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South Texas Catholic VOL. 47 NO. 2



Ash Wednesday, What’s the big draw? Page A5

Bishop Verdaguer builds churches throughout the Vicariate

Ministry Conference draws over a thousand

Bell ministry helps restore Cathedral clock








See following news stories and more

• Mother Teresa Christmas card fund raiser big success • Chapa installed to Ministry of Lector • CHRISTUS Health launches new medicaid plan




Thousands rally for life in Washington WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Americans “as a people are pro-life” because life and liberty “are intertwined and form the core of our national character,” House Speaker John Boehner told the crowd gathered on the National Mall Jan. 23 for the 39th annual March for Life. “God who gave us life, gave us liberty,” said the Ohio Republican, who is a Catholic. He added that his pro-life stand is not political, “it’s just who I am.” He and the other members of Congress who spoke at the rally said they were proud they had passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Protect Life Act and voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. But now, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a Catholic who is chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, told the rallygoers that they were “an important part of the greatest human rights movement on earth -- the selfless struggle by prayer, fasting and works to defend and protect all weak and vulnerable persons from the violence of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.” More than an hour before the rally kicked off, thousands

John Boehner Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

of pro-life marchers—including a delegation of 30 from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the majority of them high school and college-age youths from across the country, began to fill in the space around the speakers’ platform under overcast skies. The temperature hovered in the high 30s. Intermittent rain forced marchers to put on ponchos and assorted rain gear and pull out their umbrellas. The wet weather left the National Mall a soggy and muddy patch, which marchers slogged through after the rally as they headed to Constitution Avenue, past the Capitol and up to the Supreme Court. “I half expected a lot of people to leave with the weather so bad. It was great to see all of them staying, which shows we are not going away until we change the culture of death,” Celina Garcia, a science teacher of Bishop Garriga Preparatory School in Corpus Christi said. “It was amazing to see so many people; knowing they were all there to speak for the

unborn inspired me,” Garcia said. “I can’t wait to return home and get more involved in this important issue.” Garcia said she will share her experiences with her sixth and eighth grade students, many who plan to attend the Texas Rally for Life on Jan. 28. The rally opened with the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a joint Catholic-Orthodox prayer delivered by Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada and Cardinaldesignate Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Nellie Gray, now 86, kicked off the speeches. She is the founder and president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund, the group that organizes the march. She told the crowd that their consistency in showing up in such great numbers to mark each of the 39 anniversaries since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion “shows we love our country and love our preborn children. We also love the abortionists we’re trying to educate.” She called for Roe to be overturned “without any exception” and urged unity “on the life principles” she and her organization have

espoused since the Supreme Court handed down its abortion decision.

(Alfredo E. Cardenas contributed to this article.)

Alfredo Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Celina Garcia, holding up “Pro-Life Generation” poster, plans to return to Corpus Christi and increase her commitment to pro-life.

Alfredo Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Cardinal designate Timothy Dolan, at left, of New York shared historic opening prayer with Orthodox Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada.

Cardinal links religious liberty fight with abortion struggle By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -Participants at the annual March for Life were urged in advance of the march not to let themselves be compromised in their beliefs as the federal government pursues regulations that Catholic leaders say constitute an attack on conscience and religious liberty. “I beg and pray for the young people present and all youth and young adults not to be compromised in your dedication to the protection of life of each human person, born and unborn,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of GalvestonHouston said. “Keep it before

your eyes and in your hearts immediately. Threats against life and against the consciences of those who say ‘yes’ to life must be met with timely and unwavering action, in our families and institutions, and yes, in the public square.” Cardinal DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made his remarks during his homily at the Jan. 22 opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The cardinal linked the 39year struggle to end abortion on demand with Jan. 20’s an-

nouncement from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that most religious organizations would have to cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge in their employee health plans, rejecting appeals from Catholic groups to widen the exemption. “Never before in our U.S. history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase what violates our beliefs,” Cardinal DiNardo said, adding that the issue is “the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for conscience and religious liberty.”

Alfredo Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Msgr. Michael Heras, in front row, was among the many priests that shared the altar with Daniel Cardinal DiNardo during Mass at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

Alfredo Cardenas South Texas Catholic

Diocese of Corpus Christi worshipers attending the Pro-life Mass at the National Basilica included, from left, Deacon Ron Martinez, Lillian Muniz, Olivia Martinez, Msgr. Michel Heras, Margaret Alarilla, Angela Mincey, Esperanza Martinez, Connie Knolte, Julio Martinez, Connie Knolte, Mary Costley, Ricardo Costley and Magdalena Macillas.

Cardinal DiNardo said Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue when meeting with U.S. bishops from the MidAtlantic. “In light of last Friday’s announcement about health care mandates, it seems that the Holy Father has nailed the issue in advance,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “His calls for courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the church’s participation in public life and debate have targeted the issues we face in our pro-life efforts, to defend those who defend human life and to defend their religious liberty.” Cardinal DiNardo pointed to gains made by pro-lifers, including “a record number of state laws that now restrict abortions. State prosecutors have begun to prosecute lateterm abortionists who deny life and injure and maim women.” The cardinal also reminded the attendees that efforts to protect life must never take on a strident tone towards mothers who abort their children or to the doctors performing abortions. “What the cardinal is saying is that we should never

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo chair of the USCCB’s Pro-life Committee

foreclose the opportunity for conversion,” said Msgr. Michael Heras, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. “Even though this is a dark and evil practice, we cannot and must not treat the abortionists in such a way that we foreclose grace and the possibility of conversion.” The two-hour, 37-minute opening Mass featured a 39-minute entrance procession with four cardinals, 31 other bishops, 300 priests, 75 deacons and 700 priesthood and diaconate candidates and altar servers. Among them were Msgr. Heras; Deacon Stephen Nolte, Director of the Diocese Office of Life, Justice and Human Dignity; Deacon Ron Martinez of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Corpus Christi; and Deacon Rick Costly, from Sacred Heart Parish in Falfurrias. (Alfredo E. Cardenas contributed to this article.)




Annointing ‘A time it was, what a time it was’ sick relieves Bishop Verdaguer built up church in South Texas suffering, saves souls By Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

“Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes, even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to Him.” (CCC, 1501) “From a reading of the Gospels it emerges clearly that Jesus always showed special concern for sick people. He not only sent out his disciples to tend their wounds but also instituted for them a specific sacrament: the Anointing of the Sick,” Pope Bene- Father Frank d i c t X V I Martinez said in his key to suffermessage on ing is to invite the occasion Christ into it. of the 20th World Day of the Sick. World Day of the Sick is celebrated on Feb. 11, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that, “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that He may raise them up and save them.” “The key to suffering is to invite Christ into it,” said Father Frank Martinez, a chaplain at CHRISTUS SpohnShoreline in Corpus Christi. He said that suffering and pain is part of the natural rhythm of life. When we can embrace our suffering by making it our own, we can then invite Jesus into it, in all aspects, and ask God to make it a purposeful suffering. In anointing the sick, the Church commends the See SACRAMENT, page A4

The vicariate is poor, very poor, so much so that in Laredo the best parish, the priest cannot have a regular monthly salary,” wrote Bishop Peter Verdaguer Y Prat to a priest who asked to come into his jurisdiction.

Written a few years after the bishop returned to the United States in 1891, following his episcopal consecration in Spain, the complete letter relates a time of beginnings, of poverty and of the heroism that was needed to embrace both. Because of this heroism, the dry, rocky soil of South Texas, unlike that of the parable, yielded in God’s time a rich harvest. If indeed it was not the poorest diocese in the United States, it was the largest, Bishop Verdaguer told a Los Angeles newspaper. The vicariate covered the vast area between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. Still, the bishop was determined to be close to the people and often made trips into every corner of the diocese; visiting the ranches, more often than not on horseback. The bishop made visitations to the entire Vicariate in 1892, 1896 and in 1907. Pope Leo XIII appointed Verdaguer Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville on July 3, 1890, while he was in route back to California from his native Spain. At the time he was the pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Church in Los Angeles. He returned to Spain to be consecrated in Barcelona on Nov. 9 1890. Bishop Verdaguer was installed in Brownsville, Texas, on May 21, 1891. Like his predecessor, Bishop Verdaguer did not find Brownsville to be suitable as the see for the Vicariate. After visiting Corpus Christi he also found it wanting and made his residence in Laredo, which was one of the more populated cities in his charge. Despite the immense challenge of the large geographic area, the extensive poverty, the unbridled anti-Catholic bigotry and the open prejudice against Mexican Americans—which amounted to the vast majority of the 42,500 Catholics, Bishop Verdaguer set out to build-up the Church in South Texas and to spread the faith. In spite of the area’s poverty, he was able to build churches throughout the Vicariate, thanks to the generous aid from the Propagation of the Faith. He also had the help of a small cadre of priests. When he arrived in Corpus Christi six Spanish students accompanied him; he later ordained them priests. They included Fathers Luis Plana, Ramon Monclus, Emilio Ylla, Fernando Caballero, Benito Donado and Miguel Puig. Some seasoned pastors were already tilling the spiritual fields, including Father Claude Jaillet, P. T. Parisot, A. Berthoin, A. Antoine, Thomas John Flynn, F.J. Goebbels, J. P. Bard and Father A. Denizot. He also

Diocese of Corpus Christi Archives

The original Spohn Hospital was built in 1905 under Bishop Verdaguer. It was one of two major hospitals built during his tenure, the other being Mercy Hospital in Laredo.

secured the help of Claretian priests from Mexico City to help with his Spanish-speaking Catholics along the Rio Grande. In addition to his new priests, Bishop Verdaguer quickly set out to bolster his forces by recruiting other religious communities including the Ursuline Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy who established Mercy Hospital in Laredo and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word who opened Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi. The Sisters of Mercy built a school in Peñitas in 1897, and a later one in Laredo. The sisters went on to become part of the public school faculty in Roma for more than 25 years, and taught in Catholic schools and in Christian doctrine programs in Mission, McAllen,

Diocesan Archives

The charter council of the Knights of Columbus was organized during Bishop Verdaguer’s episcopacy.

Edinburg and Harlingen. Bishop Verdaguer also established parochial schools, including St. Peter’s parochial school in 1899 and the Academy of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Ghost. The new St. Mary’s Academy in Beeville was under the supervision of the Sisters of Divine Providence. The Brothers of Mary Immaculate opened St. Joseph’s College for Boys in Brownsville. These improvements were important, but the bishop did not stop there; he set out to build new churches. In Laredo he built St. Peter’s Church in 1896 for English-speaking Catholics and Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1899 for

Spanish speakers. On Feb. 2, 1908, St. Anthony of Padua Church was dedicated in Raymondville; the Oblates of Mary Immaculate built Our Lady of Mercy in 1909 in Mercedes; and on Oct. 16, 1910, Sacred Heart of Mary Immaculate was dedicated in Harlingen. Our Lady of Mercy in Mercedes oversaw churches in Harlingen, La Feria, Lyford, La Jarita, Raymondville, San Benito, Weslaco, Donna, Alamo and Edcouch as missions and stations. As Bishop Verdaguer traveled through Spain after his Ad Limina visit to Rome in 1905, he was able to find a number of young priests willing to join him and return with him to the Vicariate. Catholics in the Corpus Christi area also saw the creation of new parishes with their own resident priests. Churches were built in Alice, Kingsville, Goliad, Riviera, Rockport, San Benito and Skidmore. Many missions and chapels were opened as well. Although struggling with an illness, Bishop Verdaguer insisted on a confirmation tour throughout the Vicariate and died in route from Santa Maria to Mercedes on Oct. 26, 1911. In spite of the many obstacles Bishop Verdaguer faced, the faith grew under his leadership. At the time of his death, the number of Catholic had nearly doubled to 82,000. The Vicariate counted on many more churches, schools, hospitals, convents, priests and religious. There were 15 parishes with resident pastors, and 60 chapels and stations. Nine parishes had parochial schools with more than 1,200 students. When Bishop Verdaguer arrived from Spain there were 10 priests in the Vicariate; at the time of his death there were 32 priests, including 16 diocesan and 16 religious order priests. After his death, Bishop Verdaguer’s body was taken to Corpus Christi where a requiem high Mass was celebrated for him at St. Patrick’s Church on Sunday, Nov. 1, 1911. He was buried at St. Augustine Cemetery in Laredo. Less than six months later the Vicariate of Brownsville was elevated to the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi on March 23, 1912. Sister Lou Ella Hickman, IWBS and Alfredo E. Cardenas




Johnsons rediscover each other at marriage encounter Rob and Cris Johnson have been married more than 22 years and have two children, 19-year-old Veronica and Paul, who is 14. They attend St John the Baptist Parish in Corpus Christi. The Johnson’s attended a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend in November 2006 in San Juan Bautista, California in order, “To get away alone with my husband for the weekend without the children,� Cris Johnson said. Her husband was seeking to improve their communication. “I thought I knew my husband. I discovered that there was so much that I’d either

forgotten or didn’t know,� Cris Johnson said. Her husband felt the same way and said he found “things out about Cris that I never knew despite being married for almost 20 years.� These new insights helped both of them to strengthen their marriage. “I fell in love with my husband all over again,� she said. Rob, meanwhile, “learned to listen more to Cris and pay attention to her feelings instead of making assumptions based on the past.� They found a renewed appreciation for each other. She admires his “steadfastness, loyalty, commitment and

love of family.� Rob Johnson appreciated his wife’s “level of commitment to everything she goes into.� “Cris gives 110 percent to her career, our kids and me,� he said. He advises other couples thinking of attending marriage encounter weekend to keep an open mind and be ready to learn things about their spouse they never knew. “Just do it! It will change your relationship,� Cris Johnson said. “You will finish with a deeper level of commitment to your spouse and a better understanding of yourself. You will walk away a different person.�

Contributed Photo

Rob and Cris Johnson learned to appreciate each other all over again after Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend.

SACRAMENT: Annointing sick deserves more consideration Continued from page A3 faithful “who are dangerously ill� to God in order that He relieve and save them. Anointing with oil and speaking the words prescribed in the liturgical books is how the sacrament is conferred. Only a priest can validly anoint the sick. “This sacrament deserves greater consideration today both in theological reflection and in pastoral ministry among the sick,� the pope said. “If someone is sick and they know they are going in the hospital they should receive Anointing of the Sick before going in the hospital from their pastor. Our main responsibility is to connect them back with their parish,� Father Martinez said. “Some people take the sacrament for granted by saying, ‘I’m not going to take it until I’m dying,’� Father Martinez said. The sacrament has not been called Last Rites since 1972. It is called Anointing of the Sick, “but not everyone should receive it if they have a cold or the flu,� he said. Normally a person can receive Anointing of the Sick only once, but occasionally, if a person gets better, after having suffered an illness, then gets sick again, they may receive it again, Father Marti-

nez said. Father Martinez became a chaplain two years ago, after serving as pastor to Holy Family Parish for 13 years. He began taking Clinical Pastoral Education classes and after completion of the course, the facilitator of the class asked him to become a chaplain. Patients at any CHISTUS Spohn hospital belong to many different denominations, but because it is a Catholic run hospital, a priest must be on call 24/7. All a family member has to do to have a priest visit his or her loved one is dial an operator and say, “I want a Catholic priest to see my loved one.� Priests in the hospital are assigned a pager, and one of them is always on call. If your loved one is hospitalized in a non-Catholic hospital and you want a priest to administer him or her the sacrament, it is a good idea is to make arrangements with your pastor beforehand or contact the pastor of a parish closest to the hospital and let them know you may need them. According to Canon Law, “all priests to whom the care of souls has been entrusted have the duty and right of administering the anointing of the sick for the faithful entrusted to their pastoral office.� If your pastor is not available, any other priest can administer this sacrament.

