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VOL. 51 NO. 1

Publisher Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL DD



Bishop Michael Mulvey walks through the Holy Doors of Corpus Christi Cathedral, ushering in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on Dec. 13. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

Editor Alfredo E. Cárdenas Theological Consultant Ben Nguyen, JD/JCL. Editorial Staff Mary E. Cottingham Adel Rivera Madelyn Calvert 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

Calendar Items

26 Bishop Michael Mulvey celebrated Mass at the McConnell Unit in Beeville and offered God’s mercy to the inmates at the state’s correctional institution. What he found was a “Church alive” and well among the incarcerated.

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.


4 VIEWPOINTS I was in prison and you visited me

VIDA CATÓLICA 30 Caminando en la fe

8 Sometimes God wants us to do the

NEWS 35 NATIONAL Catholic schools give high marks to


“wrong” thing

sweeping new federal education law

NEWS BRIEFS 19 Ministry Conference slated for

39 VATICAN Time for forgiveness has begun, pope

PARISH LIFE 22 Thousands are recipients

OUR FAITH 42 Year of Mercy calls us

Jan. 9 at American Bank Center

of Eagle Scout project

says as holy doors open worldwide

to visit the grieving

Keep up with the Faith at

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  3


‘I was…in prison and you visited me (Mt 25:35-36)’

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

Bishop Michael Mulvey


South Texas Catholic

s the Year of Mercy began last month, I initiated the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy with some of the inmates at the McConnell Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Beeville. Every year, together with a group of priests, I go to the prison to celebrate an Advent Mass with them during which I baptize, confirm and give First Communion to those among them who have embraced or have re-embraced our Catholic Faith. Every year this is an unbelievably uplifting experience, but in this Year of Mercy it was so in a particular way. Despite the sobering life situation in which they find themselves, there is no doubt that even in that difficult setting, these men have formed a community of believers—they are united. Reflecting on that day, I asked myself what is it that brings them together? What unites them? It is obvious that the first commonality is that they are sinners, as we all are. However, because their sin involved a crime they are admittedly paying their debt to society. As I was with them, I was reminded once again that—although they had committed criminal acts resulting in their incarceration—like me, they have been redeemed and have chosen to walk the path of sorrow and remorse asking forgiveness for their sins. Each one of them is at a different stage of their holy journey of being reconciled with Jesus Christ and their brothers and sisters. This was most pronounced when some of them spoke to me as they would a father with tears in their eyes. It was obvious that as a fellow Christian and as a priest, I was with them in the name of the Church to hear their confessions, to console them, to bring them Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and to simply be the presence of Christ with them, lifting them

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up, as Christ himself would do reminding them not to give up believing in the mercy of the Father. “This faith will bring you courage, hope and peace.” This is the faith that brings them together. More than sin or their experience of sin, it is their faith in Jesus Christ that is the profound reason for their unity. Only Jesus can bring true unity. It is he who fashions them into the Body of Christ—the Church in the prison. They have come to realize that the Christian journey cannot be lived alone. This is a lesson for us. Whether in prison, whether incarcerated within a cell or incarcerated within our own sins and failures, the journey of our faith life with Jesus is meant to be lived together as part of His Body, the Church, the community of faith that is the people of God. One gentleman told me that he was there on a life sentence, but that he has found peace and was happy because he has found a community of faith within the prison walls. In short, even there, he has found the Church, the Body of Christ. In my time there, I could not help but see the fulfillment of the beautiful prayer that we pray at each Mass prior to the sign of peace: “…look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.” In the community of faith, these men are finding peace and, in their own way can teach us to do the same. Some of them are reclaiming the seeds of faith planted in them by their parents, grandparents, catechists and others during their early years. Although losing their way along the journey of life, they are maturing in the faith they learned as children. It is in the community of faith that they are finding confidence and strength to seek the forgiveness and mercy of God and make it the central


➤ The Church is not just a group of individuals

who happen to come together on a Sunday morning. When we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are—by the grace of the Holy Spirit— woven into one as the mystical Body of Christ. focus of their life. Another gentleman gave me a recap of his first year as a Catholic Christian—he was baptized and confirmed last Advent. He told me that one of the reasons he became Catholic was because of the sacrament of penance, which he practices regularly. It brings him a sense of self-discipline and is a way to encounter God’s mercy. After further reflection, I was to see in them—united in such a life situation—a refreshing absence of divisive competition. Unlike so many of us who struggle in the supposed “real world,” these men have been taken out of the world of competition. They are not competing with anyone. Without being overly naïve, the artificial competitiveness and pride that so many struggle with, is lessened in their environment. In a community of faith each of us should strive not to be the best in the world (office, home, community) but rather to be the best for the world, to demonstrate a deep sense of service for our brothers and sisters. A sign of their community life and support for each other was when one of them presented me with the gift of a portrait of myself celebrating mass. Rejoicing each year over the talents of one or two of them, men present me with a

gift that they made in their prison workshops or art studios such as a key chain, a wooden chalice, a crozier, a pectoral cross and for the last two years a portrait. Each year the entire community rejoices, because they understand that when one rejoices, all rejoice together; when one succeeds, all succeed. Similarly, when I asked about a certain inmate from last year they rejoiced in informing me that he had finished his sentence and was able to go home. He was free. Rather than being angry that someone was released while they remain, the expression was one of joy that one of their number, their brother, was free. This is what the Kingdom of God is all about. The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims to us is a kingdom where he is the center of our lives—individually and collectively. The Church is not just a group of individuals who happen to come together on a Sunday morning. When we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are—by the grace of the Holy Spirit—woven into one as the mystical Body of Christ. We are transformed and have a sense that it is home, where we live with our brothers and sisters praising God and celebrating his love and mercy. This is the

Kingdom of God. In the midst of our journey through the sufferings and sorrows of this life, the reality of the Kingdom of God shows us that in sharing the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, in being faithful to him even unto death, in living with him, and dying with him, we rise with him to share in the glory of his eternal kingdom. Whenever I am able to visit the prisons in our diocese, my faith is always renewed and strengthened. Though I am privileged to bring them Christ in the sacraments, these inmates and their community of faith also bring Christ to me in a different but profound way. When I go to the prisons, I am reminded that only one thing is necessary—Jesus Christ and our life together in his body, the Church. In this joyous Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us take the lessons from our brothers through the witness of their lives, namely, to be single-minded in living our lives in Christ, not seeking to outshine each other but rather to let the light of Christ shine among us and to be consumed into one in his Body, so that what people see in us is only Jesus and the beauty of life in him, with him and through him. January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  5


Making strides on the journey to mercy Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. represents Senate District 27 in the Texas Senate

Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. Contributor


n October 2015, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay for the execution of Julius Murphy. The Court cited concerns about the possibility of prosecutors coercing statements from witnesses that implicated Murphy in a 1997 murder. This case, which also includes issues related to intellectual disability and racial bias, raises questions about the fair use of capital punishment in Texas. To be sure, the state has come a long way since the United States Supreme Court temporarily declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972, citing concerns that were inequitably applied. Since the Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, we have made great strides in ensuring fairness and legal protection for capital defendants. In 2005, legislation I introduced helped reduce death sentences in Texas by giving juries the option of a sentence of life without parole. But we still have a long way to go toward providing truly equal justice to all Texans. In October of last year, we took another step on that critical journey. The Texas Catholic Conference and I co­-hosted “Journey to Mercy, “a policy roundtable that focused on re-evaluating the death penalty in Texas. Elected officials, representatives of the criminal justice system, advocates and other stakeholders met to discuss policy solutions that will offer greater equity to those accused or convicted of crimes in Texas. We heard from Deacon Richard Lopez, a former death chamber chaplain who witnessed more than 100 executions. He shared stories of redemption and hope from death row inmates who repented and became positive forces in prison, even as they awaited death. Former Texas Governor Mark White spoke about his personal journey from supporting the death penalty to having serious reservations over its application in Texas. He cited concerns over fair representation, the fallibility of

6  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

scientific evidence-gathering practices and the inequitable use of capital punishment as factors leading to his change of heart. But the most compelling testimony came from Marietta Jeager-Lane, whose daughter Susie was kidnapped and murdered while on a camping trip. Marietta spoke about coming to forgive the murderer and asking the prosecutor not to seek the death penalty. She shared with us her personal reasons for opposing capital punishment: “In the end, all it does is make another victim and another grieving family and it didn’t restore Susie back to my arms,” she said. “In honor of Susie, I wanted to aspire to a higher moral principle that says that ‘all life is sacred.”’ I was extremely moved by Marietta’s emotional address to the conference, which reinforced my own views on the death penalty. At the same time, I was also encouraged by several speakers from various backgrounds who brought concrete solutions that will ensure that–if we do continue to execute convicts in Texas-we are giving them the fairest possible trial before doing so. For example, we must ensure that state law requires adequate and accurate instructions to juries about the consequences of their decisions about life or death. We must endeavor to use the latest technology and invite the testimony of expert witnesses to ensure that the evidence presented in capital cases paints an accurate picture of the incident under investigation. We must guarantee that adequate resources are allocated for indigent defense in death penalty cases, including not just defense attorneys but also expert witnesses and evidence gathering so that, as one speaker put it, capital punishment is not just for those who do not have any capital. We must especially safeguard the right to an attorney for mentally incompetent defendants,


❝In the end, all it does is make another victim and another grieving family and it didn’t restore Susie back to my arms. In honor of Susie, I wanted to aspire to a higher moral principle that says that ‘all life is sacred’.❞

–Marietta Jeager-Lane, whose daughter Susie was kidnapped and murdered while on a camping trip. many of who have inexplicably been allowed to represent themselves before the court. Finally, as a state, we must shoulder the responsibility of ensuring a proper and adequate defense by allocating state money to offset these expenses to local units of government.

