here. - Diocese of Austin


here. - Diocese of Austin
MAY 2014
V O L U M E 3 2, N U M B E R 5
One year later, West continues to heal, rebuild
On that day, Father Boniface Onjefu, the associate pastor at St. Mary, Church of the
Assumption Parish in West, had
just Ànished the 6:30 p.m. Mass.
He walked over to the rectory,
relaxed after the evening service.
“Then I heard the explosion,” Father Onjefu said. “The
house shook. It was like an
earthquake. I ran out of the
house and saw people all over
the street. I looked up and saw
thick, dark smoke headed into
the sky. I ran toward it because
I wanted to help.”
That day was April 17, 2013,
when tons of ammonium nitrate
exploded at the West Fertilizer
Company, detonating after a Àre
erupted at the plant. The blast
killed 15 people, injured more
than 300 others, and caused
millions of dollars in damage. A
nursing home and 350 private
homes were obliterated.
After he heard the blast, Father Onjefu sprinted toward the
disaster area. “There was a lot
of commotion and many police
cars,” he said. “We helped in the
evacuation of residents from the
surrounding streets. It was like a
war zone.”
The first anniversary of
the tragedy took place on
Holy Thursday this year. To
honor the lives of those who
were lost, and in support of
everyone who continues to
suffer as a result of the explo-
sion, several events were held
in West. Bishop Joe Vásquez
celebrated a memorial Mass
on April 11. A service for
the community of St. Mary’s
Catholic School was held on
April 17, which included praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
On April 17, beginning at 7:30
p.m., a large, city-wide, multifaith memorial event was held
at the West Fair and Rodeo
Grounds, a gathering intended
to help heal the community of
West and all those directly affected by the tragedy.
A time of hope
A year later, Father Onjefu
says there are signs of hope
–– of an Easter rebirth –– all
across West, a small city of
2,800 residents that is known
for its Czech heritage and strong
Catholic roots.
Where there was once a no
man’s land of destruction surrounding the plant, now there
are new houses. Some are complete; others are being built.
More are finished every day,
he said.
“Right now we have about
100 houses standing up and another 200 houses refurbished,”
Father Onjefu said. “If you drive
through the town now, you can
feel a big difference, you can feel
hope in the community. After
the explosion, it was only rubble
and dirt. Now, the new houses
Postage Paid
at Austin, Texas
Mass at St.
Mary, Church
of the Assumption in
West on April
11 in remembrance
of those lost
in the April
17, 2013,
that killed
15 people.
(Photo by
Christian R.
Austin Diocese
6225 Hwy. 290 East
Austin, Texas 78723
Diocese seeks
input as it plans
for the future.
Page 19
are bigger, more beautiful and
well-placed than what was there
Gail Bertrand, Director of
Disaster for South Central Region, Society of St. Vincent de
Paul, has been working with
victims of the disaster for the
last year.
“West is a small community
and it is a very close-knit and
loving community,” Bertrand
said. “Their ability to accept
what has happened and move
forward has been a great thing.
It’s just a really good feeling.”
The Society of St. Vincent
de Paul provided more than 225
“houses in a box” to residents
who had lost everything in the
blast. Each family received new
mattresses, furniture, pots, pans
and other household goods,
including sheets and towels. The
families used these items in their
temporary housing and have
been able to move them into
the rebuilt homes, Bertrand said.
Nursing home
One clear sign of hope was
the groundbreaking on April
4 for the new nursing home,
which will replace the one destroyed in the explosion. The
new West Rest Haven nursing
home is being built on North
Davis Street across from its former location. The new residence
See WEST on Page 3
Deacon Craig DeYoung
prepares to be ordained
on June 7.
Page 3
Hundreds of thousands
pack St. Peter’s Square
for canonizations.
Page 9
Colombiano llega a
Texas a través
de Kenia.
Página 30
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Don’t think, just go ... Don’t think, just go
Do other people struggle to do what is good
for them as much as I do? I wonder…
Every morning I know I need to get up and
exercise. I know that if I don’t get up and do it, it
won’t get done. I know that I will feel better after
it’s done, and I know it is good for my heart and
stress levels. Yet, I Àght it.
Every weekday at noon, I have the opportunity
to go to Mass. What a blessing! Yet, every day I
Ànd an excuse: I am too hungry, I am too busy, I
just had snack. I know that attending daily Mass
is good for me and it strengthens my relationship
with Christ, yet I Àght it.
Every week the sacrament of confession is
offered at my parish. Yet, I go twice a year and
usually not at my parish. Why don’t I go on a more
regular basis? God knows I have plenty to confess
on a monthly basis, yet I tend to go only a couple
of times a year. Why do I Àght it?
I could go on and on with examples of things
that are so good for me, yet I don’t do. As I am
writing this, I think of the nightly routine we have
in our house. Every evening we march up the stairs
and prepare for bed. And every evening my kids
ask the same question: Why do we have to take a
shower? And every evening I give them the same
answer: Because you will smell better (my kids are
pretty stinky) and you will be ready to relax after
you do it. Apparently, they have the same defect
that I do when it comes to doing things that are
good for them –– maybe it’s genetic.
The truth is I know this is all typical human behavior. All of us struggle to some extent with doing
things that we know are good for us. My resolve to
do better comes and goes, another very human trait,
but right now as we celebrate Easter, I feel renewed.
More than a year ago I got this magnet with a
pair of running shoes on it that says, “Don’t think,
just go.” When I Àrst received it, I thought it was
cute and just put it on my fridge. But the other
day as I sat in my kitchen, the magnet caught my
attention. As I read it out loud, I realized that this
applies to many of these things that I need to do
but often don’t because I overthink them.
So lately that little saying has become my mantra. When my alarm clock goes off each morning, I
start repeating “Don’t think, just go.” It’s working!
Now, I need to work on applying this same
technique to daily Mass and regular confessions
and numerous other things that I put off or don’t
do because I think too much!
God is so good and he gave me a brain Àlled
with knowledge and reason, but he also gave me
a heart that yearns to be exercised spiritually and
physically. I really need to start listening more to
my heart’s yearnings and lay off listening to all of
the reasons and excuses my brain creates.
God help me as I struggle to do what I know
is good for me. God help me to turn off my brain
and just let my heart lead me where I need to go
–– whether it’s to the sacraments or the nearest
running trail, it’s all good.
family are parishioners of
St. Margaret Mary Parish in
Cedar Park. She has been
editor of the Catholic Spirit
since 2007.
Oils blessed at annual Chrism Mass
BISHOP JOE VÁSQUEZ blessed the oils
used to administer the sacraments at the
annual Chrism Mass, which was celebrated
April 15 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in
Austin. The oil of the sick is used by priests
in the anointing of the sick. The oil of catechumens is used at baptism and to bless
adult catechumens as they prepare to join
the church. Perfumed balsam is mixed with
oil to create Sacred Chrism, which is used to
anoint the newly baptized, at con¿rmation,
during priestly ordinations, and to consecrate
a new altar or church. Also during the Mass,
the priests renewed their priestly promises.
(Photos by Shelley Metcalf)
May 2014
Bishop Vásquez will ordain 1 priest in 2014
Bishop Joe Vásquez will ordain Deacon Craig DeYoung to
the priesthood at 10:30 a.m. on
Saturday, June 7 at St. Helen Parish in Georgetown. Regarding his
time preparing for this milestone,
Deacon DeYoung said, “It has
been an amazing pilgrimage,
which has strengthened me in
faith, hope and love by the gift
of pure grace. Jesus has accompanied me and become my best
friend and beloved.”
Deacon DeYoung is the son
of David DeYoung and Dorothy
Starr, and has four brothers and
one sister. As an infant, he was
baptized in an Episcopal church
in Grand Haven, Mich. As a boy,
he had some experience attending church, but God, faith and
Christ were not important in
his life.
When he was 12, his parents
divorced, and the family struggled
in the aftermath. Deacon DeYoung lived with his father in
Bruceville-Eddy. From there,
they moved to Temple, where
he attended a much larger high
school. He explained that he had
few friends, and characterized
himself as an “agnostic theist.”
He thought that some kind of
god existed, but did not believe
God was knowable or cared
about him.
Deacon DeYoung began to
discover God’s love during his
college years. At Texas A&M’s
freshman orientation camp, he
developed a “crush” on a Baptist
counselor, who invited him to
attend an “event.” The event
turned out to be a Bible study,
and the counselor left him in
the company of her boyfriend.
Unhappy that he was at a Bible
study and that the counselor had
a boyfriend, he looked for an opportunity to leave. Jason Jesko, a
Catholic student, took him aside
and talked to him in a caring
As a result, Deacon DeYoung began attending a weekly
Bible study led by Jesko. He
enjoyed the friendships there and
brought many thoughtful questions to the group. At the time,
Deacon DeYoung was attending
different churches, and Jesko
suggested that he come to Mass
at St. Mary’s Catholic Center. Attending his Àrst Mass by himself,
he was lost and confused by the
Jesko also invited his friend
to Aggie Awakening, a Cursillobased retreat for college students,
which proved to be a turning
point in Deacon DeYoung’s
life. He left the retreat energized
about Christianity.
“Jesus was not just 2,000 year
old history, but is present in the
here and now. I saw him working
in and through all those who led
and staffed the retreat,” he said.
Excited about developing
a closer relationship to Christ,
he continued to explore various
churches. Eventually he got into
the practice of attending Mass,
and became involved in the programs of St. Mary. Because he at-
tended daily Mass many students
thought that he was Catholic.
Yet, there were some of the
teachings of the Catholic Church,
such as our devotion to Mary,
that he had trouble accepting.
Although he did not plan
to join the Catholic Church, he
wanted to learn more and began attending the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adult (RCIA)
classes during his sophomore
year. When he witnessed fellow
students receiving the sacraments
of baptism, confirmation and
Holy Eucharist, he realized that
he too wanted the sacraments in
his life. He asked Jesko to be his
sponsor, and made his Àrst confession the following Lent. He
chose St. Jude, the patron of the
impossible, as his conÀrmation
saint, and made his profession of
faith as a Catholic at the Easter
Vigil in 2004.
Three months later, Deacon
DeYoung received the sacrament
of reconciliation from Franciscan Father Curt Lanzrath. An
elderly priest joyful in his vocation, Father Lanzrath inspired
many young men to consider the
priesthood. Deacon DeYoung
thought that if only he could be
that happy and excited about life,
he too would become a priest.
That thought opened the
door to further discernment.
He began attending dinners
for young men considering the
priesthood and went on the Seminary Sprint, a diocesan program
in which men visit seminaries and
religious orders. He was actually
looking for evidence that God
DEYOUNG will be
ordained to the priesthood on June 7 at
10:30 a.m. at St. Helen
Parish in Georgetown.
He is the only priest to
be ordained this year,
but at least ¿ve are expected to be ordained
in 2015. (Photo courtesy Vocation Of¿ce)
was not calling him to become
a priest, and these activities were
his way of showing God that he
was giving the idea a fair try.
After two years, he decided
not to pursue the priesthood, and
concentrated on preparing for his
career and dating. Yet, he kept
meeting priests who were fulÀlled
in their vocation. Ready to graduate with a degree in industrial distribution, he had a job lined up.
Although he was not particularly
excited about the job, he felt that
it was his next logical step in life.
The Virginia Tech shootings caused Deacon DeYoung
to reflect on the sin and evil
in the world. Late at night, he
went into the church to pray.
There he believes he received
a powerful sense of Christ’s joy
and hope, offered through the
sacraments. Filled with gratitude, he wanted to dedicate his
life to share with others the love
and forgiveness he had found in
the Catholic Church.
At that time, Father Mike Sis
(now bishop of San Angelo) was
the diocesan vocation director,
and he encouraged him to apply
to the seminary. After declining
the job he had already accepted,
Deacon DeYoung began his studies for the priesthood. As a priest,
he especially looks forward to
sharing the riches of the Mass and
sacraments, and helping couples
prepare for the sacrament of marriage.
Current vocations director
Father Brian McMaster explained
that although Deacon DeYoung
is the only man being ordained a
priest for the diocese this year, he
expects Àve or six priests to be
ordained annually in the coming
years. In addition, this fall’s class
of incoming seminarians is one of
the largest ever.
“A year with one ordination
reminds us to keep on praying for
vocations and to invite men to
consider the priesthood,” Father
McMaster said.
After explosion, small town pulls together to Ànd hope
Continued from Page 1
will be almost 50 percent bigger,
at 75,000 square feet, and will
have larger recreation and rehabilitation facilities. It is scheduled to open in mid-2015.
Father Ed Karasek, pastor
of Church of the Assumption,
blessed the site at the groundbreaking.
The residents of the former
home have been scattered in
nursing homes across Waco and
Hillsboro since the tragedy.
“Whenever I talk to them,
they want to get home, and home
is West,” Father Karasek said.
The people in the parish,
and the other residents of West,
“are rebuilding. They seem like
they are moving on with their
lives. They are still healing,” he
Father Karasek expressed
his gratitude to the people of the
Diocese of Austin, whose Ànancial help assisted many people
affected by the explosion.
“All the second collections
from our diocese, it was a wonderful show of community,” he
said. “It helped many families.”
The parish building itself
sustained some damage, but it
has been repaired.
“People have been so good
to us,” Father Karasek said.
“We received so many donations from around the world,
but especially from the Czech
Republic.” Churches in the
Czech Republic sent donations,
“and there were so many people
who came from other cities and
states all over the country to
help us clean up and rebuild.”
Helping students
At St. Mary’s Catholic School in West, 10 families whose children attend the
school lost their homes in the
Donations to the school allowed all the students to remain
at St. Mary’s, said school principal Ericka Sammon.
“We were very fortunate,”
she said. “I want to express how
truly grateful we are for everyone
in the Catholic community who
has supported us. We weren’t always able to thank them personally because there was so much
going on. It’s been really beautiful
to see how God has worked.”
One year later, the families
who lost their homes are in different stages of recovery.
“Some of our families were
able to rebuild, some families
are in the process of rebuilding,
and some families are still in
a transition phase,” Sammon
said. “With all the wonderful
donations” the school was able
to cover most of the tuition,
uniform and lunch expenses of
the current school year for the
children who lost their houses
in the tragedy.
Sammon said some of the
families “are still very much
struggling to put the pieces together.” For those families, she
is hoping more donations can
help cover the cost of their chil-
dren’s tuition and other school
expenses for the 2014-2015
school year.
She is grateful for all the
cards, posters and banners sent
to St. Mary’s School from other
Catholic children.
“Our halls were Àlled, and
the kids loved reading them and
felt very uplifted that people were
praying for them.”
New vision
As rebuilding efforts began
in West, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul generously provided money for an urban design
and planning Àrm to create a
master recovery plan, Bertrand
Landscape architects, economic development specialists
and other professionals with
KAI Texas helped plan recovery
efforts in New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina. They are
working with the residents of
West and with city ofÀcials to
develop a recovery plan that
could become a blueprint for
other smaller communities ravaged by disaster.
Although many families are
back on their feet and houses
continue to be rebuilt, some
of the people affected by the
explosion still face tremendous
challenges, personally and Ànancially, Bertrand said.
She asked that we continue to
keep West in our prayers.
“West still has a ways to go
before they recover. Just don’t
forget West,” Bertrand said.
To help with tuition assistance for families who lost their
homes in the fertilizer explosion,
send a check to St. Mary’s Catholic School, c/o Ericka Sammon,
Principal, P.O. Box 277, West
76691. Please mark donations for
“tuition assistance.”
To help families being
assisted by the Society of St.
Vincent de Paul, send a check
to Society of St. Vincent de
Paul – SDR Central Region, 320
Decker Dr., Suite 100, Irving
75062. Please mark “West” in
the memo line on the check.
Counseling center moves to more convenient location
The Diocese of Austin
Family Counseling OfÀce moved
to a larger space to better serve its
clients. The move to 1625 Rutherford Ln., Building B, in Austin
puts the counseling center in the
same complex as Catholic Charities of Central Texas, thus making it easier for clients to access
comprehensive services.
Bishop Joe Vásquez blessed
the newly renovated offices
on March 19, the Feast of St.
Joseph. The bishop said it was
appropriate to do so on that day
because St. Joseph took care of
the Holy Family.
Bishop Vásquez said expanding counseling services is
important because families are
the “cells” that make up the domestic church and thus, society.
In order for society –– and the
church –– to be healthy, families
need to be healthy.
“We need to strengthen our
families,” the bishop said. “We
need to be aware of what they
need. Families are struggling
with issues such as divorce, illness and elderly parents.”
Lupe García has been the
counseling center director since
2011, and a member of the diocesan staff for eight years. She is a
licensed professional counselor
and licensed marriage and family
therapist who is a board certiÀed
supervisor for both licenses.
García said the extra space
will allow the ministry to have
more practicum students from
St. Edward’s University and
Texas State University. Depending on the graduate program, the
students must obtain 150-300
hours of supervised experience
per semester. Then after taking
the licensing exam, they must
continue to obtain 3,000 hours
of supervised clinical work in
counseling before they can get
their licenses.
Previously, the ministry had
been in a crowded ofÀce at the
Pastoral Center, which Áooded
twice last fall. At the new center
there is room for the staff of 10,
including eight counselors, six of
whom are students. Three staff
members can assist clients in
English and Spanish, and García
plans to eventually hire another
full-time, bilingual staff member.
In the new space, two counselors share each office, and
there are rooms set aside for
individual, group, family and
couples counseling. The center
also offers grief and loss coun-
seling. One room is Àlled with
an assortment of toys for play
therapy for young children.
“Kids don’t communicate
the way adults do,” García said.
“Trained play therapists are able
to help children communicate
their feelings through play.”
Clients pay on a sliding scale,
the fee is $90, but “we give discounted rates to people based
on annual income and number
of people in the family,” she
For the practicum students
who are studying to be counsellors, the move has been “wonderful,” said Sharon Charles.
“There’s room to grow plus
we’re next to a lot of social services that many clients need,”
she said.
Not being crammed together also reduces the stress for
people who may feel uncomfortable seeking counseling.
“It’s sad that people see
counseling as a negative,” said
Dawn Boyd. “It’s about helping
people work things through.”
García, who earned her
master’s in counseling from
St. Edward’s University, has
worked with the diocese since
2005, with some time in private
practice before becoming the
director of the program. As she
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has worked with families, she
has witnessed the stress parents
and children experience in today’s world.
She said no matter who
walks through the doors of the
counseling center, they have one
thing in common: they are in
pain and need help.
They could be children of
divorce, individuals who are
divorced and are trying to heal
from the trauma, those grieving the deaths of loved ones,
those suffering from depression
or those whose marriages are
Áoundering and need help.
“A lot of it may just be lack
of communication skills,” García said. “Or it may be different
parenting styles. Unemployment has also caused a lot of
depression and grief, loss and
anxiety. Depression is rampant
in society.”
Whatever the issues may be,
“those issues are real,” she said.
“We help people strengthen
their relationships by giving
them the skills they need to
work things out.”
Being faith-based also allows counselors to use Catholic
teachings to minister to clients.
This is especially important in
marriage counseling.
“Marriage is sacred,” García
said. “It’s not just about being
happy or not being happy. We
have to defend the sacrament
and help people work through
the rough spots.”
She said some expect their
counselors to give them all the
answers, instead counselors
guide people to Ànd their own
“I’m an expert in a sense of
helping people navigate,” García
said. “But you’re the expert on
your life.”
Being in a Catholic environment means it’s acceptable to pray and to talk about
faith, García said. Each client
is recognized as a child of
God, even in the bleakest of
“Not all clients are Catholic,” she said. “But the sacredness of family is something we
all understand.”
For information or to
make an appointment, visit or call (512) 651-6152.
Appointments at the Austin
location can be made MondayThursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
and the satellite ofÀce at St. Anthony Marie de Claret Parish in
Kyle is open on Mondays from
3:30 to 8:30 p.m.
May 2014
Local parishes pray for Fort Hood after shootings
Prayers and special intentions were offered in parishes
around Fort Hood following
the April 2 shooting that left
four people on the post dead
–– including the shooter –– and
16 injured in area hospitals.
Missionaries of the Sacred
Heart Father Richard O’Rourke,
dean of the Killeen/Temple
deanery and pastor of St. Paul
Chong Hasang Parish in Harker
Heights, said Masses were dedicated to the victims and their
families the day after the shooting at Seton Medical Center
Harker Heights as well as Holy
Family Parish in Copperas Cove
and at his parish.
