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MAY 2016


Serving the Diocese of Corpus Christi since 1966





VOL. 51 NO. 5


Publisher Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL DD Editor Alfredo E. Cárdenas Theological Consultant Ben Nguyen, JD/JCL. Editorial Staff Mary E. Cottingham


Adel Rivera


Madelyn Calvert Contributors Rebecca Esparza, Luisa Scolari, Dayna Mazzei Worchel

South Texas Catholic serving the Diocese of Corpus Christi since 1966.

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Also Inside 4 VIEWPOINTS We are called to be servants

CATÓLICA 58 VIDA Vía Crucis es obra de amor

8 Serving the poor has always

PARISH LIFE 64 Teens growing in faith

to the whole truth


driven Mother Maria

bear good fruit

NEWS 67 NATIONAL Poll respondents back

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EDUCATION 12 CATHOLIC St. John Paul II celebrates

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VATICAN NEWS FROM THE DIOCESE 71 14 Catholic Syrian refugees Charities: New building,

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10 years of quality, affordability

same but improved services

NEWS BRIEFS 20 DRE event extends Keep up with the Faith at

appreciation to catechists

Little Sisters of Poor in dispute

thank pope for safety

OUR FAITH 76 The unsung heroes of prison ministry



We are called to be servants to the whole truth

(Editor’s note: This is the introductory section of the USCCB’s teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics. From now until the election in November, we will have excerpts from this document in the South Texas Catholic to help our readers “form their conscience.” The Church does not choose candidates or political parties, but wants the faithful to be aware of their responsibility to be active in the public square and be knowledgeable of Church social teaching in making their political choices.)


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops he Catholic bishops of the United States are pleased to offer once again to the Catholic faithful Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, our teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics. This statement represents our guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy. We urge our pastors, lay and religious faithful, and all people of good will to use this statement to help form their consciences; to teach those entrusted to their care; to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue; and to shape political choices in the coming election in light of Catholic teaching. The statement lifts up our dual heritage as both faithful Catholics and American citizens with rights and duties as participants in the civil order. First and foremost, however, we remember that we relate to the civil order as citizens of the heavenly Kingdom, whose reign is not yet fully realized on earth but demands our unqualified allegiance. It is as

citizens faithful to the Lord Jesus that we contribute most effectively to the civil order. This document…draws on the wealth of papal teaching…such as the…magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Pope Francis to date. From these great teachings we discern, for example, messages to the universal Church to attend in a special way: to the inextricable link between our witness to the truth and our service to those in need (Caritas in Veritate); to our role as missionary disciples, called forth from the sanctuary to bring Christ to the margins with joy (Evangelii Gaudium); and to the care for our common home and all who dwell in it, especially the poorest (Laudato Si’). The document is also updated to take account of recent developments in the United States in both domestic and foreign policy: • The ongoing destruction of more than 1 million innocent human lives each year by abortion;


• Physician-assisted suicide; • The redefinition of marriage— the vital cell of society—by the courts, political bodies, and increasingly by American culture itself; • The excessive consumption of material goods and the destruction of natural resources, which harm both the environment and the poor; • The deadly attacks on fellow Christians and religious minorities throughout the world; • The narrowing redefinition of religious freedom, which threatens both individual conscience and the freedom of the Church to serve; • Economic policies that fail to prioritize the poor, at home or abroad; • A broken immigration system and a worldwide refugee crisis; and • Wars, terror, and violence that threaten every aspect of human life and dignity. All of these threats, and more,


speak to a breakdown in what Pope Francis has called an “integral ecology”. Without the proper ordering of relationships of persons with each other, with creation, and ultimately with God himself, sin takes hold. Pope Francis reminds us that all individuals, nations and members of the global community have the duty to place the needs of others ahead of selfish desires to possess and exploit the good things that come from God’s hand. This document is to be read prayerfully and in its totality. It

would be a serious mistake—and one that occurs with regrettable frequency—to use only selected parts of the Church’s teaching to advance partisan political interests or validate ideological biases. All of us are called to be servants to the whole truth in authentic love, and it is our fervent hope and prayer that this document will provide aid to all those seeking to heed this call. Finally, while this document is about the civil order, we cannot fail to call the faithful to prayer. The struggles that we face as a nation and as a global community cannot

be addressed solely by choosing the “best candidate” for political office. No, in addition to forming our consciences, we must fast and pray, asking our loving and gracious God to give us the ability to effectively proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our daily witness to our faith and its teachings. Let us all take to heart the urgency of our vocation to live in the service to others through the grace of Christ and ask humbly in prayer for an outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit on the United States of America.

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

• Confirmations began at Corpus Christi Cathedral • OLG in Alice live Stations of the Cross impacts neighborhood • St. Anthony announces 2016 Fiesta Mexicana winners • Mosaic of Our Lady of Perpetual Help receives bishop’s blessing

• Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner speaks at CHRISTUS Lyceum

• Elementary students celebrate ‘Week of the Young Child’

• SOLT founder Father Flanagan passes into eternal life at age 91

• Bishop Mulvey celebrates Mass of Annunciation, Incarnation

• Pro-life advocate and former sheriff James Hickey dies at 79

• Health Careers Club receives Community Champions grant

• Chrism Mass begins Holy Week

• Rotary recognizes Burton, Martinez as top students



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

Patron saint of parish priests almost did not become one Father Joseph Lopez, JCL

C Contributor

an you imagine the Church today without the influence of one of the greatest priestsaints of the 19th century, St. John Vianney? It easily could have happened. The world could have been completely unaware of the existence of the man named Jean Marie Vianney, if he had given up at just one of the many obstacles he faced in his vocational discernment. Father Vianney encountered difficulty when he first began studies at age 20. Said to be of average intelligence, he struggled with most subjects. He had particular trouble with Latin, which was absolutely essential for a priest of that era. Fortunately, he was assisted by a fellow student and scraped by. During these studies, he was drafted by the military to fight against the Spanish. As his regiment was about to leave for the war, he went to pray in a church and was left behind. He attempted in vain to follow, but finally gave up. He became a schoolmaster and hid behind an assumed name, officially becoming a deserter. If he had gone to war, he might have been killed; if caught as a deserter, he would have been jailed or executed. Eventually, an imperial decree pardoned deserters, and he was able to

➤Do not despair because of your failures or difficulties. God will always give you the grace to overcome. return to his studies. At age 26 he went to the seminary. But, because of his poor knowledge of Latin, he failed to pass the entrance exam the first time, and was required to take it a second time. Only by the recommendation of Pére Balley, his mentor and former teacher, he was allowed to continue and eventually to be ordained in 1815. But his difficulties did not end there. He was appointed the Curé (parish priest) of a small town called Ars. He got lost on the way there! When he arrived, he found that the townspeople had little faith and scorned God and, therefore, his priest. Though he became a legendary preacher and confessor, he continually faced opposition in his ministry from the townspeople, other clerics and even the devil, who fought him


while he lay in his bed at night. Because of these continued difficulties, Father Vianney just wanted to lead a life of solitude in a monastery. He attempted to run away from his parish and become a monk–four times! But each time he came back. He could not say “no” to Jesus calling him to go where he was needed. Nobody would point to these endless failures and say, “Now there’s a great man.” But he was, indeed, a great man. Why? Because, in the midst of these failures and difficulties, Father Vianney always said “yes” to the call of the Lord. It is because of this that he is the universal patron of parish priests. At any one of these moments, Father Vianney could have justified his way out of saying “yes” to God. Then he would have been lost in the obscurity of history, nothing but a failure. We would not have his holy example, which continues to inspire countless priests and laymen in their vocations and discernment. How is God calling you to reject the temptations the world throws up against your good efforts? How is he calling you to say “yes”? Do not despair because of your failures or difficulties. God will always give you the grace to overcome. Let him guide you where he wants you.

still active after 50 years of service Sister Juliane Kuntscher, IWBS Contributor


ister Mary Ann Korczynski, IWBS will celebrate her golden jubilee in consecrated life this year. She made her first profession of vows on June 4, 1966. Sister Mary Ann professed perpetual vows in her home parish of St. George in George West on Aug. 2, 1970, with Bishop Thomas Drury presiding. Baptized Mary Ann, she was born in Corpus Christi to Joseph Steve Korczynski and Cecelia Sue Dworaczyk Korczynski. The family resided in Robstown until Mary Ann was five-years of age when they relocated to George West, where Mary Ann attended and completed her elementary and high school education. Following graduation from George West High School, Mary Ann attended Incarnate Word College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She later received a Master of Natural Science with specialization in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma. During the time she spent at Incarnate Word College, Mary Ann began to consider religious life as she prayed for vocations with the Sodality of Mary group on campus. She and her classmate, Rosemary Lichnovsky, entered the convent of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament on Aug. 30, 1963. Sister Mary Ann’s ministry included

teaching at St. Patrick School and Incarnate Word Academy in Corpus Christi, and at Incarnate Word Academy and Villa Maria High School in Brownsville. From 1968– 1984, she served as treasurer on school campuses in Brownsville and in Corpus Christi. She was elected treasurer general of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament Congregation, serving in that capacity from 1984–1992 and again from 2000–2008. She was assistant general from 1992–2000, and again from 2008–2016. She presently serves as finance director in the generalate of the congregation. “In the sixteen years that Sister Mary Ann has generously served as assistant superior general, she has been a major support to me in carrying out the details of operation of the congregation,” Sister Michelle Marie Kuntscher, superior general, said. “For example, her work of overseeing the construction of the new motherhouse on Lipes Boulevard included countless hours of meetings, research, measurements, coordination of the various publics and explanation of product samples and displays. “Sister could be seen during the afternoon break with a yardstick in hand, counting the squares in the ceiling tile in order to report the exact measurements of any room in the new building. Sister Mary Ann’s loyalty and devotion to the Incarnate Word is evident in her prayer life, and in

her service and commitment to her Sisters in community.” Sister Mary Ann is active on the board of directors and is treasurer of the Fannie Bluntzer Nason Renewal Center and is also treasurer and trustee of the Incarnate Word Academy Foundation. She has served as sister-in-charge at the motherhouse, and on commissions and committees within the congregation. Currently Sister Mary Ann is a trustee of the Guadalupe Regional Middle School in Brownsville and serves on the Diocesan Finance Council in Corpus Christi.

❝ In the sixteen years that Sister Mary Ann has generously served as assistant superior general, she has been a major support to me in carrying out the details of operation of the congregation.❞ –Sister Michelle Marie Kuntscher MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   7


Sister Mary Ann Korczynski


Serving the poor has always driven Mother Maria Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic


other Maria Elva Reyes, a sister with the congregation of the Pax Christi Institute, has felt “very blessed” for as long as she can remember. She will celebrate her golden jubilee with a host of friends and family on July 16 at the Pax Christi Liturgical Chapel and will continue her faith-filled journey, daily, by reciting the prayer of a Pax Christi sister, “Jesus lives in me, I live in Jesus, Jesus and I are one.” Mother Maria was born on Feb. 17, 1947 to Pedro Reyes and Guadalupe Larios Reyes in a small town called Tecalitlán in Mexico. In Tecalitlán her father owned a general store. There was a church, a sugar cane processing plant and squared off blocks of houses, but very few opportunities for work or to get an education, so the Reyes family moved to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua when she was just five-years-old. Her parents were very religious and took her to church regularly. One time, after Mass, they had an announcement that anyone between the ages of six and ten could register to become a member of the group St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. As they were leaving the church, she insisted on registering. She recalled what her mother said, “What do you mean– you don’t even know how to read.” “They didn’t ask me if I knew how to read, they said if I was between six and ten, I can register. I am six and I

want to register,” little Maria told her mother. This was a formative time in her life. With adult supervision, she took clothes to people living in the slums and children’s homes; visited the sick in the hospital; and began reading small books about the saints. “I got the calling back then, but I didn’t know it,” she said. “I was attracted to helping the Church and people…I thought everybody wanted that.” When a priest approached another volunteer group that she was a part of and asked if any of the volunteers would like to continue to help the poor, but to do it for a lifetime she was surprised to find she was the only one to raise her hand. The priest took her aside and told her that what she wanted was a different kind of life. And so, at the age of 14, Maria became an aspirant and lived with the sisters of Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor. Her family was reluctant to let her go. Her mother said she was too active, because she liked to dance and sing. Her sister thought she was crazy to want to leave her parents’ house, and her father worried that she was too young. Ultimately they all wanted the best for her and so she chose to follow her heart. At 16, she knew she wanted to become one of the sisters. Between the ages of 16-19 she went to live in the motherhouse in Puebla, Mexico where she trained as a novitiate.



She professed first vows on June 12, 1966. Her first assignment was in Laredo, Texas under Mother Teresa Santoyo who was then mother superior. Mother Teresa and the sisters were building a better life for poor children, but a chasm had developed between the superior general of their congregation and Mother Teresa was asked to leave. The sisters under her direction were given a choice to follow her or to continue to serve with the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor. “I saw her [Mother Teresa] as a role model…serving the poor in this way is what I came for,” Mother Maria said. “Mother Teresa was one of the most faithful persons I knew and she was given a lot of responsibility at a young age.” Mother Teresa and six others, including Sister Maria, were invited to Corpus Christi. “Bishop Drury told us, ‘…we are living a historic moment. We are seeing

the birth of a new religious community and Mother Teresa will be the head of that,’” Mother Maria recalled. Mother Teresa founded the Pax Christi Sisters on July 19, 1969 in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. In the 1970’s the Pax Christi Sisters continued their charism of helping the poor and started a home for girls from the basement of the cathedral. Eventually they moved into a house on a large tract of land in Calallen and they were able to raise some of the girls and help families as well. Mother Teresa believed that every member of the family deserved respect and dignity, so they counseled family members and helped some of the girls transition back into their parent’s homes. The children’s home for girls closed due to new government regulations requiring complete disclosure. “Mother Teresa refused,” Mother Maria said. “She was offering counseling to parents

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and felt she would be violating their confidentiality…” Mother Maria attended school at Del Mar College and then Sam Houston State University for a bachelor’s degree in social work. She received a master’s in sociology at Our Lady of the Lake University, then a master’s and a doctorate degree in theology at the Oblate School of Theology. At the request of Mother Teresa, Sister Maria was appointed superior general of the Pax Christi Institute in 2006. The Pax Christi Liturgical Center began as an inspirational vision of Mother Teresa, but became a reality under the direction of Mother Maria and the Pax Christi sisters. The first retreat was held in 2014. Mother Maria said the Pax Christi sisters have always evangelized and their vision continues to grow as they teach people the meaning and importance of the Mass and, through their Charism, of becoming one with Christ.


