating the three-hours that Christ suffered on the cross, beginning at noon. This special broadcast will feature musical selections and Scripture dramatizations and reflections based on the Good Friday Liturgy. The Easter Vigil Mass of the Resurrection will be aired live from Corpus Christi Cathedral on KLUX HD-1 at 8 p.m. beginning with the lighting and blessing of the Easter Candle. The Easter Sunday Mass will air at 9:30 a.m. as well as be telecast live on KDF-TV. This year, for the first time, the Easter Sunday liturgy will also be available as live streaming video at

Catholic Charities observes Autism Awareness month

Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi is observing Autism Awareness Month on April 12 at 11 a.m. in the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the campus of St. John Paul II High School. They are encouraging their staff as well as staff at the Mother Teresa Shelter to wear the Autism Awareness Ribbon to promote of autism awareness. In March, parents of children with autism met with Celia Mendez, Director for the Office of Ministry and Life Enrichment for the Disabled to discuss ways to increase awareness of autism

and develop a program for loved ones with autism and provide support for autistic family members. The group will meet the first Friday of every month after April. The group chose Blessed Margaret of Castello as their patron saint and will be known as the Blessed Margaret Castello Society. They discussed plans to celebrate Autism Awareness Month and decided on a Mass, followed by food and entertainment. Everyone is invited to stay for the Divine Mercy at 3 p.m.

Five Incarnate Word Sisters to celebrate jubilee Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament will honor five Jubilarians at a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Patrick Church, 3350 South Alameda, Corpus Christi, on Saturday, April 18, at 10:30 a.m. A reception will follow at the Dougherty Center, 450 Chamberlain, on the Incarnate Word campus. Bishop Michael Mulvey will be the main celebrant at the Mass and Bishop Daniel Flores, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, will be the homilist. Also celebrating will be Bishop Raymundo Pena, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Brownsville, and priests of the South Texas area. Incarnate Word Sisters celebrating jubilees of religious profession this year are Sister Caroline Fritter, 70 years; Sister Agnes Marie Tengler, 70 years; Sister Marian Bradley, 60 years; Sister Patrice Floyd, 50 years; and Sister Emma Marie Stillman, 50 years.

Sister Caroline Fritter

Sister Agnes Marie Tengler

Sister Marian Bradley

Sister Emma Marie Stillman

Sister Patrice Floyd



KLUX will air full Holy Week Liturgy schedule

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Christ the King Catholic School Parents & Alumni presents

Spring Gala 2015 Friday, April 24 from 6-11 p.m. Portland Community Center

2000 Billy G Webb Dr. • Portland, TX 78374 Dinner, casino, silent auction, music, dancing, door prizes and raffle Dinner Served 6-7:30 p.m. $80 per person, $150 per couple or $600 per table (seats 8) Limited number of tickets available for purchase

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Cash, Checks, Debit and Credit Cards accepted Proceeds will benefit Christ the King Catholic School


Good Cause a r fo g in w S a e k Ta

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Proceeds Benefit Our Lady of Corpus Christi

Msgr. Tom McGettrick’s, pocket-sized books are must reads. “I Love You, A Chat with Jesus” & “Do You Love Me, Another Chat with Jesus” are bilingual books for just $1.50 each. (shipping and handling included.)

Pick up your copies at the Chancery Office: 620 Lipan, Corpus Christi or call Adel Rivera at (361) 693-6605 and reserve your copies now!


For more information call or Email: Al Lujan (361) 215-8173 or Carlos Trujillo (361) 742-2946

Campus Tours Meet Our Administrators, Faculty, and Students

PRE-K3 & Pre-K4




Tuesday April 21, 2015 Tuesday April 28, 2015

Application Materials And Information Will Be Given On-site School Registration

We Welcome All To Our School!






NOW LEASING Living, Learning, and growing

Our residence life program is what separates us from other housing near Texas A&M University-Kingsville. We promote faith-based living in order to help you develop your whole self while away at college. Newman Hall’s brand new location gives students convenient access to all the university has to offer. If you’re a student looking for an inspiring and motivated environment to help you succeed as a committed college student, then you’ve found it here at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Hall.