On post, an ofÀcial memorial service was held April 9
with President Barak Obama in
“The military takes care of
its own,” Father O’Rourke said.
“They have chaplains to take
care of them in the post. All
we can do is offer prayers and
special Masses.”
While Fort Hood lies within
the boundaries of the Diocese
of Austin, it falls under the purview of the Archdiocese for
Military Services.
Archbishop for the Military
Services Timothy P. Broglio
said he had been in touch with
the Catholic priests who serve
at Fort Hood to assure them of
the solidarity and the prayerful
support of the Archdiocese for
the Military Services.
“I offer heartfelt condolences to the families that mourn the
loss of a loved one. As believers
we also pray for the repose of
the souls of the victims and the
assailant … The remedy for
this senseless violence can only
be found in a more profound
respect for human life, a deeper
concern for our neighbors, a
willingness to listen rather than
to shout, and a reduction in
the gloriÀcation of violence by
our society,” he said in a statement released the day after the
At St. Joseph Parish in
Killeen, readings for funeral
Mass were used on Àrst Friday
rather than the daily readings
since the Mass was dedicated to
the dead and injured. Stations
of the Cross followed the Mass.
Father Matthew Kinney,
associate pastor of St. Joseph
Parish, built his homily around
Lamentations 3, saying that God
gives us room for despair and to
grieve in time of tragedy.
“A great tragedy has happened,” he said. “We have to
take the time to let the sadness
happen, and the grief and despair.”
He noted that Lamentations
begins with a sense of hopelessness. But at the end, the writer
is hopeful.
“We are not completely separated from those who died,”
Father Kinney said, noting that
we will one day be reunited with
those who go before us.
“But the Lord’s mercies are
not over,” he said. “We have
the promise of Christ “… this is
on April 2, Father
Matthew Kinney,
associate pastor of
St. Joseph Parish in
Killeen, celebrated
Mass for the dead
and led the Stations
of the Cross. (Photo
by Enedelia J. Obregón)
the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything
of what he gave me, but that I
should raise it [on] the last day.”
(Jn 6:39)
For some of those attending
Mass and the Stations of the
Cross, coming together in prayer
was important.
“We need to ask everyone
to pray for peace and comfort
for the families and the souls of
the deceased,” said Joe Ramos,
who is in formation for the diaconate. “The military is seen as
protectors and when something
terrible happens to the protectors it can shake our faith. Our
brothers and sisters need a lot of
prayers and that takes a radical
trust in God’s love.”
Daniel Moore, who is involved in the Society of St.
Vincent de Paul conference
at St. Joseph Parish, said military families are under a lot
of stress, much of which is Ànancial. Frequent moves often
mean spouses can’t hold down
jobs to help out and they are
Madrid speaks at ACP lunch on May 21
The Assembly of Catholic Professionals (ACP) will meet for the quarterly
lunch May 21 at 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Town Lake. Patrick Madrid, author
and host of the radio show “Right Here, Right Now,” will be the presenter. The
lunch provides a unique formational opportunity for Catholic lay professionals
to grow in faith. The cost is $40 per person. For more information, visit www.
Upcoming retreats at Cedarbrake in Belton
A Healing Hearts Retreat will be held May 23-25 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. This weekend is for women who have suffered any kind of
sexual trauma. The cost is $135 per person. Call Beverly Collin at (254) 780-2436
for conÀdential information or to register.
“A Day with Saints John XXIII and John Paul II,” a day of reÁection, will
be held May 8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center
in Belton. Beverly Collin will lead participants in learning more about these
newly canonized saints and their contributions to the faith. The day will include Mass, quiet time and sharing. The cost is $35 per person.
Desert Solitude, a silent retreat with Centering Prayer as the focus, will be
held June 6-11 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Daily Mass
and spiritual direction will be available. Cost varies on how long each participant stays.
“Back to Ordinary Time –– Now What?,” a day of reÁection, will be held
June 18 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Holy Cross Father
Bill Wack, pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Austin, will discuss simple steps to
deepen spirituality and bring faith to the center of life. The cost is $35 per
For more information or to register for these retreats, contact Cedarbrake at
(254) 780-2436 or [email protected]
away from family. He said they
see military families at the food
pantry at St. Joseph.
“We help a lot of families
with utilities and rent,” Moore
said. “It’s not just prayers they
María Mondragón stayed in
Killeen after leaving the military.
At the Knights of Columbus
Fish Fry, she said constant deployments and moves put a lot
of stress on families, including those left stateside. When
spouses return, there is stress in
adjusting, wondering when and
where the next deployment or
move will be.
She said churches can help
strengthen couples’ marriages
by offering babysitting so couples can spend time together.
Women’s groups and women’s
and couples’ retreats would also
“Military life affects kids,”
she said. “Every time you move
there’s a new place to get to
know and new friends to make.”
Her 13-year-old daughter,
JoseÀna, said video game nights
or beauty/spa nights would
be something teenagers could
José Pagón, who is still on
active duty, said about a quarter
of people in the military are
Catholic. However, only eight
percent of the chaplains are
Catholic priests.
“We need faith-based coping skills,” he said. “Because
we don’t stay in one place too
long that faith support is important. We don’t have family
around. I’ve been here six years
and that’s the longest I’ve been
Having faith communities is
especially important to teenagers, he said.
“They are at a point in life
where they are establishing their
identities … Maybe churches
can form welcome committees
for those kids.” This may help
them make new friends in the
community, which is difÀcult
because they move around so
Region X hosts unity conference in Houston
Unity Explosion 2014 will be held June 12-15 at the Marriot Sugar Land Hotel in
Sugar Land (Houston area). The mission of the conference, which is sponsored by
Region X of the USCCB and is hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of GalvestonHouston, is to provide an experience that addresses the expressed leadership, ministerial, catechetical, liturgical and evangelization needs of families, particularly those of
African descent. The conference theme is “Rejoice Together…Encouraged Forever!”
The conference will begin with an opening prayer service on Thursday evening and
close with Sunday Mass celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo with many musicians
and speakers in between. For conference details, contact Johnnie Dorsey at (512)
949-2449 or [email protected]
Discernment opportunity
Quo Vadis (Latin for “Where are you going?”) will be held from June 28 at 10
a.m. to June 29 at 4 p.m. at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin. This is a two-day
retreat designed to help young men in high school grow spiritually and allow them to
think and pray about what God might be asking them to become. The retreat is for
incoming freshmen to incoming seniors from throughout the Diocese of Austin. The
retreat includes Mass, adoration, time for fun and recreation, and the opportunity to
get to know other young men pursuing holiness. The retreat is staffed by seminarians
and is co-sponsored by the Diocese of Austin Vocation OfÀce and the St. Thomas
More Parish Vocation Committee. The cost is $15. For more information, visit www. or call the Vocation OfÀce at (512) 949-2430.
Everyone is welcome at ordinations
Bishop Joe Vásquez will ordain men to the transitional diaconate May 17 at 10:30
a.m. at St. William Parish in Round Rock. He will ordain Deacon Craig DeYoung
to the priesthood June 7 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Helen Parish in Georgeown. For more
information, contact the diocesan Vocation OfÀce at (512) 949-2430.
In memory of Sister Mary Rose McPhee, DC
The life of Daughters
of Charity Sister Mary Rose
McPhee demonstrated a life
of many accomplishments.
Much like Blessed Mother
Teresa of Calcutta, she saw
Christ in the eyes of the poor
and took action to address
their needs.
In 1941, at the age of 23
and in the midst of nursing
school, Sister McPhee entered
the Daughters of Charity community. Over the years, her
gift of ministering to the poor
was fulÀlled in Catholic health
care where she served as a
nurse, hospital administrator,
executive director of Health
Services at Corporate Headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., and
Superior for the Daughters of
Charity’s Western Territory.
Sister McPhee moved to
Austin in 1974 and embraced
her role as administrator of
Seton Medical Center, leading it
to become the largest hospital
in Central Texas. During her
six-year tenure, two expansions
of the medical center were completed, including the Àrst regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Her constant awareness of the
needy was the guiding factor in
the founding of League House,
a facility where out-of-town
family members can stay while
their critically ill loved ones are
Twenty years after arriving in Austin, Sister McPhee
founded Seton Cove, a spirituality center open to people
of all faiths.
“I wanted people to learn
to meditate, to laugh, to enjoy 23, followed by burial at St. Charity, Province of St. Lounature, to be healthy,” she Joseph Cemetery. Donations ise, 4330 Olive St., St. Louis,
said at the 10-year anniver- may be made to Daughters of Mo. 63108.
sary of Seton Cove. Another
decade has passed and Seton
Cove continues to “reach out
to the poor in spirit and those
seeking to enrich their relationship with God, others and
self,” according to its website.
Sister McPhee was a social
justice advocate. She told the
Seton Fund Magazine in 2005,
“If people functioned out of
an inner-conviction for the
good of society, we would live
in a different world.”
She served the Diocese
of Austin for 30 years and
retired to Evansville, Ind., in
2004. She died peacefully durDAUGHTERS OF CHARITY SISTER MARY ROSE
ing Holy Week 2014. A Mass
MCPHEE stands in front of Seton Cove, a spirituality
of Christian Burial was celecenter in Austin that she founded. Sister McPhee died
brated at the Seton Residence
during Holy Week. (Photo courtesy Daughters of Charity)
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The Vitae Clinic, Inc., provides wellness, prenatal, delivery and
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May 2014
Priest from Colombia comes to Texas, via Kenya
As the pastor of St. John the
Evangelist Parish in San Marcos,
Father Victor Mayorga is a long
way from home. Born into a
family of eight children in a small
town near the mountains of Colombia, he never imagined himself as a priest in the U.S. While
he thought his future might entail
a career in business or academia,
God had other plans.
Father Mayorga was recently
appointed spiritual director of
Catholic Hispanic Charismatic
Renewal Groups. He says he
Àrst identiÀed his calling to the
priesthood while participating in
a charismatic prayer group during his Ànal year of high school.
So it is Àtting that he will now
lead these 27 groups across the
Father Mayorga attended
seminary at Yarumal Missionaries in Colombia, where he
was tested both physically and
spiritually. Enduring ongoing
health issues as a seminarian,
he began to doubt his ability to
become a priest if he remained
sick constantly. However, a fellow seminarian intervened to
remind him how blessed they
were to be taken care of so well in
the seminary, while many others
suffered terrible illnesses with no
such care.
The spiritual challenges he
faced, in contrast, put not only
his calling to the priesthood in
doubt but his entire faith. As part
of their philosophy studies, the
seminarians examined atheism.
Growing up in a devout Catholic
family, he innocently accepted
his faith without question. For
the Àrst time, as a young adult,
he looked at it from a different
perspective, one that put his faith
in doubt and caused him extreme
stress. Ultimately, however, understanding the philosophy of
atheism proved to strengthen
his faith, as it moved beyond the
realm of innocent acceptance to
one of educated intentionality.
After overcoming these obstacles to reach ordination, Father
Mayorga was sent to Kenya for
his Àrst assignment as a missionary priest. In his three years there,
he was exposed to death more
acutely than most ever experience throughout their lifetime.
On Aug. 7, 1998, he witnessed
the bombing of the U.S. embassy
where hundreds of people lost
their lives.
Four months later, he came
close to losing his own life. In the
midst of political issues between
tribes, a war emerged in the mission of Africa where he served.
Father Mayorga was trapped in
the middle of the violence, along
with two other priests. With no
means of escape, they began to
confront the very real possibility
that they were going to die. That
was until two men, one Animist
and one Muslim, discovered
them and led them through the
desert to safety.
“To me that was God send-
is the pastor
of St. John
the Evangelist Parish in
San Marcos.
He joined the
Diocese of
Austin in 2000.
(Photo courtesy Father
Mary Parish in Martindale and St.
Michael Parish in Uhland before
being named pastor of St. John
the Evangelist in San Marcos
four years ago.
Father Mayorga stays quite
busy as the pastor of more than
1,100 families. Though he may
how the Holy Spirit is in our
lives,” he said.
In addition to these personal encounters with individuals, Father Mayorga connects to
the broader parish community
through a vast array of ministries
and events, including two annual
Father Mayorga was recently appointed spiritual director of
Catholic Hispanic Charismatic Renewal Groups. He says he
¿rst identi¿ed his calling to the priesthood while participating
in a charismatic prayer group ...
ing his angels to rescue us,” Father Mayorga said.
After five years as a missionary, Father Mayorga was
eligible to request a permanent
assignment and relocated the
U.S. Bishop John McCarthy
welcomed him to the Diocese
of Austin as associate pastor at
St. Helen Parish in Georgetown.
After three years under the tutelage of Father Wm. Michael
Mulvey, now bishop of Corpus
Christi, he moved to St. Louis
Parish in Austin to serve under
Father Larry Covington. He also
served at Immaculate Heart of
initially come across as a shy man,
sharing in the lives and ministries
of his parishioners clearly fuels
his spirit. He strives to never
miss an invitation to dinner or
a request to be at the bedside of
a sick person. It is through this
sacrament of anointing the sick,
as well as the sacrament of reconciliation, that he most vividly
witnesses the healing power of
God. Father Mayorga feels his
bond with parishioners strengthened each time they come to
“We can feel the healing
power of Our Lord and share
A Future Fu of Hope
Prayer service for couples
struggling with infertility
Àestas, one held at St. John the
Evangelist and the other at Our
Lady of Guadalupe, the Mission
Chapel associated with the parish. Father Mayorga reinstated
the Àesta three years ago after
a 20-year hiatus, designating all
proceeds to benefit Our Lady
of Guadalupe Chapel. Thus far,
Àesta funds have enabled them
to build a new altar, a sacristy and
a cry room.
When he cannot be with his
parishioners in person, Father
Mayorga reaches them through
the written word. His weekly
“ReÁections on Men and Wom-
en of Faith” are posted on the
parish website. Beginning in the
“Year of Faith” with Àgures from
the Old Testament, his writings
have since continued into the
New Testament.
Father Mayorga has clearly
engrained himself into the community of San Marcos, a place
that is now home. A long way
from his childhood home, he retains a bit of his roots by cooking
Colombian food and watching
soccer. He also travels back to
Colombia annually to visit his
family, including one brother
who is a diocesan priest there
and another brother who is a
seminarian and missionary. While
in his hometown, he loves to visit
nearby Chicamocha Canyon, a
canyon between two mountains
with a cable car connecting the
But when vacation comes
to an end, it is time to depart
the sheep of the mountains and
return to shepherd his Áock back
in Texas. Though he may have
never imagined his life here, Father Mayorga trusted God’s will
to overcome his doubts as he was
quite literally led out of the desert
to proclaim the Good News.
A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
pm, St Mary Caedral
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Cemetery in Georgetown celebrates 10th anniversary
Our Lady of the Rosary
Cemetery and Prayer Gardens
in Georgetown celebrated its
10th anniversary on May 1. It
was begun by Nicholas and
Ellen Brumder, faithful Catholics who had a vision of “a
beautiful, faith-Àlled cemetery
of consolation, peace, and
natural beauty.”
The cemetery includes sacred art and monuments, Àelds
of Áowers and plentiful signs of
love and care-taking. Over the
last decade, 1,600 people of all
faiths, some traveling long distances, have chosen Our Lady
as their Ànal resting place.
The idea of Our Lady was
conceived on Oct. 21, 2002,
when the Brumders were at a
daily Mass at St. Helen Parish
in Georgetown. Their pastor,
Father Wm. Michael Mulvey,
who is now the bishop of Corpus Christ, mentioned in his
homily that it was the feast day
of St. Callixtus, who was martyred in the catacombs while
saying Mass with his deacons in
222 and is credited with starting
cemeteries above ground, with
Áowers, evergreens, and symbols of faith.
“After that Mass, I asked
Father Mulvey why we didn’t
have a Catholic Cemetery. That
absence had bothered him too,
and he asked me to do some
preliminary research on starting
a new cemetery, and would ask
his fellow priests when gathering that week their opinion on
the matter,” Ellen Brumder said.
However, the parish had
just opened a new Catholic
school and had plans for a new
church, so Father Mulvey advised against starting a cemetery.
“Then he asked if our family could start the cemetery,”
she said.
Bishop Greg Aymond approved and Our Lady of the
Rosary became the Àrst privately
owned Catholic cemetery in
America. The 20-acre property
selected near St. Helen Parish
has a hilltop view overlooking
the San Gabriel River Valley
and gently slopes down through
meadows of wildÁowers to clusters of trees, a spring fed pond
and a natural waterfall.
“There was even a beautiful grotto area beside the
pond where we put our very
and native plants
are found
the grounds
of Our Lady
of the Rosary
and Prayer
in Georgetown. (Photo
courtesy Ellen
first piece of sacred art of
Mother Teresa, in 2003,” Ellen Brumder said.
The Brumders have maintained a natural approach to
the grounds with the help of
the Native Plant Society of
Texas and the Master Gardeners of Williamson County.
They have created contemplative areas in the woods
and around the waterfall and
pond, planted native flowers and grasses, and created
additional habitat for wild-
and Prayer
Gardens in
sits on 20
acres near
St. Helen
Parish. The
land includes natural beauty as
well as sacred art and
(Photo courtesy Ellen
life. They have landscaped and
planted numerous plants in
the ButterÁy Garden that also
attract a multitude of butterÁies.
On Oct. 3, 2004, the Feast
of St. Francis, Bishop Aymond
blessed Our Lady of the Rosary. In 2005, the cemetery was
the only American cemetery
recognized in the international
Stoneguard Phoenix Competition in London. It took fourth
place for its master plan, which
was designed by architect and
stone carver Holly Kincannon
and Nick Brumder.
Kincannon designed and
carved many of the cemetery’s
Àrst monuments in native stone,
and is now part of a team of 12
artists who sculpt and create
monuments for the cemetery.
The artists include Nicholas
Brumder, Father Jairo Lopez,
who works in mosaics and is the
pastor of St. John the Evangelist
Parish in Marble Falls; Father
Andrew John, who created a
bronze sculpture of Our Lady of
Guadalupe in the baby’s garden;
Mary Melinda Brumder, who
sculpted the Immaculate Conception in the Marian Garden,
and June Doerr, who created
the Mother Teresa sculpture and
many other monument pieces.
The cemetery has been featured on PBS Central Texas
Gardener and it has received
attention from the Lady Bird
Johnson WildÁower Center in
Austin for its diverse plant life.
It is also the first xeriscaped
perpetual care cemetery in the
U.S., and was the Àrst to offer
the green burial option, which
is a natural, Franciscan approach
to the traditional and cremation
“Natural burial is simply the
old fashioned kind –– without
concrete vaults or embalming,
often using a simple wood box,”
Ellen Brumder said.
People of all faiths have
been buried at the cemetery,
she said.
“They are at rest under a
blanket of wildÁowers, a sign
of unity and that all people are
sacred, unique and exquisitely
loved by God,” she said. “All
are welcome to come pray, walk
and enjoy the sacred art and
natural beauty of Our Lady of
the Rosary; she is our pearl of
great worth.”
For more information on
Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery, visit or
call (512) 863-8411.
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May 2014
Pope Francis canonizes Sts. John and John Paul
the family,” a title he said the
late pope himself had hoped
to be remembered by. Pope
Francis said he was sure St.
John Paul was guiding the
church on its path to two upcoming synods of bishops on
the family, to be held at the
Vatican this October and in
October 2015.
The pope invoked the help
of the two new papal saints
for the synods’ success, and
he prayed, “May both of them
teach us not to be scandalized
by the wounds of Christ and to
enter ever more deeply into the
mystery of divine mercy, which
always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.”
Pope Francis has said the
agenda for the family synods
will include church teaching
and practice on marriage, areas he has said exemplify a
particular need for mercy in
the church today.
The pope repeatedly mentioned mercy in his homily,
which he delivered on Divine
Mercy Sunday, an observance St. John Paul put on
the church’s universal calendar in 2000. The Polish pope
died on the vigil of the feast
in 2005 and was beatiÀed on
Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011.
In addition to Pope Benedict, making only his third
public appearance since he
resigned in February 2013,
Pope Francis’ concelebrants
included some 150 cardinals
and 700 bishops.
