Category: Diocese

Catholic Counseling Extends Beyond Parishioner Work

-Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor

When an industrial accident claimed the lives of two El Paso men on Oct. 22, it was Catholic Counseling Service which was called in to provide emergency trauma debriefing help.

“We had witnesses who had seen the recovery (of the men). People who said, ‘I was just there, we had just finished cleaning up,’” said José Castrellón, head counselor of CCS. “There is survivors’ guilt.”

The men, Carlos Ramos, 34, and John Barrow, 40, died at the Roberto R. Bustamante Waste Water Treatment Plant. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still investigating the cause of the accident.

Castrellón said it may be surprising to learn CCS is called in to help in emergency situations that have no direct connection to the church. It is a great lesson for the UTEP students studying social work under his supervision.

“I think most people don’t think of CCS first,” said Jessica Garcia, a graduate student. “So many people need help but don’t know where to go. But we’re here for them.”

Garcia emphasized it is CCS’ mission to help people in need with various problems – abuse, addiction, depression – regardless of their faith.

“You help people find their resilience,” she said.

Castrellón said helping others, though not often easy, is one of the greatest Christian attributes one can show. He and his staff are eager to assist when called upon.

“Being there to help someone in pain and service them … that’s a spiritual event.”

Diocesan Director Highlights El Paso Laypeople Preps

The El Paso Diocese knows something about serving the underserved.

Photo courtesy: Fordham University

Photo courtesy: Fordham University

Dr. Veronica Rayas, diocesan director of religious formation, served on a panel discussion at her alma mater, Fordham University, on the topic, “Serving the Church on the Margins in America.”

The event brought together Fordham graduates to discuss their ministerial experiences which are funded by Catholic Extension Society of America.

“I highlighted the programs we’ve developed and also the fact that we are working in collaboration with Extension to send three women in our office to graduate school for a masters degree,” said Rayas. “Because El Paso does not have a Catholic University it can be a challenge for a lay person to achieve the theological foundation and education to be effective in her ministry.”

Rayas said Elia Cardenas and Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez are attending Catholic Theological Union online and in person over the summers and Karina Sandoval is studying at Boston College.

“Since the founding of Tepeyac Institute, El Paso is known around the country for preparing and training lay leaders in the church,” she said. “This effort with Extension to train and educate lay women is important because they have influential roles in the diocese.”

Visiting Nun Headed Back to India

Members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Horizon City may not realize who is in their midst. And Sister Mary Clement likes it that way.

Father Jose Morales, Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Sr. Mary . Photo courtesy Sister Mary Clement.

Father Jose Morales, Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Sr. Mary .
Photo courtesy Sister Mary Clement.

“I’m just a humble nun,” Sr. Mary described herself. Her dark grey, floor length habit keeps her plenty warm and on this late October morning, she still wore sandals with bare feet.

“That’s the warmest part of me,” she giggled. Some would argue that’s the hardest working part of her too.

Sr. Mary, 70, is with the Companions of the Divine Visitor (CDV). She spends much of her time in what she describes as her “Rosary Walk.” She walks as far as saying a rosary will take her, evangelizing to those she meets along the way. Then she says another rosary to get her back to her destination. It’s part of the “door-to-door evangelization” she helped pioneer.

“When we hear ‘evangelization,’ we think of the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But evangelization is ecclesiastical,” she said. “Jesus did it with the Samaritan woman at the well. And we (Catholics) have been doing it since.”

Sr. Mary sees herself as an aide to Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. in Jamshedpur, India. She spent 5 months there in 2014 as a visitor. She’s in El Paso visiting her brother while she awaits approval of a worker’s visa that will allow her a 5-10 year stay in India. Her job? To alert people to the presence of the Catholic Church.

“We have parishes there but people in nearby neighborhoods may not know what the church offers,” she said. “I show up and tell them about their nearby church.”

Sr. Mary meets Hindus, Muslims, and other Christians in the slums outside her Indian parish. To be sure, she’s been in rough places. She’s been unharmed though not unmoved. Sr. Mary said part of her success is her approach to door-to-door evangelization. She doesn’t ask about one’s personal relationship with Christ.

