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SERVING THE CHURCH IN THE DIOCESE OF CORPUS CHRISTI

South Texas

Catholic W W W. S O U T H T E X A S C AT H O L I C .C OM


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Inside

Bishop’s Message On Racism: Bishop Michael Mulvey maintains that racism is a distortion of God’s image, “a sin of hate.”

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Jesus Said, Explaining the Gospel Message: Father Brady Williams, SOLT recreates the setting of the most famous sermon ever preached.

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Vocations, Seminarian Corner: Two newly ordained priests and a seminarian share on overcoming the covonavirus blues with prayer.

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Woman of Strength, Mary Our Example: Father Peter Marsalek’s column gives an example of a perfect model in Mary’s pilgrimage of faith.

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Catholic Schools, Letter from the Superintendent: Dr. Rosemary Henry, promotes the gifts of a Catholic education.

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Fighting Racism, In Ourselves and Others: Monica Gatlin shares a memory of a little girl, who exemplified one message from Pope Francis.

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Spreading the Light, Holy Friendships: Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT promotes the joy of building holy friendships.

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Be Not Afraid, Voting with a Well Formed Conscience: Diocesan Chancellor Ben Nguyen, says the Church has always called for people of faith to make Jesus Christ present in the world. Interior Prayer, the Value of Silence: A Holy Spirit Adoration Sister sees the global crisis as an opportunity to reveal our best selves by becoming immersed in Trinitarian stillness.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

World News: Catholic groups aid recovery after Beirut explosion. Vatican News: Cardinals condemn China’s potential genocide of Uyghurs.

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Marriage, witnessing God’s love to one another: An interview with a local couple, Jason and Hester Rodriguez, who share their journey of faith through their marriage to each other.

A Word from Our Holy Father: Even in times of darkness, God is there.

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Liturgical Calendar VOL. 55 NO. 8 Publisher Bishop Michael Mulvey, STL DD Director of Communications Julie Stark jstark@diocesecc.org

September 2020

4:1-7, 11-13/Mt 9:9-13 (643) Pss Prop

1 | Tue | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 2:10b-16/Lk 4:31-37 (432)

22 | Tue | Weekday | green | Prv 21:1-6, 10-13/Lk 8:19-21 (450)

2 | Wed | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 3:1-9/Lk 4:38-44 (433)

23 | Wed | Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest | white | Memorial | Prv 30:59/Lk 9:1-6 (451)

3 | Thu | Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | 1 Cor 3:18-23/Lk 5:1-11 (434)

Managing Editor Mary Cottingham MCottingham@diocesecc.org

4 | Fri | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 4:15/Lk 5:33-39 (435) 5 | Sat | Weekday | green/white [BVM] 1 Cor 4:6b-15/Lk 6:1-5 (436)

Theological Consultant Ben Nguyen, MTS, JCL/JD, D.Min (ABD) BNguyen@diocesecc.org Communications Specialist Elizabeth Morales

6 | SUN | TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Ez 33:7-9/Rom 13:8-10/Mt 18:15-20 (127) Pss III

Correspondents Jesse De Leon and Rebecca Esparza

7 | Mon | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 5:1-8/Lk 6:6-11 (437) 8 | Tue | The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary | white | Feast | Mi 5:14a or Rom 8:28-30/Mt 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23 (636) Pss Prop

Translator/Correspondent Gloria Romero

9 | Wed | USA: Saint Peter Claver, Priest | white | Memorial | 1 Cor 7:25-31/Lk 6:20-26 (439)

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10 | Thu | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 8:1b-7, 11-13/Lk 6:27-38 (440) 11 | Fri | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22b-27/Lk 6:39-42 (441) 12 | Sat | Weekday | green/white/ white [The Most Holy Name of Mary; BVM] 1 Cor 10:14-22/Lk 6:43-49 (442)

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13 | SUN | TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Sir 27:30—28:7/Rom 14:7-9/ Mt 18:21-35 (130) Pss IV

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15 | Tue | Our Lady of Sorrows | white | Memorial | 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31a (444)/Jn 19:25-27 or Lk 2:3335 (639) Pss Prop 16 | Wed | Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs | red | Memorial | 1 Cor 12:31—13:13/Lk 7:31-35 (445) 17 | Thu | Weekday | green | white [Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church] 1 Cor 15:1-11/Lk 7:36-50 (446) 18 | Fri | Weekday | green | 1 Cor 15:12-20/Lk 8:1-3 (447) 19 | Sat | Weekday | green/red/ white [Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr; BVM] 1 Cor 15:35-37, 4249/Lk 8:4-15 (448) 20 | SUN | TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Is 55:6-9/Phil 1:20c-24, 27a/ Mt 20:1-16a (133) Pss I 21 | Mon | Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist | red | Feast | Eph

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14 | Mon | The Exaltation of the Holy Cross | red | Feast | Nm 21:4b9/Phil 2:6-11/Jn 3:13-17 (638) Pss Prop

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24 | Thu | Weekday | green | Eccl 1:2-11/Lk 9:7-9 (452) 25 | Fri | Weekday | green | Eccl 3:111/Lk 9:18-22 (453) 26 | Sat | Weekday | green/red/ white [Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs; BVM] Eccl 11:9—12:8/Lk 9:43b-45 (454) 27 | SUN | TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Ez 18:25-28/Phil 2:1-11 or 2:1-5/Mt 21:28-32 (136) | Pss II 28 | Mon | Weekday | green/red/red [Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr; Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs] Jb 1:6-22/Lk 9:46-50 (455) 29 | Tue | Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels | white | Feast | Dn 7:9-10, 13-14 or Rv 12:712a/Jn 1:47-51 (647) Pss Prop 30 | Wed | Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | Jb 9:1-12, 14-16/Lk 9:57-62 (457)

11 | SUN | TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Is 25:6-10a/Phil 4:12-14, 1920/Mt 22:1-14 or 22:1-10 (142) Pss IV 12 | Mon | Weekday | green | Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31—5:1/Lk 11:29-32 (467) 13 | Tue | Weekday | green | Gal 5:16/Lk 11:37-41 (468) 14 | Wed | Weekday | green/red [Saint Callistus I, Pope and Martyr] Gal 5:18-25/Lk 11:42-46 (469) 15 | Thu | Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | Eph 1:1-10/Lk 11:47-54 (470) 16 | Fri | Weekday | green/white/ white [Saint Hedwig, Religious; Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin] Eph 1:11-14/Lk 12:1-7 (471) 17 | Sat | Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr | red | Memorial | Eph 1:15-23/Lk 12:8-12 (472) 18 | SUN | TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Is 45:1, 4-6/1 Thes 1:1-5b/Mt 22:15-21 (145) Pss I

October 2020

19 | Mon | USA: Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, | red | and Companions, Martyrs | Memorial | Eph 2:1-10/Lk 12:13-21 (473)

1 | Thu | Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church | white | Memorial | Jb 19:21-27/Lk 10:1-12 (458)

20 | Tue | Weekday | green/white [USA: Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest] Eph 2:12-22/Lk 12:35-38 (474)

2 | Fri | The Holy Guardian Angels | white | Memorial | Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5 (459)/Mt 18:1-5, 10 (650) Pss Prop

21 | Wed | Weekday | green | Eph 3:2-12/Lk 12:39-48 (475)

3 | Sat | Weekday | green | white [BVM] Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17/Lk 10:17-24 (460) 4 | SUN | TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Is 5:1-7/Phil 4:6-9/Mt 21:3343 (139) Pss III 5 | Mon | Weekday | green/white [USA: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest] Gal 1:6-12/Lk 10:25-37 (461) 6 | Tue | Weekday | green/white/ white [Saint Bruno, Priest; USA: Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, Virgin] Gal 1:13-24/Lk 10:38-42 (462) 7 | Wed | Our Lady of the Rosary | white | Memorial | Gal 2:1-2, 7-14/ Lk 11:1-4 (463) Pss Prop 8 | Thu | Weekday | green | Gal 3:15/Lk 11:5-13 (464) 9 | Fri | Weekday | green/red/ white [Saint Denis, Bishop, and Companions, Martyrs; Saint John Leonardi, Priest] Gal 3:7-14/Lk 11:15-26 (465) 10 | Sat | Weekday | green/white [BVM] Gal 3:22-29/Lk 11:27-28 (466)

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22 | Thu | Weekday | green/white [Saint John Paul II, Pope] Eph 3:1421/Lk 12:49-53 (476) 23 | Fri | Weekday | green/white [Saint John of Capistrano, Priest] Eph 4:1-6/Lk 12:54-59 (477) 24 | Sat | Weekday | green/white/ white [Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop; BVM] Eph 4:7-16/Lk 13:1-9 (478) 25 | SUN | THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | green Ex 22:2026/1 Thes 1:5c-10/Mt 22:34-40 (148) Pss II 26 | Mon | Weekday | green | Eph 4:32—5:8/Lk 13:10-17 (479) 27 | Tue | Weekday | green | Eph 5:21-33/Lk 13:18-21 (480) 28 | Wed | Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles | red | Feast | Eph 2:19-22/ Lk 6:12-16 (666) Pss Prop 29 | Thu | Weekday | green | Eph 6:10-20/Lk 13:31-35 (482) 30 | Fri | Weekday | green | Phil 1:111/Lk 14:1-6 (483) 31 | Sat | Weekday | green/white [BVM] Phil 1:18b-26/Lk 14:1, 7-11 (484)


BISHOP’S MESSAGE on racism

My brothers and sisters,

H

ave you ever asked, “what does God see today when He looks at us; Does He see what He planned when He created the human race?” We are made in the image and likeness of God, who is a trinity of persons, a community of persons inseparably united by mutual love. Can God find any aspect of His image in our human relations today? One distortion of God’s image in us has recently come to light, and that is the sin of racism. It came into focus by the unacceptable murder of Mr. George Floyd. Questions and uncertainties abound regarding our ability to live together in a nation that is more divided than ever and is suffering from demonstrations of hatred and uninhibited violence in our communities. A discerning person might ask, “what is God trying to say to us amid this turmoil?” I often ask that question. The opening lines of the Letter to the Hebrews observes that “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, He spoke to us through a Son….” (Hebrews 1:1,2). God has spoken finally in sending Jesus; the Word made flesh, the Word Incarnate. When we as a community turn against each other for whatever reason, God could validly say, “you have ignored me; you have forgotten my Word.” As simplistic as this may sound, it is true. When love is suffocated by prejudice and hatred, God’s intent to form all people into a unified family is disrupted. Division rips apart society and our families – the soul of a nation. Every level of human life suffers the consequences of division. Apathetically accepting racism, prejudice, judgment and hatred as a tolerated “norm” erodes the beauty of the human family created for unity through diversity that ultimately reflects God. To profess faith in Jesus, the Son of God and to be His disciple make it clear that we encounter the person of Jesus daily. To show that we are alive in His Word and that we are striving to live all He told us. Whoever encounters Jesus in His Word and does what He teaches experiences the freedom to find Jesus in every person. St. James, in his Letter, calls the disciples to active listening and doing. “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like”

(James 1:22-24). A coveted phrase imprinted on our country’s currency is “E Pluribus Unum” – from many into one. Is that still an objective for us as Americans, or have we radically drifted from the dream of unity in diversity for this country? Let’s be clear, no law, past, present or future will bring that dream to fruition. No system of government can accomplish unity. Authentic unity through diversity can only be achieved through the radical commandment of God: “Love one another.” The human cry for unity was voiced in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prayed to the Father, “I pray … also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17: 20-21). Unity exists only in God, and unity in God is only complete through love. In our present circumstances, we need a conversion to a new way of thinking and acting. We cannot reverse our current direction overnight. It is a long road, but we can begin by humbly paying attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit living inside us, and alive in the words of Jesus in the Gospel. We are assured by Jesus, Himself, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name — He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14:26). Let us ask ourselves, faced with racism and our present crisis, what might the Holy Spirit remind us of and teach us in order to assist us toward a new culture of fraternal unity? Permit me to point to three well known and basic phrases from the Gospel of Jesus. First is the simple Golden Rule “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). Seriously living according to this modest principle, found in the writings of all religions, could decrease the poison of hatred and prejudice, which leads to racism starting now.

