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Call to Action From South Texas to Washington

ACTION: Diocese of

Corpus Christi

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs: 1. It does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. HHS does not deem them “religious employers” because they do not “serve primarily persons who share their religious tenets.” HHS denies them religious freedom because their purpose is to serve the common good -a purpose government should encourage. 2. It forces these institutions and others to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers, religious employers and schools and religious employees and students to write, provide and purchase insurance coverage that violates their beliefs. 3. It forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as well as contraception. HHS’s mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization. And by including all contraceptive drugs, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as “Ella,” a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486. 4. Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate. Catholics who have long supported this administration and its policies have publicly criticized HHS’s decision, including college presidents Father John Jenkins and Arturo Chavez; and Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association. 5. Many other religious and secular groups have spoken out against HHS. Many recognize this as an assault on religious liberty, even if they disagree with the underlying moral question. Protestant and, Orthodox Christian and Orthodox Jewish groups -none of which oppose contraception - are against the HHS’s decision. The Washington Post, USA Today, N.Y Daily News and other secular outlets have editorialized against it. 6. The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. Even without an exemption, religious employers now can avoid contraceptive mandates in 28 states by self-insuring their drug coverage, dropping that coverage, or opting for regulation under a pre-emptive federal law. This mandate closes off these avenues of relief.

Make your voice heard | Contact your representatives President Barack Obama

Mail: 517 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington D.C. 20510 Phone: (972) 239-1310 or (202) 224-2934 Website:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Rep. Blake Farenthold

Mail: 284 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: (214) 361-3500 or (202) 224-5922 Website:

27th District: Nueces, Kleberg, Kenedy

Rep. Ron Paul

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa

14th District: Aransas

15th District: Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Live Oak, Refugio, San Patricio

Mail: 2203 Cannon House Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20515 Phone Number: (202) 225-2831 Website:


Sen. John Cornyn

Mail: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20500 Phone: (202) 225-3484 Website:


Mail: 2110 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-7742 Website:

Mail: 2262 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2531 Website:

Contact your U.S. Representative by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter: • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. • Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center at • Additional contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at: and

MESSAGE: “Please co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, s. 1467) and help enact it into law. The Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected.”

WHEN: Now is the time to build co-sponsors and support. Please act today!

Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas

Pray for Us O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. Th rough the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society. We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


VOL. 48 NO. 1 Publisher Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL DD



Diocese celebrates Vocations Awareness Week, Future priests are in the pews, pray for them

Photo by Philip Wright, for South Texas Catholic

Editor Alfredo E. Cárdenas Theological Consultant Father Joseph Lopez JCL Associate Editor Mary E. Cottingham Administrative Assistant Adel Rivera Correspondents Geraldine McGloin, Liz Riggle, Julissa Hernandez, Adrian Garcia, Timothy Hatch If you or someone you know would like to receive the South Texas Catholic call us at (361) 882-6191 Office Address: 620 Lipan Corpus Christi TX 78401-2434 E-MAIL: FAX: (361) 693-6701


Calendar Items

Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey baptized, confirmed prisoners at St. Dismas Community.

Submit your announcements by using our online form, e-mail, fax, mail, or drop it off at the Chancery office. Only announcements for the month of publication will be included in the print edition, if space permits. All other calendar items will appear on the magazine or diocese Web sites. The South Texas Catholic is not liable or in any way responsible for the content of any advertisement appearing within these pages. All claims, offers guarantees, statements, etc. made by advertisers are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. Deceptive or misleading advertising is never knowingly accepted. Complaints regarding advertising should be made directly to the advertiser or to the Better Business Bureau. (USPSN 540-860) Published monthly by the Diocese of Corpus Christi for $25 per year. Periodical postage paid in Corpus Christi Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to South Texas Catholic 620 Lipan, Corpus Christi TX 78401-2434.


Another chapter


Catholics in the modern world

Bishop Gracida addresses issues in a new environment

Symposium revisits Vatican II


A priest forever Msgr. McGowan still serves


Ministry Conference


Students hear author


Blessed are the peacemakers


‘I believe in One God’


Commitment to life

Keeping up with the Faith...


A life of devotion


A prankster who became a priest

Sister Maxie builds museum for Blessed Mother Julia

Through the grace of God

Archbishop Gustavo will share thoughts on New Evangelization

Growing up in south Texas as a Catholic, Mexican-American girl

A message from the Holy Father

New series will explain Nicene Creed, belief by belief

Diocese will observe with Mass, rally at capitol steps



Addressing Issues in a New Era Msgr. Michael Howell Contributor


aving weathered a time of great changes and development, Bishop Thomas Drury was ready at the time of his retirement to hand over responsibilities to a younger man who had brought many experiences with him to the role of chief shepherd for the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Bishop Rene H. Gracida received his early education in New Orleans, Houston and Texas City. He had interrupted his architectural studies at Rice University to serve in World War II and returned a decorated war veteran. However, after the war and the completion of his college studies, he worked only a brief time with an architectural firm in Houston before he felt called to priesthood. His subsequent studies and formation culminated in his ordination for the Diocese (later Archdiocese) of Miami in 1959. He worked in multiple capacities on the parish and diocesan levels prior to serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and then in numerous offices for the National Council of Catholic Bishops. Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Gracida the first bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1975, and it was there that he received the call to be the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. His many experiences prior to that call, however, also underscored much of his work in south Texas. The installation Mass of Bishop Gracida was the first in the diocese to be transmitted over a local television station, and during his administration Bishop Gracida promoted evangelization and service to shut-ins by supporting the televising of weekly Sunday Masses and other ceremonies



from the Cathedral. An effort that began under Bishop Drury–to establish radio stations in the eastern and western halves of the diocese–culminated in the dedication of such stations by Bishop Gracida. Serving the eastern half, which remained as the Diocese of Corpus Christi after the western half was ceded to the new Diocese of Laredo in 2000, is KLUX, which signed on the air March 13, 1985. The station sought to achieve its mission of evangelization and education by weaving its musical offerings of easy listening with brief non-commercial messages that encouraged the way of life that is rooted in the Gospel of Christ. Another priority of Bishop Gracida was the needs of migrant workers to which he responded by soliciting the ministry of members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, founded in 1958 by Fr. James Flanagan. Bishop Gracida initially invited these men to serve the workers both in their home parishes in the Diocese of Corpus Christi as well as in camps where they resided while doing migrant farm work. His concern for other social issues also led Bishop Gracida to support programs like the Pax Christi peace movement and Operation Rescue, which drew hundreds to peaceful protests for life in front of local abortion clinics. Bishop’s Gracida’s Pro-Life stance was manifested also in his strong statements of opposition to capital punishment. Thanks to the Kenedy Memorial Foundation–whose legal battles had been settled at the end of the administration of Bishop Drury, Bishop Gracida was able to fund many projects during his administration. The foundation funded a Chemical Dependence Unit in counties of the diocese and contributed to building projects in numerous parishes. The Villa Maria apartment complex begun Bishop Rene H. Gracida became the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Archived Photo



Another ministry to which Bishop Gracida had been dedicated even prior to his arrival in Corpus Christi was the Apostleship of the Sea. Msgr. Vincent Patrizi, now deceased, spent hours in service to the moral, social and spiritual needs of seamen as he visited the ships in port and worked at the local Seamen’s Center in Corpus Christi while serving the parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea on North Beach near the port. Archived Photo

under Bishop Drury was also completed at this time and was dedicated in 1984 as a home to area senior citizens capable of independent living in a residential environment providing a sense of Christian community. Bishop Gracida’s architectural past also led him to promote the renovation of the Emmanuel crypt chapel of the Cathedral so that it might serve for smaller events that did not necessitate the use of the full Cathedral sanctuary. The chapel was renovated and enlarged under the direction of local architect James Rome assisted by the talented and internationally known artist Michael Tracy. Bishop Gracida dedicated the newly renovated chapel on Nov. 21, 1985. It was also during this period that the remains of the first bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Bishop Paul Nussbaum, were returned to Corpus Christi and placed in the western wall of the crypt chapel where today the remains of Bishops Emmanuel Ledvina, Mariano S. Garriga and Drury also rest. Subsequent to this work, in April 1988, Bishop Gracida began major changes on the main sanctuary and nave of the Cathedral transforming the apse into the space for the episcopal chair and a presbytery for the local clergy gathered for diocesan worship. A Blessed Sacrament Chapel was



added to the south side of the Cathedral for the reservation of the Sacrament. The chapel was dedicated in 1989 with a special Mass celebrated by Timothy Cardinal Manning of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, along with archbishops and bishops from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. To promote the liturgical life of the Cathedral, Bishop Gracida also hired full time music ministers Greg Labus and Lee Gwozdz. Under their leadership, multiple choirs were formed and a program of community concerts was developed for the promotion of both Sacred Music and the musical arts of the area. Another ministry to which Bishop Gracida had been dedicated even prior to his arrival in Corpus Christi was the Apostleship of the Sea. Since his installation as first bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, he had become national episcopal promoter of the Apostleship, an international Catholic organization serving the needs of seafarers. With a major port in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the bishop was blessed with the presence of the national chaplain, Father Ray Rau, as well as the dedicated service of local priest, Father Vincent Patrizi, who spent hours in service to the moral, social and spiritual needs of seamen as he visited the ships in port and worked at the local Seamen’s

ebration of the Tridentine Mass with approbation, Bishop Center in Corpus Christi while serving the parish of Our Gracida echoed the permission given by Pope John Paul Lady, Star of the Sea on North Beach near the port. II in October 1984 by establishing the St. Michael the Since the time of Bishop Drury the altar servers of the Archangel Latin Mass Community, which today meets diocese had enjoyed a week long holiday each summer at St. Theresa Church on Lantana. Also with a growing in the hill country, usually near Garner Park. Seeking to number of Anglicans seeking full communion with the extend a similar program to all the youth of the diocese, Catholic Church, Bishop Gracida established the St. AnBishop Gracida built a youth camp in the hill country— selm of Canterbury Anglican Use Community, which today Camp Corpus Christi. Over the following years it hosted worships at 1200 Lantana Rd. in Corpus Christi. thousands of youth of the diocese for a week of recreation Bishop Gracida realized that the growth of the diocese and exercise in a Catholic atmosphere of prayer and Euwould eventually lead to the establishment of a new diocese charist. centered most likely in Laredo. With that in mind one of In continuing the emphasis on development of lay his last major acts was to establish the Western Vicariate ministry in the Post Vatican II Church, Bishop Gracida in an effort to further develop programs in catechesis, also founded the Pastoral Institute in 1984 to support the communications and social services with centers in Lardiocesan departments in their efforts to prepare individuals edo. These efforts laid the groundwork for the eventual for specific church ministries and to offer continuing faith erection of the Diocese of Laredo in the Great Jubilee formation opportunities to all interested adults. This was Year of 2000. an expansion of a program begun by Bishop Drury, and has developed into the program known today as the St. Paul School of Catechesis. In 1987, as the diocese celebrated its 75th anniversary, the bishop called for a diocesan synod, which culminated after months of parish and deanery meetings in the Second Synod of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The general assembly of clergy and laity gathered April 13-15, 1988. The convocation resulted in the promulgation of 17 documents related to the challenges of “Becoming One Body” in the modern age. To p i c s c o v e r e d many pertinent areas for study and decision. It was also a time of addressing some particular groups that also had resulted from the Bishop Gracida echoed the permission given by Pope John Paul II in October 1984 by establishing the St. challenges of Vatican Michael the Archangel Latin Mass Community, which today meets at St. Theresa Church on Lantana. II. For those interested Archived Photo in the continued



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

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Vatican II enriched Tradition Proper understanding of Vatican II hopes to inspire spiritual renewal among faithful Timothy Hatch Correspondent


sk any Catholic about Vatican II and most often than not, the likely observer will hear the same answer and not much else; that Mass could now be celebrated in English. While this is true, many Catholics lack a true understanding and thus, appreciation, of how the Second Vatican Council sought to enhance and make accessible to the faithful of the Church the richness and beauty of her Tradition. During this Year of Faith, the Diocese of Corpus Christi is hoping to change that.

