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Foundation Dinner brings international author, TV commentator Fr. Jonathan Morris to keynote

-Sofía Larkin Appleby, Major Gifts Officer
Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso

The 9th Annual Foundation of Faith Dinner: The Way of Serenity with keynote speaker Father Jonathan Morris is set for Thurs., Sept.17 at the El Paso Convention Center. RGC Sept _Page_1_Image_0003

Father Jonathan Morris, a nationally renowned author, news commentator, and the Director of the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, will replace formerly announced Keynote Speaker Father Gregory Boyle at the dinner. Fr. Boyle, a Jesuit Priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, who was originally scheduled to speak, cancelled his El Paso engagement because he was invited to address the Geneva Global Peace Talks.

“We already have received so much positive feedback from Catholics throughout our diocese who are fans of Father’s book, The Way of Serenity,” said Janine Young, Executive Director for the Foundation. “We look forward to a wonderful evening that will raise much needed funds for our churches, schools, and Catholic charities.”
Fr. Jonathan Morris is a Roman Catholic priest currently serving in the Archdiocese of New York. He serves as news contributor for the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, and the Wall Street Journal offering coverage of the ethical, social, and religious news stories. Fr. Jonathan is the author of The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer, God Wants You Happy, and The Promise. He served as a theological advisor in the making of the feature film The Passion of the Christ.

Reverend Monsignor Francis J. Smith will be honored as the first recipient of the Dei Gratia Award during the Foundation of Faith Dinner. Msgr. Smith was ordained on Mar. 25, 1967 and served St. Raphael Parish for 29 years. The Dei Gratia Award, Latin for, “By the Grace of God,” recognizes an individual, couple, or organization for their servant leadership, outstanding contribution to the Diocese of El Paso and our Catholic community, and their dedication to being good stewards of God’s grace.

“From his support of seminarian formation to the establishment of parishes and schools, Msgr. Smith is most deserving of the first Dei Gratia Award,” said Young.

This year, performance artist and painter James “Jimmy” O’Rourke will create a triptych painting during the cocktail hour which begins at 5:00 p.m. The artwork will be auctioned off during an exciting live auction. Jimmy came highly recommended by Foundation Secretary and dinner live auction chair, Machelle Vanecek. As it turns out, Jimmy’s stepson received the Foundation’s 4-year Hunt Family Foundation scholarship to attend Cathedral High School, so he is “humbled to be able to give back.” Besides the beautiful art, a vacation getaway, and restaurant gift card package, the live auction includes needs items like funding for fuel for West Texas, songbooks, and Bibles. Packages range in price from $20 to $4,000. Items go quickly—about 1 ½ minutes per package—so come prepared to bid.

Proceeds from the dinner will support the work of the Foundation in sustaining the long-term needs of the charities, ministries, parishes and schools of our diocese. The event sold out in 2013 and 2014 and the Foundation expects another big crowd this year.

Father Jonathan will be available to sign his books following the program. You can purchase a copy of one of his books on the night of the event. Copies are limited.

For more information, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor: elpasodiocesefoundation.org or call 915.872.8412.

Sisters open homes to the public, encourage visitors

If I asked you to think of a Catholic nun, what do you picture? A black habit? A grim-faced woman with a ruler in her hand? If so, you should check out this month’s Open House celebrating the Year of Consecrated

Sister Carol Jean Ory, SSSF offers Communion in the colonias

Sister Carol Jean Ory, SSSF offers Communion in the colonias

Life to get a better idea of how these women are affecting positive change in our community.

“Yes we’re still in education and healthcare but not in traditional ways,” said Sister Janet Gildea, SC. “We work in colonias educating families about childcare for their children. We work with migrants on their arrival to the country, helping them with social services. We’re not what people traditionally think.”

You can thank Vatican II for the expanded services, said Sister Isabel Fierro, DC, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the diocese’s liaison for women religious.

“Before, we were working in children’s homes and hospitals and as teachers. But we realized there were needs outside of these areas,” she said. “Vatican II allowed us to reassess these needs and our charisms. We asked ourselves, ‘What are we called to do?’ We went back to our roots and back to our founders where we were free to serve in the spirit of our community.”

Even the terminology has changed over the decades. Rarely is a woman now referred to as a “nun.” That designation is typically used for women who live a cloistered or contemplative life.