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Death penalty interferes with ‘God’s merciful judgment’ Catholic News Service


ebate over the death penalty and a proposal to reinstate a firing squad in Utah “seems to suggest growing recognition among legislators of the precarious place any state occupies when it tries to take on a role best left to God,” Bishop John C. Wester said. “At its core, the death penalty is repugnant to us because of our firmly held belief that only God can give life and, consequently, only God can rightly take it away,” the Salt Lake City bishop wrote in the diocesan newspaper, Intermountain Catholic, on Feb. 27. On March 10, the state Senate passed a measure to reinstate execution by firing squad for those convicted of capital crimes. The state House passed it in February. Utah’s lawmakers argued they needed a backup method of capital punishment if the drugs used in lethal injection are not available. There is a shortage of lethal drugs for executions and their use in carrying out the death penalty has become more controversial after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma who struggled in pain for 40 minutes before dying of apparent heart failure. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Glossip v. Gross, a case brought by four death-row inmates in Oklahoma. On March 9, the court said it would take a Florida case challenging the state’s protocol for handing down a death penalty sentence. Currently, the 32 states that have the death penalty use lethal injections and many are looking at new methods for carrying it out. Utah would become the only state to allow firing squads if Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signs the measure into law. He had not signed the bill as of this writing but was said to be leaning toward signing it. “The death penalty in any form is abhorrent,” Bishop Wester said, but with regard to the firing squad method, “strapping a person to a chair with a hood over his head and a bull’s eye on his heart creates a disturbing image of

The electric chair that executed 125 men between 1916 and 1960 in Tennessee is seen on display at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington March 5.

the individual as little more than a target at a shooting range.” “Our Catholic faith rests on a belief that every life is a gift, and Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA, every moment of life Catholic News Service is an opportunity for God to work within each of us,” he said. But if the state can choose to take life, “we give the state the power to shut down God’s acts of grace within an individual,” he continued. “God does not abandon even the most violent criminal. He offers salvation to everyone at all times, but when the state carries out an execution it terminates the convicted person’s opportunity to return to a right relationship with God against God’s wishes, thus aborting any chance the person may have had to repent and be forgiven for his or her crime.” Bishop Wester said there is no justification the state can offer “for its continued practice of interfering with God’s merciful judgment in order to impose the death penalty for capital crimes.” Writing before the state Senate voted on the firing squad bill, he had expressed hope that given the floor debate over it seemed an “opportune time for legislators to discuss the sanctity of life and how it is denigrated by the current state policy of sanctioning the killing of people as retribution.” He called for the lawmakers to commission an in-depth study of the death penalty in Utah. APRIL 2015  |  SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC  41  


Pope says, ‘world is trying to hide’ wave of anti-Christian persecution Cindy Wooden


Catholic News Service

ondemning deadly terrorist attacks against a Catholic and an Anglican church in Pakistan, Pope Francis said, “the world is trying to hide” a wave of anti-Christian persecution in various parts of the globe. “With sadness, with much sadness, I learned of the terrorist attacks today against two churches in Lahore … provoking numerous deaths and injuries,” the pope said March 15 after reciting the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Suicide bombers that morning detonated themselves outside the churches, which are both in the same predominantly Christian neighborhood. Officials said 15 people were killed and more than four-dozen were injured by the blasts. Particularly with the persecution of Christians in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria, Pope Francis frequently

has denounced the growing wave of anti-Christian violence, a violence that is not simply a matter of restricting religious freedom, but a martyrdom of Christians. At a Mass in early February, when the Gospel reading recounted the killing of St. John the Baptist, Pope Francis said it made him “think of our martyrs, the martyrs of today, those men, women and children who are persecuted, hated, chased from their homes, tortured and massacred. This is not something from the past; it is happening today. Our martyrs are ending their

lives under the corrupt authority of people who hate Jesus Christ.” In Pakistan, Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, president of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, urged the government “to take strong measures for the protection of the churches and religious minorities in Pakistan.” “The government, political parties, religious leaders and every citizen of Pakistan (should) stand against extremist forces and with their Christian brothers and sisters,” the archbishop said in a statement, adding that “the whole nation should join hands and stand against terrorism.” He pleaded with federal and provincial governments “to take effective Pakistani Christians gather at a church March 16 to protest two suicide attacks on churches in Lahore. Rahat Dar, EPA, Catholic News Service