The Department of Evangelization and Catechesis hosted the first of a two-part symposium on the documents of the Second Vatican Council on Dec. 1 at St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles parish with the goal to introduce a greater understanding and appreciation of the Bishop Michael Council and its docuMulvey ments, which remain Bishop of the providentially relDiocese of Corpus evant today. Christi Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey, in his introductory remarks, spoke of the external changes promulgated by Vatican II as a way of drawing Catholics into a greater understanding of the Church’s unchanging truths



amidst a relativistic society. “When we just look at the externals of anything, we miss the interior meaning of what it’s all about and how it applies to us. This is the only Council in the Church that did not come out to combat a heresy. It was a Pastoral Council to help us unDr. Geri Telepak derstand who we are,” Professor at St. Bishop Mulvey said. Mary’s Seminary Dr. Geri Telepak, professor at St. Mary’s Seminary, began the first talk of the symposium with a presentation on Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. She said that one of the hopes of the Council was to give the

ful a better experience of the Church with the desire of inspiring them to participate more fully in the life of the Church and to grow into a deeper relationship with Christ. The Second Vatican Council accomplished its mission through a more elaborate use of language. Dr. Telepak said Lumen Gentium speaks of the Church as sacrament, a visible society, but also a spiritual community, and of how the Church is a vessel of Christ’s seven sacraments, visible

signs that brings about the internal grace they represent. It is through this grace that all the faithful are called to participate in Christ’s priestly ministry. “We are called to be holy people. We believe that the Holy Spirit exists within us. When I receive the sacraments, I receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The more I receive the Eucharist, the more I receive reconciliation, the more grace builds in me,” Dr. Telepak said. It is through this grace, first received at baptism, that the faithful are anointed and sent forth to serve in Christ’s ministerial priesthood. The most notable way of doing this is through teaching others the faith or through service in the parish. “We are called to take care of the sick. We are called to take Communion to those home bound. We are called

to teach others thee faith. Therefore, learn it and study it. You can’t give awayy what you don’t have,” she said. The Council’s elaborate use of language clarified the Church’s teachingss on the entire people of God. To some degree people of all faiths belong to the Church. For example, non-Catholic holic Christians do not need to be baptized again upon entering ntering the Church through the RCIA process. Non-Christians istians of virtue have access to heaven if they live life accordingly. ordingly “The Council had to discover by way of dialogue with the world around it, dialogue with the members of the Church, dialogue with those not members of the Church, how to speak the Word of Christ in such a way that it could be received and be a source of hope,” Father Kenneth Hammond said in his talk later that afternoon. Along with the greater focus on the active participation of the lay faithful in the Church, the Second Vatican Council more clearly defined the nature of the Church’s bishops through establishing a College of Bishops by region to implement and practice the work of the Council in each bishop’s respective diocese in union with the pope. The Council also called for a restoration of the permanent diaconate by a more active participation in assisting the priest at liturgies. Father Hammond, a professor at the Oblate School of Theology, explained SacrosancAttendees discuss reading materials tum Concilium, from the first symposium on the docuConstitution on ments of the Second Vatican Council at the Sacred Liturgy, St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles Parish. He spoke in greater detail about the liTimothy Hatch, for South Texas Catholic turgical reforms of Vatican II, noting that the need for reform was discerned upon a deeper study of the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and scripture on proper worship. This was possible, unlike previous Church Councils, because media communication had advanced enough that Father Kenneth these teachings were Hammond Professor at the easily accessible to Oblate School of those who particiTheology pated in the Second Vatican Council. Through this study, the Council concluded that the life of the Church celebrated in the liturgy is a living reality that is in constant development and must always strive to serve the latest generation of the faithful so they can JANUARY 2013 | SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC


Several people in the diocese attended the first symposium on the documents of the Second Vatican Council at St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles Parish Dec. 1. Timothy Hatch, for South Texas Catholic

Council called for liturgy to be of a more “noble >> The simplicity” so as to not distract from its central action, the celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. understand it. “People want to understand the meaning of the signs they make, particularly the signs of sanctification,” Father Hammond said. The Council called for liturgy to be of a more “noble simplicity” so as to not distract from its central action, the celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. For example, while the Council encouraged beautiful, artful statues, the tabernacle and Crucifix must always be centrally located within the sanctuary. Secondly, the liturgical calendar must always keep central the celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. The Sunday celebration of Christ’s Resurrection would now trump the celebration of a saint’s feast day that may fall on a particular Sunday, except for solemnities. Finally, Mass could be celebrated in the vernacular with the use of cultural adaptations compatible with the Church’s proper celebration of the liturgy. These adaptations gave rise to the numerous rites in the



Church. One celebrating Mass in a different rite can easily see the cultural differences, but can, at the same time, recognize the universality of the Church’s celebration of the Eucharist. “This was an effort to refine our focus so as to really look into the important things first most deeply. These principles had to do with as much as everything in providing greater access for all of the faithful to these realities of our salvation,” Father Hammond said. The second part of the Vatican II Symposium will be held on March 9, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Corpus Christi Cathedral. Father Donald Nesti will speak on Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, and Father Thomas Norris will speak on Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. Admission is free and lunch will be provided. To sign up or for more information, call (361) 882-6191, ext. 631 by Feb. 27, 2013.

+In Memoriam

Sister Lydia Ann Braun Sister Lydia Ann Braun, Carmel DCJ, 59, died Dec. 17, 2012 in Mandan, North Dakota. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at St. Agnes Home in Kirkwood, Missouri with burial at the Carmelite Cemetery in Kirkwood. Born Shirley Marie Braun on March 11, 1953 to Pius Braun and Lydia Volk in Bismarck, North Dakota she felt the calling to the religious life at a very young age while growing up on the family farm. Sister Lydia Ann often commented that her vocation stemmed not so much from an authentic religious calling but a desire to “get away from milking those darn cows” which was always followed by a mysterious smile which left everyone around wondering whether she was joking or not. After six months of formation in the Postulancy, and two years as a Novice, she professed her First Vows. She took the name Sister M. Lydia Ann of the Mother of God–Lydia after her mother and Ann “to add some class.” At the same time, she attended nursing school in Pensacola, Florida where she was stationed after her formation years in St. Louis. She professed her final vows in Kirkwood, Missouri on July 2, 1979. Sister Lydia Ann was blessed with a tremendous sense of humor and love for life. Her capacity for friendship was shown in the great number of correspondences she accumulated throughout the years, ranging from people she grew up with to people she met on an airplane. With Sister Lydia Ann it was not uncommon for someone to go from being a random passerby to being a

March 11, 1953 ~ Dec. 17, 2012

close intimate friend of hers within a short conversation. It did not take much for her to make herself a part of someone’s life. There was something extraordinarily contagious in sister’s joy and appetite for life. After being appointed Provincial Superior of the Southwest Province and subsequently moving to Corpus Christi, Sister Lydia Ann repeatedly admonished the sisters in her community to “love as Jesus loves.” “Why is it so difficult to love as He does?” she would ask. “He gave us one simple commandment and we can’t even get that right.” This phrase became known as sister’s “theme song” within her community. In her 38 years as a Carmelite Sister of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Sister Lydia Ann served in various homes; Pensacola, Florida; Jefferson City, Missouri; San Diego, California;

Rome, Italy; and most recently as the Provincial Superior in Corpus Christi. She served in many different capacities including director of nursing, administrator, local Superior as well as being Provincial Superior for both the Central and Southwest Provinces within the United States at different times in her life. Sister Lydia Ann was known for her great devotion to the Holy Father and was deeply touched when she learned this was to be the Year of Faith. She said more than once how she wanted to honor the Holy Father’s wishes to make the Catholic faith more present in the world and was constantly coming up with ideas on how to do so. She even mentioned once or twice how she believed she would die in the Year of Faith. Little did her sisters at the Mount Carmel Home know that she would in fact be called home to experience the fullness of her faith with her Lord. Sister Lydia Ann’s love for life can be summed up in her own words, “Each walk of life has challenges. God does not call us to be perfect, great, famous or fantastic. He calls us to honor his holiness in whatever path we feel he is calling us to pursue.” Sister Lydia Ann touched the lives of many and will be deeply missed by her mother, Lydia Braun; sisters, Emma Sornsin, Aggie Knudson, Jackie (Ken) Hamel, Rosie (Jack) Wagner, Sandy (Dan) Ryckman; brothers, Fred (Marlene), Michael (Donna), Ed (Connie), Richard (Faye) and numerous adoring nieces and nephews, as well as her sisters in the Southwest Province. Her father, Pius, preceded Sister Lydia Ann in death.



+In Memoriam

Sister Joan Michele Rake, CDP, Sister Joan Michele Rake, CDP, entered eternal life Dec. 19 at the age of 87. She labored 65 years in ministry, including nearly 25 years in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. “Teaching, formation ministry, giving retreats and 24 years of counseling and spiritual direction have allowed me to try to help others experience God’s Providential love and care,” Sister Joan Michelle said about her 65 years of ministry. She came to Corpus Christi in 1980, where she offered retreats, spiritual direction and pastoral counseling primarily at the Diocesan Center for Spiritual Direction. She also taught in the Corpus Christi Diocesan Diaconate Program. During 2002-03, she ministered at the Delos Mind-Body Institute. Born in Beaumont, Texas to Mary M. Sperier and Edwin Richard Rake on July 2, 1925, she was named Gloria Ann at baptism. As a graduate of Fannett High School, she won a scholarship to Our Lady of the Lake College

July 2, 1925 ~ Dec. 19, 2012

in San Antonio. On Sept. 8, 1945, she entered the Congregation of Divine Providence and professed first vows as a sister on June 21, 1947. Earning degrees from Our Lady

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of the Lake College and Indiana’s Notre Dame and Pennsylvania’s Duquesne Universities, she taught at St. Genevieve School in Lafayette, Louisiana, and at St. Mary’s Parochial and Providence High Schools in San Antonio. She also taught at Duquesne University. From 1953 through 1965, Sister Joan Michele served in the formation ministry of her Congregation as Directress of Aspirants and later of Novices. She returned to Our Lady of the Lake Convent Center in 2003 where she continued to counsel and offer other community service. Two nieces and three grandnephews survive Sister Joan Michele. Preceding her in death were her parents; her sister, Mary Melva Rake; and her brothers, Adam Frederick and Edwin Leon Rake. A Rosary was recited Dec. 20, 2012. A Mass of Resurrection was offered Dec. 21, 2012. All services were held in Annunciation Chapel at Our Lady of the Lake Convent Center.

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Future priests are sitting in the pews, pray for them Alfredo E. Cardenas

O South Texas Catholic

n June 23, 2001 Pete Elizardo and Patrick Serna were ordained priests at the Corpus Christi Cathedral. Today they are inspiring other young men to pursue a vocation in the priesthood. “Those that are most likely to seek or pursue a priestly or religious vocation are those that have been chosen by God, Himself, and those that have been encouraged by either their parish priest and/or a family member,” Father Joseph Lopez, JCL

Vocations Director for the Diocese of Corpus Christi said. In the case of Charles Silvas, one of the newest seminarians for the diocese, it was Father Elizardo, Rector at the Cathedral, who inspired his interest in the priesthood. Father Serna was the guiding force for first year seminarian Margarito Trevino III, while he was Pastor at St. Michael the Archangel in Banquete. Both seminarians also said their respective grandmothers provided the family support in their discernment. Silvas, in his first year at St. Joseph Seminary in Louisiana, said “the way they simply live their lives” was Father Elizardo’s and his grandmothers’ inspiration. “Father Patrick made the faith come alive and more real for me,” Trevino

Prayer for Vocations God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth and young adults. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Father Joseph Lopez, JCL Vocations Director

said. “My grandmothers showed me that you didn’t need to be doing great things, they showed me how lives can be changed through patient prayer. My parents instilled in me the love parents have for their children through all the ups and downs that daily life has.” Parish priests have also played an important role in the discernment and formation of the other 10 diocesan seminarians. The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week Jan. 13-19. This is a time for parishes to consider their role in promoting the formation of priests, deacons and religious order brothers and sisters deciding on their future. “National Vocation Awareness Week gives dioceses and parishes across the country a chance to promote vocations through prayer and education,” said Archbishop Robert Carlson, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “This is especially important in this Year of Faith and as the Church continues to focus on the New Evangelization. Vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life are essential in the Church’s mission of spreading the joy and love of Jesus Christ. Our world and culture needs the Good News of Christ more than ever.”



Father Lopez points to four things families, friends and parish communities can do to promote and support those seeking to enter priestly or religious vocations. The first is to “pray.” “Unfortunately, often times we undervalue the power of prayer. Pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Our Lord tells us in Matthew, Chapter 9, ‘to beg the Master of the harvest to send laborers into the vineyard.’ If we want more priests and sisters, we all need to ask.” The second thing that must be done is to “teach” young people how to pray. “Unless we teach our youth how to pray, they will never hear God calling them into a deeper relationship with Him and into the discipleship of the Church,” Father Lopez said. Third, “invite” active young adults and teens to consider a vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life. A simple, yet, sincere and private com-

David Bayardo

Michael Quesada


ment should never be underestimated. Finally, people need to “talk” about vocations regularly so that a “culture of vocations” takes root in parishes and homes. “This means, first and foremost, the people need to hear about vocations from our homilies, prayers of the faithful and discussions in the classrooms. Vocations kept out of sight are out of mind,” Father Lopez said. The “call” to a priestly or religious vocation takes many forms and may come at any age. It takes some longer than others to respond positively to God’s call. There is not a set time in one’s life to “think” about a vocation. “God has called us to a particular vocation from the time before we were born. It is not we who choose Him, it is He who chooses us to go and bear fruit that will last,” Father Lopez said, citing the Gospel of John. He said there are a number of questions that if one answers “yes” then they

Deacon Christopher Becerra

Ramiro Regalado


may have a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life. Do you feel called to give more or be more? Does your relationship with God sustain you, enliven you and invigorate you in such a way that you want to share the Good News with others? Does the idea of becoming a priest or sister keep coming back to mind time and time again? Do you feel a recurring tug in your heart to serve others more? “Remain connected to the power of the sacraments, especially Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Confession,” said Michael Quesada, a third year theology student at St. Mary Seminary in Houston. “These are powerful instruments that strengthen our souls for service to others.” A full and outright life commitment is required to faithfully and fruitfully live out one’s vocation to priesthood and consecrated life. The rewards most definitely outnumber the sacrifices

Eric Chapa

Charles Silvas

when living out God’s call to these vocations. “For a priest to be able to bring about the Body and Blood of Christ from the simple gifts of bread and wine; to forgive sins as commanded by Jesus Christ; to bring peace to a world that is constantly plagued with violence; to give understanding to a society that is almost always confused, to be that conduit between God and man are far more gratifying than the sacrifice of oneself for the sake of the kingdom of God,” he said. It takes between six to eight years for those pursuing a vocation to diocesan priesthood. Currently, the Diocese of Corpus Christi has 12 men studying for the priesthood. In addition to Silvas and Trevino, Oscar Chaparro, Richard Gutierrez, and Ramiro Regalado are also attending St. Joseph Seminary. Others at the undergraduate and pre-theology level include James

Hernandez and Joshua Stevens who attend Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. Seminarians at the graduate or theology level are David Bayardo, Deacon Christopher Becerra, Michael Quesada and Freddy Villarreal at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and Eric Chapa at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Every Catholic young man should seriously consider priesthood as an option, Father Lopez said. If one feels he is being called to a life as a priest, he should approach his parish priest and share with him his thoughts. If this is not possible, for whatever reason, he can contact Father Lopez at jlopez@ or on twitter @Fr_JosephLopez. Women thinking about a life in consecrated life should contact Sister Annette Wagner, IWBS at awagner@ or the religious order of their interest. Men considering the

Oscar Chaparro

Richard Gutierrez

Joshua Stephens

Margarito Trevino, III

permanent diaconate should contact Deacon Michael Mantz at diaconate@ Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life are the heartbeat of the Church. Asked how many priests does the diocese need to sustain current and future needs, Father Lopez said, “The Church does not need ‘numbers.’ We as the Church need to continue to foster good and holy priests.” “The priesthood is a call, not a career; a redefinition of self, not just a new ministry; a way of life, not a job; a state of being, not just a function; a permanent, lifelong commitment, not a temporary style of service; an identity, not just a role,” Father Lopez said. “Our future priests are out there. They are sitting in the pews. We just need to support and encourage them,” he said.