“Their life is consecrated to God and a life of prayer,” said Sr. Isabel. “The contemplative and what we call the ‘active’ sisters have three things in common: prayer, service and community life. But the contemplative sisters are usually found in monasteries and wear the full habit.”

Since many are no longer found in traditional habits, the 103 sisters who work with the Diocese of El Paso may not be as noticeable as they once were. But their impact cannot be ignored.

“In my community, we have a sister who is working as a legal representatives to migrants,” said Sr. Isabel. “We have one who works at Reynolds Home which shelters homeless women and children. In the diocese, other sisters serve in parishes, Pastoral care in hospitals and senior centers. We have expanded our charisms to many works.”

Sr. Isabel said her exposure to sisters while working, as a nursing student at Hotel Dieu Hospital in the 1950s is what first introduced her to think about a life in a religious vocation.

“It was the summer of my junior year at Las Cruces High School and I was thinking, you know, ‘What am I going to do?’ I had been thinking, ‘Am I going to be a nun or a nurse? Well the conclusion was simple: I was going to be a nurse. But when I saw these sisters, it was a revelation. I can be both!”

Sr. Isabel, who became a nurse-midwife, said she had little exposure to sisters prior to working alongside them.

“I saw how they skilled they were, how they related to people and at the same time, how compassionate they were and how they prayed,” she said. “ And they used to live on the 6th floor and I would ask this one

Sister Janet Gildea at Proyecto Santo Niño in Anapra, Mexico

Sister Janet Gildea at Proyecto Santo Niño in Anapra, Mexico

sister, ‘What do you do up there?’”

Sr. Isabel hopes the open house will allow the public, particularly young adults, a chance to speak to the religious in an informal way and learn more about what they do in their community. Sr. Janet also hopes the exposure could spark someone’s interest in the religious life.

“We don’t want to sit around and look at old black and white photos and say, ‘Oh, look at what we did,” said Sr. Janet. “We want to show off what we’re doing today. So often people think our only role is to pray the Rosary. We do but we do a lot of work in our community too.”

The Open House, scheduled for Sept. 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. will allow the public to see the contemporary lives of the women and men religious who serve the diocese. The locations for the open house include the following: Adoratrices del Santisimo Sacramento, 145 Cotton Street; Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, 9213 Moye Dr.; Sisters of Loretto, 4601 Trowbridge; School Sisters of St. Francis, 465 Gallagher; Hermanas Dominicas de la Doctrina Cristiana, 634 Hampton; Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor, 3119 Pera; Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, 415 N. Glenwood; Brothers of Christina Schools, 1204 N. Mesa and the Society of Jesus, Sacred Heart Parish, 602 S. Oregon.

For more information, contact Sr. Isabel Fierro, DC at (915) 872-8407.

El Papa Francisco hace su Debut en los Estados Unidos a Finales de este Mes

-Elizabeth O’Hara, Editora del RGC

Aproximadamente 80 personas se sumarán a los más de 1.5 millones de personas que se esperan para la Misa del Papa Francisco en Filadelfia a finales de este mes, dijeron los organizadores del próximo EncuentroRGC Sept _Page_5_Image_0002 Mundial de las Familias, en El Paso.

“Estoy encantado de que tengamos una fuerte presencia como Diócesis de El Paso”, dijo el Diácono Frank Segura, director del ministerio de Matrimonio y Vida Familiar de la diócesis.

Para junio, unas 12,000 personas estaban ya registradas para el congreso del 22 al 25 de septiembre, el cual contará con ponentes en una serie de cuestiones que afectan a la vida familiar. La reunión se celebra cada tres años y el tema de este año es “El amor es Nuestra Misión: La Familia Totalmente Viva”

“A la reunión mundial siempre asisten muchos, pero creemos que la popularidad del Papa, así como siendo esta su visita inaugural a los Estados Unidos, realmente ha provocado un gran interés en nuestra diócesis”, dijo Segura.

La visita del Papa Francisco tendrá lugar del 26 al 27 de septiembre, después de hacer paradas en Washington DC, donde abordará una sesión conjunta con el Congreso y a Nueva York, donde se espera que haga un discurso ante las Naciones Unidas.

