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South Texas Catholic VOL. 47 NO. 1



I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. page 7

NEWS A new beginning

Eucharist brought her home

The Epiphany: A time for family







See following news stories and more

Our Lady of Guadapupe honored at Cathedral

Del Mar Newman group provides helping hand

Bishop Mulvey celebrates Masses at state prisons



Eucharist brought her home Catholicism fed her spirit like never before


hen her husband Billy Joe passed away suddenly in the middle of the night, Ilene Biberstein was brought to her knees. After her husband’s funeral, she was baptized in her own swimming pool, beginning a long faith journey that eventually brought her home to the Catholic Church. Biberstein, who now works at Blessed John Paul II High School as an administrative assistant with Tuition Assistance, recalls how hard it was to accept that she had probably always been a Catholic at heart. She grew up in a small town in Kansas and her Protestant parents instilled in her a very Christian upbringing. They attended the Congregational Christian Church that “laid the foundation of truth, integrity and honest dealings with other people.” Later, as a teenager, she attended the United Methodist Church. Biberstein attended services every Sunday and Sunday school until after the age of 18. “Ironically, although my parents were not Catholic, my father used to watch Bishop Fulton Sheen on television and would comment that he thought Bishop Sheen was brilliant and that the Catholic Church was the first church,” she said. Six months after she married, Biberstein’s husband was deployed to Vietnam. After the war she traveled with her husband wherever he was stationed. They went to Virginia, Pennsylvania and Thailand. Throughout her travels, however, they were not active in any church. She and her husband, both Protestants, often thought about returning to their Protestant church, but never got around to it. The church that her parents attended did not do infant baptisms, so her nephew—a Protestant minister— baptized her at the family swimming pool on the day when her husband was laid to rest. “Now, it seems frightening to think of all the years that I had lived without being baptized. Yet, it seems as if it was done in God’s perfect timing. I always remember my husband’s birthday, and that the date sadly, is also the

Courtesy photo

Ilene Biberstein began her journey home to the Catholic Church after her husband died suddenly. With a good Christian foundation, it did not take her long to find and embrace the fullness of the universal church.

date of his funeral, however, since that date, it has been a wonderfully positive memory to know that the date is also the anniversary of my baptism,” Biberstein said. “I knew that I had not sought the Lord with all of my mind, heart, soul and strength and I immediately decided that change was in order,” she said. She became active in a local Methodist church and drove friends to retreats out of state. She also joined a neighborhood Bible study group. “I value that part of the journey,” she said. Biberstein would often visit her son, Dr. Joseph Biberstein and his family in Florida. He had converted to Catholicism and was youth minister at a parish in Pensacola, where he had retired from the military. She attended Mass with the family and went to the youth group meetings that were “pretty awesome.” “My spirit was being fed like never before. I asked many questions about Catholicism, and even my grandchildren were stepping up to the plate to answer many of those questions.

They really know their faith,” Biberstein said. She began praying the rosary and at the same time searched for clarity in her beliefs. She started reading books by Alan Schreck and Scott Hahn. On a visit to New York City with a friend they went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass and it was at that time that she came to a full realization of the universal Church. “Catholics everywhere heard these same readings and Gospel, and Jesus was present in every Mass,” she said. There were many other reasons along the way that confirmed she was headed in the right direction. She was impressed by the beautiful traditions of the Catholic Church, and the Liturgical calendar, but the most significant reason for her conversion was the Eucharist. “It wasn’t a symbol anymore. It was the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ present. This was the huge difference. I had a Eucharistic experience. It was very humbling and joyous that God would give His only Son and make that

January 25 Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, the Apostle


Vocation awareness week set for Jan. 9-14

perpetual sacrifice till the end of time; and that we have eternity and salvation if we so choose. It’s mind-boggling. It’s the biggest gift on earth,” Biberstein said. “It had been four years of research, reading, denial and coming to terms with the fact that all of the questions had been answered and the road blocks had fallen. I was going to become Catholic, and probably already was Catholic at heart. It was like many graces happened after the decision to come into the Church was made,” she said. In 2000, her son and his wife joined a formation class in a missionary society that brought all of them to Texas. Biberstein began taking private instruction and finally received communion in July of 2001. “To me it’s an infusion of love that goes to my heart and from there, outward, either to heal something in me or to share as a witness to others. Magnificent and miraculous and we are to receive it, not take it. I think we can live from Eucharist to Eucharist. It sustains us and empowers us, so we don’t have to be afraid,” Biberstein said. She was doing a volunteer administrative job for the vocations director of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLTs) and he asked her to set up offices and manage them for the seminarians that were to study in Rome. Although she loved to travel, Biberstein had never wanted to visit Italy, but God had other plans and she lived eight years in Rome and only visited her family in Texas during the summers. She was confirmed in Subiaco, Italy, home of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica on May 18, 2002; Pope John Paul II’s birthday and Pentecost weekend. She went on a pilgrimage to France and Poland. In France she walked in the footsteps of St. John Vianney and St. Bernadette. In Poland she walked in the footsteps of then Pope John Paul II and was at the vigil in the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow the night it was announced that the Pope had died. “As I sat at his funeral in St. Peter’s Square, I thought of his hand-written ordination card that stated, ‘He has done great things for me.’ I looked up to the right of the square where the mosaic of Mater Ecclesiae was looking

The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 9-14. The celebration heralds a week dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education. The vocations director for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Father Joseph Lopez, is collaborating with the Office of Catholic Schools to make visits to as many of our parochial and diocesan schools as possible to talk with students about both priestly and religious vocations. Father Lopez encourages pastors and administrators that have schools in their parishes to call him to set up a date and time for him to visit the school. This distinctive week gives Catholics an opportunity to renew prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. “It is our responsibility to help children and young people develop a prayerful relationship with Jesus Christ so they will know their vocation,” said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Through a culture of vocation in families, parishes, schools and dioceses Catholics can nurture an environment of discipleship, commitment to daily prayer, spiritual conversion, growth in virtue, participation in the sacraments, and service in community. Without this environment, promoting vocations becomes simply recruitment. We believe we have much more to offer our young people,” the archbishop said. Father Lopez also said that the Office of Vocations and the Office of Youth Ministry is sponsoring an essay contest in celebration of Vocation Awareness Week, The essay contest is open to all Catholic students in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Topics for the essay include, “What is your understanding of the priest today?,” “What does it take to give your whole life to Christ?,” “Which priest(s)

See EUCHARIST, page 4

See SCHOOLS, page 15




A new beginning: The Vicariate of Brownsville


he Diocese of Corpus Christi, erected in 1912, originally consisted of the territory occupying the southern triangular point of Texas, comprising about 22,391 square miles, with miles of Gulf coast on the east and the Rio Grande on the south and west. This territory was the principal source of dispute and the explicit cause of the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846-1847.

During the Spanish period of colonization and missions, it was originally attached to the province of Mexico—initially to the Diocese of Guadalajara and then to the Diocese of Linares o Nuevo Leon. It became part of the Church of Texas on July 16, 1841 when Pope Gregory XVI issued his Bull erecting the Vicariate Apostolic of Texas. With the annexation of Texas to the United States and the conclusion of conflict between the United States and Mexico, the vicariate was declared the Diocese of Galveston, with Bishop Jean Marie Odin, C.M. serving as the first ordinary. In the years that followed the erection of the Diocese of Galveston, the people experienced many trials but the population continued to increase and in the aftermath of the Civil War, the land had increasingly prospered with the development of ports, agriculture and ranching. In 1862, Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis was named to succeed Bishop Odin. He made his first episcopal visit, to what would become the Diocese of Corpus Christi, in late 1866 and returned the following

year. When he attended the First Vatican Council in Rome in 18691870 he could have reported on the tremendous growth that had occurred in his flock since its humble beginnings. His diocese was clearly ripe for the next step in its development. Consequently, in 1874, Texas was divided into three distinct fields of ministry while remaining part of the Province of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The Diocese of Galveston retained that portion of Texas lying east of the Colorado River; the Diocese of San Antonio, was created primarily out of the territory lying between the Colorado and Nueces Rivers; and the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsville, roughly comprising the territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande Rivers. Dominic Manucy was chosen as the bishop of the Vicariate of Brownsville. He was born in St. Augustine, Florida to Pedro and Maria Manucy who had emigrated from the Spanish island of Minorca. The future bishop left St. Augustine in 1837 to study at the Jesuit Spring Hill College before continuing his seminary formation in New Orleans. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 15, 1850, on the Feast of the Assumption, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama. Father Manucy served as a Confederate chaplain during the Civil War. He was consecrated bishop of the new Vicariate of Brownsville at the cathedral in Mobile on Dec. 8, 1874, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Bishop Manucy traveled to Brownsville where he was installed in the church of the Immaculate Conception on Feb. 14, 1875. It

was estimated that the territory of the vicariate contained as many as 42,000 Catholics. He immediately began preaching and hearing confessions in Brownsville, and made a Confirmation tour in April, traveling with the Oblates as companions. The Oblates had been working in the area for over a quarter of a century. Due to some concerns, and knowing that the Oblates were laboring faithfully in the southern part of the vicariate, Bishop Manucy moved from Brownsville in September 1875 and took up residence in Corpus Christi. There he continued to travel the distances necessary to hear confessions, instruct and visit. In an 1879 tour with Oblate Father Peter Parisot, the bishop visited more than 80 ranches from Corpus Christi by way of Brownsville to Roma and Laredo—confirming almost 3,000 children and adults. Beginning with six secular priests and about 12 Oblates, by 1884 Bishop Manucy had ordained five priests and built nine churches. Among the churches he built was the new St. Patrick’s church in Corpus Christi, constructed in 1881 on the corner of Antelope and Carancahua. Mifflin and Petra Kenedy donated three bells, an organ and fresco paintings for the ceiling along with funds for construction. Mary Margaret Healy Murphy donated statues and numerous local workers participated in the construction. The architect for this new place of worship was Charles Carroll, whose daughter Mary Carroll was an educator and the first female superintendent of the Corpus Christi School District. Carroll High School is named in honor of her contributions to the local educational sys-

tem. This church became the cathedral of the Diocese of Corpus Christi upon its establishment in 1912. A fire in one of its towers in the late 1930s led to plans to build the present Corpus Christi Cathedral. Msgr. Adolf Marx, the last priest ordained in the church, offered the last Mass in the old cathedral for the soul of Charles Carroll in February 1951. Msgr. Marx later became the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi and the first bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville when it was erected in 1965. The old church was moved to the north side of the ship channel and remodeled where it serves today as Our Lady Star of the Sea. In 1884, Bishop Manucy—suffering from poor health—requested a less strenuous assignment and Pope Leo XIII responded by appointing him Bishop of Mobile. At the time, the vicariate had 12 churches, 12 chapels, 21 priests, a school for boys, three academies for girls and five convents. The Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament had schools in Brownsville and Corpus Christi; the Ursuline nuns were active in education in Laredo; and Sisters of Mercy had schools in San Patricio and Refugio. Also by 1884 all debts had been paid, three more churches were in the process of being built, and the plans for a boys’ high school in Corpus Christi had been completed. In the far southern region of the vicariate, the Oblates continued to staff the parishes and had charge of about 110 ranches. After being installed as the bishop of Mobile, Bishop Manucy sent in his resignation as Bishop of Mobile and expressed his desire to return to the Vicariate of Brownsville. His request was granted, but before he could make his move, he died on Dec. 4, 1885 just a few weeks short of his 62nd birthday. He was buried in the crypt of the Mobile cathedral. When Bishop Manucy left Texas for Mobile, Father Claude Jaillet had been appointed the Vicar General and Administrator of the vicariate and was reappointed after Bishop Manucy’s death. In May 1887, San Antonio Bishop John Claude Neraz was appointed Administrator of the Vicariate of Brownsville while continuing to serve as bishop of San Antonio. Because of the enormity of his task in the Diocese of San Antonio, Bishop Neraz assigned Father Jaillet to continue his work as administrator of the vicariate. Father Jaillet had charge of the wellbeing of the Catholics in south Texas from 1885 to 1890, while the Holy See searched for a new shepherd. He was well fitted for this task. Brought to Texas by Bishop Dubuis, the young Frenchman had spent so See JAILLET, page 4




JAILLET: Provided stability in time of transition Continued from page 3 many years in missionary work that he was known as the “saddlebags priest”. He had accompanied two bishops on their confirmation tours of the area and knew well the sacrifices the work entailed. Two days after his arrival at Galveston, before he could even learn English or

Spanish, he was assigned to San Diego, Texas. He built the first chapel there in 1867. He described his “headquarters” there as a little hut, 12 feet by 8 feet wide. Father Jaillet twice refused the office of bishop. He served as a pastor of St. Patrick’s in Corpus Christi for nearly 40 years. He survived several hur-

ricanes and was present in Spohn Hospital when it was torn apart during the 1919 storm. Father Jaillet was known for his generosity. He donated large sums for the construction of an early church in San Diego. He paid half of the cost in repairs to the roof of St. Patrick’s in Corpus Christi. In addition, he made regu-

lar offerings to two kind women, Concha Rodriguez and Charlita Verin, who operated a little “hospital” in their home where they took care of patients sent to them by Dr. Arthur Spohn. Father Jaillet also supervised the construction of the Incarnate Word Convent and School in 1886, which grew from 82 pupils in 1885 to 220 pupils in 1890.