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Students from St. Francis de Paula Catholic School in San Diego pose for photo in 1946. Contributed photo


celebrates 150 years of ministry Charlotte Kitowski, CDP Contributor


he Sisters of Divine Providence are celebrating the 150th Jubilee of their ministry in the United States, including many years in the Diocese of Corpus Christi where they ministered in various roles in Alice, Beeville, Benavides, Corpus Christi, Falfurrias, Freer, George West, Kingsville, O’Connor Ranch, Pettus, Refugio, San Diego and Skidmore.

The sisters first came to Texas in 1866 at the invitation of Bishop Claude Dubuis. With the mandate “to found everywhere rural schools for girls,” they left their motherhouse in eastern France for a new mission. Within 20 years, they opened or staffed more than 20 schools not only in Texas rural areas but also in the cities of Austin, San Antonio and Galveston. In 1896 the Sisters opened Our Lady of the Lake Academy in San Antonio that


developed into Our Lady of the Lake University. That same year, the CDP sisters began their first ministry in the Diocese of Corpus Christi with the opening of St. Mary Academy in Beeville. That school continued until 1955 when, because of fire, St. Joseph School replaced it. The Sisters withdrew from St. Joseph in 1976. They were also the first teachers in St. Francis de Paula School (1937-1962) in


San Diego and St. Joseph School (194049) in Alice—which is still providing educational opportunities. In Corpus Christi the sisters ministered at the Diocesan Center for Spiritual Direction and in the Beeville Deanery where they served in the post of religious education director. They also served at Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi and Spohn-Kleberg Hospital in Kingsville. In 1930, Sister Benitia Vermeersch, CDP, founded the Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence (MCDP) in Houston to respond to the needs of refugees escaping the Mexican revolution (1910-36) by providing food, shelter and religious instruction for Mexican children. The MCDPs gained autonomy as a Pontifical Congregation in 1989. Today they minister primarily in Texas, California and Kansas. In some communities, Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence served as pastoral ministers and religious educators: at St. Joseph in Beeville, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Corpus Christi, St. Martin

of Tours in Kingsville and St. James the Apostle in Refugio. Over the last century-and-a-half, the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence have served and studied in more than 1,000 places in Texas, 38 other states and 14 countries. During that time they have enlarged their works to include education at all levels, health and social services, peace and justice initiatives and religious instruction in parishes and dioceses. The CDPs first Texas school was in what is now St. Mary’s Cathedral School in the current Austin Diocese, which they founded in 1866. Later Bishop Dubuis sent the Sisters to Castroville, where they established their motherhouse. In 1896 they moved the motherhouse to San Antonio, where they opened Our Lady of the Lake Academy that developed into the present Our Lady of the Lake University. The 2016 celebrations began with a retreat for CDPs, MCDPs and associates and an opening Eucharistic Liturgy in

January; and on February 7 the MCDPs celebrated 70 years of Rome’s Papal Approbation. During the year the sisters and associates will continue to remember the communities and dioceses where they served and studied. During April the Congregations remembered the Diocese of Corpus Christi. A jubilee Mass commemorating the anniversary of the sisters’ landing in Galveston will take place at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel, Our Lady of the Lake Convent in San Antonio on Oct. 23. Other events include an exhibit featuring the sisters’ artwork and artifacts and service projects throughout the year in honor of the Church’s Year of Mercy and the ministry of the sisters and associates. Individual schools and groups are also arranging additional activities. For more information on the celebration see the congregation’s website:; Facebook page; or Twitter Feed @cdpnuns.

This 1897 photo is of students at St. Mary Academy in Beeville founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence. The school continued to serve the community until 1955 when it was destroyed by a fire. Contributed photo



St. John Paul II celebrates 10 years of quality, affordability New president initiates new program to continue on growth path Bishop Michael Mulvey appointed Father Peter Martinez as president of St. John Paul II in March. Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic

Dayna Mazzei Worchel



hen community members in the Diocese of Corpus Christi met with then newly appointed Bishop Edmond Carmody in 2000, they wanted something done about the large numbers of young people leaving high school before graduation. “It represented a huge loss of talent to the area,” Bishop Carmody said. To remedy the situation, the diocese opened John Paul II High School in August 2006 with a freshmen class to provide an affordable and accessible Catholic education. The school—which took on the name of St. John Paul II when its benefactor was beatified—added a class every year until grades 9–12 were in place. The school is still going strong with an enrollment of 310, and on May 5 will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a special Mass

at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus. And now it has new leadership; in March, Bishop Michael Mulvey appointed Father Peter Martinez as president of the school. The small student population has been a plus for students and has meant they perform much better in class. Because of the small numbers, the staff is able to listen and try to help each student. “Since enrollment is lower, all the staff is able to form closer relationships with the students,” Bishop Carmody said. “Statistically, a lot of these students might have dropped out.” The John G. and Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation helped with building renovation costs. From its inception, the school began to cover tuition for eligible students with the help of an endowment from Citgo. Father Martinez will be doing double duty as he assumes his new position as president of the school while remaining on as pastor


at St. Paul the Apostle in Flour Bluff. But he hopes to have an assistant priest onboard at the parish soon. He is proud of many things the high school has achieved, including the performance of 10,000 volunteer hours annually by students. They help with the annual Special Olympics track meet at Cabaniss Field and work with the Ark Assessment Center & Emergency Shelter for Youth. “We want students with a heart for others, not just for themselves,” Father Martinez said. He is especially proud of the school’s academic programs. Fifty-four percent of the staff has postgraduate degrees and there are five dual-credit courses taught by certified teachers in theology, history, English, Spanish and biology. “The school has had an exponential impact. It has created students who will be servant leaders,” Father Martinez said. And this fall, the high school will be

School is $6,900. These costs are well above next year’s tuition of $6,000 for the high school and $3,795 for the middle school; however, “no matter the cost, Catholic education is a great sacrifice for our families,” Father Martinez said. The objective of the Tuition Incentive Program is to recognize the sacrifices families are making for a Catholic education; build unity between the two schools; and invite new families in the community to share in that unity. The highlights of the program are modeled after the 10 years of St. John Paul II’s existence and thus will offer 10 percent off tuition responsibility for: • any new families enrolled by June 3; • returning families enrolled by May 16; • every accepted and enrolled new applicant family that names a family as the referral; • incoming Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School 6th graders from Catholic parochial schools that do not have a 6th grade; and • families with multiple children in 6th

through 12th grade. “Parents want the best for their children,” Father Martinez said. “It is because they wish them success in all of life’s challenges that Catholic schools are the right choice. Catholic schools provide an education program based on religious beliefs and values, enabling children to grow in their understanding of themselves, their relationship with God and their relationship with others.” Catholic school students are encouraged to contribute to society and to assume leadership roles in shaping public discourse, attitudes and programs. In Catholic schools, young people learn to question, to establish confidence in their own good choices in life and to experience the sense of accomplishment stemming from individual achievement and responsibility, Father Martinez said. For more information on the Tuition Incentive Program call (361) 855-5744. (Alfredo E. Cardenas contributed to this article.)


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starting a new science, engineering technology program called “Project Lead the Way.” Flint Hills Resources will sponsor the engineering component, Father Martinez said. Father Martinez will also provide leadership to Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School. “My job is to unite grades six through 12 under one mission. We are reaching out to the community to help our students have resources to achieve success in this life and in the life to come,” Father Martinez said. In order to achieve this goal, Father Martinez announced a bold new program as part of the 10th anniversary celebration. “In light of this anniversary, and the coming together of leadership to oversee both St. John Paul II High School and Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory School, we are implementing a Tuition Incentive Program for grades 6th to 12th,” Father Martinez wrote to current and prospective parents. Currently, the actual cost per student at St. John Paul II High School is $9,700 and at Bishop Garriga Middle Preparatory


Catholic Charities: New building, same but improved services Rebecca Esparza



hen Kathleen (not her real name) was just 19 years old, she was pregnant with one small child. She had just left an abusive relationship and decided to start a new life in Corpus Christi. But she underestimated how difficult it would be to work full-time and raise a small child alone. Soon, she found herself making difficult

decisions: keep the lights on in her tiny apartment or spend the money on food for her toddler and keeping the unborn baby inside her healthy. “I was distraught, alone and could barely keep a roof over our heads,” she recalled. A friend from work suggested she contact Catholic Charities and soon she had food and learned about other emergency assistance programs. She considers the helping hand a Godsend and cannot wait for the


The new location of Catholic Charities at 615 Oliver Court, located between Leopard and Up River Road, features 20,000 square feet of space that will better serve the clients of the Coastal Bend. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic

of mechanical crutches, they still love to dance, play games and have fun, as we all do.” Catholic Charities also had a Community and Healthy Living Center on Port Avenue that was destroyed by heavy rains last year, due to poor drainage issues. Since losing that space, all the staff and programming moved to the main location and they had to find emergency donor locations in the community to continue programming services. “Now we are pleased to offer our array of wrap around services all at our new location,” McKamie said. The search for a new building endured for almost three years, she said. Local real estate professional Eugene Guernsey worked diligently to find a facility large enough, yet in close proximity to the previous Comanche Street location. Mike Lippincott gave many hours of his time to redesign and work with contractors to refurbish areas of the building and courtyard in order to make the facility comfortable for clients and to maximize use of the program and administrative spaces. Once a new location was found, it would not have been possible without generous donations and


day when she can volunteer at the agency someday. “Right now I have to focus on my two kids. Besides working, I’m also attending school to become a radiology technician. I have a long way to go, but I thank God for Catholic Charities being there in my time of need,” she said. In 2015, Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi provided assistance to more than 136,000 clients. Last month, the agency moved to a new 20,000-squarefoot location at 615 Oliver Court, located between Up River Road and Leopard, near IH-37. The new location is easily accessible using RTA bus routes 12 or 27. Linda McKamie, executive director at Catholic Charities, said the new building helps keep all the programs and services at one convenient location for clients. “This building is very important to the work we do because in the past we have had to rent space on a weekly basis for our Ministry and Life Enrichment Department to hold “Living and Learning” activities for our clients who are physically and/or mentally challenged and are bound to their wheelchairs and walkers,” she said. “But even with these types

Rosie Garcia, instructor with Zumama Fitness leads a Zumba class at the new Catholic Charities building. The new location has a huge warehouse for major client-focused activities and events. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic



support. “First and foremost, the major infrastructure grant gifted to us by the John G. and Maria Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and the overwhelming support of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Bishop (Michael) Mulvey and his wonderful leaders made this dream come true,” she said. McKamie said the Catholic Charities board of directors helped the organization grow through the years by understanding the good work being provided in the community. “They shared our vision to continue to grow, help more people and open the doors to expanded services,” McKamie said. She added that without faithful donors “who believe in our mission and integrity to serve those who are in most need of our understanding and services,” the move would not have been possible. Services at Catholic Charities are wide-ranging, from emergency aid, rural outreach, representative payee programs, ministry and life enrichment for

the disabled, immigration and refugee services, personal and housing counseling, as well as community wellness and education outreach through its Healthy Living Center. “Anyone who takes a tour, meets our staff and learns about what we do are amazed that our services are so comprehensive in meeting most of the basic needs of persons who are struggling to make ends meet,” McKamie said. “Our community health workers visit homes and support families raising young children. Our representative payee program manages social security and disability benefits for those who struggle to manage their funds. And there is so much more. For me it is a blessing that I am humbled to witness each day the ‘laborers in the vineyard’ and thank almighty God for this gift,” she said. For more information on Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, visit their website at or call (361) 884-0651.


Clients wait for an appointment in the lobby of the new Catholic Charities building. Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic

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See more photos at:



➒ ➊ ❷ ➏ The Chrism Mass at Corpus Christi Cathedral was celebrated on March 22. Ervey Martinez for South Texas Catholic

❸ ➐ Holy Thursday was celebrated at Corpus Christi Cathedral on March 24. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

❹ ➎ ➑ Good Friday was celebrated at Corpus Christi Cathedral on March 25. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

➓ ➒ ➓ The Our Lady of Guadalupe youth group in Alice reenacted a

“Live Stations of the Cross” play on Good Friday, March 25 through the parish’s neighborhood. Father Julian Cabrera, pastor at the parish, said several people along the procession were impacted by the sorrow and pain Jesus endured before being crucified. Also participating was Pastoral Vicar Father Joseph Vakayil Varghese of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Alice. Eddie Perez for South Texas Catholic MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   19


DRE event extends appreciation to catechists Viola Garcia from Our Lady of Pilar in Corpus Christi and Julia Strubhart of Our Lady of Consolation in Riviera were among more than 30 directors of religious education in the Diocese of Corpus Christi recognized at the annual DRE Appreciation Dinner on Thursday, April 21, at St. Philip the Apostle Parish. The dinner recognizes the faithful service of parish catechetical leaders and parish catechists; Garcia has served for 56 years and Strubhart for 50 years. Catechists with 25 plus years of service were presented with an icon of Christ the Teacher. Those receiving the icon, included Yolanda Perez, Janie Trevino and Minnie Hinojosa, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Portland; Jim Chaney, Augustine Solis and Joseph Polasek, Our Lady of the Assumption; Romula Reyes, St. Mary Star of the Sea; Phyllis Martinez and Paul Wondolowski, St. Paul the Apostle; Belia Guerra, St. Gertrude; Hilda Cantu, Goldia Hubert, Debbie Unterbrink and Julia Strubhart, Our Lady of Consolation; Ricardo Diaz and Lucy Martinez, Ss. Cyril & Methodius; Pauline Garza, Frances Lozano, Ciria Puente, Corpus Christi Cathedral; Gabriel Lopez

and Viola Garcia, Our Lady of Pilar; Jesusa Sanchez Vera, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Alice; Terri Flores, Anita Zambrano and Ester Flores, Immaculate Conception, Gregory; Emily Resendez, St. Elizabeth; Olga Gomez, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sinton; Katy Costello, Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Pat Kubicek, Sacred Heart, Sinton; and Deacon Armando Botello and Emma Botello, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Corpus Christi. Bishop Michael Mulvey addressed the 225 attendees at the dinner. He spoke of Bishop Mulvey addresses 225 attendees at the DRE catechesis as transmitting the Appreciation Dinner on April 21. See more photos at person of Jesus Christ and catechesis as a Spiritual Work Ervey Martinez for South Texas Catholic of Mercy. Bishop Mulvey also blessed the icons that were preministry of catechesis were presented with a sented to the catechists. certificate of appreciation for their years of Thirty-four parishes from the diocese were faithful service as volunteer catechists for parrepresented at the event. Parish catechists with ish religious education programs and R.C.I.A. 10, 15 and 20 years of faithful service to the