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was previously called the “Last Rites.� The word “Rites� is plural because it includes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion, which is called Viaticum when given to a person in danger of death. Sometimes during an extubation, the removal of a tube, the family knows the patient will die within an hour, and that is a time to call for the sacrament. Father Martinez said that many times he will invite the family to bless their loved one with Holy water and express words of release, such as “go with God Dad,� or “I forgive you, please forgive me.� “Then I’ll sing a song in the background to make it a sacred moment. To be able to be a part of that is a privilege,� Father Martinez said. Martinez recalled the case of a 27-year old patient who had a fatal illness and wanted to receive Holy Communion. Father Martinez instructed the patient for two months and was able to give the patient the Eucharist before dying. “Most of the miracles that I have seen are concrete realizations that occur out of a patient’s pain. It’s the enlightenment that occurs with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s the whole idea of the Resurrection,� Father Martinez said.

A special Mass in observance of World Day of the Sick and the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes will be celebrated in the second floor Chapel at CHRISTUS Spohn–Shoreline on Friday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass is at 11 a.m. and weekday Masses are at 11:30 a.m. There is no Mass on Saturday. “To all those who work in the field of health, and to the families who see in their relatives the suffering face of the

Lord Jesus, I renew my thanks and that of the Church,� Pope Benedict said. “I find it an honor and a privilege being able to help someone make it to heaven,� Father Martinez said. If you are interested in becoming a Eucharistic Ministers for CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital (Memorial, Shoreline and South) call Elizabeth Mendoza at (361) 881-3616 for more information.




Diocesan Calendar Pre-Cana Seminar

Pre-Cana is a one day marriage preparation seminar for the engaged. Check-in is 8:45 a.m. followed by the first presentation sharply at 9 a.m. The day concludes at 5 p.m. Mark your calendar for 2012 dates: Feb. 4; March 3; May 5; June 9; Aug. 4; Sept. 8; Oct. 6; Nov. 3; Dec. 8 at Corpus Christi Cathedral St. Joseph’s Hall.

World Day for Consecrated Life

Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey will celebrate a special Mass of the observance World Day for Consecrated Life on Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Corpus Christi Cathedral.

Open House Blessed John Paul II

On Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at John Paul II’s campus on 3036 Saratoga Blvd. All are welcome.

Wedding Anniversary Mass

In conjunction with World Marriage Day, the Office of Family Life invites all couples who are celebrating their Silver (25 years) or Golden (50 years) Wedding Anniversary to an Anniversary Mass with Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey on Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the Corpus Christi Cathedral. This celebration is for couples who have completed or will complete 25 or 50 years of marriage in 2012. Couples celebrating more than 50 years of marriage are also invited to attend. Couples can register online at or by calling (361) 693-6787.

Cathedral Concert Series

Cathedral Concert Series 2011-2012

presents The Romeros, the “Royal Family of Guitar,” On Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. The Royal Family of Guitar will perform at Corpus Christi Cathedral.

IWBS Come and See Event

Will be held at the Convent of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament for single Catholic women ages 17-40 from 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 18. It is an occasion for women to visit, pray and reflect with the IWBS Sisters about a vocation to consecrated life. For more information you may call Sister Anna Marie Espinosa at (361) 774-4910 or go online at and check the vocation tab to register for the event.

Corpus Christi Catholic Engaged Encounter

For couples preparing for marriage in the church who are not yet married civilly or who are married civilly less than two years. The 2012 upcoming weekend dates are: Apr. 21-22, June 16-17, Aug. 18-19, Oct. 20-21 and Dec.1-2, 2012. at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center, 1200 Lantana St., Corpus Christi. Contact Diocese of Corpus Christi Family Life Office at (361) 882-6191 or go to or call Deacon Ron Martinez at (361) 765-1124 or go to for more information.

CALENDAR For more calendar events

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Ashes visible on forehead open up opportunity to evangelize By Alfredo E. Cardenas South Texas Catholic

How is it that the most popular day in the Christian calendar has escaped the hype of Madison Avenue? There is no jolly fat bearded man with whom to take pictures or cute fuzzy rabbits hiding eggs for the children. You will see no Ash Wednesday sales at the mall. But churches will be filled to the rafters. It’s hard to sell death and repentance; “you are dust and to dust you shall return” does not make for a good greeting card slogan. Still, Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, is a powerful draw. More people go to church on Ash Wednesday than go to Sunday Mass. More come to have ashes placed on their foreheads than to receive the Eucharist. So what is the big draw? “We identify as a people in need of repentance, in need of Christ’s help,” Msgr. Micheal Howel said. “We have a better sense of ourselves as sinners rather than saints.” While not a day of obligation, it is a day of fasting and abstinence. Ash Wednesday is observed 40 days before Good Friday. This year that will fall on Feb. 22. Administering ashes is sacramental, but it is not a sacrament; it does not have its origins with Jesus. While the idea of wearing sackcloth and laying on ashes was commonplace with Old Testament Jews, there is no real biblical history for the idea of Ash Wednesday. The connec-

tion between repentance and ashes, however, is quite clear. In the Book of Judith a passage describes the enthusiasm with which the people prayed and did penance: “All the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord.” After their populations dismissed his message, Jesus chastised the towns where he had performed many of the miracles described in the Gospel of Matthew: “Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have long ago repented in sackcloth and ashes.” It would be another 1,000 years before Ash Wednesday would take hold in the Catholic Church. At first, it was considered almost a second baptism for those penitents who had fallen into sin. The making of a cross on the forehead with ashes is reminiscent of the baptismal sign made with water. In the Middle Ages, the emphasis shifted from renewal to repentance. Ash Wednesday came to be seen as a way to avoid punishment for the sufferings of Christ. The Second Vatican Council, however, shifted the emphasis back to one of renewal and conversion. Many still see Ash Wednesday as a time of repentance for Christ’s suffering. It marks the beginning of the impor-

tant penitential season of Lent. It is a time to repent and unite our penance with the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. It is a season of fasting, reflection and penance to prepare us for Jesus Christ’s Resurrection on Easter. The church’s theology, however, calls for people to reflect more on their relationships today. The ashes are made from burning the palms used in the previous Palm Sunday. They are blessed with holy water and ancient prayers. Since Ash Wednesday is a weekday, many people go to school or work with ashes on their forehead. Comments about having dirt on one’s face are quite common. It is a good opportunity to evangelize and to witness the faith. “The best way to teach good things is to do good things,” Msgr. Howell said. The ashes on the forehead are akin to making the sign of the cross before blessing your meal. “It shows we are not afraid to proclaim our faith, this is part of who we are,” Msgr. Howell said.

Photo from Front Page

Adel Rivera South Texas Catholic

Father Angel Montana, JCL, pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Corpus Christi administers the ashes to Abagail Salinas at last year’s Ash Wednesday service, while grandmother Lucy Salinas held her in her arms.




Chapa among 66 seminarians instituted as readers in Rome By John Connaughton Pontifical North American College

ROME - On Sunday, Jan. 15, 66 seminarians of the Pontifical North American College were instituted to the Ministry of Reader during a celebration of the Eucharist. Eric Chapa of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, who is in his first year of theological studies, was among those seminarians instituted. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, of the Military Services, USA, celebrated the Mass and instituted the new readers. Among the concelebrants of the Mass were the American bishops present in Rome for their ad limina visits with His Holiness Benedict XVI, including Donald Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and Cardinal-elect Edwin O’Brien,

Pro-Grandmaster of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and former rector of the Pontifical North American College. Handing the book of Sacred Scriptures to each seminarian, Archbishop Broglio said, “Take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His People.” In his homily, Archbishop Broglio told the new readers that they are to live their lives “possessed by the word.” He said that their institution as readers was not merely a “stepping stone” on the way to priestly ordination, “but rather one more indicator of how we make the presence of Christ resound in a world hungering for Him, but lost in its search amid so many distractions.”

The Ministry of Reader is one of the ministries seminarians receive as they proceed towards diaconal and priestly ordination. As the rite indicates, a reader is charged with proclaiming the Word of God in the liturgical assembly, instructing children and adults in the faith, and preparing them to receive the sacraments worthily. The Pontifical North American College serves as the American house of studies in Rome, where more than 5,000 priests have been formed for service in dioceses across North America and around the world. The college strengthens the bonds between Rome and local Churches worldwide, and it allows its students to study the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage at close range.

Christopher Brashears PNAC PHOTO Semenarian Eric Chapa from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, receives book of the Word from Archbishop Broglio in Rome on Jan. 15.

Contest announced for consecrated life vocation awareness The Diocese of Corpus Christi offices of Consecrated Life, Family Life, Young Adult and Campus Ministry and Youth Ministry are sponsoring a Vocations Awareness Contest for girls and young women in our Diocese of Corpus Christi. Four prizes, total-

ing $1,400, will be awarded to the winners. The deadline for submitting the entries is March 9, and winners will be announced at the Youth Spectacular. Middle school and elementary students must cre-

ate a vocation poster. High school and college students will design a prayer card and compose a prayer for vocations. Questions to consider when working on the project include: “How does a young woman know that God calls

her to be a sister?” and “What would it take to answer God’s call?” College and high school students will compete for a $500 prize each. The winner of the middle school category will get $300 and $100 will be awarded to the first place

entry at the elementary level. Entries will be judged on creativity, content/message, neatness, grammar and spelling. For more information, contact Sister Barbara Netek, IWBS at (361) 688-2654 or

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Vocations office announces essay contest winners at annual ministry conference The Office of Vocations and the Office of Youth Ministry announced the winners of the essay contest in celebration of Vocation Awareness Week at the Centennial Jubilee Ministry Conference on Jan. 14. The winners include Ani Gonzalez, a junior at W.B Ray High School in Corpus Christi; Sarah Evon, a home-schooled 7th grader; and Joseph Michael Mejias, a 5th Grade student at Sinton Elementary. Topics for the essay included, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What is your understanding of the priest today?,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;What does it take to give your whole life to Christ?,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Which priest(s) do you most admire and why?â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Which priest(s) have most influenced you and how?â&#x20AC;? Ani, a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help won $500 for her essay where she said that, â&#x20AC;&#x153;A priest today is a figure of extreme courage. He must be the rock that anchors his community in faith. He

Adel Rivera South Texas Catholic

Winners of the Vocations Essay Contest took home cash prizes and had the opportunity to meet Bishop Mulvey.

must keep tradition alive of the faith in a God whose while embracing the mod- existence our secular world ern world. He denies.â&#x20AC;? Read Winning Essays must work Sarah atdoubly hard to tends Corpus Page A14 prove himself Christi Cathea sincere servant of the Lord, dral and competed against to his parish community and 64 essayists for a $300 first the rest of the world. He must place prize. She wrote about be the strongest defender the three priests she most admired; Father Rudy Vasquez, Father James Farfaglia and Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Each of them is a wonderful priest, and each has influenced me in a different way,â&#x20AC;? she wrote. The elementary category saw 50 entries vying for the $100 prize. Eleven-year-old Joseph Michael wrote about Religious Gift Shop at Father Shaji Varghese as Ss. Cyril & Methodius Church the priest he most admired. In 2009, Father Varghese was brutally attacked and All New Merchandise stabbed by a parishioner and A.C.T.S. almost lost his life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Father Varghese was hospitalized Silver Jewelry for several weeks but he recovered and when he came 3210 S.P.I.D. back to our parish he showed compassion to his attacker 10 - 5 P.M. MON. - FRI. & 8:30 - 2 P.M. SUN. forgave his attacker and showed no ill towards him,â&#x20AC;? Joseph Michael wrote.

Ss. Cyril & Methodius


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A CLOSER LOOK AT OUR MAIN MENU... The About Us button features our mission statement, statistics, a history of the diocese, a history of Corpus Christi Cathedral, and short biographies of past bishops.

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New state laws make immigration reform urgent, advocates say By Marie Mischel Catholic News Service

Deacon Rick Lawrence CNS

Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, currently apostolic administrator of Tyler, Texas, accepts a framed pencil portrait of Bishop Edmond Carmody, Tyler’s bishop from 1992-2000, presented to him by artist Michael Lawrence. Lawrence, 22 , a self-taught East Texas artist, created the pencil drawing working from a digital image.

Texas artist draws portraits of bishops By Jo Anne Flores Embleton Catholic News Service

CANTON, Texas (CNS) -In an age of digital imagery, one young East Texas artist hopes to revive a tradition of hand-drawn portraits of Catholic bishops using pencil and paper. Michael Lawrence, the 22-year-old son of Deacon Richard Lawrence, director of discipleship and stewardship for the Diocese of Tyler, and Nell Lawrence, director of Catholic Charities East Texas, said he’s drawn human faces since he was a preteen. At the invitation of Bishop Alvaro Corrada, he began the ‘Bishops of Tyler’ portrait collection with an image of Bishop Corrada, who is currently apostolic administrator of the East Texas diocese. “The bishop has always had a great love of the arts and a desire to encourage young artists, and he commissioned the works for his private collection,” Deacon Lawrence recalled. The result was a lifelike image of the Puerto Rican native, who was installed Sept. 12 as head of the Diocese of Mayaguez in his homeland; the image was immediately adapted for use in the annual diocesan appeal. Bishop Corrada was Tyler’s bishop from January 2001 until his appointment to Mayaguez. “That piece was reproduced to make 30,000 keep-

sake cards,” the artist recalled. “It was the start of the ‘Three Bishops of Tyler’ collection now on display at the Tyler chancery.” A self-taught artist who briefly attended the University of Texas at Tyler, Lawrence said he developed “my own methods” along the way, creating images primarily in graphite/pencil and some pen and ink. Lawrence said he prefers the “simplicity” of black and white portraits. “I like the simplicity of this tool to draw something so complex as the human face -- you can get such detail with a sharpened pencil that you can’t get with other mediums, like watercolor for example,” he said. “There’s a timelessness that doesn’t come across in color.” His first showing was a collection titled “The Faces of America.” “I did portraits of Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the helmeted head of an astronaut and the head of an American eagle,” he recalled, saying they were then made into 10-by 12-foot panels for use as a backdrop by his high school band’s music competitions throughout the state. A member of St. Therese Church in Canton, Lawrence See CARMODY, page A10