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BISHOP’S MESSAGE

Mis hermanos y hermanas,

on racism

A ¿

The Holy Spirit could remind us of another teaching of Jesus - to arrest our cruel judgments of others “… how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42). Let’s be honest; judging others is the first obstacle to unity. Judgment is often the result of gossip. I judge another based not on what I know about the person but on what I do not know. We are only given a few years to prepare ourselves for our true home in unity with God. Conquering our propensity to judge another can help build the “Civilization of Love” already here in this life, which we hope to share in eternity. Thirdly, forgiveness is the daily remedy we need to consume. The Christian is one who accepts the forgiveness of God’s mercy. In turn, he or she is called to be an ambassador of that same reconciliation toward others. “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, …leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:24). St. John in his First Letter strongly reprimanded the community of believers: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” We are people of hope. Unity can be our future, and racism can be overcome. I urge all of us to begin today to contribute to a culture and “Society of Love” called for by St. Pope Paul VI. Listen to the Holy Spirit – recognize the presence of God in every person, stop judging others, and be reconciled with any person with whom you are at odds. Be children of the Gospel we profess and with the Holy Spirit’s help, live with wisdom and courage. When the Gospel of Jesus becomes our mentality, and our way of life, all our relationships are transformed. Jesus is calling us today to be peacemakers and to witness to His risen presence among us.

lguna vez se han preguntado, “qué ve Dios hoy cuando nos mira?” “¿Ve lo que planeó cuando creó la raza humana?” Estamos hechos a imagen y semejanza de Dios, que es una trinidad de personas, una comunidad de personas unidas inseparablemente por el amor mutuo. ¿Puede Dios encontrar algún aspecto de su imagen en nuestras relaciones humanas hoy? Recientemente ha salido a la luz una distorsión de la imagen de Dios en nosotros, y ese es el pecado del racismo. Se puso de manifiesto por el inaceptable asesinato del Sr. George Floyd. Abundan las preguntas e incertidumbres con respecto a nuestra capacidad para vivir juntos, en una nación que está más dividida que nunca y que sufre demostraciones de odio y violencia desinhibida en nuestras comunidades. Una persona con discernimiento podría preguntarse: “¿Qué está tratando de decirnos Dios en medio de esta confusión?” A menudo hago esa pregunta. En las primeras líneas de la Carta a los Hebreos se observa que “En tiempos pasados, Dios habló de manera parcial y de varias maneras a nuestros antepasados a través de los profetas; pero en estos últimos días, nos ha hablado a través de un hijo ...”. (Hebreos 1: 1,2). Dios finalmente ha hablado al enviar a Jesús; el Verbo hecho carne, el Verbo Encarnado. Cuando nosotros, como comunidad, nos volvemos unos contra otros por cualquier motivo, Dios podría decir válidamente: “Me has ignorado; has olvidado mi palabra”. Por simple que parezca, es cierto. Cuando el amor es sofocado por el prejuicio y el odio, la intención de Dios de formar a la gente en una familia unificada, se interrumpe. La división destroza a la sociedad y a nuestras familias, al alma de una nación. Cada nivel de la vida humana sufre las consecuencias de la división. Aceptar con apatía el racismo, el prejuicio, el juicio y el odio es como una “norma” tolerada, que erosiona la belleza de la familia humana, creada para la unidad a través de la diversidad, que en última instancia refleja a Dios. Profesar fe en Jesús, el Hijo de Dios y ser su discípulo, deja en claro que nos encontramos con la persona de Jesús a diario. Para mostrar que estamos vivos en Su Palabra y que nos esforzamos por vivir todo lo que Él nos dijo. Quien encuentra a Jesús en su Palabra y hace lo que él enseña experimenta la libertad de encontrar a Jesús en cada persona. Santiago, en su Carta, llama al discípulo a la escucha activa y al hacer. “Sean hacedores de la Palabra y no solo la escuchen, engañándose a si mismos. Porque si alguno es oidor de la Palabra y no hacedor, es como un hombre que mira su propio rostro

May God bless and give you peace, +Most Rev. Michael Mulvey, STL, DD Bishop of Corpus Christi 6 

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MENSAJE DEL OBISPO sobre el racismo

en un espejo. Se ve a sí mismo, luego se va y se olvida rápidamente de cómo era “. (Santiago 1: 22-24) Una frase codiciada impresa en la moneda de nuestro país es E Pluribus Unum, de muchos a uno. ¿A caso, sigue siendo ese un objetivo para nosotros como estadounidenses, o nos hemos desviado radicalmente del sueño de unidad en la diversidad para este país? Seamos claros, ninguna ley, pasada, presente o futura hará realidad ese sueño. Ningún sistema de gobierno puede lograr la unidad. A través de la diversidad, la unidad auténtica sólo puede lograrse mediante el mandamiento radical de Dios: “Amaos los unos a los otros”. El clamor humano por la unidad se expresó en el Huerto de Getsemaní cuando Jesús oró al Padre: “Te ruego ... también por aquellos que creerán en mí por medio de su palabra, para que todos sean uno, como tú, Padre, estás en mí y yo en ti, para que también ellos estén en nosotros, para que el mundo crea que tú me enviaste “(Juan 17: 20-21). La unidad existe solo en Dios, y la unidad en Dios solo se completa a través del amor. En nuestras circunstancias actuales, necesitamos una conversión a una nueva forma de pensar y actuar. No podemos invertir nuestra dirección actual de la noche a la mañana. Es un camino largo, pero podemos comenzar prestando humilde atención a la voz del Espíritu Santo que vive dentro de nosotros y está vivo en las palabras de Jesús en el Evangelio. Jesús mismo nos asegura: “El Abogado, el Espíritu Santo que el Padre enviará en mi nombre; él les enseñará todo y les recordará a ti y a todos, lo que les he dicho” (Juan 14:26). Preguntémonos, ante el racismo y la crisis actual, ¿qué nos podría recordar y enseñar el Espíritu Santo para ayudarnos a ir, hacia una nueva cultura de unidad fraternal? Permítanme señalar tres frases básicas y bien conocidas del Evangelio de Jesús. La primera es la simple regla de oro: “Trata a los demás de la misma manera que quieres que te traten a ti” (Lucas 6:31). Vivir seriamente de acuerdo con este modesto principio, que se encuentra en los escritos de todas las religiones, podría disminuir el veneno del odio, que el prejuicio conduce al racismo, empezando ahora. El Espíritu Santo podría recordarnos otra enseñanza de Jesús: detener nuestros crueles juicios sobre los demás “...

¿cómo puedes decirle a tu hermano, ‘Hermano, déjame sacarte la paja que está en tu ojo’, cuando tú mismo no puedes ver la basura que está en tu propio ojo? Hipócrita, primero saca la basura de tu propio ojo, y entonces verás claramente para sacar la paja que está en el ojo de tu hermano “(Lucas 6:42). Seamos honestos; juzgar a los demás es el primer obstáculo para la unidad. El juicio es a menudo el resultado de chismes. Juzgo a otro, no basándome en lo que sé de la persona misma, sino en lo que no sé. Tenemos tan solo unos cuantos años de preparación para ir a nuestro verdadero hogar en unidad con Dios. Conquistar nuestra propensión a juzgar a otro puede ayudar a construir la Civilización del Amor que ya está aquí en esta vida, que esperamos compartir en la eternidad. En tercer lugar, el perdón es el remedio diario que debemos consumir. El cristiano es aquel que acepta el perdón de la misericordia de Dios. A su vez, él o ella está llamado a ser embajador de esa misma reconciliación hacia los demás. “Por tanto, si llevas tu ofrenda al altar, y allí recuerdas que tu hermano tiene algo en tu contra,” ... deja tu ofrenda allí delante del altar y vete; reconcíliate primero con tu hermano, y luego ven y presenta tu ofrenda “(Mateo 5:24). San Juan, en su Primera Carta, reprendió fuertemente a la comunidad de creyentes: “Si alguno dice: ‘Amo a Dios’, pero odia a su hermano, es un mentiroso; porque quien no ama a un hermano a quien ha visto, no puede amar a Dios * a quien no ha visto “. Somos gente de esperanza. La unidad puede ser nuestro futuro y el racismo puede superarse. Insto a todos a que empecemos hoy a contribuir a una cultura y sociedad de amor a la que fuimos llamados por el Papa Pablo VI. Escuche al Espíritu Santo: reconozca la presencia de Dios en cada persona, deje de juzgar a los demás y reconcíliese con cualquier persona con la que esté en desacuerdo. Seamos hijos del Evangelio que profesamos y con la ayuda del Espíritu Santo vivamos con sabiduría y valentía. Cuando el Evangelio de Jesús se convierte en nuestra mentalidad y en nuestra forma de vida, todas nuestras relaciones se transforman. Jesús nos llama hoy a ser pacificadores y a dar testimonio de su presencia resucitada entre nosotros.

Que Dios le bendiga y le de paz +Reverendísimo Michael Mulvey, STL, DD Obispo de Corpus Christi QUE TODOS SE AN UNO

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JESUS SAID

explaining the Gospel message

A reflection of the Sermon on the Mount By Father Brady Williams, SOLT

O Contributor

ne time I opened a box of Tazo Calm tea, and on the teabag packaging, there was a brief message that read something like: “One cup of Tazo Calm tea is like sitting down in an alpine valley for fifteen minutes with your shoes off.” If Tazo tea could do something like that, what would sitting and reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount do (shoes optional)? Some say it would take a moderate reader only about 13 minutes to read the estimated 2000 words of the most famous sermon ever preached. While Tazo Calm offers a brief repose in an alpine valley, the great words of Jesus promise the heights of pure happiness! “Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them saying: ….” (Mt 5:1-2). Jesus invites his disciples to come to him on the mountain. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and particularly the Beatitudes, are a kind of ‘word picture’ of Jesus himself. He is the poor, meek, merciful One who thirsts to fulfill all righteousness, who is pure of heart and who is our peace, and whose way of life will be a cause of persecution. He is not only the giver of the New Law but also its perfect exemplar. The “Sermon on the Mount” is both the panoramic view at the top of the mountain revealing the marvelous vistas of holiness and the path to true happiness that occurs when we conform our lives more perfectly to Christ: “You, therefore, must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). We, as Jesus’ disciples, ought to turn to the Sermon on the Mount frequently to find the answer to our desire for happiness in life and to strive for greater perfection. The Sermon on the Mount can be a useful guide for examining our conscience, helping us to identify those areas in our life that we need to change to be more Christ-like.