School leaders look at strategies for enrollment Representatives from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Corpus Christi attended two days of professional development training on April 18-19 at St. Pius X Youth Center. Teams of five from each school—representing the principal, pastor, members of the School Advisory Council, faculty and staff, and volunteers—participated in the two-day event. The workshops, sponsored by the Office of Catholic Schools, included subjects on marketing and enrollment management as well as strategic approaches to optimizing Catholic school enrollment. “Our Catholic schools must focus on marketing, branding, enrollment manage- Chris Hagerty with Partners in Mission, Advancement and Leadership Services for Catholic Edument and recruitment platforms to ensure cation was one of the presenters for the professional development training. vibrant and flourishing school communiHenry said all schools were engaged in important transformations to create irreties with Christ-centered environments,” exploring these platforms, tools and pro- sistible schools and to provide benchsaid Dr. Rosemary Henry, Superintendent cedures for immediate implementation. marks of excellence for all students and of Catholic Schools. “As a system of schools, we embrace families,” Henry said. 20  SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION | MAY 2016


Father Piotr Koziel Father Hahn Pham Father John Vega For the good of the people of God in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Bishop Michael Mulvey has made the following assignments effective April 30: Father Piotr Koziel as Parochial Vicar of St. Peter Prince of the Apostle and St. Mary’s Mission, Corpus Christi; Father Hahn Pham as Vicar for Vietnamese;

Father John Vega is granted early retirement for health reasons. Father Peter Stanley, Administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Taft, effective April 8. Father Tung Tran’s term as Chaplain in the U.S. Military is extended for three years.

Father Peter Stanley

Father Tung Tran

KLUX named religious radio station of the year Corpus Christi FM radio station KLUX-HD, “Catholic Radio for the New Evangelization,” has learned that it is the recipient of the 2016 National Gabriel Award for “Religious Radio Station of the Year.” The award is given for a station’s ability to uplift and enrich the human spirit with its total programming and community service. The Gabriel Awards, sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals, recognizes works of excellence in film, network, cable television and radio, as well as our newly created categories in social media. The award depicts a silver angel, Gabriel, raising skyward a globe encircled by electrons to symbolize the communication of God’s word to humanity. It is a salute to all those who strive for values-centered

programming. KLUX, which is affiliated with the Diocese of Corpus Christi, will be presented the award at the Gabriel Awards Banquet scheduled for Thursday, June 2, at the Catholic

Media Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Entrants undergo a selective process of preliminary screening and blue ribbon judging. Blue ribbon juries only present an award in a particular category when a level of excellence is achieved in values, content, creativity, artistic quality, technical quality and impact. The primary mission of KLUX is to provide positive, wholesome programming that promotes and amplifies Judeo-Christian values and the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church to the largest possible audience, while it enriches and gladdens the hearts of all beliefs. To this end, the station provides easy listening music interspersed with programs and messages that are responsive to its primary mission, as well as the needs of the community.

KJT contributes to seminarian education, clergy retirement The Catholic Union of Texas, The KJT, presented Bishop Michael Mulvey two checks on Wednesday, April 20. One check for $400 is for the Diocese of Corpus Christi’s Seminary Education Fund and a second

check for $550 is for the Priests and Religious Retirement Fund. “I want to thank…members of the KJT for these two supports toward our clergy,” Bishop Mulvey said. Ellen Zdansky and Rosalie Bohuslav presented the checks to Bishop Mulvey in his office.


South Texas Catholic


South Texas Celebrating

Catholic 1966-1975

Change was the name of the game in early years of newspaper



24 & 40 Columns Coylegenec CC BY-SA 3.0




50 a単os de servir

New presidents, new bishop, new name, new editors, new approach

a la comunidad hispana en su idioma

Willi Heidelbach, CC-BY-SA GFDL Odan Jaeger

48 2006-2016

New magazine format, online presence mark present, future

36 1986-1995 Odan Jaeger


Fourth decade saw changes in leadership



Third decade of newspaper chockfull of news, change


South Texas Catholic

50 years of proclaiming Christ’s presence Bishop Michael Mulvey


South Texas Catholic

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

t the end of the Gospel of Matthew, before his Ascension into heaven, Jesus commits to his disciples this poignant command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt 28:19-20).” These words of Christ, which have come to be known as “the Great Commission,” are at once inspiring as they are daunting. As followers of Jesus Christ and members of his body, we strive daily to live the life of faith, a life that necessarily includes taking up Christ’s directive to spread the good news of salvation to all. Confident in our Lord’s assurance that he will be with us always, we answer Christ’s call to proclaim the Gospel message to our world, which more and more seems desperately in need of hearing it. Among the many witnesses to faith in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the work of the South Texas Catholic remains a vital way to proclaim the presence of Christ here in South Texas. This month, May 2016, we celebrate the South Texas Catholic and its continuous work of making Jesus Christ known for half a century.

With the publication of its first issue on May 6, 1966 under the then-title Texas Gulf Coast Register, our diocesan newspaper was established by Bishop Thomas J. Drury to provide “authentic news and information from a Catholic viewpoint.” Taking to heart the words of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Means of Social Communications (Inter Mirifica) that a “truly Catholic press should be set up and encouraged,” Bishop Drury inaugurated the diocesan newspaper as one of his first major initiatives in order “to instill a fully Christian spirit into readers.” From the beginning, the newspaper recognized the need to provide reporting and features in both English and Spanish and, in 1970, the paper started to be printed locally under the new name the Texas Gulf Coast Catholic emphasizing not only more local stories but also underscoring its Catholic identity. The then assistant editor, Father Raymond Peña— now Bishop Raymond Peña—remarked “there has always been a need in every diocese to communicate to the faithful items not covered by the public press.” True to this vision and its original mission, the newspaper continued to provide important reporting on local, national and international news, both secular and religious, all from a Catholic perspective. In January 1980, under the editorship of

➤ Throughout its 50 years, the newspaper has and

continues to serve as an important chronicle of the history of the diocese. After 50 years, we can say that it has itself become part of our history. 24  SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION | MAY 2016

Celebrating Father Robert Freeman, the paper adopted the new name of South Texas Catholic and renewed its mission to “look no further than the Gospel message to evangelize, teach and inform.” In fact, throughout its history, the newspaper has served as an indispensable aid to the diocesan bishops of the diocese as a medium for teaching, informing and staying in touch with the faithful. In the same way, it has provided an opportunity for the faithful to stay connected with the numerous events and news of parishes, institutions, communities and individuals throughout the diocese as well as highlight important moments in the life of our diocese. Throughout its 50 years, the newspaper has and continues to serve as an important chronicle of the history of the diocese. After 50 years, we can say that it has itself become part of our history. On behalf of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, and particularly on behalf of all the bishops who have served the diocese in the past 50 years, I express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the South


Texas Catholic on this the occasion of its Golden Anniversary. I thank especially the current editor Alfredo Cardenas and the current staff as well as all past editors, staff and benefactors who have worked tirelessly to maintain the presence of a Catholic diocesan publication for the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The South Texas Catholic continues to fulfill faithfully its original mission of providing “authentic news and information from a Catholic viewpoint” and in this way helps to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ entrusted to all of us to “make disciples of all nations” teaching them to observe all that he has commanded us to do. So as we celebrate its Golden Anniversary, we give thanks to God for the blessing of the South Texas Catholic that has served our diocese so well for the past 50 years. May it continue its important mission of making Christ known to all who may read it. May it always help us bear witness to the presence of our lord Jesus Christ here in South Texas.

Congratulations South Texas Catholic on your 50th Anniversary! With 50 Years of Service comes great responsibility. This is something Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi and South Texas Catholic have in common. 50 Years of serving the Diocese of Corpus Christi. 50 Years of helping our community. 50 Years of being there. Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi and the Mother Teresa Shelter would like to thank South Texas Catholic for always supporting our many programs which helped us to serve 253,570 people in 2015. Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi has a new location! 615 Oliver Ct., Corpus Christi, Texas 78408 (361) 884-0651 MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   25

South Texas Catholic


Celebrating join the South Texas Sisters of Providence Catholic in celebrating 50 years of service! YEARS

Many of you have been taught by these SPs: Sister Maureen Abbott Sister Christopher Bates Sister Marie Guerin Becker Sister Patricia Clare Beggs Sister Therese Eleanor Blessinger Sister Barbara Ann Bluntzer (Mary Martha) Sister Ann Kathleen Brawley Sister Doris Broerman Sister Eleanor Mary Buckley Sister Richard Bussing Sister Marie Caroline Carroll Sister Gretchen Christiansen Sister Stephanie Collins Sister Barbara Bluntzer trains lectors at St. Pius X Sister Catherine Elizabeth Currans Catholic School. (Left to right), Sister Barbara, Sister Irene Celeste Currans Aaron Buchanan and Larry Roberts, fifth graders in Sister Edmunda Day Mrs. Stovall’s class. “In religious life, one doesn’t really Sister Ann Mary Dietz retire: one simply ‘shifts gears,’ continuing to relish the Sister Rose Virginia Eichman Sister Mary Thomas Farrell presence of God in each person, place and event,” said Sister Carole Ann Fedders (Joseph Marie) Sister Barbara. Sister Elizabeth Ann Flori Sister Jeremy Gallet Sister Michaela Galvin Sister Loretta Maureen Gansemer Sister Loretta Clare Gehring Sister Eileen Clare Goetzen Sister Ann Jeanette Gootee Sister Thomasine Griffin Sister Marie Rose Harding Sisters of Providence have served at Sister Catherine Hartman(Ann Thomas) St. John Nepomucene Grade School and High School (Robstown), Our Lady of Mount Carmel Sister Margaret Heese (Margaret Bernard) Sister David Marie Hession (Mary Frances) Mission (Clarkwood), Our Lady of Mount Sister Marie Carita Higgins Carmel Parish (Portland), Corpus Christi College Sister Joseph Ellen Keitzer Academy, Diocesan Office of Liturgy, Adult Sister Helen Marie Kelly Education and Religious Education, Most Sister Francis Pauline Kennedy Precious Blood Parish, Archbishop Oscar Sister Benita Kenzor Romero Junior High School, St. Pius X Parish, Sister Alma Therese Klee Corpus Christi Literacy Program, St. Pius X Sister Dorothy Louise Klopfenstein

Did you know that Sisters of Providence have ministered in South Texas since 1946?

Sister Charles Louise Kluesner Sister Arlene Knarzer (Jean Cecile) Sister Marilyn Ann Kofler Sister Margaret Cecile Leonard (Delia) Sister Claudia Lewis Sister Helen Dolores Losleben Sister Patricia Mahoney (Kevin Joseph) Sister Catherine Mattes Sister Maureen Ann McCarthy Sister George McGrory Sister Myra Ann McMahon Sister Anna Martina Melok Sister Carita Miller Sister Genevieve Clare Mulville Sister Lucille Nolan (Mary Lucille) Sister Neil O’Brien (Meg) Sister Ann Kevin O’Connor Sister Bernice O’Neill (Mary Dominic) Sister Laurence Therese O’Neill Sister Maureen Cecile Palmer Sister Perpetua Peckham Sister Marie Victoria Podesta Sister Margaret Quinlan (Ann Jude) Sister Charles Agnes Quinn (Mary Margaret) Sister Mary Colette Reincke Sister Mary Ethel Ringe Sister Mary Peter Roberts (Nancy) Sister Elaine Therese Roos Sister Rosemary Schmalz (Mary Ida) Sister Francis Marita Schuler Sister Joseph Irene Soltau Sister Joseph Andre Sullivan Sister Gerard Theuer Sister Marietta Urbine Sister Mary Rita Walsh Sister Ann Loretta Wedlock Sister Miriam Loretto Wonderly Sister Mary Roberta Young

School and St. Therese Parish.

Email to share your stories!