Father Hesse inducted into Alhambra

Diocesan Calendar Pre-Cana Seminar

Will be held at the Corpus Christi Cathedral’s St. Joseph’s Hall, 505 N. Upper Broadway on Jan. 7. The day begins with check in at 8:45 a.m. followed by the first presentation sharply at 9 a.m. The day concludes at 5 p.m. Dates for 2012: Jan. 7; Feb. 4; March 3; May 5; June 9; Aug. 4; Sept. 8; Oct. 6; Nov. 3; and Dec. 8. For more information contact the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Family Life Office at (361) 882-6191.

Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival

Jack Swoboda Contributed photo

Father Paul Hesse, pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Corpus Christi was presented the Fez, the symbolic head wear of Alhambra members, by his father Alfred Hesse, a long time member of Alhambra Caravan #78. Father Hesse’s mother Adelle Hesse looks on. Alhambra is a fraternal order of Catholic men dedicated to assisting persons developmentally disabled by mental retardation.

During his administration, the Incarnate Word Sisters established the St. Patrick Parochial School for Boys. He spent most of his last years in residence and as chaplain for Spohn Hospital where he died on Nov. 30, 1929. Msgr. Michael Howell and Geraldine McGloin

First Christian Church located on 3401 Santa Fe, Corpus Christi will be celebrating their 30th annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. (each presentation is an hour long).

Sacred Heart School’s 12th Annual Winter Gala

“A Black and White Affair” Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Paws & Taws Pavilion

in Fulton from 5:30 p.m. - 12 a.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit Sacred Heart School. Patrons will enjoy appetizers and dinner with reserved seating throughout the evening. Entertainment and music for dancing will be provided by FLASHBACK with door prizes and auctions throughout the evening. Tickets can be purchased at the school office or by calling (361) 729-2672.

Black & Gold Gala

Blessed John Paul II’s Black and Gold Gala will be January 28, 2012. The event will feature a Texas Roadhouse steak dinner, a performance by the Spazmatics, live and silent auctions, and a truck raffle drawing. Contact Caroline Nye at (361) 855-5744 or visit our Web site for more information.

CALENDAR For more calendar events

EUCHARIST: Was more than a symbol Continued from page 2 back over at all of us – with Pope John Paul II’s coat of arms and ‘Totus Tuus’, I could not help but think that she [Mary] might just express about his life and papacy, ‘he has done great things for me’,” Biberstein said. After much prayer, in 2009, it seemed that God

was telling Biberstein that it was time to transition back to the states. She had been praying for several months and had made a decision after spending a weekend with an Italian friend. She was in a small chapel, St. Michael’s on Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy. She was specifically praying for God’s will for her and after awhile, glanced up to

see the only stained glass window that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. She saw, the wheat, the host, the grapes and the chalice, and beneath it in large stained glass letters were two words: “CORPUS CHRISTI.”And much like that night after the sudden death of her husband, she began her journey home. Mary Cottingham


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The Bishop’s Guild Christmas party was held on Dec. 2 at Corpus Christi Town Club. Guild members Þlled Santa’s sleigh with gifts for teens which will be distributed by Catholic Charities.

2011 Bishop’s Guild members: Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament Convent; Patrick and Diana AȘerbach; Bob and Jenny Allen; Armando and Mary Ann Avalos; Bob and Sue Becquet; Philip and Jane Bell; Hugo and Laura Berlanga; Patrick and Sandra Biggins; Brent and Stephanie Bottom; Mike and Cindy Boudloche; John and Lucy Boyd; Jim and Jackie Brannigan; David and Barbara Brown; Henry and Joyce Bynum; Stella Campos; Carlos Canales; Curtis and Mary Lee Cantwell; Tom Carlisle; Henry and Dorothy Casillas; Les and Tracy Cassidy; Chuck and Sondra Cazalas; Carl and Sylvia Chatelain; Joe and Margie Chavez; Al and Kathy Cicora; John and Dolores Cox; Joe and Mary Cusack; Edward and Mary Louise De La Garza, Jr.; Jim and Caryl Devlin; Bill and Michell Ewing; Sam and Rhonda Ganz; Jesse and Velma Garcia; Mary Jane Garza; Bobby and Donna Gough; Deacon Roy and Claire Grassedonio; Wade and Kim Grassedonio; Gene and Celeste Guernsey; Jim and Betty Harris; Phoebe Hatch; Neil and Marcy Hayes; Al and Adelle Hesse; Bobby Hewitt; Ed and Gloria Hicks; Vernie and Kathleen Hubert; Goldia Hubert; Mark and Janet Hulings; Charles Imbergamo; Fr. Ralph Jones; Ellie Killian; JeȔ and Kathy Kirk; Ronnie and Natalie Klostermann; Pearson and Beth Knolle; Don and Pat Kubicek; Patrick and Allyson Larkin; Barbara Little; Leonard and Katie May; Mike and Sandi McCutchon; Linda and Jerry McKamie; Alice Milloy; Robert and Gracie Mirabal; Jim and Candace Moloney; Phil and Edna Monroe; Evelyn Nemec; Deacon Frank and Therese Newchurch; Patrick and Julie Nye; Doug and Sharon Odle; Ron and Mary Park; Bernard and Joann Paulson; Al Malvino; Eloy and Sylvia Perez; Ray and Robin Perrone; Barbara Peterson; Roger and Amy Polly; Mack Ray; Patricia Reddick; Cy and DeeDee Richards; Elaine Richardson; Eduardo and Gloria Riddle; Joe and Lucille Rodebaugh; Robert and Denise Rosales; Jay and Ruth Salazar; Wesley and Melanie Schmidt; Mike and Terria Schmidt; Bernard and Kim Seger; Bill and Victoria Smith; David and Mellie Smithwick; Martha St. Romain; Ted and Dee Stephens; Alan and Mamie Stoner; Jody and Karin Sullivan; Helen Swetman; Don and Susan Taft; Mary Louise Till; Gary and Donna Tindall; Hugo and Nena Tolentino; Jean and Claire Turcotte; Mike Volker; Erich and Elvira Wendl; David and Evelyn Yeary; and Joyce Zarsky.

JANUARY 2012 5

The Bishop’s Guild is an organization of Catholic and non-Catholic lay persons and other friends dedicated to helping the Bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi meet critical needs within the diocese. The Guild meets periodically at special functions designed to be both social and spiritual.



If you would like to know more information about the Bishop’s Guild, please contact Cande DeLeon at (361) 693-6643 or




‘A Cathedral Holiday New Year’s Spectacular! A Touch of Frost’ on tap CORPUS CHRISTI - The Cathedral Concert Series 20112012 CITGO season will present three performances of “A Cathedral New Year’s Spectacular! A Touch of Frost!” at Corpus Christi Cathedral on Dec. 30-31. Three performances will be presented. The first will be on Friday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and two performances will show on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Frost Bank sponsors two performances, with a third performance sponsored by the Coastal Bend Community Foundation in celebration of its 30th Anniversary. Celebrating the sounds of the season and the nativity, this event under the direction of Lee Gwozdz, Guadalupe Rivera, Jr., Rachael Vasquez and Chrisi Carter, will feature members of the Corps de Cathedral, Cathedral Pontifical Chorale, Youth Chorale, Cathedral Choristers, Cherub Choir and members from the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. The performance features a cast of more than 300 local Coastal Bend residents. The Cathedral will be filled with music and a fully staged and costumed pageant of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, a reenactment of the timeless Christmas story including angels, shep-

herds, lambs and the magi. Interpretive movement is provided by the Corps de Cathedral Liturgical Movement Ensemble during the pageant

and is choreographed by Carter, a native of Portland. Seating passes for $2.50 each are available for general seating by sending a self-ad-

dressed stamped envelope or by coming to the Music Office at 505 North Upper Broadway, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401. VIP passes and perfor-

Bishop’s Guild celebrates Christmas

mance passes are required for the VIP section. A free will offering will be accepted at each performance. For Seating Passes call (361) 888-7444.

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Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey joined members of the Bishop’s Guild for a Christmas party on Dec. 2 at the Corpus Christi Town Club.

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Baptism: Gateway to the sacraments, necessary for salvation “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism, we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.”


his opening paragraph of the section on baptism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly presents what the Church is trying to accomplish through the sacrament of baptism, said Msgr. Michael Heras, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Corpus Christi. Jesus began His public life after asking John to baptize Him in the River Jordan. Jesus of course was without sin, and did not need to be baptized by John but he insisted, in order “to fulfill all righteousness.” After his resurrection, Christ said to His apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In 2012, the Church will observe the Baptism of Our Lord on Monday, Jan. 9. Historically, Jesus’ baptism has been celebrated on the octave day of Epiphany, or Jan. 13. In the United States, the bishops transferred Epiphany from Jan. 6 to the Sunday after, or Jan. 8, and the Baptism of the Lord will be the following day. While the Feast Day of the Lord’s Baptism can be changed, the requirements for the sacrament are clearly spelled out in the Catechism and the laws of the Church. How a parish carries out its mission of baptism also varies but must be consistent with the Canons. According to Canon Law, “the parents of an infant to be baptized and those who are to undertake the function of sponsor are to be instructed properly on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attached to it. The pastor personally or through others is to take care that the parents are properly instructed through both pastoral advice and common prayer, bringing several families together and, where possible, visiting them.” Our Lady of Perpetual Help began a new approach to reaching out to the faithful in administering the sacrament of Baptism. Responding to Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey’s call for parish renewal, in December 2010,

January 9 The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Msgr. Heras pours baptismal water on Aaron Gonzalez as his dad Aaron Sr. holds him and brother Aiden gives an approving smile. Aiden was baptized before his younger brother. Sharing in the moment are the boys’ mother Roxanne, behind Msgr. Heras, and his Godmother Edna Gonzalez, at left. Not pictured is Godfather Rudy Gonzalez, who was standing next to his wife Edna.

Msgr. Heras and his staff began to review all parish programs. Prior to that time, the preparation for baptism required by the Canons was done in a group setting, but the parish realized that only 30 percent of the initial participants actually followed through with baptism. The parish moved to a face-to-face program, feeling the group option was too impersonal. Baptisms have tripled month-to-month since moving from Mass to individual meetings. The parish’s five candidates for the deaconate and their wives became sponsor couples and take turns in training perspective parents and Godparents on a more personal level. They meet in the church or in the parents or Godparents homes and explain the requirements of the Catechism. The Catholic Church generally practices infant baptism, although from early times adult baptism was a common practice, especially for those who lack catechesis. According to the Catechism, “Since the earliest times, Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptized in the faith of the Church.” Canon law says that parents are obligated to make sure their infant children are baptized “as soon as possible after the birth.” Shortly after the child’s birth, or even before the birth, they should request from their pastor to baptize their child and they must be “prepared properly for it.” Within two to three business days of receiving an inquiry for a baptism, one of the sponsors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help contacts the family. At the initial meeting, they tell them the requirements for parents and Godpar-

ents. They must be living sacramental lives; be practicing Catholics; and have proof of all sacraments. “We walk them through baptism and guide them on Rite of Baptism. Sometimes they hear words but do not understand significance,” said Deacon Ron Martinez, who is in charge of the program for baptism. “We give them background, explain symbols such as the white garment; tracing of the cross on forehead with two different oils blessed by the bishop; and the blessing of exorcism releasing the child from sin making child open to receiving the Holy Spirit,” Deacon Martinez, said. According to the Catechism, “The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has ‘put on Christ,’ has risen with Christ.” The anointing with sacred chrism signifies “the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one ‘anointed’ by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.” “Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil,” the Catechism says. “One or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan.” The Catechism continues, “The baptismal water is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis (either at this moment or at the Easter Vigil). The Church asks God that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water, so that those who will be baptized in it may be ‘born of water and the Spirit.’” The sponsoring couples usually hold two to three meetings with par-

ents and Godparents, depending on their level of knowledge. Meetings last from one and a half to two hours. If they have baptized a child within the previous two years, the classes are not required. They “open-up” to the sponsors, something they could no do in a big class, Deacon Martinez said. They work with Godparents to bring them into full communion, if need be. Before, when the parish had mass meetings, the couples would hear the requirements and quietly slip away. In face-to-face meetings they are evangelized. Godparents assist the parents at an infant baptism. They also help “the baptized person to lead a Christian life.” If candidates for Godparents do not meet the requirements they are informed of this fact in a pastoral manner. The Canons of the Church require only one male or one female Godparent, or one of each. To be a Godparent, a person must be at least 16 years of age. They must be confirmed Catholics and have already received the sacrament of the Eucharist. They must lead a life of faith. The father or mother of the one being baptized cannot also serve as the child’s Godparent. A baptized person who is not Catholic can participate as a witness of the baptism alongside See CHILDREN, page 10

On the cover... Msgr. Michael Heras pours baptismal water over Evan Castaneda, held by his mother Jessica (behind Msgr. Heras), while proud father Eli looks on.




Students hold food drive for St. Vincent de Paul Society

The second year confirmation students at Sacred Heart Parish in Rockport held a holiday food drive at their local Wal-Mart as part of their service to the parish and community. The donations helped fill the pantry of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society. Those donating items had the chance to win a $25 Wal-Mart gift card and the winner was Jim Fergu-

son of Rockport. Participating students include, from left, Jonathan Zamudio, Jonathan Pham, Felipe Compean, Matt GarcĂ­a, Janelle LĂłpez, Krista Pape, Tania Cruz, Rainie Guidry and teacher Katie Scott. Also participating but not pictured were Caroline Johnson, Samantha Stafford and teacher Jesse Scott.


Christmas Giving

â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mother Teresa

Christmas shop and help the homeless at the same time! Make a donation to the Mother Teresa Shelter in honor of loved ones and we will send them a Beautiful Christmas Card.