The journey toward fairness in our criminal justice system is a long one, but we must never stop striving to achieve justice. Last October we took a major step forward on this journey by inviting a wide range of stakeholders to share their stories and ideas. I encourage stakeholders to continue to reach out

to their legislators during the interim with their concerns, ideas and policy proposals that will help us along this journey. I look forward to the next legislative session, when I hope the entire Legislature will take large strides toward fairness and justice in Texas.

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

• Alice parishes celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

• Bishop’s Guild gets new mission

• Sinton sportscaster found his voice in church

• The Joy of Christmas! returns to Corpus Christi Cathedral

• St. Joseph Parish and Knights distribute turkeys to families • Stewardship Committee hosts free Thanksgiving breakfast

• Young men and women learn about themselves, prayer, meditation and discernment

• St. John Paul II students qualify for State Robotics Competition • Students help Catholic Charities package gifts for less fortunate in Sarita • IWA to perform ‘Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’ January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  7


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

Sometimes God wants us to do the “wrong” thing Father Joseph Lopez, JCL Contributor


ometimes God speaks to us most clearly when we do the wrong thing. This is especially true in vocation discernment. Of course, “the wrong thing” here does not refer to something that is morally wrong. Rather, we are talking about making a choice which is not the direct path to our destination, but which appears to be the best choice at a particular point of one’s discernment. The point can be illustrated by this story. Ben graduated from high school and went to college, hoping to eventually marry a beautiful woman, have a lucrative career as a lawyer and live a comfortable life. He was Catholic, but only nominally. He went to Sunday Mass— when it was convenient. However, his mother convinced him to go to a good Catholic college, to which he agreed after seeing they had a great law program. Shortly into his freshman year, Ben met an attractive young woman named Jessica and they began dating. She was a devout Catholic, and Ben began to attend Mass with her not just every Sunday, but also during the week. He also began to go to confession regularly, little-by-little becoming more devout himself. By the beginning of his second year of college, Ben and Jessica began talking about marriage. As they discussed it more, he felt increasingly uneasy at the thought of marriage. He could not figure it out. His girlfriend was wonderful, they were like-minded on everything, they shared their faith with each other in an increasingly profound way. Why would his heart not find peace? His unease became so great that he went to the chaplain, who by this time knew him

8  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

quite well. He laid out his troubles, and after listening, the chaplain surprised him. “Maybe God isn’t calling you to marriage. Have you ever considered another vocation?” The truth was that he had not. As soon as he began thinking about the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood, Ben became peaceful once more. He applied to go to the seminary, was accepted and was eventually ordained a priest. He cannot imagine being happier about his vocation. God leads some on the “scenic route” to help them find their true vocations. Father Ben is certain that God led him to his true vocation by a “scenic route.” If he had not met Jessica and pursued a vocation to marriage, he may never have begun to live his faith such that he would be open to a vocation to the priesthood. God frequently leads us on what may seem like diversions for numerous reasons—maybe we are too hard-headed to see the shorter path, or maybe he wants to open up possibilities that would be unavailable otherwise. Maybe simply having the experience of different possibilities may help one to be absolutely certain when he finds his true vocation. It is quite possible that God has planned for us a “temporary vocation”, so to speak, in order to lead us to our actual vocation. We should not be afraid of doing the “wrong thing” as long as we are doing what we think God is calling us to do. If we remain open to His will, he will tell us in due time whether we are headed on the right path. Thank you for taking the time to discern your vocation! Remember, the best way to discern is to pray and be open to God’s will in your life.

Sister Emiliana Mampallil, SSA

H Contributor

ow often we pray these beautiful words: “Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine!” As God’s people, that is what we most want—that our hearts will be more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with his love, his mercy, his joy, his peace and his goodness. It was to this end that the “Lay Formation Program” was initiated at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus parishes in 2003. While the program is no longer in use, the fruits of that labor are still a blessing in the lives of many individuals, families and parishes in the Diocese of Corpus Christi and beyond. I have personally witnessed miracles emanating from the guidance it provided; a deeper conversion, richer prayer lives, greater charity and service— many hearts becoming more like the heart of Jesus. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “Not 100 people in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.” Realizing that many Catholics and non-Catholics alike do not fully know or understand the teachings of the Catholic Church and are unable to fully cherish and live out the gift of the faith, defend it or to share it with others presents an opportunity to develop a program for lay formation. The now inactive “Lay Formation Program” affords a model for such formation. It offered an extensive three-year formation program based on the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” In the first year, the program covered part one of the Catechism or fundamental theology— the Creed. In year two, it reviewed part two of

the Catechism or sacramental theology—the sacraments. In the third and final year, students learned moral theologies, including the 10 Commandments and the beatitudes, which are found in part three of the Catechism. Part four of the Catechism—Christian prayer—was addressed in three annual retreats, one each year of the program. These retreats were devoted to learning about the nature and importance of prayer and expanding and deepening each person’s prayer life, both personal and collective. When I reflect on the passionate love of God and neighbor, the hard work, the incredible number of hours in class and out of class on the part of priests, religious and laity who helped administer the “Lay Formation Program”—as well as those attending the program—I am deeply touched by the outpouring of God’s grace in our midst. Through such a program, catechists can help form the whole person. Criteria for such a program should include that each participant in the program must be a baptized Catholic in good standing with the Church and that they make a serious commitment to the program. The program could encompass formation in four areas: spiritual, human, intellectual and pastoral. Each participant, in order to be accepted into the program, would have to make a serious commitment to a life of prayer. Formation advisors would consist of priests, deacons, religious and formation directors. More than 1,000 people went through the “Lay Formation Program” from 2003 to 2013. There are no words that can adequately describe the fervor and the impact such a program can have, but what I can say is that I believe it would glorify God and bless many people. January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  9


Sister Emiliana Mampallil, SSA is with the Sisters of Saint Ann at St. Joseph Convent.

Lay formation leads to freedom in the truth of Jesus Christ

Bishop opens Holy Door to the Year of Mercy Dayna Mazzei Worchel Correspondent


ith three knocks upon the Holy Door of Mercy at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, Bishop Michael Mulvey ushered in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy for the flock in the Diocese of Corpus Christi during a Sunday Mass on Dec. 13, 2015. “Let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness,” Bishop Mulvey said as doors opened 10  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

to allow him and other pilgrims through to the full cathedral inside. Pope Francis called for Holy Doors to be designated and opened in all cathedrals of the world from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016 during this jubilee year because of all of the violence and suffering that has happened worldwide this year, Bishop Mulvey said. The pope typically calls holy or jubilee years every 25 years, he said. But in a change from the norm, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica

Bishop Mulvey explains to reporters the meaning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and opening of the Holy Door. Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic


“Let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness” –Bishop Michael Mulvey

With a knock upon the Holy Door of Mercy at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, Bishop Michael Mulvey ushered in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy for the flock in the Diocese of Corpus Christi during a Sunday Mass on Dec. 13, 2015. Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  11


in Rome on Dec. 8, 2015. Those who walk through the door and make a profession of faith will receive an indulgence if they satisfy all required criteria. In order to receive the grace of the Jubilee Indulgence, it is necessary to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist within 20 days, be free from all attachment to sin and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. An indulgence may also be asked for a loved one who is deceased. In accordance with the pope’s announcement, Bishop Mulvey issued a decree on Sunday, Nov. 29, designating

Bishop Mulvey reads decree opening the Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

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five churches in the Diocese of Corpus Christi as “pilgrim churches” for the Year of Mercy. Making a pilgrimage to these churches also makes pilgrims eligible for a plenary indulgence if all other criteria are met. The five churches include, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Beeville; St. Joseph Catholic Church, Kingsville; St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Alice; the Chapel of Our Lady of Schoenstatt, Lamar; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Corpus Christi; and of course the Corpus Christi Cathedral. “Since the 1300s, there have been

jubilee years. They are a time of renewal and amnesty,” Bishop Mulvey said. During his homily, Bishop Mulvey said the Jubilee Year was a “time for renewal.” “This year, turn away from narcissism and ego and relocate in the merciful heart of Jesus. Now is the time for renewal,” he said. “All of us are invited to move through the door and plead for God’s mercy,” he said. The bishop said he had visited prisoners in Beeville correctional facilities and invited them to reconcile through God’s mercy. Bishop Mulvey called on


Schoenstatt sisters enter Cathedral through Holy Door, being the first to receive indulgence. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

the congregation to be “Ambassadors of Grace,” and, “By receiving grace, the faster love and justice can grow.” Some ways to show grace are by treating people fairly, clothing the needy and consoling those in sorrow, Bishop Mulvey said. Pilgrims who made the journey from small towns in South Texas to the cathedral were joyful about being able to walk through the Holy Door. The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary journeyed more than 60 miles round trip from

their Retreat House in Lamar. They did not expect to be able to walk through the Holy Door on Dec. 13. “We were praying to be able to come today. It was amazing and we represented our community,” said Sister Citlali, who comes from Mexico. They said they asked God to open his heart and to forgive them so they could give that grace to others. “There was a great feeling of peace and joy in my heart,” Sister Victoria

Heiderscheidt said.