Pope Benedict did not join
the procession of bishops at the
start of Mass, but arrived half an
hour earlier, wearing white vestments and a bishop’s miter and
walking with a cane; he sat in a
section of the square designated
for cardinals. Pope
Francis greeted his
predecessor with an
embrace at the start
Canonizing two recent
of the Mass, drawpopes in the presence of his
ing applause from
immediate predecessor, Pope
the crowd, and apFrancis praised the new Sts.
proached him again
John XXIII and John Paul II
at the end.
as men of courage and mercy,
During the
who responded to challenges
canonization cerof their time by modernizing
emony, which
the Catholic Church in Àdelity
took place at the
to its ancient traditions.
beginning of the
“They were priests, bishMass, devotees
ops and popes of the 20th
carried up relics
century,” the pope said April
of the new saints
27, in his homily during Mass
in matching silver
in St. Peter’s Square. “They
reliquaries, which
lived through the tragic events
Pope Francis
of that century, but they were
kissed before they
not overwhelmed by them.
were placed on
For them, God was more
a small table for
veneration by the
“John XXIII and John
Paul cooperated with the Holy
St. John’s relic
Spirit in renewing and updatwas a piece of the
ing the church in keeping with
late pope’s skin,
her original features, those fearemoved when his
tures which the saints have
body was transgiven her throughout the cenferred to its presturies,” he said.
ent tomb in the
Speaking before a crowd
main sanctuary of
of half a million that included
St. Peter’s Basilica.
retired Pope Benedict XVI,
Floribeth Mora
Pope Francis praised St. John
Diaz, a Costa Rifor his best-known accomcan woman whose
plishment, calling the Second
recovery from a
Vatican Council, which he said
brain aneurysm
“showed an exquisite openwas recognized
A LARGE CROWD is seen in and around St. Peter’s Square as Pope
ness to the Holy Spirit.”
by the church as a Francis celebrates the canonization Mass for Sts. John XXIII and John
“He let himself be led,
miracle attributable
Paul II at the Vatican April 27. (CNS photo by Massimo Sestini, Italian
and he was for the church a
to the intercession
National Police via Catholic Press Photo)
pastor, a servant-leader,” the
of St. John Paul,
pope said of St. John. “This
brought up a silver
was his great service to the
reliquary containing some of tures in the low 60s, and only a the Mass, and more than 30 of
church. I like to think of him
the saint’s blood, taken from sprinkle of rain fell just before the delegations were led by a
as the pope of openness to the
him for medical testing short- the 10 a.m. start of the liturgy. president or prime minister. The
ly before his death in 2005.
Huge tapestries bearing portraits current king and queen of Spain
Pope Francis characterized
The Mass took place un- of the two saints hung from and the former king and queen
St. John Paul as the “pope of
der cloudy skies with tempera- the facade of the basilica, and of Belgium were in attendance.
Pope Francis spent half
the square was decorated with
30,000 roses and other flow- an hour personally greeting
ers donated by the nation of the delegations following
the Mass. He then rode in
The square and the broad his popemobile through the
Via della Conciliazione leading square and adjacent avenue,
up to it were tightly packed with drawing cheers and applause
approximately half a million from the crowds, for about 20
pilgrims, many of whom had minutes until disappearing at
been standing for hours before the end of the street.
The canonizations of both
the start of Mass. Among the
many national Áags on display, popes came after extraordinary
the majority were from Poland, measures by their successors
the native land of St. John Paul. to expedite the process. Pope
The Vatican estimated that Benedict waived the usual Àve800,000 attended the ceremony year waiting period before the
in Rome, with overÁow crowds start of a sainthood cause for
watching on giant-screen TVs Pope John Paul shortly after his
set up at various locations death, when he was mourned by
around the city. The 2011 beati- crowds shouting “Santo subito!”
Àcation of Pope John Paul drew (“A saint at once!”). In the case
more than 1 million people, of St. John, Pope Francis waived
according to Italian police esti- the usual requirement of a secA BANNER in the large crowd at St. Peter’s Square shows new Sts. John Paul II and John
ond miracle before a blessed can
mates at the time.
XXIII and Jesus during an April 28 Mass of thanksgiving for the canonizations of the new
The Vatican said 93 coun- added to the church’s canon of
saints in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo by Paul Haring)
tries sent ofÀcial delegations to saints.
Resource on Girl Scouts released for parishes
Responding to concerns
about Catholic involvement
with Girl Scouts, a U.S. bishops’
committee released key points
from its dialogue with Girl Scout
leaders outlining major concerns
of church leaders and the national organization’s responses.
The aim of the resource,
issued April 2 by the bishops’
Committee on Laity, Marriage,
Family Life and Youth, was not
to support or oppose Catholic
involvement with Girl Scouts of
the USA, known as GSUSA, but
to provide local bishops, pastors,
youth leaders and parents with
necessary information to determine their level of involvement.
Catholics have been afÀliated with Girl Scouts for 100
years and there are an estimated
400,000 Catholic girls among the
nation’s 3 million Girl Scouts.
In the past few years, questions about the organization
have sparked online discussions,
boycotts of Girl Scout cookies
and the ousting of troops from
Catholic parishes.
Concerns have been raised
about the Girl Scouts’ relationship with Planned Parenthood
and the World Association of
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts,
known as WAGGGS. There
also have been questions about
the organization’s policy on human sexuality and contraception
and its program materials and
The bishops’ committee
spent one year gathering information about concerns and
another year in dialogue with
Girl Scout leaders in an effort
to clarify the issues.
“The exchanges between
USCCB staff and GSUSA staff
were pleasant, informative and
respectful. GSUSA staff was
generous with their time, indicated a strong desire and willingness to work more closely
with the Catholic Church in the
United States,” said the committee, noting that the resource
materials are not only posted on
the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops website, www.usccb.
org, but also the Girl Scouts site,
In providing the information
it obtained, the committee said
the decision for Catholics to participate or not in Girl Scouts is a
local one and that “diocesan bishops have the Ànal authority over
what is appropriate for Catholic
Scouting in their dioceses.”
This material “does not
intend to be exhaustive,” the
committee noted, nor was it an
attempt to “make decisions or
set out national norms.”
It also recognized “the history of signiÀcant work and relationships between Girl Scouts
and the church and the service
Girl Scout councils and troops
have provided dioceses, parishes
and local communities.”
In a question-and-answer
section, the Girl Scouts said
they have “no ofÀcial relationship” with Planned Parenthood.
They also said the way GSUSA
is structured does not allow
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the national ofÀce “to prohibit
local councils or troops from
collaborating with or forming
their own local relationships
with Planned Parenthood” or
other organizations.
Regarding WAGGGS –– an
international group based in
London that describes itself as
advocating for the education of
girls and young women and promoting “sexual and reproductive health/rights” –– GSUSA
said it “only participates in select
WAGGGS programming” and
does not have “the ability or
purview to criticize, explicitly
distance itself from, or change
particular advocacy positions
within WAGGGS.” Its contributions to the organization are
only from investment income
and not from cookie sales, dues
or registration fees.
The Girl Scouts said their
national ofÀce has a neutral
policy on sexuality and contraception but that it doesn’t
“prohibit individual councils
or troops from taking a position or sponsoring programming on human sexuality or
other topics” if the troop has
parental consent and other
In a question about Scout
membership by youths who
identify themselves as transgender, the Girl Scouts said: “Placement of transgender youth is
handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best
interests of the child and the
members of the troop/group in
question a top priority.”
Within this resource, the
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bishops’ committee stressed
the need for communication
between diocesan leaders and
local Girl Scout councils as well
as using a “memorandum of understanding” which is a form establishing mutual understanding
between Girl Scouts and dioceses
and parishes stressing that parish
troops are “free from any programming or activities contrary
to the church’s teaching.”
Robert McCarty, executive
director of the Washingtonbased National Federation for
Catholic Youth Ministry in
Washington, and an adviser in
the dialogue sessions with GSUSA and the bishops’ committee, said there has been a long
history of secular organizations
partnering with the church and
the cooperation needs “regular
communication and a sense of
McCarty told Catholic
News Service April 8 that
Catholics working with secular organizations does not
mean “blanket endorsement”
of them. He also stressed
that the dialogue between the
bishops’ committee and the
Girl Scouts provides “a starting point” to “Ànd common
ground and move forward.”
He said the Girl Scout leaders had “every right to feel criticized but they did not.” Instead,
he said they met with Catholic leaders and were willing to
change things and even re-do
McCarty recognized that the
USCCB resource will not satisfy
everyone and said that just that
day he received letter from a
Catholic who said people in her
parish want her to stop leading
the parish Girl Scout troop because of claims they had heard
of its association with Planned
Gladys Padro-Soler, GSUSA’s faith and social issues adviser, told CNS in an April 9
e-mail that Girl Scout leaders
“are confident that the USCCB’s new Web resource will
encourage Girl Scout councils
and local dioceses that have
experienced trying times during this period to reclaim the
collaboration and communication they have always shared.”
She noted that GSUSA
“believes local issues are best
solved with local solutions”
and hopes that diocesan ofÀces and Girl Scout councils
use “memorandums of understanding” to clearly identify
their partnership terms and
to also alleviate “concerns a
diocese may have about Girl
Scouts’ service to girls.”
“Ultimately,” she said, “it is
the church’s own parishioners
that deliver the Girl Scout program and they are empowered
both by GSUSA and the church
to ensure the program meets
their faith’s tenets.”
The USCCB’s question
and answer guide can be found
and also on the Girl Scouts site:
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May 2014
Pope to young: Be honest, discover what you hold dear
Pope Francis told a group
of young people to be honest
with themselves and others
and Àgure out what they hold
dear: money and pride or the
desire to do good.
He also told them he has
made plenty of mistakes in
life, being guilty of being too
bossy and stubborn.
“They say mankind is the
only animal that falls in the
same well twice,” he said.
While mistakes are the
“great teachers” in life,
“I think there are some I
haven’t learned because I’m
hardheaded,” he said, rapping his knuckles on his
wooden desk and laughing.
“It’s not easy learning, but I
learned from many mistakes,
and this has done me good.”
The pope spoke to young
students and reporters from
Belgium, who were accompanied by Bishop Lucas Van
Looy of Ghent. They video-recorded the interview
in the papal study of the
Vatican’s Apostolic Palace
March 31 and aired it on
Belgian TV April 3. The
young Belgians, including
the cameraman, asked their
questions in English, and
the pope answered in Italian.
When asked why the pope
agreed to do the interview
with them, the pope said because he sensed they had a
feeling of “apprehension” or
unease about life and “I think
it is my duty to serve young
people,” to listen to and help
guide their anxiety, which is
“like a seed that grows and in
time bears fruit.”
The 25-year-old reporter
operating the camera asked
the pope whether he was happy and why, given that everyone in the world is trying to
Ànd joy.
“Absolutely,” he smiled,
“absolutely, I am happy. I
have a certain inner peace, a
great peace and happiness that
come with age, too.” Even
though he has always encountered problems in his life, he
said, “this happiness does
not disappear when there are
When one young woman
said: “I have my fears. What
makes you afraid?” The pope
laughed and responded, “Myself.”
He said the reason Jesus constantly says, “Be not
afraid,” is because “he knows
that fear is something, that I
would say is, quote, unquote,
“We are afraid of life, of
challenges, we are even afraid
before God, right?”
Everyone is afraid, so the
real issue is to Àgure out the
difference between “good fear
and bad fear. Good fear is
prudence,” being careful and
“bad fear” is something that
“cancels you out, turns you
into nothing,” preventing the
person from doing anything,
and that kind of fear must be
“thrown out.”
One young man asked
what mistakes the pope has
learned from. The pope
laughed, saying, “I’ve made
mistakes, I still make mistakes.”
The example he highlighted was when he was elected
superior of the Jesuit province
of Argentina and Uruguay at
the age of 36. “I was very
young,” he said, “I was too
But with time, he said, he
learned that it’s important to
truly listen to what other people think and to dialogue with
It took a while to Ànd a
happy medium between being too hard and too lax, “but
I still make mistakes, you
know?” he said.
One woman told the pope
she does not believe in God,
but “your acts and ideas inspire me.” She asked what
kind of message he would give
to the whole world –– believers and nonbelievers alike.
The important thing, Pope
Francis said, is to “find a
way to speak with authenticity,” which involves seeing
and speaking to others as our
brothers and sisters.
Responding to the cameraman’s doubts about whether
the human race is truly capable of caring for the world
and each other, the pope said,
he, too, asks: Where is mankind and where is God in the
world today?
“When man finds himself, he seeks God. Perhaps
he can’t find him, but he
goes along a path of honesty,
searching for the truth, for the
path of goodness, the path of
“It’s a long road. Some
people don’t Ànd him during
their lifetime” or they’re not
aware that they have found
him, but “they are so real,
so honest about themselves,
so good and such lovers of
beauty” that they are mature
enough and capable of having “an encounter with God,
which is always a grace” and
a gift.
When his guests said they
were ready to ask the last
question, the pope laughed,
“Ah, the last! The last is always terrible.”
They asked the pope to
pose a question for them.
He said his question came
from the Gospel, when Jesus
says to not store up treasure
on earth, but in heaven, “For
where your treasure is, there
also will your heart be.”
The pope asked them:
What do you treasure and
hold close to your hearts?
Is it “power, money, pride
or goodness, beauty, the desire to do good?” It can be
many things, he said, and he
asked them to find the answer “for yourselves, alone, at
Upcoming Event
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On April 27, 2014, Pope Francis canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Both popes have had
a major impact on the church. We will spend some time learning more about these holy men and the
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Pope apologizes for clerical sex abuse
“I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil
some priests –– large in number, but not in proportion to
the total –– have committed
and to ask forgiveness for
the damage they’ve done with
the sexual abuse of children,”
Pope Francis said.
“The church is aware of
this damage” and is committed to strengthening child
protection programs and
punishing offenders, he told
members of the International
Catholic Child Bureau during a meeting April 11 at the
The remarks appeared to
be the pope’s first apology
for the sex abuse scandal, following earlier statements affirming the Vatican’s work
investigating and punishing
perpetrators, and encouraging bishops to support abuse
victims. The pope also has
said the church deserves to
be forced to make monetary
settlements to victims.
In December, Pope Francis established a Vatican
commission to promote improved child protections policies throughout the church.
Meeting with leaders of
the International Catholic
Child Bureau, an organization
based in France and dedicated to defending children’s
rights, Pope Francis said it
was hard to believe “men of
the church” would commit
such horrors.
“We don’t want to take
a step backward in dealing
with this problem and with
the sanctions that must be
imposed,” the pope said.
“On the contrary, I believe
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we must be very strong. You
don’t play with children’s
Pope Francis also spoke
about the importance of defending children’s right “to
grow in a family with a mother and father able to create a
healthy environment for their
growth and affective maturity,” which includes “maturing in relationship to the
masculinity and femininity of
a father and a mother.”
Parents have a right to
determine the appropriate
“moral and religious education” of their children, he
said, and should not be subject to school curriculums
that are thinly veiled courses
of indoctrination into whatever ideology is strongest at
the moment.
Obviously, he said, children need help in responding
to the problems and challenges raised by contemporary culture and the media.
Young people can’t be kept
in “glass jars,” but must be
given the values that will help
them evaluate what cultural
trends respect their dignity
and freedom and the dignity
and freedom of others.
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May 2014
At Easter, Pope encourages evangelization, prayer
Pope Francis urged Christians to remember how they Àrst
encountered Christ and to share
his love and mercy with others,
especially through acts of caring
and sharing.
Proclaiming the good news
of Jesus’ resurrection means
giving concrete witness “to unconditional and faithful love,”
he said April 20 before solemnly
giving his blessing “urbi et orbi”
(to the city and the world).
Celebrating the second Easter of his pontiÀcate, the pope
told at least 150,000 people
gathered in St. Peter’s Square
and on adjacent streets that
evangelization “is about leaving
ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those
crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at
the side of the sick, elderly and
the outcast.”
Whatever is going on in
one’s life, he said from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Jesus’ victory over sin and
death demonstrates that “love is
more powerful, love gives life,
love makes hope blossom in the
Overlooking the square
where he had just celebrated
Easter morning Mass surrounded by hundreds of flowering
trees and bushes and thousands
of daffodils, tulips and roses,
Pope Francis said Christians
proclaim to the world that “Jesus, love incarnate, died on the
cross for our sins, but God the
father raised him and made him
the Lord of life and death.”
In his Easter message, the
pope prayed that the risen Lord
would “help us to overcome the
scourge of hunger, aggravated
by conÁicts and by the immense
wastefulness for which we are
often responsible.” He also
prayed that Christians would be
given the strength “to protect
the vulnerable, especially children, women and the elderly,
who are at times exploited and
The pope offered special
prayers for those facing serious
difÀculties and threats in various
parts of the world: for victims of
the Ebola epidemic in West Africa; the victims of kidnapping;
migrants and refugees; and for
the victims of war and conÁict
in Syria, Iraq, Central African
Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan
and Venezuela.
Celebrating the fact that in
2014 Easter fell on the same day
on the Gregorian calendar used
in the West and on the Julian
calendar used by many Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, the
pope’s morning Mass included a
Byzantine choir singing “stichi”
and “stichira,” hymns that in
ancient times were sung in the
presence of the bishop of Rome
on Easter.
The pope’s celebration of
Easter got underway the night
before in a packed St. Peter’s
His Easter Vigil began with
the lighting of the Àre and Easter candle in the atrium of the
basilica; walking behind the
Easter candle and carrying a
candle of his own, Pope Francis
entered the darkened basilica.
In the silence and solemnity of
the moment, very few pilgrims
and tourists disturbed the atmosphere with their camera Áashes.
Brian Baker, a deacon and
seminarian from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, sang the Exultet –– the poetic hymn of
praise calling the whole world
to rejoice at the resurrection of
As the bells of St. Peter’s
pealed the joy of the Resurrection through the night, torrential
rains beat down on Rome.
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In his homily Pope Francis,
who often tells people to look
up the date of their baptism
and commemorate it each year,
urged people to remember and
reÁect on the Àrst moment they
recall having encountered Jesus.
Referring to the Easter account from the Gospel of St.
Matthew, Pope Francis noted
how the women who went to
Jesus’ tomb were told Àrst by
the angel and then by the risen
Lord to await him in Galilee and
tell the disciples to go as well.
Returning to Galilee, he said,
means re-reading everything ––
“Jesus’ preaching, his miracles,
the new community, the excite-
ment and the defections, even
the betrayal –– to re-read everything starting from the end,
which is a new beginning,” one
that begins with Jesus’ “supreme
act of love” in dying for humanity’s sin.
Pope Francis baptized 10
people at the Easter Vigil; they
ranged from a 7-year-old Italian
boy to a 58-year-old Vietnamese
woman. The pope also confirmed the 10, and, although
Pope Francis does not usually distribute Communion at
large public Masses, he made
an exception for the 10 new
Catholics, who received their
Àrst Communion.
touches a statue
of Mary at the
conclusion of
Easter Mass in St.
Peter’s Square at
the Vatican April
20. (CNS photo by
Paul Haring)
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Thousands gather for Catholic education convention
light of Pope Francis’ apostolic harsher would it be if there was must be Àrmly grounded in an
exhortation, “The Joy of the nothing for people to answer authentic faith. Only then will
Gospel” (“Evangelii Gaudium”) to, to teach them to have trust children be able to live their
and the pontiff’s call for a new in others, he said he asked the faith and daily existence with
The new evangelization is evangelization within the church person.
Christ, he added.
not a new Gospel, but refocuses and around the world. In the
“The church brings to our
Expressing his belief that
the faithful on the good news of
Jesus and involves the renewal
of faith and the willingness to While the church is the home of the new evangelization,
share it, Cardinal Donald W.
Cardinal Wuerl said, Catholic education is an instrument of it.