Your gift of $10 or more per Christmas card will help provide day shelter for the homeless in Corpus Christi, Texas. A Christmas card acknowledging your gift (without speciĂ&#x20AC;c amounts listed) will be mailed to each of your honorees. A beautiful Christmas tree ornament will also be included for gifts of $25 or more per card.

YES! I would like to support the Mother Teresa Shelter at Christmas. RPlease accept my donation of $ ______________ and NO cards are necessary. RI am enclosing $ _____________ for ___________ cards as follows: RIn Memory of

RIn Honor of

Please send an acknowledgement of this gift to:


Name Address Please use copies of this form for additional names Your Name





Dr. Gilberto Cavazos-GonzĂĄlez, OFM January 3-14, 2012 8:30AM-12:30PM Course can be taken for Credit, Audit, or Enrichment Course Description: A course on the sacramental nature of US Hispanic religiosity and spirituality

For more information, call 341-1366 ext.212 OBLATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY 285 Oblate Drive â&#x20AC;˘ San Antonio, TX 78216 â&#x20AC;˘ (210)341-1366 â&#x20AC;˘


RCheck (payable to Mother Teresa Shelter)

Card Holderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Name Card #



Card Holderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Signature Exp. Date Mail form and payment to: Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc. 1322 Comanche Street Corpus Christi, TX 78401 Phone: (361) 442-2224 Fax: (361) 442-2607 Email:



JANUARY 2012 9

The Epiphany A time for family, prayer and thanksgiving


op Culture and secularism today has made many people think that Christmas is over Dec. 26 when the exhausted family throws the tree out and gets ready for next bash at New Year’s Eve. For many Catholics, Christmas is not over until several important feasts in the life of Christ are observed; all done with dignity, love and a deeper understanding of the events of the Christmas season.

When Lucila Salinas came to the United States with her family in 1929 she brought with her a deep faith and the vibrant culture of her Mexican homeland. Arriving at the London Community in a rural area of Corpus Christi, she and her family reunited with their father, Leónidas and brother, Leónidas, Jr., who had come earlier from their home in Potrero, Nuevo León, México, to look for work on the farms of South Texas. Her mother Estefanía and younger sisters Sofía, Carolina and Maria soon settled in to life in the small community. As devout Catholics the family continued to practice their faith in their new home. In 1936, Lucila Salinas met León Hernández who worked on a neighboring farm. They married in Sacred Heart Church in Corpus Christi and began a family, which grew to include children Martha, Jesus, Maricela, Orfelinda, Myrna, Blanca and much loved nephew, Johnny, who was raised with the family. Lucila Hernandez was well equipped to carry on the Catholic faith traditions she had learned from her mother as a child in Mexico. Her grown daughters today recall with great love the lessons they learned from her. Lucila Hernandez taught her children the way she was taught, from the heart and by powerful example

January 8 The Epiphany of the Lord

of one who sees the will of God in all things and shared His love with those around her—family and friends. There were no special classes, teaching aids, television programs or Internet to depend on. It was all from the heart. Christmas was celebrated as a series of feasts, rather than only the day of the nativity of Christ. The feast of the Epiphany was a special time for the family and celebrated much the same way as it was in México, as the Día de los Reyes (the Feast of the Kings). The word Epiphany means “manifestation.” The Church commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Magi, the three kings, who represent the gentiles on the twelfth day following the Nativity, “the twelfth day of Christmas.” While Epiphany falls on Jan. 6, in the United States the celebration of Epiphany in 2012 has been transferred to Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. In Mexico the custom has always been to observe Christmas Day as a solemn religious occasion, reserving Día de los Reyes for celebration and exchanging gifts. In the Hernandez and other Hispanic homes of the area, plans included a number of religious activities for children and adults, which were reminiscent of the visit of the Kings to the Infant God. These activities served to teach important lessons to the participants. The Church has always understood the value of drama as a method of spiritual training. These ceremonies may go back to the sixteenth century, introduced by the Franciscans as a system of teaching Catholic doctrine. For the Epiphany, the Christmas tree was in place but the focus was on the Nativity scene with a very special Niño (baby Jesus) clad in only a diaper or swaddling clothes. The baby, much larger than the other figures, needed to be dressed in royal clothes befitting his position. “When I was older, it became my job to dress the Niño,” Blanca Konitzer, the youngest of the Hernandez daughters, said. “I had very fine fabrics from my Aunt Emma who sewed for weddings. She saved material for me. I used a lot of peau de soi (a soft silk fabric of satin weave with a delus-

tered finish).” Led by their parents, the family knelt in front of the Nativity scene to recite the rosary singing religious and Christmas songs between the decades. The litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the last prayer. Lucila Hernandez then gave thanks to God for allowing the family to gather to pray. “I tear up just thinking about it,” Konitzer said. “It was all about giving thanks to God for life. She (her Mother) used to say, ‘Dios mío, gracias por la vida maravillosa.’ (My God, thank you for this magnificent life)” The group selected two children to act as padrinos (Godparents) for the Niño. The royally clad infant was placed in a large scarf held by the children. The children and adults came forward to reverence the child Jesus by kissing or touching it similarly to what the Magi might have done when they came to adore the Christ child and present their gifts. Lucila Hernandez instructed the children by telling them, “Your gift to the Niño is that you are going to be good all year.” Later, she gave the children a small gift, which helped them understand the gift-giving tradition of the three kings. Light refreshments of pan de polvo and Mexican hot chocolate followed the ceremony. “All in the community were welcome to attend,” daughter Orfelinda “Orfie” Hernandez said. “We had everyone, Hispanic, nonHispanic, Catholics, nonCatholics, every one just came prayed and enjoyed a good time. Many with no religious background learned about the real meaning of Christmas there.” There were more people than the house could hold, so people watched through the windows from the yard. Things have changed somewhat since the 1940s when Lucila Hernandez held the ceremony in her home. While she did not use it, a part of the celebration is the rosca de Reyes, a festive sweet bread in the shape of a King’s crown, and decorated with fruit. It has become an important part of the tradition and can be found in most Mexican bakeries. A tiny replica of the Niño

is baked inside the cake; in the early days a bean served the same purpose. The first portion is always the “poor man’s share” and the “share of God and the Virgin” and is marked out by the youngest child of the family to be given away. The guests were then served. The person whose slice contains the tiny Niño becomes the host for the next religious observance, the Feast of Candelaria on Feb. 2.

Lucila Hernandez lacked many of the things considered important today. She did not drive a car, nor did she speak English. Yet, her thankful heart and love of God imprinted lessons on her children that they have carried forth in their lives. Her daughters are all active Catholics doing their part in transmitting the faith to the next generation. Konitzer, a former catechist at Corpus Christi

Contributed photo

Orfie Hernandez checks the “Niño” used in their family celebrations of Dia de los Reyes. The custom calls for it to be dressed in fine garments befitting a king.

This feast occurs 40 days after Christmas and celebrates three occasions in the life of Christ: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 40 days after the birth of Christ. Known as Candlemas in English speaking countries, it marks the end of the Christmas feasts in the liturgical calendar. Recalling Christ as Light of the World, a procession is held at the church during which people light the candles they carry and all the candles to be used in the home throughout the year are blessed before the Mass. After the Mass the group has a tamale meal at the home of the person who received the Niño from the rosca. For the Hernandez family, the feast was commemorated with a gathering of family and friends, recitation of the Rosary and prayers of thanksgiving for the New Year followed by a small merienda.

Cathedral, now teaches in a local Catholic school. Orfie Hernandez serves as Director of Religious Education at Corpus Christi Cathedral. Myrna Hernandez Rodriguez and her brother Jesus “J.R.” Hernandez are very active at St. Peter the Apostle in Calallen. Martha Ruiz directs Guadalupana activities at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Schertz, Texas. Maricela Pérez and Johnny Rodriguez are active in their parishes in San Antonio. The diocese of Corpus Christi has been wonderfully enriched by the faith carried by Lucila Hernandez into her new home in Texas. It brings to mind the Gospel of St. John, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and have appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. These things I command you, that you may love one another.” Geraldine McGloin




Parish Calendar Listening to God with Children

St. Philip the Apostle Parish will present “Listening to God with Children,” a formation course for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for adults who want to learn how to share the Catholic faith with children. The course will be offered over three weekends (Friday night, Saturday and Sunday) during the school year. The course uses Montessori principles of education to focus on the relationship between the child and God. Lessons are based on scripture and Liturgy and use hands-on materials.

The Level I formation is the foundation course for all levels and provides the framework for all subsequent training. Level I Training will be offered Jan. 13-15. For more information, contact Cathy Harrel at (361) 960-5737 or

CALENDAR For more calendar events

Winning centennial hymn Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Arnold and Pat Marcha provide training to parents and Godparents preparing for baptism at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Arnold Marcha is a candidate for the diaconate.

CHILDREN: Bring family into faith Continued from page 7 the Godparent, but not as a sponsor. “We’re one big church, somewhere in this family we can find sponsors,” Arnold Marcha, one of the sponsors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, said. If need be, the sponsors step in as Godparents. Three baptisms were held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help on the Saturday before the start of Advent. Evan, infant son of Eli and Jessica Castañeda, was one of those baptized. Jessica Castañeda is a lifelong member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, having been baptized, confirmed, made first communion and married at the parish. The couple already baptized their first son at the parish. Msgr. Heras, in keeping with the Catechism, performed the baptism by pouring the water three times over the baby’s head, while speaking the words, “Evan, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” “It is very important to have family to celebrate baptism, to guide us and to continue in his faith,” Eli Castañeda said. “We anoint him to be part of God’s kingdom and part of the Catholic faith. To receive the Holy Spirit,” said Scott Manvel, who along with his wife Thelma, served as God-

Deacon Ron Martinez provides direction to new baptism program.

parents. Baptisms are held after every Mass, usually from three to seven, but the parish does not hold baptisms during solemn times such as Lent or Advent. After the baptism, the sponsors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help offer to continue to assist the parents in the formation of their children. Baptism often “opens the door” for co validation of marriages and RCIA, Arnold Marcha’s wife Pat said. “Babies bring parents back

to the church,” she said. “Its their responsibility to get their children to Heaven. They must live by example— become church goers.” The baby is like the center of an octopus; its tentacles bring in other relatives, Martinez said. Indeed, the Catechism affirms that, “Where infant baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth.” Alfredo E. Cardenas

Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Msgr. Heras anoints baby Evan with the oil of catechumens, lays his hands on him and he explicitly renounces Satan.

St. Martin of Tours

Héctor Treviño, a student at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, won the St. Martin Centennial Hymn Contest with a song about the life of Saint Martin of Tours. The hymn had to be no less than five verses, had to have a chorus and had to be original work. The winner was announced at the Nov. 11 Mass. Treviño led the choir in singing the hymn. Pictured with Treviño are Father José Naul Ordonez (at left) and Father Ponnuswamy R. Victor.



11 JANUARY 2012

La Epifanía del Señor: Un tiempo para la familia, la oración y acción de gracias L

a cultura popular y el secularismo de hoy han hecho que mucha gente creer que la Navidad se termina el 26 de diciembre cuando la familia echa fuera el árbol de Navidad y se preparan para la fiesta que viene en víspera de Año Nuevo.

Para muchos católicos de ascendencia mexicana, la Navidad no se acaba hasta varias fiestas importantes en la vida de Cristo se observan, todo se hace con dignidad, amor y una comprensión más profunda de los acontecimientos de la temporada de Navidad. Cuando Lucila Salinas llegó a los Estados Unidos con su familia en 1929, trajo con ella una fe profunda y la vibrante cultura de su patria mexicana. Al llegar a la comunidad de Londres en una zona rural de Corpus Christi, ella y su familia se reunieron con su padre, Leónidas y su hermano, Leónidas, Jr., que habían llegado anteriormente de su casa en Potrero, Nuevo León, México, en busca de trabajo en las granjas del sur de Texas. Su madre Estefanía y hermanas menores Sofía, Carolina y María pronto se establecieron en la vida en la pequeña comunidad. Como católicos devotos la familia continuó practicando su fe en su nuevo hogar. En 1936, Lucila Salinas conoció a León Hernández quien trabajaba en un rancho vecino. Se casaron en la Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón en Corpus Christi y comenzaron una familia, que creció hasta incluir a los niños Marta, Jesús, Maricela, Orfelinda, Myrna, Blanca y un sobrino muy querido, Johnny, que se crió con la familia. Lucila Hernández estaba bien equipada para llevar a cabo las tradiciones de fe católica que había aprendido de su madre cuando era niña en México. Sus hijas mayores hoy recuerdan con gran cariño las lecciones que aprendieron de ella. Lucila Hernández enseñó a sus hijos la forma en que se enseña, desde el corazón y por el gran ejemplo de alguien que ve la voluntad de Dios en todas las cosas