Pope to bishops: Create united front against violence Cindy Wooden


Catholic News Service

s the people of Nigeria prepared for general elections, Pope Francis wrote to the nations’ bishops urging efforts to build up a “culture of encounter” that would create a united front against Boko Haram terrorists and ethnic tensions. “Believers, both Christian and Muslim, have experienced a common tragic outcome at the hands of people who claim to be religious, but who instead abuse religion to make of it an ideology for their own distorted interests of exploitation and murder,” the pope said, referring to the terrorists, who have been on a deadly campaign since 2009. Pope Francis’ letter to the bishops of Nigeria was released by the Vatican March 17; general elections were held March 28 with voting for a president and members of both houses of the legislature. In his letter, the pope noted how Nigeria– with a population of more than 170 million people–has experienced strong economic growth, attracts foreign investments and has “distinguished itself as a political player widely committed to the resolution of crisis situations” around Africa. Yet, the terror of Boko Haram, ethnic tensions in other parts of the nation and tensions over the exploitation of natural resources have led to death, kidnappings, destruction and the displacement of tens of thousands of Nigerians. Pope Francis told the bishops he prays each day for the suffering people of Nigeria

and for the gift of peace. While true peace comes from God, he said, it also is “a daily endeavor, a courageous and authentic effort to favor reconciliation, to promote experiences of sharing, to extend bridges of dialogue, to serve the weakest and the excluded. In a word, peace consists in building up a culture of encounter.” Pope Francis thanked the Catholic Church in Nigeria for continuing to give witness “to hospitality, mercy and forgiveness,” and he thanked the priests, religious, missionaries and catechists who have refused to abandon their flocks. “We give thanks to the Lord for them, as for so many men and women of every social, cultural and religious background, who with great willingness, stand up in concrete ways to every form of violence and whose efforts are directed at favoring a more secure and just future for all,” the pope wrote. Pope Francis urged the bishops to persevere in hope on the path of peace. “Accompany the victims,” he said. “Come to the aid of the poor. Teach the youth. Become promoters of a more just and fraternal society.” APRIL      43 APRIL2015  2015 | |SOUTH   SOUTHTEXAS TEXASCATHOLIC CATHOLIC 43     


measures in providing security to the churches throughout Pakistan to ensure freedom of religion and belief.” The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault in a statement emailed to reporters, and warned, “There will be more such attacks.” In a separate statement, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore demanded “strong action (be) taken against the perpetrators and that the guilty should be brought to justice.” Archbishop Shaw urged the provincial government of Punjab, with Lahore as its capital, “to protect the religious minorities.” The Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani bishops’ conference issued a statement March 16 lamenting the “minimal” protection the government offered to Christians, despite the fact that threats against Christians had been made in the days before the attack. The police “present at the moment were busy watching a cricket match on television instead of fulfilling their task of protection the churches. Consequently, because of their negligence, many Christians lost their lives,” said the statement, which was reported by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.


MASS: Liturgy of the Word Sister Guadalupe Maria Cervantes, PCI Contributor

Sister Guadalupe Maria Cervantes, PCI is a member of the Pax Christi Institute.


e now arrive at the part of the Mass called the Liturgy of the Word. We will listen attentively as a reader proclaims the Scripture to us from

the ambo.