“Catholic evangelization goes beyond just the relationship with Jesus. You have to put them in touch with the Word of God,” she said. “They don’t want to hear what I think, they want to hear what the Church thinks. And I give them an invitation to do that.”

Honoring and Living Tradition


-Mike Lara, Tribal Ministry Dir

No one celebrates Christmas like it’s celebrated in the El Paso Diocese. What we have here is special and often, sacred. Take the celebrations ongoing at the Ysleta Mission.

For 334 years the richness of color, sacred ritual, and the heartbeat of the people of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, “Juanchido” the sacred drum, have filled and illuminated the plaza in Ysleta. Few get to see for themselves the beauty and the magic that is our people’s past, present and future.

Festivities always begin with a procession from the “Thu-lah” Community Building to the Mission. Celebration of Mass comes first followed by native dances.

The first dance of the fall season is the “Feast of Saint Andrew” on Nov. 30, the harvest dance. It is a dance of thanksgiving and also a dance in preparation for the deer and antelope hunts. Christmas is the next dance. Two dances are held, the first after Midnight Mass and the second on Christmas Day in the afternoon. Soon after, we celebrate Dec. 28, the “Day of the Holy Innocents.” It is dedicated to the children of the pueblo. This is a special day for the little ones of the tribe because only they are allowed to dance.

While New Year’s Day is considered the start of the year for most, that’s not the case for our tribe. Rather, it is the end of the year in the pueblo’s ceremonial calendar. On this day, we celebrate “Mary Mother of God” Day. The start of our year begins with the “Feast of the Epiphany” on January 6. On this day, the pueblo’s newly–elected tribal leaders and officials assume their positons on the Tribal Council. They receive a blessing at Mass and the traditional “Roscas de los Santos Reyes” is offered at a gathering of the pueblo and community. The traditional council members made up of the Chief, War Chief, Sheriff and four captains are responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the pueblo. It is also their duty to ensure that feasts are celebrated with dignity and respect to honor their cultural identity and patron saints.

Tribal dances are religious ceremonies though the public at-large believes these to be “performances” rather than prayers. However, our public prayers are not meant for entertainment and are quite serious. There is ritual in all we do. For instance, the “Juanchido” or, sacred drum, always has a special place in these prayers. It must be in the center of the dance with no obstruction from it to the blessed sacrament.

War Chief Javier Loera invites the public to accompany tribal members back to the “Thu-lah” as well as homes of tribal members for further dancing and a feast of traditional foods. For hours of feast day activities, please contact the Ysleta Mission at 859-9848.

A Special Message from Bishop Mark J. Seitz

I have always believed it to be very important to be a good steward with the funds you entrust to us.

Our mission, the mission we have had for 100 years now, is to model Christ’s love and service in all we do. The donations you provide allows us to carry out that mission.

On this page you will find a summary of our diocesan financial reports for the fiscal years 2013 and 2014. You’ll see words on here like “assets,” “liabilities,” and “unrealized gains.” It’s confusing, I know. But in an effort to show you how your hard-earned money is spent, I want you to see that it is not wasted. We strive to use your money toward needed and purposeful programs which further our mission and that of Christ as we coordinate the services and ministries throughout the Diocese of El Paso. You may notice and increase in our net assets. That is largely due to a very successful investment year during 2013.

In the last few weeks, we submitted our financial records to independent auditors who found the financial statements of the Diocese are fairly presented and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. If you have further questions regarding this statement, please contact our Chief Financial Officer, Greg Watters at

As we move toward Advent and the “giving season,” we ask that you keep in mind these programs, and the people behind them, when you generously donate toward the Diocese of El Paso.

Faithfully yours,


2014 Revenues (Not including insurance premiums and fees)
2014 Expenses (Not including insurance claims and fees)

Our Lady of Guadalupe… Queen of the Americas

-Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas, St. Mark

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most revered religious icon in the Americas. On10-2 Dec. 12 millions will gather early in the morning to sing mañanitas, celebrate Mass, and have fiestas in honor of Our Blessed Mother. Saint John Paul II called her the “virgen mestizo,” Patroness of the Americas, not just of Mexico. The story of Guadalupe is the beginning of evangelization in the New World, and it has a message that is still very relevant to our global age.