y comparten su amor con los que la rodean-familiares y amigos. No había clases especiales, material didáctico, programas de televisión o Internet para contar. Era todo desde el corazón. La Navidad era celebrada como una serie de fiestas, y no sólo el día de la natividad de Cristo. La fiesta de la Epifanía del Señor era un momento especial para la familia y se celebraba de la misma manera como lo fue en Foto de Orfie Hernández En 1956, Mary Alice y Arturo Zúniga muestran la veneración de el México, como el Día de los Reyes. La Epifanía significa “Niño”, que se celebra en un gran pañuelo por los padrinos. “manifestación”. La Iglesia ven de las hijas Hernández. conmemora la manifesta“Todos en la comunidad “Yo tenía telas muy finas ción de Cristo a los Reyes eran invitados a asistir”, de mi tía Emma, que cosía Magos, que representan a dijo la hija de Orfelinda para las bodas. Ella guarlos gentiles, a los doce días “Orfie” Hernández. «Disfrudespués de la Natividad, “el daba material para mí. Yo tábamos de todo el mundo, duodécimo día de Navidad.” utilizaba una gran cantidad hispanos, no hispanos, de peau de soi (un tejido de Mientras cae la Epifanía católicos y no católicos, el 6 de enero, en los Estados seda suave tejido de raso cada quien acaba de orar y con un acabado deslucido).” disfrutar un buen momento. Unidos la celebración de la Conducidos por sus Epifanía en el año 2012 se Muchos de ellos sin antecepadres, la familia se arrodi- dentes religiosos aprendieha transferido a Domingo, llaba delante de la aconteci- ron allí el verdadero signifi08 de enero 2012. miento de la Natividad para cado de la Navidad.” En México la costumrezar el rosario y cantar bre siempre ha sido para Había más gente que la canciones de Navidad reobservar el día de Navidad casa podía contener, sino ligiosas entre las décadas. como una festividad relique la gente veían a través La letanía de la Santísima giosa solemne, reservando de las ventanas del patio. Virgen María era la última Día de los Reyes para la Las cosas han cambiado oración. Lucila Hernández celebración y el intercamun poco desde la década de daba gracias a Dios por bio de regalos. En la casa 1940, cuando Lucila Herpermitir que su familia se Hernández y otros hogares nández celebraba la cerereuniera para rezar. hispanos de la región, los monia en su casa. Mientras “Se me lloran los ojos al planes incluyan una serie que ella no hizo uso de ella, pensar de esos tiempos”, de actividades religiosas probablemente debido a dijo Konitzer. “Se trataba para niños y adultos, que que no estaba disponible, de dar gracias a Dios por la eran una reminiscencia de una parte de la celebración la visita de los Reyes al Niño vida. Ella (su madre) decía: es la rosca de Reyes, un pan ‘Dios mío, gracias por la Dios. dulce en forma de corona Vida Maravillosa’.” Estas actividades serde un rey, y decorado con El grupo seleccionaba vían para enseñar lecciones frutas. Se ha convertido en dos hijos para actuar como importantes para los partiuna parte importante de la cipantes. La Iglesia siempre padrinos de El Niño que, tradición y se puede enconvestido magníficamente, ha entendido el valor del trar en la mayoría de las era colocado en un gran teatro como un método de panaderías mexicanas. pañuelo en manos de los entrenamiento espiritual. Una réplica pequeña de niños. Los niños y adultos Estas ceremonias se pueEl Niño se cuece en el intese daban a conocer la reveden remontar al siglo XVI, rior del pastel. En los años rencia al Niño Jesús, besan- antepasados un frijol era introducido por los francisdo o tocando lo de manera canos como un sistema de usado para el mismo propósimilar a lo que los Reyes enseñanza de la doctrina sito. La primera tajada era Magos podrían haber hecho siempre para la “acción de católica. cuando vinieron a adorar al los pobres” y la “acción de En la Epifanía, el árbol niño Jesús y presentar sus de Navidad todavía estaba Dios y la Virgen” y se sepaen su lugar, pero la atención regalos. raba para el hijo menor de Lucila Hernández instru- la familia para ser regalado. se concentraba en el hecho yó a sus hijos diciéndoles: de la Natividad con el muy Los invitados entonces eran “Su regalo para el Niño es especial Niño Jesús vestido servidos. La persona cuya con sólo un pañal o pañales. que usted va a ser bueno rebanada contenía el pequeEl bebé, mucho más grande todo el año.” Más tarde, les ño Niño se convertía en el daba a los niños un pequeque las otras figuras, debía hospedador de la próxima ser vestido con ropa real, de ño regalo, que les ayudaba a celebración religiosa, la entender la tradición de dar fiesta de la Candelaria el 2 acuerdo con su posición. regalos de los Reyes Magos . de febrero. “Cuando era mas grande Una merienda de pan de de edad, la tarea de vestir a Esta fiesta se celebra 40 Polvo y chocolate caliente El Niño me toco a mi”, dijo días después de Navidad y seguían a la ceremonia. Blanca Konitzer, la más jocelebra tres vicisitudes en la

vida de Cristo: la presentación del niño Jesús, la primera entrada de Jesús en el templo y la purificación de la Santísima Virgen a los 40 días después del nacimiento de Cristo. Conocida como la Candelaria en países de habla Inglés, esta fiesta marca el final de las fiestas de Navidad en el calendario litúrgico. Recordando a Cristo como la Luz del Mundo, una procesión se celebra en la iglesia en la que la gente enciende las velas que llevan y todas las velas que se usan en el hogar durante todo el año son bendecidas antes de la misa. Después de la misa el grupo celebra con tamales en la casa de la persona que recibió el Niño de la rosca. Para la familia Hernández, la fiesta era conmemora con una reunión de familiares y amigos, rezo del Santo Rosario y las oraciones de acción de gracias por el Año Nuevo seguido de una pequeña merienda. A Lucila Hernández le faltaban muchas de las cosas que consideramos importante hoy en día. Ella no manejaba un coche, y no hablaba Inglés. Sin embargo, con un corazón agradecido y con amor de Dios grababa en sus hijos enseñanzas que recuerdan hasta el presente día. Sus hijos e hijas son todos católicos activos haciendo su parte en la transmisión de la fe a la siguiente generación. Konitzer, ex catequista en la Catedral, ahora enseña en una escuela católica local. Orfie Hernández se desempeña como Director de Educación Religiosa en la Catedral de Corpus Christi. Myrna Hernández Rodríguez y su hermano Jesús “JR” Hernández son muy activos en St. Peter the Apostle en Calallen. Martha Ruiz dirige las actividades Guadalupanas de Our Lady of Perpetual Help en Schertz, Texas. Maricela Pérez y Johnny Rodríguez son activos en sus parroquias en San Antonio. La diócesis de Corpus Christi ha sido maravillosamente enriquecida por la fe llevada por Lucila Hernández en su nuevo hogar en Texas. Geraldine McGloin




Un nuevo comienzo L

a DiĂłcesis de Corpus Christi, levantado en 1912, originalmente consistĂ­a en el territorio triangular que ocupa el extremo de sur Texas, que entiende alrededor de 22,391 millas cuadradas, con kilĂłmetros corriendo sobre la costa del Golfo en el este y el RĂ­o Grande en el sur y el oeste. Este territorio fue la principal fuente de conflicto y la causa explĂ­cita de la guerra entre Estados Unidos y MĂŠxico en 18461847.

Durante el perĂ­odo de la colonizaciĂłn espaĂąola y las misiones, la area estaba asociado originalmente a la provincia de MĂŠxico, inicialmente a la DiĂłcesis de Guadalajara y luego a la DiĂłcesis de Linares o Nuevo LeĂłn. Se convirtiĂł en parte de la Iglesia de Texas el 16 de julio de 1841, cuando el Papa Gregorio XVI emitiĂł la Bula instituyendo el Vicariato ApostĂłlico de Texas. Con la anexiĂłn de Texas a los Estados Unidos y la conclusiĂłn del conflicto entre Estados Unidos y MĂŠxico, el Vicariato fue declarada la DiĂłcesis de Galveston, con el Jean Marie Odin, CM nombrado como el primer Obispo. En los aĂąos que siguieron a la erecciĂłn de la DiĂłcesis de Galveston, la gente sostuvo muchos dificultades, pero la poblaciĂłn siguiĂł aumentando y en los aĂąos despuĂŠs de la Guerra Civil, el ĂĄrea se mejoro con el desarrollo de los puertos, la agricultura y la ganaderĂ­a. En 1862, el Obispo Claudio MarĂ­a Dubuis fue nombrado para suceder a Obispo Odin. Ă&#x2030;l hizo su primera visita episcopal, a lo que se convertirĂ­a en la DiĂłcesis de Corpus Christi, a finales de 1866 y regresĂł al aĂąo siguiente. Cuando asistiĂł el Primer Concilio Vaticano en Roma en 1869-1870 podrĂ­a haber informado sobre el enorme crecimiento que se habĂ­a producido en su rebaĂąo desde sus humildes comienzos. Su diĂłcesis estaba claramente lista para el siguiente paso en su desarrollo. En consecuencia, en 1874, Texas se dividiĂł en tres campos distintos del ministerio pero al mismo tiempo siguiĂł como parte de la Provincia de la ArquidiĂłcesis de Nueva OrleĂĄns. La DiĂłcesis de Galveston retuvo esa parte de Texas que se extiende al este del RĂ­o Colorado, la DiĂłcesis de San Antonio fue creado principalmente por el

territorio entre los rĂ­os Colorado y Nueces, y el Vicariato ApostĂłlico de Brownsville, aproximadamente comprendĂ­a el territorio entre el rĂ­o Nueces y el RĂ­o Grande. Dominic Manucy fue elegido como el obispo del Vicariato de Brownsville. NaciĂł en San AgustĂ­n, Florida, hijo de Pedro y MarĂ­a Manucy que habĂ­an emigrado de la isla espaĂąola de Menorca. El futuro obispo saliĂł de San AgustĂ­n en 1837 para estudiar en Spring Hill College do los jesuitas antes y continuar su formaciĂłn en el seminario en Nueva Orleans. Fue ordenado sacerdote el 15 de agosto de 1850, en la fiesta de la AsunciĂłn, en la Catedral de la Inmaculada ConcepciĂłn en Mobile, Alabama. El padre Manucy sirviĂł como capellĂĄn de la ConfederaciĂłn durante la Guerra Civil. Fue consagrado obispo del Vicariato nueva de Brownsville en la catedral de Mobile el 8 de diciembre de 1874, la Fiesta de la Inmaculada ConcepciĂłn. Obispo Manucy viajĂł a Brownsville, donde se instalĂł en la iglesia de la Inmaculada ConcepciĂłn el 14 de febrero de 1875. Se estimĂł que el territorio del Vicariato contenida hasta 42,000 catĂłlicos. De inmediato comenzĂł a predicar y confesar en Brownsville, y realizĂł una gira de confirmaciĂłn en abril, viajando con los Oblatos como compaĂąeros. Los Oblatos habĂ­an estado trabajando en la zona de Brownsville durante mĂĄs de un cuarto de siglo. Debido a algunos problemas, y sabiendo que los Oblatos estaban trabajando fielmente en la parte sur de la vicarĂ­a, el Obispo Manucy se marcho de Brownsville en septiembre de 1875 y estableciĂł su residencia en Corpus Christi. AllĂ­ continuĂł su viaje las distancias necesarias para confesar, instruir y visitar. En una gira de 1879 con el Padre Oblato Pedro Parisot, el obispo visitĂł mĂĄs de 80 ranchos de Corpus Christi a travĂŠs de Brownsville a Roma y Laredo-y confirmo casi 3,000 niĂąos y adultos. Comenzando con seis sacerdotes seculares y 12 Oblatos 12, para fines de 1884 el Obispo Manucy habĂ­a ordenado cinco sacerdotes y construyĂł nueve iglesias. Entre las iglesias que construyĂł estaba la iglesia nueva de San Patricio en Corpus Christi, construido en 1881 en la esquina de antĂ­lope y Carancahua. Mifflin Kenedy y su esposa Petra donaron tres campa-

nas, una pintura de Ăłrganos y fresco para el techo, junto con fondos para la construcciĂłn. Mary Margaret Healy Murphy dio estatuas y numerosos trabajadores locales participaron en la construcciĂłn. El arquitecto de este nuevo lugar de culto fue Charles Carroll, cuya hija Mary Carroll fue un educador y la primera mujer superintendente del Distrito Escolar de Corpus Christi. Carroll High School fue nombrada en honor de sus contribuciones al sistema educativo local. Esta iglesia se convirtiĂł en la catedral de la DiĂłcesis de Corpus Christi desde su creaciĂłn en 1912. Un incendio en una de sus torres en la dĂŠcada de 1930 resulto en planes para construir la actual Catedral de Corpus Christi. La antigua iglesia fue trasladado a la parte norte del canal de navegaciĂłn y despuĂŠs de renovaciĂłn sirve hoy como Our Lady Star of the Sea. En 1884, el Obispo Manucy-que sufrĂ­a de mala salud solicito una posiciĂłn con menos compromisos y el Papa LeĂłn XIII lo nombro obispo de Mobile. En ese momento, el Vicariato tenia 12 iglesias, 12 capillas, 21 sacerdotes, una escuela para niĂąos, tres academias para chicas y cinco conventos. Las Hermanas del Verbo Encarnado y del SantĂ­simo Sacramento tenĂ­an escuelas en Brownsville y Corpus Christi, las monjas Ursulinas eran activas en la educaciĂłn en Laredo, y las Hermanas de la Misericordia operaban escuelas en San Patricio y Refugio. TambiĂŠn en 1884 todas las deudas habĂ­an sido pagadas, otras tres iglesias estaban en el proceso de construcciĂłn, y los planes para una escuela secundaria para niĂąos en Corpus Christi se habĂ­a completado. En la regiĂłn del extremo sur de la vicarĂ­a, los Oblatos continuaban facilitando personal para las parroquias y estaban a cargo de unos 110 ranchos. DespuĂŠs de ser instalado como obispo de Mobile, obispo Manucy enviĂł su renuncia como obispo de Mobile y expresĂł su deseo de regresar a la VicarĂ­a de Brownsville. Su peticiĂłn fue concedida, pero antes de que pudiera regresarse, muriĂł el 04 de diciembre 1885 unas semanas antes de cumplir 62. Fue enterrado en la cripta de la catedral de Mobile. Cuando el obispo Manucy se fue de Texas para Mobile, el padre Claude Jaillet habĂ­a sido nombrado Vicario