Congratulations to the South Texas Catholic! • 812-535-2802 MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   27

South Texas Catholic


Change was the name of the game in early years of newspaper Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic


t was the 1960s and the world was in transition. Thousands were dying in the fields of Vietnam. American political leaders were being assassinated. Tens of thousands were marching in the streets against the war; many others were protesting discrimination against blacks, low wages for farmworkers and other social issues. The United States government had launched a war against poverty; the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal; and the Catholic Church was gripped by the dramatic changes brought about the by Second Vatican Council. In the Diocese of Corpus Christi the big news was—news. Amidst all this fervor, Bishop Thomas J. Drury decided it was time for the diocese to have its own “official” newspaper. On May 6, 1966 the first issue of the Texas Gulf Coast Register was launched. The bishop said it would provide “authentic news and information from a Catholic viewpoint…” Bishop Drury was appointed bishop of Corpus Christi on July 19, 1965 and the Second Vatican Council closed less than five months later on Dec. 8, 1965. Two years earlier, Pope Paul VI had issued his “Decree on the Media of Social Communications, Inter Mirifica.” Quoting from the decree, Bishop Drury said in the inaugural issue, “a good press

Bishop Thomas J. Drury decided it was time for the diocese to have its own“official” newspaper. Archive photo

should be fostered. To instill a fully Christian spirit into readers, a truly Catholic press should be set up and encouraged…It will be the task of the bishops, however, to watch over such works and undertakings in their own dioceses, to promote them and, as far as the public apostolate is concerned, to guide them.” Setting up the local diocesan newspaper was the first major initiative undertaken by Bishop Drury, the newspaper’s first editor Father William Gough said. The diocesan newspaper was printed in Denver, Colorado by the national Register newspaper chain until 1970 when it changed its name to the Texas Gulf Coast Catholic and began printing locally with Mirabal Printing Co. The change gave the newspaper a better deadline,


allowing it to cover more local stories. From the very first issue, the diocesan newspaper recognized the need to provide reporting in Spanish. Its Spanish page, La Luz, was a regular feature edited by associate editor Father Raymundo Peña. Father Peña went on to serve as editor until 1975, and the following year he was elevated to auxiliary bishop of San Antonio. The civilian press deals with the city of man, Father Gough wrote, and the religious press with the city of God. The Catholic press, he said, is a “continuation of the preaching ministry established by Christ.” But, of course, the religious press must also deal with the “city of man” as it tries to advance the “city of God” and the secular press often reports on issues of the Church. And, indeed the Texas Gulf Coast Register did just that. The diocesan newspaper often reported on secular issues, such as, the withdrawal by the pastor of St. John of the Cross in Orange Grove of 120 students from the public school summer program because the program did not consider hiring the poor; the bishop’s call for support



In this 1969 photo, Father William Gough (at left) discusses transfer of editorial control with Father James Ullrich who succeeded him as editor. Archive photo


South Texas Catholic

In 1970, Bishop Drury decided it was time for the diocese's newspaper to be published locally in order to have more timely news. The change brought with it a new name for the publication, the Texas Gulf Coast Catholic. Archive photo

for farmworkers striking in Starr County; burying soldiers killed in Vietnam, including Bishop Drury’s nephew; and more. The newspaper occasionally ran stories appearing in the secular press, correcting any errors regarding Church teaching. It was not uncommon for the newspaper to run political advertisements and to urge the faithful to register to vote. Occasionally, it even endorsed issues, such as Constitutional Amendments to the Texas Constitution. It ran stories against abortion, especially after the passage of Roe v. Wade; against the funding of Planned Parenthood; and for support for public subsidies for private education. The newspaper urged readers to consider where candidates stood on issues of religion, moral concerns, Israel, aid to parochial schools, busing, etc. The overriding purpose of the Texas Gulf Coast Register, however, was to inform the faithful in the

Diocese of Corpus Christi of the changes Bishop Drury was making pursuant to the reforms called for in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. One of the major initiatives of Bishop Drury was the creation of a Diocesan Pastoral Commission consisting of priests, religious men and women and lay men and women. It was seen as “a giant step for laity participation.” Other reforms included the formation of a Priests Senate as well as a “sisters board.” The bishop and priests often took part in ecumenical events and in celebrations of the Latin and Byzantine Liturgies. Likewise,

Bishop Drury celebrated Masses for farmworkers and other social justice movements, including mistreatment of people on racial and poverty basis. The newspaper reported on the “new look” for nuns, new priestly apparel with four color options (black, white, gray and charcoal), the new Missal, the Saturday “Sunday” Mass, changes in annulments, requiring confession before first Communion, allowing face-toface confessions, taking Communion on the hand, the role of girls as altar servers, allowing both species for Eucharist, etc., etc. Like any newspaper, it served as

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Archbishop Roberto González, OFM 30  SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION | MAY 2016

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Celebrating the publication of record for the diocese. It ran the bishop’s calendar, his priestly appointments and his announcement for a new administrative structure for the Chancery. It recorded the creation of new parishes, such as, Most Precious Blood, St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, St. Paul the Apostle, Our Lady of the Assumption in Ingleside, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Alice, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Corpus Christi, St. Andrew by the Sea and St. Bernard in Woodsboro. It also noted other new initiatives, such as the opening of the Catholic Student Center at Texas A&I University, dedication of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Convent, the Pax Christi Residence for Girls, Corpus Christi Abbey and the new Cursillo Center. While there were many new developments during the first 10 years of the diocesan newspaper, many of the events that were part of the life of the diocese then, are still celebrated today, such as the celebration of silver and golden marriage jubilees, recognition awards for Boy Scouts, natural family planning, Pre Cana seminars, the return to school Mass, Cursillos, Catholic School graduations and other activities in slightly different reiterations. One particular story that appeared on the front page of


Sister Margaret Mary Johnson, Poor Clare and her grand-nephew Father Michael Mulvey appeared in the August 8, 1975 issue. Archive photo

the Aug. 8, 1975 issue had a prescient quality to it. A young Father Michael Mulvey, having been a priest for less than two months, came to Corpus Christi to celebrate a special Mass at the

Monastery of St. Clare—to which his great-aunt belonged—on the feast day of their foundress. Thirty-five years later he returned to be the shepherd of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.


South Texas Catholic


New presidents, new bishop, new name, new editors, new approach Rebecca Esparza

T Correspondent

he year 1976 was an important turning point; not only was it the Bicentennial Year celebrating 200 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, it was also the year the United States elected a new President, Jimmy Carter. In the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the diocesan newspaper, Texas Gulf Coast Catholic, featured stories about Operation Rice Bowl, the Church’s opposition to a proposed abortion clinic in Corpus Christi and prayers for rain. Bishop Thomas J. Drury often penned letters in the publication asking Catholics in the diocese to respect the dignity of human life, volunteer in their church communities and pray for vocations. The newspaper hosted a television show that aired every Sunday on KRIS-TV called “The Texas Gulf Coast Catholic”. There were articles discussing changes brought about by Vatican II, since there was still some confusion over the changes in the understanding of Church doctrine. By 1978, Father Robert Freeman had replaced Father Hugh Clarke as editor for the Texas Gulf Coast Catholic. This year also commemorated the 125th anniversary of the Corpus Christi Cathedral Parish, which got its start as St. Patrick’s in 1853. According to a news story about the anniversary,

Pope John Paul I (left) shakes hands with Bishop Thomas J. Drury from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, before his shortlived papacy came to a sad end. Archived photo

“Catholicism in Corpus Christi dates back to 1845, eight years before the first adobe church was


erected.” Several years later, a small adobe structure is considered the birth of the cathedral parish. The



first recorded baptism in Corpus Christi is dated June 10, 1853. “The tiny St. Patrick’s Church of shell and mortar, accommodating 50-60 persons, has been replaced by the magnificent stone Cathedral with a seating capacity of 2,000,” the newspaper reported. A dedication ceremony was held on Feb. 26, 1978 for the new St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Church in Annaville. August 1978 saw the death of Pope Paul VI and the election of Pope John Paul I, who died after only 33 days into his papacy, triggering another conclave. This second conclave of 1978 produced Pope John Paul II, one of the youngest popes in history. The new pope announced his first pilgrimage to Mexico to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Later in 1979, St. Anthony’s parish in Robstown prepared to celebrate 70 years as a parish and 25 years of “being housed in the present Gothic style structure” and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Corpus Christi celebrated 25 years with a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Drury. The Jan. 11, 1980 issue featured a brand new name for the newspaper, which was now the South Texas Catholic and the format also changed to a tabloid. The new name was “designed to describe more accurately the geographical area covered by the diocese.” The newspaper was published 50 weeks a year for an annual subscription of $5.

Bishop Rene H. Gracida was introduced at a press conference as Bishop Drury’s successor on May 19, 1983. He was officially installed on July 11, 1983. Archive photo MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   33

South Texas Catholic On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The aftermath sent Catholics across the world praying for the pope’s recovery, as religious leaders from other faiths denounced the violent act. NC photo from UPI

A change in lifestyles, norms and attitudes were ushered in at the start of 1981 with the election of President Ronald Reagan. Test tube babies challenged bioethicists and end-of-life issues began to be debated. Bishop Drury dedicated the new St. James Church in Bishop on Feb. 26, 1981. The South Texas Catholic landed an exclusive interview with United Farmworker President Cesar Chavez, who said the Church “needs to champion the cause of the poor as Christ did on earth.” March 3, 1981 marked the dedication and blessing of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Flour Bluff. More than 700 people gathered for the occasion, including 40 priests and Bishop Drury. At the time, the parish had 450 registered families. On May 13, 1981, Pope John

Paul II survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The aftermath sent Catholics across the world to pray for the Pope’s recovery, as religious leaders from other faiths denounced the violent act. A significant change came to the Diocese of Corpus Christi in 1982, with the planned retirement of Bishop Drury. Before the

United Farm Workers president Cesar Chavez, who granted an interview to the South Texas Catholic, prays silently during Mass at the UFW convention in San Juan, Texas. Archive photo


bishop’s retirement, the diocese started construction of a 48-unit apartment complex for the elderly called Villa Maria and the diocesan communications department unveiled a new studio and made its television debut with its first series, “Encuentros,” a Spanish language program designed to be “a voice of the Catholic Church to the Hispanic people.”

Celebrating Bishop Rene H. Gracida of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was introduced at a press conference as Bishop Drury’s successor on May 24, 1982. He was officially installed on July 15, 1982. By 1985, the Diocese of Corpus Christi was serving 314,812 Catholics across South Texas. Bishop Gracida appointed a new editor for


the South Texas Catholic, Don Miehls, a laicized Dominican priest. On May 29, 1985, the diocese unveiled the nation’s first diocesan-supported radio station, KLUX-FM 89.5. As the second decade of the official newspaper came to a close, the diocese—serving Catholics in 18,000 square miles from Corpus


Christi to Laredo to Rockport to Kingsville—officially outlined a list of services, including Apostleship of the Sea, Campus Ministry, Catholic Social Services, Catholic Telecommunications, Catholic Schools, Diaconate Program, Religious Education, Bishop Drury Retreat House, the South Texas Catholic, among others.


Catholic “Life is fragile; handle it with mercy and prayer.”

Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters Blessed Sacrament Convent 4105 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78411

Congratulations South Texas Catholic

Congratulations South Texas Catholic




of serving the diocese of Corpus Christi

Serving the Diocese of Corpus Christi for 50 years

Deacon Michael Mantz and the Deacons for the Diocese of Corpus Christi

Rockport, Texas MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   35

South Texas Catholic


Third decade of newspaper chockfull of news, change

Alfredo E. Cardenas


South Texas Catholic

s the third decade of the South Texas Catholic story began to unfold, Bishop Rene H. Gracida began to leave his imprint on the diocese’s development. In 1986, he organized a diocesan credit union, increased the diocese’s commitment to serving the disabled, changed the minor seminary into Corpus Christi Academy, opened Camp Corpus Christi, a diocesan campground in the hill country, began to invest heavily in telecommunications, radio and TV and initiated planning for “Synod 88, Becoming Body of Christ”, a diocesan wide confab designed to

set the agenda for the future. Perhaps the bishop’s major initiative was his communications efforts, which received extensive coverage in the newspaper. This venture included radio and television stations in Corpus Christi and Laredo, the South Texas Catholic and a print shop. Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communication, came to Corpus Christi and Laredo on Aug. 12, 1986 to bless and dedicate the new Catholic telecommunications centers. In 1988, Bishop Gracida appeared on EWTN with Mother Angelica to discuss the use of communications in evangelization. In 1991, the bishop unveiled a new publishing venture by the diocesan press. The ambitious plans called for the South Texas Catholic to be reorganized into a multi-edition newspaper, which would publish one edition for the Diocese of Corpus Christi and one for the Western Vicariate, which had been established two years earlier to better serve the Laredo area. Also, editions would be published for the dioceses of San Antonio, Brownsville and Victoria. The actual plans did not materialize and several months later the award-winning newspaper


began publishing biweekly “due to financial constraints.” Perhaps because of the strain of the expanded publishing plans, in November 1992 the newspaper got a new editor. Father John Michael Vega, who retained his position as pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Portland, who took over for Rachelle Ramon who had replaced Don Miehls as editor in 1986. In June 1993, the newspaper took another cost-saving measure by announcing to readers that if they had not subscribed they would no longer receive the South Texas Catholic in the mail. It would be bulk mailed to each parish. Several months later, Antony P. Riley became the new editor with Father Vega moving up to “executive editor.” Before the close of the decade, Paula Espitia took over as interim editor in 1995. The challenges presented by the communications ventures, led the diocese to make financial cutbacks. The diocese’s budget committee began to study ways to reduce the diocesan deficit and a few months later, the budget was reduced by $900,000 though restructuring. Archbishop Foley was not the only national figure to come to the diocese at the invitation of Bishop Gracida. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago gave the keynote at the “20th Annual Southwest Liturgical Conference” in 1988. In 1989, Cardinal Timothy Manning of Los Angeles dedicated the Blessed



Bishop Rene H. Gracida visits with Pope John Paul II. Archive photo

Sacrament Chapel. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York spoke at the “Celebration for Life Dinner” in 1994 and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed the 1995 Red Mass. The next month, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, addressed clergy conference on dealing with abortion at the parish level. In 1994,

Sarita Kenedy East.

at the bishop’s invitation, Catholic scholars held their annual fellowship convention in Corpus Christi. The bishop used his column in the newspaper, “Entre Nosotros”, to keep the faithful informed of his initiatives. These included topics such as possession and exorcism; aids and condoms; racism and abortion; withdrawing nutrition; and divorced and remarried. In an eight-page piece, entitled “The persistent prejudice: The truth about the Sarita K. East Estate," Bishop Gracida gave a comprehensive account about litigation that had entangled the diocese for 25-years. The litigation came to an end several months later when the courts dismissed claims that were adverse to the diocese. The year 1987 opened with an emphasis on the implementation of a new immigration law. Bishop Gracida encouraged assisting “aliens” and the family was the focus of National Migration Week events. Catholics were urged

not to blame immigrants and that migration offered an opportunity for Catholics to shape society. The South Texas Catholic featured several articles on “life working in the fields." Teams were organized to minister to migrant farmworkers. The bishop annually visited with farmworker families just before beginning their trek north and bestowed a blessing on them. In February, Synod 88 convened for planning meetings with several hundred in attendance. Synod planning continued for months with delegates discussing synodal documents at regional meetings. Finally, in April 1988, Synod 88 got underway at the Bayfront Plaza, looking at the topics of Catholic education, religious education, evangelization, ecumenism and interfaith matters, laity, permanent deacons, social justice, liturgy, communications, the parish, the diocese, spiritual life, religious (consecrated life), priests, marriage and family, and youth and young