“You have heard that it was said, but I say to you ….” (Mt 5:27, 31, 33, 38, 43). The centerpiece of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus himself. On the one hand, Jesus says: “You have heard ….” – this presents us with the opportunity to evaluate our thoughts, values, opinions, ways of thinking, analyses, decisions, etc., in the light of being a disciple of Christ. We could ask ourselves who the most prominent voices we tend to listen to and how they compare to the values, thoughts, and ways of thinking of Christ? On the other hand, Jesus gives a response: “but I say to you….” Here, we should receive in humble reverence the Word of God, willing to sit at his feet and listen in silence to what He has to say about this/that. Otherwise, we run the risk of Jesus’ words, “but I say to you…” just being one opinion among others and even being content with believing whatever we want (follow the prevailing view) or that Jesus must agree with me. Are we open to listening to Jesus’ words as entrusted to His Church, or are we too quick to view the Christian perspective as a little out-of-date to our modern view? I think we will find that the words of Jesus challenge us more often than we would like and in ways that are not always comfortable. It is necessary to allow the words of Jesus to sink in more deeply. Such a reading requires listening attentively to Him and for an atmosphere of silence to have a more prominent role in our lives. Perhaps in these very turbulent times, we need to go up the mountain once again to sit at the feet of the Lord and listen attentively to “what I say to you ….” His words will configure our lives to the Gospel so that we indeed become salt and light for the world (cf. Mt 5: 13 – 16). Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount by saying that if we listen to these words and put them into practice, we are building our lives on solid rock (Mt 7:24), and will indeed be authentic Christians who have put on the mind of Christ and seek to fulfill his will in our daily lives.

Perhaps in these very turbulent times, we need to go up the mountain once again to sit at the feet of the Lord and listen attentively to “what I say to you ….” 8 

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JESUS ​​DIJO

SERMON ON THE MOUNT BY CARL BLOCH (1877) | PUBLIC DOMAIN

explicando el mensaje del evangelio

Una reflexión sobre el Sermón de la Montaña Por el padre Brady Williams, SOLT Contribuyente

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na vez, abrí una caja de té Tazo Calm, y en el paquete de la bolsita de té, había un breve mensaje que decía algo así como: “Una taza de té Tazo Calm es como sentarse en un valle alpino durante quince minutos sin zapatos. “ Si el té Tazo pudiera hacer algo así, ¿qué haría el sentarse y reflexionar sobre el Sermón de la Montaña (zapatos opcionales)? Algunos dicen que al lector moderado le tomaría solo unos 13 minutos leer las 2000 palabras estimadas del sermón más famoso jamás predicado. Mientras Tazo Calm ofrece un breve descanso en un valle alpino, ¡las maravillosas palabras de Jesús prometen la máxima y más pura felicidad! “Al ver las multitudes, [Jesús] subió a la montaña, y

cuando se sentó, sus discípulos se acercaron a él. Y abrió la boca y les enseñó a decir: ... “. (Mt 5: 1-2). Jesús invita a sus discípulos a venir a él en la montaña. El Sermón de la Montaña (Mateo 5-7), y particularmente las Bienaventuranzas, son una especie de “imagen de palabras” del mismo Jesús. Él es el pobre, manso, misericordioso, que tiene sed de cumplir con toda justicia, que es puro de corazón y que es nuestra paz, y cuyo estilo de vida será causa de persecución. No solo es el dador de la Nueva Ley, sino también el ejemplo perfecto a seguir. El “Sermón de la Montaña” a la vez que nos da una vista panorámica desde la cima de la montaña, se nos revelan las maravillosas vistas de santidad y el camino hacia la verdadera felicidad que ocurre cuando conformamos nuestras vidas a la vida más perfecta, la de Cristo: “Por lo

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JESUS ​​DIJO

explicando el mensaje del evangelio

tanto, tu debes ser perfecto, así como tu Padre celestial es perfecto” (Mt 5:48). Nosotros, como discípulos de Jesús, debemos recurrir al Sermón de la Montaña con frecuencia, para encontrar la respuesta a nuestro deseo por la felicidad en la vida y así, luchar por una mayor perfección. El Sermón de la Montaña, puede ser una guía útil para examinar nuestra conciencia, ayudándonos a identificar aquellas áreas de nuestra vida que necesitamos cambiar para ser más como Cristo. “Has oído que se dijo, pero Yo te digo ...”. (Mt 5:27, 31, 33, 38, 43). La pieza central del Sermón de la Montaña es Jesús mismo. Por un lado, Jesús dice: “Has oído ...”. - esto nos presenta la oportunidad de evaluar nuestros pensamientos, valores, opiniones, formas de pensar, análisis, decisiones, etc., a la luz de ser un discípulo de Cristo. Podríamos preguntarnos cuáles son las voces más prominentes que tendemos a escuchar y cómo se comparan con los valores, pensamientos y formas de pensar de Cristo. Por otro lado, Jesús da una respuesta: “pero Yo te digo ...”. Aquí, debemos recibir con humilde reverencia la Palabra de Dios, deseosos de sentarnos a sus pies y escuchar en silencio lo que tiene que decir sobre esto o aquello. De lo contrario, corremos el riesgo de que las palabras de Jesús, “pero Yo te digo ...” sean tan solo una opinión entre otras, e incluso nos contentemos con creer lo que queramos creer (siguiendo el punto de vista predominante) quizás, como que Jesús debe estar de acuerdo conmigo. ¿Estamos abiertos a escuchar las palabras de Jesús como fueron confiadas a Su Iglesia, o somos demasiado rápidos como para tan solo darle un vistazo a la perspectiva cristiana, e interpretarlas como un tanto desactualizadas, para nuestros puntos de vista modernos? Creo que descubriremos que las palabras de Jesús nos desafían con más frecuencia de lo que nos gustaría, y de maneras que no son siempre cómodas. Es necesario permitir que las palabras de Jesús se hundan más profundamente en nosotros. Tal lectura requiere ser escuchada atentamente y que una atmósfera de silencio tenga un papel predominante en nuestras vidas. Quizás en estos tiempos tan turbulentos, necesitamos subir a la montaña una vez más para sentarnos a los pies del Señor y escuchar atentamente “lo que Yo te digo ...”. Sus palabras configurarán nuestras vidas al Evangelio para que realmente seamos sal y luz para el mundo (cf. Mt 5, 13-16). Jesús termina el Sermón de la Montaña diciendo que si escuchamos estas palabras y las ponemos en práctica, estamos construyendo nuestras vidas sobre roca sólida (Mt 7:24), y de hecho seremos cristianos auténticos que deseamos pensar como Cristo y buscamos cumplir su voluntad en nuestra vida diaria. 10 

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VOCATIONS Seminarian corner

Three viewpoints on overcoming the ‘coronavirus blues’ By Elizabeth Morales South Texas Catholic

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hile many may recall when news of the coronavirus made national headlines, no one predicted the toll it would take on American lives or how society had to adapt to protect their loved ones. For those discerning the priesthood or the newly ordained, it affected them in ways never experienced before. Mass restrictions meant the faithful, who once filled church pews had to watch a televised Mass from their homes. For many priests celebrating Mass without seeing the faces of their parishioners was the most difficult challenge. For Father R.J. Regalado, Parochial Vicar at Most Precious Blood Parish, and also, Chaplain for Catholic Charities Ministry and Life Enrichment for Persons with Disabilities, it felt as though the world came to a stop. He had become accustomed to celebrating Mass with his flock nearly every day, and suddenly instead of celebrating Mass in front of 1,200 people, it was only himself and his camera. The change eventually took a toll, and during the Easter Vigil Mass, he unexpectedly wept during his homily. As a priest, Father Regalado took his calling seriously – as a spiritual father to his flock. He deeply felt the pain of separation from his parishioners. “God entrusted these people to me,” he said, adding, “and the priesthood is relational. We are providers and protectors,” likening the inability to see his sheep to an empty nest syndrome. He recalled his devotion to St. Mary Magdalene helped him during this challenging period. “When she does not recognize the risen Jesus, she has to grapple with this new way he presents himself to her. With all that’s happening, we can easily fall into anxiety, and He is truly in the middle of it. We have to allow Him to lovingly speak to us, but that means we need to settle down and be silent,” Father Regalado said. With one year of the priesthood under his belt, the unforeseen pandemic was unimaginable. “The pandemic taught me to rely on the Lord,” Father Regalado said. “As a new priest, I try to bring peace to the chaos.” He saw that many people were anxious when the government shutdown. “There’s fear, and then they have to stay at home with family, so there’s room for uncharitability. Rather than be ugly, let’s pray for one another,” he said

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Father R.J. Regalado

Father R.J. Regalado celebrates Mass at Most Precious Blood during the stay at home orders.

encouragingly, reminding people that their home is a domestic church. He encourages the faithful to come back to Mass as it nourishes their home life, “As Catholics, we need to go back to the Eucharistic and become Eucharistic people again. The domestic church is important, but it’s important to receive the Eucharist so that when we go back to the domestic church, we can give Christ to people.”

Javier Palacios Javier Palacios, a first-year seminarian for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, said he was on Spring Break from his courses at Holy Trinity Seminary at the University of Dallas when the pandemic shifted his curriculum to online learning. He finished the remainder of his semester remotely. “It wasn’t that difficult,” Palacios said, crediting his smooth adjustment to online learning to living out in the world as an adult before entering seminary. Palacios also explained his relationship with Jesus aided him during the transition. He said that through intimate prayer and our yearning to be with Him, we can find peace here on earth. “Mass is the greatest fulfillment,

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VOCATIONS Seminarian corner

NELSON BULL | FOR STC

Father David Brokke baptizes Nolan James Vidmar with parents assistance. Pictured from left, are Mark and Maria Vidmar at St. Joseph’s Church in Eldersburg, MD shortly after his ordination to the priesthood.

but we still have to commit our daily life to prayer, because it is only through prayer that we have a daily relationship with Him – striving to be holy as He is holy, which we alone were made for.” Although his first year did not go as anticipated, Palacios learned to trust God’s provision, regarding small and large matters in life. For example, he shared, “I don’t have a vehicle. I gave that up when I entered seminary because, for one, it wasn’t something I could financially afford anymore, and more importantly, it allowed me to let God be in control. I was letting God take control of where He wanted to lead me.” A vehicle granted him the freedom to go as he may please, and he viewed asking fellow seminarians for a ride as an opportunity to grow in friendship and develop a brotherly bond.

Father Dave Brokke Father Dave Brokke with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, recently ordained to the priesthood on July 18, offers yet another perspective as he prepared for his ordination during the pandemic. He said it was difficult for him. He remained on an emotional roller coaster of sorts, especially as Corpus 12  

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Christi became the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic. Friends and family members had to cancel their plans to attend his ordination. “I was getting calls, texts, messages, and emails multiple times a day from new cancellations of people who had been hoping for years to be here.” He said the only thing that helped give him peace and perspective was reading Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Father Brokke said by placing his trust in God’s ability, this offering, could be used for something beautiful. Throughout this experience, he learned how pliable we need to remain in the hands of God. “We, as humans, do not have the last say. God is ultimately in control. We need to slow down. Be rooted in prayer and allow the Lord to be our joy,” Father Brokke said. When life does not unfold as planned, “We need to rejoice, always pray, constantly give thanks, and trust Him in all circumstances.” Despite the unanticipated hardships Father Brokke faced during his final preparations, the joy of ordination to the priesthood surpassed all the difficulties surrounding him. “I feel so completely at peace and happy with where the Lord has led me. It is such a joy to know that I am His, and He is mine – that I am His Priest. A friend of mine said, ‘This is what you were born to do.’ And I can honestly say, ‘Yes, I think that’s true – this just fits. It’s weird how the supernatural feels so natural, and it’s weird that this is not weird,’” Father Brokke said. He urged anyone discerning the priesthood, religious life, or even marriage during the coronavirus pandemic: “We need men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for God’s people. There is no time like the present. Every age is challenging. Every age is filled with fear of the unknown. There has never been a time that following Jesus in a radical way did not present challenges. Because following Jesus is always an invitation to follow Him to the cross. Do not be afraid, pick up your cross, and come and follow Him. He is the resurrection and the life.”