In the Liturgy of the Word, God speaks to us in a living presence today. On Sunday there are three readings. The first is from the Old Testament. The second is from the writings of the apostles: Acts, Epistles, Revelation. The third is always a Gospel. On weekdays there are normally two readings, the second of which is always a Gospel. Listen to these readings as real calls to richer faith spoken to our mind and heart directly by the living presence of God. “Jesus is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the church (Liturgy, 7). ”

First Reading The first reading is from the Old Testament, except during the Easter season. The first reading is chosen because it somehow relates to the Gospel reading of the day. Beginning with Easter, the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. This continues until the end of the Easter season on Pentecost Sunday. During this celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, the proclamation of Acts allows us to focus on what life for Jesus’ disciples was like in the early Church and how they were transformed by the Risen Christ. When they received the Holy Spirit, they began to do the very works that previously had been done only by our Lord. Whether the first reading is from the Old Testament or from the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, it demands a response from


us. The word of God proclaimed is not left to hang in the air. It is either accepted or ignored by us who hear it. Our response is a response to God’s love for us. In our preparation we found, like St. Paul, that we are as good as dead without God’s help. As we listen to the proclamation of God’s word, we joyfully hear that a savior has come and this indeed is a reason to give thanks to God!

Responsorial Psalm We have heard the divinely revealed words of love and answer with texts from the Church’s prayer book, the Psalms. As we become accustomed to the repeated Psalm verse, notice that the words usually help us to connect the teachings of the readings. The repetition of the verse gives us a meditative mood and stimulates our own personal way of answering God’s call to love.

Second Reading The second reading, unlike the first, is always from the New Testament. Once again, after the second reading we have the rhythm of call-response. This is our dialogue of salvation that prevails in the Mass and is meant to be a spiritual habit we take into our daily lives. God is always speaking to our hearts and extending a guiding hand to lead on our pilgrimage of faith.

Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation Before the Gospel we acclaim God with an “alleluia,” a word that means, “praise God.” This sets a tone of joy as we are about to hear

as he announces to us that what we have heard is the “Gospel of the Lord.” We answer by giving praise to our Lord Jesus Christ–“Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”–for all He has done for us, not only in revealing God to us, but in opening the way of salvation to us.



The Liturgy calls us to show special signs of reverence for the reading of the Gospel. As the General Instruction for the Roman Missal says, we stand to “acknowledge and confess Christ present and speaking” to us. We make the sign of the cross on our foreheads, lips and hearts. Thus we open our minds to hear Christ’s words, plan to share his words with others, by confessing them with our lips, and declare we believe Jesus with all our hearts. In listening to the Gospel we come to “see” Jesus and learn what God is like and what God wishes of us. At the conclusion of the Gospel proclamation, the minister kisses the Book of the Gospels, and then holds it aloft

The purpose of the homily is to open up for us the message of God’s word for our lives today. Listening to a homily is very much like listening to the Scriptures. It requires our whole attention. If we really believe that God is going to speak to us, we will hang on every word the priest speaks, expecting to receive a unique message that God intends for us. Our attitude has a lot to do with whether we are “being fed” at Mass. If we first ask God to speak a “word” to us, God will! But we should be mindful that the homily is not the end; it will ideally make us hungry for more, and the “more” is God.

April Liturgical Calendar 1 | Wed | Wednesday of Holy Week | violet | Is 50:4-9a/Mt 26:14-25 (259) 2 | Thu | Thursday of Holy Week (Holy Thursday)8 | violet/Mass: white | Chrism Mass: Is 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9/ Rv 1:5-8/Lk 4:16-21 (260) | Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14/1 Cor 11:23-26/Jn 13:1-15 (39) Pss Prop 3 | Fri | Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday) red | Is 52:13—53:12/ Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9/Jn 18:1—19:42 (40) Pss Prop 4 | Sat | Holy Saturday9 | violet/Vigil: white | Easter Vigil: Gn 1:1—2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a/Gn 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18/ Ex 14:15—15:1/Is 54:514/ Is 55:1-11/Bar 3:9-15, 32—4:4/ Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28/ Rom 6:3-11/Mk 16:1-7 (41) Pss Prop 5 | SUN EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD | white | Solemnity | Acts 10:34a, 37-43/Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8/Jn 20:1-9 (42) or Mk 16:1-7 (41) or, at an afternoon or evening Mass, Lk 24:13-35 (46) Pss Prop 6 | Mon | Monday within the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 2:14, 22-33/Mt 28:8-15 (261) Pss Prop