Además de la Misa Papal del 27 de septiembre, la cual clausurará el Encuentro Mundial de las Familias, también se espera que el Papa asista al Festival de la Familia el 26 de septiembre. Los organizadores esperan cerca de 750,000 personas para el festival, el cual se llevara a cabo en la Avenida Benjamín Franklin y que incluirá las actuaciones del tenor italiano Andrea Bocelli, la estrella de pop colombiano Juanes y la Orquesta de Filadelfia.

Los temas para el congreso de la familia incluirán conversaciones que abordan las nuevas tecnologías, la ecología, la fertilidad y como tratar con las rupturas matrimoniales. Algunos de los oradores mencionados incluyen al Cardenal Luis Antonio Tagle de Manila, el Cardenal Sean P. O’Malley de Boston y al cardenal Robert Sarah, prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y los Sacramentos. El Padre Robert Barrón y Scott Hahn, así como el Reverendo Rick Warren y el Rabino Abraham Skorka, están programados entre los oradores.

Aproximadamente el 30 por ciento de los oradores no son católicos y el congreso está abierto para todos.

Guía de Padres Papal: El Papa Francisco Entrega su muy Personal Opinión de Que Hacer para las Familias

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) – El Papa Francisco sabe que la familia está compuesta por personas reales y que viven en un mundo real, por lo que a menudo da consejos con los pies muy bien puestos en la tierra.

El Papa, siendo el un ex profesor, ha estado, en cierto modo, entregando planes de lecciones detalladas a las familias de hoy en día, ofreciendo orientación en lo que realmente hay que hacer. El Sínodo de los Obispos sobre la familia, que el Papa ha convocado para octubre, también espera que entreguen directrices concretas para la pastoral de la familia y sus miembros.

Con ejemplos de su propia vida y las vidas reales de los demás, señala lo que está ocurriendo “en el terreno” y luego construye un plan pastoral – lo que sería la respuesta de Dios en esta realidad.

Por ejemplo, la respuesta cristiana al problema muy típico de la ira o la incomprensión es elegir el camino del diálogo, lo que requiere de comer un montón de tartas de “pastel de humildad”, dijo en una homilía en enero del 2014.

“A veces los platos volarán”, dijo el Papa. Sin embargo, “después de que la tormenta haya pasado,” las cosas tienen que resolverse lo más pronto posible”, con una palabra, un gesto,” para que nadie termine “aislado en este amargo caldo de nuestro resentimiento.”

Otros consejos prácticos de manera similar se les ha dado a las parejas: Jugar más con sus hijos, detener la toma de posesión, ser más cariñosos y decir siempre: “Por favor,” “puedo” y “gracias”. “Las mamás y los papás deben liderar el camino, dice; quienes son los modelos más influyentes para sus hijos.

Besarse delante de los hijos es un “hermoso testimonio”, dijo a los padres en junio del 2015. Los niños ven a sus padres con cuidado y “cuando ven que papá y mamá se aman, los niños crecen en ese clima de amor, felicidad y seguridad”.

Él les ha dicho a los jóvenes que salgan, que descubran el mundo y que “construyan  todo juntos, que hagan todo con amor, que todo es posible y la fe es un evento que debe ser siempre proclamada.”

Hablen con su mejor amigo; Jesús, todos los días, le dijo a los niños en diciembre del 2014  y sean “apóstoles de la paz y la serenidad”, en casa y en la escuela.

“Imagínense lo mucho que nuestro mundo cambiaría si cada uno de nosotros comenzara hoy, aquí y ahora y seriamente se encargara de nosotros mismos y generosamente se encargara de nuestra relación con Dios y con el prójimo”, dijo a los empleados del Vaticano y sus familias, antes de Navidad el año pasado.

Transitional Deaconate Ordination Set for Jun. 29

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Sem. Francisco “Frank” Hernandez

Seminarian Francisco “Frank” Hernandez  has been promoted to Holy Orders.  His transitional deaconate ordination will be at his home parish, Our Lady of the Light, on Mon., Jun. 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

“I considered becoming a priest since I was 9 years old, sitting in my First Communion Mass,” Hernandez said.  “I was listening to the priest’s Homily and that’s when I received my calling to be a priest.”