ENERO 2012 visĂ­tenos en el Internet para mĂĄs historia de la diĂłcesis

General y Administrador de la vicarĂ­a y fue reelegido despuĂŠs de la muerte de obispo Manucy. En mayo de 1887, el Obispo John Claude Neraz de San Antonio fue nombrado Administrador de la VicarĂ­a de Brownsville mientras continuaba a servir como obispo de San Antonio. Debido a la enormidad de su tarea en la diĂłcesis de San Antonio, el obispo Neraz asignado al Padre Jaillet para que continuarĂ­a su trabajo como administrador de la vicarĂ­a. Padre Jaillet estaba a cargo del bienestar de los catĂłlicos en el sur de Texas, desde 1885 a 1890, mientras que la Santa Sede buscĂł un nuevo pastor. Ă&#x2030;l estaba bien equipado para esta tarea. TraĂ­do a Texas por el Obispo Dubuis, el joven francĂŠs habĂ­a pasado tantos aĂąos en la obra misionera que era conocido como el ÂŤsacerdote del morralÂť. HabĂ­a acompaĂąado a dos obispos en sus giras de confirmaciĂłn en la zona y conocĂ­a bien los sacrificios que el trabajo. Dos dĂ­as despuĂŠs de su llegada a Galveston como

un joven sacerdote, antes de que pudiera aprender InglĂŠs o espaĂąol, fue asignado a San Diego, Texas. Ă&#x2030;l construyĂł la primera capilla en ese pueblo en 1867. DescribiĂł su ÂŤcuartel generalÂť como una pequeĂąa cabaĂąa, 12 pies por 8 pies de ancho. Padre Jaillet negĂł en dos ocasiones el cargo de obispo. Se desempeùó como pĂĄrroco de San Patricio en Corpus Christi por 40 aĂąos. SobreviviĂł a varios huracanes y estuvo presente en Spohn Hospital cuando fue destruido durante la tormenta de 1919. Padre Jaillet era conocido por su generosidad. Ă&#x2030;l donĂł grandes sumas de dinero para la construcciĂłn de la antigua iglesia de San Diego. Ă&#x2030;l pagĂł la mitad del costo de la reparaciĂłn del tejado de San Patricio en Corpus Christi. AdemĂĄs, hizo ofrendas regulares a dos mujeres , Concha RodrĂ­guez y Charlita Verin , quien operaba un pequeĂąo â&#x20AC;&#x153;hospitalâ&#x20AC;? en su casa, donde se hacĂ­an cargo de los pacientes enviados por el Dr. Arthur Spohn. Msgr. Michael Howell y Geraldine McGloin





There is black gold in that gala By Timothy Hatch Contributor

Get ready for a night of fun and entertainment, all for a good cause; supporting the mission and ministry of Blessed John Paul II High School. The school will host its second annual Black and Gold Gala on Saturday, Jan. 28, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at L&F Distributors. After a steak dinner catered by Texas Roadhouse, the Spazmatics will take center stage with their dance routines and music. There will be live and silent auctions and a chance to win a new 2012 Nissan Frontier pick-up. Individual tickets are $75 and tables of ten are $750. Sponsorships begin at $3,000 and go up to $25,000. Raffle tickets for the Nissan truck are $20. The inaugural Black and Gold Gala was held in 2009 and brought in $300,000 for the school, surpassing their goal of $200,000. As the school grows and more students graduate, it is hoped that alumni will give back to their alma mater by supporting the gala. Something new for this year’s event will be the introduction of the Bishop Carmody Award, given to an individual or company that provides extraordinary support to the school. Bishop Emeritus Edmond Carmody opened the school in 2006 and remains active in its development. The curriculum at Blessed John Paul II High School stresses heavily spiritual formation because it is through a commitment to Christ that allows each student to grow in the faith and realization that God made them to do great things, Bishop Carmody said. It is through this knowledge that brings about motivation to achieve excellence. Recently, the school bested 24 area public schools to win first place in the KEDT Academic Challenge. The Centurion baseball team has won back-to-back state championships in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools and school teams went to the playoffs in football, volleyball and basketball.

“We continue to raise the bar on our students to do the best they can for college, to make sure they are ready for the real world and real life experiences,” principal Perry LeGrange said. “Parental involvement is important in all of this because parents are our students’ first school. We enrich that learning.” Living up to the school’s commitment to the spiritual formation of its students makes the work of Blessed John Paul II High School’s faculty and staff more than just a job. “The great thing here is that they see their work as a ministry in the name of the Lord,” Bishop Carmody said. The school holds high expectations of finding the right teachers who will not only educate their students, but minister to them. “I can’t say enough about our theology department. We have retreats for every grade level. The retreats are phenomenal here. The students talk about them and they want more,” LeGrange said. “Even outside of retreats, the department goes above and beyond to provide spiritual nourishment to the students in offering Masses, prayer services, Eucharistic adoration and various activities. Two priests are available every Wednesday for confessions.” Though students are required to pay a portion of their tuition, the community has played a significant role in making the education at Blessed John Paul II High School affordable. The John G. & Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation agreed to help the school on the condition that it set up an endowment fund with a goal of $10 million and the interest generated from the endowment fund be used for tuition assistance. The school is just shy of reaching that goal. “The community is very much in support of this goal because of our mission,” Bishop Carmody said. For more information on the Black and Gold Gala, contact Caroline Nye at (361) 855-5744 or visit the Black and Gold Gala website at www.blackandgoldgala. org.

Jaime Reyna for South Texas Catholic

Angie Windnagle, Director of Youth Formation for St. John the Baptist, speaks to some 30 young ladies that turned out to the initial gathering of True Radiance, a program that will hold a modesty fashion show in May 2012.

Modesty fashion show program draws interest from young ladies Thirty high school girls ranging in age from 14–18 were on hand on Dec. 3, 2011, for the introductory session of True Radiance held in the Blessed John Paul II High School cafeteria. True Radiance is a modesty formation program whose mission is to prove that fashion can be both beautiful and modest. “Judging by their enthusiastic response, this new modesty formation program promises to be a success for the youth of our diocese,” Deacon Stephen Nolte said. Deacon Nolte, Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, conceived of the idea of focusing on the true meaning of femininity and growing in faith, virtues and style. Female participants in the program will go through a series of meetings, fittings and have a retreat in preparation for a fashion show. During the meetings they listened to guest speakers, have their hair done by stylists, have

professional fittings, prepare for the fashion show and undergo spiritual formation. After the completion of the entire program, girls will receive certificate of completion and will be eligible to participate in the modest formation program on a leadership level in the future. Participants will have the opportunity to participate either as a model or a crew member for a fashion show. Deacon Nolte, together with Jaime Reyna, Director of Youth Ministry for the diocese, recruited Chelsea Nye, a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in business. Nye, who also has an associates degree in fashion design, is coordinating the program and heads a team of like-minded individuals. The official start of the program is a one-day retreat on Jan. 7 at the school cafeteria. The retreat begins at 9 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. On that day a calendar

with the dates of all other meetings will be provided to participants. The girls will meet monthly through the spring semester, and the program will conclude with the inaugural “True Radiance Fashion Show” on Thursday, May 3, at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds. A similar program for high school boys is being developed as well and will be announced soon, Nolte said. Registrations for True Radiance will continue until the day of the retreat and walkins will be welcome on that day. Due to the formational aspect of the program, registrations will not be accepted after the retreat. There is a one-time $40 fee associated with the program. Information may be obtained at or by contacting Jaime Reyna at (361) 882-6191 or at jreyna@

Jaime Reyna for South Texas Catholic

Girls interested in modesty fashion show will have to attend a number of retreats before the show in May 2012.




Ministry Conference is part of Centennial Jubilee By Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A host of national and international speakers will make presentations at the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Centennial Jubilee Ministry Conferenceâ&#x20AC;? sponsored by the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The conference offers formational opportunities to a variety of people, including catechists, Catholic school teachers of religion and Directors of Religious Education. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Diocese of Corpus Christi hopes to enhance the knowledge and spirituality of the Catholic faith within these individuals in an effort to better prepare them for ministry,â&#x20AC;? said Margaret Alarilla, Director of Evangelization and, together with Jaime Reyna, coordinator of the ministry conference. Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey will open the conference on Jan. 13 with a 7 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral. The conference theme, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,â&#x20AC;? is designed to develop further Bishop Mulveyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus on the Word of God and to learn more about the Holy Scriptures, Alarilla said. Conference sessions will

be held on Jan. 14 at the American Bank Center, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bishop Mulvey, along with Helen Osman from Washington DC, will be the keynote speakers. The bishopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s morning keynote topic will be, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Word of God: A Light for Our Path; Way of Transformation.â&#x20AC;? Osmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s afternoon keynote will be on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Missionaries: Saddling up in a Digital World.â&#x20AC;? Osman is the Secretary of Communications for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and oversees all communication aspects of the BishHelen Osman ops Conferhead of comence. She munications shepherded for Catholic the conferbishops. enceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entry into social media, which is the topic of one of the breakout sessions she will present entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parish Communities and Social Mediaâ&#x20AC;?. In addition to Osmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s presentation of social media, a number of sessions will deal with strengthening parishes. Diocesan support staff will make a presentation on â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Inner Workings of a Parish Officeâ&#x20AC;?. Father Pete Elizardo, Jr., the Director for the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Corpus Christi and Rector of the Corpus Christi Cathedral, will review the new

translation of the Roman Missal with a talk entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Understanding General Instructions of the Roman Missal and the Order of the Mass.â&#x20AC;? Lee Gwozdz, nationally known for his work with childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s choirs, will present on, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our Parish Choirs! â&#x20AC;&#x201D; A Sound Achievement!â&#x20AC;? Gwozdz serves as the Direc-

tor of Music for the diocese and director of the Cathedral choirs. Suzanne Vitadamo will talk on â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Erosion of Medical Ethicsâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;How Many Terri Schiavoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are Being Killed Everyday?â&#x20AC;? Vitadamo has dedicated her life to full-time pro-life and disability rights advocacy after her life took a dramatic and

Bishop Mulvey will make keynote address.

unexpected turn in February 1990 when her sister, Terri See SPEAKERS, page 16

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Virginia Tech students give each other support By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of students had been hanging out at the Catholic campus ministry center at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., when an alert was issued midday Dec. 8 warning all students and faculty members to stay indoors. For the next few hours, the students stayed put, knowing a shooting had taken place on campus and initially that the shooter was on the loose, but not much more. After a campus police officer had been shot and killed that afternoon in his parked cruiser, police and SWAT teams searched the university for the gunman, calling to mind images of the 2007 shooting on campus that left 32 students and faculty, as well as the gunman, dead. The unidentified shooter Dec. 8, who was not a student, fled on foot, changed clothes in a campus greenhouse and was spotted by police in a campus parking lot before fatally shooting himself, The Associated Press reported. Not long after the university was finally given the all-clear signal, students packed the Catholic student center chapel for a Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass had been postponed for a half hour because of the day’s lockdown. “Mass was a great contrast to the day’s events,” said Father John Grace, a Richmond diocesan priest who is director of Virginia Tech’s Catholic campus ministry. He said it reminded students of how to live their faith in the context of real world. After Mass, some students were talking about the day but he primarily sensed “a strong feeling of support and community.” The priest, who spoke to Catholic News Service by phone Dec. 9, said that kind of support isn’t “something you can create at a moment of crisis. You cultivate it year after year. It is really what the Catholic community stands for.” In a Dec. 9 letter posted on the Newman center’s website, Father Grace said the campus Mass “was the See FEELINGS, page 16

JANUARY 2012 15

To the youth of the Catholic Church in Corpus Christi

Prayer for Vocations God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, 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. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


eace be with you and greetings from St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, Louisiana! My name is RJ Regalado; I am a seminarian from our diocese, and I would like to extend to you an invitation to Abbey Youth Fest, a youth rally coordinated by my seminary. On March 10, St. Joseph Abbey Seminary College will host its twelfth annual Abbey Youth Fest, which is a full day of contemporary Catholic music, inspiring keynote speakers and the celebration of the Mass. As the sun sets, we unite with the Benedictines in Vespers, the Evening Prayer of the Church, and we end the night with candlelight Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament—all underneath the stars. Throughout the festival, you will have the opportunity for personal prayer in an outdoor chapel, confession with visiting priests, a tour of St. Joseph Abbey and exposure to several religious orders and various ministries who set up information booths to share their charisms with the thousands of Catholic youth in attendance. My first Abbey Youth Fest experience was in March 2010. It was amazing to be able to see more than 2,000 teens come together to offer their praise and worship to the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. The most amazing sight was when the sun fell into the horizon and the moon and countless stars illuminated the night sky, the teens fell to their knees with candles in their hands to adore our Lord, Jesus Christ. That is an unforgettable experience you just don’t get in the city. The theme for Abbey Youth Fest 2012 is, “Restless,” which is taken from St. Augustine’s, Confessions: “My heart is restless until it rests in you, O Lord.” The event will feature Mark Hart, Vice-President of Life-Teen and youth speaker. Catholic musicians L’Angelus and Ayleron, will provide a rockin’ good time! The event will provide reflections upon and an experience of the beauty of God. Ask your youth minister to get a group together and make the trip to South Louisiana! I hope that you will be able to join me, 80 other seminarians, the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey, several priests and religious from all over the country and thousands of Catholic youth in worshipping our Lord and searching for the vocation to which He calls us. While the first Benedictine monastery dates to around 530 AD, Saint Joseph Abbey was founded in 1889 on more than 1,200 acres of land in Southern Louisiana. The monks used the land to raise cattle and grow their own food. Now, the wooded areas are used for peaceful walks on the trails and some of the fields are used to host events like Abbey Youth Fest. In our 11-year history with Abbey Youth Fest, we have hosted more than 25,000 teens. Currently, Saint Joseph Seminary College has 80 seminarians enrolled—representing 19 different dioceses. This year we hope to see you and several thousand more of your brothers and sisters in our backyard! For more information and pictures from previous festivals, visit and find us on Facebook. You are in my prayers; may our hearts, like St. Augustine’s, find eternal rest in the heart of God. In the peace of Christ, RJ Regalado

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Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations 3211 FOURTH STREET NE WASHINGTON DC 20017-1194 PHONE 202-541-3033 • FAX 202-541-3222 © USCCB. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCHOOLS: Will get visit Continued from page 2 do you most admire and why?” and “Which priest(s) have most influenced you and how?” The deadline for all essay entries is Jan. 9 and the winners will be announced at the Centennial Jubilee Ministry Conference on Jan. 14. Winning essays will receive from $100 to $500, depending on category. For more information on the contest download the contest rules from http:// The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Facebook page (http://www.facebook. com/usccb) provides examples of clergy and religious vocation efforts. Reflections on vocations are also available under the Vocation Retreat Tab where

each day a scripture passage, reflection and prayer will be posted. Resources for promoting National Vocations Awareness Week, such as prayer cards, Holy Hour materials, prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes, are available on the USCCB vocations Web page at http:// The vocations Web site for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, located at http://, also provides valuable information. National Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for vocations. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 9 in 2012.