SALT LAKE CITY (CNS) -The repressive immigration law passed last year by the Georgia General Assembly, which The New York Times called “one of the nation’s toughest,” was what brought Frank Mulcahy, executive director of the Georgia Catholic Conference, to Utah in midJanuary. He was one of 230 immigration advocates from 43 states gathered in Salt Lake City for three days of panels, workshops and networking. The Jan. 11-13 conference, “Immigration: A 50-State Issue,” was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. “We want to see it changed,” Mulcahy said. In addition to causing the loss of millions of dollars in agricultural crops that have gone unharvested for lack of workers, the law “created a climate of fear,” he said. “Some parishes where we had heavy Hispanic attendance, we saw big drop-offs.” Paul Long, president and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference, also attended the immigration conference to learn what has been done in other states “and how best we can tackle the issue should adverse immigration legislation be proposed and pushed in the Michigan Legislature,” he told the Intermountain Catholic, Salt Lake City’s diocesan newspaper. Issues addressed in the panels and workshops included an overview of state immigration enforcement laws and covered topics such as how to communicate the Catholic bishops’ message on immigration through the media. The most contentious panel was that with John Sandweg, special counselor to Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Sandweg discussed DHS policies, how those policies are enforced and some changes that DHS has made to that enforcement. “We inherited a broken set

of immigration laws,” Sandweg said at the beginning of his presentation. “I know that might sound cliché, but we all believe that.” Although the system may be broken, DHS is nonetheless charged with enforcing the law; some discretion is allowed on how the law might be enforced, but there is no discretion on whether it is enforced, Sandweg said. Over the past couple of years, DHS has changed its priorities from largescale raids on workplaces to arresting undocumented people who are convicted criminals, those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws, those who are recently arrived and those who are fugitives from immigration courts, Sandweg said. He acknowledged that DHS made mistakes with the way it introduced the ‘secure communities’ initiative, which allows the FBI to send to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fingerprints that it has received from state agencies. ICE can then check the fingerprints against a national immigration database. Sandweg defended secure communities as nothing more than an identification tool, but numerous immigration advocates have decried the potential for abuse of the system, including the possibility of racial profiling. As a result of the complaints that were received about the initiative, DHS formed a task force comprised of members of various law enforcement agencies, attorneys, labor union officials, academics, social service agency personnel and others. The task force’s recommendations, which were submitted in September, are being reviewed, Sandweg said. DHS policy is to focus on undocumented people who have committed felonies, Sandweg said, and each year more of those who are deported fall into this category. “We are making a difference; it is changing,” he said, but added that Congress must enact reform for other chang-

es that Catholic advocates would like to see. Sandweg fielded numerous questions and complaints about his department’s policies and actions. Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB, said that was expected. “DHS is the agency of the federal government that is responsible for a lot of these enforcement actions that are impacting families and communities, and they need to be held accountable to the greatest extent possible as to how they go about that,” Appleby said. “I think they got the message pretty clearly from all the participants that there is a lot of discord in the communities -- a lot of injustices going on that need to be corrected.” The Utah Compact -- an agreement signed by political, civic, business, religious, legal and law enforcement leaders that laid broad guidelines for how the immigration debate should be handled in Utah -- was brought up several times as a model that could be used by other states. The compact’s principles are that there must be a federal solution to the immigration system; that law enforcement should concentrate its efforts on felons, not immigrants whose only crime is being undocumented; that families shouldn’t be separated by the immigration system; that many businesses depend on immigrants; and that the U.S. is an inclusive, welcoming society. “Here in Utah we used the compact as a firewall against harsh immigration enforcement proposals,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City in his keynote address at the conference’s opening dinner. Bishop Wester, who was chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration from 2008-2010 and is now on the board of Catholic Relief Services, added that the Utah Legislature passed three immigration laws, only one of which was enforcement oriented.




Roberts’ history lesson: ‘Ministerial exception’ dates to Magna Carta WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The religious freedom history lesson that Chief Justice John Roberts gives in writing the Supreme Court’s Jan. 11 unanimous ruling affirming a “ministerial exception” to federal employment laws goes back to the Magna Carta, the English law created in 1215. The decision in HosannaTabor v. EEOC held that fired teacher Cheryl Perich could not sue under federal disability discrimination laws,

because the Michigan Lutheran school where she worked considered her a “called” minister. In getting to the ruling, Roberts described the judicial and legislative path to the recognition of a ministerial exception, beginning with one of the three provisions of the Magna Carta that remains on the books today: a grant of freedom to the Church of England: “We have granted to God,

and by this our present charter have confirmed, for us and our heirs forever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole rights and liberties inviolable,” says the Magna Carta. “We have granted also, and given to all the freemen of our realm, for us and our heirs forever, these liberties underwritten, to have and to hold to them and their heirs, of us and our heirs forever.”

Rockford abortion clinic, open since 1973, closes ROCKFORD, Ill. (CNS) -- A Rockford abortion clinic that opened in 1973 has closed its doors for good. The Northern Illinois Women’s Center, which was closed by the state Sept. 30 because of conditions that the state said violated public health and safety standards, announced Jan. 13 that it would not reopen. “Please say a prayer of thanksgiving for all those souls saved by this latest news,” said a note on the website of the Diocese of Rockford, which had no direct role in the clinic closure. The Illinois Department of Public Health had said the clinic could reopen Jan. 4 if its leaders paid a $9,750 fine and agreed to the immediate revocation of its license if further violations were found. Instead the clinic chose the state’s second option -- payment of a $1,000 fine, re-

linquishing of its operating license and closure. Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, called the decision “a great victory for public health and women’s safety” and said the Rockford clinic had been “one of the most infamous in the country.” “The entire state should thank the pro-life community for calling attention to the deplorable conditions at this abortion facility and demanding that authorities step in and enforce the law,” he added. But Scheidler said many other abortion facilities in the state have not been inspected for years. “It’s not enough for officials to step up and enforce the weak laws we already have,” he said. “It’s time for the General Assembly to close the loopholes that keep public

health officials from ensuring other abortuaries aren’t similarly violating the law.” During its nearly 40-year history, the Northern Illinois Women’s Center had been the site of protests by Operation Rescue, the Northern Illinois Coalition for Reproductive Choice and other groups and individuals. In 2000, Father John Earl, then pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Rochelle, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage to property after he drove his Saturn automobile into a closed garage door at the clinic, and then used an ax to open other doors and move about inside the building. The Diocese of Rockford said at the time that “it has never been nor is it the policy or practice of the Roman Catholic Church to condone, approve or promote violence in any form to achieve a desired end.”

CARMODY: Among first to get portrait Continued from page A9 said he considers his talent “a gift from God,” and understands that not everyone possesses the ability of creating art. “My parents raised me in the Catholic Church -- when I think about it, I guess that’s where I first experienced art,” he said. “My parents always encouraged my artistic expression and Bishop Corrada was the first to commission my work -- he really appreciates fine art and I understand he likes to encourage young artists.” Although his desire is to return to a more classic style of artistry, Lawrence does employ current technology to help him get the job done. Using a digital camera, he shoots a series of photos “to get just the right angles, the right shading, the perfect contrast, but more than that, I look for that shot that most expresses the personality of the subject,” he said. “I prefer to use digital images (because)

I’m looking for sharp details -- my drawings are all about the smallest details.” For one Houston family, Lawrence’s creation is a joyful reminder of the brother they lost two decades ago. “It is so realistic,” Ron Herzig said of the detailed portrait of his brother, Bishop Charles Herzig, who was ordained the first bishop of Tyler Feb. 27, 1987, and served until his death of cancer Sept. 7, 1991. “Every little feature is there: The eyebrows, the nose, his cheeks ... I was so amazed at how well it (depicted his brother), that I feel like he’s looking at me all the time,” he said. “Michael did a beautiful job of this, and the rest of the family will be so excited when they see it. We just weren’t expecting this at all.” Lawrence has completed six prelates’ portraits since his first detailed sketch of Bishop Corrada. They include Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of Phoenix.

Lawrence said he hopes to continue making a living with his art, ultimately as “the portrait artist of bishops.” “Up until about 100 years ago, it was a pretty common thing for bishops to have their portraits made, and I’m hoping to bring that custom back as more and more bishops take notice of my work,” he said. “Maybe someday I will have a chance to draw a portrait of the pope.”

Roberts drew a line through the history of colonial America’s efforts to establish -- or to pointedly not establish -- state religions. In colonial Virginia, for instance, the governor had the power to induct ministers presented to him by church vestries. When the first Catholic bishop in the United States, John Carroll of Maryland, asked the government who should be appointed to manage the church’s affairs in the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase,

Secretary of State James Madison was clear, Roberts explained. “The selection of church ‘functionaries’ was an ‘entirely ecclesiastical’ matter left to the church’s own judgment,” Roberts wrote. Madison, he said, explained that the “scrupulous policy of the Constitution in guarding against a political interference with religious affairs” prevented the government from rendering an opinion on the “selection of ecclesiastical individuals.”

Retirement Fund for Religious Collection Collection Taken Dec. 11, 2011 Total from all parishes in the Diocese of Corpus Christi

$69,664.94 Amounts received through Dec. 31, 2011

To view your parish’s contribution go to WWW.DIOCESECC.ORG/DOWNLOADS/?catid=16

Thank you for your contribution





Archbishop Broglio speaks with pope about spiritual care of US military By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a tremendous toll on members of the military and their families, said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, but military service also has strengthened the faith of many Catholics and even been a source of vocations. “We will continue to see the effects of this war -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- on family life for many decades to come,” the archbishop told Catholic News Service Jan. 18. The archbishop, who was making his first “ad limina” visit to the Vatican to report on the status of his archdiocese, met with Pope Benedict XVI Jan. 17 and said the pope asked him very specific questions about pastoral services to members of the military. He said his meeting with the pope was “a very, very significant moment in which the Holy Father really dedicated himself completely to the reality of the Archdiocese for Military Services; he asked specifically about the situation in the war zones (and) he asked how we take care of such a vast area,” said Archbishop Broglio, whose priests and faithful are stationed around the globe. Serving in the military and, especially the experience of “being in a war zone or being on a ship, is a moment that a Catholic asks significant questions and

looks for responses,” he said. If there is access to a Catholic chaplain or well-trained lay leader nearby, “it can be a moment of tremendous growth. In other circumstances, it can be a moment of frustration, particularly if you’re in a small f.o.b. (forward operating base), you might not have much contact with a priest.” For the families as well, “the role of the faith community at the time of deployment is very, very important because families have paid a tremendous price for these wars,” being separated from spouses and parents, having to take on more responsibility at home and then, upon their return, dealing with the struggles they may have readjusting. “Almost anyone who has been deployed comes back certainly afflicted to some degree, to a lesser or a greater degree, by post-traumatic syndrome. If the individual is able to deal with this and reintegrate himself into his family life, then it doesn’t become a disorder, but if it persists,” both the returning military member and his or her family will need counseling and spiritual support, he said. For the past three years, Archbishop Broglio has spent Christmas with the troops in the Middle East. He said he has been struck by how grateful the men and women are to have their archbishop spend the holiday with them. In December, he was in Kuwait, on the supercarrier USS John C.

Stennis, and in Kyrgyzstan, the location of the transfer base for troops going in and out of Afghanistan. Catholics in the military who are involved in chaplaincy activities “certainly become more articulate” Catholics, he said. But the old saying that “there are no atheists in a foxhole,” he said, “has to be modified because there are those who question religious beliefs, even among the military.” In fact, some -- “call them free thinkers, call them agnostics” -- have asked for meeting facilities on military bases and even for chaplains, he said. Archbishop Broglio said he was surprised that Pope Benedict did not ask him about how the archdiocese presents Catholic social teaching, particularly on justice and peace, in the unique context of the military. “I have yet to meet anybody in the military who wants to be at war,” he said. “And I see the enormous toll that the longest war in U.S. history has had on the men and women I am privileged to serve.” In addition, he said, the Catholic chaplains are “able counselors for men and women who have conscientious objections to what they might be asked to do.” During the “ad limina” visits, the bishops meet with all the Vatican congregations and many of the pontifical councils. Some questions that come up in the meetings -- for instance, relations

L’Osservatore Romano CNS

Pope Benedict XVI meets Archbishop Timothy B. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services during his “ad limina” visit with other U.S. bishops to the Vatican Jan. 16. Bishops from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services and from the Virgin Islands were making their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses.

with religious congregations resident in a diocese -- don’t apply directly to the military archdiocese, Archbishop Broglio said. Others, such as vocations promotion and the preparation of seminarians are very relevant, he said, proudly claiming the military archdiocese “provides 10 percent of the vocations in the United States,” since 10 percent of the men ordained priests each year have served time in the U.S. military.

The military archdiocese does not have any of its own priests. Dioceses and religious orders release priests to serve as chaplains for a period of time. However, the military archdiocese does co-sponsor seminarians with other dioceses. Currently, he said, there are 28 cosponsored seminarians who have agreed to go on active military duty after serving three years as a priest in their diocese.

‘Ad limina’ visit is occasion to reaffirm bond with pope

Paul Haring CNS

U.S. bishops on their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican concelebrate Mass Jan. 16 in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. From left are: Auxiliary Bishop Neal Buckon of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services; Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del.; Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of Washington; and Auxiliary Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Washington.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bishops make their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican to report on how well they have cared for their faithful, but also to give thanks to God for their bonds with the pope, the successor of the Apostle Peter, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. Presiding at Mass Jan. 16 at the tomb of St. Peter, the cardinal led his fellow bishops in singing the creed in Latin and thanking God for the gift of apostolic faith that lives through the ministry of the pope. “Our celebration is a visible sign of the communion of faith spread

throughout the whole world and how it is anchored here in Rome, where Peter lives now, bearing the name Benedict XVI,” the cardinal said. The bishops from District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services and from the Virgin Islands began their Jan. 16-21 “ad limina” visits with the Mass. The visits formally are called “ad limina apostolorum,” which means “to the thresholds of the apostles” Peter and Paul, who See SEMINARIANS, page A12




Christian divisions, including on morality, weaken witness, pope says VATICAN CITY (CNS) -Divisions among Christians, including on moral issues, weakens their credibility and their ability to respond to the spiritual yearning of many men and women today, Pope Benedict XVI said. While “there is more that unites us than divides us” on the basic tenets of faith -- belief in Christ, the son of God and savior of humanity -“divisions remain and regard many practical and ethical questions, giving rise to confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to transmit the saving word of Christ,” Pope Benedict said Jan. 18 at his weekly general audience. With about 8,000 pilgrims and visitors gathered in the Vatican audience hall, Pope Benedict spoke about the importance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 18-25. The lack of a united voice and united witness poses a huge obstacle to the new evangelization, “which would be more fruitful if all Christians proclaimed together the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and gave a common response to the spiritual thirst

of our age,” the pope said. During his audience talk, Pope Benedict did not mention specific practical or moral issues dividing Christians today, but he has defined as obstacles to unity practices such as the ordination of women and different approaches to moral issues such as homosexuality. The Second Vatican Council placed the search for Christian unity “at the center of the life and work of the church,” the pope said, and it did so because it was Christ’s desire for his followers and because, practically speaking, it is essential for the full credibility of Christians. “The lack of unity among Christians impedes a more effective proclamation of Christ because it puts our credibility in danger,” the pope said. “How can we give a convincing witness if we are divided?” The key to Christian unity isn’t simply to have members of different denominations be nice to one another and work together occasionally, he said. “It requires that we reinforce our faith in God, the

God of Jesus Christ, who spoke to us and became one of us. It requires entering into a new life in Christ, who is our true and definitive victory. It means opening ourselves to each other, welcoming all the elements of unity that God has preserved for us and gives us constantly. It means feeling the urgency of witnessing to the men and women of our time the living God who has made himself known in Christ,” Pope Benedict said.

L’Osservatore Romano CNS

Pope Benedict XVI greets a child during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 11.