The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe begins in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 1531, while an indigenous man, Juan Diego, was on his way to Mass. When he reached the top of a hill called Tepeyac, he suddenly heard beautiful music. Juan Diego thought at first that he was in some kind of paradise, because to him, as to other indigenous peoples of Mexico, music was a symbol of the presence of the divine, of the gods. Soon Juan Diego heard a voice calling to him: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” Those were the affectionate terms for his name, similar to what a mother might use in speaking to a child. Our Lady of Guadalupe then appeared to him and asked where he was going. Juan Diego told her he was going to Mass. She went on to tell Juan Diego that she was, “Holy Mary, Ever Virgin Mother of the True God … a merciful Mother … to all … I listen to their lamentations and solace all their sorrows and their sufferings.” Our Blessed Mother told Juan Diego to go to the palace of the bishop of México and tell him that she wanted a temple built in the Tepeyac valley. Juan Diego went to see the bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, a Franciscan. After much waiting, he told him of the Blessed Mother’s desire. The bishop, however, did not believe Juan’s story and asked him to return a few days later – enough time for the bishop to investigate Juan Diego.


Juan Diego felt frustrated and made his way back to the hill of Tepeyac, never doubting he would see Our Lady again. When he saw her, he told her that the bishop had not believed him but Our Lady again told Juan to return to the bishop with news of her desire. The next day after Mass, Dec. 10, he again went to see the bishop. After much difficulty, he succeeded in seeing him, repeating the message from Our Blessed Mother. This time the bishop was more inclined to trust Juan Diego, but nevertheless told him that he would have to bring some sign as proof that the woman he had seen was the Blessed Mother. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac, where he told the Virgin of the bishop’s request. Juan Diego felt frustrated that he could not

The story of Guadalupe is the beginning of evangelization in the New World

accomplish what the Blessed Mother requested. On his knees he begged her to send someone else because he was a “nobody” who could not get the attention of the bishop. The Blessed Mother bent down and picked up Juan Diego. She told him that she could send legions of angels, but she chose him to go to the bishop. What this world rejects, God choses to do God’s great work. Juan Diego stood up with dignity and pride. He understood – he was an evangelizer sent by the Blessed Mother to do God’s work!


Our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe told Juan Diego to return the next day and she would give him the sign for the bishop. But the next day, Dec. 11, Juan Diego had to care for his dying uncle, Juan Bernardino, who near day’s end asked him to get a priest so that he could go to Reconciliation (Confession) and receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Very early the following day, Dec. 12, Juan Diego set out to get a priest, and tried to avoid the hilltop of Tepeyac because he was ashamed at not having returned. But as he was taking a roundabout route, Our Lady came down from the top of the hill and again asked him where he was going. Juan told her of his uncle’s illness. Our Lady assured him that his uncle would not die. Our Blessed Mother then visited Juan Bernardino and he was cured. The first miracle in the Americas was a miracle of healing through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 10-1


Our Lady of Guadalupe instructed Juan Diego to go to the top of the hill and gather flowers for the bishop as the sign he reques ted. When Juan reached the summit, he found many roses blooming there. He picked them and placed them in his tilma, or cloak. Juan Diego visited the bishop. He unfolded his tilma, and the roses came tumbling out. But the bishop, seemingly overwhelmed by something even greater than the miracle of the roses, got up from his throne, knelt before the tilma, and began praying. Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously transformed the roses into an image of herself on the tilma. This sacred tilma still hangs today in the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City on Tepeyac hill. It is the most visited shrine in the world.