To see more photos of this event South Texas



January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  13


Tammy Alcala holds a “Rosary of the Unborn” which she obtained during a March For Life event in Washington, DC. She knows of at least one unborn baby who was saved from abortion through her prayers on this special rosary. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic

14  South Texas Catholic | January 2016


Holy Year of Mercy: Forgiveness for abortions Rebecca Esparza Correspondent


ammy Alcala lived with her secret for years, never telling anyone and her pain was devastating. As a 19-year-old college student, she had an abortion. She was young, single and did not think she had any other options. “Of course, if I could go back in time, I would have never had an abortion. No one told me statistics of depression, or that at a young age I would be told I could never have children or even that my baby had a heartbeat,” she lamented. “I was from an abusive background and scared. I didn’t think I would be a good mom and didn’t want my child to be abused the way I was, so I did what I thought was the right thing to do,” she said. Pope Francis recently reaffirmed, as part of the focus of the Holy Year of Mercy, that priests have the power to forgive the sin of abortion during confession. In a letter released by the Vatican on Sept. 1, Pope Francis declared he would “concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.” For Alcala, forgiveness from the Church is a blessing. “Confession is an important sacrament in the Catholic religion. We need to know the sin of abortion is forgiven. I personally needed to hear that I was absolved from my sin in order for me to start healing from my pain,” she said. Alcala added that two key things have

Tammy Alcala, married for 21 years and the mother of two children, has devoted 10 years of her life to Rachel’s Vineyard, an organization that helps men and women find healing from a past abortion. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic

changed over the last two decades that has helped save more unborn babies: laws that require women to have a sonogram before an abortion and Rachel’s Vineyard, a safe place for men and women to find peace and healing after an abortion. “Rachel’s Vineyard is a national organization and has been supported by the Diocese of Corpus Christi for over ten years now. There are 190 sites in the United States and 25 countries around the world,” she said. Alcala has been a part of Rachel’s

Vineyard for 10 years and currently serves as the regional coordinator. Rachel’s Vineyard offers hope for men and women hurting from the pain of their role in abortion through life-changing retreats. The next retreat in Corpus Christi is scheduled for Feb. 5-7. Valerie Uriegas has been part of the Rachel’s Vineyard team since 2007. For the last six years, she has served as site coordinator/retreat facilitator. “Joining the Rachel’s Vineyard team January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  15

❝Of course, if I could go back in time, I would have never had an

abortion. No one told me statistics of depression, or that at a young age I would be told I could never have children or even that my baby had a heartbeat.❞

–Tammy Alcala

was my way of thanking God for the love, mercy, healing, restoration, grace and forgiveness he showed me on my weekend retreat. My heart has been redeemed and I’ve never been the same. The passion I have for the ministry is endless,” she said. Uriegas said she hopes the pope’s decree will also encourage more priests to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. “Imagine the compassion that would spread through the confessionals across the globe and into the pews of every church,” she said. “Our team has been truly blessed to have compassionate and loving priests on our weekend retreats.” The retreat environment is an integral part of the healing process for those recovering spiritually from an abortion, she said.

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“Retreats at Rachel’s Vineyard offer a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the healing process of restoration, renewal and healing,” Uriegas said. Although forgiveness from the Church is an important part of recovery from an abortion, Alcala said it is just one part of the entire process. “There is no right way to recover. It is a layer in life. The sweet part of an onion is found under the layers, in the middle, in the core. Abortion was a layer of my life that I needed to take off. We are all on different journeys in life and our walk with Christ is different. Surround yourself with

the same positive people and know that you can be forgiven,” she said. Alcala said sharing her story of abortion has also been a big part of her healing. “I am a link in a strong link that will one day end abortion. If my story can help one man or woman, if I can save one baby from abortion, then I have done my job in my journey of life,” Alcala said. One in three people know someone, helped someone, drove someone, paid for someone to have an abortion or are post-abortive themselves. If you or someone you know is hurting from the pain of abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard can help. The next retreat is Feb. 5-7. Find more information at or


The television, internet and radio broadcasts of The Service of Lessons and Carols and the Midnight Mass at Corpus Christi Cathedral on Dec. 24 at 11:30 p.m. were presented live thanks to a generous gift from


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18  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

Ray Guarendi, Ph.D.

The annual ministry conference of the Diocese of Corpus Christi is scheduled for Jan. 9 at the American Bank Center. Keynote speaker will be Ray Guarendi, Ph.D. Guarendi is a father of 10, a clinical psychologist, author, public speaker and radio host. His radio shows “On Call with Dr. Ray and Friends” on Relevant Radio and “The Doctor Is In” on Ave Maria Radio can be

heard weekdays. Guarendi’s experience includes school districts, Head Start programs, mental health centers, substance abuse programs, inpatient psychiatric centers, juvenile courts and private practice. For more information call the Office of Pastoral Parish Services at (361) 882-6191.

Diocesan schools will observe National Catholic Schools Week on Jan. 31-Feb. 4 National Catholic Schools Week, the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States, starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2016 is Jan. 31 - Feb. 6. The 19 schools in the Diocese of Corpus Christ will participate in the annual celebration.

The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2016 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools

focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, their communities and the nation.

Bishop’s Guild gets new mission Bishop Michael Mulvey announced at the Bishop’s Guild Annual Christmas Party that the guild will undertake a new mission as ambassadors for Catholic Education. The Bishop’s Guild is an organization of Roman Catholic lay persons and other friends dedicated to helping the bishop of Corpus Christi meet critical needs within

the diocese. The Guild meets periodically at special functions designed to be both social and spiritual. From its beginning in 1999, the guild has helped form a Catholic Community where members have met other Catholics and become friends. Look for a more detailed account of the Guild’s new mission in the February issue of the South Texas Catholic.

Bishop Michael Mulvey addresses Bishop’s Guild about their new mission. Ervey Martinez, for South Texas Catholic

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  19


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Sacred Music Jesus En Mi Vida Diaria Spanish Rosary Semillas De Esperanza Con Permiso The Catholic Cafe Personally Speaking Our Shepherd’s View Cathedral Sun Mass Live Labors of Love Catholic Answers Live

Good Company For 30 years! Call us at 361-289-2487. 20  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

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”

English Only Books 1 & 2

Discounts on 100 books or more.

1 each

1.50 each


(shipping and handling included.)

Bilingual Books 1 & 2

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!


Catholic talk, news and information 24/7.

CATHOLIC Programming on RADIO, TV and INTERNET Cathedral Sunday Mass - LIVE BROADCAST at 9:30 a.m.

KLUX-HD 89.5, KLUX.ORG AND KDF-TV (cable subscribers should consult their cable guide)

Mass video replays on local public access channels Cathedral Sunday Mass: Wed. 7 p.m. , Thurs. 10 a.m. “La Santa Misa”: Tues. 7 p.m. & Wed. 10 a.m.

Internet Podcasts & video at

Cathedral Sunday Mass, La Santa Misa, Our Shepherd’s View, Simmillas De Experanza, Labors of Love, and Con Permiso

For H-D Radio Information:

All the care she needs, all at no cost. One-Day Seminar with Julie & Greg Alexander

Saturday, Feb. 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

St. Pius X Church • 5620 Gollihar Road Cost: $45 per couple Topics include: Communication, Forgiveness and Spiritual Growth

Welcome to Medicaid con cariño. Driscoll Health Plan offers full medical, vision and prescription drug benefits for your child. Plus many other free services.

Free Value-added Services* The Diocese of Corpus Christi

Office of Family Life invites all couples celebrating their 25th or 50th Wedding Anniversary to attend the

$100 for eyeglasses every 2 years (age 2 and up). Free membership to Boys and Girls Club. $20 gift card after completing required checkup. Free help with asthma. Rides to medical visits and health classes.