Sem. Frank was born to Francisco R. and Inez L. Hernandez on Nov. 1, 1984, in El Paso.  He attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he graduated in 2003 in the top ten percent of his class. During this time, his vocation grew with the help of Msgr. David Fierro at his home parish of Our Lady of the Light.

“Being an altar server for 12 years and a catechism teacher teaching Bible and First Communion for 7 years in the parish … deepened my faith and I wanted to learn more about how the priest takes the place of Jesus in Mass from scripture,” he said.

Also, during his high school years, Sem. Frank had a deep love for music. He entered the University of Texas at El Paso in the fall of 2003 as a music education major.

“I am a classically trained musician who plays the double bass and I have a minor in music from the University of Texas at El Paso,” he said.

In the fall of 2009, Sem. Frank graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UTEP.  In the spring of 2010, he began the application process for admission to St. Charles Seminary in the Diocese of El Paso.  He was accepted and stayed in El Paso for the fall semester and did parish ministry at St. Mark’s Parish in East El Paso.  In 2011, he was accepted at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, TX, for theological studies. In the summer of 2011, he did a pastoral assignment at St Matthew’s Parish in West El Paso.  There he helped with Life Teen and spoke about his vocation story to the teens in the parish.  During the summer, he was also asked by the Diocese to apply to St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, TX and was accepted.  He arrived at St. Mary’s in August and received  the Ministry of Reader in February 2012.  Frank attended IPF in Omaha, Nebraska, during the summer of 2012.  He successfully completed a Unit of Level I Clinical Pastoral Education under the supervision of Rev. Robert Z. Powell.  Frank was assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in El Paso for his Pastoral Year, 2013-2014 under the direction of Fr. Ben Flores.

“I would like to be a parish priest,” said Sem. Frank.  “I would like to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ to the community.  I would like to bring them, the community, closer to God so that I may be able to serve faithfully as His priest and servant.”

Fr. John Stowe Installed as New Bishop in Lexington, KY

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Photos courtesy: Diocese of Lexington

Fr. John Stowe, who once led the parish of Our Lady of the Valley, was installed and ordained as Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, KY on May 5.

Bishop Stowe was serving the Diocese of Carey, OH when Pope Francis made the appointment.

“He was just a very smart man that you could learn a lot from, a great leader,” said Pat Fierro, Chancellor for the Diocese of El Paso.  Fierro worked with Bishop Stowe from 2004-2010 in the Chancery while Fierro worked as the Director of Human Resources and Bishop Stowe served as the Chancellor and Vicar General of the Diocese.

According to news sources in Lexington, about 1,500 attended the ordination at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Bishop Stowe is the third bishop of the Lexington diocese which covers 50 counties across Central and Eastern Kentucky. Catholics make up about 3% of the population in those counties.  Bishop Stowe addressed parishioners in English as well as Spanish.  He said he plans to reach out to more of the Hispanic population in his diocese.

The Lexington Herald Leader reported Bishop Stowe was moved to tears during his ordination.

The newspaper reported: “During his closing remarks, Stowe choked up as he thanked his family. He also blessed his parents, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

‘I was baptized on their first wedding anniversary. Now I get to bless them as bishop on their 50th,’” Stowe said.

Plans are now underway for Bishop Stowe to visit El Paso and hold a Mass here.RGC June pg 4_Page_3_Image_0006

Details on that have not yet been finalized.

Tepeyac Summer Institute Starts

“Read, Study, and Know the Bible” is the theme for the 26th annual Tepeyac Summer Institute. Tepeyac offers two weeks of classes in English and in Spanish from June 8 – 11 and June 15 –18. Classes are offered in the morning, evenings and Saturdays. Following the Biblical theme, Margarita Armendariz M.A., presents in English and in Spanish, “Tienes hambre de la palabra de Dios?” Harry Fleddermann, Ph.D. returns to El Paso for Week 2 with a course on “Daniel and Revelation.” Both Dr. Fledderman and Ms. Armendariz are favorites with Summer Institute participants. Also, psychologist and theologian, Hna. Enedina Juarez will lead a class on “Jesus y las mujeres en el evangelio, Interpretación biblica desde la perspective femenina.”