South Texas Catholic adults. The newspaper provided extensive coverage and in subsequent issues covered each topic area in detail. The newspaper planned special editions for the diocese’s 75th Jubilee as well as for its own 25th anniversary. In 1995, Our Lady of Refuge celebrated its 200th anniversary. Also noted were Pope John Paul II’s visits to San Antonio and Denver. Some 125 people from the diocese were selected to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at the San Antonio papal visit. In November 1988, the bishop participated in the first Operation Rescue held in Corpus Christi, which resulted in 12 arrests. Shortly after, the Body of Christ Rescue, formerly Texas Rescue, was established in Corpus Christi. They grabbed headlines for months to come. Rescuers were very active and often they ended up in jail. Things calmed down when Bishop Gracida named their leader Rex Moses as head of the Human Life Office and directed him to stop rescues at all local abortion clinics. Still, the pro-life movement continued to be very active. Pro-life supporters organized for a pro-life walk across the Diocese of Corpus Christi, starting in Laredo. Moses used his newspaper column, “Voice

for Life,” to advance the pro-life cause. Both he and Bishop Gracida wrote open letters in the newspaper to both pro- and anti-life elected officials and candidates. Bishop Gracida’s letter to two abortion procurers informing them that their actions had resulted in automatic excommunication caused a furor in the local and national secular media. Msgr. Robert Freeman went on the CBS’ “Sunday Morning” show to explain that excommunication was a healing instrument of the Church. The bishop took to the columns of the South Texas Catholic to explain the topic of excommunication. The editor interviewed Bishop Gracida on the topic and the bishop also issued a Pastoral Letter on Abortion and Excommunication, which filled seven tabloid newspaper pages. The bishop also lent support to a proposed Human Family amendment to the city charter and urged the active participation by parishes in the cause. Protests at the abortion clinics were not the only pro-life activities in the diocese. The Gabriel Project was introduced to help women with crisis pregnancies. Support

Incarnate Word sisters from Corpus Christi, Sisters Therese Ann Ridge, left, and Elizabeth Close and Benedictine Sister Nancy Boushey of Rio Grande City pray and sing during a rescue at a Corpus Christi abortion clinic. Archive photo


was also provided to unwed teen mothers and single fathers who were “often denied rights.” In February 1989, the Western Vicariate of the Diocese of Corpus Christi was established with Msgr. James Tamayo named vicar. The vicariate was established in preparation for the new Diocese of Laredo, which came 11 years later. Msgr. Tamayo was named auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston in 1993. The diocese was met with sad news in July 1992, when it received word from New Jersey that Bishop Emeritus Thomas Drury had suffered a heart attack. The bishop passed into eternal life on July 22, 1992. The South Texas Catholic honored its founder with a special edition commemorating his life. In 1988, the new Bishop Garriga Junior High was dedicated. In 1990, the collegiate parish of St. Thomas More was established for students and staff from Del Mar and Corpus Christi State University, now Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. The first ministry conference was held in February 1990 and attracted 800 and the first Red Mass was held in October. In 1992, the first Anglican-use



Mass was celebrated in diocese. Father William T. St. John Brown was the first former Episcopalian priest ordained for the diocese and was made priest in charge of St. Anselm Anglican-Use Community. In 1994, the Tecolote community in Jim Wells County united to build a new church, Santo Niño de Atocha. In 1995, Father Carlos S. Casavantes was assigned to minister to new traditionalist parish St. Michael the Archangel Latin Mass Parish, formerly known as the Corpus Christi Tridentine Latin Mass Society. The third decade of the South Texas Catholic came to a close with the welcome of Bishop Roberto Gonzalez. At Bishop Gracida’s request, the pope provided a coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in anticipation of Gracida’s resignation at the age of 75, three years hence. The newspaper introduced the new bishop to its readers with a special edition. Bishop Roberto Gonzalez was installed as coadjutor of the Diocese of Corpus Christi as the newspaper wound up its third decade. Archive photo The Volunteers of

Congratulations South Texas Catholic

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The South Texas Catholic on its Anniversary

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Thank you, gracias Alfredo E. Cárdenas


South Texas Catholic

Alfredo E. Cárdenas is editor of the South Texas Catholic.

n behalf of our publisher, Bishop Michael Mulvey, and our staff, Mary, Adel and Madelyn, I want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our readers and advertisers for your support over the last 50 years. A publication cannot exist without readers and advertisers. And it cannot exist without all those people whose stories we are permitted to tell in our columns. To all of you, the newsmakers, we also extend our gratitude. A very special thank you to all previous bishops, living and deceased, for their leadership and support. Thanks also to our current and previous theogical consultants; to all former staff members; and to current and past correspondents and contributors. Researching the last 50 years has been both a challenge and a joy. It has been an eye-opener regarding the many blessings and sacrifices that people in this corner of God’s Kingdom have enjoyed and endured in their steadfast pursuit of and love for Christ. Through the years there have been many changes in the diocese and at the South Texas Catholic, all in the pursuit of the truth that is God’s love. We are grateful to all the bishops that have shepherded the South Texas Catholic through good times and bad. To Bishop Thomas Drury we owe our very existence. To Bishop Rene H. Gracida, whose vision and commitment shaped a vibrant Catholic press, we also owe our thanks. To Bishop Roberto Gonzalez we are thankful for his commitment to preserving a newspaper during a time of retrenchment. To Bishop Edmond Carmody we say thank you for restoring the newspaper to its former self after the financial hard times were behind us. To Bishop Michael Mulvey, thank you for your unswerving support and for your trust, which has allowed us to creatively take the newspaper to a magazine with a presence on the World Wide Web. We also owe a special word of thanks to the John G. and Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation for their financial support through the years, but especially for a grant to help us memorialize the


last 50 years. With the help of the foundation, we are in the process of digitizing the last 50 years of newspapers/magazines to make them available to the public and researchers on the Web. The database will be searchable so, for example, someone who is researching their parish for a historical marker will be able to find all the stories we may have on the parish. If someone new to a position of ministry in the diocese wants to come up to speed on how the ministry got here, they will be able to follow its development through the years. We anticipate that this database will be of great value to the faithful throughout the diocese. We hope that this special edition may become a keepsake, as was our centennial special edition, which included our transition to the magazine format. Trying to pack 50 years of news into a few pages is a near impossible task, but we tried our best. Perhaps someone’s favorite ministry or event is not included or perhaps in the interest of space we may not have summarized an event in the best light. Our omission, error or perceived misrepresentation were not intentional, they were simply victims of the scarcity of time, space and talent. That being said, we will move forward towards our next 50 years with confidence in the knowledge that we are being guided by the eternal, and in the eternal there is always room for forgiveness and mercy. The greatest storyteller of all time was Jesus Christ. His parables are the most remembered, and certainly have had the most impact. Part of the reason for this—aside from their obvious intention to impart God’s truth and love—is their simplicity. People understand them, or to use the vernacular of today, people get it. That is the model that we have tried to follow in presenting our stories. Can people relate to them? Are they easy to understand? Do they promote the Gospel message? Our intention, indeed our priority is—in the words of Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis, Secretary for the USCCB Committee on Communications—”to proclaim the joy, the mercy and the love of Jesus Christ, at all times and in all places and to all people.”


South Texas Catholic


Fourth decade saw changes in leadership Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic


he most significant event in the fourth decade of the publication of the South Texas Catholic was the changing of the guard between Bishop Rene H. Gracia and Bishop Roberto Gonzalez, which occurred in April 1997. Bishop Gracida retired three weeks after settlement of a major lawsuit brought against him and the board of the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation by the Attorney General of Texas. The attorney general’s lawsuit, filed in 1996, was the latest legal action in the dispute over the Sarita

Kenedy East Estate that had been in the courts since 1960. Bishop Gonzalez asked everyone to “stand strong as a local church united in solidarity with our diocesan bishop.” He said Bishop Gracida’s silence was “dictated by prudence.” In a later statement issued by Bishop Gracida on the lawsuit, he asked for prayers and charity towards all involved. He said he was disappointed and had hoped to leave the diocese to his successor without legal entanglements, and still hoped he could. He said that his predecessors had experienced the same problems with legal issues involving the Kenedy Foundation and warned that


not all stories appearing in the secular press were true. While relying heavily on the foundation for financial support, the diocese had overreached in its many initiatives. The diocese faced litigation expenses from eight lawsuits. The diocese’s grant support from the Kenedy Foundation had diminished

Bishop Roberto Gonzalez visits the diocesan press operation in anticipation of closing it down and putting it up for sale in order to get control of a mounting diocesan deficit. Archive photo

Celebrating greatly and it faced an inability to cover a debt of $12 million accrued over the past years from operational deficits, including $3.5 million from its broadcasting venture and $2 million from a bank line of credit. This financial difficulty called for a new chapter in its history to begin. Foremost in this new reality was the need for budget reductions. This resulted in consolidations; a 32 percent reduction in staff; 43 specific cuts across all diocesan ministries; and ceasing all printing operations at the Diocesan Press and vacating its building and relocating the South Texas Catholic and the Diocese Communications Corporation. The new reality also called for “revenue enhancement” by initiating subscription sales program for the newspaper to the tune of $50,000. The printing plant, which included offset and web presses, a plate maker and many other pieces of equipment, was offered for “occupancy”. The Cathedral Sunday Mass, which had been proposed for elimination in the budget cuts, was restored thanks to the Spohn Health System. Still, Bishop Gonzalez—who had been named by Bishop Gracida as head of the budget committee—announced the laying off of 67 employees and other budget cuts. In March 1997, an agreement was reached with the attorney general on the lawsuit. It called for the Kenedy Foundation board to expand from seven to 13 members, with nine lay members and four bishops. The bishop of Corpus Christi and the auxiliary bishop of San Antonio


would always have a seat on the board. No grants would have to be paid back and no board members would have to resign. It sought to remain loyal to Sarita Kenedy East’s will intentions. In keeping with its prior practice, the diocese continued its custom of financial transparency by publishing in the South Texas Catholic the comprehensive financial reports of the diocese, detailed reports on parish contributions to second collections and burse fund reports. In 1997, Bishop Gracida observed 25 years as a bishop. His tenure in Corpus Christi had been “marked by a style of strong leadership and conviction to a number of causes, which often made him the focus of local and national media.” He had been a supporter of communications media. Bishop Gonzalez became the

new bishop of Corpus Christi at the age 47, the youngest bishop in the country. Upon his installation, Bishop Roberto, as he preferred to be called, thanked Bishop Gracida and said he would “have a special place of honor.” Due to the size of the financial crisis, Bishop Roberto had to implement more budget cuts. Ten more positions were eliminated in order to balance the budget. The announcement came that the newspaper would become a monthly in August with the new name of South Texas Catholic Monthly. The new format included 32 tabloid pages, including a Spanish column by the bishop, ministry resources, letters to the editor, a children’s page, etc. What did not change at the newspaper was its winning ways; in July 1998 it received two national press awards for guest columns and for story on the colonias.

Bishop Edmond Carmody was installed in 2000 and with time returned the South Texas Catholic to a biweekly and began mailing it to all Catholic households registered with their parish. Archive photo MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   43

South Texas Catholic Despite the bad financial news, the diocese continued meeting the needs of the faithful. At the close of 1998, it eased the burden on parishes by forgiving $1.2 million in parish debt. Just as things began to settle down, in early 1999 news came that the pope had named Bishop Roberto as archbishop of Puerto Rico, but he remained as apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Corpus Christi until the end of the year. In May the South Texas Catholic paid tribute to Bishop Roberto with a Special Edition: “Roberto friend, the people are with you!” In July, results of a diocese selfstudy commissioned by Bishop Roberto was completed and published on the diocesan website. “Recommendations for the New Millennium,” complied by Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, had as its purpose to make recommendations to reduce the $13 million debt. The 94-page document contained 53 questions, which were answered by 20,962 respondents. The year—and Bishop Roberto’s tenure in Corpus Christi—ended with the newspaper publishing a special edition dedicated to diocesan offices and operations that had been

hard-hit by budget cuts. On Feb. 3, 2000, the pope named Bishop Edmond Carmody of Tyler as the new ordinary in Corpus Christi. In response, the South Texas Catholic Monthly published a special edition on the new bishop. In April 2000, the newspaper moved to the chancery. Later in the year, word came that Bishop James Tamayo had been named the bishop of the new Diocese of Laredo and the newspaper again published a special edition on the new diocese carved out of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Bishop Carmody said the split was good for the Diocese of Corpus Christi because it would provide more time for remaining staff to tend to their ministries. A great believer in missionaries— having been one—Bishop Carmody oversaw the influx of missionary priests, mostly from India, making it possible for every parish to have a resident priest. By the end of his first year in Corpus Christi, Bishop Carmody realized the value of the South Texas Catholic and returned it to a biweekly publication and dropped the word “Monthly” from the masthead. It began to publish 16-20 pages twice a month, on the first and third Fridays,


and was mailed to designated parishioners. It had a new format and a new look. Through the remainder of this 10-year cycle, the newspaper continued to win national press awards. The year 2001, and much of the rest of the second half of this decade, was dominated by news about 9/11 and related events. The “nation moves from terror to prayer,” the newspaper headlined. Bishop Carmody asked the faithful to help the people of Iraq via a second collection. Funerals were held throughout the Iraq War for local soldiers killed in action. Some highlights from the remaining years of this decade include the opening of the Our Lady of Corpus Christi Chapel, the dedication of Mother Teresa Homeless Shelter, the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVII.