When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the hill of Tepeyac she heralded the beginning of a new era, a new civilization that would rise out of the ashes of the indigenous civilizations that had been destroyed by the Spanish conquerors. She gave birth to a new people – the Mestizo Christian people. Through Saint Juan Diego, the great apostle of Christianity in the Americas, she came to help us evangelize society. Many missionaries felt the need for a radical return to the Gospel, for a renewal in Christianity. The significance of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe is d erived especially from the period of time in which she appeared. In the pre-Hispanic New World, the indigenous had many gods, or “intermediary spirits,” but there was one great spirit, or god beyond all the intermediary gods named Omecihuatl. That god, whose special color was turquoise, the predominant color of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s mantle, was considered the one, powerful creating force. That god was neither male, nor female, sometimes being represented by a male figure and sometimes by a female. This female figure of the supreme god was also known as the “snake woman,” a symbol of wisdom because the snake was a symbol of wisdom. That figure was also called Tonantzin, and represented a respected, loving mother.


The hill of Tepeyac, where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego, was a sacred site, a place of pilgrimage even before the Spaniards and Christianity came. Tonantzin was venerated there as the mother of gods, the source of life, as a goddess who gave meaning, direction, and guidance to all life. The relatively easy conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards was, in a sense, made possible by the indigenous themselves. Amer-indian prophets had long been predicting the end of their civilization. Additionally, many other indigenous people disliked the Aztecs and felt they had corrupted their religion. They believed the god Quetzacoatl would return or send an emissary. When the Spaniards arrived under Hernando Córtes, many Indians accepted the conquerors as liberators or saviors and allied themselves with the conquistadores.


But soon the indigenous saw the Spaniards were not the expected liberators of Quetzacoatl. In their conquest of the New World, the Spaniards destroyed the temples of the indigenous, killed many young men, and often violated the women. At the time of the four apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, between Dec. 9 and Dec. 12, 1531, negative memories of the conquest were still very much alive in the minds of the indigenous people. They did not miss the significance that Our Lady of Guadalupe, through an Indian (one of their own) had ordered the Spaniards – represented by Bishop Juan Zumarraga – to build a temple in honor of someone who resembled the Indian and not the Spaniard.


Guadalupe is Mestiza, the mixture of indigenous, Spanish, and African bloods. While the tilma is in the famous Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City, she is the Patroness of the Americas. She belongs to all of us. Guadalupe stands as a symbol of unity for all those struggling to leave a state of oppression to enter the state of being free human beings. Our devotion to our Blessed Mother invites us to a profound commitment to continue the work of evangelization in the Americas, especially by building a new temple, a new people, where all of God’s children live with dignity and respect.

Our Lady of Guadalupe… Queen of the Americas

-Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas, San Marcos

La imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe es la imagen más honrada en América. El 12 de diciembre 12 millones de personas se reunirán a primera hora para cantarle las mañanitas, para celebrar Misa, y tener fiestas en honor de Nuestra 10-2Santa Madre. San Juan Pablo II la llamaba “virgen mestizo,” Patrona de las Américas, no solo de México. La historia de Guadalupe es el inicio de la evangelización en el Nuevo Mundo, y tiene un mensaje que todavía tiene mucho sentido en nuestra sociedad global.


La historia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe inicia en las primeras horas de la mañana del 9 de diciembre de 1531, mientras que un hombre indígena, Juan Diego, cuando iba camino a Misa. Cuando llegó a la cima de un cerro llamado Tepeyac, repentinamente escuchó una hermosa melodía. Juan Diego pensó al principio que estaba en el cielo, pues era para él como para todos los otros indígenas de México, la música era el símbolo de la divinidad de los dioses. Pronto Juan Diego escuchó una voz llamándole: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” Esas fueron las afectuosas palabras con que lo llamó la Virgen, similares a las que usaría una mamá para llamar a su hijo. Luego se le apareció Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y le preguntó a dónde iba. Juan Diego le dijo que iba a Misa. La Virgen le siguió diciendo a Juan diego que ella era “Santa María, la Siempre Virgen Madre del Verdadero Dios… una Madre misericordiosa… para todos… yo escucho sus lamentos y les doy consuelo en sus penas y sus sufrimientos.” Nuestra Santa Madre le dijo a Juan Diego que fuera al palacio del obispo de México y que le dijera que quería que se le construyera un temple en ese valle del Tepeyac. Juan Diego fue a ver a Fray Juan de Zumárraga, que era Franciscano que era el obispo de México. Después de mucha espera, él le dijo el recado de la Santísima Virgen. Sin embargo, el obispo no creyó la historia de Juan Diego, y le pidió que regresara unos días después, para tener tiempo de estudiar el asunto e investigar a Juan Diego.