James Hernandez

Freddy Villarreal JANUARY 2013 | SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC


“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” 18


–Hb 7:17

Msgr. Seamus McGowan: 55 years after ordination still serving Geraldine McGloin



lthough he retired 15 years ago due to health reasons, Msgr. Seamus McGowan still maintains a full schedule of pastoral activities. “I can’t do the things I did when I was younger. When I have to sit down to rest I do, but you never retire from being a priest.”

That is more than apparent to members of the small mission church of St. Mary’s on Cynthia Street in western Nueces County. As a mission of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, St. Mary’s has no resident pastor or priest in charge, but to the people Msgr. McGowan is a special friend in addition to being their priest. He is the person fit, vibrant and full of good cheer who brings Christ and His message of love and service to their community. Msgr. McGowan’s relationship with St. Mary’s mission goes back to when it was attached to St. Anthony’s in Robstown. He is back with the people where he “helps out.” “Babies are gifts from God, today we will bring little Liam into the family of Christ,” Msgr. McGowan said while performing a baptism at St. Mary’s. “His parents are the instruments that gave him life; they came here today to give their baby the gift of faith. Everyone here will become an honorary padrino, you will give him faith by your example.” “It meant everything to us to be able to have Msgr. McGowan baptize Liam,” Amanda Young the three-month-old baby’s mother said. “He has been with our family for years, Baptizing our babies and we love him very much.” ith his warm smile and outstretched hand, Msgr. McGowan greets a parishioner of St. Mary’s Mission. Msgr. McGowan came to the mission when he was assigned to St. Anthony’s in Robstown in 1962. Philip Wright, for South Texas Catholic

The Baptism of baby Liam Young was particularly joyful for Msgr. McGowan, as he has known his family since he was in Robstown at St. Anthony’s. Liam is the grandson of two of the original members of St. Mary’s, Cele and Petra Garza, who were present for the Baptism. The baby’s Godmother and aunt Rose Mary Garza is their daughter. Msgr. McGowan grew up in the beautiful Glenaide parish of County Leitrim, Ireland. He was the eldest of seven boys in a family that “had no girls to spoil.” He remembered that his childhood, though generally happy and stable, was shadowed by the ominous political troubles in Ireland during the 1930s. “There were lots of problems and a threat of civil war,” he said. His father, a school principal, got involved in the fight for freedom from the British government and eventually served as a member of the first Irish parliament. “There was a lot of unrest and suffering,” Msgr. McGowan said. Then there was World War II. As an eightyear-old he remembered feeling a great pity for the Polish people, “who didn’t have a chance when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” There were hardships, which the McGowan family felt with others; the rationing of goods, gasoline, tires and various foods. “There was no tea, we had the worst coffee ever,” he said. Despite the political landscape, the McGowan family remained settled and prayerful. Each evening the family gathered to pray the Rosary. “We would say a special ‘Pater’ [Our Father] for vocations to the priesthood.” Included in the request was for a vocation within their family. He remained in his local school until eighth grade when he was enrolled in a Catholic High School. “It was a privilege I had and it was at great sacrifice for my parents,” he said. He completed his high school and two years of college work while there. Eventually he began to think about the family rosary with the special prayer for vocations to the priesthood. “I might like to be a priest,” he thought. There were a lot of problems to overcome. There were few colleges around; he was in a very rural area with no car and no gasoline. He finally did manage though to get to St. Joseph’s College in the south of Ireland in County Kilkinney. “I was thinking about the priesthood all the time,” he JANUARY 2013 | SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC


Msgr. McGowan Christens baby Liam Young as a part of the Baptism ceremony. Using the Oil of Catechumens the anointing is called Christening meaning the baby is made a follower of Christ. Philip Wright, for South Texas Catholic

said. He wanted to be a missionary and carry the Gospel message to India or maybe even Africa. He also thought some about doing diocesan work. He then went to St. Patrick’s seminary in Thurles, County Tipperary, where he studied philosophy and theology for the next six years. “The seminary at Thurles was designed to prepare priests to serve somewhere outside Ireland, in religious communities or as missionaries,” he said. At the time, it was one of approximately 10 seminaries operating with that purpose in Ireland. “There was no shortage of priests in Ireland and you were not encouraged to try to be ordained to serve in an Irish diocese,” Msgr. McGowan said. He considered volunteering to go to Melbourne or Auckland when fate intervened. Msgr. William Kinlough was traveling in Ireland for Bishop Mariano S. Garriga looking for volunteers to come to the Diocese of Corpus Christi. “It made little difference to me, no matter where you were you could serve the Lord. I also was attracted by the name Corpus Christi,” he said. He was ordained for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Thurles on June 16, 1957 along with 70 other men. Six priests from Ireland came to the diocese that year, including Fathers



McGowan, John Killeen, Matt Lyng, Aidan Leddy, William Daley and Larry O’Dwyer. Father McGowan’s first assignment was to St. Patrick Parish in Corpus Christi. It was a new parish and very active, he said. He remembers particularly how the youth group was a lively part of parish life. He served with Msgr. Thomas Meaney and Father Charles Dougherty from 1957 until 1962, at which time he was sent to St. Anthony’s parish in Robstown where he remained 15 years. Robstown was divided along ethnic lines. There were serious issues affecting the community at various levels. Adding to the challenges was the post-Vatican II changes being felt all over the diocese. People and pastors both were somewhat unsure as to just how to implement the new regulations coming out. Father McGowan worked diligently with everyone in his parish to help solve the problems. He befriended most and worked with them towards acceptable solutions. The parish received unexpected help implementing Vatican II rules regarding the changes needed for the interior of the Church. “Many parishioners did not want to change the altar to accommodate the new liturgy where the celebrant faces the congregation. They were adamant. Then Hurricane Celia

hit in August 1970 packing sustained winds of 125 mph. It damaged St. Anthony’s so extensively that the interior had to be redone. “I felt the Holy Spirit was working and sharing with the people the need for the change. Their faith was very strong. We had to have our Masses in the parking lot. When the church was finished the people were so glad to see the inside of the church, no matter where the altar was,” Msgr. McGowan said. “Being sent to Robstown to do the Lord’s work was a real blessing for me,” he said. “I did not speak a word of Spanish and had some tough going. I needed translators for everything.” The nuns who served the parish, the Missionary Sisters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary originally from Mexico served as his translators. Father McGowan took Spanish lessons and with time became fluent. His Spanish is especially useful when he visits the sick and dying. “His ability to sing the hymns in Spanish and English is a great comfort and consolation to the people,” Msgr. Morgan Rowsome, his long time friend and pastor at St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, said. “He is one of the hardest working priests in the diocese, visiting the hospitals everyday besides everything else he does.”

Father McGowan retired in 1997 after several bouts with life-threatening heart disease and three open-heart surgeries. Urged by his cardiologists to retire, he finally did on the 40th anniversary of his ordination. He continued to serve the Lord through counseling when needed and as a chaplain at Spohn South. He continues to this day, helping in parishes, particularly St. Peter’s and its mission St. Mary’s where he celebrates Mass, hears confessions, baptizes those coming into the faith and presides at funerals for those whose earthly life has ended. He epitomizes the prayer by Dominican Jean Baptiste Lacordaire who described a priest as one who lives “in the midst of the world with no desire for its pleasures; to be a member of every family, yet belonging to none; to share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets, to heal all wounds; to daily go from men to God to offer Him their homage and petitions; to return from God to men to bring them His pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; to bless and to be blest forever. O God, what a life, and it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!” Msgr. McGowan provides witness to the words “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hb 7:17)

Msgr. McGowan joyfully presents newly baptized three-month-old Liam Elijah Young to his honorary padrinos. “The community welcomes you with great joy,” he said and to the congregation, “You will give him faith by your example.” The baby is the third generation of his family to become a part of the St. Mary Mission community. Godmother Rose Mary Garza holds the baby as parents Travis and Amanda Young look on. Philip Wright, for South Texas Catholic



Sister Maxima Cruz: A life of Rebecca Esparza Correspondent


ister Maximina Cruz, MDPVM, always knew in her heart she would someday dedicate her life to God. But making that final step took many years of discernment, courage and introspection.

25-years-old and working in a drug store in Taft when she made the final decision to devote her life to the Church with the same sisters who practically helped raise her. “I would do crazy things to test my faith,” Sister Maxie said with a chuckle. “One day I had to travel to Corpus Christi to attend a workshop. On the way back, just past the Harbor Bridge but before Portland, there was a long stretch of open road and I decided, ‘If I can reach 100 miles per hour right now in this car, a religious life is for me’ and wouldn’t you know it, I had a blowout!” Eventually, it was a Cursillo that helped Sister Maxie realize it was time to make the most important decision of her life. At the time, she had already held every pos-

“It was the toughest decision of my life,” she said. Born and raised in Taft, Texas to Cándido and María G. Cruz, Sister Maxie–as she prefers to be called– remembers her childhood with great fondness. She attended Catholic school with the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary, the order of sisters she continues to serve today. The youngest of 14 children, Sister Maxie said her parents were the foundation for her love of Christ and the Church. “I was also blessed to go to school with sisters all my life and can say without hesitation they were my inspiration to enter the convent in service to our Lord,” she said. But the decision to finally join did not come easy. Sister Maxie said she “fought the call” iniSister Maximina points out a black robe once belonging to Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete. The robe, tially for years because she along with other items and photos collected from Mother Julia’s life are on display in a new museum feared losing the close-knit bond with her family, espededicated to her memory. cially her parents. She was Rebecca Esparza for South Texas Catholic



Sister Maximina places a tray filled with prayer petitions on the altar inside the chapel built to honor Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete. Rebecca Esparza, for South Texas Catholic

sible office in her parish: she was the President of CCD, Legion of Mary and Altar Society. “The Cursillo gave me the courage I needed to finally leave home. It was tough for my parents to bear, after all, I was the baby of the family. But they both went to Cursillo too, and realized it was the right decision.” Forty-seven years later, Sister Maxie is making history in Kingsville, as she not only serves one of the humblest neighborhoods in the city, but also paves the way to honor the foundress of her order, Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete. Blessed John Paul II made Mother Julia Venerable in 2004. Even before then, Sister Maxie was diligently working on a chapel and museum to honor Venerable Mother Julia and her lifelong works. “We actually started the process in 2001 with bake sales and various other fundraisers to purchase the land needed for our chapel and museum,” Sister Maxie said. “I believe this is the only way to honor Venerable Mother Julia, who will one day become a saint. It has been God’s will for me to carry out His work on this project.” At age 74, Sister Maxie possesses more agility and

energy than some half her age. She laughs off the comparison, saying it’s the Holy Spirit that carries her through. “Doing God’s work is beautiful and very rewarding,” she said. Maria Idalia Del Bosque, a lifelong Kingsville resident and parishioner at St. Martin of Tours, located just down the street from the chapel and museum, said Sister Maxie helps strengthen her faith daily. “I’ve known Sister Maxie since I was four-years-old, when I started Catholic School. She was also my son’s teacher. Sister Maxie’s work with the needy and her tireless efforts with the museum is an inspiration. She also manages a thrift store next door to the chapel, where neighborhood residents can come and fill a huge basket filled with clothes for just $5. I feel so blessed to help carry out her mission.” Sister Maxie’s dedication to honoring Venerable Mother Julia runs deep; she was with her the last five months of her life. “I remember getting the call to go to Mexico and help Mother Julia,” she said. “I helped the doctors administer care. She was confined to a wheelchair, so I helped serve JANUARY 2013 2013 || SOUTH SOUTH TEX TEXAS AS CATHOLIC CATHOLIC JANUARY

23 23

her meals. I was blessed to treat her wounds with my own hands.” Venerable Mother Julia died on Nov. 22, 1974 at 93. Thanks to the efforts of Sister Maxie, the museum built in her honor, located at 408 East Richard Street in Kingsville, will open in early 2013. Visitors will see for themselves the sacrifices Venerable Mother Julia made for the people of Kingsville, under the most harsh and extreme circumstances. “She was one of the first missionaries in Kingsville and when she first arrived, she came here with nothing,” Sister Maxie said. “She had been exiled from Mexico and the diocese of Corpus Christi invited her here to seek refuge. Eventually, she built up the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary to what we are today. A life so rich with service deserves to be venerated.” As a sister who understands how difficult the decision to become a religious can be, espeDusting the podium inside the chapel built to honor Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete, Sister cially in today’s challenging, fastMaximina also oversees its day-to-day operations. paced life, Sister Maxie offers advice for young people making Rebecca Esparza , for South Texas Catholic the same discernment today. Sister Maxie has words of advice for parents too. “Go to our Blessed Mother “Children need a spiritual example. If they don’t have and pray the Rosary. Remain faithful. Always invoke the that, what are they going to do? They follow what they Holy Spirit and Blessed Mother. Do not let temptations see. I would love to see families go back to being the overtake you. Talk to your parish priest and talk to your spiritual center of a child’s life.” family.”

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The prankster who became a


By God’s grace and the help of an unlikely Guardian Angel Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic


hey were in a sixth grade classroom at Most Precious Blood School. A little boy, as boys that age are prone to do, was reaching to pull the pony tail of the girl sitting in front of him when he heard his teacher saying to the class, “one day Patrick Serna is going to be a Catholic priest.”

T little boy froze. LookThe ing at him, the teacher repeated, “I think you are pea going goi to be a priest.” There was wa conviction in her voice. There was truth in what Th she sh said. “It was like she pulled a blanket from over my heart to reveal what had h always been in my heart,” a Father Patrick Serna recalled years later in his pastor’s office at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sinton. Photo of teacher Dorothy Huff Haffey, At first, he felt, “this which Father Serna carries with him. is true, this is why God Contributed photo made me.” But then he “wanted to cry” because it was “depressing being a priest, always alone and boring.” “I loved priests, I just didn’t want to be one,” he thought as a sixth grader.