A great believer in missionaries— having been one—Bishop Carmody oversaw the influx of missionary priests, mostly from India, making it possible for every parish to have a resident priest. Archive photo




South Texas Catholic

CONGRATULATIONS South texaS CatholiC for 50 years of sharing the



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South Texas Catholic


New magazine format, online presence mark present, future Dayna Mazzei Worchel



ince its inception in the 1960s, the South Texas Catholic has undergone plenty of changes, said the magazine’s editor Alfredo Cãrdenas, who came onboard in 2010. Perhaps the biggest change is going from a newspaper to a magazine format. “We launched the magazine in March 2012 during the Centennial celebration of the diocese,” Cãrdenas said. He noted that he and Bishop Michael Mulvey had the idea for a magazine format at the same time but each of them on their own. They both had seen another diocesan publication in magazine format and thought that would be a good look for the South Texas Catholic. Cãrdenas came to the magazine after working in Austin for the State Comptroller’s Office for 10 years. Before holding that position, he founded and owned the Duval County Picture, a weekly newspaper in San Diego, Texas where he was

A fresco of the Immaculate Conception served as a backdrop as local clergy gathered around the altar with Bishop Edmond Carmody while the first class of the new John Paul II High School filled the Immaculate Conception Chapel for the Aug. 1, 2006 Mass which opened the first day of classes for the school. Amelia Eudy, South Texas Catholic




Bishop Mulvey brings in the Centennial year of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Archive photo

raised. One of the objectives of the South Texas Catholic during Cãrdenas’ tenure has been to report on relevant social issues as they relate to the Catholic Church. “We try to reflect the initiatives of the Church, especially those of the Holy Father and Bishop Mulvey,” he said. The magazine is funded by the diocese and readers’ contributions. Under Cãrdenas’ tenure, the magazine has reported on a variety of issues, including immigration and the challenges immigrants face when they arrive in the U.S., such as obtaining adequate health care and housing. There have also been stories written about grandparents

raising grandchildren and the choice to place a child for adoption rather than have an abortion. Many other stories on many other issues have appeared in the magazine’s pages. “It really is a continuation of the publication’s long history of reporting Church news in a way that is relevant to the faithful.” Cãrdenas said. “We try to connect the Gospel to the daily lives of our readers. We hope that our stories, like Jesus’ parables, reach into the heart of our audience.” He said the four most newsworthy events to happen during his time as editor have been the Centennial of the Diocese of Corpus Christi in 2012; the resignation of Pope

Benedict in 2013; the elevation of Pope Francis in March 2013; and the impact the national Affordable Care Act had on religious freedom. Prior to Cãrdenas’ arrival, the diocese also underwent other important events, including the transition between the now Bishop Emeritus Edmond Carmody and Bishop Mulvey in 2010. Still another historic event that occurred during the newspaper's most recent decade was the founding of St. John Paul II High School in 2006. Cãrdenas said the magazine’s mission has expanded to include an online presence. A new magazine website provides more news from throughout the diocese on a more timely basis. It is hard, Cãrdenas said, to include all the school and parish news in the magazine. It is also timelier, he said, to include this news online, which is more accessible to today’s generation of readers. The website allows the South Texas Catholic to provide many more calendar items of parish and school activities, as well as many more photos of participants. The magazine also features an “electronic edition” online. The South Texas Catholic also is active on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. The magazine’s staff also manages the diocese’s Facebook, Twitter, Podomatic and Vimeo accounts.


South Texas Catholic South Texas Catholic on


South Texas Catholic



St. Philip the Apostle Church • 3513 Cimmaron Rd. 50  SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION | MAY 2016

The Office of Catholic Schools offers Celebrating YEARS

CONGRATULATIONS! on your momentous achievement of delivering 50 years of outstanding news and important information to communities near and far. Catholic schools provide Christ-centered programs where students grow spiritually, intellectually, socially and morally.

Congratulations to the South Texas Catholic for 50 years of service in spreading the Catholic faith! Cursillos in Christianity in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas


South Texas Catholic


años de servir

a la comunidad hispana en su idioma Luisa Scolari Corresponsal

Cincuenta años se dice fácil, pero es tarea difícil cuando se tiene el compromiso de hacer un buen trabajo. Así es como de una idea que surgió por una necesidad de la diócesis de Corpus Christi de informar y comunicarse con todos sus diocesanos, el día 6 de mayo 1966 se inicio por iniciativa del obispo Thomas Drury y se hizo realidad un gran proyecto llamado Texas Gulf Coast Register. Como el primer periódico oficial de la diócesis, el Register contenía desde el principio una sección en español dado que la diócesis reconocía la necesidad e importancia de informar sus fieles en español. Esta sección se llamaba “La Luz” donde, el entonces padre y hoy obispo retirado Raymundo Peña fungía como editor asociado. El sacerdote Peña, quien inicio “La Luz” al mismo tiempo era párroco de la recién fundada parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Corpus Christi. En esos tiempos la diócesis de Corpus Christi también abarcaba la Diócesis de Laredo, y fue una importante consideración incluir una sección en español ya que la mayoría de los fieles en la diócesis eran hispanoparlantes y se quería atender esa necesidad. La mayoría del ejemplar era en inglés donde se publicaban artículos que enviaban de Denver para toda la nación y los avisos que las parroquias mandaban de los eventos que estaban sucediendo o sucederían en

❝ Para nosotros fue una gran prioridad el

hacer el periódico bilingüe para atender la necesidad del pueblo que habla español, ya que es muy importante lo que recibe el hombre en su propia cultura.❞ –Bishop Raymundo J. Pena su comunidad parroquial. También se publicaban las cartas evangelizadoras y catequistas que el obispo escribía. “Para nosotros fue una gran prioridad el hacer el periódico bilingüe para atender la necesidad del pueblo que habla español, ya que es muy importante lo que recibe el hombre en su propia cultura,” el obispo Peña dijo recientemente en una entrevista de prensa en su hogar in San Juan, Texas. “Debemos utilizar los medios en la mayor medida posible, pero la importancia de la prensa escrita es que la radio se escucha y ya, mientras que el periódico lo reciben y lo pueden volver a leer y releer, permaneciendo en la casa el tiempo que quieran. Pero todos los medios son muy importantes pues cada uno tiene algo bueno que aportar.” Subrayo que por la experiencia que obtuvo sirviendo en el periódico Texas Gulf Coast Register durante su permanencia en Corpus Christi. El 18 de Junio de 1980 fue nombrado


el quinto obispo de fue nombrado obispo de la diócesis de El Paso. Una de las primeras cosas que hizo fue fundar el periódico Rio Grande Catholic. Después de 14 años en El Paso fue nombrado como obispo de la diócesis de Brownsville, en donde

El padre Raymundo Peña supervisó la sección del periódico en español, entonces conocido como La Luz. Foto archivado



la iglesia se disemina por los periódicos. Laicos reciben información e informan de lo que esta ocurriendo o va a ocurrir en las parroquias. “También los periódicos diseminan la instrucción del obispo hacia la diócesis para acercar a los fieles a Dios, ya que Dios es un Dios de amor y misericordia que nos espera a todos dispuesto a perdonarnos,” el obispo Peña dijo. A través de los años, el nombre de la sección en español—como los obispos y el nombre de el periódico—cambio en varias ocasiones. Por un tiempo se presentaban las paginas en español sin titulo. En una temporada se referían simple “En Español”. En 1986, la sección en español tenia el nombre de “El Punto de Vista Latino,” que seguía una línea mas de catequesis que información sobre actividades en la diócesis. Con la llegada del obispo Roberto González a la diócesis, la sección en español aumento de una a tres paginas y a veces cinco paginas continuando con el mismo nombre de “El Punto de Vista Latino”. El obispo Roberto, como era conocido por todo la diócesis, redujo el periódico—que era publicado cada Hoy en día, el padre Peña es obispo emérito de la Diócesis de Brownsville, donde dos semanas—a mensual, y quizás fundó el periódico diocesano Valley Catholic. Antes de ir a Brownsville se desempor eso se aumentaron las paginas peñó como obispo de El Paso donde fundó el Rio Grande Catholic. en español para poder reportar la Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic misma cantidad de información como antes. En el año 2000 la sección en también fungiría como el quinto editoriales, noticias de las parroquias español cambio de nombre otra obispo de la diócesis de Brownsville y de la diócesis. En ese entonces en ves a “Gran Jubileo” durante la en donde también inicio la publi- la oficina del Register solo estábamos celebración de el jubileo reconocación del periódico de la diócesis el editor, un servidor, la secretaria y ciendo 2000 años de la iglesia. Posel gerente asesor y nosotros mismos teriormente en el 2001 regreso al llamado The Valley Catholic. “En un inicio el Texas Gulf Coast nos dábamos a la tarea de cubrir nombre “El Punto de vista Latino” Register, hoy South Texas Catholic, las noticias de los eventos y sucesos y después a “Alrededor de la Diótenia sus oficinas a un lado de la que las parroquias nos avisaban,” el cesis.” “El Punto de Vista Latino” reapareció y se mantuvo como el oficina del obispo y se imprimía monseñor Peña dijo. La idea de hacer las publicaciones nombre de las paginas en español semanalmente en un formato de periódico de ocho hojas con sec- en español, el obispo dijo, es que hasta el 2010 cuando el presente ciones que contenían información los parroquianos puedan aprender editor, Alfredo Cárdenas, cambio local, información nacional prove- mas sobre su fe, y entender mas que el nombre a “Vida Católica” cual niente de Denver, cartas del obispo, cuando eran niños. Toda la vida de se usa hasta el presente. MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   53


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Vía Crucis es obra

Jesús, interpretado por Salvador Vázquez Rizo, es acompañado a Poncio Pilato. Haciendo el papel de los fariseos son Mauro Covarrubias, Tomas González y José Cárdenas. Haciendo el papel de los soldados son Daniel Covarrubias, Ignacio Pérez, Jesús Martínez y Homero de la Rosa. Gabriela de la Rosa hizo la parte del ángel. Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic


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Luisa Scolari

A Corresponsal

En el papel de la esposa de Pilato era Krystal Zamarripa, mientras que Gustavo Canchola actuó por parte de Pilato. El guardia fue interpretado por Rodolfo García. Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic

lrededor de 50 personajes participan en la representación de la Vía Crucis cada año el la parroquia Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos, Madre de la Iglesia. El elenco incluye los principales y el pueblo con Juan Juárez encargado de los actores principales y Sandra Juárez de los que representan al pueblo. Desde hace cinco años, Juan y Sandra Juárez han sido los encargados de coordinar la representación del Vía Crucis de la parroquia. Actualmente participan también sus cuatro hijos: Julián de 24-años, Edrick de 18, Suelee de 15 y Evie de 13.


“Cuando comenzamos …teníamos que redactar el libreto basándonos en los cuatro evangelios, pero principalmente en el de San Marcos”, Juan Juárez dijo. “Nos pusimos en oración Esteban Cortes, Janie Longoria, Sandra y yo. Para terminar el libreto nos tardamos una semana aproximadamente. Ya con el libreto redactado, nos dimos a la tarea de buscar el elenco entre los parroquianos. Para hacerlo correctamente, hacíamos mucha oración y visitas al santísimo para estar preparados espiritualmente”. El elenco es el mismo desde que comenzaron con la excepción de Jesús y María. En los dos primeros años, Jesús era representado por Genaro


Bolívar y los últimos tres por Salvador Velázquez. Sandra Juárez interpreto a María los primeros tres años, después la interpreto Janie Longoria y por ultimo Raquel Covarrubias. El vestuario de los guardias lo mandaron a

Para ver más fotos de este evento South Texas



hacer en México porque lo podrían tener mas rápido. El demás vestuario fue elaborado por la señora Juárez. El grupo no recibe ayuda para hacer las Vía Crucis. Todos los papeles son interpretados por los mismos parroquianos y personas que trabajan en los diferentes ministerios, como son los del grupo de jóvenes, Guadalupanas, encuentros matrimoniales, escuela de evangelización y otros. Cuando terminan la representación quedan exhaustos. Aunque ahora los actores ya tienen mas memorizados los diálogos, empiezan a ensayar un mes antes y la ultima semana es intensiva. También tienen que encargarse de la escenografía, cerciorarnos que las cruces estén firmes y elaborar la piedra con la que se cierra

La familia Juárez, de izquierda, Suelee, Juan José, Sandra, Edrick, Evie y Julián son los organizadores de las Vía Crucis. Luisa Scolari para el South Texas Catholic



el sepulcro. Esto se hace cada año. En años pasados también hacían representaciones del domingo de ramos, el jueves santo con el arresto de Jesús y la oración de Jesús en Getsemaní, en el monte de los olivos, el jueves en la noche, después de la de la ceremonia del lavatorio de pies. También hacían la representación del sábado de Gloria, después de la bendición del cirio y del fuego nuevo hacíamos la resurrección. Se esta considerando de volver hacer el programa anterior. “El Vía Crucis nos trae muchas bendiciones como grupo porque nos une mas como una familia que solo como parroquianos y cada año se fortalece mientras que se perfecciona. No se trata solo de actuación, es mucha gente haciendo oración y ayuno ofreciéndolo por alguna intención”, Sandra Juárez dijo. Juan Juárez dijo que pareciera que es poca cosa, pero la realidad es que la preparación es intensa, sobre todo el maquillaje. El actor que interpreta a Pilato siempre ha tomado muy en serio su papel y su esposa también. “Nos hemos encontrado mas que hermanos, pues hemos desarrollado una relación como si fuéramos familia”, Juan Juárez dijo. “Se ha creado un lazo de respeto y agradecimiento muy grande”. Durante la representación del Vía Crucis ocurrió algo increíble y hermoso, Juan Juárez dijo. Al momento de la crucifixión, en el cielo se apareció una nube con los colores del arcoíris, sin haber ni lluvia ni arcoíris y se quedo un buen rato arriba de las tres cruces. ¡Fue hermoso presenciarlo! Juan Juárez dijo.

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

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TGIF teens bring wine, Eucharist and gifts to the priest. In the front row, from left, are Macy Hatton and Adelida Ochoa. In the back row are Blaise Jackson and Juan Cortez. John Lay, carrying the cross, leads the gift bearers.

Ervey Martinez for South Texas Catholic





Teens growing in faith bear good fruit Norma Ochoa Contributor


ome 90 high school age parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Portland attend a teen Bible study every Sunday afternoon. The program, Teens Growing in Faith, began in 2011 as an ACTS Missions for Teens attended by 12 teenagers

who wished to have a better understanding of their Catholic Faith. After its first retreat, Sunday evenings at the parish have not been the same. At the initial retreat, the teens used a DVD study from Ascension Press; they read Scripture; asked


TGIF teens, from left, Kevin Gonzales and Ramses Barfield serve as door greeters at the Sunday evening Mass. Ervey Martinez for South Texas Catholic


➤With the help of 23 adults and four young adults, for at least 28 weeks, one hour and 45 minutes every Sunday, the focus for TGIF is learning and experiencing knowing God. questions; and spent time in fellowship. Over time, word spread and attendance began to grow rapidly. The group was soon named, “Teen Bible Study”. Sunday night slowly became the night where teens came together to study, pray and praise the Lord through music and share service opportunities. Over the next four years, attendance and participation grew to an average of 50 teens every Sunday. Five studies from Ascension Press were used, including Theology Ervey Martinez for of the Body, T3’s Mathew, Acts, Revelation and Teen South Texas Catholic Timeline.

Following Sunday evening Mass during their study session, TGIF teens do table group discussions from a lesson in the book on “The Holy Spirit”.