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VOCACIONES Seminarista esquina

Superando el cambio con oración Por Elizabeth Morales

M South Texas Catholic

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uchos pueden recordar la primera vez que el coronavirus apareció en los titulares de todas las fuentes de noticias del mundo y, en consecuencia, el impacto que causó directamente en nuestras vidas. Para aquellos que disciernen el sacerdocio o han sido ordenados recientemente, les afectó en formas nunca antes experimentadas. Las restricciones a la misa hicieron que los fieles, que una vez llenaron las bancas de la iglesia, tuvieran que ver una misa televisada desde sus hogares. Para muchos sacerdotes, celebrar la misa sin ver los rostros de sus feligreses ha sido un gran desafío. Para algunos sacerdotes, parecía que el mundo se había detenido. El padre R.J. Regalado comenzó sus primeras asignaciones sacerdotales el 8 de junio del 2019, en la Parroquia de la Preciosísima Sangre de Cristo, y también como Capellán para del Ministerio de El seminarista Javier Palacios carga la cruz en procesión al entrar para Caridades Católicas y Enriquecimiento celebrar la misa en la parroquia de San Pedro, Principe de los Apostoles. de la Vida para Personas con Discapacidades. Se había acostumbrado a celebrar la misa con su rebaño casi todos los días, y Su amor, pero eso significa que debemos calmarnos y de repente, en lugar de celebrar la misa frente a 1.200 guardar silencio”, dijo el padre Regalado. personas, se quedó solo, consigo mismo y su cámara. Con un año de sacerdocio en su haber, la pandemia El cambio finalmente se hizo sentir, y durante la Misa inesperada era inimaginable. “La pandemia me ha ensede la Vigilia Pascual, inesperadamente comenzó a llorar ñado a confiar en el Señor”, dijo el padre Regalado. durante su homilía. “Como nuevo sacerdote, trato de llevar paz cuando Como sacerdote, el Padre Regalado se tomó muy en hay caos”. Vio que muchas personas estaban ansiosas serio su llamado, como padre espiritual de su rebaño. cuando el gobierno cerró. “Hay miedo, y aparte tienen Sintió profundamente el dolor de la separación de sus que encerrarse en casa con la familia, esto da lugar a feligreses. “Dios me confió a estas personas”, dijo, y una falta de caridad entre ellos. Pero en lugar de ser agregó, “y el sacerdocio es relacional. Somos provee- feos, recemos los unos por los otros “, dijo alentador, dores y protectores”, dijo, comparando la incapacidad recordándole a las personas, que su hogar es una iglesia de ver a sus ovejas como un síndrome del nido vacío. doméstica. Recordó que su devoción a Santa María Magdalena Él alienta a los fieles a regresar a la misa, ya que le ayudó durante este período tan desafiante. “Cuando nutre su vida hogareña: “Como católicos, necesitamos ella no reconoce al Jesús resucitado, tiene que lidiar volver a la Eucaristía y volver a ser personas eucarísticon esta nueva forma en que él se presenta a ella. Con cas. La iglesia doméstica es importante, pero también todo lo que está sucediendo, podemos caer fácilmente es importante recibir la Eucaristía para que cuando en la ansiedad, pero Él está realmente en medio de regresemos a casa, a la iglesia doméstica, podamos dar todo esto. Tenemos que permitirle que nos hable con a Cristo a los demás”. QUE TODOS SE AN UNO

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VOCACIONES Seminarista esquina

Javier Palacios, en su primer año como seminarista para la Diócesis de Corpus Christi, dijo que él estaba en las vacaciones de primavera de sus cursos en el Seminario Holy Trinity de la Universidad de Dallas, cuando la pandemia cambió su plan de estudios al aprendizaje en línea. Terminó el resto de su semestre de forma remota. “No fue tan difícil”, dijo Palacios, atribuyendo su suave adaptación al aprendizaje en línea para vivir en el mundo como adulto antes de ingresar al seminario. Palacios también explicó que su relación con Jesús le ayudó durante la transición. Reconociendo que es difícil para los laicos no poder recibir a nuestro Señor verdaderamente presente en la Eucaristía diaria o semanalmente, dijo que a través de la oración íntima y nuestro anhelo de estar con Él, podemos encontrar la paz aquí en la tierra. “La misa es el alimento mayor, pero aún tenemos que comprometer nuestra vida diaria a la oración, porque es solo a través de la oración que tenemos una relación diaria con Él, esforzándonos por ser santos como Él es santo, para lo cual hemos sido creados, “Agregó. Aunque su primer año no fue como lo esperaba, Palacios aprendió a confiar en la provisión de Dios, con respecto a los asuntos pequeños y grandes de la vida. Por ejemplo, compartió: “No tengo un vehículo. Renuncié a eso cuando ingresé al seminario, primero porque, era algo que ya no podía pagar con mis finanzas, pero sobre todo, me permitió dejar que Dios tomara el control. Era permitir que Dios me condujera hacia dónde El quería llevarme”. Un vehículo le garantizaba la libertad de ir a donde el quisiera, sin embargo el lo vio como una oportunidad de pedirle aventón a sus compañeros seminaristas para crecer en amistad y desarrollar un vínculo fraternal. El padre Dave Brokke, de la Sociedad de Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad, ordenado al sacerdocio recientemente, el 18 de julio, ofrece otra perspectiva. Dijo que mientras se preparaba para su ordenación, durante la pandemia, le fue muy difícil emocionalmente, ya que permaneció en una especie de montaña rusa, especialmente cuando Corpus Christi se convirtió en el nuevo epicentro de la pandemia en la nación. Los amigos

y familiares tuvieron que cancelar sus viajes. “Recibía llamadas, mensajes de texto, mensajes de correo electrónico y correos electrónicos varias veces al día por nuevas cancelaciones de personas que habían estado esperando por años para acudir a mi ordenación”. Dijo que lo único que le ayudó a darle paz y perspectiva fue leer en Romanos 8:28: “Y sabemos que en todas las cosas Dios obra para el bien de aquellos que lo aman, que han sido llamados de acuerdo con su propósito”. El padre Brokke dijo que al poner su confianza en Dios, sabía que usaría esta ofrenda para algo hermoso. A lo largo de esta experiencia, aprendió cuán flexible debemos permanecer en las manos de Dios. “Nosotros, como humanos, no tenemos la última palabra. Dios finalmente tiene el control. Necesitamos reducir la velocidad. Estar arraigado en la oración y permitir que el Señor sea nuestro gozo ”, dijo el padre Brokke. Cuando la vida no se desarrolla según lo planeado, “necesitamos regocijarnos, orar siempre, darle gracias constantemente y confiar en Él en todas las circunstancias”. A pesar de las situaciones imprevistas que enfrentó el padre Brokke durante sus preparativos finales, la alegría de la ordenación al sacerdocio superó todas las dificultades que le rodearon. “Me siento tan completamente en paz y feliz a donde el Señor me ha llevado. Es una gran alegría saber que soy suyo, y que él es mío, que soy su sacerdote. Un amigo mío dijo: “Tu naciste para ser esto”. Y puedo decir honestamente: “Sí, creo que es verdad, esto simplemente encaja”. Es extraño cómo lo sobrenatural se siente tan natural, y es extraño que esto no sea extraño “, dijo el padre Brokke. Instó a cualquiera que discierna el sacerdocio, la vida religiosa o incluso el matrimonio durante la pandemia del coronavirus: “Necesitamos hombres y mujeres que estén dispuestos a dar sus vidas por el pueblo de Dios. No hay un tiempo como el presente. Cada época es un desafío. Cada edad está llena de miedo a lo desconocido. Nunca ha habido un momento en que seguir a Jesús de manera radical no presentara desafíos. Porque seguir a Jesús siempre es una invitación a seguirlo a la cruz. No tengas miedo, toma tu cruz y ven a seguirlo. Él es la resurrección y la vida “.

El obispo Michael Mulvey y el personal de la Oficina del Medio Ambiente Seguridad y Recursos para Niños y Familias están comprometidos a ayudar a aquellos que han sufrido abusos de cualquier tipo. Para asistencia inmediata, apoyo e información de referencia, llame al Coordinador de Asistencia a Víctimas Stephanie Bonilla al (361) 693-6686. 14  

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WOMAN OF STRENGTH Mary our example

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Mary’s Pilgrimage of Faith

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By Father Peter Marsalek, SOLT Contributor

t. John Paul II often referred to Mary’s discipleship of Jesus as a “pilgrimage of faith,” a phrase originally found in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium. The expression beautifully captures the manner in which Mary lived and provides us with a vivid image to embrace in our own journey of discipleship. A pilgrimage is a journey to a particular destination of religious significance. To successfully complete a pilgrimage, one needs directions and a path to follow. In the pilgrimage of faith, life is a journey on the path of Jesus Christ which leads us to safely arrive at our heavenly destination – communion with the Most Holy Trinity. As we proceed through life, there are bumps and twists in the road representing various challenges such as sickness, sin, upheaval, strife, suffering and death, which require us to persevere in faith, all the while keeping our eyes fixed on our final destination lest we deviate off course and lose our sense of purpose. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the perfect model of the pilgrimage of faith. Mary’s journey was the most remarkable and the most mysterious. Remarkable given the uniqueness of her mission to be the Mother of the Redeemer and her special preparation of being preserved from all stain of sin (Immaculate Conception); mysterious in that she traveled down an almost unimaginable, unknown

path that required a heroic response of faith each step of the way. Three key moments of Mary’s pilgrimage of faith that I would like to highlight here are the Annunciation (the beginning), the Crucifixion (the climax), and the Assumption (the end/arrival). At the Annunciation we see Mary’s total openness to God’s plan to become Incarnate; her willingness in faith to allow His plans to become totally her plans. In joyfully consenting to become the Mother of Jesus, Mary freely made a decision of faith and trust that consumed the entire course of her earthly life. Mary’s journey inevitably led her to the cross, “the Blessed Virgin Mary advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice” (LG 58). Faced with the unimaginable suffering of her Son being crucified before her eyes, Mary remained there steadfast in faith, as a support to her Son, and in trust that God’s will would indeed be accomplished even through the mystery of the cross. Finally, Mary’s pilgrimage of faith concluded at the Assumption, whereby she was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory at the end of her earthly life. While it remains an open question whether or not Mary died, St. John Paul II opined that on account of Mary’s close union with her Son she would have even desired to share in the experience of the drama of death, even though she was preserved from the stain of sin. Mary followed the path of Christ perfectly and arrived securely at the destination of heavenly glory. In some ways, our pilgrimage of faith is incredibly unique. We are the only ones who live through the particular circumstances, challenges, joys and experiences of our own life. Furthermore, we are the only ones who can give an assent of faith to understand those same events in the light of Jesus Christ. In other ways, our pilgrimage of faith is common, in that Jesus Himself is the same path to follow and the destination is identical for all – communion with the Most Holy Trinity. Following the example of our Blessed Mother Mary, let us pray that we too live as authentic pilgrims of faith, always assenting in faith to accept and trust in God’s plans, to embrace the cross of Jesus Christ, and to successfully reach our heavenly homeland!

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS letter from the superintendent

Suits of armor, hearts of love By Rosemary Henry, Ph. D.

T Contributor

he sculptor sees the finished product in his mind’s eye, even before it’s formed. The answer lies in his polished strokes, the perfect shaping, forming the essence of its beauty for the final reveal. The outcome is extraordinary. God, the creative artist of life, creates strong and resilient children in our Catholic schools—where he is always present. Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” How do we, in our Catholic schools, fortify our children with the armor of resiliency amidst the world’s crises and painful experiences in life? How do we approach the mystery of coping with uncertainty, overcoming obstacles, large and small, and teaching the principles of adaptability? How do we guide our youth to rise above the fall and catapult them upon the canvas of success? How do Catholic schools prepare our children, today, for a life of learning, leading and serving?