Wuerl of Washington told the
National Catholic Education
exhortation, the cardinal noted, world today an invitation to Catholic education must present
“We bring a fuller vision,” the pope invites people to focus faith, an encounter with the a real vision of what it means
Cardinal Wuerl said of the Cath- on the blessing that is the love Lord Jesus and a whole way of to be created in the image and
olic faith during his keynote of God in their lives.
living,” he said.
likeness of God, Cardinal Wuerl
address at NCEA’s annual con“His energy is a bright ray
But the secular world is said the authentic proclamation
vention. “We need to admit that breaking through the secular often overwhelming, Cardinal of Christ begins with a clear
and be proud of it.”
darkness,” Cardinal Wuerl added. Wuerl noted, and many mark- declaration of who he is. The
Hosted by the Diocese of
While the church is the ers of the faith have been taken faithful, he noted, must underPittsburgh in partnership with home of the new evangelization, away. He expressed concern that stand how essential the church
the NCEA, Catholic Library As- he said, Catholic education is an secularism has also diminished is in their lives. The work of
sociation and the National Asso- instrument of it.
appreciation of the faith.
building the kingdom as just the
ciation of Parish and CatechetiThe cardinal explained that
Today the church is the only beginning, he said.
cal Directors, the convention it can involve “ordinary” areas living witness to Jesus, CardiCardinal Wuerl said that
drew about 6,000 participants of evangelization, something nal Wuerl said, pointing to the evangelization involves the work
during its April 22-24 run at the as simple as teaching a child 2,000-year unbroken line of the of disciples who share the good
David L. Lawrence Conven- the sign of the cross and that it faith being passed on through news. It involves a bold new
tion Center. Representatives can focus on outreach to those faithful people.
courage, a connectedness to the
from across Catholic educa- who have fallen away from the
“It’s in that context that church and a sense of urgency
tion attended, including staff church.
you and I can stand Àrm in our that reminds people it is their
from elementary and secondary
Cardinal Wuerl related the faith,” he said.
time to pass on the message of
schools, religious education pro- story of an individual who had
Passing on the faith high- Jesus.
grams, seminaries, and colleges questioned him on the impor- lights the importance of Catholic
“Our message should be one
and universities.
tance of religion. He said he schools and religious education that inspires people to follow
Cardinal Wuerl, a native son responded by asking what the programs, he said, explaining us,” he said.
and former bishop of Pitts- world would be like without the that if the new evangelization
Christian Brother Robert
burgh, presented his remarks in values of religion. How much is to be successful, children Bimonte, NCEA president, said
the convention was a celebration of Catholic education and
the extraordinary people who
make it happen.
“In the ‘city of bridges’ we
celebrate the bridges you build
each and every day,” he told the
Ned Vanders, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in
the Diocese of Austin, attended
this year’s NCEA convention
with 11 others from the Austin
“This annual conference
is always a great way to get
new ideas, learn best practices
and hear success stories from
other dioceses and schools from
across the country,” he said.
“I particularly enjoy getting
to network with others and reconnecting with colleagues that
I have worked with in the past,”
Vanders said.
In introducing Cardinal
Wuerl, Bishop David A. Zubik
said that since Father Denis
Baron celebrated the Àrst Mass
in Pittsburgh in 1754, Catholic
education has been a passion
and a force for the church of
Today more than ever, he
said, the world needs Catholic
education and the witness of
people who are created in the
image and likeness of God.
Join us . . .
at the next Assembly of Catholic
Professionals luncheon. Guest Speaker: Patrick Madrid
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency,
Patrick Madrid
Catholic apologist, author,
and host of the popular radio show
“Right Here, Right Now”
Town Lake in Austin.
Space is limited. RSVP at
by May 16 to guarantee a seat and lunch.
Sponsored by:
Assembly of
Dear 2014 Graduates,
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez and Very Rev. Daniel E.
of Catholic Schools in congratulating all of you!
The milestone day is upon us. In a few weeks,
you will walk across the stage to be given a well
earned document — your high school diploma,
DQGPRUHVSHFLÀFDOO\D&DWKROLFKLJKVFKRROGLploma. The graduation ceremony commences a
new chapter in your lives.
It is our hope that in the years ahead, you will
recall with fond memories your teachers, friends,
and your
days Supplement
in high school. But most imporSpecial
tantly, our desire, as educators and family, is that
you leave with a strong foundation of the teachings of Jesus Christ and a belief that you can
make a difference in the world.
In the words of Pope Francis at World Youth
Day 2013, “Put on Christ and you will see the
wings of hope spreading and letting you journey
with joy towards the future.”
We are most grateful to your parents and guardians for entrusting you to us; and we pray that
each of you are prepared with the faith and
academic foundations to sustain you throughout
your journey as you move forward to make your
dreams a reality.
May God bless each of you abundantly.
Dr. Ned F. Vanders
Supertintendent of Catholic Schools
National Merit Scholars Recognized
On February 20, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez hosted a reception for National Merit Scholars from
the six Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Austin. Students and their parents/guardians
Scholars by the National Merit Scholarship Association. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High
school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) — a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year — and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements. Additionally, six students were recognized by The College Board as a part of
Hispanic/Latino high school students. Each year, the NHRP honors about 5,000 of the highestscoring students from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT.
WIN one of two $1,000
CLASS OF 2014!
At Catholic school, children learn to shine with a light they carry with them
into the world. We would like to help bring that light into your family. Visit
the website below to enter to WIN one of the two $1,000 scholarships
for Catholic school tuition from Parker School Uniforms. If you are a lucky
winner, you’ll be able to give this great blessing to the student of your choice.
Enter today at
Diocese of Austin
Summer 2014
Holy Trinity Catholic High School {TEMPLE}
Dr. Veronica Alonzo
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6 p.m.
Christ the King Parish, Belton
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 2 p.m.
Holy Trinity Catholic High School Gym
Reicher Catholic High School {WACO}
Deacon Jeff Heiple
Friday, May 16, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
St. Jerome Parish, Waco
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 5 p.m.
Waco Hall, Baylor Campus
To the Class of 2014 Graduates:
Your achievement is a great milestone!
Best wishes for the future and
may God bless you in your endeavors.
St. Austin Catholic School
congratulates our alumni on their
graduation from high school.
Way to Soar, Eagles!
Now accepting applications for the
2014-2015 school year for Junior K - 8 | 512-327-7755
Diocese of Austin
Summer 2014
St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School {AUSTIN}
Dr. Joan Wagner
Mr. Morgan Daniels
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 10 a.m.
St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Austin
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 3 p.m.
St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School
St. Joseph Catholic High School {BRYAN}
Miss Jennifer Pelletier
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 6 p.m.
Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, Bryan
Friday, May 23, 2014, 5 p.m.
Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, Bryan
Congratulations, St. Joseph
Catholic School Class of 2014!
“Dear young people...
‘Put on Christ’ and your life will be full of
His love; it will be a fruitful life.”
Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2013
Diocese of Austin
Summer 2014
San Juan Diego Catholic High School {AUSTIN}
Mrs. Pam Jupe
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6 p.m.
San José Parish, Austin
Reception to follow in Parish Hall
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy {AUSTIN}
Dr. Judith Knotts
Friday, May 30, 2014, 6 p.m.
St. John Neumann Parish, Austin
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 11:30 a.m.
St. Edward’s University, RCC Gym
May 2014
New plan will give us focus for the future
VÁSQUEZ is the ¿fth
bishop of the Austin
Diocese. He shepherds more than
530,000 Catholics in 25 Central
Texas counties.
Editor: Bishop, the Diocese of
Austin is in the process of developing a Pastoral Plan. What is the
plan and why do we need it?
Bishop Vásquez: The Pastoral
Plan provides a vision and direction for the Diocese of Austin. It is
important for this local church, the
Diocese of Austin, to prayerfully read
the signs of the times and to understand what God is asking us to do
in this particular moment. This is a
time to consult with all of our priests,
deacons, men and women religious
and lay people –– from youth to
young adults to elderly –– about how
the church can better serve them now
and in the future.
Last year at World Youth Day,
Pope Francis encouraged the bishops
to be with the people, especially the
young people of our dioceses: “We
cannot keep ourselves shut up in
parishes, in our communities, in our
parish or diocesan institutions, when
so many people are waiting for the
Gospel! … It is not enough simply
to open the door in welcome because they come, but we must go out
through that door to seek and meet
the people!” This particular quote has
stuck with me, and I think this Pastoral Plan is a way for us to reach out
to people and to see how we can help
them grow in their faith and encounter Jesus Christ.
Editor: We have had Pastoral
Plans in the past, correct?
Bishop Vásquez: Yes, my predecessor, Archbishop Gregory Aymond,
developed a Pastoral Plan that was
already in place when I came to the
Austin Diocese. It was a Àve-year plan
with Àve primary goals. The parishes
incorporated these priorities and goals,
many of which revolved around being
Christ-centered communities. Since
that plan concluded, we have taken the
opportunity to ask ourselves what God
is asking of us at this moment in the
history of the diocese and where does
God want us to focus our attention for
the next Àve years?
Editor: Tell us about the survey
that was conducted during April.
Bishop Vásquez: The survey is
one of the ways in which we received
information from people throughout
the diocese. First, the Pastoral Plan
core team held listening sessions in
both English and Spanish where people came together and discussed what
they believed were the needs of the
Austin Diocese. During those sessions,
the focus was not just on the needs of
the individual parishes or groups in the
diocese, but on the needs of the entire
diocese. Summaries of those listening
sessions are available on our diocesan
The survey, which was offered
online and on paper, allowed us to
connect with people throughout the
Austin Diocese and give them the
opportunity to answer questions
regarding their faith. The survey was
not just for people actively involved
in the church; we invited people who
have left the church or who don’t
attend Mass very often to Àll out the
survey as well. We wanted to hear
from all Catholics, practicing or not,
so that we can know where we need
to focus our efforts at this point in
time. The survey responses are now
being processed and reviewed to help
us develop a new plan.
As Pope Francis has pointed
out over and over again, we are an
inclusive church. The church cannot
isolate itself, but rather the church
welcomes everyone. In fact, the Holy
Father is pushing the church to go
out to the edges, to the peripheries,
and to seek out those who are poor
or suffering. Pope Francis is telling
us clearly we can’t be a church that
concentrates only on those who are
present at Mass every Sunday. We
have to also be a church that evangelizes and goes forth to spread the
Good News.
As he tells us in his apostolic
exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium,
the joy of the Gospel compels us
to proclaim to the world the Good
News. “A Church which ‘goes forth’
is a Church whose doors are open.
Going out to others in order to reach
the fringes of humanity does not
mean rushing out aimlessly into the
world. Often it is better simply to
slow down, to put aside our eagerness
in order to see and listen to others,
to stop rushing from one thing to
another and to remain with someone
who has faltered along the way. At
times we have to be like the father of
the prodigal son, who always keeps
his door open so that when the son
returns, he can readily pass through
it” (46).
It is for this very reason that we
wanted to hear from all Catholics, not
just those who come to Mass regularly
but those who come just once in a
while or not at all.
Editor: What is the next step in
the Pastoral Planning process?
Bishop Vásquez: The next part
involves interviewing the priests in the
diocese. Again, I want to go back to
Pope Francis and something he said
last year regarding the role of bishops:
“The bishop has to be among his
people in three ways: in front of them,
pointing the way; among them, keeping them together and preventing them
from being scattered; and behind them,
ensuring that no one is left behind, but
also, and primarily, so that the Áock
itself can sniff out new paths.” I take
these words very seriously and I want
to know and understand the needs of
the people of this diocese.
So that I can better lead, gather
and protect my Áock, I rely on feedback from the priests of the diocese.
As the bishop, the priests are my
chief collaborators, and I depend
on them to serve the needs of the
people. The priests are working with
the people on a daily basis in the parishes, in our Catholic schools, in the
hospitals and various other ministries.
They have direct contact with people,
and it is important that I hear from
the priests about their experiences
What do they see happening in parishes? What do they hear as concerns
from the people? I am very interested
in reading the results of the priests’
When all the information is gathered from the surveys, priests and the
listening sessions, we will use it to
develop our Pastoral Plan. A steering
committee made up of people from all
over the diocese, including lay people,
priests, religious, deacons, and myself,
is working with a Àrm called Essential
Conversations to write the plan. I ask
for your prayers over the next several
months as we work with them to develop a cohesive plan.
Editor: How can people Ànd out
more about the Pastoral Plan?
Bishop Vásquez: Please visit the
diocesan website at www.austindiocese.
org and click on “Pastoral Plan” for
the most current information. From
there, you can sign up to get e-mail
alerts about the plan and learn how
you can stay involved in this process.
My hope is that everybody will get involved. We have already received great
responses from the survey. Now as
we move forward with developing the
plan, we ask everyone to pray, to stay
in touch and continue to give us your
input. We need to have as much feedback that we are able to get in order to
develop a good plan.
Editor: What is your prayer for
the Diocese of Austin as we plan for
the future?
Bishop Vásquez: May we be open
to listening to the voice of the Holy
Spirit. The voice of the Spirit will tell
us very clearly where we need to go
in the future. This Pastoral Plan is not
just simply strategizing –– many companies do that; many organizations do
that. This plan is based on the fact that
God has put the church here in the
world and in Central Texas and we are
to serve the needs of the people. I pray
that we will indeed listen to God to be
able to develop a plan that is going to
serve the needs of the people of the
Diocese of Austin.
Church offers path of renewal for couples
Among married men and women
who undergo surgical sterilization through a vasectomy or a tubal
ligation, it has been estimated that
anywhere from 10 to 20 percent will
come to regret the choice. Sometimes
there may be an immediate awareness
of wrongdoing following the surgery,
while in other cases, as Patrick CofÀn, radio host and author of “Sex au
Naturel” notes, sterilized couples may
“…drift for years before acknowledging that something between them is no
longer in sync. After the initial pregnancy fear subsides, and the vision of
1,001 erotic nights turns out be something of a scam, spouse may (subtly)
turn against spouse while doing their
best to ignore the silent, disturbing
‘presence’ of the choice they made.”
Their decision to seek out a permanent form of contraception can also
affect their marriage in other important
ways. Dr. John Billings has noted there
is “an effect that is even more tragic
than the clinical, and it is that in many
cases the use of contraceptive methods
in marriage has been followed by an
act of inÀdelity of one of the members. It would seem that contraception diminishes the mutual respect of
husband and wife... Additionally, the
abandoning of self-control diminishes
the capacity to exercise this self-dominion outside the marriage.”
The “abandonment of self-control”
that can follow permanent sterilization raises ongoing spiritual and moral
challenges for couples who later repent
and confess the sin of having undergone a vasectomy or a tubal ligation.
A unique and vexing problem arises
because sterilized individuals may Ànd
themselves, as Patrick CofÀn observes,
“sorely tempted to delight in the very
sex-without-babies mentality that led to
the sterilization in the Àrst place.”
Repentant couples, out of an
abundance of spiritual caution, may
thus wonder what they should do,
and whether they are obliged to get
a surgical reversal of the procedure.
The church has never declared this to
be a required step, in part because of
the risks and burdens associated with
surgical interventions, in part because
of the high uncertainty of a successful outcome, and in part because of
the potentially signiÀcant expenses
Even though a reversal may not
be feasible or obligatory, the repentant
couple may nonetheless become aware
of the need to order their sexual activity and appetites in the face of their
original sterilization decision and its
extended consequences. They may recognize a pressing interior need to grow
in the virtue of marital chastity and to
engage in a lifestyle that authentically
embodies their new, albeit delayed, rejection of the contraceptive mentality.
In these situations, clergy and
spiritual advisers will often encourage couples to pattern their sex life on
the same cycle of periodic abstinence
that fertile couples follow when using
natural family planning (NFP). During times of abstinence, the couples
actively exercise self-control, thereby
reordering the sensual and sexual
appetites. This strengthens spouses
in their resolve not to reduce each
other to objects for pursuing sexual
self-gratiÀcation. This is important
because various forms of contraception, including permanent sterilization,
often involve the phenomenon of the
woman feeling as if she is being “used”
by her husband.
Abstinence, therefore, assists
couples in learning to express their
mutual love in other ways. St. John
Paul II explains this perspective in his
famous work “Love and Responsibility.”
“Inherent in the essential character of continence as a virtue is the
conviction that the love of man and
woman loses nothing as a result of
temporary abstention from erotic
experiences, but on the contrary
gains: the personal union takes deeper
root, grounded as it is above all in the
afÀrmation of the value of the person
and not just in sexual attachment,” he
wrote. In one of his weekly general
audiences later as pope, he further
noted that “…continence itself is a
deÀnite and permanent moral attitude; it is a virtue, and therefore, the
whole line of conduct guided by it
acquires a virtuous character.”
Fertile couples who incorporate
NFP into their marriages to avoid
a conception often end up acquir-
ing a different attitude toward life
as they chart and practice periodic
abstinence: they can have a change of
heart and discern a call to have one
or several additional children. A similar spiritual conversion to a culture of
life might reasonably be expected to
occur among some sterilized couples
who resolve to live out an NFP lifestyle, perhaps becoming more open
to adopting a child or more open to
other forms of spiritual parenthood
in their communities, such as Big
Brother/Big Sister and other advocacy programs.
By abstaining during fertile times,
then, the sterilized couple reintegrates
the same positive behaviors that
they might have practiced had they
not chosen to be sterilized. In this
way, the science of NFP offers the
repentant sterilized couple a school of
opportunity to acquire virtue within
their marriage and their conjugal relations.
PH.D. earned
his doctorate in
from Yale. He is a
priest of the Diocese of Fall River,
Mass., and serves
as the Director of
Education at The
National Catholic
Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
For more information, visit
Collection for Retired Clergy and Religious
The special collection Retired Clergy and Religious was taken up Dec. 7-8, 2013. If your parish Ànds an error, call the diocesan Finance OfÀce at (512) 949-2400.
For more information about this collection, visit
Austin Central Deanery
Austin, Cristo Rey
Austin, Holy Cross
Austin, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Austin, St. Austin
Austin, St. Ignatius
Austin, St. Julia
Austin, St. Mary Cathedral
Austin, San Jose
Austin Central Deanery
Austin North Deanery
Austin, Holy Vietnamese Martyrs
Austin, Sacred Heart
Austin, St. Albert the Great
Austin, St. Louis
Austin, St. Theresa
Austin, St. Thomas More
Austin, St. Vincent de Paul
Cedar Park, St. Margaret Mary
Austin North Deanery
Austin South Deanery
Austin, St. Catherine of Siena
Austin, St. John Neumann
Austin, St. Paul
Austin, St. Peter the Apostle
Austin, San Francisco Javier
Lakeway, Emmaus
Austin South Deanery
Bastrop/Lockhart Deanery
Bastrop, Ascension
Elgin, Sacred Heart
Lockhart, St. Mary of the Visitation
Luling, St. John
Martindale, Immaculate Heart
Rockne, Sacred Heart
Smithville, St. Paul
String Prairie, Assumption
Uhland, St.Michael
Bastrop/Lockhart Deanery
Brenham/La Grange Deanery
Brenham, St. Mary
Chappell Hill, St. Stanislaus
Ellinger/Hostyn Hill, St. Mary
Fayetteville, St. John
Giddings, St. Margaret
La Grange, Sacred Heart
Lexington, Holy Family
Old Washington on the Brazos, St. Mary $32.00
Pin Oak, St. Mary
Rockdale, St. Joseph
Somerville, St. Ann
Brenham/La Grange Deanery
Bryan/College Station Deanery
Bremond, St. Mary
Bryan, St. Anthony
Bryan, St. Joseph
Bryan, Santa Teresa
Caldwell, St. Mary
College Station, St. Mary
College Station, St. Thomas Aquinas $3,749.05
Franklin, St. Francis of Assisi
Frenstat, Holy Rosary
Hearne, St. Mary
Bryan/College Station Deanery
Georgetown/Round Rock Deanery
Andice, Santa Rosa
Corn Hill, Holy Trinity
Georgetown, St. Helen
Granger, Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Manor, St. Joseph
PÀugerville, St. Elizabeth
Round Rock, St. John Vianney
Round Rock, St. William
Taylor, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Taylor, St. Mary of the Assumption
Georgetown/Round Rock Deanery $33,279.04
Killeen/Temple Deanery
Belton, Christ the King
Burlington, St. Michael
Cameron, St. Monica
Copperas Cove, Holy Family
Cyclone, St. Joseph
Harker Heights, St. Paul Chong Hasang $4,253.00
Killeen, St. Joseph
Marak, Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Rogers, St. Matthew
Rosebud, St. Ann
Salado, St. Stephen
Temple, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Temple, St. Luke
Temple, St. Mary
Westphalia, Visitation
Killeen/Temple Deanery
Lampasas/Marble Falls Deanery
Bertram, Holy Cross
Burnet, Our Mother of Sorrows
Goldthwaite, St. Peter
Horseshoe Bay, St. Paul the Apostle $1,895.50
Kingsland, St. Charles Borromeo
Lampasas, St. Mary
Llano, Holy Trinity
Lometa, Good Shepherd
Marble Falls, St. John
Mason, St. Joseph
San Saba, St. Mary
Sunrise Beach, Our Lady of the Lake $194.00
Lampasas/Marble Falls Deanery
San Marcos Deanery
Blanco, St. Ferdinand
Buda, Santa Cruz
Dripping Springs, St. Martin de Porres $2,441.59
Johnson City, Good Shepherd
Kyle, St. Anthony Marie de Claret
San Marcos,Our Lady of Wisdom
San Marcos, St. John
Wimberley, St. Mary
San Marcos Deanery
Waco Deanery
China Spring, St. Phillip
Elk, St. Joseph
Gatesville, Our Lady of Lourdes
Hamilton, St. Thomas
McGregor, St. Eugene
Mexia, St. Mary
Waco, Sacred Heart
Waco, St. Francis on the Brazos
Waco (Hewitt), St. Jerome
Waco (Bellmead), St. Joseph
Waco, St. Louis
Waco, St. Mary of the Assumption
Waco, St. Peter Catholic Center
West, Church of the Assumption
Waco Deanery
Grand Totals
May 2014
John of Avila’s sermons drew large crowds
Christopher Columbus’ discovery of new lands in 1492 created a
wave of excitement and passion for
exploration and discovery in 16th
century Spain. John of Avila was a
newly ordained priest in 1525. Like
so many of his countrymen, John was
intrigued and excited by discoveries
of the New World and for the opportunity to preach the Gospel to people
in distant lands. He planned to leave
Spain and become a missionary to
Mexico. Sadly for John, he never got
the chance.