SEMINARIANS: Join bishops for the liturgy Continued from page A11 were martyred in Rome. Bishops are charged with tending “the flock of God” entrusted to their pastoral care, Cardinal Wuerl said, and “we are here, in fact, to render an accounting of that sacred stewardship entrusted to us.” Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the military archdiocese, along with their auxiliary bishops, and Bishop Herbert A. Bevard of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, had their audiences with Pope Benedict a few hours after the Mass. Walking into St. Peter’s Basilica before sunrise, a handful of seminarians joined the bishops for the liturgy. A Washington seminarian, Matthew Fish, a firstyear student at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, read the first reading after having been installed formally as a lector the previous day. He and his fellow seminarians sat behind the bishops facing St. Peter’s tomb for the liturgy. “It was pretty amazing”

to have his first official lector’s assignment be to read at St. Peter’s, the 31-year-old seminarian said. Attending Mass with his bishop, who is at the Vatican to reaffirm his ties with the pope and the universal church, “brings back the fact that the church is a living thing,” and not just a museum or example of amazing architecture, Fish said. Praying in the basilica “with the living successors of the Apostles is a reminder -- as the cardinal said in his homily -- that God is with us, God is with the church and he makes that clear to us by giving us bishops.” “It’s hard being out there in the world. It’s hard living a Christian life. And as human beings, we need the comfort and support of another person, of a living, embodied presence of Christ,” which is what the bishops and pope are, Fish said. “As a seminarian, when bishops come to visit, it’s the best because you get pumped up, you get excited,” he said. “You can’t wait to go back home and minister to the people, listen to them and help them.”


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Jesus continues to call both men and women


ach year during the month of January, the Church brings to our minds the call to vocations. I would like to take a few moments to reflect on what a vocation is. The reality of vocation is at the very heart of the Christian faith and Christian life. We are all called and our life is oriented toward one destiny, which is divine, which is eternal life. It is in that context that all specific vocations within the Church are oriented. The word vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means to call. It can also imply that one is invited. Above all, it implies that one is called into a relationship, a specific relationship with God and in the Christian sense, through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. There are countless accounts and stories throughout both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures of God calling men and women to Himself and to specific vocations. Perhaps the most vivid description is the call Jesus made directly to the rich young man who came to Jesus to ask what he must do to gain eternal life. As Jesus recounted the basic call of all who believe, the young man responded with, “What more must I do?” At that point, the Gospel tells us that Jesus looked at him with love and told him to sell everything, give what you have to the poor and “come follow me.” With that, the young man left

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

saddened because he had many riches. It is still the case that the Lord Jesus continues to call both men and women to specific states in life that are there to assist in bringing all to Him and to eternal life. We know that young men can be called to the priesthood. The church cannot be without her priests. The priests are there in the person of Christ to reach out to those who are lost and to nourish, through the Word and sacraments, those who seek to live their life for Christ. Young women can be called to consecrated life as a religious sister or consecrated layperson as happens in many new spiritualities in the Church today. We are all familiar with the variety of vocations also to marriage and to the single life. Whatever it is, we can be assured that each one of us is called; each one of us is invited into a relationship of love with our heavenly Father, with Christ Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Since I have been in the diocese, I have spoken

at confirmations throughout the diocese as well as in other speaking opportunities of a culture of vocations. Vocations can be nurtured in many ways. First is in the family. The second Vatican council called the family the “domestic church.” It was in the family that Jesus grew up, it was in the family that He recognized the uniqueness of his own humanity and the uniqueness of his call. The Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies the need for families to foster vocations, which are proper to each child in the family. The second place to foster these vocations and create a culture of vocations is in the parish. I would urge you to look around you to notice young women and young men who may seem to be particularly called to serve the Church in a committed life as a religious sister or a priest. Encourage them, speak to them and show them that they are first loved by God and are needed within the Body of Christ. Finally, prayer plays an important role in fostering vocations. Let us not forget that what we cannot do as humans the Lord God can do as our heavenly Father. Let us pray and continue to pray for vocations to the religious life, to the priesthood and to all other forms of committed life within our Church. In this way, we will continue to build up and strengthen the Body of Christ. May God bless you and may our diocese flourish with new vocations.

Consecrated life in Diocese of Corpus Christi


s we begin the celebration of the Centennial of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, we realize that many groups within the diocese have been contributing to the diocesan Church for all of its 100 years of existence. Among these are persons in consecrated life. Who, then, some people may ask, are persons in consecrated life? A dictionary definition of the word “consecrate” is “to make, declare, or set something apart as holy.” In 1996, after a very important Synod in the Church, Pope John Paul II wrote a document entitled Vita Consecrata (Consecrated Life) in which he describes different forms of consecrated life in the Church today. In these forms of life, those involved are primarily engaged in growing in holiness through their prayer life and whatever activities they may be engaged in. Forms of life of which the Holy Father treats in this document are: monastic life, the order of virgins, hermits, institutes completely dedicated to contemplation, apostolic religious life, secular institutes, societies of apostolic life and new or renewed forms of the consecrated life (cf. Vita Consecrata, 6 – 12). With the possible exception of secular institutes and some new forms of consecrated life, many Catholics today would describe the persons engaged in any of the above in a very general way as priests, sisters or brothers and would hold that the point of their lives is the work in which they are engaged. The Holy Father, however, treats the work of the persons involved as

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

the means, the way to achieve, the end of their lifestyle. That end or purpose is growing and helping others to grow in holiness. Those who live in secular institutes also live a dedicated prayer life but some people may not realize this since members of secular institutes usually do not wear a recognizable religious habit or live in a recognizable religious community. Their apostolic life is often lived out in a style that outwardly seems like lay people even as they know and value their religious commitment within the Church. And in the changing demeanor of the Church in our day what is said above of secular institutes is true also of some members of religious institutes who, with the approval of their communities, live a life that outwardly may not seem to involve dress or communal life. Nevertheless, consecrated Life in the world today is recognized by the Church at large as an important reality, and in celebration of this reality, Pope John Paul II named an annual World Day for Consecrated Life, which he attached to the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord on Feb. 2. Feb. 2 is known in the Church as Candlemas Day since it is the day of the blessing of candles -- candles that

symbolize Christ Who is the Light of the World. In turn, persons in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all people. In treating of consecrated life as a way of life in which the effort to achieve holiness is central, the Church is not diminishing her emphasis on the holiness to which lay people also are called. All members of the Church are called to holiness. Those in consecrated life, however, are called to a holy way of life that is obvious to all. Even as they struggle with human deficiencies, persons in consecrated life know that their first call is to be holy and to give witness to their efforts to achieve this end. As it celebrates 100 years of its existence, the Diocese of Corpus Christi can look back at its history and see the contributions made to its growth in holiness by its entire people. In this projected series of articles, we will concentrate on that growth brought about by persons in consecrated life, allowing for change in numbers, contributions made by persons native to the diocese and those called by God from afar to come and minister here. With such a variety of persons involved, we will see emphasis on different aspects of holiness and different methods of growth in holiness. Yet with all, we will see how the will of God has been achieved and continues to be achieved in different ways through the many, many persons in consecrated life who have been and continue to be called to live in holiness in this section of the Vineyard of the Lord, known as the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Question Corner Father Ken Doyle Catholic News Service

Q. The small parish to which I have belonged since my baptism 70-plus years ago used to have three full-time priests. Now it is down to one, and even he is shared. For the past quarter of a century, our pastors have often been elderly men with health problems. Pastoral attention is practically nonexistent, and this is true of most of the Catholic churches within driving distance. I have found, however, a wonderful congregation nearby that is active and caring. They have given much to me, so I would like to join this congregation officially. But it is not Catholic. Is there any problem with belonging to two different denominations at the same time? (The rituals and theology seem very similar.) (Richmond, Va.) A. For a believer in Jesus, it seems to me, it’s important to decide which Christian denomination can trace its descent most clearly from the time of Christ. In my own mind, that is the Catholic Church. The regular celebration of the Eucharist, its recognition as the body and blood of the savior and the sacrament of the forgiveness of sins find their origin, I believe, in the words of Christ and the actions of the earliest believers. That pedigree is also true of the hierarchical See WONDERING CATHOLIC, page A15




Priest today is a figure of extreme courage “

And all men are ready to pass judgment on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human nature.” ~John Chrysostom

Being a cradle Catholic, a daughter of Schoenstatt and a second year Confirmation student, I grew up trusting anyone wearing a Roman collar. The collar represented an almost surreal holiness, as if the priest was a living saint or an angel who just happened to teach our class or eat next to us in the cafeteria. As I grew older and gained a deeper understanding of the Church, the collar became a symbol of great power; not necessarily in the sense that its wearer was powerful, but that it could not merely be given – it had to be gained through extreme dedication and pure love, the spiritual power of the priest who wore it. I was fascinated by this and thought that perhaps one day I could reach this level and serve the Lord in this way. Then I began to read the Catechism. Finding myself regrettably excluded from the collar on the basis of gender and tradition,

I contented myself with learning all I could from the priests, the pillars of our faith. I, as I have already stated, am Catholic; indeed, I am known as “The Catholic One” among my friends, who see me as some sort of human encyclopedia about all things to do with the Church. Because I am Catholic, I was blessed to grow up with love, respect and just the tiniest bit of fear towards the figure of the priest; unfortunately, the rest of the world is not so lucky. One has only to look to the news to see the terrible image being presented of the Catholic priest – and how quickly such horror spreads! The secular world cannot seem to grasp that a few misguided souls do not represent the behaviors of the entire priesthood, and the attacks on the faith directed to me increasingly focus more on priests and their alleged transgressions than any point of Church doctrine or Scripture. The image of the priest today, to the rest of the world, is someone who preaches sanctity but is steeped in sin, and people apply this – crudely, rudely to every single priest in the one holy apostolic Church.

Grateful for the affects the words of priests have had on my life By Sarah Evon 7th Grade, Home Schooled Corpus Christi Cathedral Parish


here are many priests that I admire and it would take more than an essay to mention all of them. However, there are three priests in particular that I would like to focus on: Father Rudy Vasquez, Father James Farfaglia and Bishop William Michael Mulvey. Each of them is a wonderful priest, and each has influenced me in a different way. Father Rudy Vasquez is the pastor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where my parents and I attend daily Mass. I look forward to listening to his homilies each morning. Father Rudy can take a complicated idea in one of the daily readings and make it very easy to understand. He often incorporates information about the Saint of the day in these homilies making them very educational. Father Vasquez is so relaxed and comfortable at the podium each morning that I have learned something else as well. I was never eager to perform or speak in front of a large audience. Hearing Father Rudy do just that every day at daily Mass is very inspiring. Now, when I am in front of a group of people, I think of Father Rudy and this helps me to gather my courage and do my best. Father James Farfaglia is currently the pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. He gives wonderful

homilies, writes books and loves to be with the people of his parish. The one thing about Father James that has influenced me the most is the way he encouraged his parishioners to clean up after themselves in the Family Life Center while he was at St. Helena’s Parish. I have to admit, my bedroom was not in the neatest condition at the time. I thought maybe I could use that same advice for my own room. Now it is a lot easier to get around! That goes to show you that it is worthwhile to pay attention at Mass. Last, but not least, is Corpus Christi’s own Bishop William Michael Mulvey. Early last fall, Bishop Mulvey gave a talk at the Celebration for Life Dinner. Bishop Mulvey said that abortion is wrong. He pointed out that we cannot let anyone pressure us into doing something that displeases God and hurts our souls. Everyone at the dinner was greatly encouraged by the words of our Pro-Life Bishop. I will remember his supportive words the next time I pray the rosary with my family for an end to abortion, participate in the 40 Days for Life or am standing as a Pro-Life witness outside an abortion facility. I am grateful for the affects the words of these priests have had on my life and am looking forward to hearing them speak again. Hopefully I will always have amazing priests such as these to guide me throughout my whole life.

Ani Gonzalez W.B Ray High School- 11th grade OLPH Parish

I would like to bring them to the parish where money is being raised for the Food Bank. I would like to have them see the priest wake up at three in the morning to hear the confession of the dying, and give them their final blessing. I would like to take them to my grandfather’s funeral, so many years ago, and have them watch the monsignor find the exact words to comfort the tiny seven year old who needed so desperately to know that this was not truly the end for her beloved granddaddy. I would like to bring them into my life, to know all the wonderful priests I have known, to see all the incredible works they perform in the name of the Lord, to appreciate them as both “normal people” and the blessed men they are. I would like to show them that they are wrong. Any member of the Catholic clergy

today goes about their vocation as though wading through a firestorm. Where priests were once respected as holy people, they are now derided and reviled as child molesters and pedophiles and all manner of evildoers. While this infuriates me, it has done nothing but strengthen my respect for the priesthood. Anyone who can serve through this awful period in Church history is truly incredible; it takes an incredible amount of effort to keep the faith in times of peace, let alone times of such strife. To be a priest today is quite possibly taking on one of the hardest jobs in the world. A priest today is a figure of extreme courage. He must be the rock that anchors his community in faith. He must keep tradition alive while embracing the modern world. He must work doubly hard to prove himself a sincere servant of the Lord, to his parish community and the rest of the world. He must be the strongest defender of the faith in a God whose existence our secular world denies. Above all he must love. He must love because of the greatest commandment of them all: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Priest, a true disciple of Jesus Work long after retirement due to the lack of priests By Joseph Michael Mejias Sinton Elementary- 5th Grade Our lady of Guadalupe Parish

My understanding of the priesthood today is that it is more demanding than ever before with all the violence, drug abuse, family violence, divorce, couples living together and not married and lack of Mass participation. Priests in general are head of the Catholic Church in their assigned community. A priest is a true disciple of Jesus Christ; they participate in Mass, give out the Holy Orders of the Catholic Church, Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the sick and attempt to save the souls of the people that reach out to them. Priests today are marriage and drug counselors they come out and participate in community events whether it be Catholic or non-Catholic events, assist families with money problems, listen to and anoint the dying. Priests do much more than just give out a homily preaching the word of the Lord during Mass. Priests today are working long after retirement due to the lack of priests in the United States. Giving up your whole life to Christ means to leave your mother, father, brother, sister, extended family and follow Jesus Christ. You must not put anything before Christ be it material or spiritual. Following Jesus or giving your whole life is like carrying the cross. You must not put anything before you that would stand in the way of Jesus Christ. I believe this is the reason priests do not marry and I believe should

not marry. It means to do what God wants you to do and not what you think is best for you. It means to give up worldly things and desires that most people desire for their own satisfaction. It means that one day you could give up your own life for Jesus Christ. It means to be Christ like and do what Christ would do. I admire Father Shaji Varghese the most because he was our parish priest when I first became an altar boy at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church. I feel the Holy Spirit when I am around Father Varghese. In 2009, Father Varghese was brutally attacked and stabbed multiple times by a parishioner and almost lost his life. Father Varghese was hospitalized for several weeks but he recovered and when came back to our parish he showed compassion to his attacker forgave his attacker and showed no ill towards him. This is what Christ did and I believe Father Varghese was doing the same. Father Varghese encourages the children to do their best in whatever it is they want to accomplish. I myself have spoken to Father Varghese about the priesthood I have had a thought or vision about that for some years now. Father Varghese was very informative in explaining everything that I needed to know. He promised to follow Christ and do what Christ wanted him to do and not what he thought was best for him. I admire and look up to Father Varghese for everything he has done and has brought to our parish in concluding I feel in my heart that Father Varghese is Christ like and that’s why I admire Father Varghese the most.