Resiliency: Resiliency is the spark that helps students and teachers keep the flame bright for development and growth. Resiliency is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or forms of significant stress. These may include family and relationship problems, health issues, failures, natural disasters and more. Resiliency is a psychological quality that allows people to be knocked down by life’s adversities and bounce back stronger than before. Such character development is rooted in the belief that success is possible but requires taking intentional steps to reach the goal. This important quality can be taught and learned as a guiding principle to aid children at all developmental stages. We can teach our children to cope with obstacles and lead them to a pathway for success. Catholic schools provide essential resources to form strong and resilient youth.

Relationship building: True to our evangelizing mission, our Catholic schools provide opportunities for our students to encounter, to know and to love Jesus Christ. Studying and living out the gospel messages help children develop a 16  

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moral compass. Values and virtues guide our children in ethical decision making. Through engagement in prayer, the Eucharist, Liturgy and spiritual retreats, our students grow in their faith life. What’s more, students participate in Christian service programs to promote the lived reality of action in service of social justice. Confident that the Lord never abandons children entrusted to our care, we have the assurance that they will navigate through hard times and disappointments, and during times of trial, tribulation and joy. We design this plan. The students deserve this plan. Our Catholic schools strive to deliver this plan. But, it is up to God to mold, transform and sanctify as children journey through this earthly life.

Environmental landscape – community of faith, family and connection: Catholic schools provide a safe, secure, nurturing and Christ-centered learning environment. Students are dignified and celebrated for their unique differences. Each child becomes part of a unified school family, where community spirit thrives and where students learn, play and pray together. Within engaging and dynamic classrooms, students and teachers set the stage for authentic life connections and relationships that stand the test of time. With encouragement, support and care, our youth develop a personal voice of expression to articulate ideas, thoughts and feelings, fears, hopes and dreams. All this becomes evident within a safe haven where acceptance prevails over ridicule. Catholic schools, as part of their mission, challenge students to achieve and to succeed. Students learn that failures become new opportunities to accomplish and to reach new levels of success. Close and genuine relationships with students, friends or caring adults engender support during difficult and uncertain times. A student’s serious hardship is met with a listening ear where coping, and adaptive skills are born.

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS letter from the superintendent

Additionally, high behavioral and academic expectations contribute to the bedrock of important influences that predispose children to positive outcomes in the face of significant adversity. Our Catholic schools succeed in building adaptative skills and self-regulatory capacities. These skills and abilities optimize our students’ resilient behaviors and outcomes. Such life-giving powers help children to, not only, manage stress, and to cope with adversity, but also reach their full potential. It is this community of faith, family and connection, that prepares our children with courage and substance to navigate successfully through the storms of life – today and tomorrow.

Service to others:

Service programs and activities are fundamental to Catholic education and core to Catholic discipleship. Youth, at all levels of development, grow in their awareness, responsibility and duty to society to serve with compassion. Catholic social teaching guides our students to not only witness but to act and to serve through volunteer work and service-learning – near and far. Whether tenderly serving the homeless, the veterans, the incarcerated, those in need of housing, tutoring students, contributing to local parishes or attending to the elderly brings a swelling of the heart that explodes with satisfaction, gratification and compassion. Our

students are instilled with values that are not just about giving back, but rather, building up their community, their Church, and the world. Service matters in the lives of our Catholic school youth. Such service transforms our faith into action. Living out the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy is an essential part of our faith and further prepares our students to serve others their entire lives. Jesus, our ultimate role model, encouraged us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and serve the sick. Our students are called to this way of life with a strength of conviction and the courage to overcome obstacles. Perhaps focusing on helping others by bringing others out of despair, our youth may more effectively grapple with life’s adversities and hardships, enabling them to move away from self-centered values to virtues centered on others. Service-learning in our Catholic schools provides the perfect blend and landscape to encourage passion and love to bloom and shine through our youth’s minds and hearts. In a time of great peril and promise, our students, strong in mind, body and spirit, stand firm with shield and armor. Armed and fortified with resiliency, love and compassion for others, they are ready to take their place in our vast and beautiful world. Our Catholic schools form, like a sculptor, with a chisel in hand, missionary disciples in service to Christ—the noblest of tasks.

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FIGHTING RACISM in ourselves and others

Seeing through the eyes of a child By Monica Gatlin Contributor

“At that time, the disciples’ approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-3).

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In asking what the Church is doing, we must ask all ask ourselves, “What am I doing?” We, you and I are the Church. It seems simple enough, but the reality is some of us have made our own sinful mistakes, allowed barriers to remain in place, remained silent, and quite frankly have become desensitized to the real pain racism creates.

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acism has been a big discussion in my family since my husband left his childhood home to marry me. Early in our dating relationship, my Hispanic ethnicity became a barrier that my husband’s mother would not cross. It was made very clear that I would never be accepted. But we would marry anyway. We would create our own family, and our children would know the obstacles, the hurdles and the sacrifices we had to face because of racial ignorance and indifference. We have now been married 32 years and have four children raised in the same loving Catholic home, but as the world labels them, they are also Gen Y (millennials) and Gen Z. We have had some fascinating, thought-provoking and, at times, emotional questions and discussions. The recent death of George Floyd and the racial divide that came back to light brought us into some deep conversations with our children. Three questions seemed to be on their minds, and our kids were coming to us for answers: 1. “Where is the Catholic Church during this time of racial divide?” 2. “Why don’t we see and hear what the Catholic Church is doing?” 3. “Why are we still dealing with racism in 2020?” which bordered on “Why are the boomers not getting it?”. I have found that most often, when people ask, “Where is the Church?” they are searching for a clear definition of Church teaching. The 1979 U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, entitled “Brothers and Sisters to Us” clearly defines racism as a sin. A sin that ultimately leads to the division of the human family. The 2018 United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love a Pastoral Letter Against Racism” goes even further and defines the racial acts of exclusion, ridicule, mistreatment and discrimination as sinful acts that violate justice. The definition is clear: Racism is a sin, and it’s clear that it violates the right of human dignity.

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FIGHTING RACISM in ourselves and others

The pain is real. It is destroying people, families and communities. Lives are ending. I remember the first time I heard Pope Francis say, “We must all learn how to weep again.” I had to really reflect on those words. Had I forgotten how to cry? Were the injustices of the world happening so often or so far away that I could no longer feel the need of my neighbor? Then as God would have it, I was given a front-row view, from ironically enough, the last pew of my Church to truly understand what it means to weep again. This last pew is set apart from the others as it rests right up against the church wall. It’s not my favorite place to sit, as it can become an easy place to get distracted as you get a full view of everything and everyone in front of you. That morning in the pew in front of me, was a grandmother, her daughter, and her granddaughter, who must have been about three years old. She was quiet and, for the most part, well behaved. As we prepared to hear the readings, she decided to lay under the pew to color in her coloring book.

I found myself watching as she focused on the perfect colors to pick as she colored with such thoughtful expression. She seemed at peace. I returned my attention to the readings when soon after a baby started to cry on the other side of the Church. It was a cry that instantly drew this young girl out from underneath the pew. She stood on the pew to look for the crying baby. The baby’s father was trying to move ever so quickly to the cry room. This young girl watched his every step. And soon, her big beautiful brown eyes filled with tears as she saw and heard this crying baby. A connection of the heart had been made. Tears rolled down this young girl’s face as she watched every step this father took while holding and comforting his child. As he entered the solace of the cry room, the young girl wiped her tears, reached for her mother’s hand and stood up next to her as she turned her attention toward the altar. While never uttering a sound, her actions were loudly begging me to look towards the Lord’s table and ask myself if I knew where God was leading me. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. My own eyes filled with tears as I remembered those words, “We must all learn how to weep again.” Our nation is weeping. There is someone out there who needs me, who needs us all – to be like that little girl. To get out from underneath whatever holds us back from listening, from opening our eyes, acknowledging human dignity, and loving the stranger, the neighbor and the most vulnerable. We recognize that we all want and need to be heard, seen, and so desperately want to be loved, cared for, respected and treated with dignity – as if we are in the arms of our Father. It’s a call to be silent no more. But only after truly listening with a Christian heart. It’s a call to examine our conscience and to look honestly at our own way of living. To promote liberty, equality and justice in the public forum, we begin first at home. Do we hear, truly listen, to the people in our own homes, our community, parishes, and workplaces? Are we willing to have tough conversations and then follow through with a call to serve in love? Love can overcome racism. It is the answer. Christ teaches that love is sacrificial and unconditional. It’s the love we are called to give to others even through adversity. It can be challenging to take the stand as it was difficult for my husband to do so many years ago. I am sure the path that begins and ends in love can bring a divided nation together again. As Christians, we all have a lot of work to do to end racism. We must begin now, spread the Good Word of the Gospel in our families, our work, our school, our parish and our community – weeping as Christ wept and loving as Christ loves.

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COMBATIR EL RACISMO en nosotros mismos y en los demás

Viendo a través de los ojos de un niño Por Monica Gatlin

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l racismo ha sido tema de gran discusión en mi familia desde que mi esposo dejó la casa de su niñez para casarse conmigo. Al principio de nuestra relación de noviazgo, mi etnia hispana se convirtió en una barrera que la madre de mi esposo no cruzaría. Se dejó muy claro que yo nunca sería aceptada. Pero nos casamos de todos modos. Creamos nuestra propia familia, y nuestros hijos sabrán de los obstáculos, penurias y sacrificios, que tuvimos que enfrentar debido a la ignorancia e indiferencia racial. Llevamos 32 años de casados y tenemos cuatro hijos, criados en el mismo hogar católico amoroso, pero como el mundo los etiqueta, también son Gen Y (millennials) y Gen Z. Hemos tenido algunas fascinantes, estimulantes y provocativas discusiones, a veces con preguntas que generan emociones difíciles. La reciente muerte de George Floyd y la división racial que salió a la luz, nos llevaron a tener conversaciones profundas con nuestros hijos. Tres preguntas parecían estar en sus mentes, y nuestros hijos acudían a nosotros en busca de respuestas: 1. “¿Dónde está la Iglesia Católica durante este tiempo de división racial?” 2. “¿Por qué no vemos y escuchamos lo que está haciendo la Iglesia Católica?” 3. “¿Por qué seguimos lidiando con el racismo en 2020?” ¿Qué nos limita o nos detiene? “¿Por qué los boomers no lo entienden?”. He encontrado con frecuencia, que cuando la gente pregunta: “¿Dónde está la Iglesia?” Están buscando una definición clara de las enseñanzas de la Iglesia. La Carta Pastoral de los Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos de 1979 sobre el racismo, titulada “Hermanos y hermanas para nosotros”, define claramente el racismo como un pecado. Un pecado que finalmente conduce a la división de la familia humana. La propuesta de la Conferencia Nacional de Obispos Católicos en el 2018, fue: “Abramos ampliamente nuestros corazones: al llamado perdurable del amor, una carta

pastoral contra el racismo”. Y va más allá, define los actos raciales de exclusión, ridiculez maltrato y discriminación, como actos pecaminosos que violan la justicia. La definición es clara: el racismo es un pecado, y también está claro que viola el derecho a la dignidad humana. En vez de preguntar, qué está haciendo la Iglesia al respecto, debemos preguntarnos a nosotros mismos: “¿Qué estoy haciendo yo?” porque nosotros, usted y yo somos la Iglesia. Parece bastante simple, pero la realidad es que algunos de nosotros hemos cometido nuestros propios errores pecaminosos, hemos permitido que las barreras permanezcan, nos hemos quedado callados, en silencio y, francamente, nos hemos vuelto insensibles al verdadero dolor que crea el racismo. El dolor es real. Está destruyendo personas, familias y comunidades. Las vidas están terminando. Recuerdo la primera vez que escuché al Papa Francisco decir: “Todos debemos aprender a llorar de nuevo”. Realmente tuve que reflexionar sobre esas palabras. ¿Acaso había olvidado cómo llorar? ¿Las injusticias del mundo ocurrían tan a menudo o tan lejos de mí que ya no podía sentir la necesidad de mi vecino? Entonces, como Dios lo depara, se me mostro una visión de primera fila, irónicamente, desde la última banca de mi Iglesia para hacerme comprender lo que realmente significa llorar de nuevo. Esta última banca, queda aparte de todas las demás, ya que se apoya contra la pared de la iglesia. No es mi lugar favorito para sentarme, ya que puede convertirse en un lugar fácil para distraerse porque tiene una vista completa de todo y de todos los que están frente a usted. Esa mañana, en la banca frente a mí, había una abuela, su hija y su nieta, quien debe haber tenido alrededor de tres años. La mayor parte del tiempo estuvo callada, portándose bien. Mientras nos preparábamos para escuchar las lecturas, ella decidió acostarse debajo de la banca para colorear su libro.