Father Patrick Serna explains how he had been commissioned to become a priest in spite of himself. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

But thoughts of the priesthood were the farthest thing from the little boy’s mind. “I was travieso and was always getting into trouble,” Father Serna said. His pranks often resulted in punishment, up to an including being expelled from his ninth grade confirmation class. Unbeknownst to the little boy, however, God had commissioned his teacher Dorothy Huff Haffey as his guardian angel. To this day his memory of her love and guidance plays a big part in his life. While Mrs. Haffey had had up to that time, and would in the future, an indelible effect on his life–especially his spiritual life, in retrospect Father Serna recalls that others also contributed to his faith formation. First there were his parents Zeke and Mary Serna who enrolled him in Catholic school and made sure he and his brother David and sister Erika attended Mass every Sunday. Church was important in the Serna household. JANUARY 2013 | SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC


Father Serna holds up his two favorite books and a picture of the person who gave them to him and who was his first and greatest inspiration to join the priesthood. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

His pastor at Most Precious Blood, Msgr. William Kinlough provided consistency in his faith formation by visiting his classroom every day from pre-kinder to sixth grade. And then there was his assistant pastor Father Michael Burke, a former Trappist monk, who lived in a “shed” in the middle of the school playground. Years later, when Serna joined the seminary, Father Burke would tell people he was not surprised since as a young boy Serna often went to his living quarters to ask him questions about God and prayer and would borrow books from him. But it was Mrs. Haffey who was at the center of his spiritual development. Father Serna calls her his first “spiritual director.” For his graduation from Most Precious Blood School she gave him a copy of the book “My Daily Bread.” In the inside cover she wrote, “Remember always that choosing our Blessed Lord carries a guarantee of happiness in this life and the next. But happiness does NOT mean freedom from pain. It only means the security of being possessed by our Alpha and our Omega–our beginning and our end. May the Holy Spirit always light



your way.” And Serna would soon find out, the Holy Spirit and Mrs. Haffey “were tight.” Serna went to Incarnate Word Academy, then Tom Browne Middle School and Mary Carroll High School. Throughout this time he kept in touch with Mrs. Haffey, who would invite him to come for lunch with her and her husband. After lunch they would go out to her back yard where she had a Morgan shed she called the “book barn.” It was full of books on many subjects, but especially on religion and the saints. After high school, while attending Del Mar College, Serna felt compelled to call Mrs. Haffey almost everyday culminating with inviting her to lunch one day. He told her that he was going to enter the seminary. He was not going to be a priest, he said, he was just going to be a seminarian until they kicked him out or until he quit. He “just needed to get God off my back, so God will leave me alone” he told her. “God is keeping me for one last job before He calls me home. I think this is it,” she told him.

I realized, then, that my primary family was no longer limited to my parents and sister. I realized in that moment that I was now a very real and intimate part of a larger spiritual family.

The next morning she called to thank him. Later that day her daughter Ann called him to tell him her mother had died while she was on the phone with him. She had a massive heart attack just as she hung up the phone. He left for Holy Trinity Seminary with a heavy heart. This was not the last tragedy he faced. Soon after, his brother died from an overdose of anesthesia in a routine surgery. “I had a faith crisis, I felt like I was losing my faith,” Father Serna said. Father Serna remembers having asked Mrs. Haffey to send him a sign when she went to Heaven. She replied that if she went to Heaven and if God would let her, she would send him a sign. The sign came three years after her death. While attending Mass with a friend at St. Pius X he ran into Mrs. Haffey’s daughter Ann, who thanked him for remembering her mother. He was puzzled until he learned that it was Mrs. Haffey’s third anniversary Mass. “It was highly coincidental or providential,” Father Serna said. Shaken, Serna sought out a place to sort out his thoughts and ended up at Half Price Books where he stopped in front of a shelf and pulled out the first book he saw, which turned out to be one he had been wanting to buy–G. K. Chesterton’s book on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. As he opened the book to look for the price, he was stunned to read that it had belonged the “Dorothy Huff Haffey.” It had been one of Mrs. Haffey’s many books. “She didn’t give you any book, she gave you ‘the’ book. She wanted to make sure you had no questions,” Ann Haffey told Serna after he relayed the story to her. It was a book about Mrs. Haffey’s patron saint. Mrs. Haffey’s sign was the beginning of what Father Serna calls his “healing year.” He left for the missionary fields of Mexico where he worked among the poorest of the poor. It was the “richest year” of his life, “living in the poverty of Mexico.” He was attracted to the simplicity; it was a pure way of life. In this year of healing he found conviction. “God wanted me to be a priest, but for the first time I wanted to be a priest,” Father Serna said. “Up to that time I was always struggling with God.”

While Father Serna faced his inner demons and struggled with frequent bouts of doubt, he ultimately overcame all the adversity and became a priest. It was this adversity that helped him in the realization that God’s will must be done. All his conflict and strife was for the better, Father Serna said. “As it is written in the Book of Proverbs, iron sharpens iron, and man sharpens man.” His advice to seminarians and those considering a vocation, whether to the priesthood, religious life or marriage, is that it is “better to have your doubts before saying ‘I do’.” “It is infinitely better to have these questions now,” Father Serna said. “It is both important and good for you to have these struggles now. If you don’t have them now you’re going to have them later.” If one is “incubated from conflict and strife,” he runs the risk of becoming weak, he said. After returning to Corpus Christi from his year in Mexico, Bishop Roberto Gonzales sent him to the Pontifical North American College in Rome to complete his seminary formation. His inner conflict was resolved, but this did not mean his life struggles were over. Four years later, days before his scheduled return from Rome to be ordained a priest, he got an urgent call from his father telling him that his sister Erika was gravely ill and he needed to return home immediately. He found Erika, 22 at the time, struggling with a rare form of cancer; still she was able to attend and be one of the readers at his ordination. The family returned to Houston where Erika underwent surgery. As a priest now he was allowed to be with her in the pre-operating room and he sacramentally anointed her with the oil of the sick. “Just then I heard a voice call out ‘Father, Father, Father, Father will you please come hear my confession? I am a Catholic nun and I want to go to confession.’ It was then that I felt the profound reality of the gift God had given to me, that is, the gift of ordained priesthood. “I realized, then, that my primary family was no longer limited to my parents and sister. I realized in that moment that I was now a very real and intimate part of a larger spiritual family.” JANUARY 2013 | SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC


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Bishop to prisoners: “You are part of my journey”

“His love has melted th


t is a great joy to have this annual trip to be with the St. Dismas Community. You have become part of my faith, part of my journey,” Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey said to more than 100 prisoners at the McConnel Unit in Beeville gathered for a Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.



The feeling amongst the inmates was mutual. The bond between them and their bishop was palpable. “Bishop is our chaplain. He is our direct connection to the Apostles,” Tuan Tran of Houston said. “His homilies touch on what we need to hear–the love he shows us is overwhelming.” Richard Henderson, who was baptized by Bishop Mulvey on his first trip to the prison, said “his love has melted the hearts of some men.” After Mass the men formed a long line waiting to visit with the bishop. Some asked for pictures to be taken with him or for him to autograph a prayer card of Our Lady of Guadalupe he had given them after Mass. Many leaned in close and shared private words with the bishop and received a blessing. The look on all their faces was of respect and admiration.

e hearts of some men” “Bishop lets us know we are not forgotten, that there is a Church that cares,” Billy Jones, who converted to Catholicism while in prison, said. The faith community at McConnel is known as the St. Dismas Community after the repentant criminal crucified with Jesus who asked the Lord, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The community, which is attached to St. Joseph Parish in Beeville, is guided by Father Joseph Varghese, a prison chaplain, and Deacon Chris Luna who is canonically assigned by the bishop to the prison ministry of the diocese. The diocese’s Office of Life, Justice and Human Dignity oversees more than 100 volunteers who carry out the prison ministry, and more volunteers are welcome, said Deacon Stephen Nolte in charge of he office. Among those volunteers dedicated to the St. Dismas Community

at McConnel are Eduardo Cabrera from St. Andrew by the Sea Parish, Esteban Cortez from St. Joseph in Corpus Christi, Joel Garcia from St. Patrick in Corpus Christi and Ruben Ledesma from Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The volunteers “bring the message of hope,” Tran said. “There is a lot of despair here especially this time of the year; being away from our families.” “When I first came here I felt isolated, alone. I didn’t want to be part of negative environment. I found a positive atmosphere with the Catholic community. My Bishop Mulvey celebrated Mass, administered baptisms and confirmed men at St. Dismas Community in Beeville prison. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic



St. Dismus Communty faithful participated joyously in Mass celebrated by Bishop Mulvey and then had personal visits with the bishop. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

Catholic brothers have the same foundation and beliefs,” Frank Ortiz from San Antonio said. On Wednesday mornings inmates can participate in Catholic devotions, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary and the divine mercy, apologetics and liturgical planning. Some 50 prisoners take part in these catechetical activities. On Wednesday afternoon, weekly Mass is celebrated with about 120 attending. Confessions are held before Mass or inmates can meet one on one with Father Varghese for counseling.

Bishop Mulvey blesses inmate. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic



The Friday after the bishop’s visit a second ACTS retreat was started. Two thirds of the participants will be Catholic and one-third non-Catholics, Ortiz said. “Many will be converted by the ACTS retreat. We just had a spirit-filled retreat Dec. 4-8. The only word I can think of is awesome!” Lenroy Davis said. “People’s lives are being changed.” “These retreats have been an unbelievable help,” Henderson said. “The bishop has been instrumental in providing retreats and volunteers. Their work is bearing fruit. I have seen many changed men.” The St. Dismas Community provides the men with a library of books. Davis said he is learning a lot of history. Jones said he learned from St. Aquinas and St. Augustine “to make correct decisions; to love God and man.” “I’m learning a lot here,” Tran said. “As a child did I not grasp the meaning of being Catholic. I have gotten a better understanding from ACTS and other retreats. My faith has grown from what volunteers teach in Bible Study and devotionals.” To a man, every inmate interviewed said they listened to the bishop on KLUX radio. They were amazed at how often the bishop mentions their community at Masses and on “Our Shepherd’s View.” Listening to the bishop on the radio is “like being at the Cathedral,” Tran said. There is no doubt that these men are in prison, but the barbed wire fences do not restrain their hearts or spirit. They openly and enthusiastically embrace their Catholic

faith. “When you are in here to live as a Catholic gives you a sense of freedom,” Ortiz said. He has grown spiritually but knows he “has a long way to go.” “My encounter with Jesus will help. I see things differently; only by His grace. I want to continue that in society,” Ortiz, who is up for parole, said. Bishop Mulvey baptized three new members into the Church and confirmed another five. The week before the Mass, Father Varghese and a number of his brother priests from Corpus Christ heard the confessions of 117 men. In his homily Bishop Mulvey told the men that their faith was a “divine gift.” “God has given each one of us His spirit, written in our hearts even before we were baptized. We do not follow the words of scripture to be a slave to scripture. We do so because we want to,” Bishop Mulvey said. “Thank you for caring for us, remembering and offering us forgiveness through the Church. With the support of

Bishop Mulvey talks with one of the inmates. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

our diocese we know there is forgiveness and that gives us hope,” Jones said.

Pictured with Bishop Mulvey are volunteers that serve the St. Dismus Community, from left, Ruben Ledesma, Esteban Cortez, Chaplain Father Joseph Varghese, Deacon Chris Luna, Joel Garcia and Eduardo Cabrera. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic



Archbishop to share his e Vatican synod on the Jordan Mcmorrough Today’s Catholic


rchbishop Gustavo GarcíaSiller, MSpS, of San Antonio, one of four U.S. representatives selected to attend the recent Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelization held at the Vatican, will discuss his experiences from his three weeks in Rome during the keynote address entitled “The New Evangelization A Spirituality of Communion” at the Diocese of Corpus Christi Ministry Conference on Jan. 12 at the American Bank Center. The conference will open at 8 a.m. with Mass at the American Center and d run through 4:30 p.m. The preregistration period is over, but those wishing to attend can register at the door oor for a $40 registration fee. In October comments ments at the Pope Paul VI Hall before Pope Benedict ct XVI and more than 250 prelates from across thee globe, the archbishop invited the bishops to request est from the Holy Father that he consecrate the world d to the Holy Spirit. “We live in a world orld with its great values, its amazing technological cal advances, incredible conquests and discoveries overies within different fields of knowledge. wledge. But it is also a world wounded by violence, alarmed d by economic crises in variarious countries, marked ed by ecological deterio-ration,” the Archbishop said. “It



is a world where many persons have to emigrate, a world in which youth struggle to find a place, a world that has banished God and that, as a consequence of this, finds the meaning of life questioned and the future seemingly hopeless. This world reality is calling for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” As the Council stated, we are a Church “holy but at the same time in need of constant purification,” he said. “We are a Church which has given witness to Christ in many countries and has proclaimed the Gospel and has offered generous charitable service to the poorest. But our darkest side is ‘the grey pragmatism of daily life in the Church in which, apparently, everything proceeds normally, but in reality faith is deteriorating and degenerating in pettiness.’ This world reality is calling for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” Archbishop Gustavo, as he prefers to be called, acknowlEvangelization for the edged that the New Evan Christian faith is a transmission of the C for the Church, for huge challenge fo person. Quoting from each baptized per the Gospel of Mark, Ma the archbishop Christ has sent us to go said, “Jesus Chri world and proclaim out to the whole w News to all creation,” the Good New Paul VI in Evangelii and from Pope P “Evangelization will never Nuntiandi, “Evang be possible without witho the action of the Holy Spirit.” “In order Archbishop Gustavo t h a t Je s u s Christ’s salGarcia-Siller, MSpS vation may Contributed photo reach the whole world and transform it, an iin order that the Church may be renewed and holiness may flourish in it, in order