Author challenges us to be a Catholic at work “The Catholic Briefcase: Tools For Integrating Faith and Work,” by Randy Hain. Liguori Publications (Liguori, MO, 2011). 137 pp. $16.99. Reviewed by Michael Esparza The Economic Planning Group, Inc.


s Jesus “with us” always? Are we “with him” always? I start with these questions to make us think about “our” relationship with Jesus Christ or moreover “His” perfect relationship with us. Of course, Jesus is “with us” always but how often do we “bring” him to work? These questions will give you a hint of what Randy Hain has done with his book “The Catholic Briefcase.” Cain has asked the right questions and has given us some help with something that is truly needed; integrating our Catholic faith in the workplace. Often as Catholics, we attend Mass, we pray at night, we try to live out our Catholic faith but for some reason we rarely take our Catholic faith with us to the workplace. This is where “The Catholic Briefcase” comes in. Hain has composed a unique book to assist us in NOT checking our faith at the door. Some may think that taking our faith to work is as simple as taking time out to pray during the day or trying to just be a good person at the office, but there is more to it than that. What we do at work, how we interact with others, our decision-making, our work habits and how we react to unfavorable situations is all part of our “Catholic Briefcase.” Hain has real world experience in the workplace and many times he provides an anecdote or an experience that we can easily relate to. Hain also shares some inspiring interviews with other Catho-

lics who are actively taking their faith to work. Hain starts on a journey of integration with the first chapter and immediately creates an urge to read on. He then talks about how to truly surrender to Jesus. Next is a journey of thought and making time for prayer. Hain goes on to speak about stewardship, leadership and decision-making. He goes over the obstacles to be faced as well the investment needed to keep our lives centered on

Christ and integrating our faith at work. Towards the end of the book, Hain points out another important aspect of work. He reminds us that our job is just a job and not a vocation. The last chapter reminds us to, as Hain says, “start with the end in mind” and then he calls us to action. One unique aspect of Hain’s style with “The Catholic Briefcase” is he ends every chapter with questions, discussion points and reflection opportunities. These sections will help us focus on our own experiences and situations and how to best work to move forward in integrating our faith at work and filling our own “Catholic Briefcase.” This process is beneficial in helping us understand what is needed and how to find the courage to integrate your faith and work. It is evident that Hain is scripturally skilled with his expertly chosen scriptures well tied within each chapter. Hain says, “Consider for a moment what would happen if the millions of Catholics in this country became more integrated and showed more active faith in the workplace, and through acts of selfless love, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Church’s teachings began to positively change their actions and inspire others to do good. We would permanently change the world.” With “The Catholic Briefcase” Hain has created a tool to marry our Catholic faith to our workplace and he is calling us to action. It is a must read for every Catholic. It is an enjoyable, inspiring, thought provoking and a scripturally grounded book filled with great stories, personal experiences and just the right questions. Esparza is Vice President of The Economic Planning Group, Inc., a firm that specializes in insurance, retirement and employee benefits. He is also serves on the Alice city council.

WONDERING CATHOLIC: Should not wander from His church Continued from page A13 church, with the pope as the final arbiter of religious doctrine. (Remember how, in the Acts of the Apostles, the first Christians appealed to Peter to decide whether gentile converts to the new faith needed to follow Jewish rituals and rules?) So to answer your question, I don’t think it’s logical to “belong” to two different religious denominations -particularly when one of them does not include some, or even all, of the elements mentioned above. However, I do understand that you are finding satisfaction in, and drawing benefit from, certain programs offered by your neighboring church, even though it is not Catholic. It may be a program of Bible study, a course on prayer or a food pantry or soup kitchen that has sparked your

interest. I would encourage you to maintain your involvement with those particular programs -- while not actually enrolling as a “member” of that denomination -- but at the same time to continue to worship and receive the sacraments at your local Catholic parish. Q. When I was a student in Catholic school many years ago, we were taught that we needed to fast from food and drink from midnight in order to receive holy Communion in the morning. That has since been shortened to one hour. My wife came in to the Catholic Church about five years ago, and she has asked me why we don’t wait at least an hour after communion before we eat anything. Frankly, I couldn’t think of a good answer. It seems that we get together after Mass with our friends and go somewhere for

breakfast as soon as we can. Is there a rule about this -- or should there be?(Mount Vernon, Ohio) A. As happens with many recent converts, your wife’s question is perceptive and profound since it recognizes the special reverence due to a special gift. There is no rule about fasting after the reception of Communion, although the common advice of spiritual directors would be to wait at least 10 or 15 minutes before eating or drinking. This seems to stem from the church’s belief that Jesus remains present in the Eucharist for as long as the “species” of the host continue to exist (size, color, taste, etc.) while the digestive process begins to take place. Many spiritual writers, though, encourage an even longer period of fasting and prayer following Communion, since that is an ideal time for an intimate exchange with the Lord

and a “preview” of the divine presence in heaven. The Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Aloysius Gonzaga are said to have spent two hours on their knees in prayer after receiving the Eucharist -- although that may seem beyond the reach of average Catholics and could wreak havoc with Sunday Mass schedules! St. Louis de Montfort would remain in church after Mass for half an hour. No worry or engagement could deter him, and he said he would not give up that time of prayer even for an equal time in paradise. As a practical matter, it would seem a worthy and productive habit to stay after Mass at least a few minutes in order to pray in gratitude for this divine nourishment. (Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at and 40 Hopewell St., Albany, N.Y. 12208.)

For Your Prayers & Reflections the Liturgical Year B Readings Feb. 1 | Wed| Weekday| green | 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17/Mk 6:1-6 (325) Feb. 2 | Thu| The Presentation of the Lord| white | feast | Mal 3:1-4/Heb 2:14-18/Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32 (524) Pss Prop Feb. 3 | Fri| Weekday| green/red/white | [Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr; Saint Ansgar, Bishop] | Sir 47:2-11/Mk 6:1429 (327) Feb. 4 | Sat| Weekday| green/white | [BVM] | 1 Kgs 3:4-13/Mk 6:30-34 (328) Feb. 5 | SUN| FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME| green | Jb 7:1-4, 6-7/1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23/Mk 1:29-39 (74) Pss I Feb. 6 | Mon| Saint Paul Miki and Com-

panions, Martyrs| red | memorial | 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13/Mk 6:53-56 (329) Feb. 7 | Tue| Weekday| green | 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30/Mk 7:1-13 (330) Feb. 8 | Wed| Weekday| green/white/ white | [Saint Jerome Emiliani; Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin] | 1 Kgs 10:110/Mk 7:14-23 (331) Feb. 9 | Thu| Weekday| green | 1 Kgs 11:4-13/Mk 7:24-30 (332) Feb. 10 | Fri| Saint Scholastica, Virgin| white | memorial | 1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19/ Mk 7:31-37 (333) Feb. 11 | Sat| Weekday| green/white/ white | [Our Lady of Lourdes; BVM] | 1 Kgs 12:26-32; 13:33-34/Mk 8:1-10 (334) Feb. 12 | SUN| SIXTH SUNDAY IN

ORDINARY TIME| green | Lv 13:1-2, 44-46/1 Cor 10:31—11:1/Mk 1:40-45 (77) Pss II Feb. 13 | Mon| Weekday| green | Jas 1:1-11/Mk 8:11-13 (335) Feb. 14 | Tue| Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop| white | memorial | Jas 1:12-18/Mk 8:14-21 (336) Feb. 15 | Wed| Weekday| green | Jas 1:19-27/Mk 8:22-26 (337) Feb. 16 | Thu| Weekday| green | Jas 2:1-9/Mk 8:27-33 (338) Feb. 17 | Fri| Weekday| green/white | [The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order] | Jas 2:14-24, 26/Mk 8:34—9:1 (339) Feb. 18 | Sat| Weekday| green/white

| [BVM] | Jas 3:1-10 /Mk 9:2-13 (340) Feb. 19 | SUN| SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME| green | Is 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25/2 Cor 1:18-22/Mk 2:1-12 (80) Pss III Feb. 20 | Mon| Weekday| green | Jas 3:13-18/Mk 9:14-29 (341) Feb. 21 | Tue| Weekday| green/white | [Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church] | Jas 4:1-10/Mk 9:30-37 (342) Feb. 22 | Wed| Ash Wednesday| violet | Jl 2:12-18/2 Cor 5:20—6:2/Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 (219) Pss IV Feb. 23 | Thu| Lenten Weekday [after Ash Wednesday]| violet | [Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr] | Dt 30:15-20/

Lk 9:22-25 (220) Feb. 24 | Fri| Lenten Weekday [after Ash Wednesday]| violet | Is 58:1-9a/Mt 9:14-15 (221) Feb. 25 | Sat | Lenten Weekday [after Ash Wednesday] | violet | Is 58:9b-14/ Lk 5:27-32 (222) Feb. 26 | SUN | FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT | violet | Gn 9:8-15/1 Pt 3:18-22/ Mk 1:12-15 (23) Pss I Feb. 27 | Mon | Lenten Weekday | violet Lv 19:1-2, 11-18/Mt 25:31-46 (224) Feb. 28 | Tue | Lenten Weekday | violet Is 55:10-11/Mt 6:7-15 (225) Feb. 29 | Wed | Lenten Weekday | violet Jon 3:1-10/Lk 11:29-32 (226)






Bell ministry helps restore Cathedral clock By Geraldine McGloin Correspondnet

Watching an episode of James Herriott’s “All creatures Great and Small,” 12-year-old Tobias Hendrics was taken with the idea of church bell ringing. Tobias and his father John soon discussed the idea of providing their parish, the Corpus Christi Cathedral, with bell ringing services before Sunday and Holy Day Masses with the Cathedral rector, Msgr. (now Bishop) Daniel E. Flores. “Soon thereafter Parochial Vicar Father Pete (Elizardo) gave us the grand tour—right through the middle of the pipe organ—up into the tower belfry,” the elder Hendrics said. The incident took place in 2006. Tobias is now 17 and a senior at Blessed John Paul II High School; Father Elizardo now serves as the Cathedral Rector. The idea born out of a television program is now the Tower Bell Ringer Ministry, an integral part of the Cathedral Parish. The Cathedral towers include more than bells, and the Tower Bell Ringer team recently partnered with Raymond and Raul Lopez of Electric Motor Rewind to repair the clock in the southern tower, which had stopped telling time several years ago. “We were approached by people from the church with

the frozen clock motor, we gave them an estimate but they didn’t have the money it would take to fix it. So we told them we will do it at no charge,” Raymond Lopez, president of EMR, said. Lopez, though not a member of Cathedral parish, often attends Mass and other services there. The Cathedral Tower clock, manufactured by E. Howard Co. of Boston, was installed in 1946. It has a clock in each of the four faces. The I. T. Verdin Machine Co. of Cincinnati made the seven-foot dials and the gold leafed hands, besides the necessary arms or sleeves that manipulate the hour and minute hands. The president of the company, Robert Verdin was on hand to supervise the assembly of the parts of the clock and the general installation. The Lopez brothers completely remanufactured the iron and copper. The clock is telling time again. “Everything belongs to the Lord, we did it for Him,” Raymond Lopez said. “It isn’t about how much money we can make, it is for the Lord.” The purpose of the church bells is to call the people to prayer and the clock helps them get there in time. Bells that are blessed and used for Liturgical purposes are considered sacramental in the Church.

Philip Wright for South Texas Catholic

The Cathedral Tower Bell Ringers come from a variety of backgrounds to perform this ministry. In the back, from left, they are plumbing company manager Russ Brown, Army attorney Peter Merkl, and Army linguist John Hendrics. In the front, from left, they are attorney from D.A.’s office Doug Norman and Tobias Hendrics high school senior at Blessed John Paul II High school.

It is an ancient and noble thing to respond to the pealing or tolling of the church bells with prayer. John Hendrics and his wife, along with Tobias and daughters Isabel and Theresia, as active member of Cathedral Parish, are committed to helping fellow parishioners uphold this tradition. “Claudia is from Germany where church tower bells peal joyously and vigorously at the moment the Eucharist is consecrated. Being familiar with this ancient custom we therefore, at the very least, wanted to imitate that practice,” John

Hendrics said. “It reminds those both inside and outside of the church that something momentous is taking place, and it also helps give a solemn tribute to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist,” he said. The Cathedral bells are often referred to as the “service bells” to distinguish them from the Dougherty Memorial Carillion. They are actually known as a “ring or peal of bells” as they are hung English Style for change ringing, which refers to the style of ringing. First rung on Christmas

Eve 1881, their 130th anniversary was marked as they rang on Christmas Eve this year. They hung originally in the first diocesan cathedral St. Patrick and can be seen in old photographs of that church. The three bells, manufactured by Meneely & Co., West Troy, New York, are stamped with the following Latin phrases, starting with largest bell to the smallest: Jesu Domine, Miserere Nobis (Lord Jesus, Have Mercy on Us); Sancta Maria, Ora Pro Nobis (Virgin Mary, Pray for Us); Sancte Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis, (St. Joeseph, Pray for Us). Below the inscription each bell it is stamped with: Domina Petra Kennedy Donavit (Donated by Mrs. Petra Kenedy). It was customary to inscribe such information on this type of bell. The smallest “Sancte Joseph would be the treble and the largest Jesu Donmine the tenor. Parish sources indicate they were moved into the north Cathedral bell tower May 8, 1940 in what must have been an engineering feat: the bells weigh 481, 800 and 2,000 pounds and the bell tower is 97 feet high. The bells must still be rung by hand. Ringing church bells occurs in three basic ways: normal (peal) ringing, See BELL RINGERS, page B4

Hope for return of carillon music still persists By Geraldine McGloin Correspondnet

Philip Wright for South Texas Catholic

Raymond and Raul Lopez, brothers and owners of EMR, LP, recently repaired the 65-year old Cathedral tower clock.

Silent and little known in the Cathedral South Bell Tower is a historic musical treasure: The Dougherty Memorial Carillon. Stretching from the ceiling to the floor in a room directly below the tower roof, the carillon was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. James R. Dougherty of Beeville in memory of their eldest son, Lt. James R. Dougherty, Jr., who was killed Oct. 7, 1944 in Germany during World War II. A carillon is a system of harmonically tuned tubular bells played by activating a striker. Including a carillon in the Cathedral was long a dream of Bishop E. B. Ledvina, under whose time the Cathedral was built. In 1939, Bishop Ledvina wrote, “nothing would please me more than to live out my days listening to chimes pealing forth from the tower of the new Cathedral.” It was the Dougherty’s profound grief over the loss of their son that made that the dream a reality. The carillon was dedicated in 1946 on the 25th anniversary of Bishop Ledvina’s consecration as bishop. The Dougherty Carillon consists of

32 bells, and is believed to be one of the finest carillons produced by the J. C. Deagan Co. of Chicago, one of the foremost American manufacturers of chimes, bells and organ equipment. The Carillion is controlled electronically by a console, or played by hand inside. It is capable of playing any number of musical selections, including hymns, such as Gounod’s’ Ave Maria, or patriotic and classical pieces. Through the late 1940s and the 1950s the Cathedral’s 32 bells rang out hymns of adoration to God twice daily. The ringing was familiar to local residents who often complimented Bishop Ledvina on its beauty. In 1977, the Dougherty Carillon was converted to a modern “solid state” system with new strikers and dampers. While Bishop Ledvina realized his dreams of spending his final days listening to chimes, at some point the new system became unreliable. In 1986, a parish newsletter noted that the Cathedral Chimes had been out of order for eight or nine years. Maintenance of the Carillon was virtually nil. Deagan was out of business and no serviceman could be found to repair it.