Juan Diego se sintió frustrado y regresó al cerro del Tepeyac, sin dudar en ningún momento que vería a Nuestra Señora de nuevo. Cuando él la vio, le dijo que el obispo no le había creído pero Nuestra Señora le dijo a Juan Diego que regresara con el obispo para insistir en su deseo. Al día siguiente después de Misa, el 10 de diciembre, él nuevamente fue a ver al obispo. Después de mucha dificultad para verlo, repitiendo el mensaje de Nuestra Santa Madre. En esta ocasión el obispo se inclinó más a confiar en Juan Diego, sin embargo, le pidió traer una señal de que la mujer que había visto era la Santa Madre. Juan Diego regresó al Tepeyac, donde le dijo a la Virgen la petición del

La historia de Guadalupe es el inicio de la Evangelización en el Nuevo Mundo

obispo. Juan Diego se sintió frustrado por no cumplir el deseo de la Santa Madre. De rodillas le imploró a ella enviar a otra persona por que él “no era nadie” que pudiera llamar la atención del obispo. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe se inclina así a Juan Diego y lo levanta. Ella le dice que podría enviar legiones de ángeles pero que ella lo escogió al el como su mensajero. Lo que este mundo rechaza, Dios escoge para hacer el gran labor de Dios. Entonces Juan Diego se siente especial, escogido y enviado por la madre de Dios. Se siente lleno de respeto y de dignidad. ¡Juan Diego es ahora el evangelizador enviado por la Virgen para hacer el trabajo de Dios!


Nuestra Señora le dijo que regresara al día siguiente y le daría la señal. Pero al día siguiente 11de diciembre Juan tuvo que cuidar a su tío enfermo, Juan Bernardino, quien le pidió que trajera a un sacerdote para que lo confesara y le diera los santos oleos porque sentía que ya se iba a morir. Muy temprano al día siguiente 12 de diciembre, Juan fue a buscar a un sacerdote pero trato de irse por otro camino para no pasar por donde se le había aparecido la Virgen porque le daba pena no haber ido el día anterior como ella le había pedido. Pero cuando iba caminando Nuestra Señora bajo del cerro y otra vez le pregunto a donde iba. Juan le conto de la enfermedad de su tío y le dijo que había tenido que cuidarlo. Sin embargo Nuestra Señora le aseguro que su tío no se iba a morir, y Juan le ofreció ir a ver al obispo con la señal que ella le diera. El primer milagro en las Américas fue un milagro de sanación por la intercesión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.


Nuestra Señora le dio instrucciones de ir a la cima del cerro y juntar las flores que había ahí como una señal. Cuando Juan Diego llego a la cima encontró ahí muchas rosas. Recogió las rosas y las puso en su tilma. Entonces Nuestra Señora le dijo que se las llevara al obispo como una señal. Juan lo hizo así, y cuando estaba con el obispo le repitió el mensaje de la Virgen y le dijo que había traído la señal. Entonces abrió su tilma y cayeron las rosas. Pero el obispo pareció sobrecogido por algo mas grande que el milagro de las rosas, se paro de su trono se hinco ante Juan Diego y empezó a orar. La Virgen milagrosamente transformo la rosas en una imagen de si misma en la tilma. Esta tilma sagrada esta este día en la basílica de Guadalupe en el Tepeyac en la cuidad de México. 10-1


Juan, asombrado vio hacia abajo de su tilma, y vio ahí pintada la imagen de la Santísima Virgen, exactamente como se le había aparecido a el en el Tepeyac. Se construyo una capilla de adobe en ese lugar para Navidad. Un numero de iglesias han tenido la famosa imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe a través de esto cuatro siglos desde la aparición. Y últimamente se construyó una basílica nueva cerca del lugar de las apariciones y se le ha proclamado como la Emperatriz de América y patrona de todos porque cuando ella se apareció no había fronteras en este hemisferio.