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SPEAKERS: Will address variety of FEELINGS: Of support topics aimed at improving parish life and community prevailed Continued from page 14 Schiavo, suddenly collapsed and was left with a profound brain injury. Since the death of her sister, she has worked full-time for The Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network. They have been directly involved in hundreds of cases helping to protect persons who are at risk of being euthanized. Noted national speaker Le- Margaret land D. Na- Alarilla Director of gel’s talks Evangelizainclude “Be tion. My Witnesses” and “Sharing the Story.” Nagel has held a variety of positions on both the diocesan and university level. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He describes himself as a faith-filled storyteller who is an educator by profession and a catechist by vocation, a teacher by trade and an evangelist by Baptism. The conference will also feature a n u m b e r Father Pete o f p r e s e n - Elizardo t a t i o n s i n will speak on S p a n i s h , New Missal including a translation. presentation by Doreya “Yiyi” Dean, with Catholic Charities of Cor-

pus Christi, on “Nuestra llamada a servir: siete principios de la enseñanza social C a t ó l i c a y Leland D. diez mane- Nagel r a s q u e faith-fiilled c a r i d a d e s storyteller. Católicas es Católico.” Martín López will speak on “Una nueva evangelización” and Father Daniel RamírezPortugal will make a presentation on “El ministro y la familia de origen.” Other speakers, and their topics, include Alarilla, “Verbum Domini: A Reflection on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church;” Leisa Anslinger, “Engaging P e o p l e a s Lee Gwodz D i s c i p l e s Director of a n d S t e w - Music and Caards;” Rosa- thedral Choir. rio Dávila, “Integrating the Gospel Values of Faith, Hope, and Love into the Classroom;” and Dean, “Our Call to Serve: Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teachings and Ten Ways Catholic Charities is Catholic.” Also, Kenneth Doran, “So What Does Being Moral Have To Do With It, Anyway;” Paul Flores, “Effective Practices for Dynamic Youth Ministry;” and “Word of God Speak, Whaaaat;” Jeff Kisel, “Liabilities Associated with Youth Ministry;” Adam

Koll, “Ancient and Future Evangelization: Together for the Sake of the Gospel;” and “What’s So ‘New’ About the New Evangelization?” Roy Petitfils will make presentations on, “Fishers of Men or Keepers of the Aquarium? Still Called to bring the Word of God to all People in our Parishes (even those who don’t come to Church),” “What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There— Holding Fast to our Past Suzanne w h i l e E m - Vitadamo Pro-life and bracing New disability Approaches rights advoa n d S k i l l s cate. Needed for the New Evangelization” and “Ten Things Youth and Young Adults Want the Church to Know But Don’t Tell Us— And Why.” Dr. Geri Telepak will speak on “Where’s that in the Bible?” and “Is Morality Old Fashioned?” Although the conference’s original audience is those involved in formal ministry, anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge of the Catholic faith is welcomed, Alarilla said. Some 1,000 attendees are expected. “If you truly desire to enhance your spirituality and knowledge of the faith, the ministry conference is the place for you,” Alarilla said. For more information, and to register online, visit http://acenturyoftradition. org/MinistryConference.

Continued from page 15 perfect way to mark who we are in faith, service and community.” He said words could not undo the tragic events but it is “here where our faith must speak the clearest. It’s now when our community must be present in hope and solidarity.” Father Grace, who came to the university just three months after the 2007 campus shooting, said there was no question that the Dec. 8 shooting brought back memories of the events of nearly five years ago, especially for graduate students and faculty staff who were at the university at the time. But for everyone, the day’s shooting and campus lockdown highlighted the effect of violence and the “vulnerability everyone feels.” “It was scary for a lot of people because no one knew what was happening,” he said. The priest, who had been on his way to lunch when the school alarms sounded, said the university “responded quickly and without panic.” “The drills paid off” he said, noting that the university issued multiple alerts

and updates and showed a “real sense of calm.” The campus was a quieter than usual because it was the day between the end of classes and the start of exams, called “reading day.” According to news reports, only 20,000 of the university’s 30,000 students were on campus when the officer was shot. Exams were postponed until Dec. 10. About 150 students gathered for a silent candlelight vigil the evening of Dec. 8 by the university’s memorial for the 2007 shooting victims. An official vigil was scheduled for Dec. 9. The shooting took place the same day as a hearing in Washington where Virginia Tech officials were appealing a $55,000 fine by the U.S. Department of Education for the university’s response to the 2007 shooting. The department said the university had violated the law by waiting more than two hours to issue an alert that failed to give enough specific information. Father Grace said he thought the 2007 campus shootings had made the university students more aware of the needs of others.




Economic hardship hits nearly all By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It’s not new, but it’s still news: The economy remains in a funk. Not just in the United States, but it has spread to many nations around the world. Although the “Great Recession,” which officially started in December 2007, was declared over in June 2009, U.S. unemployment numbers were staying stubbornly around 9 percent. In December, the figure dipped to 8.6 percent, the lowest it’s been since the second full month of Barack Obama’s presidency, but that was because nearly three times as many people quit looking for work as found jobs. The number of poor Americans has grown to roughly 49 million, or close to one in six overall. New Jersey’s Catholic bishops, in a Nov. 21 statement, called on Americans to “address the critical needs of the poor who live among us. ... We cannot ignore children who go to bed hungry, parents who are jobless, families who are homeless, the sick who suffer without medical care, or the elderly who live in infested or unsafe housing.” Most leading economic indicators show little change. And working Americans -- in terms of “consumer confidence” -- still seem wary

over the prospect of losing their job or the possibility of a second recession. Deficit cutting might not have been all the rage in 2011, but efforts to cut deficits spurred lots of rage from various segments of the population. When new Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tried to force through a “budget repair” bill to solve a projected $117 million budget deficit, some Democratic state senators fled the state to delay the vote, which ultimately went Walker’s way. Thousands of Wisconsinites rallied outside, and inside, the state Capitol in Madison for weeks to protest the move, and a recallWalker petition drive was under way.

In the early days of the protests over the bill, which hiked state workers’ health care and pension contributions while limiting their bargaining rights, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said, “Hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.” Nationally, the usually routine request by the president for Congress to increase the nation’s debt ceiling met with stiff resistance by the new Republican majority in the House. Initial rounds of cuts earlier in 2011 brought only temporary relief -- along with continued sniping at one another from both sides of the aisle. Only a last-minute

deal brokered in early August averted a possible U.S. default on its debt obligation. The deal included the formation of a bipartisan, joint House-Senate deficit reduction commission dubbed the “super committee.” However, it failed to reach agreement on a longer-lasting solution to curb deficit spending, thus triggering automatic cuts in 2012. One aspect of the super committee’s work was revenue -- taxes, to be precise. “We really need tax reform,” said Sister Marge Clark, a domestic-issues lobbyist for Network, the Catholic social justice lobby. “There’s a big difference between Network’s view and a lot of other people,” added the Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “in that tax reform has to be revenuepositive, because we simply don’t have enough money” to pay the nation’s bills. “All kinds of tax reform is needed. The whole structure has become convoluted, it’s become topsy-turvy,” Sister Marge said. “I think the tax code has grown the way an awful lot of other legislation has grown. They pass some things, and realize that it doesn’t work or it doesn’t do these things (originally touted), and they put a patch on it. “Then there’s another little piece where it becomes obvious that it’s not working, so

they do it again.” But she’s not optimistic about substantive change happening soon. “Probably not before the lame-duck (session following the 2012 presidential election), if you want to be really blunt,” Sister Marge said. “I seriously doubt anything will happen before the lame-duck session.” In the midst of the ongoing financial struggles, the Occupy movement sprang up in much the same way as the tea party movement arose two years before -- with a sense of unease with and distrust of those who manipulate the levers of power. Initially conceived as Occupy Wall Street with its chant “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” the movement spread to cities across the United States. In line with Occupy’s “we are the 99 percent” slogan, congressional Democrats want to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut with a surtax on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. “The payroll tax cut, we’ve estimated, created about a million jobs over the last year,” said David Cooper, an economic analyst with the Economic Policy Institute, which also estimates that another 500,000 jobs are threatened if unemployment benefits aren’t extended. “Losing those is going to seriously hurt the economy,” he added.

Board approves miracle needed for Blessed Marianne Cope’s canonization SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CNS) -- The path to sainthood for Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai has been cleared after a Vatican congregation Dec. 6 confirmed a second miracle attributed to her intercession. The final step for her canonization is approval by Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican decision was announced Dec. 6 by the sister’s religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Syracuse, N.Y., and by Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva. Mother Marianne, who worked as a teacher and hospital administrator in New

York, spent the last 30 years of her life ministering on the Hawaiian island of Molokai to those with leprosy. She died on the island in 1918 at age 80. The Dec. 6 ruling by the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes confirmed recent decisions by a medical board and a group of theologians declaring that a second miracle could be attributed to Mother Marianne’s intercession. The first miracle required for her beatification was the medically unexplainable recovery of a New York girl who recovered from near death from multiple organ

Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai cleared for canonization.

failure after prayers were said to Mother Marianne. The miracle was approved in 2004 by a medical board and a group of theologians. At the end of the year, Pope John Paul II affirmed the case. She was beatified in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican May 14, 2005. The only known detail about the second miracle is that a woman’s healing was

declared inexplicable since doctors had expected her to die and were amazed at her survival. The Sisters of St. Francis will not disclose details of the second miracle until after the pope’s proclamation of Mother Marianne’s sainthood. The announcement confirming the second miracle could be attributed to Mother Marianne’s intercession was “too good to be true,” said Sister Patricia Burkard, general minister of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She told Catholic News Service Dec. 7 that in the 24 hours since receiving the

news, she not only rejoiced with fellow sisters but gave countless interviews about Mother Marianne. For the religious community, the news also was bittersweet because Sister of St. Francis Mary Laurence Hanley, director of Mother Marianne’s cause, died Dec. 2 at age 86 at the sisters’ regional house in Syracuse. The funeral for Sister Laurence was scheduled for the evening of Dec. 7. Sister Patricia called it a “wonderful coincidence” so near to the announcement of Mother Marianne because Sister See VATICAN, page 18


VATICAN: Announcement caused particular joy in Hawaii Laurence’s “life’s work was fulfilled.” Sister Laurence began working on Mother Marianne’s cause in the summer of 1974 as a part-time project while teaching. In 1977, she began full-time work on the cause, which she saw from its beginnings until now. Sister Laurence worked with “great zest” nearly until the time of her death, said Sister Patricia, noting that just two months ago Sister Laurence’s health declined rapidly and only recently she was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. “My work is finished now,” Sister Laurence said in the summer as she put together the last pieces of Mother Marianne’s cause. Sister Patricia said the sisters find comfort in knowing Sister Laurence is with Mother Marianne and they “probably have much to rejoice in that meeting of one another.” Sister Patricia said the sisters see Mother Marianne as

a “guide for our own dedication and ministry” and they also know they share her with many in Hawaii “where she is beloved.” She said the nuns view her as “an ordinary person ... who knew what was hers to do and did it.” This past May, Sister Patricia brought a small box holding the reliquary of bone fragments of Mother Marianne’s remains to Hawaii

and stopped at all the islands to allow people to venerate the relics, which are on permanent display in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu. Honolulu’s Bishop Silva said in his statement that the Vatican announcement caused particular joy in Hawaii because of Mother Marianne’s work there but also because her “example of selfless love.”