The same newsletter began a campaign to “save the carillon,” and soon the James R. Dougherty, Jr. Foundation and the Harkins Foundation donated money to restore it. Unfortunately, problems arose again and the chimes fell silent sometime around 2005. The restoration repairs ran into problems due to the environment and corrosive salt air, which destroyed parts of the instrument. Bill Pugh, president of Top Rung Tower chime and Organ Service of Manhattan, Kansas said that this problem can remedied with use of stainless steel to repair iron parts and use of other coatings to replace the last ones used which have failed. “Especially because of the harsh salt environment, the chime equipment must have regular maintenance,” he said. New technology has been very helpful in the restoration of these pieces. Pugh is familiar with the Cathedral Carillon and has worked on it. He comes to Texas to service other Deagan chimes. He feels the problems can be remedied and the chimes can be made to ring once more.




St. Elizabeth Catholic Daughters celebrate fifth anniversary Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court 2584 of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Alice celebrated their five-year anniversary on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. The court gathered in “Unity and Charity” as a court of sisters to worship together in the Rosary and the Eucharistic celebration. The officers of the National Court of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas authorized Court 2584 to “receive members and perform all work of the order” on Dec. 10, 2006. The Catholic Daughters of the Americas is the largest national organization of Catholic women in the world dedicated to strengthen their spiritual life through Christ and His Church. Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Court 2426 and St. Jude Thaddeus Court 1770, along with family and friends, joined Court 2584 for the celebration. Rebecca Schmidt organized CDA Court 2584 with the support of Msgr. Leonard Pivonka, Pastor of St. Elizabeth. Schmidt served as the first regent. Schmidt and Mellie Smithwick, the current regent, joined together to light the Advent candles. Treasurer Anna Pena served as reader and Vice Regent Martha Orem, Secretary Mary Lou Meyer and Financial Secretary Johanna Kalinec presented the Eucharistic gifts. Other dignitaries in attendance included District 23

Those celebrating the five-year anniversary of CDA Court 2584 were, in front row from left, Joe W. Alvarez, Msgr. Leonard Pivonka and Dorothy Villarreal. In middle row are Armantina Garcia, Dora Adame, Irma Esparza, Esther Almaraz, Mary Lou Meyer, Martha Orem, Mellie Smithwick, Johanna Kalinec, Anna

Deputy Dorothy Villarreal; Rachel Munoz, Regent of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Court 2426; and Knights of Columbus District 141 Deputy Joe W. Alvarez from St. Joseph Council 3169. At a luncheon held at the Alice Country Club following the Mass, Alice City Councilman Michael Esparza presented a Proclamation on behalf of city, proclaiming “Sunday, December 11, 2011, as Court Daughters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary #2584, Catholic Daughters of the Americas Day in Alice,

Texas.” Alice Mayor Pro-Tem Dorella Elizondo presented a Proclamation to Schmidt “for her love and inspiration

Pena, Lelia Keliehor and Diana F. Bill. In back row are Diana Gomez, Gloria Adami, Angie Ibanez, Cynthia Flores, Juana Garcia, Sylvia Trejo, Sue Lopez, Monica Garcia, Rebecca Schmidt, Sarah Turk, Sandra Carlisle, Mary L. Gonzales, Edna Herring and Norma Langford.

as a Charter Member and organizer” of Court 2584. Schmidt also received a dozen red roses from her Court sisters.

Msgr. Pivonka awarded Charter members 5-year pins in recognition of their service to the parish and the Catholic Daughters.

Now Hiring: Position of Principal Our Lady of Perpetual Help Academy Our Lady of Perpetual Help Academy is seeking applicants for the position of principal beginning the 2012-13 academic year. The school serves approximately two hundred twenty students in a 2K through Eighth Grade setting. The ideal candidate will demonstrate high expectations and foster teamwork and parental/ community involvement. S/He is a person who is resourceful, able to multi-task, and dedicated to the spiritual and educational formation of the children. The candidate will be expected to work in close communication and collaboration with the pastor and will be supportive of the overall parish mission. QualiÀcations: • Catholic in good standing with an understanding that certiÀcation in Catholic School Leadership is to be obtained • Master’s Degree with 18 credit hours in educational administration and supervision or a valid, appropriate state certiÀcate for a principal; Master’s Degree in Catholic School Leadership is preferred • A minimum of three years of successful teaching experience • A minimum of three to Àve years administrative experience in a Catholic school setting is preferred Special Skills and Abilities: • Strong leadership skills and demonstrated ability at working with multiple constituencies within a parish and school community • Excellent verbal and written communication skills • Exceptional public relations skills • Curriculum development skills • Budgeting and Ànancial management experience • Excellent organizational skills • Technology proÀcient • Experience in engaging the external community for the beneÀt of the school. Interested applicants are to submit a letter of intent, a Diocese of Corpus Christi employment application, and résumé to: Mr. René Gonzalez, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Diocese of Corpus Christi 620 Lipan St. Corpus Christi, TX 78403 The employment application can be downloaded from the Diocese of Corpus Christi website: The deadline to apply for this position is Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Position begins July 1, 2012.




Nine St. Patrick Boy Scouts achieve Eagle Scout rank On Sunday, Jan. 8, nine boy scouts from St. Patrick’s Troop 162 received their Eagle Scout Rank, the highest rank in scouting. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills. In the 63-year history of the Troop, 114 scouts have achieved this rank, one of them being the present pastor, Msgr. Roger Smith in 1965. Except for Daniel Gonzales, who is a senior at Blessed John Paul II High School, the other scouts either are or have been students at Incarnate Word Academy. As part of their qualification for this rank, each scout had to do fund-raising, organize, recruit volunteers to help and complete an approved Eagle Scout

project, benefiting either the church, school or community. Patrick Hickham built four round tables and 24 chairs for the St. Philip the Apostle Parish Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium. Frank McNiff conducted a flag exchange for the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi, raising money for the distribution of more than 250 flags and properly retiring even more old flags. Trey Turner built and painted a picnic table and four planter boxes in which he planted bird and butterfly attractor plants for St. Patrick’s School K3 playground. Steele Schauer constructed a chair dolly and pedestals for the Corpus Christi Art Center and landscaped an area near the main entrance. Joseph McNiff constructed several sets of shelves for St. Pius

St. Patrick Parish

A record nine boy scouts with Troop 162 earned their Eagle badge at St. Patrick Parish. They are, in front row from left, Joseph McNiff, Aaron Alexander, John Franey, Daniel Gonzalez and Sam Schauer. In back are Patrick Hickham, Frank McNiff, Trey Turner and Steele Schauer.

X School. Aaron Alexander constructed a new long jump sandpit with a cover for St. Patrick’s School. John Franey constructed a cabinet storage system for

the St. Patrick CCD and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd programs and repainted the present shelving to match. Daniel Gonzalez constructed benches for the Family Out-

reach Center. Sam Schauer constructed tables and chairs for the Rainbow School at King’s Crossing Church of Christ and planted oak trees in the school’s yard.

Most Precious Blood announces faith enrichment studies “Where is Jesus leading you?” is the theme for upcoming faith enriching studies at Most Precious Blood Parish. The programs are part of the parish’s Lent observance. The first program, entitled “Bathe 7 Times,” is a contem-

plative look at the seven capital sins. Sessions will be held Tuesday mornings beginning March 6. An 8:30 a.m. Mass will be followed by teaching at 9:15 a.m. in the Thompson Center, Room C1. The second program is entitled “On the Mystery of

Men and Women” and will be held Tuesday evenings in March and April also beginning March 6. The program is for those who desire to enrich and understand their relationships. Blessed Pope John Paul II’s book “Love and Respon-

sibility” will be used in the program. Books will be available for purchase for $10. This program is being sponsored jointly by WOW (Women of the Word) and MOFIA (Men of Faith in Action). A 6 p.m. Mass will start the program, followed by

teaching at 6:45 p.m. in the Great Hall in the Thompson Center. For more information contact Matthew Moore by email at matthewmoorecc@ or Susan Groves at or call (361) 548-8621.




St. Joseph in Alice hosts golf tourney BELL RINGERS: Do more than ring Cathedral bells

St. Joseph School in Alice is hosting its 3rd Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 3. Tee time is at 8:30 a.m. for the scramble format tournament. The $50 registration fee includes green fee, cart, registration pack and lunch. All proceeds benefit the school. Registration is at 7:30

a.m. and awards will be given during lunch. There are several sponsorship levels, including a $750 School Grand Sponsor for one team and sponsor name advertisement at golf tourney site; a $500 School Sponsor that includes the sponsor’s name advertisement at golf tourney site; the $100 Hole Sponsor which entitles

sponsor the placement of placard with company name or logo placed at each hole sponsored; and the $35 cart sponsor ($120 for four carts) which includes a placard on cart. For more information, call the St. Joseph Parish office at (361) 664-7551 or email

Faith Journeys Presents:

Continued from page B1 chiming and tolling. Normal ringing refers to the ringing of a bell or bells at a rate of about one ring per second or more, often in pairs reflecting the traditional “dingdong” sound of a bell, which is rotated back and forth, ringing once in each direction. “Chiming” a bell refers to a single ring, used to mark the naming of a person when they are baptized, confirmed or at other times. Tolling the bell is when the bell is rung once every four to eight seconds to announce a person’s death. “Early on we secured walkie-talkies to communicate with the ringer up in the belfry and the ropes for the three bells,” John Hendrics said, in explaining the bell ringers’ work experiences. This “two man” system even-

tually gave way to a small hidden security camera, and multiple pulleys to guide the ropes. With the security camera, one person can manage the duty, though for particularly joyous pealing—Christmas and Easter Vigil especially— it is always best to have two people ringing, John Hendrics said. The Tower Bell Ringer team has grown over the past five years and now consists of father and son John and Tobias Hendrics, Russell Brown, Peter Merkle and Doug Norman. Isabel and Theresia Hendrics often serve as alternates. They would like to expand further into helping other churches in the diocese revive their silent bell towers and be commissioned to ring the bells at weddings to help finance further maintenance.

Parish Calendar “All You Can Eat” Valentine Waffle Breakfast

Diocese of Corpus Christi

Saint Theresa Church Altar Society will host an “All You Can Eat” Valentine Waffle Breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 8 a.m.-noon at the parish hall, 1302 Lantana Street, Corpus Christi. Tickets are $7.

‘A Covenant of Love with Mary’

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish will hold monthly classes entitled “A Covenant of Love with Mary” in the parish hall. There will be Mass beginning at 6:15 p.m., followed by a video and talk at 6:45 p.m. and a light dinner and celebration. The next class is on Monday, Feb.13.

Valentine’s Dinner Dance

Enjoy a special evening of dinner and dancing on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Schoenstatt Movement Center on 4343 Gaines Street. Music by: Roy Tipton Combo. $35 per couple. For more information call 992-9841 or 568-1509.

to the

50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland

June 11 - 21, 2012 With Pilgrimage Host: The Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL, DD Bishop of Corpus Christi

Rockport Annual Lenten Fish

Dinner beginning Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 and every Friday through Friday March 30 from 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on 213 South Church Street in Rockport.

Mardi Gras Dance

Our Lady of Guadalupe-Alice Knights of Columbus & Catholic Daughters are hosting a Mardi-Gras Dance on Friday, Feb. 17 from 8 p.m.-12 a.m. at the K.C. Hall in Alice, Texas. Music with Jerry & The RUF-NEX & DJ Mike. Tickets are $25 person or $300 Tables. Contact OLG Church Office at 664-2951.

Ethnic Festival

St. Paul the Apostle Parish, 2233 Waldron Road in Flour Bluff, will hold an Ethnic Festival on Feb. 18 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., in the parish hall. Highlights are the World Cuisine (American, Italian, Filipino, Polish, Irish, Mexican, Korean, Cajun,

and Puerto Rican); raffle; silent and live auctions; big car display; arts and crafts, country store, children’s games and entertainment. Admission is free. Take-outs available. A special Mass participated by the ethnic groups in their respective costumes will be held at 11 a.m., Sunday. Call (361) 937-3864 or (361) 353-4233 for more information.

Fish Fry in Orange Grove

St. John of the Cross in Orange Grove will sponsor its annual “First Friday Fish Fry” on Friday, Feb. 25 at the Catholic Center, next to the church at 200 S. Metz St. Tickets will be sold at the door. For presale tickets call (361) 668-3182 or the church office at (361) 384-2795. Plates may be taken home or enjoyed in the hall. Serving begins at 5-7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Spring Festival at Holy Family

Holy Family Parish Spring Festival will be on March 4 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at 2509 Nogales in Corpus Christi. There will be live music, food booths, and giant Inflatable games for the kids, and a drawing for a 2012 Nissan King Cab Truck. Festival Times are 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Lenten Mission in Alice

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Alice announces that Father Wade Menezes, CPF, of the Fathers of Mercy and frequent celebrant and speaker on EWTN will be offering a five-night Lenten Mission from March 11-15. The Lenten Mission entitled “Sin, Conversion and the Call to Holiness: A Message of Divine Mercy,” will include special conferences each evening at 7 p.m. preceded and followed by Confessions. St. Elizabeth church is located at 603 E. Fifth Street.