Las apariciones de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe hace mas de 450 años en México no fueron un evento aislado solo para los indígenas o los mexicanos. Ella es tan importante hoy como lo fue hace siglos, y ella es importante para todos, porque ha sido designada como patrona de toda América. Cuando se apareció al indígena Juan Diego en 1531 no había fronteras entre naciones en este hemisferio, por ejemplo, el Río Grande era solo un arroyo y no separaba a los Estados Unidos de México. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe anuncia la venida de su hijo Jesucristo y la venida de su reino entre nosotros. El templo que Guadalupe pide esta construido con piedras vivas. Este templo es un lugar en donde nadie tenga que decir como dijo Juan Diego “so una nada.” Guadalupe nos pide que promovamos el reino de Dios construyendo un templo, un pueblo, una civilización en la cual todo hombre y mujer sea tratada con respeto y con dignidad.


Cuando Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe se apareció en la montaña del Tepeyac presagió el principio de una nueva era, de una nueva civilización que se levantaría de las cenizas de la civilización indígena que fue destruida por los conquistadores Españoles. Ella dio nacimiento a un nuevo pueblo – el pueblo Mestizo Cristiano. Pero su significancia va mas allá, porque ella es la patrona de las Américas. Ella vino también a dar nacimiento a una era de renovación Cristiana, a través de santo Juan Diego, el gran apóstol de la Cristiandad en las Américas . Ella vino a ayudarnos a evangelizar la sociedad. En el mundo pre-hispánico los indígenas tenían muchos dioses o “espíritus intermediarios” pero había un solo gran espíritu o dios mas allá de los demás llamado Omecihuatl. Ese dios cuyo color especial era el turquesa, el color predominante en el manto de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe era considerado la fuerza creadora. El dios no era ni masculino ni femenino algunas veces representado por una figura masculina y otras por una figura femenina. A estas figuras se referían por diferentes nombres, como los Católicos nos referimos a la Santísima Virgen por diferentes títulos; Madre del Perpetuo Socorro, Madre de la Sabiduría, etc. La figura femenina del dios supremo era también conocida como la mujer serpiente, un símbolo de sabiduría. Esta figura era también Hamada Tonantzin y representaba una madre amante y respetada.


El cerro del Tepeyac donde Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe se apareció a Juan Diego, era un lugar sagrado, un lugar de peregrinación aun antes de que llegaran los Españoles, ahí se veneraba a Tonantzin como la madre de los dioses, la fuente de vida, un dios que daba significado, dirección y guía a toda la vida. La relativamente fácil conquista de los Españoles fue posible gracias a los mismos indios. Los profetas indígenas habían predicho el final de su civilización y de su era. Y además muchos indígenas odiaban a los Aztecas y sentían que habían destruido su religión pero que el dios Quetzalcóatl regresaría o enviaría un emisario para traerles liberación y salvación. Así es que cuando llegaron los españoles con Hernán Cortez muchos indios aceptaron a los conquistadores como salvadores y liberadores y se aliaron a ellos.


Pero muchos indígenas pronto vieron que los españoles no eran los esperados liberadores de Quetzalcóatl, no tenían escrúpulos en matar gente ni en guerra ni para ganar oro. En su conquista del nuevo mundo los españoles destruyeron los templos de los indígenas, mataron muchos jóvenes y violaron mujeres. En el tiempo de las cuatro apariciones de la Virgen de Guadalupe, entre el 9 y el 12 de diciembre de 1531, memorias de la conquista – las masacres, la destrucción de los templos estaban muy vivas en las mentes de los indígenas. Estos conocieron bien el mensaje de Guadalupe que a través de uno de los suyos, Juan Diego, la Virgen les mando a los españoles a través del obispo Zumárraga que edificara un templo en su honor -a alguien que se parecía a los indígenas y no a los españoles.