Celebrated by Bishop Michael Mulvey

Sunday, Feb. 14 at 9:30 a.m. Corpus Christi Cathedral 505 N. Upper Broadway

Certificate Ceremony and light refreshments to follow in St. Joseph’s Hall

Office of Family Life

How can you be involved? strengthen your Marriage • Marriage Enrichment with Beloved • Covenant of Love Date Nights

explore natural family planning

*Not a complete list. Restrictions and/or limits apply. Valid through August 2016. Visit our website for an updated list.

grow as a parent- Teaching the Way of Love Become a Marriage Disciple Support Engaged Couples

Learn more:

For more information or to register: Call (361) 882-6191, ext. 687 or email:

STAR: (877) 220-6376 TOLL-FREE CHIP: (877) 451-5598 TOLL-FREE (800) 735-2989 TTY DHP MKTG-002-A 10/2015

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  21


Thousands benefit from Eag Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic


agle Scout Aaron Ruiz orchestrated the making and delivery of thousands of homemade emergency preparedness kits to people all over south Texas. Ruiz is in his 11th year of scouts and suffers from

Aaron Ruiz presents his Eagle Scout project to Catholic Charities Director Linda McKamie, Celia Mendez and Yiyi Dean. Contributed Photo

22  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

muscular dystrophy. When asked why he wanted to do the project he simply said, “for fun and to help people.” A member of Boy Scout Troop #87 and a parishioner from St. Philip the Apostle parish, Ruiz chose Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi to be the major recipient

of the 2,807 emergency preparedness kits made by his Boy Scout troop, family members and friends of the troop members. The project, which he planned, organized and directed, earned him the rank of Eagle Scout. “Up to this point every badge was


gle Scout project beyond his physical or mental abilities. We had to apply for modifications under the ADA rules; meaning he’s not going to swim the five miles or hike the 25 miles, but he can roll in a wheelchair,” his mother Beverly Ruiz said. In order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout a scout has to exhibit leadership. He came up with the idea for the project after attending a Peer-to-Peer Summit where he received a Ziploc bag containing information on emergency preparedness. The idea was cemented in his mind after he attended a Boy Scout summer camp where he received an emergency preparedness badge. “He understood that he could do it and it had meaning for him,” his mother said. In early October he presented the idea to the scoutmaster of Troop 87. He then submitted a written proposal to an all-adult committee within Troop 87, which included parents of troop members. Then he, along with his service dog Princess Fergie, approached Linda McKamie, Celia Mendez and Yiyi Dean of Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi and asked them if they would like to be recipients of the project. After they agreed to be recipients, he went before the board of the South Texas Council of the Boy Scouts of America for review. After the council approved the project a date was set for Oct. 24, which happened to be the same day as the St. Philip Parish festival. Every year Troop 87 scouts help set up booths for the festival, but this year the festival had to be canceled due to inclement weather, “so Aaron was abundantly blessed and had 21 volunteers to get the kits ready for delivery,” his mother said. Bishop Emeritus Edmond Carmody stopped by to bless Ruiz and his project at the St. Philip Youth Center. “We were honored and excited to accept his proposal. It really helped us,” Mendez said. Catholic Charities received a total of 2,027 kits, which also included crayons and a coloring book. “The kits were distributed to all rural areas, to our Toys for Tots applicants and to all members in our Ministry and Life Enrichment Programs. The last 24 kits included t-shirts, cereals and macaroni and cheese for service projects we have

Bishop Emeritus Edmond Carmody blesses Aaron and his project. Contributed Photo

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  23


planned for December,” Mendez said. Additional recipients of the emergency preparedness kits in Corpus Christi were Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army and Children’s Medical Center-Dallas. “Nationally, a small percentage of scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. With all of his health challenges for Aaron to get the rank of Eagle Scout is a miracle,” his mother said. She then recalled one of Aaron’s early scout leaders who said, “You don’t have to be the best, Aaron just has to do his best.” Now in 11th grade, Ruiz is exhibiting skills in his school’s FFA club. He won six blue ribbons last year and will soon be raising rabbits.

The Law Offices


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“Saint Thomas More, Pray For Us!” Office: 361-882-8284 Cell: 361-739-1098 Fax: 361-881-1031

2727 Morgan Ave., 3rd Floor Corpus Christi, Texas 78405

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

Ss. Cyril & Methodius


Religious Gift Shop at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Church

All New Merchandise • A.C.T.S. • Silver Jewelry 3210 S.P.I.D. 10 - 5 P.M. MON. - FRI. & 8:30 - 2 P.M. SUN.


Open 7 Days A Week Prizes now up to $750 Sponsored by:

Lost Pet Hotline, Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary, Inc., & Dobie Haven, Inc. Big Brothers, Big Sisters

9840 B Leopard Street, Corpus Christi (between Rand Morgan & McKenzie)

(361) 241-8153 24  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

✞ Serving The Coastal Bend Since 1908 ✞ Dignified Personal Service ✞ Complete Pre-Need Funeral Service Plans Ron & Margo Alonzo

1222 Morgan at 10th Corpus Christi, TX 78404

(361) 884-2411

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.

All Services FREE: • Pregnancy Test • Limited Ultrasound • Baby Supplies • Parenting Classes • Adoption Information • Abortion Recovery Classes

4730 Everhart Rd


Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources

Corpus Christi


Resource Center

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  25

The Church is alive among Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic


he day after Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of Mercy at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Bishop Michael Mulvey walked through the doors of the McConnell Unit in Beeville to offer God’s

mercy to the inmates at the state’s correctional institution. What he found was a “Church alive” and well among the incarcerated. In the book of Hebrews we learn to “Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment…(Heb 13:3).” In

the Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis According to Which an Indulgence is Granted to the Faithful on the Occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Of Mercy, the pope was mindful of the imprisoned. “My thoughts also turn to those incarcerated, whose freedom is limited,” the

St. Dismas choir leads community in Liturgical music. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

inmates in Beeville prison pope wrote. “The Jubilee Year has always constituted an opportunity for great amnesty, which is intended to include the many people who, despite deserving punishment, have become conscious of the injustice they worked and sincerely wish to re-enter society and make their

honest contribution to it. May they all be touched in a tangible way by the mercy of the Father who wants to be close to those who have the greatest need of his forgiveness. They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought

and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.�


...each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for ❝ them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy

of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.❞ –Pope Francis

Mercy too was in the mind of Bishop Mulvey when he heeded the words of Scripture, “For I was…in prison and you visited me (Mt 25:35-36).” The love between the bishop and his flock at the St. Dismas Community is palpable. Upon his arrival, inmates would approach Bishop Mulvey, bow and kiss his episcopal ring, Bishop Mulvey baptized nine give him a strong embrace and often broke into inmates during his visit to the tears. The bishop reciprocated with a strong McConnell Unit. embrace, blessings and kind words. Alfredo E. Cardenas, The Holy Father often tells us, the bishop South Texas Catholic told the inmates, to go out to the periphery. “I

28  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

felt that way driving up, but not in here. This is not the periphery, it is the Church alive,” the bishop said to loud applause. While Bishop Mulvey made the rounds greeting inmates, Msgr. Louis Kihneman, Father Peter Marsalek, SOLT, Father John Gaffney, SOLT and Father Jerry Drolshagen, SOLT heard confessions and the St. Dismas choir joyfully led the more than 150 inmates in song. The St. Dismas Community, named for the good thief crucified alongside Jesus who asked


the Lord to remember him when he entered his kingdom, is in most aspects like a parish church. The choir provided music for the liturgy and other inmates served as lectors, altar servers, ushers, audio and video technicians, catechists, sponsors, etc. More than 150 inmates attended the Mass. One inmate said he had told his mother that the inmates “get pretty loud” when singing to which she replied that her fellow parishioners also sang with enthusiasm. “But you don’t understand mother,” he told her trying to impress on her their commitment to worship, “we have to put up and take down the altar, chairs, choir stands, all of it every time we have Mass.” In addition to the sacrament of reconciliation and Eucharist, 12 inmates also received the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. The visit to the McConnell Unit has become

an annual event for Bishop Mulvey. This year he also visited and celebrated Mass at the Garza East Unit and at the Trustees Camp. Bishop Mulvey told the inmates to be an expression of the same mercy they are receiving. “Don’t just receive from God without giving back,” he said.

An inmate presents Bishop Mulvey with a graphite art depiction of his last visit to the McConnell Unit. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

To see more photos of this event South Texas



Miembros de el grupo “Caminando en la Fe” de la parroquia de St. Philip the Apostle toman tiempo para reflexionar en los jardines de la capilla Schoenstatt en Lamar, cerca de Rockport. Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic

30  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

Luisa Scolari Corresponsal


l miércoles 2 de Diciembre, un grupo de 41 mujeres pertenecientes al grupo de oración “Caminando en la Fe” de la parroquia de St. Philip the Apostle, acompañadas y dirigidas por el padre Julián Cabrera y sor Rosa Ortiz se enviaron al Santuario de la Virgen de Shoenstatt en Lamar, Texas para tener un retiro de meditación y reflexión sobre el tiempo de adviento. Y que también sirvió de tiempo de adoración y convivencia en un ambiente hermandad católica. Durante el viaje iban entonando canciones de alabanza y al llegar al santuario el padre Cabrera ofreció el sacramento de la confesión e inmediatamente después ofició la Santa Misa en la capilla. Posteriormente sor Gloria Mauricio perteneciente al movimiento apostólico de Schoenstatt les brindó un mensaje de meditación donde les menciono que a cada peregrino que acuda al santuario, siempre que vaya con fe, la Virgen le conceda tres gracias especiales. La primera gracia del hogar es sentirse abrazado, cobijado y amado cuando se siente que nadie lo comprende y se siente muy solo a pesar de estar acompañado. Y ya que se siente amado está abierto para recibir la siguiente gracia, que es la gracia de transformación. La Santísima Virgen quiere transformar el corazón de todos. El padre José Kentenich, quien fundó este movimiento apostólico de Shoenstatt en 1914, propuso un programa de vida y enuncio una hermosa oración: “aseméjanos a ti y enséñanos a caminar por la vida fuerte y digno, sencillo y bondadoso, repartiendo amor, paz y alegría”. Por ultimo, la tercer gracia que la Virgen