In the spirit of proper stewardship, the Diocese of Corpus Christi encourages the reporting of any financial abuse concerns or related issues. Report confidentially to: financialconcerns@diocesecc.org En el espíritu de una administración adecuada, la Diócesis de Corpus Christi alienta a informar cualquier inquietud de abuso financiero o problemas relacionados. Informe confidencialmente a: financialconcerns@diocesecc.org 20 

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COMBATIR EL RACISMO en nosotros mismos y en los demás

“En aquellos tiempos, los discípulos se acercaron a Jesús y le preguntaron:” ¿Señor, quién es el más grande en el reino de los cielos?” El llamó a un niño, lo colocó en medio de ellos y dijo: “Amén, te digo que, a menos que te vuelvas como un niño, no entrarás en el reino de los cielos” (Mateo 18: 1-3).

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Me encontré observando a la niña mientras ella se enfocaba en la elección de los colores para colorear su cuaderno, con una expresión muy pensativa. Parecía estar en paz. Volví mi atención a las lecturas cuando poco después un bebé comenzó a llorar al otro lado de la Iglesia. Era un llanto que sacó instantáneamente a la pequeña de debajo de la banca. Se paró sobre ella para buscar al bebé que lloraba. El padre del bebé intentaba salir rápido hacia la sala de llanto. La pequeña miraba atenta cada uno de los movimientos del padre del bebe. Y vi como de pronto, sus grandes y hermosos ojos cafés se llenaron de lágrimas cuando vio y escuchó a ese bebé llorando. Se había hecho una conexión del corazón. Las lágrimas rodaron por su cara mientras observaba cada paso que este padre daba, sosteniendo y consolando a su hijo. Cuando entró en la confortante sala de llanto, la niña se secó las lágrimas, tomó la mano de su madre y se puso de pie junto a ella mientras volvía su atención hacia el altar. Aunque nunca pronunció un sonido, sus acciones me rogaban en voz alta que mirara hacia la mesa del Señor y me preguntara si acaso sabía a dónde me dirigía Dios. Fue uno de los momentos más bellos que he experimentado. Mis propios ojos se llenaron de lágrimas al recordar esas palabras: “Todos debemos aprender a llorar de nuevo”. Nuestra nación está llorando. Hay alguien por ahí que me necesita, que nos necesita a todos, para ser como esa pequeña niña y salir de los escombros, de todo aquello que nos impide escuchar, abrir los ojos, para reconocer la dignidad humana y amar al extraño, al vecino a los más vulnerables. Reconocemos que todos queremos y necesitamos ser escuchados, vistos, y desesperadamente deseosos de ser amados, cuidados, respetados, de ser tratados y acogidos con dignidad, como si estuviéramos en los brazos de nuestro Padre. Es un llamado a no callar más, pero solo después de saber escuchar verdaderamente, con un corazón cristiano. Es un llamado a examinar nuestra consciencia y a mirar con honestidad nuestra forma de vida. Para promover la libertad,

la igualdad y la justicia en el foro público, se comienza primero en casa. ¿Escuchamos, realmente oímos, a las personas en nuestros propios hogares, nuestra comunidad, parroquias y lugares de trabajo? ¿Estamos dispuestos a tener conversaciones difíciles y después continuar con un llamado de servicio en el amor? El amor puede vencer el racismo. Esa es la respuesta. Cristo enseña que el amor es incondicional e implica sacrificio. Es al amor a lo que todos estamos llamados a dar a otros, incluso a través de la adversidad. Puede ser desafiante, sostenerse ante el reto, ya que fue difícil para mi esposo hacerlo hace muchos años. Estoy segura de que el camino que comienza y termina en el amor puede volver a unir a una nación dividida. Como cristianos, todos tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer para acabar con el racismo. Debemos comenzar ahora, difundir la Buena Palabra del Evangelio en nuestras familias, nuestro trabajo, nuestra escuela, nuestra parroquia y nuestra comunidad, llorando como Cristo lloró y amando como Cristo ama.

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SPREADING THE LIGHT holy friendships

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure.

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– Sirach 6:14

Building holy friendships Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT

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very person longs for a close friend. We come into the world with an innate desire to be seen, known and loved. The human heart longs to give, to receive and to be understood. We all want to have a safe place to call home where our hearts are cared for, and joy is born, sorrow is mutually carried, the truth is spoken with love and where we can be ourselves. Authentic love is a place of rest, enlightenment and connection, and it brings us beyond ourselves into something greater. While we have many relationships and acquaintances in this life, we can probably count our closest and dearest 22 

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friends on one hand. When you think of your best friends, what comes to your mind? What do you love about them? How do they love you? A philosophical definition of true friendship is shared goodwill – the mutual seeking of the good for the other. It is a friendship based on virtue, excellence and goodness. It is beholding the other not in what they can give or how useful they are, but in the truth of who they are – as unique, precious and unrepeatable persons. It wants their good, delighting in their person and staying the course in longevity during the ups and downs of life. We all want a love like this, and when we do love like this, we become a sturdy shelter, a true treasure.

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SPREADING THE LIGHT holy friendships

Sister Miriam James Heidland is a former Division I athlete who had a radical conversion and joined the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) in 1998. Her story has been featured on EWTN’s The Journey Home, SEEK Conferences, USCCB Convocation, Steubenville Conferences and other outlets.

Building friendships of this caliber requires a mutual commitment of time, continued communication and selflessness. It is receiving the gift of the other person, giving of ourselves as well and seeking the good of the other in both joy and sorrow. Friendships like these only happen at the foundational levels when our hearts are oriented towards goodness ourselves, and we are seeking virtue. When friendships break down, it is often because there is a lack of real communication and time spent together. Life can get hectic, and we begin to take the people in our lives for granted, and we stop investing in them and the friendship. At times areas of disagreement or pain fester and become walls of resentment and harshness that mitigate against the trust that friendship requires. Lack of mutual love, trust and communication can shatter a friendship or thwart its healthy growth. We all know the pain of a current or past friendship that bears these qualities, and it is agonizing. We know there must be a way through it all, a place where the highest beauty of friendship is found. In all that we have to say about friends and friendship, the most stunning reality to me is that in the Gospel of John 15:15, Jesus makes a piercing revelation. He proclaims, “I no longer call you slaves because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” He does not relate to us as slaves, He elevates us to friends. This is absolutely astonishing. The Lord of the universe, the King of Kings, the One who suffered and died and rose again for us, calls us his friends. God Himself shares his heart with us, forgives us our sins and failings, receives us and listens to us. He loves us. He sits beside us in our deepest suffering

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She holds a master’s degree in theology from the Augustine Institute and speaks extensively on the topics of conversion, authentic love, forgiveness, healing (and sports!). Sister Miriam’s podcast, Abiding Together, can be found on iTunes and her book, Loved As I Am, can be found on Amazon. She tweets at @onegroovynun.

and shame and is the author of every beautiful desire and joy we experience. Oh, how He loves us. His love is not a trite idea or a superficial reality. This revelation of Jesus changes everything. It means we are never alone or abandoned or misunderstood. In the grace of his love and friendship, he gives us the grace to love others. Jesus teaches us what authentic love is and gives us the capacity to experience it deeply. He is the friend who never fails and who always speaks the truth to us in love. He leads us to Himself and teaches us how to see others as He sees them and loves them accordingly. He also receives our love and our hearts and longs to be one with us. He is the teacher and friend par excellence. We build holy friendships by allowing Jesus to befriend us and transform us and by watching and then putting into practice what we see and experience in Jesus. He is all that is good, true and beautiful. To have good friends, we must be good friends. We must be willing to be honest and transparent. We must be willing to be inconvenienced and vulnerable, to say we are sorry and to bring love into painful situations. We must take the risk of joy and playfulness and think of others and how to bless them. We must seek the true good of our friends – Jesus Christ Himself. And we must allow our friends to do the same for us. The adventure of life takes us down many roads. We are not meant to travel alone. It is said that “friends multiply our joys and divide our sorrows” – it is so very true. Friendships are costly and priceless all at the same time. It is a precious treasure. Would that we always have a few people in our lives to whom we can go with our hearts, hopes and heartache. Who in your life is a sturdy shelter, and how can you bless them today?

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MARRIAGE

witnessing God’s love to one another

Marriage is a journey of faith, a witness to others of God’s love Conversation by Julie Stark

Director Office of Communications and South Texas Catholic

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ccording to the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 1601-1602, God established marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman, a partnership, “ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. This covenant has

been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are all called to witness to the love of Christ – it is the same in a marriage. The New Evangelization, first called forth by St. Pope John Paul II, encourages all Catholics to share the Gospel, again. To deepen their faith and share it. Marriage and family have been marginalized over the last several decades, and we need more couples to be witnesses to the sacrament of marriage. Sharing the Gospel through married life gives witness to the sacraments and is a way to participate in the New Evangelization.

Julie: Can you each tell me a little about your upbringing? Jason: I was the oldest of four children. I have an all too familiar story as a cradle Catholic. I can recall going to CCD and Mass to receive first Communion. After that, I remember attending church on Christmas and Easter. Although going to church may not have been a priority at that time, I always knew I was loved by my parents, and my parents loved God. As an adult, my parents have led us all back to the faith, and I am grateful for their example. Hester: I was second to the oldest of eight children. When we were growing up, we were often asked if we were Catholic. At the time, I didn’t understand what that meant. My parents raised us with values associated with the New Age movement back in the 70s. Neither Church nor religion was a part of my upbringing. We were taught how to work hard, be independent and responsible and take care of one another. Holistic living was the foundational norm in our home. My 24 

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One local couple, Jason and Hester Rodriguez, tell the South Texas Catholic about their marriage journey of faith and how their marriage has grown and matured, especially as they grew to live out their marriage as a witness to others of the love of God.

Jason and Hester Rodriguez pray at St. Pius X Parish.