Teen Bible Study not only allowed teens to come, but attracted young adults and older adults to get more involved in working with the youth of the parish. During this process, each teen grew deeper in their Catholic faith. The parish soon found itself with a large group of teens attending Teen Bible Study on Sunday nights. Msgr. Mark Chamberlin decided the format should be engaged for high school faith formation. The high school CCD and Bible Studies were combined and, in September 2015, the program took on a new



TGIF teens, from left, Jaclyn Maldonado, Annika Sacky, Matthew Hogan, Matthew Perales, Grace Nohavitza, Julissa Navarro, Bridget Polasek, Nick Trevino and John Lay serve as altar servers, lectors and extraordinairy ministers of holy Communion during the Sunday evening Mass. Ervey Martinez for South Texas Catholic

name—Teens Growing in Faith or TGIF. TGIF’s mission is for high school teens from grades nine – 12 to be able to take ownership of their faith and provide teens with the tools necessary to place God at the center of their lives. The focus is to engage teens by giving them the opportunity to experience an in-depth knowledge of the Catholic faith and more fully understand what it means to be a Catholic. TGIF is designed to serve teens through two years of confirmation preparation and allows for two additional years of faith formation prior to attending college. According to the Dynamic Catholic Institute, 85 percent of young Catholics stop practicing their faith within seven to 10 years of their confirmation. Our Lady of Mount Carmel youth leaders believe engaging with youth early and staying engaged with them after confirmation is critical to lowering those statistics.

With the help of 23 adults and four young adults, for at least 28 weeks, an hour and 45 minutes every Sunday, the focus for TGIF is learning and experiencing knowing God. For the 2015-16 school year, TGIF incorporated three studies: Ascension Press’ Altaration, T3 Teen Timeline and Dynamic Catholic’s Decision Point, which is a confirmation study. Msgr. Chamberlin engages teens with special discussion on sexuality, the sacraments and manners. Through TGIF, a teen Mass is now celebrated the first Sunday evening of each month. Teens serve as greeters, ushers, altar servers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and singers on the teen praise and worship group. Msgr. Chamberlain points out that TGIF is the result of God planting a special seed and teens accepting his call to love him and others; as a result, this seed bears good fruit off the vine.


The Ark Gala Info: (361) 241-6566 or email dtrejo@


Poll respondents back Little Sisters of Poor in government dispute


Catholic News Service

ccording to a Marist Poll survey, a majority of Americans say it is “unfair” how the federal government is treating the Little Sisters of the Poor in the ongoing dispute over compliance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate. Fifty-three percent of those polled called it unfair, while 32 percent said it was not. The poll was conducted by telephone, in English, April 8-12. According to the New Haven-based Knights of Columbus, which commissioned the

question and is a sponsor of the Marist Poll, 1,020 Americans were asked. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points. The poll was part of an “omnibus” survey in which Marist allows different clients to “purchase” questions to be asked, according to Barbara Carvalho, Marist Poll director. In the dispute, the federal government has sought compliance from most employers—including religious employers—with the contraceptive mandate, requiring them to provide contraceptives‚ including those that could induce an abortion as part

Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor, speaks to the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23 after attending oral arguments in the Zubik v. Burwell contraceptive mandate case. Joshua Roberts, Reuters/Catholic News Service



of employees’ health insurance plans even if the employer morally opposes the coverage. The law has a very narrowly drawn exemption for churches. For non-exempt religious employers the government created what it calls “a work around,” by which the objecting religious employers can certify with HHS or the Department of Labor that providing the coverage will violate their religious principles. In turn the federal government then arranges with a third party to provide the coverage. But religious employers, the Little Sisters of the Poor among them, say that even following this so-called accommodation would violate their religious principles. The Marist Poll asked, “Which comes closer to your view: This process required by the government is fair to ministries like the Little Sisters or this process required by the government is unfair to ministries like the Little Sisters?” Almost every subgroup tabulated had a majority calling the process unfair: 53 percent of men, 52 percent of women, 53 percent of registered voters, 63 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents. Even among Democrats a plurality of 44 percent said it was unfair, while 43 percent called it fair. While the court of public opinion may be with the Little Sisters of the Poor, the court that matters most—the Supreme Court—has signaled a 4-4 deadlock on the issue, but on March 29 the court asked both the government and the sisters to submit new filings in the issue. Some filings were submitted April 12, while further filings were expected April 20. The justices’ request came about a week after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the challenge of the mandate by the Littler Sisters and several other Catholic and other faithbased entities. The court asked both sides in the suit to consider a proposal that such coverage be provided through an alternative health care plan without involving the religious employers in a legal brief filed with the court. A tie in the Supreme Court would keep the lower court ruling against the Little Sisters in place.

Supreme Court he president’s deferr Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service


ll eyes are once again on what seems to be an evenly divided Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments April 18 in a major case impacting a U.S. immigration policy. After the 90 minutes of oral arguments in United States v. Texas, the eight Supreme Court justices must now determine if the U.S. president can temporarily protect undocumented parents of American citizens from deportation and give them temporary work permits. At issue are President Barack Obama’s 2015 executive actions expanding a 2012 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, upholding a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction against Obama’s actions, put the program on hold last November. Twenty-six states, including Texas, are suing the federal government in the case, saying the president went too far with his actions. Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller said the president was not just putting a temporary block on deportations, but giving undocumented immigrants a “lawful presence” in this country that would enable them to qualify for benefits such as Social Security and Medicare. The justices spent a lot of time focused on the phrase “lawful presence,” and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular quizzed U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. about it before noting that being lawfully present, having a license and a job did not necessarily mean someone was legally


present in the United States. Verrilli pointed out that the primary issue at stake was the “pressing human concern” to avoid breaking up families of U.S. citizen children. Someone who knows that firsthand was seated in the court listening to the arguments. Six-year-old Sophie Cruz from Los Angeles might not have been able to explain the legalese used by the attorneys and justices, but she did know that her parents could face deportation if Obama’s plan to block deportations was lifted. Sophie brought her concern to Pope Francis on his visit to the United States last September, crossing a security line to give the pope a note begging that her parents be allowed to stay in this country. Many who gathered in front of the Supreme Court long before the oral arguments began also supported the plight of such families. They carried placards saying: “Fight for families,” and “Love your neighbor” while a mariachi band played alongside them. In early March the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and several other Catholic organizations joined in filing friend of the court briefs urging the Supreme Court to support the Obama administration’s actions that would temporarily protect from deportation more than four million immigrants in the country illegally and enable some immigrants to legally work in the United States. Justice Anthony Kennedy wondered if the president could defer deportations for millions of people without specific congressional authorization, calling it a “legislative task, not an executive task.” “It’s as if the president is defining the policy and the Congress is executing it,” he


ears arguments on red deportation programs Representatives of faith-based groups gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington April 18 as the justices hear oral arguments in a challenge by several states to President Barack Obama’s deferred deportation programs. Tyler Orsburn, Catholic News Service

added, noting: “That’s just upside down.” A key issue in the arguments was not just immigration but whether the states had the legal standing to challenge the president’s executive actions. Part of the concern voiced by Texas officials is over the issuing of driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, which Keller noted was an issue for the state because of the cost. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she understands frustrations with obtaining licenses because there are often long lines and it is not an ideal situation, but she seemed to indicate that this was surmountable. She stressed that the four million immigrants who might be given a temporary reprieve from deportation “are living in the shadows” and “are here whether we want them or not,” adding that the government had limited resources available for deportations. Thomas Saenz, a lawyer representing three undocumented mothers of U.S. citizen children, told the court his clients live in “daily fear that they will be separated from their families and detained or removed from their homes.” More than 325 immigration, civil rights, labor and social service organizations filed amicus briefs to urge the high court to uphold the Obama administration’s executive actions. In addition to the USCCB, other Catholic groups filing briefs included

the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., or CLINIC, and as least three Catholic colleges, which joined in a brief with more than 75 education and children advocacy organizations. House Democrats and a group of more than 60 entrepreneurs and business leaders

including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg filed other briefs. The court is expected to rule on the case in June. If the decision is a 4-4 split, it would leave in place the appeals court ruling blocking the Obama administration’s plan.


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Syrian refugees Osama and Wafa and their two children, Omar, 6, and Masa, 8, are pictured in Rome April 18. The family was among 12 refugees Pope Francis brought to Rome with him from a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

From Nightmare To Dream:

Syrian refugees thank pope for safety Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service


fter less than 48-hours in Rome, “dream” is the word used most often by the six Syrian adults Pope Francis brought back to Italy with him from a refugee camp in Greece. By April 18, the couples—which asked to be identified by only their first names, Hasan and Nour, Ramy and Suhila, Osama and Wafa—and their six children had spent more than three hours doing paperwork with Italian immigration officials and had enrolled in Italian language

classes. Other than that, most of their first two days in Rome had been spent giving interviews and answering phone calls from friends and relatives who saw them on television boarding the pope’s plane April 16. All three families saw their homes bombarded in Syria and all three arrived in Greece from Turkey on overloaded rubber boats months ago. Being chosen from among thousands of refugees to come to Italy felt like “a dream,” Wafa said. Being in Rome and not a refugee camp on the Greek island



of Lesbos “is a big dream,” Hasan said. Osama is dreaming of peace in his homeland. “We want peace in Syria so we can go home,” he said to reporters outside the language and culture school run by the Catholic Sant’Egidio Community. In agreement with the Italian government, the Rome-based lay community, along with the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, has been operating a “humanitarian corridor” for vulnerable Syrian refugees—the elderly, families with sick children, women traveling alone with their children. The Vatican asked Sant’Egidio to help it screen refugees in Greece and choose families that both the Greek and Italian governments would provide with the necessary travel papers in time for the papal flight. Daniela Pompei, coordinator of Sant’Egidio programs for migrants and refugees, said the Greek government insisted that they choose only refugees who arrived in Greece before March 20, when an agreement between the European Union and Turkey went into effect. Under the terms of the agreement, new arrivals must apply for asylum and will be taken back to Turkey if their requests are denied. The two Christian families originally on the list for inclusion in the papal flight had made the sea

crossing from Turkey after March 20, she said. Asked if his gesture was not really so small as to be insignificant, Pope Francis told reporters flying to Rome with him and the refugees that people used to tell Blessed Teresa of Kolkata that what she was doing was meaningless when there was an ocean of need in the world. “And she responded, ‘It’s a drop in the ocean, but after this drop, the ocean won’t be the same,’” the pope said. “I’ll respond the same way. It’s a little gesture. But all of us, men and women, must make these little gestures in order to extend a hand to those in need.” Osama said he was told at 10 p.m., April 15, that he, his wife and children—Omar, six, and Masa, eight—would be flying to Rome with Pope Francis the next day. Hasan said he was in a grocery store in Greece when he got the call. When asked what he thought of the head of the Catholic Church sponsoring three Muslim refugee families, Osama said, “Peace has no religion. If you think about it, we are all human. “The pope made a humanitarian gesture and it was so moving,” he said to reporters. Nour, an engineer who studied in France and


Syrian refugees walk though the aisle of Pope Francis’ airplane in flight from the Greek island of Lesbos to Rome April 16, 2016. The pope concluded his one-day visit to Greece by bringing 12 Syrian refugees to Italy aboard his flight. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service


(Address not found on google maps)

Syrian refugee Nour plays with her son Riad, 2, at a language and culture school run by the Sant’Egidio Community in Rome. Nour and her husband and their son were among 12 Syrian refugees Pope Francis brought back with him from a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece. Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

hopes eventually to go there, responded to a similar question by saying, “No other religious leader in the world helped us like the pope did.” Her husband, Hasan, said, “The pope is an amazing, amazing person, an incredible person. Every religious person should be like the pope. “We are Muslim and, unfortunately, our people did not deal with us like the pope did,” he said. Hasan and Nour decided to take their two-year-old son Riad and flee after members of the Islamic State stopped them. Hasan said he was told he must fight, “make jihad,” but “I didn’t want to kill anyone. I am an engineer, not a soldier, so I must escape from Syria.” He, too, dreams of peace, safety and a dignified life for his young family. But also of seeing his homeland again. “You can find a new job maybe, you can find a new house, but you can’t find a new family,” he said. Ramy, who was a teacher in Syria and has two teenage sons and a five-year-old daughter, said being chosen to come to Italy “was God’s blessing.” MAY 2016 | SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION   73


Instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful Father J. Patrick Serna is pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sinton.

Father J. Patrick Serna

G Contributor

od tells us in St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, that we should all “… proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:2).” To instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful are works of mercy, and we should take this practice seriously, especially for the remainder of this holy year. St. Augustine once said, “No one gives what he does not have.” If we are to instruct and counsel people with the word of God and God’s teachings as expressed by his church, then we all need to first edify ourselves through study and prayer. There are those in the Christian tradition who scoff at philosophy, theology and the study of church teaching. Ever since William of Ockham started the philosophical movement of nominalism in the 14th century, it has become quite fashionable for some who think they are enlightened to be dismissive of the intellectual approach to God, instead of the “subjective feelings only” or “subjective interpretations only” approaches. Ockham’s new “anti objective reason” school of philosophy opened the doors to Martin Luther’s new Protestant principles, which went even further than Ockham’s nominalism. Luther’s theology of personal relationship allowed for the authorities of God and Scripture only, and was opposed to any authority that was not God or Scripture. Period. This God and Scripture “only” spirituality of Luther and his Protestant successors not only opposes popes, priests and writings of saints, but the study of right reason—also known as philosophy—as well. Protestants who promoted these anti-philosophy sentiments and mores founded the American colonies; so even colonial Catholics


began to absorb and assimilate some of the anti-authority and anti-philosophy principles of Luther and his followers. The Catholic tradition of appealing to an objective standard for interpretation, rather than personal subjective interpretation only, can be found in many different Bible passages, one of them is from Acts: “Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him’ (Acts 8:30-31).” When the Christian believer augments his personal relationship with God with study of Scripture and doctrine, he can then instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful with more than just personal interpretations or feelings or guesses. When one augments his personal relationship with Jesus with sacraments and study, the anxiety of not being able to give what one does not have will never be a problem. A few years ago I met a new friend, Dannie, at a parishioner’s home. Dannie had an excellent grasp of the Bible, and our conversation went from there. Dannie had gone for many years from one non-Catholic denomination to another, but he expressed a frustration with all of them since the various pastors were unable to answer several of his questions. Dannie’s biggest questions revolved around the prophet Elijah, and no pastor could sufficiently give him the answers he sought. Now, Dannie was asking me—a Catholic priest— questions about Elijah. First of all, I asked for our host to loan us a Bible. I showed Dannie the places in the Bible where Elijah was found, and what it meant when John the Baptist was referred to as Elijah. Dannie’s eyes beamed and sparkled when I explained and answered all of his questions. I fed Dannie with truth based on God’s word and magisterial authority, and he liked the taste.