concede al visitar su santuario de Shoenstatt es la gracia de misión, que es el compartir el evangelio. Al compartir cualquier experiencia espiritual que haya impartido y permitido experimentar la gracia de Dios—como retiros, congresos o participaciones en grupos de oración—convierte a la persona en apóstol porque está pasando la palabra del Señor. Esta obra tiene una frase para meditar bordada en el velo: “Nada sin ti, madre tres veces admirable, nada sin nosotros”. Y otra en el retablo de madera del altar que dice “un siervo de María jamás se perderá”. Los santuarios de Shoenstatt son réplicas exacta de la primera y original en Shoenstatt en Alemania. Al principio solo contaba en el medio, y como figura principal, el crucifijo de Shoenstatt en donde apareció la Virgen abrazando a Cristo crucificado. A los lados se encuentran figuras de San Pedro y San Pablo y a la izquierda una figura grande de San Miguel Arcángel. El padre Kentenich, por su gran amor y devoción a la Virgen, en 1914 le comento a un grupo de jóvenes que quería una imagen de la Virgen. Un sacerdote lo escuchó y en una tienda de antigüedades en Italia encuentro la imagen y la envío a Alemania. La imagen llego en viernes santo 1915. Pero al verla los jóvenes sacerdotales la rechazaron rotundamente, pues siendo ellos alemanes y su formación en ser caracteres libres, firmes y sacerdotales, pues eran muy fuertes de carácter y dijeron que la imagen era “muy dulce”. Entonces el padre Kentenich les dio una charla sobre la unidad entre Jesús y María, y que también se podía ser firme siendo dulce y les pregunto de nuevo si estaban seguros que no querían esa imagen y January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  31


Retiro de adviento: Caminando en la fe


El padre Julián Cabrera hace una presentación spiritual en la reunión de miembros de “Caminando en la Fe” de la parroquia de St. Philip the Apostle. Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic

todos pidieron que se quedara y finalmente fue instalada en el altar. En la alianza de amor del padre Kentenich con la Santísima Virgen, ella comunico: “Me estableceré en el santuario no por aparición sino por efecto. Repartiré gracias y bendiciones, atraeré los corazones juveniles, los educaré, los formaré para que sean instrumentos en mis manos”. La Virgen ofreció gracias pero también pidió un compromiso; que tuvieran una intensa vida de oración y los transformaba en instrumentos para aportar contribuciones al capital de gracias. Esto significa que los trabajos y esfuerzos que normalmente se hacen durante el día se brinden a la Santísima Virgen como una ofrenda de amor y así ella transforma una nueva persona. La madre Gloria continuó diciendo, “En 32  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

este tiempo de adviento, María nos invita acompañarla en esa caminata, tocando puertas que en ocasiones estarán cerradas. Debemos seguir insistiendo como ella y San José lo hicieron. Pero debemos empezar en nuestra propia familia siempre; con nuestro esposo, con nuestros hijos y familiares y tener misericordia con ellos, como nuestro Santo Padre nos los pide en este año santo de la misericordia y no nos olvidemos que la Virgen nos quiere transformar a través de la oración. Debemos tratar de imitarla, de esforzarnos en parecernos a ella durante este tiempo de adviento que es un tiempo para llenar nuestros hogares de paz y alegría”. En Corpus Christi existe una ermita de la Virgen de Schoenstatt en la parroquia de Our Lady of Perpetual Help en

donde se tiene expuesto el Santísimo para su adoración. Si alguien está interesada en pertenecer al grupo de oración en español “Caminando en la Fe” de la parroquia de St. Philip the Apostle, deben contactar a sor Rosa al (361) 993-1710.

To see more photos of this event South Texas




Conferencia Ministerial 2016 concentra en la familia y la misericordia Luisa Scolari Corresponsal


n Noviembre se llevó a cabo en la cancillería la sesión del ministerio hispano. El padre Julián Cabrera aprovechó la ocasión para hacer la invitación a la conferencia Ministerial 2016, “Familia y Misericordia unidas por el amor”, que abarca un ciclo de conferencias en inglés y en español que serán impartidas el día 9 de enero en el American Bank Center. La conferencia empieza con la Santa Misa que será oficiada a las 8:30 a.m. por el señor obispo Michael Mulvey y se termina a las 4 p.m. La conferencia ofrece sesiones en español con el orador Jesse Romero. Romero posee una maestría en teología Católica de Franciscan University de

Steubenville, Ohio. Anteriormente a esto, ha dedicado su tiempo enseñando, escribiendo y ofreciendo conferencias e impartiendo cursos Bíblicos sobre diferentes temas Católicos. También ha servido como director de educación religiosa en una pequeña pero creciente parroquia que se encuentra situada a 40 minutos al norte de Los Ángeles, California. Los temas que Romero abordará en la primer conferencia serán los cuatro pilares del matrimonio Católico: • Libre, ya que implica compartir toda la vida de la persona libre y voluntariamente con su cónyuge. • Fiel, puesto que es una unión exclusiva. • Fecundo para procrear y educar a los

hijos. • Permanente-indisoluble, ya que no están unidos por una emoción pasajera. La plática está basada y fundamentada en la teología del cuerpo, propuesta por el papa San Juan Pablo II. En la segunda conferencia Romero abordará el tema de “Como ser un buen Católico”, basada en 12 principios básicos hallados en la Biblia, el Catecismo y el testimonio de vida de los santos. Algunos Católicos faltan de las herramientas básicas por una mala catequesis y viven sus vidas desordenadamente. Esta plática ofrece herramientas para vivir una vida ordenada y virtuosa de acuerdo al plan de Dios, convirtiéndose en un discípulo comprometido

❝Algunos Católicos faltan de las herramientas básicas por una mala catequesis y viven sus vidas desordenadamente. Esta plática ofrece herramientas para vivir una vida ordenada y virtuosa de acuerdo al plan de Dios...❞ January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  33


con Jesús. Para las personas interesadas en asistir, los boletos están a la venta con un costo de $40 y los podrán adquirir a la entrada ó llamando al número (361) 882-6191 ó en el sitio de internet de la diócesis Si tienen hijos pequeños, habrá servicio de guardería con un costo de $10 por el primer niño y en caso de tener más, $5 por cada uno mas. La junta de el ministerio hispano también discutió la planeación, preparación y formación del comité que representará a la Diócesis de Corpus Christi en el próximo V Encuentro Nacional Hispano que se llevará a cabo en la ciudad de Dallas, Jesse Romero Texas en el 2018. El encuentro tiene como fin de atender las necesidades del ministerio hispano en las parroquias de todo el país. La importancia de esto radica en que en base a la información recabada en este encuentro, la Iglesia hará acuerdos y tomara las medidas necesarias para atender las principales necesidades y preocupaciones de sus feligreses hispanos. Es por eso la importancia de ir preparando bien las ponencias que serán presentadas en el congreso por la repercusión y el impacto que tendrán en el futuro de la sociedad hispana en Iglesia Católica en el país.

El comité deberá estar conformado por representantes de los diversos y diferentes grupos y ministerios hispanos de las parroquias. Todo esto se da en respuesta a la convocatoria que hizo el 2013 en la ciudad de San Diego, California el subcomité de obispos para asuntos hispanos. Los obispos llamaron al liderazgo de la pastoral hispana a entrar una vez mas en el proceso de encuentro, en el contexto del llamado del papa a la nueva evangelización. Y también enfatizando la importancia de la participación de la juventud hispana inmigrante y de segunda y tercera generación. Los obispos Arturo Cepeda, Gerald Barnes, Nelson Pérez y el arzobispo Gustavo García Siller fueron los elegidos por el subcomité para organizar el encuentro. Todo esto se da motivado por el ejemplo que Jesús dejo en los Evangelios y la invitación que el papa Francisco hace en salir con alegría y esperanza a la periferia, al encuentro de los que viven alejados. Partiendo de ahí se podrá discernir de una mejor manera la respuesta pastoral y evangelizadora de la Iglesia en parroquias, diócesis y movimientos eclesiales a nivel regional y nacional, contemplando siempre que los jóvenes y adolescentes hispanos tengan un lugar preferencial.

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.

Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources

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

34  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

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


U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act into law in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington Dec. 10. Jonathan Ernst, Catholic News Service

Catholic schools give high marks to sweeping new federal education law Carol Zimmermann


Catholic News Service

hen President Barack Obama signed the sweeping bipartisan legislation Every Student Succeeds Act Dec. 10, he described it as a “Christmas miracle.” “This is an early Christmas present. After more than 10 years, members of Congress from both parties have come together to revise our national education law,” he said. The other part of the miracle might be that the legislation—which aims to do away with excessive school testing and give states and local governments more control of schools by freeing them from federal mandates—also provides something for Catholic school students. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, the National Catholic Educational Association and the Council for American Private Education also endorsed the measure,

overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate. Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, committee chairman, said the act demonstrates “broad bipartisan agreement on restoring equitable treatment of private schools and ensuring that all children are afforded the education services, benefits and opportunities they deserve, regardless of the type of school they attend.” The act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the 1965 federal law that provides funds to local and state education agencies for elementary and secondary education programs. That law was updated and enacted in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act. No Child Left Behind has been up for reauthorization since 2007. Previous attempts to renew it have been tangled up in ongoing debates about the federal government’s role in public education. The previous law was often criticized for its emphasis on testing. With the new

law, students will still be required to take annual state tests in reading and math, but there will be reduced pressure on schools to perform well. In addition, teacher evaluations will no longer be tied to students’ performance on the tests. A statement from the NCEA pointed out that during the past few years, it has been involved, along with representatives of the U.S. bishops and the Council for American Private Education, in discussions with congressional lawmakers about inequities in the No Child Left Behind Law “regarding participation of students and teachers in religious and private schools.” It said that since 2001, “the benefits available to those in private schools have diminished significantly due to funding formulas in the last reauthorization and their interpretations in U.S. Department of Education regulations and policy.” The new law “corrects those inequities and improves the protection of services for private school children,” particularly January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  35


❝One aspect of the new education law that is not inducing cheers and might even be drawing quiet sighs from Catholic school officials, is its failure to include school choice funding.❞ with Title I funding, according to the December newsletter of the Council for American Private Education. Title I, which was part of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act, provides financial assistance to school districts and schools with high numbers or percentages of children from low-income families. The new law has specific language about the availability and division of equitable funds for services based on input from public and private school personnel. NCEA said the new allocation of funding restores “the equity that has long been part” of the Elementary and Secondary Act’s “tradition of providing benefits to our students and teachers.” The group, which represents the nation’s Catholic schools, said it would provide dioceses and schools with information in the upcoming months about how to obtain benefits from the new law. One aspect of the new education law that is not inducing cheers and might even be drawing quiet sighs from Catholic school officials, is its failure to include school choice funding. This omission is clear in the law’s wording of “no Title I portability.” This means federal funds for disadvantaged students will not be able to follow students to the public school of his or her choice. This wording should come as no surprise for those on both sides of the issue as it was wrestled with while the bill was fine-tuned in recent months. Obama had threatened to veto the bill if it included the ability to move Title I 36  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

funds because he said it would unfairly redirect federal money from high-poverty to low-poverty districts. Some House Republicans also wanted Title I aid to be extended to private schools, which is not included in the new law. Another aspect of the law that is likely to catch some attention is its treatment of Common Core State Standards—a state-led initiative of expectations for students to master in each grade level that has been tied into federal education grants. The new law changes that, saying federal agencies are prohibited from incentivizing, requiring or conditioning the acceptance of federal funds based on their adoption of Common Core standards or any other set of specific academic standards. The law also notes that states can withdraw from the Common Core program with no financial penalty. This will likely please some, and not be enough for others. And the law’s accolades for being an improvement over the previous education law is not enough to applaud it some say. A Dec. 10 Los Angeles Times editorial said the new law should not just be better than it was but provide a blueprint for improving education. “The federal government spends billions of dollars on low-income schools in an effort to level the playing field and improve social mobility through public education. It has a right and a responsibility to ensure that it’s getting its money’s worth for the billions of dollars it invests in low-income schools,” it said.

Lincoln dioces marriage tribu Catholic News Service


s the Catholic Church began the Holy Year of Mercy, the Diocese of Lincoln announced it would offer its marriage tribunal process “to all who need it, without requiring payments or assessing fees.” “The Year of Mercy requires that each of us help the world to live according to the will of God,” Bishop James D. Conley said. “May our tribunal assist in that process, and may our witness to the gift of marriage, given freely by the Lord, call families to holiness, sacrifice and charity.” Bishop Conley said eliminating tribunal fees was in keeping with current diocesan policy to waive fees in other circumstances.


Pope’s visit to border expected to highlight church’s outreach to poor Catholic News Service


se eliminates unal fees “We have long offered counseling to families, couples and individuals, even when they are unable to afford it. We provide food, clothing, job training and housing to those who cannot pay.” The bishop said that annually annulment fees “cover roughly 15 percent of our tribunal’s budget. We hope that those who utilize the process might offer freely some contribution for the church’s work. But we will no longer assess fees of any kind for the legal processes of the diocesan tribunal.” “We offer the tribunal as a court of justice, and a prophet of mercy, without any consideration of cost. I pray that those who are searching for the truth might avail themselves of the church’s judgment,” he said.

ith the poverty on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis’ visit to the region in February will be an important opportunity for the Catholic Church “to emphasize the mercy of God that is at the core of the Christian faith.” That’s how Catholic Extension views the trip, which will take place during the church’s newly launched Holy Year of Mercy. “In building up the faith among the poor,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Chicago-based Catholic Extension, “we are answering the Gospel call to serve ‘the least of our brothers and sisters’ and the Gospel mandate of the ‘preferential option for the poor,’ which is a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching. “During his visit to the border, Pope Francis will undoubtedly show us the way,” Father Wall said in a statement. On Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Vatican announced details about the pope’s Feb. 12-17 visit to Mexico. He will visit some of the country’s most marginalized communities. Pope Francis will stop in six cities, including two in the state of Chiapas and Ciudad Juarez—across from El Paso, Texas. Following the Vatican’s announcement, Catholic Extension said it would work with the Diocese of El Paso to plan papal visit events on the U.S. side of the border. The Chicago-based papal society has a long history of providing support to El

Paso and the other Catholic dioceses at the U.S.-Mexico border. The pope is scheduled to be in Ciudad Juarez Feb. 17 and his visit will culminate with a 4 p.m. Mass (local time) at Benito Juarez Stadium right next to the border. According to the Diocese of El Paso, the Mass will include a cross-border component. “We hope that in a special way Pope Francis’ visit to this region will give voice to these often voiceless people here on the border, especially children and families who are the most vulnerable,” El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz said. He also remarked on the fact the Vatican chose the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to officially announce the pope’s visit. The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. Devotion to her began in Mexico, but today unites Catholics across the Americas. The Feb. 17 papal Mass at the border is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from both the U.S. and Mexico. Parishes in El Paso Diocese and in the neighboring Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, will receive tickets for their parishioners to attend the Mass in Juarez. In addition, the Texas diocese is working out details with local officials for its plans to have a simultaneous celebration of the Mass at the El Paso border fence. Bishop Seitz added that the diocese was “very grateful to Catholic Extension for being an integral partner in this milestone event” and its “long-standing support. They help us bring hope and faith to the marginalized.” January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  37


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Carol Glatz

Catholic News Service


ith the opening of the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis declared that the time for tenderness, joy and forgiveness had begun. As holy doors around the world were opened at cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13, the pope said this simple gesture of opening God’s house to the world serves as “an invitation to joy. The time of great pardon begins. It is the Jubilee of Mercy.” Dressed in rose vestments on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, marking the joyful expectation of Christmas, the pope began the ceremony outside the basilica in front of the bronze holy door. The door depicts the crucified Christ looking down on Mary tenderly holding the Pope Francis pauses after opening the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome Dec. 13. Holy doors around the world were opened at cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13 as part of the Jubilee of Mercy. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

baby Jesus, whose small foot shone like bright gold from the countless kisses and touches of visiting pilgrims. “This is the door of the Lord. Open for me the gates of justice. I will enter your house, Lord, because of your great mercy,” the pope read solemnly before climbing two marble steps and pushing open the large door. He crossed the threshold decorated with a garland of flowers and greenery and bowed his head in silent prayer inside the darkened interior of the basilica. The church and the people of God are called to be joyful, the pope said in his brief homily. With Christmas approaching, “we cannot allow ourselves to become tired, no form of sadness is allowed even if we have reason for it with the many worries and multiple forms of violence that wound our humanity,” he said. Amid the bullying, injustice and violence wrought, “above all, by men of power, God makes it known that he himself will rule his people, that he will never leave them at the mercy of the arrogance of their leaders and that he will free them of all anguish,” the pope said. People today are called to listen to the words of the prophet Zephaniah in the day’s first reading, as he told God’s people not to be afraid or discouraged “because

of doubt, impatience or suffering.” God always protects his people, he is always near, the pope said, and that is why “we must always be joyful and with our kindness offer everyone witness of the closeness and care God has for everyone.” The Holy Year of Mercy is meant to be a time for people to rediscover God’s real presence in the world and his tenderness, he said. “God does not love rigidity. He is father. He is gentle. He does everything with fatherly tenderness.” As Christians are called to cross the threshold of “the door of mercy,” they are asked to welcome and experience God’s love, which “re-creates, transforms and reforms life.” From there, people of faith must then go out and be “instruments of mercy, aware that we will be judged by this,” the pope said. Being a Christian calls for a lifelong journey and a “more radical commitment” to be merciful like God the father, he said. Christians are asked to be joyful as they open their arms to others and give witness to “a love that goes beyond justice, a love that knows no limits. This is the love we are responsible for despite our contradictions,” and weaknesses, he said. Later in the day, the pope appeared at the window of the apostolic palace to January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  39


Time for forgiveness has begun, pope says as holy doors open worldwide


recite the noonday Angelus with visitors in St. Peter’s Square. He focused on the day’s Gospel reading according to St. Luke, in which people in the crowd, including tax collectors and soldiers, asked St. John the Baptist “What should we do?” in order to convert and become acceptable for the coming of the Lord. St. John does not leave them waiting for an answer, the pope said, and replies with concrete instructions: to live justly, in moderation and in solidarity toward those most in need. “They are the essential values of a life that is fully human and authentically Christian,” the pope said.