Aunt, Grandmother and Great Grandmother taught me the Lord’s prayer and would talk to me about the bible. They planted little seeds of faith in me, and I can remember from an early age praying to God. Julie: How did you meet? Jason: Hester and I were high school sweethearts. I was an upperclassman in high school, and Hester was an incoming sophomore. I was told she had a crush on me, but I really didn’t know her. We were both involved in band and played the trumpet. I met her before school started during summer practice. I was smitten instantly; she was spunky, and when she smiled, she lit up. I

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MARRIAGE

witnessing God’s love to one another asked her out on our first date to the movies, and the rest is history. Hester: Jason and I met in high school; we both played the trumpet in band. I fell in love with his soft brown eyes and his warm, inviting smile. After our first date, I came home and wrote in my journal that this was the man I was to marry one day. We were married a year after high school. We were young and very naive. We chose a hard path, but after 30 years of marriage, I wouldn’t change anything good or bad that we have been through. Each day has taught us how to love each other and those around us more fully. Julie: What did you do to prepare for marriage? Were you married in the Catholic church or another faith tradition? Hester: We were not married in the church when we married in 1990. In 2000, after ten years of marriage and four children, Jason and I both attended a retreat here in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The retreat made a huge impact on our lives. A year later, I was baptized in the church. I received all of my sacraments, and our marriage was con validated. During this time, our faith grew, and we began a relationship with God that continues to this day. Julie: What is the most challenging aspect of marriage? Jason: The most challenging aspect of marriage for us has been working as a team. It is being on the same page with the same values and goals in life, working together with God to raise our family and staying connected. Marriage is hard, and if anyone ever tells you differently, they’re not telling the truth or are only engaged on the surface. Joining two hearts and minds that come from different backgrounds takes a lot of prayer, sacrifice and perseverance. Hester: ... even more so when you marry young. We have had to learn how to heal, together and individually, to more deeply unite our hearts with one another and God. We are always seeking to learn and grow so we can love God and each other better; that journey never ends. Daily praying together and receiving the sacraments together has helped us grow closer in the past few years and have strengthened our marriage. Julie: What is the most rewarding aspect of marriage? Jason and Hester: The most rewarding aspect of marriage is having a lifelong spouse to share your life with. We get to participate in a union that reflects Christ’s love for his bride, the Church. That’s a big deal and can be very rewarding! As we’ve grown stronger in our

relationship with God, we have grown closer to each other. We have experienced greater depths of vulnerability with each other as our hearts have become more known. Teamwork is a big thing for us being that we work together too. When we have problems and can talk through them to understand the heart of what’s going on, not just what appears on the surface, we are a couple living in a union. Marriage is a path to holiness, and we encourage each other on the journey. We make a good team; we complement one another and that is good. And then there is the blessings watching our family grow – seeing our four children in their twenties getting married and having children of their own. That truly is a gift and a blessing that keeps on filling our hearts. Julie: Today, being a witness of love in marriage is especially important. Have you mentored or talked to young people about this sacrament (either in your parish or in your family)? Jason and Hester: One of the most beautiful ways we were witnesses to marriage was being in a dinner group with other couples. At the time, they were more seasoned in their lives than we were. They didn’t do anything specific other than just share their experiences with us. They witnessed God’s love for us and showed us the beauty of a sacramental marriage. I think Jason and I, in our own way do the same thing. Hopefully, our life together witnesses the priority God is to both of us. The importance of marriage and commitment. Family dinners are a priority in our family. We invite our children over once a week to share a meal. We pray together and connect and share our lives. It’s beautiful to see our children laugh and engage with one another as adults. And Jason and I get to sit back and play with the grandkids and just be present to it all. Julie: What are two pointers that you would give young couples or those who are thinking of marriage? Jason and Hester: Learn to pray together daily and never stop seeking God within your lives individually and then collectively as a couple and as a family. Be real and authentic; don’t give up when things get hard, because they do. Draw closer to God; pray harder. Evaluate your own expectations about marriage, what do I have to give versus what am I getting. Become more aware of the lens in which you view your spouse. Find like-minded couples to stay connected to. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling when needed. Last but not least, marriage is beautiful when it’s lived selflessly. It requires tremendous vulnerability and courage, but the gift of marriage as a sacrament brings forth so much life and joy!

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BE NOT AFRAID

STEVE HARVEY | UNSPLASH

voting with a well-formed conscience

Catholics and Civic Participation Benedict Nguyen, MTS, JCL/JD, D.Min (ABD)

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Chancellor for the Diocese of Corpus Christi

hroughout the history of the Church and even today, the question of how faithful Catholics can and should exercise civic participation has been an area of great interest. The Church has always called for people of faith to make Jesus Christ present in our world. In the exercise of our civic duties, we have an important opportunity to exercise a “faithful citizenship” that promotes and fosters the common good. Participation in civic and social life should continually call us and our society to a deeper examination of our values and actions, so that the dignity of every human person is recognized and respected, and a just and peaceful 26 

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society can be fostered. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1913-1927). This is among the important ways of living out our baptismal call and putting our Faith into action. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Diocese of Corpus Christi intends to tell anyone how to vote by endorsing candidates or political parties. Partisan electioneering is not the goal of the Church’s teachings on political responsibility. Rather, the Church calls her members to develop a deep and continual formation of conscience.

Conscience

More than merely “feelings” or falsely justifying doing

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what we please, conscience is a “judgement of reason” that allows us to check a specific action against the truth to discern whether it is right or wrong, so that we can always do good and avoid evil. (cf. CCC 1778). Conscience is a safeguard against our emotions which can so often deceive us. Since conscience equips us to consider prudentially the various complex political and social questions, true “faithful citizenship” requires that we bring to our civic involvement a conscience that is developed and well-formed.

How is this to be done?

In its document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, echoed by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB)’s “Guidelines for Advocacy and Political Participation,” the Catholic Bishops offer helpful ways in which Catholics can work to form consciences in an ongoing manner as we consider the important task of participating in the political process, especially in voting. These can be summarized as follows: First, we should pray for and accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us develop our conscience. Prayer allows us to connect with God and discern the will of God. The world, even the world of politics, does not exist apart from God. He cares about us, about our society, and how we act in it. Thus, we should never forget to be in union with Him through prayer for His wisdom and guidance as we navigate our civic responsibilities. We should also always remember to pray for our civic leaders, as St. Paul exhorts us to do (see 1 Tim 2:2), that they may govern with wisdom, prudence, and justice. Second, we should be open and committed to the truth and searching for what is right, even if this isn’t always easy or comfortable. This means that in word and deed, we must pursue the truth, acknowledge it, conform ourselves to it, and act accordingly. God has equipped each of us with a conscience. It is our duty to foster this gift so that, in light of the truth, we can more ably distinguish between what is right and wrong, what are matters of legitimate differing opinions and matters of inviolable moral principles. Third, we should study Sacred Scripture and the

Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sacred Scripture is the inspired and infallible Word of God revealed to us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides a clear and indispensable norm for teaching and understanding the Faith. The revelation of God as transmitted to us by the teachings of the Church, forms an essential element of the formation of our consciences. Together, these should always accompany us throughout life’s hard questions, including our political participation. Fourth, we should examine the facts and information about various political choices. This entails the hard work of researching and familiarizing ourselves with the issues and candidates and not simply accepting the often overly rhetorical perspectives of our favorite news outlets or commentators. In our media-saturated society, it is all too easy to accept sound-bites as simplistic substitutes for true understanding of complex issues. Our duty is to do the hard work of truly and prayerfully thinking through the facts and nuances of any given issue. To assist with this, we should seek the prudent advice and good example of others who can help guide us in a rational consideration of the truth and not just in emotive reactions or partisan rhetoric.

Single-Issue Voting?

The TCCB also importantly reminds us that “as Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for abortion, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.” The USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship (33-37) gives us further examples and guidance on these.

Conclusion

Finally, as we navigate the tense political climate in which we currently find ourselves, it is important for us all, whether Catholic or not, to keep in mind and put into practice the ancient saying often attributed to St. Augustine and which continues to be applicable today: “In necessary things, let there be unity; in non-essentials, let there be plurality; and in all things, let there be charity.”

Bishop Michael Mulvey and the staff of the Office for Safe Environment and Child and Family Resources are committed to assisting those who have faced abuse of any kind. For immediate assistance, support and referral information, please call Victim Assistance Coordinator Stephanie Bonilla at (361) 693-6686. M AY T H E Y A L L B E O N E

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INTERIOR PRAYER the value of silence

Silent prayer in the midst of the pandemic By a Holy Spirit Adoration Sister

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Contributor

ife in today’s world, from east to west, from pandemic experience – persons with definition north to south, has become a novelty. The and character. phenomenon of COVID-19 has become an The second wave of elevated cases will enigma, urging a different lifestyle – a life of display God’s exuberance of an encore of his adventure. While those in the medical and salvific symphony, allowing us to meet him and scientific fields explore and push the limits thus to find ourselves. May the Lord empower of their expertise, they engage in a frantic search to us to develop clarities of faith from within, rich alleviate and attenuate its impact on suffering humanity. meanings and equilibrium, by delving deep As God pushes our boats into the unfathomable depths into his mysteries. When the conundrum of of our hearts, we watch in silence God’s grace giving orchestrations in the panThe charism of the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual demic, leading us all in Adoration in Corpus Christi, also known as the pink sisters is to our continuing pilgrimage glorify God by living a life totally dedicated to the contemplative life towards the Triune God, in a permanent enclosure. They keep adoration before the exposed the zenith, the apogee Blessed Sacrament, sing the praises of God seven times a day in their and apex of our living and divine office and offer prayers and sacrifices, especially for priests dying. We begin to perand missionaries. ceive His presence, and we are compelled to bend They lift up to God the whole world and the intentions entrusted our knees and exclaim, “It to them. They maintain a special devotion to the third person of the is the Lord.” Blessed Trinity, opening themselves to his action and collaborating Immersing ourselves with him. in the Trinitarian stillness, The life of the order is prayer. For a sister with the Sister Servants of we begin to feel that the the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration, prayer is living and breathing global crisis is like an in the Holy Spirit. For a servant of the Holy Spirit, every day should be exile that reveals the best. a new Pentecost, every breath they should beckon to the Holy Spirit. How? By stripping us of our health, our jobs, close contacts with relations, and the pandemic reaches its culminating point, only the freedom to make choices and even lives. Hopefully, we existentiality of God remains, and he becomes to us the find the essential – God. The exile reveals what really living God. matters and frees us to seek the Lord with all our hearts Sinking into the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, we and to praise his glory – always. articulate a question: Why the pandemic? What is God That this is God’s world and that he rules it will dawn doing? The answer comes – he is saving, rescuing, blesson us glaringly in the silence of our tryst with the Lord. ing, healing, enlightening, judging. We glean a spiritual Out of the emptiness of COVID-19, God would make a insight - God is in battle. A spiritual war is in progress new creation. As an event that produces graces, God will against evil, ignorance, pain. All of us are combatants. recreate our history, establishing harmony and beauty God meets all of us in this crisis, qualifying us by this very in our existential chaos and making it fuel in the furnace suffering the world is enduring. Evil is not everything. It of salvation. Indeed, he is at work, shaping us, makhas an origin and a finish. We see everything that evil is ing us a people for his glory. May we come out of the 28 

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INTERIOR PRAYER the value of silence

JOSHUA EARLE | UPSPLASH

doing. We don’t see what God is doing. We are being trained to live with a keen edge of hope and not be intimidated by evil because God is in control. We are invited to trust in God’s word, trust in what we do not see. Thank you, Lord, for shaping us for your eternal purposes. Silent prayer is an act in which we approach God, a desire to listen and speak to God firsthand. We discover that we become less afraid of all that is happening in the world right now with this ongoing crisis because the most essential thing in our life is God, not comfort, applause, security, but the living God. Our secret life ought to be a prayer life. The reality of

our humanity is prayer. God begins to be relevant to us. The real thing is the exclusive focus on God, an intense undivided preoccupation with God. Before God in prayer, we do not remain the same. Pain, etc. do not stay there. Persistent prayer brings about human wholeness. Prayer is the secret work developing a life that is thorough, authentic and deeply human. When mankind will have finally attained the maximum quotient of love, it is capable of giving to God. Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will have fulfilled its raison d’etre, and it will end; this is our fervent prayer. May the Lord be praised.