I then answered Dannie’s other questions. I explained to him that Catholics do not worship Mary or the saints. I also explained to Dannie the Catholic teaching that only God can be worshipped, while the saints and Mary are honored or reverenced (Latria vs. Dulia). Also revealed to Dannie were the Biblical bases and substantiations for Catholic belief in sacramental confession, purgatory and the use of non-idolatrous statues and images. He was hooked. After nine months of R.C.I.A. classes taught by his new pastor, yours truly, Dannie was received fully into the Catholic Church and took the name Elijah for his confirmation saint. God tells us in the New Testament that all of us should “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope (1 Peter 3:15).” If we are not ready to give explanations that are based on facts rather than feelings, those who search will follow false teachers or false lights instead. The burden is on us to

learn. As ones who come from truth himself, and as ones who were created to return to the source of all truth, we innately yearn to learn and follow what is true. God the Holy Spirit recently breathed on us in the form of a papal encyclical, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), written by the great St. Pope John Paul II of happy memory. In it Pope John Paul II said: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” God is a God of reason and love, so to pursue him he gave us intellects and hearts. When we give our whole hearts, along with our whole minds, to the service of God, then we are doing something noble and necessary.



“…proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:2).”


Father Paul Kottackal is Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Beeville.

The unsung heroes of prison ministry Father Paul Kottackal

P Contributor

astoral care in prisons is a difficult ministry. My initial response to the invitation to work with prisoners was negative. A year ago, I reluctantly started to celebrate Mass for prisoners in four prisons in Beeville. I thought it would be temporary. These maximum-security state prisons hold more than 7,000 inmates. When I started to interact with them, I realized the importance of this ministry. Working with prisoners gave me a rare insight. I have heard horror stories that are difficult to imagine. Listening to some of these stories, which almost sound like fiction, made me realize that human beings are capable of descending into situations that are so evil and morally abhorrent. But, it also convinced me that hope springs even when there is no reason to hope. Contact with these prisoners made me realize that prison ministry is not just offering Mass, and providing opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation. It has other dimensions. During my conversation with some of the inmates, I asked what they most missed in prison. Not surprisingly, one told me that he missed women the most. Another one answered, “What I miss most is my family.” Closely related was the unexpected response given by another inmate: “What I miss most in this place is the presence of children. When I left home 15 years ago I had three kids. They were everything for me. I have not seen them since, not only them, any child.” That comment made me aware of the importance of children in society. Yet another one said, “I don’t have any hope in my life. I am convicted for 30-years, and I am 50-years old now, and in order to be eligible for parole I have to go 20-years more. But it is not certain that I will be released after 20-years.


My health is deteriorating badly. What is there for me to hope for?” Yes, in this situation he has nothing to hope for. After hearing these responses I was wondering what the prison ministry could do to satisfy some of these needs. I realized that pastoral care in the prisons would not be able to provide any of the things that these prisoners were missing. Perhaps what it can give them is hope in the Biblical sense: that is a “confident expectation,” “a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown” (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1,7). This Easter, I met John—which is not his real name—in one of the prisons. He looked very cheerful. He told me that he would be released the day after Easter, after “16 long years of imprisonment!” I could understand the magnitude of his joy. His family was excitedly waiting to welcome him back. He expressed his appreciation for the weekly service we were doing in the prison, and especially for the homilies that helped him a lot. He told me he was carrying with him for the rest of his life many valuable lessons that he learned in the prison. He admitted that he learned them the hard way. He requested my prayers for his family and for himself. He said goodbye to me in case we did not have a chance to meet afterwards. We hugged and bid farewell. I thanked God for his freedom, which would reunite him with his family. I was really surprised to see him in prison the week after Easter. I asked what had happened and why he was not home. He said that he was ready and so excited to be going home, but the parole review board decided to extend his stay for five more years without giving him any reasons. “As soon as I heard it I thought of killing all the members of the board,” the inmate said in anger. “I could not control my feelings. I yelled


at my companions in the cell. I hated everybody. I was afraid that I would end up doing something terrible. I was constantly thinking about taking revenge on these people. Then I remembered the homily that you gave on Easter Sunday. You said the message of Easter is that of hope. The apparent defeat of Jesus, and his death remained only for three days. Afterwards he emerged victorious.” He said he had committed to be a follower of Jesus after the RCIA classes he received in prison and had to place his hope in the Lord. He began to calm down. His anger and disappointment slowly melted. “It came to my mind that everything happens for a purpose,” he said. “The extension of my stay in the prison, though painful, may be for good. I am not unhappy now. I called my family and consoled them.” What a faith! When I heard this story I felt challenged. How would I respond to situations like this? I prayed. Oh God please give me the grace to say always, “Thy will be done,” as this

prisoner did. There is a group of men who do voluntary service in the prison. Most of them are retired. Two of them have amputated legs. They go to these prisons every week and prepare the inmates for baptism, confirmation, confession, Communion, Liturgy, etc. They also give retreats for the inmates. They invite priests to come hear confessions and provide counseling. They helped them form a beautiful choir, which makes the Liturgy very attractive. In the beginning I used to wonder what was so attractive for these lay ministers to commit themselves to this ministry. After listening to the above story and similar ones it became clear to me the importance of the ministry these volunteers provide. It is their selfless service that helped John accept the unexpected and not to do anything terrible when his dreams were shattered. He is not without hope now. He could have been a desperate man for the rest of his life without the service of these volunteers.

May Liturgical Calendar 1 | SUN | SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER | white Acts 15:1-2, 22-29/ Rv 21:10-14, 22-23/Jn 14:23-29 (57) Pss II 2 | Mon | Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | Acts 16:11-15/Jn 15:26— 16:4a (291) 3 | Tue | Saints Philip and James, Apostles | red | Feast | 1 Cor 15:1-8/Jn 14:6-14 (561) Pss Prop 4 | Wed | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 17:15, 22—18:1/Jn 16:12-15 (293) 5 | Thu | THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD | white | Solemnity | [Holyday of Obligation] Acts 1:1-11/Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23/Lk 24:46-53 (58) Pss Prop 6 | Fri | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 18:9-18/Jn 16:20-23 (295) 7 | Sat | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 18:23-28/Jn 16:23b-28 (296) 8 | SUN | SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER | white Acts 7:55-60/Rv 22:12-14, 16-17, 20/Jn 17:20-26 (61) Pss III

9 | Mon | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 19:1-8/Jn 16:29-33 (297) 10 | Tue | Easter Weekday | white/ white [USA: Saint Damien de Veuster, Priest] Acts 20:17-27/Jn 17:1-11a (298) 11 | Wed | Easter Weekday | white | Acts 20:28-38/Jn 17:11b-19 (299) 12 | Thu | Easter Weekday | white/ red/red [Saints Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs; Saint Pancras, Martyr] Acts 22:30; 23:6-11/Jn 17:20-26 (300) 13 | Fri | Easter Weekday | white/ white [Our Lady of Fatima] Acts 25:13b-21/Jn 21:15-19 (301) 14 | Sat | Saint Matthias, Apostle | red | Feast | Acts 1:15-17, 20-26/Jn 15:9-17 (564) Pss Prop 15 | SUN | PENTECOST SUNDAY | red | Solemnity | Vigil: Gn 11:1-9 or Ex 19:3-8a, 16-20b or Ez 37:1-14 or Jl 3:1-5/Rom 8:22-27/Jn 7:37-39 (62); Extended Vigil: Gn 11:1-9/Ex 19:3-8a, 16-20b/Ez 37:1-14/Jl 3:1-5/Rom 8:2227/Jn 7:37-39 (62) Day: Acts 2:1-11/1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Rom 8:8-17/Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 14:15-16, 23b-26 (63) | Pss Prop

16 | Mon | Weekday (Seventh Week in Ordinary Time) | green Jas 3:13-18/Mk 9:14-29 (341) Pss III 17 | Tue | Weekday | green | Jas 4:110/Mk 9:30-37 (342) 18 | Wed | Weekday | green/red [Saint John I, Pope and Martyr] Jas 4:13-17/ Mk 9:38-40 (343) 19 | Thu | Weekday | green | Jas 5:16/Mk 9:41-50 (344) 20 | Fri | Weekday | green/white [Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest] | Jas 5:9-12/Mk 10:1-12 (345) 21 | Sat | Weekday | green/red/white [Saint Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs; BVM] Jas 5:13-20/Mk 10:13-16 (346) 22 | SUN | THE MOST HOLY TRINITY | white | Solemnity | Prv 8:22-31/Rom 5:1-5/Jn 16:12-15 (166) Pss Prop 23 | Mon | Weekday (Eighth Week in Ordinary Time) green 1 Pt 1:3-9/Mk 10:17-27 (347) Pss IV 24 | Tue | Weekday | green | 1 Pt 1:1016/Mk 10:28-31 (348)

25 | Wed | Weekday | green/ white/white/white [Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church; Saint Gregory VII, Pope; Saint Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, Virgin] 1 Pt 1:18-25/Mk 10:32-45 (349) 26 | Thu | Saint Philip Neri, Priest | white | Memorial | 1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12/Mk 10:46-52 (350) 27 | Fri | Weekday | green/white [Saint Augustine of Canterbury] 1 Pt 4:7-13/Mk 11:11-26 (351) 28 | Sat | Weekday | green/white [BVM] | Jude 17, 20b-25/Mk 11:27-33 (352) 29 | SUN | THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST | white (Corpus Christi) Solemnity | Gn 14:1820/1 Cor 11:23-26/Lk 9:11b-17 (169) Pss Prop 30 | Mon | Weekday (Ninth Week in Ordinary Time) | green 2 Pt 1:2-7/Mk 12:1-12 (353) Pss I 31 | Tue | The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary | white | Feast | Zep 3:14-18a or Rom 12:9-16/Lk 1:3956 (572) Pss Prop



5 Holy Hour

May 5 from 5-6 p.m. and every first Thursday of the month at Sacred Heart Church (422 North Alameda Street) in Corpus Christi. For more information visit



Family Day of Recollection

May 6 begins at 9:30 a.m. at Schoenstatt Movement Center (4343 Gaines) in Corpus Christi.


Rosary, Holy Mass and May Crowning Schoenstatt Movement Center

The Diocesan Office of Vocations invites everyone to a monthly Holy Hour of Adoration for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The next Holy Hour is on May 16 from 7-8 p.m. at St. John the Baptist (7522 Everhart Road) in Corpus Christi.  For more information call (361) 334-2781 or email

A second collection to be collected in your parish on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8.

May 12-15 at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center (1200 Lantana). Begins Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and ends Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Register at or call (361) 289-9095, ext. 321.

14 Nocturnal Adoration

May 14 and every second Saturday/ Sabado del mes tendremos Nocturnal Adoration empezando con la misa a las 8 de la noche y terminando a las 5 de la manana. Beginning with Mass at 8 p.m. and ending with Benediction at 5 a.m. in the morning. For more information go to

in Truth at Cafe 21 Grounded Veritas-OLCC

May 21 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Corpus Christi (1200 Lantana) and every third Saturday. An hour of Adoration with Praise and Worship in the OLCC Perpetual Adoration Chapel 7-8 p.m. followed by Music and Fellowship in the newly renovated Cafe Veritas (attached to Our Lady of Corpus Christi’s Bookstore) from 8-9:30 p.m. This month’s musician is St. John Paul High School youth. Come for prayer, fun and fellowship. Call (361) 289-0807 for more information.

21 Diocesan Marriage Preparation

May 21–22 at Pax Christi Liturgical Retreat Center. The Diocesan Marriage Preparation Program is a two-day overnight event for the engaged. It is designed to inform couples of the spiritual and practical aspects of Catholic marriage and facilitate couple dialogue on these important issues. For more information go to:

17 Tuesday Tea with the Saints

May 17 and every third Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Pax Christi Liturgical Retreat Center’s St. Joseph Hall. Includes introduction to a saint, a complimentary pamphlet with quotes and suggested reading. Cost is free, but donations welcome. RSVP at (361) 241-2833. If you have not RSVP’d, don’t worry, you are still welcome.

May 7 at Schoenstatt Movement Center (4343 Gaines Street) in Corpus Christi. Rosary begins at 2 p.m. Holy Mass and crowning begins at 2:30 p.m.

Communications 7, Catholic Campaign 8 s Spiritual 12 Women’ Exercises Retreat at OLCC

May 14 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. To register online go to

16 Holy Hour for Vocations

7 Come and See

On May 7 come meet communities of sisters in the diocese. Single women between the ages of 18 and 35 are invited to meet the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods at 11 a.m. at Greenbriar Apartments (625 Gregory Dr.) in Corpus Christi. Call ahead at (361) 945-3976.

Natural Family Planning Class


Holy Hour for Vocations


A Covenant of Love with Mary Information Classes

Feast of Corpus Christi Mass


May 18 from 6-7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth of Hungary (603 East 5th Street) in Alice.

May 19 and every third Thursday of the month from 6 p.m-8 p.m. at Schoenstatt Movement Center (4343 Gaines Street) in Corpus Christi. For more information call the office at (361) 992-9841 or email

Festival 20 Cathedral Concert 2016

The 2015-16 Cathedral Concert Series presents “Tribute to God & Country” on May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Corpus Christi Cathedral. For VIP memberships and priority reserved seating call (361) 888-7444.



May 26 from 7-9 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (7522 Everhart) will celebrate Feast of Corpus Christi Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Eucharistic Procession.

Feast of Corpus Christi Celebration

May 28 after the 5 p.m. Mass. Father Angel Montana will bless the seven Altars, decorated by the community and organizations from Sacred Heart Parish. The Altars will be placed in the Grotto and Father Angel will bless them with the Monstrance (The Blessed Sacrament).

To see more calendar events go to: South Texas











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

Thank You for 50 years

South Texas Catholic - May 2016  

Our May issue is a special annniversary issue for the South Texas Catholic as we review the first 50 years as the official publication servi...

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