Instead, the Archbishop of Seville
persuaded him to preach in Andalusia
in southern Spain. Paul Burns writes
in “Butler’s Lives of the Saints” that
the conversion of Muslims and Jews
was still in progress there following the conquest of the last Moorish
kingdom of Granada.
John preached his Àrst sermon
in Andalusia on July 22, 1529, which
immediately established his reputation. For the next nine years, crowds
packed churches for his sermons.
He became known as the “Apostle
of Andalusia.” He was known for
denouncing the behavior of the aristocracy and often preached that the
rich would have difÀculty in entering
heaven. This brought him to the attention of the Spanish Inquisition.
He was charged with exaggerating the dangers of wealth and with
closing the gates of heaven to the
rich. He spent about a year in prison
when the charges were refuted. After
his release, he received strong popular
John’s own parents were wealthy
and converts from Judaism. They
sent him to study law at Salamanca
University, but Burns writes that
he did not want to practice law as a
career. He spent three years at home
in Almodóvar del Campo (New Castile) doing penance and praying. His
life took another turn after he met a
Franciscan who led him to the great
university, Alcalá de Henares, where
he studied philosophy and theology.
His parents died while he was at
the university and he gave most of
the family inheritance to the poor.
After his encounter with the Inquisition, he continued to preach and to
write spiritual treatises. The most
famous of his treatises, “Audi, Àlia”
(“Hear, O daughter”) emphasized
humility and suffering and avoiding worldly pomp and wealth. David
Farmer writes in the “Oxford Dictionary of Saints” that John wrote
this in 1530 for Donna Sancha Carillo
who renounced her wealth and status
to lead a life of prayer.
John spent the rest of his life
preaching in Seville, Córdoba and
Granada. According to Burns, he
was one of the few saints of his time
in Spain who did not belong to a
religious order. He wanted to join
the Society of Jesus, but the Jesuit
provincial of Andalusia dissuaded
him. Córdoba became his base and
he received the title of Master of
Sacred Theology probably in Granada
in 1538.
Throughout his life, John used his
efforts to reach out to other clergy.
Burns wrote that he was a friend of
St. Ignatius of Loyola and an adviser to St. Teresa of Avila. He was
responsible for the conversion of St.
John of God and St. Francis Borgia.
Biographers credit him with inspiring many later reformers. The Jesuits
attribute their development in Spain
to his friendship and support of the
Society of Jesus.
In addition to his preaching and
writing, John proposed the establishment of an international court of
arbitration to avoid wars. He always
reached out to the laity and was
especially concerned for the education and instruction of boys and
young men. To this end he founded
several minor and major colleges
and later, the University of Baeza,
which trained clerics and the laity for
centuries. In many of his writings, he
insisted that all progress in spiritual
life is a gift from God and cannot be
attributed to our own efforts. John’s
writings, especially his letters, are
Spanish classics.
His health began to deteriorate in
1551, and he spent the last 15 years
of his life in almost constant pain.
He withdrew to a house in Montilla
(Cordoba) where he continued to
write and carry on an abundant correspondence. He died May 10, 1559,
and was buried in the Jesuit Church
of the Incarnation in Montilla.
He was beatiÀed by Pope Leo
XIII in 1893 and canonized by Pope
Paul VI in 1970. He is the patron
of Spain and of diocesan clergy. His
May 10 feast is not on the General
Roman Calendar.
In October 2012, Pope Benedict
XVI named John of Avila a doctor of
the church calling him a “profound
expert on the sacred Scriptures.”
is a member of St.
Austin Parish in
Austin. She welcomes ideas for
future columns.
Contact her at
[email protected]
Finding natural ways to ‘subdue’ the earth this spring
We’re in the midst of Eastertide as
well as springtime –– winter is clearly
gone and the warmer weather is here.
We see plenty of wildÁowers along the
roadways and our lawns are green and
growing once again. Many of us are
spending hours each week taking care
of our gardens, Áower beds and yards.
By doing so, we are taking part in
God’s original plan for mankind.
“God blessed them and God said
to them: Be fertile and multiply; Àll the
earth and subdue it. Have dominion
over the Àsh of the sea, the birds of
the air, and all the living things that
crawl on the earth,” says Genesis 1:28.
How do we “subdue” the earth?
This is most responsibly done with good
natural stewardship. The Catechism of
the Catholic Church says, “In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its
resources to the common stewardship
of mankind to take care of them, master
them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The
goods of creation are destined for the
whole human race” (2402).
To look at the rest of the verse from
Genesis, to “have dominion” means to
have power. With power comes great
responsibility, though. Again, as the
Catechism says, “To human beings God
even gives the power of freely sharing in
his providence by entrusting them with
the responsibility of ‘subduing’ the earth
and having dominion over it. God thus
enables men to be intelligent and free
causes in order to complete the order of
creation, to perfect its harmony for their
own good and that of their neighbors.
Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter
deliberately into the divine plan by their
action, their prayers, and their sufferings.
They then fully become ‘God’s fellow
workers’ and co-workers for his kingdom.”
On Earth Day 2013, Pope Francis also encouraged us to be good
stewards of the gifts our earth provides. “Take good care of creation. St.
Francis wanted that. People occasionally forgive, but nature never does. If
we don’t take care of the environment,
there’s no way of getting around it,”
he said.
I hope everyone will follow the
advice of our pope and take the time
to learn how we can preserve our
earthly resources and take care of the
earth as God intended. Some of the
products on the market are better for
our environment than others. Lowe’s
or Home Depot are two of the more
common companies where we will
Ànd many products for our lawns and
gardens. Yes, there are many others,
but for convenience, I bring these two
companies to the forefront.
Lowe’s has partnerships with The
Nature Conservancy and Keep America Beautiful. According to the Lowe’s
website, “Lowe’s recognizes how our
company’s activities impact the Earth’s
ability to provide natural resources to
future generations. For that reason, we
continually examine opportunities to
reduce our environmental impact while
providing products and services to
help consumers reduce their footprint.
Each of our more than 245,000 employees is a vital part of that mission.
Our employees’ success educating
consumers by promoting energy and
water conservation has brought Lowe’s
unprecedented recognition from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA).” So, if we have questions about
products, we need to ask for help and
do our research.
Home Depot offers where consumers can learn more about “living green”
and conserving our natural and renewable resources. “Whatever your home
improvement project, we’ve got the
organic solutions that can help make
your home healthier and air cleaner;
and products that can help you conserve water, be more energy efÀcient
and save money,” the website says.
So I encourage the use of this tool to
Ànd ways to be good stewards of our
earthly treasures.
As we plant and grow things this
spring, let us do so in thankfulness for
the beauty and productivity of God’s
green earth. Let us make wise, prudent
and responsible decisions as we “subdue” the lands God has given us.
and his wife
Maggie are
parishioners of
St. Vincent de
Paul Parish in
Austin. He enjoys
spending time
with family and friends. Aside from
the environment, his other passions
include marketing communications,
¿lm, music and the arts. Look for
“Passage of Green” on Facebook
and Twitter.
Reaching out to, praying for those with mental illness
When I am giving community
presentations, I often invite people
to close their eyes and imagine the
“face” of mental illness. “What does
that face look like?” I ask. More often
than not, the images people share are
the faces of people who are confused,
disheveled, unclean and sometimes
frightening. Like the misshapen
faces of lepers from Biblical times,
the faces of mental illness scare us,
repulse us and shame us.
Rarely has someone raised a
hand and said, “The face I imagine
looks just like my son (or daughter,
husband, mother, brother, neighbor,
co-worker or friend).” And, yet, the
National Institute of Mental Health
(NIMH) estimates that one in four
Americans have a mental disorder.
Thus the reality is that the face of
mental illness looks a lot like each of
us. We don’t always recognize the face
because many who struggle with mental illness (and the families who love
and care for them) do so in isolation.
They wear masks, unwilling to reveal
the pain and anguish, fearful of the
rejection and embarrassment. Families and individuals living with mental
illness feel like outcast lepers and our
communities of faith often fail to reach
out to them, fearful of what they don’t
know and don’t understand.
Three years ago, I looked into the
beautiful brown eyes of my precious
18-year-old daughter and came faceto-face with mental illness. Imagine
my shock and disbelief as we sat in a
mental health hospital waiting for my
daughter to be admitted. Just shy of
19, she was 4.0 student on academic
scholarship and had been accepted
into an elite leadership program on
campus. On the surface, she looked
like she had it all together, but she
had been struggling since high school.
We’d noticed the changes in her
senior year and sought help for her.
Therapy seemed to help and the
summer before college, she seemed
healthier and excited for the future.
But, it was only a mask. She didn’t
want anyone to see the depth of her
depression nor the tight grip of her
eating disorder. She was ashamed of
the darkness that enveloped her and
the fear of disappointing her family
and friends was overwhelming. She
pushed forward determined to stay
busy and keep the depression at bay,
but it only tightened its grip until she
The day of her admission to the
hospital, the day I came so close to
losing her, I called the associate pastor at our parish. He quickly came
and visited her, anointed her and offered words of hope and comfort. He
knew little about the resources available, and in retrospect, I wish he had
encouraged us to be more open with
our parish community. I didn’t ask
for her name to be put on the prayer
list. I didn’t order her a prayer blanket. I did what so many family members do in similar situations, I simply
retreated in shame. I’d fallen prey to
the same misconception about mental
illness that so many of us do — that
somehow we are to blame when
mental illness strikes because it is a
Áaw in character and a reÁection of
bad parenting/upbringing.
Six months later, I discovered the
National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI), a grassroots nonproÀt that
works to improve the lives of families
and individuals affected by mental
illness. The local afÀliate offers a free
12-week class for family members
who have a loved one with a mental illness. During those 12 weeks
I learned about the full spectrum
of mental illnesses, their signs and
symptoms and the various treatment options. I learned how best to
communicate with my daughter and
advocate for her.
But, the most important thing I
learned is that no one is to blame.
Mental illnesses are like physical illnesses. Just like diabetes is a disease
of the pancreas, mental illnesses
affect the mind and change the way
people think, act and behave. Like
physical illnesses, they require ongoing treatment that may include medication and therapy, exercise, healthy
eating and a support system. Severe
and persistent mental illnesses require
the same level of attention and care
as any serious physical illness, and
like all illnesses it can be exhausting
for the families caring for them.
With numbers like one in four, we
know our pews are brimming with
people suffering in isolation, shamed
by illnesses for which they are not to
blame. May is Mental Health Awareness month, and it is an opportune
time for church communities to begin
having conversations about mental
health. Our parish staff and clergy
need to be armed with information
and resources so they can better serve
those who have become like lepers
in our midst. We need to talk openly
and positively about mental health,
pray for those suffering from mental
illness in our prayers of the faithful and create environments where
people feel comfortable sharing their
struggles with mental illness.
KAREN RANUS is a parishioner of
St. Austin Catholic Parish and the
Executive Director of NAMI Austin.
For more information about NAMI
classes and support groups, visit the
website at Her
daughter, Sara, is in remission from
her depression and eating disorder,
has returned to school and is now
trained to provide mental health
presentations to high school teens.
We must remember we all have something to offer
Editor’s note: On April 9-10, the
juniors of St. Dominic Savio Catholic
High School in Austin spent 20 hours
of their annual class retreat learning
from the homeless community. Led
by faculty and staff, parish youth
ministers, deacons, a priest, associates
from Mobile Loaves and Fishes and
parent volunteers, the students walked
around downtown Austin carrying
with them only a few basic necessities. They spent their time eating and
talking with our brothers and sisters
on the street, and they gathered for
prayer, adoration and Mass. The following is one student’s reaction to the
“Nobody needs me. I am not talented. I don’t have anything to give.”
So many of my peers today have
doubts about their abilities. All of us
criticize ourselves.
If only every junior in the world
could see what I experienced this
week on a “street retreat.” None of
us, the junior class at St. Dominic
Savio Catholic High School, had any
idea what we were getting ourselves
into as we packed a simple blanket,
sweatshirt and water bottle to carry
along to this retreat, which our teacher called an “encounter.” She deÀned
it as something that would require
“sharing of self, something signiÀcant
or memorable, and that would leave
us changed in some way.” As we left
our comfortable homes and school
behind, we trekked into this new
experience afraid and dreading what
we might Ànd.
Our leader, Alan Graham (founder of Mobile Loaves and Fishes),
strode toward a man sitting under an
oak tree. We had set out on our walk
toward “encounter” a while back and
were relieved to rest our aching feet
as our outgoing leader proceeded to
greet the man. Watching the scene
curiously, I wondered why our leader
had stopped to talk to him.
The man was dressed in dirty blue
sweatpants, worn brown dress shoes
and a red shirt advertising a sports
team. He smiled at us but turned
to those approaching him from
the other side. A little boy (probably about 3) and his dad shyly said
hello. The eight teens in my small
group watched as the unshaven man
reached into his sack from a Mobile
Loaves and Fishes meal. Our jaws
dropped as he handed an orange to
the little boy. The child sniffed it and
held it close to his chest as if it might
run away if he let go.
“L-l-look! He likes-likes i-it!” the
man said, his grin radiated his joy. We
watched, stunned, as he gave part of
the only meal he had all day to the
little boy. It was just an orange, but it
was so much more. The boy and his
dad followed the path past our group
and we edged in closer.
We continued to make conversation with the man, who had a speech
impediment. We learned his name
was “Rocky Balboa.” When we mentioned Jesus, Rocky nodded fervently
and said something about “Heaven”
and “home.” His small left arm hung
uselessly at an odd angle, but Rocky
continued to motion with his right
arm and chatter with enthusiasm.
Soon it was time for the group
to depart. I shook his right hand and
he looked me directly in the eye. For
a split second I was shocked and
thought to myself, “Rocky is amazing!”
The encounter with Rocky consisted of sharing an orange, broken
but enthusiastic conversation, and the
desire I found to simply sit and listen.
The gift is not always extravagant, for
if no part of the body simply listened,
nothing could be learned. If no part
of the body spoke then nothing could
be understood.
For those of us who mumble that
we have nothing to give or no talent
to share, Rocky is the proof that
we do. “But as it is, there are many
parts, yet one body. The eye cannot
say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’
nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do
not need you.’ Indeed, the parts of
the body that seem to be weaker are
all the more necessary” (1 Cor 12:
Each of us has a gift to share that
makes us necessary for the survival of
the Body of Christ. We are One.
May 2014
Mary and the movements of a parent’s life
Many statues of Mary have a similar look: the blue and white robes, the
veil, the arms extended outward. This
image of her is so ubiquitous that it’s
practically part of our Catholic DNA.
There’s an undeniable comfort in seeing the same Mary everywhere we turn.
But Mary has more than just one
pose and one look. Her life as the
mother of God involved a wide range
of experiences, from the happy to the
harrowing. Since becoming a mom
myself, I’ve discovered that there is
a Mary to correspond to nearly every
moment of a parent’s life.
There’s the Mary of the Annunciation, a surprised, probably scared
young woman saying “Yes” to the unknown. That Mary speaks to my own
experience of starting a family. While I
was thrilled by the positive pregnancy
test, I also knew I was saying yes to
something that would challenge and
stretch me in ways I could not possibly
anticipate. Does Mary understand that
combination of excitement and trepidation? Absolutely.
There’s Mary on the road to
Bethlehem, hunched over on a donkey
and searching for shelter for the night.
She’s the Mary who had to roll with
the punches, who had to adapt quickly
in very trying circumstances. I’ve never
had to give birth in a barn, thank goodness, but when a canceled Áight meant
I had to spend the entire night in an
airport with a 9-month-old, I learned
a lesson in How to Cope When Life
Doesn’t Go as Planned. I didn’t handle
it with Mary’s aplomb, but I’m learning.
There’s Mary at the Wedding
at Cana, nudging her adult son to
perform his Àrst public miracle. She’s
never seen him do one before, but
she knows, with that steely core of
certainty that moms have, that he can.
Like Mary, parents the world over encourage kids to do things they’ve never
done before: walk, use the potty, read,
ride a bike without training wheels. We
have faith in what they’re capable of
doing, and our conÀdence matters.
There’s Mary standing at the foot
of the cross, an excruciatingly painful
Mary to contemplate. She’s there for
us in the moments when our children
are hurting or worse. In the face of this
Mary, all I want to do is hunker down
and pray: pray for those who have lost
children, for the children who are lost,
and for an end to all violence that rips
at the hearts of mothers and fathers.
Then there’s the Mary we don’t re-
ally get to see in the Gospels, the Mary
who reaches to hold her resurrected
son. What must that meeting have
been like? I picture a woman sobbing
with joy, almost unable to believe that
she’s actually touching her boy once
again. Thanks to Easter, any mom or
dad who identiÀes with Mary’s loss of
her child can hang onto the promise
that we will enjoy a similar reunion
someday… and thank God for that.
So as we celebrate Mary during
the month of May, remember that
we aren’t celebrating a woman who
remains frozen in place. We’re honoring a woman who rode the waves of
motherhood, learning to bend with
the highs and the lows, a woman who
reaches to meet us wherever we are.
mother, wife and author. She blogs
about her faith and parenthood at
a statue of Mary during
a Marian prayer service
in St. Peter’s Square
at the Vatican May 31,
2013. The pope prayed
the rosary with the faithful
at the conclusion of the
Marian month of May.
(CNS photo by Giampiero
Sposito, Reuters)
Our Lady of the Rosary is Celebrating Her 10th Anniversary of serving our faith filled
community as a sanctuary of natural beauty and peace. Come stroll our beautiful
contemplative paths by the spring fed pond, and enjoy the sacred art set among wildflowers.
330 Berry Lane
Georgetown, Texas 78626
Offering a 10th anniversary pre-planning discount thru the month of May!
For Your
A Discernment Dinner for high
school age Catholic men will be held
on the Àrst Wednesday of each month
at 7 p.m. at St. William Parish Rectory
in Round Rock. Young men with an
openness to encountering Christ, discovering their identity, and their mission are
invited to join others for dinner, evening
prayer, a presentation and discussion.
For more information, contact Father
Alex Caudillo at (512) 600-8154 or
[email protected]
A Gabriel Project Angel training
will be held May 10 from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. at Holy Family Parish in Copperas
Cove. Gabriel Project Angels are trained
volunteers who work with those in need
of emotional and spiritual support due to
a crisis pregnancy. Classes are free and
include materials, resources and lunch.
Registration is required. For information,
contact Briana Feiler at [email protected] or (512) 949-2488.