For more calendar events

Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection Collection Taken Nov. 20, 2011 Total from all parishes in the Diocese of Corpus Christi

$24,369.18 Amounts received through Dec. 31, 2011

For more information: 877.7FAITHJ • 480.894.8407 • 361.882.6191 fax: 480.894.5137 •

To view your parish’s contribution go to WWW.DIOCESECC.ORG/DOWNLOADS/?catid=16

Thank you for your contribution




Sacerdotes españoles vinieron con Verdaguer Figuraban entre los primeros misioneros a la nueva diócesis

El Vicariato es pobre, muy pobre, tanto que en Laredo la mejor parroquia, el sacerdote no puede tener un salario mensual regular”, escribió el Obispo Pedro Verdaguer Y Prat a un sacerdote que pidió venir a su jurisdicción. Escrito pocos años después que el obispo regresó a los Estados Unidos en 1891, después de su consagración episcopal en España. La carta completa se relaciona un tiempo de los comienzos, de la pobreza y el heroísmo que se necesita para abarcar tanto. Debido a esto el heroísmo, el suelo seco y rocoso del sur de Texas, a diferencia de la parábola, dado el tiempo de Dios es una rica cosecha. Si es que no era el más pobre diócesis en los Estados Unidos, era el mas grande, el obispo Verdaguer dijo a un periódico de Los Ángeles. El vicariato cubría la vasta zona entre los ríos Nueces y Río Grande. Sin embargo, el obispo se deseaba estar cerca de la gente y frecuentemente hacia viajes a todos los rincones de la diócesis, visitando los ranchos, más de las veces a caballo. El obispo hizo visitas a la Vicaría completa en 1892, 1896 y en 1907. El Papa León XIII nombró Verdaguer Vicario Apostólico de Brownsville el 3 de julio de 1890, mientras estaba en la ruta de regreso a California desde su natal España. En ese momento él era el párroco de Nuestra Señora de la Iglesia Angelinos de Los Angeles. Regresó a España para ser consagrado en Barcelona el 9 de noviembre de 1890. Obispo Verdaguer se instaló en Brownsville,Texas,el21demayode1891. Al igual que su predecesor, Obispo Verdaguer no encontró Brownsville para ser adecuado como sede de la Vicaría. Después de visitar Corpus Christi también lo encontró con faltas e hizo su residencia en Laredo, que era

Diocese of Corpus Christi Archives

El primer retiro de los sacerdotes de la Vicaría de Brownsville, que más tarde se convirtió en la Diócesis de Corpus Christi, se celebró en la casa del Obispo el 21 de noviembre de 1904. En el grupo de sacerdotes se incluyen varios que comenzaron muchas de las misiones y parroquias que existen en la actualidad. Sentado en la primera fila son el Padre FJ Goebbels, el padre Michael Puig, el padre JB Donada, y el Padre Luis E. Plana. Sentado en la fila del medio es el padre Bretault, obispo Verdaguer, y el Padre JP Bard. De pie en la fila de atrás es el padre Juan Coma, el Padre Denizot, el Padre Thomas Coma, el Padre E. Ylla, y el Padre Julian Pratt.

una de las ciudades más pobladas en ordenó sacerdotes. Entre ellos, padres Luis Plana, Ramón Monclús, Emilio su cargo. A pesar del inmenso desafío de la Ylla, Fernando Caballero, Benito Dozona de una gran geográfica, la pobre- nado y Miguel Puig. Algunos pastores probados ya estaza generalizada, el fanatismo desenfrenado anti-católico y el prejuicio abierto ban labrando los campos espirituales, contra los estadounidenses-mexica- entre ellos el Padre Claude Jaillet, PT Parisot, A. Antoine, nos, que ascendió a John Thomas Flynn, la gran mayoría de Obispo los católicos 42.500, FJ Goebbels, JP Bard Verdaguer el obispo Verdaguer y el A. Denizot. aumento se dispuso a la acuTambién se aseguró La fe católica en mulación de la Iglela ayuda de los sacerel sur de Texas. sia en el sur de Texas dotes claretianos de la y de propagar la fe. Ciudad de México para A pesar de la poayudar con los católicos breza de la zona, el obispo fue ca- de lengua español a lo largo del Río paz de construir iglesias en todo Grande. el Vicariato, gracias a la generosa Además de sus nuevos sacerdotes, ayuda de la Propagación de la Fe. el obispo Verdaguer rápidamente se También tuvo la ayuda de un pequeño puso a reforzar sus fuerzas mediante grupo de sacerdotes. Cuando llegó a la contratación de otras comunidades Corpus Christi seis estudiantes espa- religiosas como las Hermanas Ursuliñoles lo acompañaron, que después los nas, las Hermanas de la Misericordia, que establecieron el Mercy Hospital de Laredo y de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado, que abrieron Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi. Las Hermanas de la Misericordia construyeron una escuela en Peñitas en 1897, y después una en Laredo. Las hermanas se convirtieron como parte de la facultad de la escuela pública en Roma por más de 25 años, y enseñaban en las escuelas católicas y en los programas de la doctrina cristiana en la misiones de McAllen, Edinburg y Harlingen. Obispo Verdaguer también estableció escuelas parroquiales, incluyendo la escuela parroquial de San Pedro en 1899 y la Academia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, que fue atendido por las Hermanas del Espíritu Santo. La nueva Academia de Santa María en Beeville estaba bajo Diocese of Corpus Christi Archives la supervisión de las Hermanas de la La primera residencia del obispo Verdaguer en Corpus Christi estaba ubicada en el Divina Providencia. norte de S. Tancahua junto a la residencia del padre Claude Jaillett. El edificio pequeño Los Hermanos de María Inmacutenía una escalera en el exterior para acceder a la habitación superior.

lada abrieron el Colegio San José de Varones en Brownsville. Estas mejoras son importantes, pero el obispo no se detuvo allí, se dedicó a construir nuevas iglesias. En Laredo se construyó la iglesia de San Pedro en 1896 para los católicos de habla Inglés y Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en 1899 para hablantes de español. El 2 de febrero de 1908, San Antonio de Padua fue dedicada en Raymondville, los Oblatos de María Inmaculada construyeron Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia en 1909 en Mercedes, y el 16 de octubre de 1910, del Sagrado Corazón de María Inmaculada, fue dedicada en Harlingen. Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia en Mercedes supervisó las iglesias en Harlingen, La Feria, Lyford, La Jarita, Raymondville, San Benito, Weslaco, Donna, Alamo y Edcouch como misiones y estaciones. Obispo Verdaguer viajó por España después de su visita ad limina a Roma en 1905, y fue capaz de encontrar un número de sacerdotes jóvenes dispuestos a reunirse con él y regresar con él a la Vicaría. Los católicos en el área de Corpus Christi también vieron la creación de nuevas parroquias con sus propios sacerdotes residentes. Iglesias fueron construidas en Alice, Kingsville, Goliad, Riviera, Rockport, San Benito y Skidmore. Muchas misiones y capillas también se abrieron. A pesar de luchar con una enfermedad, el obispo Verdaguer insistió en una gira de confirmación a través de la Vicaría y murió en la ruta de Santa María a Mercedes el 26 de octubre de 1911. A pesar de los muchos obstáculos que enfrenta el obispo Verdaguer, la fe creció bajo su liderazgo. En el momento de su muerte, el número de católicos se había casi duplicado a 82.000. El Vicariato cruentaba con muchas más iglesias, escuelas, hospitales, conventos, sacerdotes y religiosos. Había 15 parroquias con los pastores residentes, y 60 capillas y las estaciones. Nueve parroquias tenían escuelas parroquiales con más de 1.200 estudiantes. Cuando el obispo Verdaguer llegó de España había 10 sacerdotes en la Vicaría, en el momento de su muerte había 32 sacerdotes, entre ellos 16 sacerdotes diocesanos y 16 de ordenes religiosas. Después de su muerte, el cuerpo de Obispo Verdaguer fue llevado a Corpus Christi donde se celebro una misa de réquiem para él en la iglesia de San Patricio, en Domingo, 01 de noviembre 1911. Fue enterrado en el cementerio de San Agustín de Laredo. Menos de seis meses después de su muerte, la Vicaría de Brownsville fue elevado a la diócesis católica de Corpus Christi el 23 de marzo de 1912. Sister Lou Ellas Hickman, IWBS y Alfredo E. Cardenas




LatinoamĂŠrica y la evangelizaciĂłn del continente digital Por Mar MuĂąoz-Visoso Conferencia de Obispos CatĂłlicos de Estados Unidos

Recientemente participĂŠ en el II Congreso RIIAL (Red InformĂĄtica de la Iglesia en AmĂŠrica Latina) cuyo tema era â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iglesia y Cultura Digitalâ&#x20AC;?. El congreso tuvo lugar en la Universidad CatĂłlica de Chile, en Santiago, bajo el patrocinio de la Conferencia Episcopal Chilena, y fue organizado por el Pontificio Consejo para las Comunicaciones Sociales(PCCS) y el Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM). Se trataron muchos temas interesantes, incluyendo un anĂĄlisis de esa nueva realidad conocida como el â&#x20AC;&#x153;Continente Digitalâ&#x20AC;?, los nuevos paradigmas comunicativos, la presencia de la Iglesia

en esta nueva realidad y su uso de las tecnologĂ­as actuales para la Nueva EvangelizaciĂłn. Asimismo se examinĂł el impacto que ĂŠstas estĂĄn teniendo en seminarios y escuelas, el acceso de los pobres a la tecnologĂ­a y a la informaciĂłn, la â&#x20AC;&#x153;info-ĂŠticaâ&#x20AC;?, el papel de las universidades, y otros muchos temas. Entre los participantes se encontraba el presidente del Consejo Pontificio, el Arzobispo Claudio MarĂ­a Celli, varios obispos latinoamericanos y personal responsable del ĂĄrea de comunicaciĂłn en sus respectivas conferencias, directores diocesanos de comunicaciones, representantes de diversos portales electrĂłnicos catĂłlicos, miembros de Ăłrdenes religiosas, acadĂŠmicos, clero y otros

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versidad, pues los reducidos mensajes de 140 caracteres fueron realmente captados y â&#x20AC;&#x153;tuiteadosâ&#x20AC;? en directo. Las conferencias pusieron de relieve el excelente trabajo de reseĂąa acadĂŠmica que existe en toda LatinoamĂŠrica. TambiĂŠn se presentaron los resultados parciales de un â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mapa de Conectividadâ&#x20AC;? en AmĂŠrica Latina. Aunque existen grandes disparidades en cuanto al acceso y los costos, varios de los estudios mostraron algunas tendencias comunes: por ejemplo, cada vez mĂĄs jĂłvenes tienen acceso a un telĂŠfono mĂłvil y usan mensajes de texto con regularidad. Entre los jĂłvenes adultos universitarios, un elevado porcentaje, en algunos paĂ­ses hasta el 70 por ciento, posee un telĂŠfono mĂłvil, y de estos aproximadamente un 40 por ciento tiene acceso a Internet desde su celular. Mons. Celli, tambiĂŠn tuvo una presencia muy activa. El responsable del Consejo para

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Catholic education and the “new economy” By Nickie Stillman Contributor

Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

Helen Osman, with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Social Media revolution presents opportunities for “missionaries” to evangelize in the “digital continent.”

Ministry confab attracts faithful

Across the nation, the cost of education remains as one of the top financial concerns for families who are still facing a sluggish economy and a rising cost of living. While the effects of the current economic slowdown may not be felt as acutely in the Coastal Bend as in other parts of the nation local families are having to make tough decisions when prioritizing their budgets. In response to the current economic realities, Catholic schools are also seeking ways to carry forward in the new economy. Recently the Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) board of directors approved a $1,900 reduction of tuition for pre-school elementary programs and nominal increases for their other programs campus wide for the 2012-2013 school year. “We understand and appreciate the sacrifices parents make in order to provide their children with an IWA education,” Incarnate Word Academy President Charles D. Imbergamo said. “We share their commitment to providing the very best education

Nickie Stillman Incarnate Word Academy

Seventh grade student Claire Walsh studies after school at the Incarnate Word Academy Library as the second semester continues at area Catholic schools.

possible, while remaining fiscally vigilant and responsible. Our tuition schedule for next year reflects important progress that we’ve made in the past year in moving toward a more value-based tuition model.” Lisa Matl and her husband Peter have six of their seven children enrolled at IWA—number seven is still in diapers. “We have always been

committed to Catholic education for our children,” Lisa Matl said. “Though we both went through public school, we knew we wanted something different for our kids. There is no question that the financial sacrifices of sending a child to Catholic school are tremendous. “Why do we choose private Catholic education? An obvious benefit is the rigorous academic environment. It all

boils down to what we want for our children; what our goals are for them. It is actually very simple,” she said. “Our number one goal at the end of the day is not to get our children into Harvard. It is to get them in to heaven.” IWA’s primary goal, along with other area Catholic schools, remains to provide students with an environment that fosters faith formation as well as academic excellence in a safe and caring atmosphere. “By preparing students for higher education as well as to be life-long learners and contributing members of the global community our families will continue to see the value in their investment,” Imbergamo said. Catholic schools have lived through the ebb and flow of economic and cultural conditions by, not only sensible stewardship, but also through the generosity of the Catholic community. For IWA—as for most Catholic schools—tuition and fees do not cover the total per pupil operational expenses. The remaining tuition gap must be acquired through non-tuition revenue from philanthropic sources.

By Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

More than 1,000 catechists, Catholic School teachers, Directors of Religious Education and volunteers from a number of parishes attended the Centennial Jubilee Ministry Conference held at the American Bank Center on Jan. 14. “It was successful as far as enhancing faith formation for attendees and providing resources through exhibits,” Margaret Alarilla, Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Corpus Christi said. “Three-hundred attendees were from schools, but the rest of the 700+ were from parishes. There were also 38 exhibitors, many who were directly linked with ministry work,” Jaime Reyna, co-coordinator of the Ministry Conference and Diocesan Youth Minister, said. Reyna said that he was “blown away” by the winners of the diocesan wide Vocation Essay contest. The vocation essays were read to the audience after the lunch break and Reyna said they “re-energized everyone in the conference about their faith and how the youth view the Church and the See CONFERENCE, page B8

IWA Angel Gerry Thomson: It’s a family affair By Nickie Stillman Contributor

Angels on the Incarnate Word Academy campus come in all shapes and sizes and from all backgrounds, but there is one Angel whose longevity is second only to the Incarnate Word Sisters. IWA Treasurer Gerry Thomson, referred to by most as Mrs. T, retired at the end of 2011 after more than 41 years of service at IWA. This long-standing Angel is known for her meticulous bookkeeping, devotion to the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament Sisters, her love of Bunco and her grandchildren. Hers is a story of legacy—both of family and of faith. The legacy began with Thomson’s mother, Catherine Kelly Grant, who graduated from IWA in 1932. Each of the Kelly girls followed their mother’s example as IWA graduates—Gerry in 1952, Elizabeth in 1958 and Margaret Mary in 1962. IWA was an all-girls school during this time, therefore the Kelly brothers, Leroy and Larry, attended Corpus Christi College Academy and graduated in 1953 and 1965, respectively. “From the very begin-

Lori Cruz Incarnate Word Academy

Sisters at Incarnate Word Academy joined Gerry “Mrs. T” Thomson at her farewell luncheon. Seated, from left, are Sister Agnes Marie Tengler, Sister Martha Ann Snapka, Thomson, Sister Catherine Brehony and Sister Rosa Ortiz. Standing are Sister Elizabeth Close, Sister Raquel Newman, Sister Maria Elizabeth Brehony, Sister Agueda Oviedo, Sister Jo Ann Saenz, Sister Anna Marie Espinosa, Sister Judith Marie Saenz and Sister Martha O’Gara.

ning Mama and Daddy were very committed to Catholic education for their children,” Thomson said. It was said by a priest friend that “the Kellys raised their family in the shadow of the Church.” While the tuition they paid at that time seems low by today’s standards, $12 a month per child, it was still a stretch for the Kelly family. Catherine Kelly was a homemaker

with a devotion to the Sacred Heart. Her husband Buck, who converted to Catholicism after the children were grown, was an ice cream truck driver. Thomson recalls, with a wide smile, her father telling the children, “We may not have a lot of money but we will never die on an empty stomach.” A few years after graduation, Gerry Kelly met and married Jim Thomson in

1955. Their children, Theresa, Kathryn and Jimmy, continued the IWA legacy graduating in 1978, 1981 and 1982, respectively. While raising her family, Gerry Thomson volunteered her time as the IWA Alumni President— as her mother had done. She remembers with fondness the many ham dinners, pounding See MRS. T, page B9




CONFERENCE: Attended by faithful from throughout diocese Continued from page B7 priest’s ministry.” Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey and Helen Osman, Secretary for Communications at the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, were the keynote speakers at the event. “We must be leaven and yeast in a confused world,” Bishop Mulvey said in his morning keynote address. “Faith is not just about us. Never before has our society undergone such a transformational change. There is a social shift of diversity we find in our communities today that surpasses anything we’ve had in our past…these changes can be positive, but brings challenges.” Bishop Mulvey reiterated what Pope Benedict XVI said in his Encyclical letter on charity, “We are not a religion of the book, a codified group of sayings, because that book is the book of the words of life. We are a church, a religion of Jesus Christ. These are His words. They must come off that page and into our hearts. We must become that Word.” Bishop Mulvey spoke about “The New Evangelization,” outlined by Pope Benedict XVI for the Synod of Bishops. He spoke of the profound secularization in our society. “God is no longer challenged…but…is just dismissed in our classroom, in our schools.” Bishop Mulvey cautioned against being desensitized by the secular culture. He said that Christ is with us today. “He is alive. His word is a living word. Alive through each baptized Christian and those who are gathered together in His name. Be empty in the presence of the Word of God. Give Him room to abide in us,” Bishop Mulvey said Osman afternoon keynote address focused on the “new digital continent” created by today’s social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. “We are in a paradigm shift in the way people communicate. The Holy Father calls us to be missionaries and explorers in the new media,” Osman said. “In Pope Benedict XVI’s World Day of Communication message he said that new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living in a vast cultural transformation. A new way of learning and thinking, which presents unprecedented opportunities,” Osman said. She said, like evangelists throughout history, we must go where the people are; we must become “digital missionaries” in the “digital continent” spawned by the ever-evolving technology.