experiences from recent e New Evangelization in Oregon for three years. Through those years he gave that we, Christians, go forward with the New Evangelizaparish missions to Catholic communities throughout the tion, we need a new Pentecost,” the archbishop said. “In United States. order that this Year of Faith yields the new Pentecost that Much of the archbishop’s work with his order involved we need, I will therefore propose to the bishops that the the formation of the men of his religious community. From synod humbly ask the Holy Father to consecrate the world 1978 to 1980 he taught at INUMYC Minor Seminary in to the Holy Spirit.” Guadalajara and at the Archbishop Gustavo “We live in a world with its great values, Instituto de Filosofia, was named prelate of where he served as an San Antonio by Pope its amazing technological advances, instructor and formaBenedict XVI on Oct. tor from 1988 to 1990. 14, 2010, and installed on Nov. 23, 2010. He incredible conquests and discoveries within He also was rector the Missionaries succeeded Archbishop different fields of knowledge. But it is also of of the Holy Spirit in José H. Gomez as the Lynwood and Long sixth archbishop of San a world wounded by violence, alarmed Beach, Calif., from Antonio. Pope John Paul II originally apby economic crises in various countries, 1990-1996, and held that same position at pointed Archbishop Mount Angel in OrGustavo an auxiliary marked by ecological deterioration.” egon from 1996~1999. bishop of the Chicago Other speakers at Archdiocese in 2003. the conference include Robert Nathan Feduccia, Jr. who will Archbishop Gustavo was born Dec. 21, 1956 in San Luis present talks on “The New Evangelization” and “A Year of Potosi S.L.P, Mexico, the eldest of 15 children. He grew Faith in an Era of Doubt;” Dr. Jaime Padro who will speak up sweeping floors and washing windows, among other on “Church Documents for a Spirituality of Communion” responsibilities, in the family furniture store until he was 16. and “Developing a Profound Spirituality of Communion;” The archbishop received his formator certificate from Luis Soto will address “Stewardship & Evangelization: Escuela de Verano Para Formadores. He earned master’s Ministering to Hispanics in the Third Millennium;” and degrees in theology and divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Sister Rose Paul Madassery, SABS will discuss “The Mother Camarillo, Calif., and received his master’s degree in philosoTeresa Shelter–Something Beautiful for God.” phy from Instituto de Filosofia in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Also presenting workshops are Carrie Chavez Thompson archbishop also attended ITESO, a Jesuit university in Guaon “The Journey to Christ–A Migration of the Heart;” Fadalajara, where he earned a master’s degree in psychology. ther Paul Rutten will have two presentations on “Creating In 1975, Archbishop Gustavo professed as a member the Culture of Vocations” and “Understanding the Call;” of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. He was sent to the and Father Phil Hurley, SJ will speak on “Practical Methods United States by his order in 1980, where he worked closely of Daily Prayer.” with the immigrant community. He was ordained a priest This year the Ministry Conference will have a special on June 22, 1984, in Guadalajara. “youth track” that will feature Archbishop Gustavo, Bishop His 28 years of priestly service has taken many forms, Wm. Michael Mulvey, Feduccia on “Spirit & Song” and including ministering to communities with varied cultural former NFL player Chris Horn. backgrounds. While in California he served in Fresno and at three parishes in the Los Angeles area. He also worked (Alfredo E. Cardenas contributed to this article)




Priests near school shooting quick to offer assistance

A crowd surrounds St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, after the community was rocked by a shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A gunman opened fire on school children and staff at the school killing at least 27 people, including 20 children. The church held a Mass to pray for victims and their families and was to remain open through the night. Shannon Stapleton, Catholic News Service

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNS) -- As law enforcement officers tried to piece together the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and seven adults dead, priests from nearby parishes rushed to the scene to comfort families and staff. According to early reports, a man with multiple guns entered the K-4 school soon after 9:30 a.m. and began shooting. Children, administrators and teachers were said to be among the dead. The suspected gunman also was reported dead inside the school. The award-winning school has more than 600 students, according to the website of an organization called Great Schools. Brian Wallace, director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, told Catholic News Service that Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of


York -- would be helping with trauma nearby St. Rose of Lima Parish, was at counseling in the community. the school almost immediately. Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul “It’s likely there are members of the Vance said 18 children were found dead parish affected,” he said. -- all in one section at the school -- and When the enormity of the tragedy two more were declared dead at area became apparent, Wallace said, all the hospitals. Six adults, in addition to the priests in the greater Danbury area besuspected shooter, were also found gan reaching out, “at the most intimate dead. and painful level,” to meet with families. “They’re on the ground and in the hospital,” he added. %* APY Wallace said *Includes Current Yield + 1.00% First Year Additional Interest. counselors from Interest rates are subject to change & vary by plan. The minimum interest rate guaranteed is 1.50%. Catholic Charities -- some of whom provided Ray Perez Mary Cisneros assistance after 361-765-4299 361-228-4677 the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Securing Families’ Lives Since 1901 n e a r b y Ne w ANNUITIES · IRAs · ROLLOVERS



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The Tequila Worm

A story of growing up in south Texas as a Catholic, Mexican-American girl Dominique Damian Contributor


e all have something that we are passionate about. That was the message south Texas author Viola Canales gave to Incarnate Word Academy Middle Level students about her latest book “The Tequila Worm.”

Canales traveled to the IWA campus on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 to meet and greet students after they read her novel during class. “The Tequila Worm” is a coming of age story about a Catholic, Mexican-American girl growing up in south Texas. Teacher Marci Levings invited the 2006 Pura Belpré Award winner to talk to students about her book, the extensive publishing process she experienced and the importance of reading. “I liked the fact that the students were able to make a connection with the author,” Levings www.So www .So South uthTex uth TexasC Tex asC asCath sC ath h oli olic.c c om c.c om

said. After taking some time to discuss the characters in her book, Canales answered questions from IWA’s Middle Level students and signed autographs. Canales said Eighth grader William Yeager shows appreciation to author Viola Canales after the storyteller signed his copy of her novel “The Tequila Worm” Dominique Damian, Incarnate Word Academy


3 37 7

Author Viola Canales speaks to IWA Middle Level students about her latest book “The Tequila Worm” on Nov. 13, 2012. Domique Damian, Incarnate Word Academy

that she loved that the students felt inspired by her book. “It gives me hope that these students will fall in love–not with just this book, but with other books,” Canales said. Many IWA Middle Level students said they were excited to meet the storyteller behind the book that discussed Catholicism, friendship and loss. Eighth grader Alexandria Ybarra said she loved how the author explained the writing process and the things that she had to do to get “The Tequila Worm” published. She also said there were so many resemblances between the book and her family. “I was very excited,” Alexandria said. “It took my breath away to meet the author of this book, and to feel her presence in school.”

Another eighth grader, Michael Diejomaoh, could not have agreed more after getting the author to sign a copy of the book. “I liked how she explained all her experiences as a child,” Michael said. Canales, who also wrote “Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales,” is a McAllen, Texas native. She attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She has been a captain in the U.S. Army, a litigator and an official in the Clinton Administration. Levings hopes that her students felt inspired after meeting the author. “It’s important for them to feel inspired and to explore their spirituality,” Levings said.

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El niño travieso qu se convirtio en un Alfredo E. Cardenas


South Texas Catholic

staban en una clase de sexto grado en la escuela Most Precious Blood. Un niño pequeño, como los niños de esa edad son propensos a hacer, estaba llegando a estirar la trenza de la niña sentada frente a él cuando oyó su maestra diciendo a la clase, “un día Patricio Serna va a ser un sacerdote católico.”

El niño se quedó sorprendido. Dirigiéndose a él, la profesora repitió: “Creo que vas a ser un sacerdote.” Había convicción en su voz. Había algo de verdad en lo que decía. “Era como si ella quitó una frazada que estaba sobre mi corazón para revelar lo que había tenido siempre en mi corazón”, recordó el Padre Patrick Serna años después en la oficina de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Sinton. Al principio, pensó, “esto es cierto, es por eso que Dios me hizo.” Pero luego “quería llorar” porque era “triste ser un sacerdote, siempre solo y aburrido.” “Pos su puesto, amaba sacerdotes, pero no quería ser uno.” Pero los pensamientos del sacerdocio eran la cosa más lejana de la mente del niño pequeño. “Era muy travieso y siempre me metía en problemas”, dijo el Padre Serna. Una de sus bromas resultó en el castigo de expulsión de su clase de la preparación para el sacramento de confirmación. Sin saber el niño, sin embargo, Dios lo había encargado a la protección de su


profesora Dorothy Huff Haffey como su ángel guardián. Mientras la señora Haffey tuvo un efecto permanente en su vida, especialmente su vida espiritual, en retrospectiva Padre Serna recuerda que otros también contribuyeron a su formación en la fe. En primer lugar, sus padres Zeke y María Serna quien lo registraron en la escuela católica y insistían de que él y su hermano David y hermana Erika asistían a misa todos los domingos. La iglesia siempre fue importante en la casa Serna. Su pastor, el Monseñor William Kinlough siempre le dio consistencia a su formación en la fe con visitas a sus clases todos los días desde pre-kinder hasta el sexto grado. Y luego existía su asistente pastor, el Padre Michael Burke, un ex monje trapense, que vivía en una “cochera” en el medio del patio de la escuela. Años más tarde, cuando Serna entró en el seminario, el Padre Burke le platicaba a la gente que el no estaba


sorprendido ya que cuando era un muchacho Serna iba a su casa para hacerle preguntas acerca de Dios y de la oración y pedirle si le prestaba libros. Pero fue la señora Haffey que se encontraba en el centro de su desarrollo espiritual. Padre Serna dice que ella era su primero “director espiritual”. Cuando graduó de la Escuela Most Precious Blood ella le dio una copia del libro “Mi pan de cada día.” En la contratapa escribió: “Recuerda siempre que la elección de nuestro Bendito Señor realiza una garantía de la felicidad en esta vida y la siguiente. Pero la felicidad no significa ausencia de dolor. Sólo significa la seguridad de estar poseído por nuestro Alfa y Omega -nuestro principio y nuestro fin. Que el Espíritu Santo siempre ilumine tu camino. “ Serna pronto descubrió que el Espíritu Santo y la señora Haffey “estaban tirantes”. Después de la secundaria, mientras asistía a Del Mar College, Serna se vio obligado llamar a la señora Haffey por teléfono casi todos los días culminá

ue n sacerdote


El Padre Patrick Serna, quien sobresalió sus dudas y luchas internas para hacerse sacerdote, dice el vencimiento de la adversidad lo hizo más fuerte y un mejor sacerdote. Alfredo E. Cardenas, South Texas Catholic

dose con una invitación a almorzar un día. Él le dijo a la profesora que iba a matricularse en el seminario. Él no iba a ser sacerdote, le dijo, sólo iba a ser un seminarista hasta que lo corrieran o hasta cuando dejara de hacerlo. “Sólo quiero que Dios me deje solo,” le dijo. “Dios me está guardando para un último trabajo antes de que Él me llame a su hogar. Creo que esto es la tarea,” le dijo la Sra. Haffey a Serna. En la siguiente mañana le llamó para darle las gracias. Más tarde ese día, su hija Ann le llamó para decirle que su madre había muerto cuando estaba hablando por teléfono con él. Tuvo un ataque de corazón cuando colgó el teléfono. Serna salió para el seminario Holy Trinity con un corazón triste. Esta no fue la última tragedia que enfrentó. Poco después, su hermano murió de una sobredosis de anestesia en una cirugía rutina. Para empeorar las cosas, un sacerdote en el seminario le dio un consejo espiritual malo, diciéndole que Dios no contesta oraciones. “Tuve una crisis de fe, me sentí como si estuviera perdiendo la fe,” dijo el Padre Serna. Padre Serna recuerda haber pedido a

la señora Haffey que le enviara una señal cuando se fuera al cielo. Ella le contestó que si iba al cielo y si Dios lo permitía, si le enviaría una señal. La señal se produjo tres años después de su muerte. Mientras asistía a la misa con un amigo en St. Pius X se encontró con la hija de la señora Haffey, quien le dio las gracias por acordarse de su madre. Él se quedó perplejo hasta que se enteró de que era la misa del tercer aniversario de muerte de la Sra. Haffey. “Fue muy casual o providencial,” dijo el Padre Serna. Serna buscó un lugar para darle orden a sus pensamientos y se hallo en Half Price Books donde se detuvo delante de un estante y sacó el primer libro

que vio, que resultó ser uno que había estado buscando para comprar-el libro de G . K. Chesterton sobre la vida de San Francisco de Asís. Al abrir el libro para buscar el precio, se sorprendió al leer que había pertenecido a “Dorothy Huff Haffey.” “Mama no te dio cualquier libro, te dio ‘el libro’. Ella quería asegurarse de que no tuvieras ninguna duda,” le dijo Ann Haffey a Serna después de que el le platico lo que había sucedió. Era el libro sobre el santo patronal de la señora Haffey. La seña de la Sra. Haffey fue el comienzo de lo que el Padre Serna llama su “año de alivio.” Se fue a los campos misioneros de México, donde trabajó



entre los más pobres de los pobres. Era el “año más rico” de su vida, “vivir en la pobreza de México.” Se sintió atraído por la simplicidad, era una forma de vida pura. En este año de restablecimiento descubrió convicción. “Dios quería que yo fuera un sacerdote, pero por primera vez yo quería ser sacerdote,” dijo el Padre Serna. “Hasta ese momento yo estaba siempre en lucha con Dios.” Mientras el Padre Serna enfrentó a sus demonios internos y luchó con frecuentes ataques de duda, en última instancia, predominó todas las adversidades y se convirtió en un sacerdote. Fue esta adversidad que le ayudo en la comprensión de que la voluntad de Dios se va hacer. Toda su conflicto fue para hacerlo un mejor sacerdote, dijo Serna. “Como está escrito en el libro de los Proverbios, el hierro con hierro se afila, y el hombre fortalece el hombre.” Su consejo a los seminaristas y

aquellos que están considerando una vocación, ya sea para el sacerdocio, la vida religiosa o el matrimonio, es que es “mejor tener tus dudas antes de decir ‘sí, quiero’.” “Es infinitamente mejor tener estas preguntas ahora,” dijo el Padre Serna. “Es importante y bueno que tengan estas luchas ahora. Si no los tienes ahora vas a tenerlos después.” Luego de regresar a Corpus Christi de su año en México, el Obispo Roberto Gonzáles lo envió al Pontificio Colegio Norteamericano en Roma para completar su formación en el seminario. Su conflicto interno se había resuelto, pero esto no significaba que sus problemas de la vida habían terminado. Cuatro años más tarde, días antes de su regreso de Roma para ser ordenado sacerdote, recibió una llamada urgente de su padre diciéndole que su hermana Erika estaba gravemente enferma y que necesitaba regresar a casa inmediatamente. Encontró a Erika, de 22

años en ese momento, luchando con una rara forma de cáncer. Sin embargo, todavía fue capaz de asistir y ser una de los lectores en su ordenación. La familia regresó a Houston, donde Erika iba a tener cirugía. Como sacerdote ahora se le permitió estar con ella en la sala de pre-operativo y la confirió sacramentalmente con el aceite de los enfermos. “En ese momento escuché una voz decir ‘Padre, Padre, Padre, Padre haga el favor de venir a escuchar mi confesión. Yo soy una monja católica y quiero ir a la confesión’. Fue entonces cuando sentí la profunda realidad del don que Dios me había dado, es decir, el don del sacerdocio ordenado. “Me di cuenta, entonces, que mi familia primaria ya no se limitaba a mis padres y hermana. Me di cuenta en ese momento que era ahora una parte muy real e intrínseco de una gran familia espiritual.”