The saint said to share food and clothing, do not falsely accuse others, do not practice extortion and do not collect more than the tax prescribes, which means, the pope said, “no bribes. It’s clear.” By addressing people who held various forms of power, the prophet showed that God excludes no one from being asked to follow a path of conversion in order to be saved, not even the tax collectors, who were considered among the worst of all sinners. God “is anxious to be merciful toward everyone and welcome everyone in the tender embrace of reconciliation and forgiveness.” Advent is a time of conversion and joy, he

Jan. 23-24 Copyright © 2015 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photos: © Ed Kashi/VII/Corbis/© Roberto Escobar/epa/Corbis. 50200216

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said. But today, in a world that is “assailed by so many problems, the future weighed down by the unknown and fears,” he said, people really need courage and faith to be joyful. In fact, life lived with Christ brings the gift of solid and unshakable joy because it is rooted in knowing “the Lord is near” always. The same morning, U.S. Cardinal James M. Harvey, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, opened that basilica’s holy door. Pope Francis is scheduled to open the fourth and last holy door in Rome at the Basilica of St. Mary Major Jan. 1, 2016, the feast of Mary, Mother of God.


Pope Francis uses incense to venerate an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe during Mass marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 12. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis will venerate Mary at Mexico shrine next year Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service


n the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to the Marian shrine in Mexico City and pray to Mary so that Christian communities “may become oases and rivers of mercy.” “To ask her this, in a strong way, I will travel to venerate her at her shrine on Feb.13. There, I will ask this for all of America, of whom she is especially a mother,” the pope said. The pope made the announcement during a Dec. 12 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, who

appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531. In his homily, the pope said that God’s merciful love is his “most surprising attribute” and is not only manifested through Mary but also directed toward the church and every person. God, he said “loves us with a free love, without limits, expecting nothing in return.” The pope said that no sin could cancel out God’s mercy but only shine forth his love with greater strength. “No matter how great or serious the sins of the world may be, the Spirit, who renews the face of the earth, makes possible the miracle of a more human life, full of joy and hope,” he said. Recalling Mary’s words to St. Juan Diego,

the pope said the presence of the Lord and his mother is the source of peace and joy even in the midst of suffering. Mary, he continued, became the “mother of mercy” after having received in her womb “the very source of that mercy: Jesus Christ.” Entrusting the sufferings and joys of “the whole American continent” to her, Pope Francis prayed that Mary may “sow merciful love in the hearts of people and families” during the jubilee year. “I beseech her to guide the footsteps of the American people, a pilgrim people who look for the mother of mercy, and I only ask her one thing: to show us her son Jesus,” the pope said. January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  41


Father J. Patrick Serna is pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sinton.

Year of Mercy calls us to visit the grieving Father J. Patrick Serna Contributor


he Year of Mercy has officially begun, and we are encouraged to focus on acts of mercy in a special way between now and Nov. 20. A sure way to live in the spirit of the Year of Mercy would be to perform the corporal, as well as the spiritual, works of mercy, as much and as often as possible. The corporal works of mercy are as follows: to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to harbor the harborless; to visit the sick; to ransom the captive; and to bury the dead. The spiritual works of mercy are as follows: to instruct the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to admonish sinners; to bear wrongs patiently; to forgive offences willingly; to comfort the afflicted; and to pray for the living and the dead. A Christian can talk all day long about their faith in and love for Jesus, a Catholic can show you mountains of prayer cards and blessed rosaries, but if this love and faith is not put into practice, it is in vain. God tells us “…faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead (Jas 2:17).” If a husband verbally insults his wife and runs her down in front of her children and friends, not once or twice but consistently, will she believe his many verbal professions of love and devotion, or will she instead believe how he mistreats and disrespects her? The Year of Mercy is a wake up call and reminder that “words” and “belief” alone is not good enough, we need to put our pretty words and beliefs into ACTION! The Holy Spirit tells us in the New Testament “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble (Jas 2:19).” The corporal work of mercy, to bury the dead, implies that we should give comfort to those who grieve. We would all do well if we would spend more time visiting—and

42  South Texas Catholic | January 2016

comforting—those who grieve the death of a loved one. I am pastor of a small parish, and we average 30-45 funerals a year. Another priest, who is pastor at one of our bigger churches in Corpus Christi, celebrates 60-65 funeral Masses per year. If there are approximately 100 parishes in the Diocese of Corpus Christi (and there are), and if each of these parishes celebrates a total of 30 funerals a year, which is typical for a small parish, then our diocese celebrates at least 3,000 Catholic funerals per year, in three years that would be 9,000 funerals and in 10 years that would be 30,000 funerals—the real number is much more. Now, let us break these numbers down to the approximate number of people per year who grieve the death of a loved one. Let us say that for every elderly parent who dies, there is one spouse and three children who are left behind, which means there are four people who grieve the death of an immediate family member. For every child who dies, let us presume there are two parents and two siblings who are left behind, which means there are four people who are left behind, to grieve. If there are 3,000 Catholic funerals in our diocese every year (this is a very low estimate), and if four people grieve after every funeral, that means there are 12,000 people who grieve the death of an immediate family member, locally, every year. If 12,000 people grieve locally, every year, then that means there are 36,000 people who grieve the loss of an immediate family member in every three-year time frame. And that does not count grandchildren, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and others in the extended family. Many therapists agree that the most difficult time for grieving takes place in the first three years after a death. The foregoing numbers are significant, since they give us an idea of how many people locally


are walking around in our midst daily suffering and broken. This is something that each one of us can try to address, with mercy and love! When we take the time to notice the suffering of fellow brothers and sisters, moreover, when we act and show mercy to those who suffer, we are choosing to become part of the promise that Jesus left us, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Mt 5:7).” In the last 20 years, I have spoken to many priests who have devoted their lives to apostolates in developing countries, where even the most basic antibiotics or medical

treatments are not available. All of these missionary priests agree that in areas where death is more common and frequent because of lack of medical resources, there is less devastation and depression amongst those who grieve, when compared to those who grieve in first world countries. Those who grieve the death of a loved one in developing missions and countries seem to maneuver through the grieving process with much more peace, acceptance and trust. When medical resources are minimal or nonexistent, people are hard-wired to focus more on God and the promises of everlasting life. In

first world countries, like our own, health, fitness and miracle cures seem to be the norm, and death is either ignored or it is regarded as something “far away.” People with a first world appreciation of death, or lack thereof, are frequently devastated and broken, for many years, after the death of a loved one. In this Year of Mercy, we are called upon to bring mercy and comfort to the many people around us, who are broken. “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt 25:40).”

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  43


Catechesis in a parish setting Mother Maria Elva Reyes, PCI

T Contributor

Mother Maria Elva Reyes, PCI is Superior General at the Pax Christi Institute.

he Pax Christi Sisters were founded by Mother Teresa Santoyo in 1969 in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Our apostolate, as that of all religious, consists primarily in the witness of our consecrated lives. The charism entrusted to Mother Teresa Santoyo is to serve as an enabling instrument of peace which leads each member in the pursuit of the attainment of perfect love, oneness with God. We offer that witness by taking the good news of Jesus Christ to all mankind, through a dual ministry. First, the spiritual, which leads the people of God to a more profound understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and through the sharing of the Pax Christi spirituality, “That all may be one.” Second, the Apostolic through which we share truth and love to all those whom we serve, both young and old, through parish programs, religious education, retreats and evangelization. In 2004, Cardinal Edward M. Egan requested sisters from our community to help in the Archdiocese of New York with catechetical instruction due to Catholic immigrants coming from all over the world, and the number of children and youth moving out of Catholic schools into public schools. Our foundress responded to this request because she considered that catechesis is “not just about forming children, but it’s about forming the entire family, the entire parish, enabling them to form lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ in his Church through their participation of Sunday Eucharistic celebration as the heart of our Catholic faith. She considered that the presence of sisters in a parish is essential to the formation of catechists and to the spiritual well being of all the members of the parish. She encouraged the Pax Christi Sisters to collaborate with the pastor of the parish in the organization of the catechetical formation following an integrated model rooted in oneness with Christ. She constantly reminded them that education in the faith is carried out in different ways in different places in the Church by catechists, and parents;

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mainly, education in faith will take place outside a classroom setting: in the family, in the neighborhood, in the parish community. It is in these settings that children see and experience the faith lived. Also, she mentioned that Liturgy in the parish community is where the proclamation of the Gospel begins and where we, regardless of age, are invited to conversion and to follow Christ. The way that the parish community responds to the Gospel, in worship, education and service will impact all members of the parish especially the children. When the sisters began their new mission in the Bronx, the advice and teachings of our foundress became clear to them and they started their ministry preparing children for First Holy Communion as a very natural family affair. But above all, they affirmed that the important part of the sacramental preparation stresses participation at Sunday Mass. This is directed more to the parents than to the children since it is the parents who actually bring the children to Church. An important part of any religious education program is the opportunity to participate in parish prayer services, liturgies and service opportunities that are available in their parish program. Preparation for the other sacraments like baptism, penance, confirmation and matrimony are additional opportunities that the parish offers to enrich the spiritual participation in the parish. The “General Directory for Catechesis” affirms this by declaring that: “Parents receive in the sacrament of matrimony ‘the grace and the ministry of the Christian education of their children, to whom they transmit and bear witness to human and religious values.’” At the same time, the Church realizes her vital responsibility not only to support parents as they pass on the faith to their children but to assist them as well. It is important to perceive that religious education is both instruction in the truths of our faith and a guide to a way of life that leads to communion with the triune God. To put it in another way, genuine religious education informs, forms and transforms. A parish is one expression of the Mystical


Body of Christ. To separate children from the life of the parish deprives them of rich spiritual benefits and wonderful faith experiences, as children experience faith, forgiveness, nurturing and service that occurs in the family. Bringing children for religious preparation to the parish further enriches their lives by bringing them into contact with other Catholic families and with peers on the same faith journey. Finally, the sisters affirm that preparation for and celebration of sacraments with minimal

engagement of the parish does a disservice to everyone. The child will not see or realize the importance of the parish as a community of faith. The parents will not see and feel the support, the prayers and the example of the parish, and the parishioners will miss the opportunity to have their own faith renewed by participating at the reception of the sacraments for all parish children. The Pax Christi Sisters, throughout these years of service to the local parishes in the Bronx, and in other dioceses that they serve

have followed an integration model rooted in oneness with Christ which is the center of our spirituality. Also, they have followed the steps of Mother Teresa Santoyo who instilled in us to break the bread with all our brothers and sisters, so that all may be one in the Lord. The sisters who are called to live a contemplative and apostolic life, and to balance prayer, study, silence and community life, every day make their best effort to be available to the service of others and to engage with the needs of the world.