A men’s discernment dinner for
single, Catholic men ages 18 and older will be held on the second Wednesday
of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at
the Borromeo House in Austin. Men
with an openness to a priestly vocation
and discernment are invited to dinner,
evening prayer, and a presentation on
discernment. For more information,
contact Father Brian McMaster, diocesan Vocation Director, at (512) 9492430 or (512) 450-4073.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal of
Austin will host its Monthly Meeting
May 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Holy Cross
Parish in Austin. All prayer groups are
invited. For more information, call (512)
563-7851 or e-mail [email protected]
Project Stephen will be held in
English and Spanish May 15 from 7 to
9 p.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin.
This program seeks to help those discerning a call from God to the diaconate.
It is a year-around, ongoing community
of discerning men and their wives; attendees must have their pastor’s consent
to attend. For more information, e-mail
[email protected]
The Austin Prayer Vigil for Life
will be held May 17 at 7 a.m. at St. Anthony Parish in Kyle. The day will begin
with Mass followed by adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament. A caravan will then
travel to an abortion facility where the
rosary will be prayed. Prayer will continue with Benediction at the parish.
Then refreshments will be served. For
more information, contact the diocesan
Pro-Life OfÀce at (512) 949-2486 or
[email protected]
The Austin Capital Area Chapter
of St. Mary’s University will host its
annual golf tournament May 17 at Plum
Creek Golf Course in Kyle. For more
information, visit
alumni/ or call Gene Sekula at (512)
Bishop Joe Vásquez will ordain
men to the transitional diaconate May
17 at 10:30 a.m. at St. William Parish
in Round Rock. For more information,
contact the diocesan Vocation OfÀce at
(512) 949-2430.
The Assembly of Catholic Professionals (ACP) will meet for the
quarterly lunch May 21 at 11 a.m. at the
Hyatt Regency Town Lake in Austin.
Patrick Madrid will be the presenter.
The lunch provides a unique formational
opportunity for Catholic lay professionals to grow in faith. The cost is $40 per
person. For more information, visit
The Killeen Prayer Vigil for Life
will be held May 24 at 8:30 a.m. at St.
Joseph Parish in Killeen. Everyone is
invited to join as we build a Culture of
Life through prayer and witness. For
more information, contact the diocesan
Pro-Life OfÀce at (512) 949-2486 or
[email protected]
Diocesan offices and Catholic
Charities of Central Texas will be closed
May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Austin will host 24 Hours of
Worship beginning June 6 at 5:30 p.m.
and concluding June 7 at 5:30 p.m. at
Holy Cross Parish in Austin. Christian
bands from across the Austin Diocese
will lead praise and worship. For more
information, visit
or contact (512) 563-7851 or [email protected]
Bishop Joe Vásquez will ordain
Deacon Craig DeYoung to the priesthood June 7 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Helen
Parish in Georgetown. For more information, contact the diocesan Vocation
OfÀce at (512) 949-2430.
Unity Explosion 2014 will be held
June 12-15 at the Marriot Sugar Land
Hotel in Sugar Land (Houston area).
The mission of the conference, which
is sponsored by Region X of the USCCB and is hosted by the Catholic
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, is
to provide an experience that addresses
the expressed leadership, ministerial,
catechetical, liturgical and evangelization
needs of families, particularly those of
African descent. The conference theme
is “Rejoice Together…Encouraged Forever!” The conference will begin with
an opening prayer service on Thursday
evening and close with Sunday Mass
celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo
with many musicians and speakers in
between. For conference details, contact
Johnnie Dorsey at (512) 949-2449 or
[email protected]
Servus Dei, a three-day social justice
adventure for young adolescents, will be
held June 19-21 at St. Austin Parish in
Austin. Middle school youth are invited
to take part in this adventure of service
and prayer. Contact your parish youth
minister for more information and to
“A Day with Saints John XXIII
and John Paul II,” a day of reÁection,
will be held May 8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30
p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat
Center in Belton. Beverly Collin will lead
participants in learning more about these
newly canonized saints and their contributions to the faith. The day will include
Mass, quiet time and sharing. The cost is
$35 per person. For more information or
to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254)
780-2436 or [email protected]
The second annual Texas
Women’s Retreat will be offered
by the Dominican Sisters of Mary,
Mother of the Eucharist May 9-10
at Eagle’s Wings Retreat Center in
Burnet. The retreat will include talks,
testimonies, all-night Eucharistic Adoration, opportunity for confession,
Mass and the Divine OfÀce prayed
with the Dominican Sisters of Mary,
and more! The cost is $50 per person.
To register, e-mail Melanie Casal at
[email protected] or call Sister
Elizabeth Ann at (512) 466-2228.
A Mother’s Mini-Retreat will be
held May 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at
St. Austin Parish in Austin. Mothers
of children of any age are invited to
join us for breakfast, a prayer service
and blessing, followed by a presentation and discussion on “Building
the Domestic Church.” For more
information, contact Jennifer at
[email protected] or call
St. Austin Parish at (512) 477-9471.
A Healing Hearts Retreat will
be held May 23-25 at Cedarbrake
Catholic Retreat Center in Belton.
This weekend is for women who have
suffered any kind of sexual trauma.
The cost is $135 per person. Call Beverly Collin at (254) 780-2436 for conÀdential information or to register.
Desert Solitude, a silent retreat
with Centering Prayer as the focus,
will be held June 6-11 at Cedarbrake
Catholic Retreat Center in Belton.
Daily Mass and spiritual direction
will be available. Cost varies on how
long each participant stays. For more
information or to register, contact
Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436 or [email protected]
Together Encounter Christ
(TEC) will be held June 27-29 at Eagle’s
Wings Retreat Center in Burnet. Incoming high school juniors through young
adults in their 20s are invited to experience a fresh, faith-Àlled atmosphere
away from home, school and work. During the retreat, young people meet, reÁect and share how they see themselves,
their ideals and their hopes and dreams
while Ànding God’s presence in their
lives. TEC is a fun and spirit-Àlled retreat
where young adults explore and deepen
their faith. The cost is $100 per person;
scholarships are available. For more information, contact the OfÀce of Youth,
Young Adult and Campus Ministry at
(512) 949-2464 or [email protected] Applications are available at
Quo Vadis (Latin for “Where
are you going?”) will be held from
June 28 at 10 a.m. to June 29 at 4 p.m.
at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin.
This is a two-day retreat designed to
help young men in high school (incoming freshmen through seniors)
grow spiritually and allow them to
think and pray about what God might
be asking them to become. Participants will have the opportunity to
explore the themes of prayer, virtue,
leadership, and discernment. The cost
is $15. For more information, visit or call the
Vocation OfÀce at (512) 949-2430.
NFP classes....................
A series of classes on the Sympto-Thermal Method of natural family
planning will begin May 11 at 2 p.m.
at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin.
Subsequent courses will be held June
8 and 29. Register to attend classes at
An introductory seminar on natural family planning will be held May
12 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas More
Parish in Austin. The seminar reviews
the methods of natural family planning
and satisÀes the diocesan requirement
for marriage preparation. To register
contact Amanda and Ryan Ransom at
[email protected]
A series of classes on the Billings Ovulation Method of natural
family planning will begin May 19 at
7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas More Parish
in Austin. Subsequent classes will be
held June 2 and June 16. To register,
e-mail Amanda and Ryan Ransom at
[email protected]
Send in your items!
CATHOLIC SPIRIT offers this page, “For Your
Information,” as a “community bulletin board.”
Items of general interest of upcoming parish and
diocesan events, including parish social events,
will be printed at no charge at the discretion of
the editor. The deadline for material is the 10th
of the month, with publication occurring the
łrst week of the following month. Material may
be e-mailed to [email protected]
org or faxed to (512) 949-2523.
Parish and community events................................
May 2014
Contemplative Prayer is held every
Tuesday at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas More
Parish in Austin. The group follows a
Lectio Divina format with reading and
meditation on a Scripture passage and
special emphasis on its application to
the participants’ lives. Silent contemplation is followed by a brief discussion.
For more information, contact Jackie
Forsyth at [email protected] or (503)
St. Mary Cathedral will host its
Spring Gala May 8 at 6:15 p.m. at the
The Diocesan Council of Catholic
Women has completed a burse for
the Clerical Endowment Fund (CEF)
in honor of Holy Cross Sister Nancy
The totals for the burse as of March
31, 2014, are listed below by council.
Austin Council
Brazos Valley Council
Eastern Council
Northern Council
Southern Council
Temple Council
Previous Balance
The Clerical Endowment Fund provides low-cost loans to parishes. Interest
from the loans is used to educate diocesan
seminarians. For information, contact either Father Ed Karasek at (254) 826-3705
or Mary Ann Till at (512) 353-4943.
Historic Driskill Hotel. Sponsorship
and advertising opportunities are still
available. All proceeds beneÀt Cathedral School of St. Mary. The goal is to
make Catholic education accessible and
affordable for any child that desires to
attend Cathedral School of St. Mary.
Funds raised during this year’s “Paddles
Up” will be used to purchase additional
technology for the school’s Blended
Learning Model. For ticket information,
contact Greg Vidal at (512) 476-6182 or
[email protected]
Saint Louise House will host its
third annual Mother and Me Tea May
10 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Green Pastures in Austin. Guests of all ages are
welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of mothers while supporting
Saint Louise House’s mission of helping families overcome homelessness.
Tickets are available online for $50
per adult and $35 per child. Corporate
sponsorship opportunities are available beginning at $500. Additional
information can be found at www.
Father Nathan Cromley and Father Michael Therese Scheerger from
the Brothers of Saint John will present
the Ànal monthly lecture entitled “Evangelization in the Modern World.” The
workshop will be held May 11 at St.
Mary Cathedral in Austin. Mass will be
at 5:30 p.m. and the lecture will follow
in the Bishop’s Hall. Participants are encouraged to bring their Bibles. For more
Pastoral support for victims of sexual abuse
The Diocese of Austin is committed to providing con¿dential and compassionate care to victims of sexual abuse, particularly if the abuse
was committed by clergy or a church representative. If you have experienced abuse by someone representing the Catholic Church, please
contact the diocesan coordinator of pastoral care at (512) 949-2400.
Apoyo pastoral a las víctimas de abuso sexual
La Diócesis de Austin se compromete a proporcionar ayuda con¿dencial y compasiva a las víctimas de abuso sexual, especialmente
si el abuso fue cometido por el clero o un representante de la iglesia.
Si usted ha sufrido abusos por parte de alguien que representa la
Iglesia Católica, por favor comuníquese con el coordinador diocesano del cuidado pastoral al (512) 949-2400.
How to report an incident of concern
The Diocese of Austin is committed to preventing harm from happening to any of our children or vulnerable adults. If you are aware
of sexual or physical abuse and/or neglect of a child or vulnerable
adult, state law requires you to report that information to local law
enforcement or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400 or Additionally, if the
suspected abuse is by clergy or an employee or volunteer of any
diocesan parish, school or agency, a Notice of Concern should be
submitted to the diocesan Ethics and Integrity in Ministry Of¿ce at
(512) 949-2400. The Notice of Concern can be found at (click on the link HOW TO REPORT ABUSE). Reports
may be made anonymously.
Cómo reportar un caso de abuso
La Diócesis de Austin está comprometida a la prevención del daño
que se cause a cualquier niño o adulto vulnerable. Si usted está
enterado del abuso sexual o físico y/o abandono de un niño o adulto
vulnerable, la ley estatal requiere que se reporte esa información
a la policía local o el Departamento de Servicios Familiares y de
Protección del Estado de Texas al (800) 252-5400 o al sitio: www. y además, si la sospecha de abuso es por parte del
clero, empleado o voluntario de cualquier parroquia, escuela u organización de la diócesis, se debe enviar un Reporte de Abuso y debe
ser presentado a la O¿cina de Ética e Integridad en el Ministerio de
la diócesis al (512) 949-2400. El Reporte de Abuso se encuentra en
nuestra página de Internet diocesana: (Haga
click en la liga COMO REPORTAR UN CASO DE ABUSO). Estos
reportes pueden ser hechos de manera anónima.
information, contact Celia Martinez at
(512) 441-9914 or [email protected]
The Guadalupanos of St. Albert
the Great Parish in Austin will have
its monthly meeting May 13 at 6:30
p.m. in the parish hall. The image of
Our Lady of Guadalupe will be the
topic of discussion. For more information, contact Susana Aleman at
(512) 731-0717.
The Christ Child Society of
Texas will host its Àfth annual Evening for the Ladies May 14 beginning
at 6 p.m. at St. William Parish Hall in
Round Rock. Denim and Diamonds
“Texas Country Chic” is the theme
for the event, which will begin with
appetizers followed by a full barbecue
meal, and a variety of desserts. For
more information about tickets and
sponsoring the event, contact Wendy Bierschenk at (512) 775-9744 or
[email protected]
St. Monica Parish in Cameron
will host an evening of Dinner and
Dancing May 16 in the Simon and
George Memorial Hall. A rib-eye
steak dinner will be served from 7 to
8:30 p.m. The dance will begin at 9
p.m. The cost is $15. Ten percent of
the proceeds will beneÀt the Diocese
of Austin-Catholic Foundation: Seminarian Endowment.
The 100 Days of Summer Festival
will be held May 18 at St. Mary Parish in
Brenham. Activities include games for all
ages; a cake, plant and grocery walk; si-
lent auction from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; a live
auction at 12:30 p.m. and a waterslide
for the children.
St. Monica Parish in Cameron
will host Mary’s Fest May 18 on the
parish grounds. A beef and chicken
fajita dinner will be served for $9 per
plate beginning at 11 a.m. A horseshoe tournament will begin at 1 p.m.
There will be live entertainment and
games for all ages. Ten percent of the
proceeds will beneÀt the Diocese of
Austin-Catholic Foundation: Seminarian Endowment.
Dolores Parish in Austin will
host its annual Jamaica May 18 from
1 to 10 p.m. on the parish grounds.
Activities will include live music, food
booths, games for all ages and loteria.
Ascension Parish in Bastrop
is celebrating its 150th anniversary
with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joe
Vásquez June 1 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow the Mass. An exhibit
of antiques from the original church
is on display at the Bastrop Museum
and Visitor Center near the church.
Museum hours are Monday-Friday 1
to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday 2 to 5 p.m.
Sacred Heart Parish in Lott
will host its annual Barbecue Cook
Off and Picnic June 21-22. Plates are
available for dine-in or take-out; they
are $8 each. For more information,
contact Chris Smith at (254) 4820529.
El nuevo plan nos dará enfoque para el futuro
VASQUEZ es el quinto
obispo de la Diócesis
de Austin. Es pastor
para casi 500,000
Católicos en 25
condados en el
Centro de Texas.
Editora: Señor Obispo, la Diócesis de Austin está en el proceso de
desarrollar un Plan Pastoral ¿Qué es
este plan y por qué lo necesitamos?
Obispo Vásquez: El Plan Pastoral
provee de una visión y dirección para la
Diócesis de Austin. Es importante para
esta iglesia local, la Diócesis de Austin,
leer los signos de los tiempos y entender
lo que Dios nos está pidiendo que hagamos en este momento particular. Este es
tiempo de consultar con todos nuestros
sacerdotes, diáconos, hombres religiosos,
mujeres religiosas y laicos – desde los
jóvenes hasta los adultos jóvenes y los
ancianos- sobre cómo la iglesia puede
servirles mejor ahora y en el futuro.
El año pasado en el Día Mundial
de la Juventud, el Papa Francisco nos
animó a los obispos a estar con la gente,
especialmente la gente joven de nuestras
diócesis: “No podemos quedarnos
encerrados en nuestras parroquias, en
nuestras comunidades, en nuestras
instituciones diocesanas o parroquiales ¡cuando tanta gente esta esperando
el Evangelio! … No es suÀciente el
simplemente abrir la puerta en señal de
bienvenida por que ellos vienen, sino
que debemos ¡salir por esa puerta para
buscar y conocer a la gente!” Esta cita
en particular se quedó conmigo, y creo
que el Plan Pastoral es una manera para
nosotros de alcanzar a la gente y ver
cómo podemos ayudarles a crecer en su
fe y encontrar a Jesucristo.
Editora: Hemos tenido Planes
Pastorales en el pasado ¿Correcto?
Obispo Vásquez: Sí, mi predecesor,
el Arzobispo Gregory Aymond desarrolló un Plan Pastoral que estaba ya llevándose a cabo cuando yo vine a la Diócesis
de Austin. Era un plan a cinco años con
cinco metas principales. Las parroquias
incorporaron estas prioridades y metas,
muchas de las cuales giraban alrededor
de ser comunidades centradas en Cristo.
Desde que concluyó ese plan, hemos
tomado la oportunidad para preguntarnos a nosotros mismos ¿qué es lo que
Dios está pidiendo de nosotros en este
momento en la historia de la Diócesis
y en qué quiere Dios que enfoquemos
nuestra atención para los próximos cinco
Editora: Díganos sobre la encuesta que se levantó en abril.
Obispo Vásquez: La encuesta es
una de las maneras en la que recibimos
información de la gente a través de
la diócesis. Primero, el equipo central
del Plan Pastoral ofreció sesiones para
escuchar en inglés y en español donde
la gente se reunió y discutió sobre lo
que creían que eran las necesidades de
la Diócesis de Austin. Durante estas
sesiones, el enfoque fue, no solo en las
necesidades individuales de las parroquias o grupos en la diócesis, sino en
las necesidades de la Diócesis entera.
Resúmenes de estas sesiones para
escuchar se encuentran disponibles en
nuestro sitio web diocesano.
El cuestionario, el cual fue ofrecido
en línea e impreso, nos permitió conectar con gente a lo largo de la Diócesis de
Austin y les dio a ellos la oportunidad
de contestar preguntas respecto a su fe.
El cuestionario no fue solo para gente
activamente involucrada con la iglesia;
invitamos a gente que ha dejado la iglesia
o que no asiste a Misa con frecuencia a
Es por esta razón que queríamos
escuchar – la opinión – de todos los
Católicos, no solo de aquellos que
vienen a Misa regularmente sino también
de aquellos que vienen solo una vez en
mucho tiempo o que no vienen nunca.
Editora: ¿Cuál es el siguiente
paso en el proceso de planeación del
Plan Pastoral?
Obispo Vásquez: La próxima
parte involucra obtener información
de nuestros sacerdotes. Nos comprometimos a entrevistar a los sacerdotes
en nuestra diócesis. De nuevo, quiero
volver al Papa Francisco y a algo que
dijo el año pasado sobre el rol de los
“Primero, el equipo central del Plan Pastoral ofreció
sesiones para escuchar en inglés y en español
donde la gente se reunió y discutió sobre lo que
creían que eran las necesidades de la Diócesis
de Austin. Durante estas sesiones, el enfoque
fue, no solo en las necesidades individuales de
las parroquias o grupos en la diócesis, sino en las
necesidades de la Diócesis entera ...”
–– Obispo Vásquez
que respondieran la encuesta también.
Queríamos escuchar –– la opinión –– de
todos los Católicos, practicantes o no,
de manera que pudiéramos saber donde
necesitamos enfocar nuestros esfuerzos
en este momento. Las respuestas a la
encuesta están siendo procesadas en este
momento y revisadas para ayudarnos a
desarrollar un nuevo plan.
Como el Papa Francisco ha señalado una y otra vez, somos una iglesia
incluyente. La iglesia no puede aislarse,
la iglesia da la bienvenida a todos. De
hecho, el Santo Padre está empujando a
la iglesia a ir hasta los límites, la periferia
y buscar a aquellos que son pobres o
que sufren. El Papa Francisco nos está
diciendo claramente que no podemos
ser una iglesia que se concentra solo en
aquellos que están presentes en Misa todos los domingos. Tenemos que ser una
iglesia que evangeliza y va hacia adelante
divulgando la Buena Nueva.
Tal como nos dice en su exhortación apostólica, Evangelium Gaudium,
el gozo del Evangelio nos impulsa a
proclamar al mundo la Buena Nueva,
“Una Iglesia que ‘va hacia adelante’ es
una Iglesia cuyas puertas están abiertas.