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Ayudenos a Prevenir el Abuso Financiero La Diocesis de Corpus Christi por medio de la recomendacion del Concilio Diocesano de Finanzas y el Concilio Presbiteral han llevado su dedicacion mas alla para la buena administracion y responsabilidad ¿nanciera en nombre de donantes generosos al instituir un “hotline” para reportar el abuso ¿nanciero. La Diocesis de Corpus Christi ha seleccionado un tercer partido independiente, La Red, para proporcionarle a usted con una manera para reportar anonima 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 paca etica ¿nanciera dentro de la Diocese de Corpus Christi. Todas las investigaciones seran trtadas inmediatamente y discretamente. Personas que llamen tienen el derecho de mantenerse anonimas.

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Tattoos, taboos and regrets Father Tadeueusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. National Bioethics Center


n TV these days, we’re seeing more and more programs about “body art” and tattoo design. Despite the apparent widespread acceptance of the practice, there are several problems with tattooing that go beyond the sanitary issues; disease transmission; and unclean inking needles that can be found in second-rate tattoo parlors. Tattoos, as some who have gotten them have recognized, have negative associations. An article in the Dallas Morning News a few years ago chronicled the story of a young man named Jesus Mendoza, who was “going to great lengths to remove the six tattoos that hint at his erstwhile gang involvement...He feels branded. ‘It’s the stereotyping,’ he said. ‘The question is: What do you think when you see a young Hispanic male with tattoos? You’re going to think gangs. And I think that, too, now.’”

David Whitley raised similar branding concerns in a recent column about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose arms and back are full of tattoos. “NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility,” he wrote. “He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled.” That branding communicates a message that can make life more difficult for those who have tattoos. It should come as no surprise that employers often associate tattooed workers with “reduced productivity” and may show a preference for employees without tattoos in hiring or promotions. Even for the vast majority of tattoo recipients who have no connection with gangs or an indolent lifestyle, a psychological issue is raised by the way they seem to serve as marks of vanity. Placing tattoos in positions where they can hardly be missed–on the neck, the forearms or even the face–can play into a disordered desire to be flamboyant, disruptive and self-seeking with our bodily image. One young woman, tattooed with the image of a fairy having “stylized butterfly wings, in a spray of pussy willow” expressed her sentiments this way: “I am a shameless exhibitionist and truly love having unique marks on my body.” These questions about vanity lead to similar concerns about modesty.

Making Sense out of

BIOETHICS Modesty in its essential meaning involves the decision to not draw undue attention to ourselves. Tattoos and body piercings most definitely draw attention, and often may be desired for precisely these immodest reasons. We ought to dress modestly, in part, to prevent others from being attracted to us out of a mere “focus on body parts.” One aspect of dressing modestly is to make sure everything needing to be covered is, in fact, adequately covered. Placing tattoos in unusual positions on the body may tempt us to dress immodestly so as to assure that the tattoo is visible and exposed for general viewing, in the same way that elective breast augmentation may tempt some women to lower their necklines. Tattoos, chosen as a permanent change to one’s own body, may also suggest issues with psychological self-acceptance. One young woman wanting to get a tattoo expressed her desire to look “edgier,” after concluding that she was just too “squeakyclean” looking. The simple beauty of the human body constitutes a real good and that basic goodness ought to be reasonably safeguarded. Permanent, radical changes to the human body can indeed



“God created the body. A tattoo is like putting graffiti on a work of art.” signal an unwillingness to accept its fundamental goodness, and in certain cases of very radical tattooing and body piercing, one can even discern a subtle form of self-rejection and selfmutilation. There is a spiritual dimension involved as well. Russell Grigaitis, who now regrets getting several tattoos in his 20s, argues in a National Catholic Register interview, “God created the body. A tattoo is like putting graffiti on a work of art.” He compares it with trying to improve a painting by Michelangelo. Some argue that there can be good spiritual reasons for getting tattoos.

For example, people have gotten Crosses or an image of Jesus tattooed as a sign of permanent commitment to Christ, or a ring or a spouse’s name tattooed as a sign of their marital commitment. Yet isn’t a personal commitment to Christ or to one’s spouse more effectively manifested through the realities of inner virtue and a life of outward generosity than by a tattoo? It’s unsurprising that many who got tattoos in their younger days have grown to regret it later. Pop musician Robbie Williams remarked: “I wish it was like an Etch-a-Sketch where I can wipe them all out. It would be nice to have a pure, clean body again.”

The American Academy of Dermatology reported in 2007 that “tattoo regret” is now quite common in the United States. Tattoo removal is a costly and difficult procedure, and can leave translucent areas on the skin that never go away. The most effective remedy, of course, is to not seek tattoos in the first place. (Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See

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BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS A Message from Pope Benedict XVI for the 46th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2013


ach new year brings the expectation of a better world. In light of this, I ask God, the Father of humanity, to grant us concord and peace, so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.

Fifty years after the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, which helped to strengthen the Church’s mission in the world, it is heartening to realize that Christians, as the People of God in fellowship with Him and sojourning among mankind, are committed within history to sharing humanity’s joys and hopes, grief and anguish, as they proclaim the salvation of Christ and promote peace for all. In effect, our times, marked by globalization with its positive and negative aspects, as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and

threats of war, demand a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all men, and of the whole man. It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism, which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people. All the same, the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration, which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire fo r peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace, which

is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’.

Gospel beatitude The beatitudes which Jesus proclaimed are promises. In the biblical tradition, the beatitude is a literary genre, which always involves some good news, a ‘gospel’, which culminates in a promise. Therefore, the beatitudes are not only moral exhortations whose observance foresees in due time – ordinarily in the next life – a reward or a situation of future happiness. Rather, the blessedness of which the beatitudes speak consists in the fulfillment of a promise made to all those who allow themselves to be guided by the requirements of truth, justice and love. In the eyes of the world those who trust in God and His promises often appear naïve or far from reality. Yet Jesus tells them that not only in the next life, but already in this life, they will discover that they are children of God, and that God has always been, and ever will be, completely on



their side. They will understand that they are not alone, because He is on the side of those committed to truth, justice and love. Jesus, the revelation of the Father’s love, does not hesitate to offer Himself in self-sacrifice. Once we accept Jesus Christ, God and man, we have the joyful experience of an immense gift: the sharing of God’s own life, the life of grace, the pledge of a fully blessed existence. Jesus Christ, in particular, grants us true peace, which is born of the trusting encounter of man with God. Jesus’ beatitude tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort. In effect, peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence. It is the fruit of the reciprocal gift, of a mutual enrichment, thanks to the gift, which has its source in God and enables us to live with others and for others. The ethics of peace is an ethics of fellowship and sharing. It is indispensable, then, that the various cultures in our day overcome forms of anthropology and ethics based on technical and practical suppositions which are merely subjectivistic and pragmatic, in virtue of which relationships of coexistence are inspired by criteria of power or profit, means become ends and vice versa, and culture and education are centered on instruments, technique and efficiency alone. The precondition for peace is the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgement


Once we accept Jesus Christ, God and man, we have the joyful experience of an immense gift: the sharing of God’s own life, the life of grace, the pledge of a fully blessed existence. of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman. Peace is the building up of coexistence in rational and moral terms, based on a foundation whose measure is not created by man, but rather by God. As Psalm 29 puts it: ‘May the Lord give strength to His people; may the Lord bless His people with peace’.

Peace: God’s gift and the fruit of human effort Peace concerns the human person as a whole, and it involves complete commitment. It is peace with God through a life lived according to His will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbors and all creation. Above all, as Blessed John XXIII wrote in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris, whose fiftieth anniversary will fall in a few months, it entails the building up of a coexistence based on truth, freedom, love and justice. The denial of what makes up the true nature of human beings in its essential dimensions, its intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God Himself, jeopardizes peacemaking. Without

the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise. To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by His only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures. The attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family. This family is structured, as the Encyclical Pacem in Terris taught, by interpersonal relations and institutions supported and animated by a communitarian ‘we’, which entails an internal and external moral order in which, in accordance with truth and justice, reciprocal rights and mutual duties are sincerely recognized. Peace is an order enlivened and integrated by love, in such a way that we feel the needs of others as our own, share our goods with others and work throughout the world for greater communion in spiritual values. It is an

Pope Benedict XVI leads his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 21. The pope condemned escalating hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, saying hatred and violence are never an appropriate solution to problems.


Paul Haring, Catholic News Service



order achieved in freedom, that is, in a way consistent with the dignity of persons who, by their very nature as rational beings, take responsibility for their own actions. Peace is not a dream or something utopian; it is possible. Our gaze needs to go deeper, beneath superficial appearances and phenomena, to discern a positive reality which exists in human hearts, since every man and woman has been created in the image of God and is called to grow and contribute to the building of a new world. God Himself, through the incarnation of His Son and His work of redemption, has entered into history and has brought about a new creation and a new covenant between God and man, thus enabling us to have a ‘new heart’ and a ‘new spirit’. For this very reason the Church is convinced of the urgency of a new proclamation of Jesus Christ, the first and fundamental factor of the integral development of peoples and also of peace. Jesus is indeed our peace, our justice and our reconciliation. The peacemaker, according to Jesus’ beatitude, is the one who seeks the good of the other, the fullness of good in body and soul, today and tomorrow. From this teaching one can infer that each person and every community, whether religious, civil, educational or cultural, is called to work for peace. Peace is principally the attainment of the common good in society at its different levels, primary and intermediary, national, international and global. Precisely for this reason it can be said that the paths which lead to the at-

tainment of the common good are also the paths that must be followed in the pursuit of peace.

Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life. Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenseless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development,

peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life. There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. Consequently, another important way of helping to build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and

Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. SOUTH TEX AS CATHOLIC | JANUARY 2013


euthanasia. One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. At this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote this right not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from – for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one’s religion – but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for – for example, bearing witness to one’s religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and institutional ends of each. Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion. Peacemakers must also bear in mind that, in growing sectors of public opinion, the ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy are spreading the conviction that economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state’s social responsibilities and civil society’s networks of solidarity, together with social rights and duties. It should be remembered that these rights and duties are

One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. mental for the full realization of other rights and duties, starting with those, which are civil and political. One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labor and the rightful recognition of workers’ juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets. Labor is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms. In this regard, I would reaffirm that human dignity and economic, social and political factors, demand that we continue ‘to priorities the goal of access to steady employment for everyone’. If this ambitious goal is to be realized, one prior condition is a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society. Corresponding to this good are a duty and a right that demand courageous new policies of universal employment.

Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics In many quarters it is now recognized that a new model of development is needed, as well as a new ap-

proach to the economy. Both integral, sustainable development in solidarity and the common good require a correct scale of goods and values, which can be structured with God as the ultimate point of reference. It is not enough to have many different means and choices at one’s disposal, however good these may be. Both the wide variety of goods fostering development and the presence of a wide range of choices must be employed against the horizon of a good life, an upright conduct that acknowledges the primacy of the spiritual and the call to work for the common good. Otherwise they lose their real value, and end up becoming new idols. In order to emerge from the present financial and economic crisis – which has engendered ever greater inequalities – we need people, groups and institutions which will promote life by fostering human creativity, in order to draw from the crisis itself an opportunity for discernment and for a new economic model. The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness. Yet, from another standpoint, true and lasting success is attained through the gift of ourselves, our intellectual abilities and our entrepreneurial skills, since a ‘liveable’ or truly human economic development requires the



especially in small rural holdings, to carry out their activity in a dignified and sustainable way from the social, environmental and economic points of view.

Education for a culture of peace: the role of the family and institutions I wish to reaffirm forcefully that the various peacemakers are called to cultivate a passion for the common good of the family and for social justice, and a commitment to effective social education. No one should ignore or underestimate the decisive role of the family, which is the basic cell of society from the demographic, ethical, pedagogical, economic and political standpoints. The family has a natural vocation to promote life: it accompanies individuals as they mature and it encourages mutual growth and enrichment through caring and sharing. The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for personal maturation according to the standards of divine love. The family is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace. The rights of parents and their primary role in the education of their children in the area of morality and religion must be safeguarded. It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured. Religious communities are involved in a special way in this immense task of education for peace. The Church believes that she shares in this great responsibility as part of the new

evangelization, which is centered on conversion to the truth and love of Christ and, consequently, the spiritual and moral rebirth of individuals and societies. Encountering Jesus Christ shapes peacemakers, committing them to fellowship and to overcoming injustice. Cultural institutions, schools and universities have a special mission of peace. They are called to make a notable contribution not only to the formation of new generations of leaders, but also to the renewal of public institutions, both national and international. They can also contribute to a scientific reflection, which will ground economic and financial activities on a solid anthropological and ethical basis. Today’s world, especially the world of politics, needs to be sustained by fresh thinking and a new cultural synthesis so as to overcome purely technical approaches and to harmonies the various political currents with a view to the common good. The latter, seen as an ensemble of positive interpersonal and institutional relationships at the service of the integral growth of individuals and groups, is at the basis of all true education for peace.