Con la construcción de un templo en las Américas la vida antigua y una época termina, y un estilo de vida nueva comienza. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe nos trae nueva vida, una raza nueva, un templo nuevo, y una civilización nueva. Muchos misioneros vieron la necesidad de radicalmente regresar a los evangelios para renovar la iglesia y el cristianismo. Vieron en Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe una fuente de un comienzo nuevo para renovar la fe y el mundo nuevo. Guadalupe es Mestiza, mezcla de sangres Indígenas, Españolas, y Africanas. Aunque la tilma esta en la famosa Basílica de Guadalupe en México, ella es patrona de la América y pertenece a todos nosotros. 11-1


Nuestra devoción a nuestra madre santísima nos invita a un profundo compromiso de evangelizar en las Américas, especialmente en la construcción de un nuevo templo, un nuevo pueblo en donde todo hijo y toda hija de Dios viva con respeto y dignidad.

Mexican bishops plead for peace, call violence a ‘national crisis’

By David Agren
Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — The Mexican bishops’ conference issued an impassioned plea for peace and an end to the bloodshed in a country consumed with the crisis of 43 teacher trainees allegedly captured by crooked cops, killed by organized crime and burned.

“With sadness we recognize that the situation of the country has worsened” — since 2010, when the bishops published a pastoral letter on violence — “unleashing a true national crisis,” the bishops said Nov. 12 during their semiannual 13-1planning sessions in suburban Mexico City. “Many people live subjected to fear, finding themselves helpless against the threats of criminal groups and, in some cases, the regrettable corruption of the authorities.

The same day, at the end of his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he wanted to express to the Mexicans present in St. Peter’s Square, “but also to those in your homeland, my spiritual closeness at this painful time.” While the students are legally missing, “we know they were killed,” the pope said. Their disappearance and deaths “make visible the dramatic reality that exists behind the sale and trafficking of drugs.”

Ordinary Mexicans have taken to the streets, condemning the crimes committed against the students and the apparent collusion between criminals and the political class in parts of the country. The bishops lent their support to peaceful demonstrations, which often have been led by students, and called for a day of prayer Dec. 12, when millions of Mexicans celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“In our vision of faith, these acts make it evident that we have distanced ourselves from God,” the bishops said.

“We join the generalized clamor for a Mexico in which the truth and justice provoke a deep transformation of the institutional, judicial and political order that assures that acts like these never repeat themselves,” the bishops said.

“In the midst of this crisis, we see with hope the awakening of civil society, which as never before in recent years has protested against corruption, impunity and the complicity of some authorities. We believe it is necessary to proceed from protests to proposals.”

The protests and outrage are among the strongest in recent years and reflect anger with the ongoing insecurity in the country . Many have adopted the slogan, “I’ve had enough,” echoing off-the-cuff comment of Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam after a Nov. 7 news conference that has been interpreted by many as insensitive. “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Jesuit Father Conrado Zepeda, who celebrated Mass Nov. 4 at the Jesuit-run Iberoamerican University for students and four family members of the missing. “It has to do with the young, students, the poor, people unable to defend themselves being attacked in this way. This is why civil society has revolted.” Authorities arrested Jose Luis Abarca, mayor of Iguala, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, Nov. 4 in Mexico City, alleging they ordered the attack on the students. The couple claimed the students were coming to protest a community event planned by Pineda. Classmates said the students went to Iguala, 120 miles south of Mexico City, to collect funds for a future trip to the capital, but had their borrowed buses shot at by police — who detained 43 of the teacher trainees and handed them over to members of the Guerreros Unidos gang. Murillo spelled out the details Nov. 7, saying three gang members confessed to burning the bodies in a garbage dump. Six bags of ashes and bones have been discovered at the site. Families of the missing students refuse to believe the government and said they only will accept evidence presented by Argentine forensic experts working on the case. Father Victor Manuel Aguilar, spokesman for the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, where the students’ school is located, said the mistrust comes from an unhappy history of human rights abuses in Guerrero state, which is south of Mexico City and full of impoverished, indigenous communities that have been exploited and pushed to the society’s margins for centuries. “Justice is often delayed … if it arrives at all,” he said. The case has caused outrage and a political crisis for President Enrique Pena Nieto, who had stopped speaking on security matters in an attempt to improve the image of Mexico as an investment destination. “There has never been a rebuke like now,” Father Aguilar said. Pena Nieto — who has not visited Iguala or the students’ school since the tragedy, but departed for an overseas trip Nov. 8 — appears to have been caught flat-footed. He has proposed an all-party pact to curb crime and corruption. While not unlike the consensus he achieved to approve 11 structural reforms in areas such as education, energy and taxation, it has found tepid support. “The reality of our present-day Mexico did not surge from one year ago or five years ago,” Bishop Francisco Moreno Barron of Tlaxcala told the Reforma newspaper. “It has been gestating for a long time through corruption and impunity and I believe that it’s time to put a stop to it.” Protests have continued, especially in Guerrero, where students and their supporters have burned government buildings, blocked highways and marched through the tourist zone of Acapulco. Father Aguilar sees the protests continuing as long as the students’ whereabouts remains uncertain. “We all want the student to appear alive. But if they don’t appear, I think that this discontent could become radicalized,” Father Aguilar said. “There are people willing to do whatever it takes to make their demands known.”