7 | Tue | Tuesday within the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 2:36-41/Jn 20:11-18 (262) Pss Prop 8 | Wed | Wednesday within the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 3:1-10/ Lk 24:13-35 (263) Pss Prop 9 | Thu | Thursday within the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 3:11-26/Lk 24:35-48 (264) Pss Prop 10 | Fri | Friday in the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 4:1-12/Jn 21:114 (265) Pss Prop 11 | Sat | Saturday in the Octave of Easter | white | Acts 4:13-21/Mk 16:915 (266) Pss Prop 12 | SUN | SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER | white (OR SUNDAY OF DIVINE MERCY) Acts 4:32-35/1 Jn 5:1-6/Jn 20:19-31 (44) Pss Prop 13 | Mon | Easter Weekday | white/red [Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr] Acts 4:23-31/Jn 3:1-8 (267) Pss II 14 | Tue | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 4:32-37/Jn 3:7b-15 (268) 15 | Wed | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 5:17-26/Jn 3:16-21 (269) 16 | Thu | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 5:27-33/Jn 3:31-36 (270)

17 | Fri | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 5:34-42/Jn 6:1-15 (271)

EASTER | white | Acts 4:8-12/1 Jn 3:1-2/Jn 10:11-18 (50) Pss IV

18 | Sat | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 6:1-7/Jn 6:16-21 (272)

27 | Mon | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 11:1-18/Jn 10:1-10 (279)

19 | SUN | THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER | white | Acts 3:13-15, 17-19/1 Jn 2:1-5a/Lk 24:35-48 (47) Pss III

28 | Tue | Easter Weekday | white/ red/white [Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr; Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, Priest] Acts 11:19-26/Jn 10:22-30 (280)

20 | Mon | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 6:8-15/Jn 6:22-29 (273)

29 | Wed | Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | Acts 12:24—13:5a/ Jn 12:44-50 (281)

21 | Tue | Easter Weekday | white/ white [Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church] Acts 7:51— 8:1a/Jn 6:30-35 (274)

30 | Thu | Easter Weekday | white/ white [Saint Pius V, Pope] Acts 13:1325/Jn 13:16-20 (282)

22 | Wed | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 8:1b-8/Jn 6:35-40 (275) 23 | Thu | Easter Weekday | white/ red/red [Saint George, Martyr; Saint Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr] Acts 8:26-40/Jn 6:44-51 (276) 24 | Fri | Easter Weekday | white/red [Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr] Acts 9:1-20/Jn 6:52-59 (277) 25 | Sat | Saint Mark, Evangelist | red Feast | 1 Pt 5:5b-14/Mk 16:15-20 (555) Pss Prop 26 | SUN | FOURTH SUNDAY OF

If necessary, the Chrism Mass may be celebrated on a suitable day before Holy Thursday. 8

Nine readings are assigned to the Easter Vigil: seven from the Old Testament, and two from the New. If circumstances demand in individual cases, the number of prescribed readings may be reduced. Three selections from the Old Testament, both from the Law and Prophets, should be read before the Epistle and Gospel. In any case, the reading from Exodus about the escape through the Red Sea (reading 3) should never be omitted. 9



the good news of our salvation from sin and the gift of divine life brought to us from Jesus. The scriptural verse that accompanies the alleluia usually gives us the theme of the Gospel reading. When we realize that God has given us so much love, we find the alleluia arises spontaneously from our deepest soul.







CDA Scholarship Offer

Deadline for applying is April 6. Catholic Daughters of St. Theresa is sponsoring two college scholarships for graduating seniors from St. Theresa in honor of Roselle Grunwald. Scholarship application forms are on the back table in the vestibule of the church. Applications may be turned in to the parish office in care of Connie Nolte, Regent. For more information go to: www.sainttheresacatholicchurch. com/catholic-daughtersscholarship.html

Divine Mercy Weekend Retreat

April 9-12 at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center (1200 Lantana). Gain a deeper understanding of the mercy of God. Begins Thursday at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Register at or call (361) 289-9095, ext. 321.