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Cuban bishops announce Marian jubilee year, confirm papal visit HAVANA (CNS) -- The Cuban bishops announced that 2012 would be a Marian jubilee year and that Pope Benedict XVI would come to Cuba as a “pilgrim of La Caridad,” the popular name for the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the country’s patroness. In a Dec. 8 pastoral letter, they declared a jubilee year from Jan. 7, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013, and said Cubans need the joy of faith, the strength of Christian love, and the light of hope that can come from “a reunion with our Christian roots” and with the “enthusiastic reception of the teachings of Jesus Christ.” The bishops did not an-

nounce dates of the papal visit but said it would be part of national observances of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the small statue of Mary found floating in the Bay of Nipe, which came to be the country’s most revered icon. The Vatican earlier confirmed that a papal trip to Mexico and Cuba for spring 2012 was in the final planning stages. Since August 2010, a replica of the statue of the Virgin of Charity has been traveling around the country for a series of processions, prayer services and Masses. Record crowds have turned out for the religious events in every

part of Cuba, exceeding the expectations of organizers, and meeting with no apparent resistance from the country’s communist government. The tour of the replica, known as La Mambisa, has led to a new springtime of faith in the hearts of the Cuban people, the bishops said. People have been spontaneously attracted to the Virgin “and undergo a peculiar inner harmony with her,” they said, much as children bond with their mothers before words are spoken, through silences, songs, gestures and offerings. This maternal language, “so dear and personal,” has helped people recover values and helped meet the needs

Pope Benedict taps tablet, lights world’s largest Christmas ‘tree’ By Kristin Gobberg Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI tapped a tablet computer and successfully lit the world’s largest electronic Christmas “tree” located in the Italian town of Gubbio. Before turning on the tree with a tap on the Sony S Tablet, the pope addressed the citizens of Gubbio via a video link from his apartment in Vatican City Dec. 7, calling on Christians to serve as a light in the lives of others. In his talk, the pope said that just as the tree design in Gubbio was made up of tiny individual lights, each person needs to bring light to the people and places in their lives, to their family, workplace, neighborhood, town or city. “Every small act of kindness is like a light in this big tree: together with the other lights it can bring light to even the darkest of nights,” the pope said. Located on the face of Mount Ignio, the electronic tree extends more than 2,000 feet and contains more than 900 lights, illuminating the side of the mountain. Since 1981, it has been erected by volunteers from

CNS photo

The statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, patroness of Cuba, is seen during a procession in Madruga, Cuba, Sept. 4. Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the recovery of the statue by fishermen in the Bay of Nipe.

of the sick, those separated from their loved ones, prisoners and their families, young people, elderly and people worried by financial pressures. “The Virgin of Charity is talking to us and offering us the best thing: God’s son Jesus Christ, our only savior,” the bishops said. They encouraged “all who can” to make a pilgrimage during the jubilee year to

the shrine of El Cobre in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba. Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in January 1998, the first trip of a pope to the nation. The visit was considered significant for the opening it signified in the strained relationship of the church and the communist government, which has at times been brutal in its treatment of religious practice.

Vatican official calls for a world day against Christian persecution

Paul Haring CNS

The Vatican Christmas tree is seen illuminated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica Dec. 18. The tree is from the Wallonia region of Belgium.

Gubbio. The Diocese of Gubbio announced Nov. 12 that

Pope Benedict would light the tree this year.

(CNS) -- A top Vatican official called for the establishment of a world day dedicated to raising awareness of religious injustices suffered by Christians. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s top foreign affairs official, addressed members at the 18th meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Dec. 6 in Vilnius, Lithuania. “There may be more than 200 million Christians, of different confessions, who are in difficulty because of legal and cultural structures that lead to their discrimination,” the archbishop said. “The celebration of an international day against persecution and discrimination of Christians might prove to be an important sign that governments are willing to deal with this serious issue,” he said. The Lithuanian OSCE

chairmanship had organized a conference held in Rome in September themed, “Preventing and Responding to Hate Incidents and Crimes against Christians.” In his December speech to the OSCE, the archbishop called that event “successful and hopeful” because it Archbishop Dominique recognized Mamberti the need for Vatican fordialogue beeign minister. tween Christians, other religious groups and nonbelievers. The archbishop praised the Lithuanian OSCE chairmanship for its efforts “to combat intolerance against Christians” by holding the September conference and said another similar gathering is needed in the future.




Christmas is a time for family, use Holy Family as model


y dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to wish you a very joyous Christmas. This is the second Christmas in which I have the honor to serve as your bishop and I cannot think of a better place to serve as bishop than in the diocese named after our Savior. Christmas is a time for family and we should take the Holy Family as our model in our daily lives. Like Jesus, we all begin life in families, which is where we begin to learn about relationships, that is where we learn to be in communion and unity with one another. As families develop in their relationships, the more united they are as a family and the stronger their relationships grow in a mutual receiving and giving. I pray that this Christmas will be one of communion in your families. Many times during these joyous holy days, however, people find themselves isolated and alone. It is in a family’s love that this feeling of isolation is overcome and people no longer feel alienated from one another. They also learn how to relate to others beyond the family. The family is the real core value of learning how to live a life in the image of the Holy Trinity, a life of communion. There is a true mysticism that is part of relationships and especially part of the mystery of suffering. If we are truly disciples of Christ, we must take up our cross every day and follow him. And so, in a way, the differences that we discover in one another are actually a way of discovering the fruitfulness and

Most. Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL, DD Bishop of Corpus Christi

loving, taking the initiative. Many times in families, there are hurts, there are difficulties, and so we wait for the other one to apologize first before we take any action. But true love begins first and takes the first step.

Love concretely

the mystery of the cross in our relationships with one another. When I think of Christ being present in the family, I recognize that Christ actually lives in the family where love is present. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name I am present in their midst.” His presence needs to be discovered more and more as a gift. Following are ways in which families can live so that they merit the gift of Jesus present among them.

Love one another equally There are obviously different expressions of love in a family––the love of husband and wife, the love of parents for their children, the love of children for their parents, the love of siblings. We know we cannot exclude anyone in any of the relationships that exist in the family. We also should not show favoritism––one child over the other, one grandparent, etc. God does not love one person more than another, he loves all of us equally, which is how it should be within a family as well.

Always be the first to love St. Paul speaks of anticipating one another in

Love is a sentiment, but it goes beyond sentimentality. Love is concrete as Christ showed us by giving his life on the cross. And so, our love must be concrete, whether it is a smile, washing the dishes after the meal, taking out the garbage or feeding the pets. There can be many concrete expressions of love in family life. Everything has value when it is done out of love.

See the presence of Jesus in each other With that kind of a dynamic elevated love, I think we begin to see that love is beyond sentimentality, it is truly real. When we see the presence of Jesus in our family member, love becomes something sacred. It also remains mysterious in that we are fulfilling the commandment of Jesus to love one another. Thus we merit the gift of unity that Jesus prayed for the night before he died and we can experience Jesus’ presence among us to help our families become witnesses of God’s love in our world. Again, I want to take the opportunity to extend a Christmas greeting, to all. I pray Christ will live not only in our hearts, but also live among us as the Body of Christ; that families may be shining examples of the presence of Christ in our midst.

Advent growth in the Lord, leap into life with joy Got food?


uke’s Gospel begins with an introduction to the Jewish priest Zachary, and his wife, Elizabeth. Both of them, we are told, were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Luke goes on to tell of an angelic appearance to Zachary with wondrous news about the coming birth of a son to the aging couple and how great this son will be. Zachary asks how he will know this because of the advanced years of the couple. In response, the angel identifies himself as the Angel Gabriel, and then tells Zachary that he will be unable to talk until the birth of the baby because he has not believed the angel’s words. As the angel has foretold, Zachary does become mute and Elizabeth does conceive a child, in view of which, she goes into seclusion as she awaits the longed-for birth of her son. Meanwhile, in Nazareth the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, “a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David” and tells her that she will have a son. Mary also questions how this can happen since she has taken a vow of virginity, but clearly she is asking, not in disbelief, but simply to know because the angel replies that it will happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then he tells Mary that her cousin

Elizabeth has also conceived a child in her old age because nothing is impossible with God. Mary accepts the Good News saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Mary rejoices with the good news about Elizabeth since she knows how Elizabeth and Zachary have longed for a child, and so, as Luke tells us: “During those days, Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste in a town of Judah where she entered the house of Zachary and greeted Elizabeth.” English author Caryll Houselander, in her book “The Reed of God”, reflects on this sentence and sees in it the young Mary’s great love for her aging cousin, Elizabeth. Houselander writes: “Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness… The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child too, and although Mary’s own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth’s need – almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her. “She greeted her cousin Elizabeth and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother’s womb and leapt for joy. “I am come,” Christ said, “that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.” Even before He was born, his presence gave life. Houselander goes on to ask herself how Elizabeth knew what had

Sister Kathleen McDonagh Sisters of the Congregation of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament

Thank a farmworker By Mar Munoz-Visoso USCCB

happened to Mary. She surmises that “She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.” She then goes on to tell us that if Christ is growing in us… if we go with eager wills “in haste” to wherever our circumstances compel us because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life with them. Let us enter into prayerful reflection on some of these points. During the Advent/Christmas season, are we especially aware of the Christ growing within us? Do we go with eager haste to where circumstances call us, believing that Christ wants to be there through my presence? Perhaps we will not be completely aware of the awakening into life in others, but can we go forward without knowing? Can we leave the results of our actions to the Lord as we strive to make Him known in all the circumstances of our lives?


hen we sit down to sumptuous meals we usually thank God for the abundance of the fruits of the earth. As we prepare now for the coming of Jesus—with all the traditional Christmas family celebrations involving delicious food and treats— we are encouraged to be aware of the men, women and children who work in the fields, who make it possible for us to have food on our table. Often, migrant farmworkers and their families, who are directly responsible for putting food on our table, don’t have enough food to nourish themselves. Behind every apple, every tomato, every cucumber, there is a human face. There are the sweat and tears of long, hard hours, poorly compensated labor and very hard living conditions. Twenty-five years ago a group of eight pastoral leaders from different dioceses throughout the U.S. founded the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network (CMFN) for the purpose of accompanying farm workers and responding to their

See FOOD, page 21




Pope, bishops are Church teachers In his last words to the apostles, Jesus gave them a mission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19-20) Thus, the teaching mission of the Church comes from Christ himself. The responsibility for fulfilling that mandate passes on unchanged to the bishops and to all Catholics.

Within each Catholic diocese, the diocesan bishop is its principal teacher. He is assisted by clergy, religious, and lay men and women who serve as educators and catechists in Catholic institutions, including elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, seminaries and parishes. Catechesis is the act of handing on the Word of God intended to inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about

the teachings of Christ transmitted by the Apostles. It also involves the lifelong effort of forming people into witnesses to Christ and opening their hearts to the spiritual transformation given by the Holy Spirit. The teaching authority of the Catholic Church, called the Magisterium, lies with all of the bishops who are led by the pope and guided by the Holy Spirit. The pope and bishops are the authoritative teachers in the Church.

Pilgrimage to India sheds light on shared faith By Delpha Moran Barrera Contributor


ince the arrival of priests from India in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, I have been inspired by their deep faith and it had been my desire to visit their country. I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to India in October. Our small group traveled in a compact van around the country. This means of transportation allowed us to see places not commonly visited by tourists. We began out pilgrimage in the southeast of India at Chennai. The first place we visited was the Mountain of St. Thomas, named for one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ who went to India in A.D. 52 to profess the faith. Thomas died a martyr in A.D. 72 and is buried at Mylapore, Chennai. The Basilica of St. Thomas is built over the apostle’s tomb. However, the finger of the “doubtful” Thomas that is not corrupted is in The Mountain of St. Thomas where we attended our first Mass in India. The people from India prostrate themselves in prayer by the altar, always removing the shoes before entering any church or temple. Driving throughout the country we observed the people and traditions before arriving at Tanjore, a little town placed among the lush rice fields of the Couvery delta, which is why it is called “The Rice Bowl of India.” This is where some of the recipients of the Catholic Relief Services collection live. The donated funds come from throughout the United States in the small boxes distributed during Lent. The Patroness of India Our Lady of Velankanni has a beautiful Basilica where we were privileged to attend Mass. From there, we headed north flying to Delhi, the largest city, attended Mass at the Sacred Heart church. The next day we drove five hours to Agra to see the famous and impressive Taj Mahal. The country was having a three-day national celebration called Diwali, fire lights, decorations, music, parades filled the crowded streets and the trip would not have

Contributed Photo

Delpha Barrera poses for picture with a sister of the Missionaries of Charity in front of Mother House in Calcutta, India.

been complete without a ride on an elephant which three of us did participated in the fun. Finally, we flew from Delhi to Calcutta (Kolkata), our final destination for our visit Mother Teresa’s house. We knocked on the door and a sister invited us in quietly as the sisters were praying the Rosary. We immediately joined them. I got on my knees and as I began praying, while touching the grave of Mother Teresa, and I felt immense joy and was overcome by inexplicable emotion, recalling my presence during her Beatification in Vatican City on Oct. 19, 2003. An African priest celebrated the Mass while the sisters were kneeling or seating on the floor with reverence. During the short homily, the priest reflected on the life and untiring work of Mother Teresa. I felt humble as I followed the sisters for communion feeling blessed to feel Mother Teresa’s presence. Next to her tomb, there is a large crucifix and a sign that reads “I THIRST”; a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, her Patroness; and a suggested box for prayer petitions by the Missionar-

ies with a sister accepting voluntary donations. Visitors receive a booklet on the life of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa’s simple bedroom is upstairs and is open for visitors. Also a museum with pictures of different stages of her life including one of the favorites where she is pictured with Blessed Pope John Paul II and one when she received the Nobel Peace Prize. Her white and blue sari, brown sandals, her dishes with a #1 and a cross in red are displayed. We heard that she had only two saris, one to wear and the other one to be washed, which she wore with a cross-pinned to her left shoulder, just like all the sisters of the order that she founded. People visiting her place would offer to help to do her work in India and she would tell them “go home and find your own Calcutta.” In Corpus Christi, we have the Mother Teresa Shelter to help the homeless. Our priests from India are truly appreciated; they come from very far with different cultures and traditions but they profess our same Catholic faith and come to serve us.