9 | SAT | CHRISTMAS WEEKDAY | 1 JN 5:14-21/JN 3:22-30 (217) | | WHITE 10 | SUN | THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD | FEAST | IS 42:1-4, 6-7/ACTS 10:34-38/LK 3:15-16, 21-22, OR, FOR YEAR C, IS 40:1-5, 9-11/TI 2:11-14; 3:4-7/LK 3:15-16, 21-22 (21) | PSS PROP | WHITE 11 | MON | WEEKDAY (FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME) GREEN | 1 SM 1:1-8/MK 1:14-20 (305) PSS I 12 | TUE | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 1 SM 1:9-20/MK 1:21-28 (306) 13 | WED | WEEKDAY | GREEN/WHITE [SAINT HILARY, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH] 1 SM 3:1-10, 19-20/ MK 1:29-39 (307) 14 | THU | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 1 SM 4:1-11/MK 1:40-45 (308) 15 | FRI | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 1 SM 8:4-7, 10-22A/MK 2:1-12 (309) 16 | SAT | WEEKDAY | GREEN/WHITE [BVM] 1 SM 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1A/MK 2:13-17 (310) 17 | SUN | SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | GREEN IS 62:1-5/1 COR 12:4-11/JN 2:1-11 (66) PSS II 18 | MON | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 1 SM 15:16-23/MK 2:18-22 (311) 19 | TUE | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 1 SM 16:1-13/MK 2:23-28 (312)


24 | SUN | THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | GREEN NEH 8:24A, 5-6, 8-10/1 COR 12:12-30 OR 12:12-14, 27/LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21 (69) PSS III

21 | THU | SAINT AGNES, VIRGIN AND MARTYR | RED | MEMORIAL | 1 SM 18:6-9; 19:1-7/MK 3:7-12 (314) PSS PROP


22 | FRI | USA: DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF | GREEN/MASS: WHITE/VIOLET | UNBORN CHILDREN | 1 SM 24:3-21/ MK 3:13-19 (315) OR, FOR THE DAY OF PRAYER, ANY OF THE FOLLOWING READINGS: GN 1:1—2:2 (41) OR 2 MC 7:1, 20-31 (VOL. II, 499) OR IS 49:1-6 (587) OR ROM 11:33-36 (121) OR EPH 1:3-14 (104) OR EPH 3:14-21 (VOL. III, 476) OR COL 1:12-20 (162) OR 1 JN 3:11-21 (208)/MT | 18:1-5, 10, 12-14 (414) OR MK 9:30-37 (134) OR LK 1:39-56 (622) OR LK 17:11-19 (144) OR LK | 23:35-43 (162) OR JN 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18 (755) OR JN 6:24-35 (113), OR THE LECTIONARY FOR RITUAL MASSES (VOL. IV), THE MASS “FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE,” NOS. 887-891 23 | SAT | WEEKDAY | GREEN/RED/ WHITE/WHITE [USA: SAINT VINCENT, DEACON AND MARTYR; USA: SAINT MARIANNE COPE, VIRGIN; BVM] 2 SM 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27/MK 3:20-21 (316)

26 | TUE | SAINTS TIMOTHY AND TITUS, BISHOPS | WHITE | MEMORIAL | 2 TM 1:1-8 OR TI 1:1-5 (520)/MK 3:31-35 (318) 27 | WED | WEEKDAY | GREEN/ WHITE [SAINT ANGELA MERICI, VIRGIN] 2 SM 7:4-17/MK 4:1-20 (319) 28 | THU | SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH | WHITE | MEMORIAL | 2 SM 7:18-19, 24-29/MK 4:21-25 (320) 29 | FRI | WEEKDAY | GREEN | 2 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17/MK 4:26-34 (321) 30 | SAT | WEEKDAY | GREEN/WHITE [BVM] 2 SM 12:1-7A, 10-17/MK 4:3541 (322) 31 | SUN | FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | GREEN JER 1:4-5, 17-19/1 COR 12:31—13:13 OR 13:413/LK 4:21-30 (72) PSS IV

January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  45




Epiphany Celebration

Jan. 6 at Schoenstatt Movement Center (4343 Gaines Street) in Corpus Christi. Begins at 5:30 p.m. with a presentation of the three kings and a live nativity. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m. A dinner plate consisting of King Ranch chicken, salad, dessert and tea will be served for a donation of $6 per plate. Children are invited to be a part of a live nativity. All families, children and adorers are invited. Come dressed as an angel or a shepherd.


Jan. 14-17. A weekend to go into a deeper relationship with the Lord through the power of prayer and silence. Register or call (361) 289-9095, ext. 321.

Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at Solomon P. Ortiz Center. Dinner, music, bid board, silent auctions, photo booth, table decoration contest, cash bar and awards. All proceeds benefit construction of the Spirit Center. For more information call (361) 888-7537 or go to

Cana Marriage 16 Pre Preparation Seminar

for the 20 Movie Year of Mercy

Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. The Movie “Faustina, Messenger of Divine Mercy” will be playing at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (7522 Everhart Road) in Corpus Christi. General admission is $15; reserved seats are $25; and premium seats are $50. For tickets and information call St. John the Baptist Church Office at (361) 991-4400 or email or Web site:


46  South Texas Catholic | January 2016


Healing Retreat at OLCC

Jan. 23. Join thousands of Texans at the Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol in Austin. The Rally will feature prolife speakers and leaders from across the state. For more information go to

23- Second Collection 24 Family 30 Natural Planning Class

Jan.16 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m at the Pax Christi Retreat Center. Pre Cana is a one-day marriage preparation seminar for the engaged. For more information go to

Silent 14 Weekend Centering Prayer Jan. 14-17 at Lebh Shomea House of Prayer (500 La Parra Ranch Rd.) in Sarita. The retreat begins on Thursday, Jan. 14, and ends on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Cost of the Retreat is $180 for lodging and meals, and a voluntary donation for cost of materials that will be provided. For more information call Laurie Hoffman at (361) 2490861, or for reservations, call Denise Gutierrez at (361) 294-5369.

23 Texas Rally For Life

Annual Spirit 15 4rth Center Celebrity Dinner

Annual Ministry Conference for the whole family & MiniYouth Spectacular

Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m at the American Bank Center. The Diocese of Corpus Christi’s 27th Annual Ministry Conference, entitled “Family & Mercy: United by Love” will be held at the American Bank Center. The all day conference will begin with Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Mulvey and include nine speakers and other activities. Keynote speakers include Ray Guarendi, Ph.D. and Jackie Francois. There will be a Spanish and youth track. Child Care will be available. For more information call the Office of Pastoral Parish Services at (361) 882-6191.

prayer life. Weekend consists of a series of talks on healing, periods of silent reflection asking God to reveal where healing is needed and concludes with a Healing Service. Register or call (361) 289-9095, ext. 321.

Women’s Spiritual Exercises Retreat at OLCC

Jan. 22-24. Begins Friday 5:30 p.m. and ends Sunday 3 p.m. Discover people block God’s grace in their life and remove obstacles that prevent them from growing in their

Jan. 23-24 parishes will have a second for the Church in Latin America. Please give generously.

Jan. 30 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 1426 Baldwin in Corpus Christi. Natural Family Planning allows couples to plan pregnancies while following the teachings of the Church and respecting the gift of their married love. For more information go to

Waffle Breakfast 31 OLGS Fundraiser

Jan. 31 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Church, Msgr. Kasper Youth Center (3210 South Padre Island Drive) in Corpus Christi. All you can eat dine in waffle breakfast, hosted by Our Lady of Guadalupe Society is $7, includes coffee or orange juice. For more information call (361) 658-4709 or email minnie–

To see more calendar events go to: South Texas







January 2016 |  South Texas Catholic  47

January 2016 Issue SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC P.O. Box 2620 Corpus Christi, TX 78403 (361) 882-6191

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South Texas Catholic - January 2016  

In our January issue we report on the opening of the Holy Year of Mercy. Bishop Michael Mulvey opened the year by visiting prisoners at the...

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