Bishop Gracida to speak at Sultana Luncheon

April 10 from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Corpus Christi Town Club, 800 North Shoreline Blvd., Ste 600, Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida will speak on his recently released autobiographical book, “An Ordinary’s Not So Ordinary Life.” The book will be available for purchase. Reservations are required and must be received by April 7. Cost is $20. For more information, contact Susan Dougherty at (361) 855-8541 or

IWA’s 9th Annual Seafood Feast

April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the IWA Pavilion (located on the corner of Austin and Chamberlain Street) in Corpus Christi. For more information go to:

Divine Mercy Conference

April 11 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Parish Hall (204 Dunne Street) in Robstown. Divine Mercy conference is entitled, “Tell all Souls about My Mercy” and will feature speaker Father Sam Medley, SOLT. The $10 donation includes lunch.. For more information call



12 12 12 12 12 18


Elva Ybarra at (361) 813-4676, Susie Castaneda at (361) 249-7566 or Eva Orona at (361) 726-2029.

Williams Dr.) in Corpus Christi. For more information call (361) 991-3305 or email

3rd Annual 5K Run/Walk benefiting The Ark

MPB Church Annual BBQ Extravaganza

April 11 from 8-10 a.m. at Calallen Middle School (4602 Cornett Drive) in Corpus Christi. For more information call Ann Huddelston at (361) 242-5672 or email:

Autism Awareness Day

April 12 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the St. John Paul II High School campus (3036 Saratoga Blvd.) in Corpus Christi. Mass begins at 11 a.m. Please stay for food, fun and Divine Mercy afterwards. For more information call Celia Mendez at (361) 884-0651, ext. 1226.

St. George Annual BBQ

April 12 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at St. George Parish (304 Crockett St.) in George West. Serving BBQ from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information call (361) 447-2893.

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2nd Annual Spring Fest at Immaculate Conception

April 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church (107 Church St.) in Gregory. For more information call (361) 6434505 or (361) 774-3778.


Divine Mercy Sunday


April 12 at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Perpetual Adoration Chapel (1200 Lantana).

Divine Mercy Holy Hour at OLCC

April 12 from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. in the Our Lady of Corpus Christi Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

OLPH Academy Springfest April 18 from 12-6 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Academy (5814

Men’s Spiritual Exercises Retreat at OLCC

April 23-26. A weekend based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Go deeper in your relationship with Our Lord through the power of prayer and silence. Register at www. or call (361) 2899095, ext. 321.

Christ the King School Spring Gala 2015

April 24 from 6-11 p.m. at Portland Community Center (2000 Billy G Webb Dr.) in Portland. There will be dinner, casino, silent auction, music, dancing, door prizes, and a raffle. Dinner will be served from 6-7:30 p.m. Limited number of tickets available for purchase call (361) 883-5391.

OLG & Santo Niño de Atocha Mission presents Jamaica 2015

​ riday, April 24, roping books open at F 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 25 begins at 7 a.m. with sanctioned cook off and roping books open at 11 a.m. at Jim Wells County Fairgrounds (3001 S Johnson St.) in Alice.

Divine Mercy Sunday in Port Aransas

April 12 from 3-6 p.m. at St. Joseph Church (100 S. Station St.) in Port Aransas. For more information call (361) 749-5825.

April 19 begins at 11:30 a.m. at Most Precious Blood Church (3502 Saratoga Blvd.) in Corpus Christi. For more information call (361) 854-3300.


St. Gertrude’s Parish/ School Festival

April 26 from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at JK Northway Expo Hall (Escondido Rd.) in Kingsville. BBQ lunch will be from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

BGMPS First Alumni Event

April 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School (3114 Saratoga Blvd.) in Corpus Christi. If you are a former student or graduate visit the school’s Web site at: to RSVP or call (361) 851-0853 for more information.


April 2015 Issue SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC P.O. Box 2620 Corpus Christi, TX 78403 (361) 882-6191

Profile for South Texas Catholic

South Texas Catholic - April 2015  

The South Texas Catholic is the official publication of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Its mission is to carry out the Gospel message to eva...

South Texas Catholic - April 2015  

The South Texas Catholic is the official publication of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Its mission is to carry out the Gospel message to eva...

Profile for diocesecc