Saliendo hacia los demás para alcanzar
los límites de la humanidad no signiÀca
salir sin una meta hacia el mundo. Con
frecuencia es mejor simplemente reducir
la velocidad, poner de lado nuestro afán
para poder ver y escuchar a otros, dejar
de apresurarnos yendo de una cosa a
otra y permanecer junto a alguien que
ha tropezado a lo largo del camino. A
veces tenemos que ser como el padre del
hijo pródigo, quien siempre mantiene la
puerta abierta para que cuando el hijo
vuelva, pueda fácilmente pasar a través
de ella” (46).
obispos: “El obispo tiene que estar entre
su gente de tres maneras: en frente de
ellos, señalándoles el camino; entre ellos,
manteniéndolos juntos y previniendo
que se dispersen; y detrás de ellos,
asegurándose de que nadie se quede
atrás, pero también, y principalmente,
de manera que el rebaño pueda por él
mismo encontrar nuevos caminos”.
Yo tomo estas palabras muy en serio y
quiero saber y entender las necesidades
de la gente de esta diócesis.
Para poder así, guiar y proteger
mejor a mi rebaño, confío en la retroalimentación de los sacerdotes de la diócesis. Como el obispo, los sacerdotes son
mis principales colaboradores y dependo
de ellos para servir las necesidades de
la gente. Los sacerdotes trabajan con
la gente a diario en las parroquias,
en nuestras escuelas Católicas, en los
hospitales y en los distintos ministerios.
Ellos tienen contacto directo con la
gente, y es importante que yo escuche
sobre sus experiencias ¿Qué es lo que
ven que está pasando en sus parroquias?
¿Qué escuchan como preocupaciones
de la gente? Estoy muy interesado en
leer los resultados de las entrevistas a los
Cuando toda la información de las
encuestas, las entrevistas a los sacerdotes
y las sesiones para escuchar se reúna, la
usaremos para desarrollar nuestro Plan
Pastoral. Un comité directivo conformado por gente de toda la diócesis,
incluyendo laicos, sacerdotes, religiosos,
diáconos y yo mismo, está trabajando
con una Àrma llamada Essential Conversations para escribir el plan. Les pido sus
oraciones durante los siguientes meses
mientras trabajamos con ellos para desarrollar un plan cohesivo.
Editora: ¿Cómo puede la gente
saber más sobre el Plan Pastoral?
Obispo Vásquez: Por favor visiten
el sitio diocesano www.austindiocese.
org y presionen “Pastoral Plan” para
obtener la última información. De ahí,
usted puede inscribirse para recibir
alertas por correo electrónico sobre
el plan y aprender cómo puede usted
permanecer involucrado en este proceso.
Mi esperanza es que todos se involucren.
Hemos recibido grandes respuestas de
la encuesta. Ahora, mientras avanzamos
desarrollando el plan, les pedimos a
todos que oren, que permanezcan en
contacto y continúen dando su opinión.
Necesitamos toda la retroalimentación
que podamos obtener para desarrollar
un buen plan.
Editora: ¿Cuál es su oración por
la Diócesis de Austin mientras planeamos para el futuro?
Obispo Vásquez: Que estemos
abiertos a escuchar la voz del Espíritu
Santo. La voz del Espíritu nos dirá con
claridad donde necesitamos ir en el
futuro. El Plan Pastoral no es solo una
simple estrategia –muchas compañías
hacen eso; muchas organizaciones lo
hacen. Este plan está basado en el hecho
de que Dios ha puesto a la iglesia aquí
en el mundo y en el Centro de Texas y
estamos para servir las necesidades de la
gente. Oro para que escuchemos a Dios
en verdad para que podamos desarrollar
un plan que sirva a las necesidades de la
gente de la Diócesis de Austin.
May 2014
Centro de consejería se muda a una localidad
más conveniente
La Oficina de Consejería
Familiar y Vida Familiar de la
Diócesis de Austin se mudó
a un espacio más grande para
servir mejor a sus clientes. El
mudarse al 1625 de la Rutherford Ln., EdiÀcio B, en Austin,
pone al centro de consejería en el
mismo complejo donde se ubica
Caridades Católicas del Centro
de Texas, haciendo, por lo tanto,
más fácil para los clientes el acceso a servicios más completos.
El Obispo José Vásquez
bendijo las oficinas recién
renovadas, el 19 de Marzo,
día de la Àesta de San José. El
obispo dijo que era apropiado
hacerlo en ese día por que San
José cuidó a la Sagrada Familia.
El Obispo Vásquez dijo que
el expandir los servicios de consejería era importante por que
las familias son las “células” que
constituyen la iglesia doméstica
y por lo tanto, la sociedad. Para
que la sociedad – y la iglesia- estén sanas, las familias tienen que
estar sanas.
“Necesitamos fortalecer a
nuestras familias,” dijo el obispo. “Necesitamos estar conscientes de lo que necesitan.
Las familias luchan con asuntos
como el divorcio, la enfermedad
y los padres ancianos”.
Lupe García ha sido la directora del centro de consejería
desde 2011, y un miembro del
personal diocesano por ocho
años. Ella es una consejera profesional y una terapista matrimonial y familiar con licencia quien
es supervisora certiÀcada para
ambas áreas en las que cuenta
con licencia.
García dijo que el espacio
extra permitirá al ministerio
tener más estudiantes practicantes de la Universidad de St.
Edward’s y de la Texas State
University. Dependiendo del
programa de post-grado, los
estudiantes deben obtener entre
150 y 300 horas de experiencia supervisada por semestre.
Entonces, después de haber
tomado el examen para obtener
licencia, deben continuar para
obtener 3,000 horas de trabajo
clínico supervisado antes de
poder obtener sus licencias.
Previamente, el ministerio
había estado en una atestada
oÀcina en el Centro Pastoral, la
cual se inundó dos veces el pasado otoño. En el nuevo centro
hay espacio para un personal de
diez miembros, incluyendo ocho
consejeros, seis de los cuales son
estudiantes. Tres miembros del
personal pueden asistir a clientes
en inglés y en español, y García
planea, eventualmente contratar
a otro miembro de personal bilingüe a tiempo completo.
En el nuevo espacio, dos
consejeros comparten cada oÀcina, y hay cuartos separados
para consejerías individuales,
grupales, familiares y de pareja.
El centro también ofrece consejería de duelo y pérdida. Un
cuarto está lleno con diversos
juguetes para la terapia de juego
para niños.
“Los niños no se comunican
como los adultos,” dijo García.
“Terapistas de juego entrenados
son capaces de ayudar a los niños a comunicar sus sentimientos a través del juego”.
Los clientes pagan en una
escala móvil, la tarifa es de $90,
pero “tenemos tarifas reducidas
basadas en el ingreso anual y en
el número de miembros de la
familia,” dijo.
Para los estudiantes practicantes que están estudiando
para ser consejeros, la mudanza
ha sido “maravillosa,” dijo Sharon Charles.
“Hay espacio para crecer
además estamos junto a muchos
servicios sociales que muchos
clientes necesitan,” dijo.
El no estar amontonados
también reduce el estrés para la
gente que puede sentirse incómoda al buscar consejería.
“Es triste que la gente ve a la
consejería como algo negativo,”
dijo Dawn Boyd. “Se trata de
ayudar a la gente a resolver las
García, quien obtuvo una
maestría en consejería de la
Universidad de St. Edward’s ha
trabajado en la diócesis desde
2005, con algún tiempo en la
práctica privada antes de convertirse en la directora del programa. Mientras ha trabajado
con familias, ha sido testigo del
estrés que padres e hijos experimentan en el mundo de hoy.
Dijo que no importa quien
pasa a través de las puertas
del centro de consejería, todos tienen una cosa en común:
tienen dolor y necesitan ayuda.
Pueden ser hijos de un divorcio, individuos divorciados que
están tratando de sanar de ese
trauma, aquellos sufriendo por la
muerte de seres amados, aquellos
sufriendo de depresión o aquellos
cuyos matrimonios están forcejeando y necesitan ayuda.
“Mucho puede ser solo una
falta de habilidades de comunicación,” dijo García. “O puede
deberse a diferentes estilos de
paternidad. El desempleo ha
causado también mucha depresión y duelo, pérdida y ansiedad.
La depresión es rampante en la
Cualquiera que sean los
problemas, “esos problemas
son reales,” dijo. “Ayudamos
a la gente a fortalecer sus relaciones al darles las habilidades
que necesitan para hacer que las
cosas funcionen”.
Al estar basados en la fe,
los consejeros también usan
enseñanzas Católicas para servir
a sus clientes, lo cual es especialmente importante en consejería
“El matrimonio es sagrado,”
dijo García. “No se trata solo de
ser feliz o no ser feliz. Tenemos
que defender el sacramento y
ayudar a la gente a trabajar a
través de las cosas difíciles”.
Dijo que algunos esperan
que sus consejeros les den todas
las respuestas, en lugar de eso,
los consejeros guían a la gente
para que encuentre sus propias
“Soy una experta en el
sentido de ayudar a la gente a
navegar,” dijo García. “Pero tú
eres el experto sobre tu vida”.
El tener un ambiente Católico significa que es
aceptable orar y hablar sobre
la fe, dijo García. Cada cliente
es reconocido como un hijo
de Dios, incluso en las más
sombrías situaciones.
“No todos los clientes son
Católicos,” dijo. “Pero la santidad de la familia es algo que
todos entendemos”.
Para obtener información
y hacer una cita, visite www. o
llame al (512) 651-6152. Citas
en la localidad de Austin pueden
hacerse de lunes a jueves de 9
a.m. a 6 p.m. y los viernes de 9
a.m. a 4 p.m. La oÀcina satélite
en la parroquia de St. Anthony
Marie de Claret en Kyle está
abierta los lunes de 3:30 p.m. a
8:30 p.m.
EL OBISPO VÁSQUEZ bendice las nuevas instalaciones de la O¿cina de Consejería Familiar ubicadas en el
1625 de Rutherford Ln. en Austin (Foto por Enedelia J.
El papa pide disculpas por los abusos sexuales del clero
“Me siento llamado a asumir
la responsabilidad por todo el
mal que algunos sacerdotes –en
gran número en sí, pero no
en proporción mayor al total
de todos los sacerdotes- han
cometido, y pido perdón por
el daño que han causado con el
abuso sexual en contra de menores,” dijo el Papa Francisco.
“La iglesia está consciente
de tal daño” y se compromete a
fortalecer los programas de protección a favor de menores y a
castigar a los transgresores, dijo
el papa ante los asistentes de la
Agencia Internacional Católica
de Menores durante una reunión
que se llevó a cabo el 11 de abril
en el Vaticano.
Tales comentarios parecen
ser la primera disculpa del papa
por actos de clérigos en pasados
escándalos de abuso sexual,
siguiendo comentarios anteriores en los que se aÀrmaba el
trabajo del Vaticano para investigar y castigar a los culpables,
y se exhortaba a los obispos a
acudir en apoyo de las víctimas
de abuso. El papa también ha
dicho que la iglesia merece que
se le obligue a llegar a acuerdos
monetarios con las víctimas.
El pasado diciembre, el
Papa Francisco estableció una
comisión en el Vaticano para
promover acciones prácticas de
protección a menores en toda
de la iglesia.
El Papa Francisco dijo que
era difícil de creer que “hombres
de la iglesia” pudieran cometer
tales horrores, aÀrmando esto
frente a dirigentes de la Agencia
Internacional Católica de Menores que tiene sus oÀcinas principales en Francia y se dedica
a defender los derechos de los
“No queremos retroceder
en cuanto a cómo afrontar este
problema ni en cuanto a las
sanciones que deben de imponerse,” dijo el papa. “Por el
contrario, creo que debemos ser
muy duros. ¡Uno no juega con la
vida de los menores!”
El Papa Francisco también
habló acerca de la importancia
de defender los derechos de
los menores “para que crezcan
dentro del seno de una familia
con madre y padre, capaces de
recrear un ambiente saludable
para el crecimiento y madurez
afectiva de los menores”, en lo
que se incluye “el proceso de
maduración en las relaciones
con la masculinidad y feminidad
de un padre y una madre”
Los padres tienen derecho
de determinar “la apropiada
educación moral y religiosa”
de sus propios hijos e hijas,
dijo, y no deben estar sujetos
a programas de currículo escolar que son cursos disfrazados
de indoctrinación dentro de la
ideología en boga, cualquiera
que fuese ésta en determinado
Obviamente, dijo, los menores necesitan ayuda para poder
responder a los problemas y
obstáculos a vencer que les presenten la cultura y los medios
de difusión contemporáneos.
No se puede tener a los menores en “cajas de vidrio”, pero
sí debemos darles los valores
que les ayudarán a evaluar qué
tendencias culturales respetan
su dignidad y libertad propias y
la dignidad y libertad de todos
los demás.
Pascua proclama que amor da vida, dice el papa;
compártelo con los demás
El Papa Francisco instó a
los cristianos a recordar cómo
se encontraron por primera
vez con Cristo y a compartir
su amor y misericordia con los
demás, especialmente mediante
actos de atención y bondad.
Proclamar la buena nueva de
la resurrección de Jesús signiÀca
dar testimonio concreto “de
amor incondicional y Àel”, dijo
el 20 de abril antes de ofrecer
solemnemente su bendición
“urbi et orbi” (a la ciudad y al
Celebrando la segunda Pascua de su pontiÀcado ante por
lo menos 150,000 personas reunidas en la Plaza de San Pedro y calles adyacentes, el papa
dijo que la evangelización “se
trata de dejarnos atrás y encon-
trarnos con otros, estar cerca
de aquellos aplastados por los
problemas de la vida, compartir
con los necesitados, estar al lado
de los enfermos, los ancianos y
los marginados”.
Lo que sea que esté sucediendo en la vida de uno, dijo
desde el balcón central de la
Basílica de San Pedro, la victoria
de Jesús sobre el pecado y la
muerte demuestra que “el amor
es más poderoso, el amor da la
vida, el amor hace que Áorezca
la esperanza en el desierto”.
Dominando la plaza donde
apenas había celebrado la Misa
de la mañana de Pascua, rodeado de cientos de árboles y
arbustos en Áor y miles de narcisos, tulipanes y rosas, el Papa
Francisco dijo que los cristianos
proclaman al mundo que “Jesús,
el amor encarnado, murió en
la cruz por nuestros pecados
pero Dios el padre lo resucitó
y lo hizo Señor sobre la vida y
En su mensaje de Pascua
el papa oró para que el Señor resucitado “nos ayude a
superar el Áagelo del hambre,
agravado por conÁictos y por
el inmenso desperdicio del
cual en muchos casos somos
responsables”. También oró
para que los cristianos reciban
la fortaleza “para proteger a
los vulnerables, especialmente
a los niños, a las mujeres y a
los ancianos que a veces son
explotados y abandonados”.
El papa ofreció oraciones especiales por aquellos que enfrentan graves diÀcultades y amenazas en varias partes del mundo:
por las víctimas de la epidemia
del Ébola en África Occidental,
las víctimas de secuestro, por los
migrantes y refugiados y por las
víctimas de la guerra y el conÁicto en Siria, Irak, la República
EL PAPA FRANCISCO toca una estatua de María durante la conclusión de la Misa de
Pascua en la Plaza de San Pedro en el Vaticano el 20 de abril. (CNS foto/Paul Haring)
Centroafricana, Nigeria, Sudán
del Sur y Venezuela.
Celebrando el hecho de que
la Pascua del 2014 cayó en el
mismo día en el calendario gregoriano usado en Occidente y en
el calendario juliano usado por
muchos Católicos ortodoxos y
orientales, la Misa matutina del
papa incluyó un coro bizantino
cantando “stichi” y “stichira”
himnos cantados en la antigüedad en presencia del obispo de
Roma durante la Pascua.
La celebración papal de la
Pascua comenzó la noche anterior en una atestada Basílica de
San Pedro.
Su Vigilia de Pascua comenzó con el encendido del fuego y
de la vela de Pascua en el atrio
de la basílica. Caminado detrás
de la vela de Pascua y llevando
su propia vela, el Papa Francisco
entró a la basílica oscura. En el
silencio y la solemnidad del momento, muy pocos peregrinos y
turistas perturbaron el ambiente
con los destellos de sus cámaras.
Brian Baker, diácono y seminarista de la Arquidiócesis de
Atlanta, cantó el Exultet, himno
poético de alabanza llamando a
todo el mundo a regocijarse en
la resurrección de Cristo.
Lluvias torrenciales cayeron
sobre Roma durante toda la
noche mientras las campanas de
la Basílica de San Pedro repicaban la alegría de la resurrección.
El Papa Francisco, quien a
menudo le dice a la gente que
busque la fecha de su bautismo y
la conmemoren cada año, en su
homilía instó a la gente a recordar y reÁexionar sobre el primer
momento en que recuerdan
haberse encontrado con Jesús.
ReÀriéndose al recuento de
la Pascua en el Evangelio de San
Mateo, el Papa Francisco señaló
cómo a las mujeres que fueron
a la tumba de Jesús se les dijo,
primero por el ángel y luego
por el Señor resucitado, que lo
esperaran en Galilea y que le dijeran a los discípulos que fueran
Regresar a Galilea, él dijo,
signiÀca releer todo, “la predicación de Jesús, sus milagros, la nueva comunidad, la
emoción y las deserciones y
hasta la traición, releer todo
comenzando desde el final,
que es un nuevo comienzo”,
uno que comienza con el “supremo acto de amor” de Jesús
al morir por el pecado de la
Apartándose en varias ocasiones de su texto preparado,
el Papa Francisco repitió a la
gente: “No tengan miedo. No
se asusten. Tengan la valentía
de abrir sus corazones” al amor
del Señor.
El Papa Francisco animó a la
gente a pedir la ayuda del Señor
recordando y diciéndole: “Quiero regresar allí para encontrarme
contigo y dejarme envolver por
tu misericordia”.
El papa Francisco bautizó a
10 personas durante la Vigilia de
Pascua; estas incluyeron desde
un niño italiano de 7 años de
edad hasta una mujer vietnamita
de 58 años. El papa también
conÀrmó a los 10 y, aunque el
papa Francisco usualmente no
distribuye la Comunión durante
grandes Misas públicas, él hizo
una excepción para los 10 nuevos católicos que recibieron su
primera Comunión.
Jesucristo quiere que sirvamos al prójimo con amor,
dice el papa
Jesucristo les demuestra a todos los cristianos, con el humilde
acto de lavarles los pies a los
discípulos, que quiere que todos
sirvamos al prójimo con amor,
dijo el Papa Francisco.
“Este es el legado que Jesucristo nos deja,” y quiere que
pasemos este legado a todos los
que vienen tras de nosotros por
medio de un servicio amoroso al
prójimo, dijo.
El papa Francisco lavó los
pies de cuatro mujeres y ocho
hombres que padecen limitaciones físicas, durante la Misa ves-
pertina celebrada en un centro
de rehabilitación en las afueras
de Roma.
Nueve de los pacientes
eran italianos, uno era musulmán de Libia, una mujer era
de Etiopía y un joven de Cabo
Verde; y sus edades variaban
de 16 a 86 años.
Dos religiosas ayudaron
a los pacientes a quitarse los
zapatos y calcetines pues todos ellos padecen de limitada
Después el papa se hincó
con ambas rodillas sobre un
cojinete, delante de cada persona y derramó agua sobre
los pies de cada persona. El
agua estaba contenida en una
jarra de plata. Algunos de los
enfermos presentaban pies
muy hinchados debido a su
condición médica particular.
Después les secó los pies
con una toalla blanca y depositó un beso en cada uno.
En ocasiones, el papa tuvo
que agacharse hasta el suelo
pues algunos de los enfermos
estaban completamente paralizados.
Dos asistentes ayudaron al
papa a hincarse y a ponerse de
pie, cosa que le parecía un tanto difícil, pues ya cuenta con
77 años de edad y los enfermos eran doce. Sin embargo,
el papa, antes de incorporarse,
daba a cada uno de ellos una
amorosa mirada y una amplia
El acto que Jesucristo
ejecutó con sus discípulos fue
como un regalo de despedida
y “una herencia” que nos dejó
por amor, dijo el papa durante
la Misa del Jueves Santo en la
que se conmemoraba la Última Cena del Señor. La Misa
tuvo lugar el 17 de abril, en el
Centro de Nuestra Señora de
la Providencia de la fundación
Padre Carlo Gnocchi.
“Ustedes también, deben
amarse mutuamente y ser siervos en el amor,” dijo en una
breve homilía improvisada.
Y les pidió a las personas presentes que pensaran
en formas “de servir mejor al
prójimo, pues es lo que Jesucristo quiere que hagamos”.