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FALL 2020

Collections

We understand that due to the pandemic some may not be able to give. However, if you are able and can continue to give to your parish, please also consider giving to these worthy causes.

RESPECT LIFE

THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA The Collection for The Catholic University of America underwrites scholarships to assist financially deserving students in completing their education at CUA in over 50 disciplines. The collection for Catholic University is taken up in most parishes on the first or second weekend in September. For more information visit catholic.edu/index.html. SEPTEMBER 12-13, 2020

Every year, the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) designates the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday, and October itself as Respect Life Month. The conference’s ProLife Secretariat provides collateral materials supporting the annual theme. The materials, which are purchased for each parish and school by the Diocese of Corpus Christi’s Respect Life Office, assist clergy, principals, directors of religious education, teachers, catechists and parents in teaching adults, youth and children to respect all human life. For more information visit usccb.org/committees/prolife-activities/respect-life-program.

DISASTER RELIEF Catholic Charities USA is the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. The disaster response team – along with the knowledge and expertise of our member agencies – mobilizes quickly and effectively to aid those experiencing or recovering from disasters.that occur this year. Catholic Charities is known for its hard work that begins with direct relief efforts to meet immediate needs and continues, sometimes for many years, with long-term relief efforts that help individuals and families rebuild their lives. For more information go to catholiccharitiesusa.org/our-ministry/disaster-relief/.

OCTOBER 3-4, 2020

WORLD MISSION SUNDAY The funds gathered on World Mission Sunday are distributed in the pope’s name by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith—a Pontifical Mission Society. For more information visit propfaith.net/onefamilyinmission.

SEPTEMBER 19-20, 2020 OCTOBER 17-18, 2020 Parishes: Send proceeds to the diocesan finance office. 30 

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WORLD NEWS

ERICH KARNBERGER| SHUTTERSTOCK

highlights, upcoming events and briefs

Damage in downtown Beirut following an explosion at the city’s port.

Catholic groups aid recovery after Beirut explosion Catholic News Agency

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ollowing an explosion that killed more than 150 people in Beirut, international Catholic groups have responded by providing health services and necessities to the victims. At least sixteen Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International, have responded to the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut’s port. As victims in Beirut face an urgent need for shelter, medication, hygiene kits, and mental health services, these organizations have dispatched medical teams and relief groups to assist with basic necessities. The explosion killed at least 154 people, and injured about 5,000 others. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud estimated that the explosion has caused as much as $1015 billion in damages and as many as 300,000 people to be temporarily displaced from their homes, according to the BBC. The fire started near the port’s large grain silos. It soon spread to a warehouse holding 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer made into an explosive.

Many buildings and warehouses along the docks were completely destroyed, and the explosion’s shockwave caused damage within a six-mile radius. The adjacent areas included Beirut’s mostly Christian neighborhoods of Mar Maroun and Achrafieh. Despite damages to their own facilities, CRS has provided relief to the victims of the explosion. Caritas Lebanon has offered water and hot meals at several locations throughout Beirut. Caritas health care centers have also opened, and a mobile medical unit and mental health team have been available to the public. “Our partners started working right away to make sure people were getting help, even though their own buildings were damaged in the explosion,” said CRS spokesperson Megan Gilbert. “At CRS, we’re privileged to contribute to the overwhelmingly generous volunteer response of the Lebanese people, despite all that they have been through over the past year,” she said Aug. 6. See full story at catholicnewsagency.com.

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WORLD NEWS

highlights, upcoming events and briefs

Coronavirus, vaccines, and Catholic ethics By Matt Hadro

Catholic News Agency

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STOCK IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

roduction for a new coronavirus vaccine is speeding along, but if one is developed to fight the pandemic, ethical questions remain about its development, and who should receive it first. There are many workers in health care and in the public sector who could be considered a priority to receive any new vaccine, as they come into contact with many different people due to the nature of their profession, explained Edward Furton, ethicist and director of publications at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. “All of those who come into contact with many different people through their ordinary line of work, they would be first in line,” Furton told CNA. People in this group might include first responders, physicians, nurses, other healthcare workers, police officers, and public transit employees. Authorities should also consider prioritizing citizens living in crowded urban conditions, as “an effort to tackle the disease and the places where it’s most likely to spread,” he said. Multiple vaccine candidates to fight the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) are entering the latter phases of production and testing. Catholics are discussing whether an obligation exists for one to receive a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, if it is made available. And other ethical questions remain, such as the source of the vaccines being developed and the speed at which they are being produced. Two bishops of the conference of England and Wales recently produced a paper on vaccination in light of the pandemic. “We believe that there is a moral obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others. This is especially important for the discovery of a vaccine against COVID-19,” they said. In 2017, the Pontifical Academy for Life addressed the issue of commonly used vaccines in a document. The academy said that, in the case of commonly used vaccines against rubella, chickenpox, polio, and hepatitis |

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A, there exists a moral obligation for Catholic parents to vaccinate their children in light of possible threats to the vulnerable caused by a resurgence in the prevalence of the diseases. The academy said that “the moral obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others is no less urgent, especially the safety of more vulnerable subjects such as pregnant women and those affected by immunodeficiency who cannot be vaccinated against these diseases.” However, those vaccines have been used for years, while a vaccine for the new coronavirus has yet to be fully developed, approved, and distributed. One of the preeminent issues with current COVID vaccine candidates is whether or not they are being produced by using cell lines from aborted babies—something the Vatican has warned against in previous documents. In the 2008 document Dignitas Personae, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that researchers may not use biological material of “illicit origin,” or cell lines from aborted babies, in developing a vaccine. Parents gravely concerned about their children’s health and have no other choice could use the vaccine, the CDF said, but must “make known their disagreement and ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available.” Some of the vaccines being developed to fight the new coronavirus are using the HEK-293 cell line, one commonly used in vaccines derived from aborted fetal tissue. The candidate being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is using this cell line. Other candidates do not use this cell line, such as one being developed by Sanofi Pasteur. The Moderna vaccine candidate does not rely on this HEK-293 cell line for production. Rather, it uses a Spike protein, the gene sequence of which was determined through testing that involved a HEK-293 cell line. The gene sequence was not determined by Moderna scientists, but was simply selected by the company as the target for the vaccine. See full story at catholicnewsagency.com.

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VATICAN NEWS highlights from Rome

Cardinals condemn China’s potential genocide of Uyghurs By Courtney Mares

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he Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs is “one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust,” two Asian cardinals and 74 other religious leaders wrote in a statement released Aug. 8. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, and Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo, archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia, were among the 76 signatories calling for “prayer, solidarity and action to end these mass atrocities” against the Muslim minority in China. “After the Holocaust, the world said ‘Never Again.’ Today, we repeat those words ‘Never Again’, all over again. We stand with the Uyghurs. We also stand with Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Christians throughout China who face the worst crackdown on freedom of religion or belief since the Cultural Revolution,” the statement said. “We make a simple call for justice, to investigate these crimes, hold those responsible to account and establish a path towards the restoration of human dignity,” it states. The letter’s signatories -- which include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and other Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Christian leaders -cited China’s incarceration of one million Muslims and campaign of forced sterilization among the “many persecutions and mass atrocities.” According to multiple reports, anywhere from 900,000 to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been imprisoned in Xinjiang, China’s far northwest province. The government has set up more than 1,300 detention camps where survivors have reported being subjected to political and anti-religious indoctrination, torture, beatings, and forced labor. The AP reported on June 29 that many Uyghurs had also reported being forced by authorities to implant IUDs and take other forms of birth control, as well as being forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations in order to enforce China’s family planning policies. One expert told the AP that the campaign is “genocide, full stop.” In addition, authorities have set up a system of mass

MAZUR | CATHOLICNEWS.ORG.UK.

Catholic News Agency

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon

surveillance in the region to track the movements of people, one that includes DNA sampling and facial recognition technology, as well as predictive policing platforms. The religious leaders’ statement asserted that the forced sterilization of Uyghur women of childbearing age campaign in four Uyghur-populated prefectures could elevate this action to the level of genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention. “The clear aim of the Chinese authorities is to eradicate the Uyghur identity. China’s state media has stated that the goal is to ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections and break their origins,’” the statement reads. “Parliamentarians, governments and jurists have a responsibility to investigate,” it states. “As faith leaders we are neither activists nor policy-makers. But we have a duty to call our communities to their responsibilities to look after their fellow human beings and act when they are in danger.” Twenty rabbis and 19 imams signed the statement, as did the representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe and the Coptic-Orthodox Archbishop of London Archbishop Angaelos. Other Catholic signatories include Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, UK and Fr. Nicholas King, a chaplain at the University of Oxford. See full story at catholicnewsagency.com.

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A WORD

from our Holy Father

Even in times of darkness, God is there By Hannah Brockhaus Catholic News Agency

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hen caught in difficult moments or trials, turn your heart to God, who is near even when you do not search for him, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on Aug. 9. “Having faith means, in the midst of the storm, keeping your heart turned to God, to his love, to his tenderness as a Father. Jesus wanted to teach this to Peter and his disciples, and also to us today, in moments of darkness, moments of storms.” Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he said “even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us lifting us back up after our falls, He helps us grow in faith. Perhaps we, in the dark, cry out: ‘Lord! Lord!’ thinking that he is far away. And He says: ‘I’m here!’ Ah, he was with me!” Pope Francis continued. “God knows well that our faith is poor and that our path can be troubled, blocked by adverse forces. But He is the Risen One, do not forget this, the Lord who went through death to bring us to safety.” In his message before the Angelus, the pope reflected on the Gospel reading from St. Matthew, when Jesus asks the apostles to get in a boat and cross to the other shore of the lake, where he will meet them. While still far from shore, the disciples’ boat gets caught in some wind and waves. “The boat at the mercy of the storm is an image of the Church, which in every age encounter headwinds, sometimes very hard trials,” Francis noted. “In those situations, [the Church] may be tempted to think that God has abandoned her. But in reality, it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, the testimony of love and the testimony of hope shines the most,” he said. He pointed to the Gospel: In this moment of fear, the disciples see Jesus walking to them on the water and think it is a ghost. But he reassures them and Peter challenges Jesus to tell him to come out onto the water to meet him. Jesus invites Peter to “come!” “Peter gets off the boat and takes a few steps; then

Pope Francis gives his Angelus address.

the wind and the waves frighten him, and he begins to sink. ‘Lord, save me!’ he cries, and Jesus takes him by the hand and says to him: ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Francis recounted. This episode “is an invitation to abandon ourselves with trust to God in every moment of our life, especially in the hour of trial and turmoil,” he said. “When we feel strong doubt and fear and we seem to sink, in the difficult moments of life, where everything becomes dark, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: ‘Lord, save me!’” “It is a beautiful prayer!” he noted. “And the gesture of Jesus, who immediately reaches out his hand and grasps that of his friend, must be contemplated for a long time: Jesus is this, Jesus does this, it is the hand of the Father who never abandons us; the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants our good,” he said. See full story at catholicnewsagency.com.

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FALL 2020 ISSUE SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC 555 N Carancahua St, Ste 750 Corpus Christi, TX 78401-0824 (361) 882-6191

Profile for South Texas Catholic

Fall 2020 - Vol. 55. No. 8