A pedagogy for peacemakers In the end, we see clearly the need to propose and promote a pedagogy of peace. This calls for a rich interior life, clear and valid moral points of reference, and appropriate attitudes and lifestyles. Acts of peacemaking converge for the achievement of the common good; they create interest in peace and cultivate peace. Thoughts,

It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured.



principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity and the logic of gift. Concretely, in economic activity, peacemakers are those who establish bonds of fairness and reciprocity with their colleagues, workers, clients and consumers. They engage in economic activity for the sake of the common good and they experience this commitment as something transcending their self-interest, for the benefit of present and future generations. Thus they work not only for themselves, but also to ensure for others a future and a dignified employment. In the economic sector, states in particular need to articulate policies of industrial and agricultural development concerned with social progress and the growth everywhere of constitutional and democratic states. The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable; these must be stabilized and better coordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to the very poor. With greater resolve than has hitherto been the case, the concern of peacemakers must also focus upon the food crisis, which is graver than the financial crisis. The issue of food security is once more central to the international political agenda, as a result of inter- related crises, including sudden shifts in the price of basic foodstuffs, irresponsible behavior by some economic actors and insufficient control on the part of governments and the international community. To face this crisis, peacemakers are called to work together in a spirit of solidarity, from the local to the international level, with the aim of enabling farmers,

words and gestures of peace create a mentality and a culture of peace, and a respectful, honest and cordial atmosphere. There is a need, then, to teach people to love one another, to cultivate peace and to live with good will rather than mere tolerance. A fundamental encouragement to this is ‘to say no to revenge, to recognize injustices, to accept apologies without looking for them, and finally, to forgive’, in such a way that mistakes and offences can be acknowledged in truth, so as to move forward together towards reconciliation. This requires the growth of a pedagogy of pardon. Evil is in fact overcome by good, and justice is to be sought in imitating God the Father Who loves all His children. This is a slow process, for it presupposes a spiritual evolution, an education in lofty values, a new vision of human history. There is a need to renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the

dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance. Jesus embodied all these attitudes in His own life, even to the complete gift of Himself, even to ‘losing His life’. He promises His disciples that sooner or later they will make the extraordinary discovery to which I originally alluded, namely that God is in the world, the God of Jesus, fully on the side of man. Here I would recall the prayer asking God to make us instruments of His peace, to be able to bring His love wherever there is hatred, His mercy wherever there is hurt, and true

faith wherever there is doubt. For our part, let us join Blessed John XXIII in asking God to enlighten all leaders so that, besides caring for the proper material welfare of their peoples, they may secure for them the precious gift of peace, break down the walls which divide them, strengthen the bonds of mutual love, grow in understanding, and pardon those who have done them wrong; in this way, by His power and inspiration all the peoples of the earth will experience fraternity, and the peace for which they long will ever flourish and reign among them. With this prayer I express my hope that all will be true peacemakers, so that the city of man may grow in fraternal harmony, prosperity and peace.

A figurine of the Christ Child, the Prince of Peace, is seen inside St. Peter’s Basilica during Mass Jan. 1, 2009 at the Vatican. Giampiero Sposito, Catholic News Service



Monthly journey into richness of faith Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic


t a recent talk at the Catholic educators conference, Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey told educators to teach and learn the faith by breaking “down the Creed sentence by sentence, clause by clause, adjective by adjective.”

I thought that was uncanny since I had already been thinking of having one of our priests take on that very same project as part of the magazine’s support for the Holy Father’s Year of Faith. I say uncanny but perhaps Father Patrick Serna’s words are more appropriate, “highly coincidental or providential.” The use of Father Serna’s words at this point in this column is anything but unintentional; in fact it’s merely this writer’s way of transitioning to the “rest of the story.” The Creed puts forth the belief systems of Catholics in a very concise and precise manner. While it does so with uncommon elegance, there is the risk that it may be too abridged for some who require more clarification. The immensity of the Word and the richness of Tradition suggest that more explanation and detail may be helpful.


As Bishop Mulvey suggests, one good way to do this is to break down the Creed and study its parts in greater detail; to do so in the light of history, the grace of scripture and the insight of doctrine. That was the task at hand, but who to assign the task was another matter. Enter Father Serna. Before this project I had not met Father Serna but knew that he had some serious theological training at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. I had also heard that he was a man who loved the fullness of the outdoors and the simple life. I believed he could bring to this undertaking the broad theological and historical knowledge required to explain in an uncomplicated manner the richness of our faith. After meeting with Father Serna at his parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sinton I was convinced he was the right man for the job. His vocation story, which appears in page 25 of this issue, is inspiring. I also attended Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe and was overcome with nostalgia for the Mass of my youth when I got to kneel at the communion rail along the other communicants to receive Holy Communion. I had not done that in 50 years. I should point out that the joy was somewhat tampered by my discovery that I had made an error in last month’s issue when I wrote that Msgr. Leonard Pivonka at St. Elizabeth was the only one that used the practice on intinction to administer to Body and Blood of Christ. Father Serna does also. Some might think that his more


traditional methods may be challenging of Vatican II; nothing could be further from the truth. Father Serna puts the Vatican II documents at the same level of importance as the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. At the risk of putting words in his mouth, he would say that contrary to popular belief Vatican II did not ban tradition it promoted the richness of Tradition, with a capitol T. While Vatican II promoted many changes, it did not demote the things that could be changed. It offered options to the celebration of the faith, but did not in any way denigrate the fullness of these historic practices. After Mass, I observed Father Serna teaching parishioners at a well-attended Bible class at the parish hall. His ability to interact with his congregation reaffirmed to me that he was the right man for the project I had in mind. While he explained complex subjects in simple terms, he did not shy away from imparting his knowledge of the Church Fathers and the Magisterium. With this issue then, we begin a monthly journey into the richness of our faith as laid out in the Nicene Creed. It promises to be an interesting, educational and pleasurable ride into the depths of Catholic theology. In his inaugural column, Father Serna explains, “The Nicene Creed helps us to understand our faith better, and in understanding our faith better, we are then able to love the God of our faith more profoundly.”

‘I believe in One God’ Father Patrick Serna Contributor


n a regular basis, Christians around the world are referred to as “believers,” moreover, we Christians also refer to ourselves as “believers.”

Our Catholic Faith

words of the Nicene Creed, let us first There are millions of people around look at its origin and credibility. The the world who believe in some kind teaching authority which gave us the of higher power, so what is so unique in 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage. words to the Nicene Creed is referred to about our Catholic belief? The “who” We give the teaching authority and as the “magisterium.” When we hear or and “what” of our Catholic faith is deTradition of the Church, the magisteread the word “Tradition” with a capital scribed well in the Nicene Creed which rium, as much credence as we do to the “T,” it usually refers to the magisterium. we Catholics profess at Holy Mass on authority of Scripture, which reminds The Church’s magisterium, or teachSundays and holy days of obligation. us, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; ing authority, established the canon of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict and hold the traditions which you have the 27 books of the New Testament in XVI, has encouraged all Catholics to learned, whether by word, or by our 393 A.D. at the Council of Hippo and study the Vatican II documents, the epistle.” (2 Thes 2:15) Scriptures and the CatThe Nicene Creed is echism of the Catholic a high expression of the Church with renewed vigor Church’s Tradition and during this Year of Faith. magisterium; a prayerful The Catechism of the study of it will help us on Catholic Church tells us, the path to learning and I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven “‘To believe’ has thus a holiness. and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one twofold reference: to the In this reflection, we will Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the person and to the truth: begin by considering the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true to the truth, by trust in first words of the Nicene God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the person who bears witCreed: “I believe in One the Father; through Him all things were made. For us men ness to it’.” (CCC 177) It God.” The first word of and for our salvation He came down from heaven, and by the is fitting and appropriate the Nicene Creed tells us Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became to reflect more closely on that this God is a personal man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He what and Who we believe, God, not an abstract one. suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third during this Year of Faith. The Latin word “Credo” Mother Church teaches day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into means, “I believe,” which us that the Nicene Creed is from where we get the heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will “draws its great authority word “creed.” Something come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His from the fact that it stems has to first be “mine” if I kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the from the first two ecumeniam to later share it with Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the cal councils in 325 and 381. “them” or others, therefore, Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, It remains common to all one must first be able to who has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy, the great Churches of both say, “I believe” before “we Catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the East and West to this day.” believe.” forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of (CCC 195) Some have written that the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. Before delving into the the word “credo” comes

Nicene Creed



from the Latin word “cor” which means heart, and the Latin variations “dare: do, das, dat” which mean “to give.” “I give my heart” they say is the original meaning of “credo.” Unfortunately, many scholars dismiss this word origin as wishful thinking. Even if this is so by linguistic standards, the fact that we must believe with our whole hearts in the God of the Nicene Creed is irrefutable. Saint Augustine tells us that we cannot love what we do not know, and Saint Anselm is known for the famous statement: “I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand, and what is more I believe that ‘unless I do believe I shall not understand’.” The Creed is not a magical formula for infusing one with faith; rather, it clarifies and bolsters one’s faith. The Nicene Creed helps us to understand our faith better, and in understanding our faith better, we are then able to love the God of our faith more profoundly. The “I” in “I believe” sets a personal tone, and the believer should subsequently profess in the same personal way the psalmist does in Psalm 63:2: “O God, you are my God–it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water.” (Emphasis added) The interplay between “I” and “you” or “you” and “my” in the psalmist’s expression is the same interplay that God is inviting us to when we profess the Creed. We proceed now to the remaining words of the first

phrase, namely: “I believe in one God.” During Lent of 1273, Saint Thomas Aquinas presented sermons on the Apostle’s Creed in which he said, “We see that the sun, moon and stars, as well as all natural matters, have a determined pattern, which would not happen if they were issuing from chance. Thus if there were anyone who would not believe God to be, such a one would be foolish according to the Psalm: ‘the stupid man said in his heart: there is no God’.” (Ps 14:1) Saint Thomas appeals to order, which leads to God who is the ordering principle¬. Thomas invokes the authority of Scripture, inviting us not to be unbelieving in the one God, like the fool in Psalm 14. Saint Thomas’ reflection on the Apostle’s Creed starts with the intellect, and then journeys deeper into matters of the heart and soul. Exploring the explanation of our faith with intellects, free wills and loving hearts is exactly what Pope Benedict is asking of us during this Year of Faith. An intellectual study of the Nicene Creed, without loving hearts and assenting wills, would only be a trivial academic exercise. God tells us “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?” (Jas 2:19-20) May our faith inspire us on to a deeper understanding of what we profess to believe, and may our increased understanding help us to love God more fully in how we behave.

Calendar of Events:

Jan. 11, 2013: Young Adult Evening of Reflection. Father Phil Hurley, S.J. of Hearts on Fire, will lead an evening of reflection for young adults from 6-9pm. More info at: http:// Jan. 17-20: Women’s Silent Retreat Feb. 21-24: Men’s Silent Retreat March 1-10: 8-Day Directed Retreat March 2: Albert E. Hughes, LTC USAF (Ret) will be in our bookstore from noon - 3 p.m. for a booksigning and small reception. His book, “Paradise Commander” recounts his miraculous conversion while serving as commander in Antigua, West Indies in the late 70’s.

You Are Invited: 10th Anniversary Celebration Feb. 2 - Mass at 6 p.m. with Bishop Mulvey followed by a dinner reception RSVP: (361) 289-9095 ext. 301 by Jan. 30th

1200 Lantana • Corpus Christi

(361) 289-9095

Free Coffee at


Bookstore: Ext. 309 Retreats: Ext. 321


For more information for the silent retreats, please visit or Email: “Come and See” Jesus in our beautiful Perpetual Adoration Chapel! Ongoing Events: Every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. Miraculous Medal Novena Holy Hour Every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Church History with Deacon B. Vessa Every 1st Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. St. Peregrine Healing Mass AND “Like” us on facebook @ “Our Lady of Corpus Christi and Cafe Veritas”

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Sister Kathleen McDonagh, IWBS

F Contributor

ather James Flanagan founded the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) in 1958 in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Father Flanagan’s basic concept was that Catholic people of all vocations–priests, religious (both men and women) and lay people–could minister together for the benefit of the whole Church. Working in union with Father Flanagan were Father John McHugh and several lay persons.

The SOLT vision is to bring all people into union with the Most Holy Trinity through discipleship of Jesus and Mary. This discipleship is the charism or spiritual gift that God gives to members of SOLT. To live out the charism, teams of priests, sisters and lay people minister in Marian-Trinitarian relationships in areas of deepest apostolic need. The Eucharist, prayer, apostolic teaching and solidarity of spirit unite them. The first women associated with the Society were Anna Kiernan and Ann Mansfield. For their religious formation, Father Flanagan made arrangements for them to be directed in the living out of religious life by the Daughters of Wisdom in Litchfield, Connecticut. With the Daughters of Wisdom, they experienced religious

life, and after an appropriate period of time, they entered the novitiate. At that time, they received the religious names of Sister Mary of the Incarnation (Anna Kiernan) and Sister Mary of the Redemption (Ann Mansfield). On the completion of their novitiate training, they made profession of vows and then began to minister in cooperation with the SOLT. The first families to enter SOLT were lay people in New Mexico. There they served in various ministries and leadership positions as members of the Society. Lay people who are part of the Society include married couples with their children and a number of single laity, both men and women. They participate in many of the ongoing apostolates of SOLT. In 1962, Archbishop Edwin Vincent

>> The most humble task, such as

changing a diaper or bandaging a scraped knee, performed with love gives rise to that which is most noble in the human person– the glorification of God.