For Your Prayers & Reflections the Liturgical Year B Readings Our 2012 daily readings did not arrive in time to include in this month’s publication. They will resume next month. We apologize for any inconvenience.

FOOD: Often missing from pickers’ table Continued from page 20 needs as they travel following the crops. Today, CMFN ( has expanded its outreach as it responds to the mission of bringing a pastoral presence to rural migrant farm workers, promoting the formation of welcoming communities within the Church and advocating for farm workers’ dignity. CMFN also promotes the formation of leaders within the farmworker communities. On the weekend of Oct. 28, a group of 84 pastoral agents and farm workers met in Sacramento, California to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the CMFN. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chair of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity, noted in his homily the great service to migrant farmworkers and the Church the CMFN does. A trip to a migrant camp in the Diocese of Stockton was one of the highlights of the celebration. Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton spoke words of encouragement and gave his blessings to the migrant camp farmworkers and their families who hosted a festive dinner. Bishop Rutilio del Riego, auxiliary bishop of San Bernardino, California and chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers (PCMRT), and Bishop John Manz, auxiliary bishop of Chicago and episcopal liaison to the Migrant Farm Worker Apostolate, accompanied the CMFN and congratulated them “for the good work accomplished by the organization, for the vision of its founders, for its leadership and for all those who collaborate, promote and support CMFN’s mission.” CMFN has teamed with Creighton University’s Multi-Cultural Affairs Office to promote social justice in rural migrant communities. For the fifth year, students and staff are preparing to visit migrant communities in rural areas in the United States. In the Spring of 2012, the Migrant Journey Service Learning initiative will be coordinated by a local CMFN board member in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Typically students are paired with migrant workers to experience farm labor, serve meals and accompany spiritual outreach teams. The goals of the Migrant Journey initiative are to contemplate and reflect on how we find God in all people and all things and to learn how students can get involved in social justice, human rights and coalition-building with grassroots organizations that serve the poor. Cheers to Creighton’s MultiCultural Affairs Office for taking this initiative and to CMFN on its 25th birthday. As for those of us blessed enough to sit around a full family table at Christmastime, here is a thought: Got food? Remember the farmworker.




Forming consciences for faithful citizenship

A call to political responsibility (Editor’s Note: Beginning with this issue, and in every issue until the November 2012 General Election, we will publish excerpts from the bishops’ exhortation on how to be faithful Catholics in the public square. We cannot, and will not, tell people for whom to vote nor advocate for any political party. What we hope is that the Catholic faithful will become active participants in the political process advocating Church teaching.)


he Catholic Bishops of the United States urge the Catholic faithful to read and embrace “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics. This document, overwhelmingly adopted by the body of bishops in 2007, represents the continuing teaching of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and provides guidance to Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy. The bishops urge Catholic pastors and lay people to continue to use this document to help them form their consciences, to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue and to shape their choices in the coming election in the light of Catholic teaching. The statement lifts up our dual heritage as both faithful Catholics and American citizens. We are members of a community of faith with a long tradition of teaching and action on human life, and dignity, marriage and family, justice and peace, care for creation, and the common good. As Americans, we are also blessed with religious liberty, which safeguards our right to bring our principles and moral convictions into the public arena. These Constitutional freedoms need to be both exercised and protected, as some seek to mute the voices or limit the freedoms of religious believers and religious institutions. Catholics have the same rights and duties as others to participate fully in public life. The Church through its institutions must be free to carry out its mission and contribute to the

common good without being pressured to sacrifice fundamental teachings and moral principles. “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” is widely used to share Catholic teaching on the role of faith and conscience in political life. Although it has at times been misused to present an incomplete or distorted view of the demands of faith in politics, this statement remains a faithful and challenging call to discipleship in the world of politics. It does not offer a voters’ guide, scorecard of issues or direction on how to vote. It applies Catholic moral principles to a range of important issues and warns against misguided appeals to “conscience” to ignore fundamental moral claims, to reduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters, or to justify choices simply to advance partisan, ideological or personal interests. It does not offer a quantitative listing of issues for equal consideration, but outlines and makes important distinctions among moral issues acknowledging that some involve the clear obligation to oppose intrinsic evils, which can never be justified, and that others require action to pursue justice and promote the common good. In short, it calls Catholics to form their consciences in the light of their Catholic faith and to bring our moral principles to the debate and decisions about candidates and issues. The moral and human challenges outlined in the second half of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” remain pressing national issues. In particular, the USCCB is focused on several current and fundamental problems, some involving opposition to intrinsic evils and others raising serious moral questions:

Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick or unwanted; Renewed efforts to force Catholic ministries—in health care, education and social services—to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need; Intensifying efforts to redefine marriage and enact measures which undermine marriage as the permanent, faithful and fruitful union of one man and one woman and a fundamental moral and social institution essential to the common good; An economic crisis which has devastated lives and livelihoods, increasing national and global unemployment, poverty and hunger; increasing deficits and debt and the duty to respond in ways which protect those who are poor and vulnerable as well as future generations; The failure to repair a broken immigration system with comprehensive measures that promote true respect for law, protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants and refugees, recognize their contributions to our nation, keep families together and advance the common good; Wars, terror and violence which raise serious moral questions on the use of force and its human and moral costs in a dangerous world, particularly the absence of justice, security, and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. In this coming election and beyond, the bishops urge leaders and all Catholics to share the message of faithful citizenship and to use this document in forming their own consciences, so we can act together to promote and protect human life and dignity, marriage and family, justice and peace in service to the common good. This kind of political responsibility is a requirement of our faith and our duty as citizens.


Letters to the Editor Consider orthodox Catholic college My husband and I have nine children. The oldest is in college and the second oldest is a senior in high school. We live on my husband’s modest income alone and have a tight budget. Our college student attends a Catholic university and our high school senior is applying to Catholic universities as well. In this season of college applications for students finishing high school, I encourage students and parents to consider applying to orthodox, Catholic institutions of higher learning. The National Catholic Register, on their website under “Resources,” has a helpful guide of 32 Catholic colleges ‘Catholic that have schools ...have made public and of- very generous ficial their financial aid c o m m i t - packages...’ ments to keeping the Catholic faith in their academic and theological courses. I highly recommend this guide. Many Catholics feel that the cost of a private education is prohibitive. It is true that high achievement in high school is helpful, but most people do not realize that Catholic schools, particularly the smaller ones, have very generous financial aid packages compared to public schools. Often student who do not qualify for full scholarships get partial packages that reduce their overall loan amounts to levels equal to borrowing amounts for public schools. Most Catholic schools also have low or non-existent application fees. I encourage all students and parents to try applying to orthodox, Catholic colleges and universities. I think they will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it actually is. Terri Kimmel Robstown

Children are treasures and never possessions


nce I met a woman who had worked for years in fashion and modeling. Unsurprisingly, she was strikingly attractive. She was accompanied by her teenage daughter who, by contrast, was rather unremarkable to look at, maybe even a plain-Jane. After spending time with them, I began to sense that the mother, whose life had largely revolved around her appearance, seemed to look down on her daughter, perhaps unconsciously, because of her average appearance.

Making Sense

out of Bioethics Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

Her daughter seemed aware of this lack of maternal acceptance, and seemed troubled and uncomfortable as she tried to compensate and please her mom in other ways. The girl’s situation was a strong

reminder to me of how important parents today will reject them and it is for every child to experience even yield to the temptation to end unconditional acceptance from their their lives through direct abortion. parents if they are to grow and mature I was recently discussing the in a healthy way. Unconditional love Special Olympics with the father of profoundly and beautifully molds us a boy who has Down syndrome, and as human beings. he remarked that when he takes his A growing number of parents in son to the local chapter, there seem to our society, however, no longer seem be reduced numbers of new children to hold to this key notion of uncondi- participating each year. He wondered tionally accepting their own children. if this could be due to the expanded If parents are told by doctors that targeting of Down syndrome children their children might be born with physical or mental disabilities, many See CHILDREN, page 23



Protecting Catholic religious liberty


t is hard to believe that a nation founded two centuries ago upon principles of religious freedom and tolerance must fight to retain those principles today. Nevertheless, here we are, as a country, confronting those who seek to stifle religious values and practice from public life. For some time, we have witnessed a steady erosion of religious liberty in the face of a growing cultural and political secularism. As a Church, we live our faith through works of education, health care and charity for the poor and disadvantaged. Increasingly, however, we find ourselves having to fend off those who want to impose demands or restrictions that go against our fundamental beliefs. The issue has been pushed so far that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decided last June to make religious liberty one of their top priorities and asked Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to lead a newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Before Thanksgiving, during the U.S. bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Bishop Lori identified for his brother bishops a pattern in our recent culture and lawmaking that dismisses religion as merely a private matter between an individual and his or her God and not a fundamental basis of citizenship and of civil society. “Instead of promoting toleration of differing religious views, some laws, some court decisions, some administrative regulations treat religion not as a contributor to our

through prenatal testing and abortion. Most unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome, in fact, are never allowed to be born. Data from the United Kingdom indicates that between 1989 and 2006 approximately 92 percent of women chose to terminate a pregnancy with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, while in the United States, several published studies suggest the figure may be somewhere between 87 and 98 percent. A great many Down syndrome children, indeed, never see the light of day. In the face of these harsh data, the importance of explicitly repudiating the eugenic mind set that has taken hold in our society cannot be overstated. No child is perfect, but every child is precious. We need to act as a people “set apart” in our attitude to the begetting of children who may be disabled. Historically, Catholics have always stood apart in this way. Practically, this means overturning our culturally-conditioned attitudes towards “imperfect” children, and accepting every child without preconditions. We must push back against the almost ubiquitous pres-

South Texas Catholic Publisher

Capitol Comments Jeff Patterson Texas Catholic Conference

nation’s common morality but rather as a divisive and disruptive force better kept out of public life,” Bishop Lori said. Much of the frustration involves recent policy decisions regarding reproductive services. For example, a new Department of Health and Human Services rule requires employers to include, free of charge, a full range of reproductive procedures—including abortion, artificial contraception and sterilization—as part of their health insurance packages. In the past, federal law and almost all state laws allowed exceptions to religious organizations who could claim that certain areas of health care coverage were not acceptable to the employer’s religious beliefs—particularly exemptions that respected the consciences of Catholic employers regarding artificial contraceptives and abortions. The new regulation narrows the definition of a “religious exemption” to include only religious employers that employ or serve members of their own denomination or who work to advance their own religion. Such exemptions will force every Catholic agency—Catholic churches, hospitals, and schools—to either terminate employee health insurance plans or to violate church teachings in order

to comply. Also involved are federal funds to various national and international humanitarian programs conducted by the Catholic church, including both domestic and international programs of Catholic Relief Services, unless those agencies include a full range of reproductive services to their clients. Just last October federal funding ended for a successful USCCB Migration and Refugee Services program fighting human trafficking, simply because the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit claiming the program did not provide all legally available reproductive procedures (i.e., abortions, artificial contraceptives, etc.) to the victims of human trafficking. Bishop Lori wryly noted that the funding decision was not in response to the ACLU’s concern for religious freedom, but a conscious shift in federal policy that disregards the religious convictions of millions. We should all lend our prayers and efforts to Bishop Lori and his new committee, which includes Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, to defend all aspects of religious liberty and to build bridges of ecumenical and interreligious collaboration across a broad spectrum of denominations across the country. Religious liberty “is not merely a privilege that the government grants us and so may take away at will,” Bishop Lori said. “Instead, religious liberty is inherent in our very humanity, hard-wired into each and every one of us by our Creator.”

CHILDREN: ‘Are gifts and never acquisitions’ Continued from page 22

JANUARY 2012 23

sure that counsels us to ensure that our children are born without defects. Bioethicist Luke Gormally argues, “In part these pressures are the natural temptation to avoid the burdens of care for the handicapped... In part, however, they are the pressures of cultural attitudes, assimilated by many Christians, towards the child. “For many it has become merely quaint to think of each child as a unique gift of God; children are more like planned acquisitions in our culture, acquisitions which should fit into our expectations about how our lives should go, about the ease and enjoyments that should characterize our lifestyle. A child who might threaten our ease may, if he or she is viewed as an acquisition, be thought of as a replaceable acquisition. And indeed genetic counselors will tell parents: you can terminate this pregnancy and try again for a ‘normal child,” Gormally said. A husband and wife are called to give themselves to each other completely and unreservedly, and to accept each other unconditionally in the marital embrace. Every child of theirs, whether entering the world with a handicap or not, is an expression and fruit of themselves and their acceptance of each other.

To reject their own progeny because of a disability is to reject each other on some level. To deny life to their own flesh and blood is also to reject an infinite gift from the Giver of gifts, and to arrogate to themselves a ruthless power over life. Meanwhile, the unconditional acceptance of a child as a gift of God flows from the true and unconditional acceptance of each other as husband and wife, even with all their spousal faults and defects. “Truly unreserved self-giving carries with it a commitment to unreserved acceptance of the fruit of that self-giving. The dignity of the child is only adequately recognized in the acceptance and cherishing of him just as he is,” Gormally said. We do well continually to realign our thinking, so we can come to see how our children, whether “perfect” or not, are treasures and never possessions; they are gifts, and never acquisitions. They are blessings to be safeguarded and nurtured in the embrace of unconditional parental acceptance. Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did postdoctoral 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

Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL DD


Alfredo E. Cárdenas

Theological Consultant

Father Joseph Lopez JCL

Associate Editor

Mary E. Cottingham

Administrative Assistant Adel Rivera

Correspondents Geraldine McGloin, Liz Riggle, Adrian Garcia, Timothy Hatch

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South Texas Catholic - January 2012  

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 2012  

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...