Blessed Sacrament Talking Sun, Not Son

-Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor

At a time when so many of us are watching our pennies, Blessed Sacrament is reinvesting theirs. The church recently installed about 82 solar panels on the parish rooftop, powered down its standard electricity in November, and now runs the 14-1diocese’s only green parish.

“How can we preach being a good citizen of the world if we aren’t doing it?” asked Fr. Ben Flores who oversaw the project.

Fr. Ben said the church’s solar panels came about 18 months after the installation of 56 panels over the rectory office and the priest’s home. The panels were paid for through a $19,000 commercial grant of the El Paso Electric Company and, supplemented with the help of an anonymous benefactor. The cost savings?

“There is 100% cost savings,” Fr. Ben said. “We used to pay $400-$500 a month on electricity and now, we don’t.”

The money saved was then reinvested in other improvements. Fr. Ben said new insulation and LED lights were installed in the parish to conserve heat and electricity. Double-paned window will soon be installed and old doors will be replaced. Xeriscaping will also replace the traditional grass landscape. Finally, energy-efficient heating and cooling units have been purchased to cut back on water usage.

“You have to think of the people who helped build this church, the pride they had,” he said. “This renovation is the best way to honor them.”

La Parroquia del Santísimo Sacramento habla sobre el sol

Por Elizabeth O’Hara
Editora del Periódico Río Grande Catholic
Traducción por Anita Marta

En un tiempo cuando muchos de nosotros estamos cuidando nuestros centavos, la Parroquia del Santísimo Sacramento está reinvirtiendo los suyos. La parroquia recientemente instaló cerca de 82 paneles solares en el techo de la parroquia, 14-1iniciando a producir electricidad estándar en noviembre, ahora es la única parroquia ecológica de la diócesis.

“¿Cómo podemos predicar ser buenos ciudadanos del mundo si no lo estamos haciendo?” preguntó el Padre Ben Flores quien supervisó el proyecto.

El Padre Ben dijo que los paneles solares de la iglesia tomaron 18 meses en instalar 56 paneles sobre la oficina de la rectoría y la casa parroquial. Los paneles se obtuvieron por medio de una aportación comercial de $19,000 por El Paso Electric Company y, suplementado con la ayuda de un benefactor anónimo.

¿Cuál es el ahorro? “Hay un ahorro del cien por ciento,” dijo el Padre Ben. “Antes pagábamos entre $400 a $500 por electricidad al mes y ahora, ya no.”

El dinero ahorrado fue entonces aplicado a otras mejoras. El Padre Ben dijo que se instaló aislante y luces LED en la parroquia para conservar el calor y la electricidad. Pronto se instalarán ventanas de vidrio doble y las puertas viejas serán reemplazadas. El xeriscape también reemplazará al tradicional pasto. Finalmente, se obtendrán unidades ahorradoras de energía para enfriar y calentar para así economizar en el uso del agua.

“Tenemos que pensar en la gente quien ayudó a construir esta iglesia, el orgullo que ellos tuvieron,” dijo. “Esta renovación es la mejor forma de honrarlos.”