Byrne of Santa Fe formally permitted priests and seminarians to join the Society and become incardinated into the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Another group associated with the Society are Missionaries of Mercy – men and women who pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God and who offer to God their sufferings and other earthly burdens on behalf of SOLT. The teachings of Vatican II and subsequent writings of the Holy Fathers added and continue to add greater clarity and direction to the Society’s development. Members are taught to be attentive to all Church teaching and to be concerned to fulfill Divine Wisdom and directions communicated through her. Early apostolates of the Society included many different aspects of spiritual growth, especially through the efforts of migration teams who tried to help migrant farm workers and their families in many areas of the

United States from Wisconsin to Texas. This continues to be an important apostolate of the Society. As a need is perceived, the Society continues to spread to many different locations such as Guatemala, Mexico, Ethiopa, Ghana, Thailand, the Philippines, the United States and beyond. When Archbishop Byrne died, the work of the Society did not prosper as it had been doing, so it was decided to seek another diocese where the Society could mature and grow until it received canonical approval. The Society members left New Mexico and were welcomed into the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph where it was re-established as a Pious Union by Bishop Charles Herman Helmsing. There it grew and prospered, developing ecclesial teams in communications, medical and hospital ministries, criminal justice, educational research and teaching and social work. In 1967, the Society began to spread

beyond the United States. Members opened a medical mission in Belize which developed further through services of medical clinics in surrounding villages. In 1970, Bishop Helmsing ordained the first permanent deacon of the Society, Deacon Paul McArdle. Subsequent ordination of other men for the permanent diaconate has continued over the years. In 1972, Father Vincent Albano and Father James Doherty were the first two men ordained to the priesthood for the Society. The Society came to the Diocese of Corpus Christi to work with the diocesan ministry to the Hispanic and migrant peoples. At the present time, SOLT continues to live out its original vision, endeavoring to bring many different groups of people in many different areas of the world to minister together for the benefit of the whole Church.

JANUARY LITURGICAL CALENDAR Jan. 1 Tue The Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord white | Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God | Solemnity [Holyday of Obligation] | Nm 6:22-27/Gal 4:4-7/Lk 2:16-21 (18) Pss Prop Jan. 2 Wed Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, white | Bishops and Doctors of the Church | Memorial | 1 Jn 2:22-28/Jn 1:19-28 (205) Pss I Jan. 3 Thu Christmas Weekday white/ white | [The Most Holy Name of Jesus] 1 Jn 2:29—3:6/Jn 1:29-34 (206) Jan. 4 Fri Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious white | Memorial | 1 Jn 3:710/Jn 1:35-42 (207) Jan. 5 Sat Saint John Neumann, Bishop white | Memorial | 1 Jn 3:11-21/ Jn 1:43-51 (208) Jan. 6 SUN THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD white | Solemnity | Is 60:1-6/Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6/Mt 2:1-12 (20) Pss Prop Jan. 7 Mon Christmas Weekday white/white | [Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest] 1 Jn 3:22—4:6/Mt 4:12-17, 23-25 (212) Pss II


Jan. 8 Tue Christmas Weekday white | 1 Jn 4:7-10/Mk 6:34-44 (213) Jan. 9 Wed Christmas Weekday white | 1 Jn 4:11-18/Mk 6:45-52 (214) Jan. 10 Thu Christmas Weekday white | 1 Jn 4:19—5:4/Lk 4:14-22a (215) Jan. 11 Fri Christmas Weekday white | 1 Jn 5:5-13/Lk 5:12-16 (216) Jan. 12 Sat Christmas Weekday white | 1 Jn 5:14-21/Jn 3:22-30 (217) Jan. 13 Sun THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD white | Feast | Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 40:1-5, 9-11/Acts 10:34-38 or Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7/Lk 3:15-16, 21-22 (21) Pss Prop Jan. 14 Mon Weekday (First Week in Ordinary Time) green | Heb 1:1-6/Mk 1:14-20 (305) Pss I Jan. 15 Tue Weekday green | Heb 2:512/Mk 1:21-28 (306) Jan. 16 Wed Weekday green | Heb 2:14-18/Mk 1:29-39 (307) Jan. 17 Thu Saint Anthony, Abbot white | Memorial | Heb 3:7-14/Mk 1:4045 (308) Jan. 18 Fri Weekday green | Heb 4:1-


5, 11/Mk 2:1-12 (309)

15-17/Mk 3:1-6 (313)

Jan. 19 Sat Weekday green/white [BVM] Heb 4:12-16/Mk 2:13-17 (310)

Jan. 24 Thu Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church white | Memorial | Heb 7:25—8:6/Mk 3:7-12 (314)

Jan. 20 SUN SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME green | Is 62:1-5/1 Cor 12:4-11/Jn 2:1-11 (66) Pss II Jan. 21 Mon Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr red | Memorial | Heb 5:1-10/Mk 2:18-22 (311) Pss Prop Jan. 22 Tue Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children green/Mass: white/violet | Heb 6:10-20/ Mk 2:23-28 (312) or, for the Day of Prayer, any of the following readings: Gn 1:1—2:2 (41) or 2 Mc 7:1, 20-31 (499) or Is 49:1-6 (587) or Rom 11:3336 (121) or Eph 1:3-14 (104) or Eph 3:14-21 (vol. III, 476) or Col 1:12-20 (162) or 1 Jn 3:11-21 (208)/ Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14 (414) or Mk 9:30-37 (134) or Lk 1:39-56 (622) or Lk 17:11-19 (144) or Lk 23:35-43 (162) or Jn 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18 (755) or Jn 6:24-35 (113), or the Lectionary for Ritual Masses (vol. IV), the Mass “For Peace and Justice,” nos. 887-891 Jan. 23 Wed Weekday green/red [Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr] Heb 7:1-3,

Jan. 25 Fri The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle white | Feast | Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22/Mk 16:15-18 (519) Pss Prop Jan. 26 Sat Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops white | Memorial | 2 Tm 1:1-8* or Ti 1:1-5* (520)/Mk 3:20-21 (316) Jan. 27 SUN THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME green | Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10/1 Cor 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27/Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21 (69 | Pss III Jan. 28 Mon Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church white | Memorial | Heb 9:15, 24-28/Mk 3:22-30 (317) Jan. 29 Tue Weekday green | Heb 10:1-10/Mk 3:31-35 (318) Jan. 30 Wed Weekday green | Heb 10:11-18/Mk 4:1-20 (319) Jan. 31 Thu Saint John Bosco, Priest white | Memorial | Heb 10:19-25/Mk 4:21-25 (320)

A New Year’s commitment to life Deacon Stephen Nolte Contributor


an. 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision known as Roe vs. Wade. That decision marked the advent of legalized abortion in the United States.

Last month we celebrated a very different type of advent, the time of advent in which we await not only the anniversary of the birth of Christ, but also His second coming at the end of days. The birth of Christ fills us with the hope of salvation and resurrection as revealed by Jesus’ life, Passion, Death and Resurrection. The Second Coming for which we await will be a time of both tribulation and joy–tribulation for those who have turned away from God and joy for all who have followed Him. Shortly after the retelling of Christ’s birth in Matthew we learn of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod’s decree. None of this should be lost on us today as we reflect on the approaching anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Every impending birth offers a promise of life, life for the baby, life in a new way for the mother and father, life within the context of family. In opposition to life, every abortion brings only death and tragedy to all involved,

death for the baby, endless suffering and guilt for the mother and father, tragedy to society in that the basic unit of its existence is denied life. In Luke’s gospel Jesus tells us that not a single sparrow escapes the notice

As we begin this year... let us dwell upon the magnificent gift of life that God desires for His creation, especially every human person. of God. He says, “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” In other words, God is aware of every single life; and not only is He aware of it He treasures it. For this reason His Son warns us not to mislead or otherwise prevent His children from going to him. At the Second Coming there will be a reckoning of good and evil. It is not for us to judge what will befall anyone among us, but we can rest assured that God will be just in His judgment according to how we have lived our life. As we begin this year, let us ponder these things. Let us dwell upon the magnificent gift of life that God desires for His creation, especially every human person. As a diocese, we seek to increase

awareness of the unique beauty and value of every human life from conception to natural death. In service to the people of God in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Life on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Corpus Christi Cathedral. One week later, on Saturday, Jan. 26, the Office of Life, Justice, and Human Dignity is sponsoring 10 busloads of youth, young adults, adults and families to attend the statewide Texas Rally for Life in Austin. The Rally begins with a ProLife Mass and is followed by an approximate two-mile march to the south steps of the state capitol. Those in attendance will hear bishops and state political leaders address the issues involving prolife efforts. As the Christmas season draws to a close and we enter the liturgies of ordinary time, let us reflect upon the deeper meanings of Advent, Christmas and that time we refer to as “ordinary,” which is anything other than ordinary, when we consider the everyday gift of life. God invites us to participate in His own divine life and he allows the times and events through which we live to prepare us for the glory of His eternal kingdom. As we begin this New Year, let us enter more fully into these mysteries and embrace more fully the gift of life. Join with your diocese family in attending both the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Life and the Texas Rally for Life.



Vocation Awareness Essay Contest The Office of Vocations and the Office of Youth Ministry is sponsoring an essay contest in celebration of Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 13-19. This essay contest is open to all Catholic students in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The deadline for all essay entries is January 4.

Young Adult Evening of Reflection On Jan. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center. Fr. Phil Hurley, S.J. of Hearts on Fire, will lead an evening of reflection for young adults (18-35). Dinner will be provided and admission is free. For more information, contact Adam Koll at akoll@diocesecc. org. For more go to:

Spirit Center Celebrity Dinner On Friday, Jan. 11, 2012 at the Solomon Ortiz Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. Invocation by Bishop Mulvey. There will be dinner with celebrity waiters, dancing, live music by “Five Card Draw,” silent and live auctions, raffle, photo booth with celebrities and awards, a table decoration contest.

2013 Ministries Conference On Jan. 12 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the American Bank Convention Center on January 12 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Vocations Awareness Week On January 13 -19. This celebration is dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.

Ministries Day On January 14 will be held at the Diocese of Corpus Christi, located at 620 Lipan Street in Corpus Christi. For information, please contact Sister Anna Marie Espinosa, IWBS at (361) 7744910, or by e-mailing samespinosa@iwbscc. org. Also, visit the IWBS Web Site at www.

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

‘A Covenant of Love with Mary’ Classes at OLPH On Jan. 14 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish will have a class in the Parish Hall. There will be Mass beginning at 6:15 p.m., followed by a video and talk at 6:45 p.m. and a light dinner and celebration.

Women’s St. Ignatius Silent Retreat Our Lady of Corpus Christi is hosting a Women’s St. Ignatius Silent Retreat from Jan. 17-20. at OLCC Retreat Center on 1200 Lantana in Corpus Christi.

Mass of Thanksgiving for Human Life All are invited to attend the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Life at Corpus Christi Cathedral on January 17, at 6:30 p.m. Bishop Mulvey will be the Celebrant. For more information, please contact Tina Villegas at (361) 882-6191, or by emailing

Teens Open up to God’s Holiness Youth Retreat On Jan. 18-20, Ninth trough Twelfth graders are invited to join us for a T.O.U.G.H. Youth Retreat! T.O.U.G.H. The event will be held at the Cursillo Retreat Center, located at 1200 Lantana Street in Corpus Christi. The three day event begins on Friday 6 p.m. and ends on Sunday at 5 p.m. T.O.U.G.H. is only $50 for the whole weekend with food, lodging, prayer, Reconciliation, Adoration, Holy Mass, Fellowship and the opportunity to reflect on God’s Holiness for each one of us.

Formation Course for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd On Jan. 18-20 there will be a Level I, Part 2 formation course held at St. Philip, the Apostle Church for adults who want to learn how to share the Catholic faith with children. The course based on Montessori principles of edu-

The Melchizedek Project Meeting On Jan. 19 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. a meeting of High school seniors and ages above will join other like-minded men who love Jesus Christ and His Church and will discuss their future. The group meetings are NOT meant to convince you that priesthood is your vocation. All meetings will be held at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish in the Works of Mercy Building. The Parish is located at 3210 South Padre Island Drive in Corpus Christi.

2013 Texas Rally for Life in Austin On Jan. 26 join the Diocese of Corpus Christi in The 2013 Texas Rally for Life. We will join other Dioceses from across the State and march to the south steps of the State Capitol Building in solidarity to show Texas is PRO-LIFE! Register here.

Black and Gold Gala On Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at L&F Distributors for a wonderful evening that includes dinner, live and silent auctions, and a performance by the Space Rockers. Proceeds benefit Blessed John Paul II High School.

To see more calendar events go to:

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Corpus Christi


Resource Center

4730 Everhart Rd



cation, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ocuses on the relationship between the child focuses and God. The Level I formation is the foundation course for all levels and provides the ramework for all subsequent training. One framework may take part 2 before taking part 1. For more nformation, contact Cathy Harrel at (361) 960information, 5737 or


Store hours: Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and closed on Sun.

2033 Airline Rd., Suite G-1 Corpus Christi, Texas 78412

(361) 334-5040 Fax (361) 334-5042 • Cell (361) 813-3574

Divine Mercy Healing Service

February 22, 2013 - 6:00 p.m.

Sacred Heart Church 304 South Caldwell St. Falfurrias, Texas 361-325-3455

Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will f ill it with peace. Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary, 1074

Youth and Parent Retreat Saturday Feb. 23, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Grades 6 - 12 Lite breakfast & Lunch included

Be renewed and touched by the Lord of Mercy through:

The Message g

The Music

Healing begins with one of the most moving multimedia presentations you will ever experience by Dave & Joan Maroney of Mother of Mercy Messengers, leaders in spreading the Divine Mercy Message across the globe since 1999.

The beautiful voice and songs of award winning Catholic singer-songwriter Annie Karto lifts souls to the healing mercy of God, the heart of her music ministry for over 20 years.

Th The he S Sacraments acraments

ivin iv inee He Heal aler al er w illl be present il preseent The D Divine Healer will and work in us as we adore Him in the Holy Eucharist, reconcile with Him in the Sacrament of Penance, venerate His Image of Mercy and receive the laying of priestly hands.

For complete details visit: or call Cindy Salinas 361-296-5367



January 2013 Issue SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC P.O. Box 2620 Corpus Christi, TX 78403 (361) 882-6191



South Texas Catholic - January 2013  

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

South Texas Catholic - January 2013  

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