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Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

Bishop Mulvey talks about the pope’s “New Evangelization” in his keynote address.

Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

Roy Petitfils gives a humorous workshop on using new evangelization approaches to reach the unchurched and uninvolved people in parishes.

Sister Barbara Blunzter and Director of Evangelization and Catechesis Margaret Alarilla enjoy the day filled with spiitual education.

Mary Cottingham South Texas Catholic

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MRS. T: Will continue close bond with IWA community Continued from page B7 parties and rummage sales held to benefit the school. “I enjoyed working with the Sisters and the many dedicated alumni members at the various fundraising activities,” she said. In 1970, Thomson began her career as a secretary at IWA. The tools of the trade were a little different four decades ago. “We did not have Facebook or the Internet let alone computers,” Thomson said. “We had a telephone and a typewriter, period. Eventually, we got calculators and an adding machine to calculate grades.” Thomson remained as high school secretary until 1979. In 1980, she began to work in the finance office where she helped establish the Family Tuition Plan (FTP), a consolidated tuition system that streamlined the tuition payment process for parents with more than one child attending IWA. She continued as the administrator of the FTP until 1988 when the IWA Central

Office was created. This move facilitated coordination and consolidation of the communications, development, marketing and finances of the school. At that time Thomson became an integral part of the restructuring of the administrative offices and their roles. Before this time, management of all finances and administration were conducted independently on each level. “Once the Central Office was established, I remained as the administrator of the Family Tuition Plan and just naturally started to take on more bookkeeping duties like payroll and paying bills,” she said. “Everything I learned was hands-on. Sister Mary Ann Korczynski taught me so much. She was the school treasurer and a high school math teacher. She taught me to check my work very carefully and how to balance to the penny.” The mutual affinity between Thomson and the IWA community was never more apparent than when she experienced one of the most

difficult times in her life. In 1994, her husband of 39 years died suddenly. “I was devastated,” Thomson said, “I just could not function. I was so appreciative to Sister Anna Marie [Espinosa] and Sister Annette [Wagner]. They helped me and my family in planning the rosary service and funeral Mass for Jim. Then, coming back to work helped me to recover. I was so thankful for the kids, the families and the Sisters. I just love being with them. They are my extended family.“ Many changes have taken place on the IWA campus since Thomson began working for the school 41 years ago. “What we had to do then to operate and what we can do now is truly astounding,” she said. The changes include the coordination and consolidation of school administrative services, coeducation at the high school level, the establishment of the office of the president and a policymaking school board and

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capital expansion including the James R. Dougherty Jr. Center; the high school science and athletic wing and more recently the Kenedy Center for Math and Science. “It’s amazing how far our school has come,” she said. “These have been welcomed additions to our campus and have helped to enhance our educational programs.” As Thomson transitions into her next chapter and reflects on the legacy she leaves at IWA there is one lasting mark that will remain close to her heart and to her brothers and sisters; the Catherine “Tad” and Buck Kelly IWA Scholarship that was established in 2009 in her parents’ memory. “When the talk of a scholarship came about, I truly wanted it to be for my mom and dad,” she said. “They are the ones who started it all. And I am very touched to see the scholarship given to students and families who truly need it and appreciate the assistance.” The generational Kelly legacy continues today with the addition of grandchildren, who are also IWA graduates— Lauryn McCarty in 2005, Kyndra McCarty in 2009 and recent graduate Kylene McCarty in 2011. Currently Thomson’s nephew, Darren Dreyer, IWA High School baseball coach and faculty member, has one child attending IWA and two children who recently graduated. Thomson’s brother, Larry Kelly, has a grandson who attends the middle level. The Kelly girls’ commitment to the IWA Alumni Association remains strong, and IWA community looks forward to seeing their bright smiles and hearty laughter at

Lori Cruz IWA

Gerry Thomson enjoys farewell luncheon with IWA family.

upcoming Incarnate Word Academy events, as no event would be complete without them. True to form, the close bond of the IWA community with Mrs. T will continue. As a retirement gift, Mrs. T received a new home computer to keep her connected with IWA community. With that, she will be the founding member of the new Retired Angels Technology Academy—working with the school to help keep its alumni connected to the school through technology training provided on the IWA campus. Spiritually, Thomson’s legacy will be that which her parents left her: a firm foundation in her Catholic faith; a devotion to helping others; and an abiding sense of permanence and community which she showed in her everyday ministry to others as IWA treasurer. Mrs. T says she is looking forward to having the time to “keep track” of her grandchildren who are busy starting their lives as young adults.





Making Sense

Catholic teaching and political life As a nation, we share In this statement, we many blessings and bishops do not intend to strengths, including a tratell Catholics for whom or dition of religious freedom against whom to vote. Our and political participation. purpose is to help CathoHowever, as a people, we lics form their consciences face serious challenges that in accordance with God’s are clearly political and truth. We recognize that profoundly moral. the responsibility to make We are a nation founded choices in political life on “life, liberty, and the rests with each individpursuit of happiness,” but ual in light of a properly the right to life itself is not formed conscience, and fully protected, especially that participation goes well for unborn children, the beyond casting a vote in a most vulnerable members particular election. of the American family. We During election years, are called to be peacemakthere may be many handers in a nation at war. We outs and voter guides that are a country pledged to are produced and distribpursue “liberty and justice uted. We encourage Cathofor all,” but we are too often lics to seek those resources divided across lines of race, that are authorized by ethnicity and economic inequality. their own bishops, their state Catholic conferences, and We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We statement is intended to reflect and complement, not are a society built on the strength of our families, called substitute for, the ongoing teaching of bishops in our to defend marriage and offer moral and economic sup- own dioceses and states. In light of these reflections and ports for family life. those of local bishops, we encourage Catholics throughWe are a powerful nation in a violent world, confront- out the United States to be active in the political process, ing terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more particularly in these challenging times. peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities Why does the Church teach of life. We are part of a global community facing urgent about issues Affecting public policy? The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the threats to the environment that must sustain us. These challenges are at the heart of public life and at moral character of society is a requirement of our faith. It is a basic part of the mission we have received from the center of the pursuit of the common good. For many years, we bishops of the United States have Jesus Christ, who offers a vision of life revealed to us in sought to share Catholic teaching on political life. We Sacred Scripture and Tradition. To echo the teaching of have done so in a series of statements issued every four the Second Vatican Council: Christ, the Word made flesh, years focused on “political responsibility” or “faithful in showing us the Father’s love, also shows us what it citizenship.” In this document we continue that practice, truly means to be human (see Gaudium et Spes, no. 22). Christ’s love for us lets us see our human dignity in maintaining continuity with what we have said in the past full clarity and compels us to love our neighbors as he has in light of new challenges facing our nation and world. This is not new teaching but affirms what is taught loved us. Christ, the Teacher, shows us what is true and by our Bishops’ Conference and the whole Church. As good, that is, what is in accord with our human nature as Catholics, we are part of a community with a rich heri- free, intelligent beings created in God’s image and liketage that helps us consider the challenges in public life ness and endowed by the Creator with dignity and rights. What faith teaches about the dignity of the human and contribute to greater justice and peace for all people. Part of that rich heritage on faithful citizenship is the person and about the sacredness of every human life helps teaching of Vatican Council II’s Declaration on Religious us see more clearly the same truths that also come to us Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae). It says that “society itself through the gift of human reason. At the center of these may enjoy the benefits of justice and peace, which result truths is respect for the dignity of every person. This is the core of Catholic moral from [people’s] faithfulness to and social teaching. Because we are God and his holy will” (no. 6). The ‘The Catholic community people of both faith and reason, it is work for justice requires that the appropriate and necessary for us to mind and the heart of Catholics be brings important assets to the political dialogue bring this essential truth about human educated and formed to know and practice the whole faith. about our nation’s future.’ life and dignity to the public square. We are called to practice Christ’s comThis statement highlights the mandment to “love one another” (Jn role of the Church in the formation of conscience, and the corresponding moral responsibility 13:34). We are also called to promote the well-being of all, to of each Catholic to hear, receive and act upon the Church’s teaching in the lifelong task of forming his or her own share our blessings with those most in need, to defend conscience. With this foundation, Catholics are better marriage, and to protect the lives and dignity of all, espeable to evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and cially the weak, the vulnerable, the voiceless. In his first candidates’ promises and actions in light of the Gospel encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI and the moral and social teaching of the Church in order explained that “charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, to help build a better world. We seek to do this by addressing four questions: (1) lived as ‘social charity’” (no. 29). Some question whether it is appropriate for the Church Why does the Church teach about issues affecting public policy? (2) Who in the Church should participate in to play a role in political life. However, the obligation to political life? (3) How does the Church help the Catholic teach about moral values that should shape our lives, infaithful to speak about political and social questions? (4) cluding our public lives, is central to the mission given to What does the Church say about Catholic social teaching the Church by Jesus Christ. Moreover, the United States in the public square? See WE ARE CALLED, page B11

out of Bioethics Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

The premarital sex “test drive”


uring a 2011 roundtable discussion on Fox News, guest commentator Jay Thomas argued that young people should not be too concerned when it comes to pre-marital sex, because nobody would choose to “buy a car without driving it first. You don’t get married, and you don’t learn about sex, by not having it.” Any reasonable person would prefer to avoid someone who might be, in his words, “odd in the sack,” much as any reasonable person would prefer to avoid getting a lemon when purchasing a new car. Thomas, therefore, could hardly envision anyone’s committing to marriage without first “kicking the tires” a bit, and going for a sex “test drive.” The test drive analogy comes up short in a number of important ways, and premarital sex is not at all synonymous with a harmless “test drive.” The context in which sex occurs is everything in terms of “getting it right.” Separated from its proper context of marriage, it becomes a quick path to emotional and interpersonal wreckage. Since sex takes on its proper meaning only within marriage, it cannot be properly evaluated outside the marital commitment. It might be analogous to trying to evaluate the performance of a particular car before it has even been assembled or come off the assembly line. The story is told of a famous but irresponsible race car driver who decided to borrow a friend’s Camaro to take it for a test drive around the racetrack. He quickly ran it to the edge of the speedometer, red-lining the engine at over 100 miles per hour. He pushed it hard for several laps around the track, and finally pulled the vehicle off to the side. As he did so, the strained engine overheated, seized violently and began to pour out smoke. He was used to expensive, high performance racing machines, and the Camaro felt sluggish by comparison. He walked away from the vehicle, muttering under his breath, “I wonder what’s the matter with that car?” Sex before marriage is a similar kind of “test drive;” clearly unreasonable and harmful. A sexual “test drive” mentality is essentially exploitative in nature, reducing a potential spouse to someone who is See MARRIED SEX, page B11



WE ARE CALLED: To promote the well being of all Continued from page B10 Constitution protects the faithful citizenship right of individual believers and religious bodies to participate and speak out without government interference, favoritism, or discrimination. Civil law should fully recognize and protect the Church’s right, obligation, and opportunities to participate in society without being forced to abandon or ignore its central moral convictions. Our nation’s tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions and concerns into public life. Indeed, our Church’s teaching is in accord with the foundational values that have shaped our nation’s history: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Catholic community brings important assets to the political dialogue about our nation’s future. We bring a consistent moral framework—drawn from basic human reason that is illuminated by Scripture and the teaching of the Church—for assessing issues, political platforms and campaigns. We also bring broad experience in serving those in need—educating the young, caring for the sick, sheltering the homeless, helping women who face difficult pregnancies, feeding the hungry, welcoming immigrants and refugees, reaching out in global solidarity, and pursuing peace.

Who in the Church should participate in political life? In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. . . . As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915). Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable. The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As Catholics, we should be

guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths. We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world. Clergy and lay people have complementary roles in public life. We bishops have the primary responsibility to hand on the Church’s moral and social teaching. Together with priests and deacons, assisted by religious and lay leaders of the Church, we are to teach fundamental moral principles that help Catholics form their consciences correctly, to provide guidance on the moral dimensions of public decisions, and to encourage the faithful to carry out their responsibilities in political life. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Church’s leaders are to avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or telling people how to vote. As Pope Benedict XVI stated in Deus Caritas Est, “The Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest . . . The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.” (no. 28) As the Holy Father also taught in Deus Caritas Est, “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Yet this is not a time for retreat or discouragement; rather, it is a time for renewed engagement. Forming their consciences in accord with Catholic teaching, Catholic lay women and men can become actively involved: running for office; working within political parties; communicating their concerns and positions to elected officials; and joining diocesan social mission or advocacy networks, state Catholic conference initiatives, community organizations, and other efforts to apply authentic moral teaching in the public square. Even those who cannot vote have the right to have their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the common good.

MARRIED SEX: Is a unique gift, not a test drive Continued from page B10 easily replaced by a “better” model. When we take a car for a test drive, and don’t like it, we can just return the keys and move on to the next model. But people are not cars that we can just exploit and cast aside. The notion that a sexual “test drive” can be an entrée to matrimony trivializes and degrades marriage. What sorts of things would a young man be expecting to discover with a sexual “test-drive” anyway? What kinds of qualities would disqualify someone from becoming his wife? If he had lived in purity himself, and it were his first sexual experience fresh on the heels of his marriage vows, he would automatically suppose his wife to be wonderful, and no “comparisons” should even be necessary. In the final analysis, who really wants to be sexually “compared” to

others anyway? Predictably, partners can feel threatened if they think their spouse might be comparing them with previous partners. This provides a strong incentive to abstain from sex before marriage, to protect the emotional safety that spouses need to feel together in marriage. Every woman prefers to marry a man who has lived chastely. Similarly every man, in his heart of hearts, wants to marry a virgin, rather than someone who has been “test-driven” by scores of other men. As one happily married woman described it on her internet posting: “I’ve only been with one guy; he was only with one girl - and it wasn’t until our wedding night. Maybe we were both bad in bed. But, you know, neither one of us had any clue, because we’d never been with anyone else. I’ve never seen that as an issue.” Singer/actress Rebecca St. James, who also participated in the Fox

News roundtable, echoed the same sentiments: “Can I just say married sex (and I’ve never been with anyone other than my husband) is wonderful. It’s so cherishing and beautiful, and I’m so glad I don’t have any memories with anyone else, and I’m glad my husband doesn’t have anybody to compare me to. We only have each other.” Dating and marriage are about commitment and sacrificial love for another person, not comparison shopping for the best deal, or test driving the latest vehicle. Sex is a unique gift by which we hand ourselves over to another within marriage, and cement the treasure of marital love in a permanent commitment to one another. Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See


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South Texas Catholic - February 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 - February 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...