Un gran número de pacientes, junto con sus respectivos familiares y también con
personal administrativo conformado por personas religiosas y seglares, directores y personas voluntarias, asistieron a
esa Misa vespertina.
Algunos miembros del
personal médico y administrativo tuvieron a su cargo
las lecturas de la Misa y otros
miembros de la administración, junto con algunos pacientes, algunos sentados en
silla de ruedas, tuvieron a su
cargo la música y los cánticos.
May 2014
El Pueblo de West un año después
Ese día, el Padre Boniface
Onjefu, pastor asociado en la
Parroquia de St. Mary, Church
of the Assumption en West,
había terminado la misa de las
6:30 p.m. Caminó hacia la rectoría y se relajó después del
servicio de la tarde.
“Entonces escuché la explosión,“ dijo el Padre Onjefu.
“La casa se sacudió. Fue como
un temblor. Salí corriendo de la
casa y vi gente en toda la calle.
Vi hacia arriba y vi humo negro
y grueso que subía hacia el cielo.
Corrí hacia allá por que quería
Ese día fue el 17 de abril
del 2013, cuando toneladas de
nitrato de amonio explotaron
en la Compañía Fertilizadora de
West, detonando después de un
fuego que surgió en la planta. La
explosión mató a 15 personas,
dejó heridas a más de 300 y causó
millones de dólares en daños. Un
asilo de ancianos y 350 hogares
privados fueron arrasados.
Después de que escuchó
la explosión, el Padre Onjefu
corrió hacia el área del desastre.
“Había mucha conmoción y
muchos carros de policía,” dijo.
“Ayudamos a la evacuación de
residentes de las áreas vecinas.
Era como una zona de guerra”.
El primer aniversario de la
tragedia cayó en Jueves Santo
este año. Para honrar las vidas
de aquellos que fallecieron y
en apoyo a todos los que continúan sufriendo como resultado
de la explosión, se llevaron a
cabo varios eventos en West.
El Obispo José Vásquez celebró una Misa en memoria de
los acaecidos el 11 de abril. Un
servicio matutino para la comunidad de la Escuela Católica
de St. Mary’s se llevó a cabo
el 17 de abril, que incluyó el
rezo de la Corona de la Divina
Misericordia. El 17 de abril,
comenzando a las 7:30 p.m.,
un evento para personas de
múltiples fes de toda la ciudad
se llevó a cabo en los West Fair
and Rodeo Grounds, y fue una
reunión que se llevó a cabo con
la intención de ayudar a sanar a
la comunidad de West y a todos
aquellos directamente afectados
por la tragedia.
Un tiempo de
Un año después, el Padre
Onjefu dice que hay signos de
esperanza – de un renacimiento
Pascual – por todo West, una
pequeña ciudad de 2,800 residentes que es conocida por su
herencia Checa y sus fuertes
raíces Católicas.
Donde antes existía una tierra de nadie rodeando la planta,
ahora hay nuevas casas. Algunas
se han completado, otras están
siendo construidas; más son
terminadas cada día, dijo.
“Ahora tenemos alrededor
de 100 casas en pie y otras 200
renovadas,” dijo el Padre Onjefu. “Si ahora manejas por la
ciudad, puedes sentir una gran
diferencia, puedes sentir esperanza en la comunidad. Después
de la explosión, solo había escombro y suciedad. Ahora, las
casas son más grandes, más bellas y mejor ubicadas que antes”.
Gail Bertrand, Directora
de Disaster for South Central
Region de la Sociedad de St.
Vincent de Paul, ha estado trabajando con víctimas del desastre del año pasado.
“West es una pequeña comunidad y es una comunidad
muy unida y amorosa” dijo Bertrand. “Su habilidad para aceptar
lo que ha pasado y avanzar ha
sido algo grande. Es una sensación realmente buena”.
La Sociedad de St. Vincent
de Paul proveyó más de 225
“casas en una caja,” a residentes
que habían perdido todo en la
explosión. Cada familia recibió
nuevos colchones, muebles,
ollas, sartenes y otros enseres
domésticos, incluidas sábanas
y toallas. Las familias usaron
estos objetos en los albergues
temporales y se los han llevado
a sus casas reconstruidas, dijo
Nuevo asilo
Una señal clara de esperanza fue el comienzo de un
nuevo asilo el 4 de abril, el
cual reemplazará al que fue
destruido durante la explosión.
El nuevo asilo West Rest Haven está siendo construido en
la calle North Davis, enfrente
de su antigua ubicación. La
nueva residencia será casi 50
por ciento más grande, con
75,000 pies cuadrados, y tendrá facilidades de recreación
y rehabilitación más grandes.
Está programada para abrir a
mitad del 2015.
El Padre Ed Karasek, Pastor de la Iglesia de la Asunción, bendijo el lugar de la
Los residentes del antiguo
asilo han sido dispersados en
albergues a lo largo de Waco
y Hillsboro desde la tragedia.
“Cuando hablo con ellos,
ellos quieren volver a casa, y
su casa es en West,” Dijo el
Padre Karasek.
La gente en la parroquia, y
los otros residentes de West,
“están reconstruyendo. Pare-
celebró Misa
en St. Mary,
Church of the
en West el 11
de abril en recuerdo de los
fallecidos en
la explosión
del 17 de
abril de 2013
que dejó sin
vida a 15 personas. (Foto
por Christian
R. González)
cen estar avanzando en sus vidas. Ellos están todavía sanando,” dijo.
El Padre Karasek expresó su gratitud a la gente
de la Diócesis de Austin, cuya
asistencia Ànanciera ayudó a
asistir a mucha gente afectada
por la explosión.
“Todas las segundas colectas de nuestra diócesis, fueron
una maravillosa muestra de
comunidad,” dijo.
“Ayudó a muchas familias”.
El ediÀcio de la parroquia
mismo sufrió algo de daño,
pero ha sido reparado.
“La gente ha sido tan buena con nosotros,” dijo el Padre Karasek. “Hemos recibido
tantas donaciones de alrededor del mundo, pero especialmente de la República Checa”.
Iglesias de la República Checa
enviaron donaciones, “Y hubo
mucha gente que vino de otras
ciudades y estados de todo el
país para ayudarnos a limpiar
y reconstruir”.
Ayudando a
En la Escuela Católica de
St. Mary’s en West, 10 familias cuyos hijos asisten a la
escuela, perdieron sus casas en
la explosión.
Donaciones de la escuela
permitieron a todos los estudiantes permanecer en St.
Mary’s, dijo la directora de la
escuela Ericka Sammon.
“Tuvimos mucha suerte,”
dijo. “Quiero expresar qué
tan agradecidos estamos con
toda la comunidad Católica
que nos ha apoyado. No siempre pudimos agradecerles en
persona por que estaban pasando muchas cosas. Ha sido
realmente hermoso ver cómo
Dios ha trabajado”.
Un año más tarde, las familias que perdieron sus casas
están en diferentes estados de
“Algunas de nuestras familias pudieron reconstruir,
algunas están en el proceso
de reconstruir, y algunas familias todavía están en la fase
de transición,” dijo Sammon.
“Con todas las maravillosas
donaciones” la escuela pudo
cubrir la mayoría de la colegiatura, los uniformes y los
gastos del almuerzo del presente año escolar de los niños
que perdieron sus casas en la
Sammon dijo que algunas
de las familias “están todavía
luchando por juntar las piezas
– de su vida”. Para aquellas
familias, ella espera que más
donaciones puedan ayudar a
cubrir el costo de la colegiatura de sus hijos y otros gastos
escolares para el año escolar
Ella está agradecida por
todas las tarjetas, posters y
pancartas enviadas a la escuela
de St. Mary’s por otros niños
“Nuestras paredes estaban
llenas, y a los niños les encantaba leerlas y se sentían muy
animados de que la gente estuviera rezando por ellos”.
Nueva Visión
Cuando los esfuerzos de
reconstrucción comenzaron
en West, la Sociedad de St.
Vincent de Paul generosamente dio dinero para que
una firma de diseño urbano
y planeación creara un plan
master de recuperación, Bertrand dijo.
Arquitectos de diseño de
jardines, especialistas en desarrollo económico y otros
profesionales con KAI Texas
ayudaron a planear los esfuerzos de recuperación en Nueva
Orleans después del Huracán
Katrina. Ellos están trabajando
con los residentes de West y
con los oÀciales de la ciudad
para ayudar a desarrollar un
plan de recuperación que pueda
convertirse en guía para otras
comunidades más pequeñas
devastadas por desastres.
Aunque muchas familias
se han recuperado y las casas continúan siendo reconstruidas, algunas personas afectadas por la explosión todavía enfrentan tremendos
retos, personal y financieramente, dijo Bertrand.
Ella pidió que continuáramos manteniendo a West en
nuestras oraciones.
“West todavía tiene caminos que andar antes de que –
su gente – se recupere. No se
olviden de West,” dijo Bertrand.
Para ayudar con la asistencia para colegiaturas para
familias que perdieron sus casas en la explosión de la fertilizadora, envíe un cheque a la
Escuela Católica de St. Mary’s,
dirigiéndolo a c/o Ericka Sammon, Directora, al PO Box
277, West 76691. Por favor
marque las donaciones como
“tuition assistance” (“asistencia para colegiatura”en inglés).
Para ayudar a familias que
están siendo asistidas por la
Sociedad de St. Vincent de
Paul, envíe un cheque a la
Society of St. Vincent de
Paul- SDR Central Region,
320 Decker Dr., Suite 100, Irving 75062. Por favor marque
“West” en la línea de “Memo”
del cheque.
Sacerdote Colombiano llega a Texas a través
de Kenia
Como pastor de la parroquia
de St. John the Evangelist en
San Marcos, el Padre Víctor
Mayorga se encuentra lejos de
casa. Nacido dentro de una
familia de ocho hijos en un
pequeño pueblo cerca de las
montañas en Colombia, él nunca se imaginó a si mismo como
un sacerdote en los Estados
Unidos. Mientras que pensaba
que su futuro podría involucrar
una carrera en negocios o en
la academia, Dios tenía otros
El Padre Mayorga fue recientemente nombrado director espiritual de los Grupos
de la Renovación Carismática
Católica Hispana. Él dice que
identiÀcó por primera vez su
llamado al sacerdocio mientras participaba en un grupo
de oración carismático durante
su último año de preparatoria.
Así que tiene sentido que ahora
sea líder de estos 27 grupos a lo
largo de la diócesis.
El Padre Mayorga asistió al
seminario de los Misioneros de
Yarumal en Colombia, donde
pasó por pruebas físicas y espirituales. Soportando constantes problemas de salud como
seminarista, empezó a dudar de
su habilidad para convertirse en
sacerdote si continuaba sintiéndose enfermo constantemente.
Sin embargo, un compañero
seminarista intervino para recordarle qué tan bendecidos estaban de recibir tantos cuidados
en el seminario, mientras que
otros sufrían terribles enfermedades sin recibir tales cuidados.
Los retos espirituales que
enfrentó, en contraste, pusieron
no solo su llamado al sacerdocio a prueba, sino su fe entera.
es el pastor de la
Parroquia de St.
John the Evangelist en San
Marcos. (Foto
cortesía del Padre
Como parte de sus estudios
de filosofía, los seminaristas
examinaron ateísmo. Al crecer
en una devota casa Católica, él
aceptó su fe inocentemente sin
cuestionarla. Por primera vez,
como un adulto joven la vio
desde una perspectiva diferente,
una que puso a su fe en duda y le
causó un estrés extremo. Finalmente, sin embargo, el entender
la Àlosofía del ateísmo fortaleció
su fe, mientras se movía más
allá del campo de la aceptación
inocente hacia la intencionalidad
Después de sobrepasar estos obstáculos para alcanzar la
ordenación, el Padre Mayorga
fue enviado a Kenia para realizar
su primera encomienda como
un sacerdote misionero. En los
tres años que pasó ahí, se vio
expuesto a la muerte de manera
más extrema que en toda su
vida. El 7 de agosto de 1998,
fue testigo del bombazo de la
embajada de Estados Unidos
en el que cientos de personas
perdieron sus vidas.
Cuatro meses más tarde,
estuvo a punto de perder su propia vida. En medio de asuntos
políticos entre tribus, surgió una
guerra en la misión africana en la
que él servía. El padre Mayorga
estaba atrapado en medio de la
violencia, junto con otros dos
sacerdotes. Sin forma de escapar, comenzaron a confrontar
la posibilidad muy real de que
iban a morir. Eso fue hasta que
dos hombres, un Animista y un
Musulmán los descubrieron y
los guiaron a través del desierto
hacia un lugar seguro.
“Para mí, ese fue Dios enviando a sus ángeles a rescatarnos,” Dijo el Padre Mayorga.
Después de cinco años
como misionero, el Padre Mayorga fue elegible para solicitar
una encomienda permanente
ANTES DE VENIR A LA DIÓCESIS DE AUSTIN en el 2000, el Padre Víctor Mayorga
sirvió como sacerdote misionero en África. (Foto cortesía del Padre Mayorga)
y se reubicó en los Estados
Unidos, el Obispo John McCarthy le dio la bienvenida a la
Diócesis de Austin como pastor
asociado en la Parroquia de St.
Helen en Georgetown. Después
de tres años bajo el tutelaje del
Padre Michael Mulvey, ahora
obispo de Corpus Christi, el
Padre Mayorga se mudó a la
Parroquia de St. Louis en Austin
para servir bajo el Padre Larry
Covington. También sirvió en
la Parroquia del Inmaculado
Corazón de María en Martindale
y en la Parroquia de St. Michael
en Uhland antes de ser nombrado pastor de St. John the
Evangelist en San Marcos hace
cuatro años.
El Padre Mayorga se mantiene bastante ocupado como el
pastor de más de 1,100 familias.
A pesar de que al principio puede parecer un hombre tímido,
el compartir la vida y los ministerios de sus parroquianos
claramente inyecta energía en
su espíritu. Él trata de nunca
perderse una invitación a cenar
o una petición de estar al lado
de la cama de algún enfermo.
A través de este sacramento de
la unción de los enfermos, y del
sacramento de la reconciliación,
él es un vívido testigo del poder
sanador de Dios. El Padre Mayorga siente que su lazo con los
parroquianos se fortalece cada
vez que ellos se acercan a la
“Podemos sentir el poder
sanador de Nuestro Señor y
compartir cómo el Espíritu
Santo está en nuestras vidas”.
Además de estos encuentros
personales con individuos, el
Padre Mayorga se conecta con
la amplia comunidad parroquial
a través de una amplia gama de
ministerios y eventos, incluidas
dos Àestas anuales, una llevada a
cabo en St. John the Evangelist
y la otra en Nuestra Señora de
Guadalupe, Capilla Misionera
asociada a la parroquia. El Padre Mayorga reinstauró la Àesta
hace tres años, después de un
espacio de 20 años, designando
todas las ganancias al beneÀcio
de la Capilla de Nuestra Señora
de Guadalupe. Hasta ahora, los
fondos de esta Àesta les han permitido construir un nuevo altar,
una sacristía y un cuarto para
familias con niños (cry room
en inglés).
Cuando no puede estar
con sus parroquianos en persona, el Padre Mayorga llega
a ellos a través de la palabra
escrita. Sus “ReÁexiones sobre
los hombres y mujeres de fe”
semanales son publicadas en
el sitio web de la parroquia.
Comenzando en el “Año de
la fe” con figuras del Viejo
Testamento, sus escritos han
continuado desde entonces
hacia el Nuevo Testamento.
El Padre Mayorga se ha integrado claramente a la comunidad de San Marcos, un lugar
que es ahora su hogar. Lejos
de su hogar de la infancia, él
retiene un poco de sus raíces
cocinando comida colombiana
y viendo el futbol. También
viaja a Colombia anualmente
a visitar a su familia, incluyendo a un hermano que es
un sacerdote diocesano allá
y a otro hermano que es un
seminarista y misionero. Cuando está en su tierra, le encanta visitar el cercano Cañón
Chicamocha, un cañón entre
dos montañas con un teleférico conectando las montañas.
Pero cuando las vacaciones se terminan, es hora de
dejar las ovejas de las montañas y de regresar a pastorear
su rebaño en Texas. Aunque
él puede que nunca se haya
imaginado su vida aquí, el Padre Mayorga conÀó en la voluntad de Dios para superar
sus dudas mientras que era literalmente guiado hacia afuera
del desierto para proclamar la
Buena Nueva.
May 2014
of Temple
dressed as saints
at the ¿rst St.
Joseph’s Altar
Celebration held
at St. Mary Parish
in Temple. (Photo
courtesy Jessica
in the inaugural 33 Days
To Morning Glory Retreat
at St. Ferdinand Parish
in Blanco, this group of
parishioners consecrated
themselves to Jesus
through Mary on March 25.
(Photo courtesy Gregory
Family Parish in Copperas Cove celebrated
St. Patrick’s Day.
(Photo courtesy Linda
PROGRAM and Bright
Horizons ministry from
Emmaus Parish in Lakeway came together for
games and fellowship.
Bright Horizons serves
individuals with dementia
and those who care for
them. (Photo courtesy
Paula Baczewski)
eighth through
12th grades from
Sts. Cyril and
Methodius Parish
in Granger participated in adoration.
(Photo courtesy
Michelle Messex)
THIS SPRING almost 150 people attended the Basic Teachings
of Catholicism class at Cristo Rey Parish in Austin. Gustavo Rodriguez from the diocesan Of¿ce of Religious Education taught the
classes. (Photo courtesy Gustavo Rodriguez)
TEAM from
Holy Trinity
Catholic High
School in Temple won its third straight academic title and its eighth
in the last 10 years. (Photo courtesy Veronica Alonzo)
Cyril and Methodius Parish
in Granger sponsored a
fundraiser to bene¿t the
Missionaries of Hope Project and the Granger Food
Pantry. A total of $2,470
was raised with a matching
grant from the KJT home
of¿ce in La Grange. (Photo
courtesy Angela Pavelka)
presented (left) a donation to Father
Larry Covington, pastor of St. Louis
Parish in Austin, to help support
the St. Louis Food Pantry. (Photos
courtesy Sarah Vitek)
THE GROUP ALSO made a donation (right) to Down Home Ranch
in Elgin.
of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lago Vista
designed and installed a replacement church
sign along FM 1431. The sign was funded by
the Men’s Club. (Photo courtesy Ron Smith)
Send photos by the 10th of the month to [email protected]
Margaret Mary
Parish in Cedar
Park attended
the presentation of bylaws
at Our Lady of
Guadalupe Parish in Austin on
March 29. (Photo
courtesy Nancy
THE STAFF of San José Parish in
Austin provided a pizza buffet and
games for 119 victims of the Halloween
Àoods in Austin. The parish has tried to
do something for the Àood victims every
month since the disaster. (Photos courtesy Rosario Tristan)
and Seton Medical Center
Hays conducted a fun run
and health fair for students, parents and parishioners. Vendors offered
tips on living a healthy
lifestyle. (Photo courtesy
Ted Urban)
ON MARCH 16, the Schoenstatt Movement broke ground
on the ¿rst Marian Shrine in the
Diocese of Austin.
THE SHRINE will be a replica of the original
shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany, and will be
named “Bethlehem Cradle of Sanctity.” This
year the Schoenstatt Movement celebrates its
100th anniversary. (Photos courtesy Marcela
LEE from the Cathedral School of St. Mary
won ¿rst place in the team competition at
the Austin Diocese Science Fair for their
project “What Is That Great Smell?” Fifth
graders from the school
participated in camp
Mabry April 7-11. (Photos courtesy Esmeralda
Lozano Hoang)
from St.
John Neumann Parish
in Austin
a ¿ve-day
mission trip
with Mobile,
Loaves & Fishes to serve homeless people
in the Austin area. (Photo courtesy Michelle
members of the fourth grade class at St. Gabriel’s
Catholic School in Austin created a Lenten mosaic bulletin board constructed mainly with Post-It
notes. (Photo courtesy Zelda Kamath)
EIGHTH GRADERS from St. Louis Catholic School
in Austin were honored at the annual diocesan Leadership Awards Mass, which was held March 28 at
St. John Neumann Parish in Austin. (Photo courtesy
Brian Kemp)
Send photos by the 10th of the month to [email protected]
from St. Ignatius Martyr Parish
in Austin biked the
San Antonio Mission Trails during
their monthly camp
out. (Photo courtesy
Irene Rivers)