Among some of the other 33 courses offerings are several dealing with family and youth.  Family therapist Louise Rauseo, RN, MS, who presents “Connecting with Your Children,” in English and Spanish. Youth can attend two courses designed especially for them. “We Can Do It! Ways to build trust and make a difference” is led by Beth Riehle, an experienced workshop presenter. For youth in grades 7 and 8, Amanda Murillo-Estrada, M.A. leads the workshop “Who are you called to be? Igniting a Flame.”

Participants can learn more about Pope Francis’ call to evangelize in our visiting professor from Spain, Fr. Jose Moreno de la Helguera’s course “Evangelizar hoy: Siguiendo los pasos del Papa Francisco.” The location of this course is at the Mother Teresa Center at 2400 E. Yandell.  Of special interest to teachers in Catholic Schools is Sr. Elizabeth Anne Swartz’s course, “Catechesis.” It is a course for certification for teachers in Catholic schools. The course explores the fundamental task of catechesis, which is the formation of disciples of Jesus, but is open to all. The course is taught in the mornings, Monday to Friday, for Week I and continues in Week II.

Check the Tepeyac website for a full listing of classes and for any changes to the schedule. Contact Tepeyac at 915-872-8420 with any questions.

Kermes Season Draws Thousands!

-Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor

Laura Cervantes knows her church bazaars. She makes a point to hit as many as possible every summer.

The bazaar at the Ysleta Mission is the church’s biggest annual fundraiser.

The bazaar at the Ysleta Mission is the church’s biggest annual fundraiser.

“You can always tell the mark of a good kermes by the line for the gorditas!” Cervantes said. “That’s when I say, ‘This one’s gonna be good!’”

This year, Cervantes is in luck!  About 20 parishes will be hosting bazaars known locally as “kermes” starting in June and running until October. For many of the parishes, it’s the year’s largest fundraiser.

“A successful kermes brings the community together,” said Roberto Diaz, the festival coordinator for San Antonio de Padua parish. “The point for the kermes is to raise funds for the parish.  We have to depend on ourselves to do the repairs in the church. If we have special projects for St. Vincent de Paul, for our poor in the parish, for those going through some rough times, the funds from the festival are how we get what we need.”

Diaz said his parish’s bazaar is a one-day festival which will be held on Jun. 13 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.

“We have several bands, we have DJs, we have folklorico dancers, we have entertainment!” said Diaz.  “We’re a smaller parish and we’re just getting back into kermes so we don’t have all the rides but we have great food and lots to do!”

The offerings of church bazaars vary parish-to-parish, Diaz said.  Some larger parishes provide full-scale rides for young children and large media campaigns to reach the nearby neighborhood.  But most church festivals are more traditional in their offerings with family-friendly games such as bingo, cake walks, and dart games.  Food is a mainstay at any church bazaar with many offering “fair foods” such as tacos, funnel cake, churros, and mango-on-a-stick. Diaz said bazaars held all over the diocese also offer something that’s hard to find these days.

The St. Anthony Seminary is a Labor Day tradition for thousands of people annually.

The St. Anthony Seminary is a Labor Day tradition for thousands of people annually.

“If you go to a kermes at a church, you can expect people will treat you with respect. They will be friendly because it’s a fun time,” said Diaz. “Plus, it’s not very expensive and you can take the kids.”

Cervantes said affordability is one of the reasons she attends as many as 10 bazaars a summer.

“We usually spend about $25 and we stay there for hours,” she said. “Of that $25, we usually get a couple of orders of gorditas, corn-in-a-cup, a snow cone, take a couple of turns at loteria.  We have a great time.”

Cervantes said her favorite bazaar is held annually at San Ignacio in Downtown El Paso.

“The history of the neighborhood has more of a genuine, old school community feel like when you were young,” she said. “It feels like family getting together. It feels like we’re family and we’re not even a part of that parish.”

Diaz, who is in the final weeks of preparing what he hopes will be a new, annual event, said he wants parishioners who visit the kermes at San Antonio de Padua to feel the same as Cervantes.

Loteria at Cristo Rey’s annual kermes.  All photos courtesy: Joe Najera, Diocese of El Paso

Loteria at Cristo Rey’s annual kermes.
All photos courtesy: Joe Najera, Diocese of El Paso

“We want people to have a feeling of community,” he said. “They may feel so comfortable with the people at a kermes and the people around them that they may even join the parish. So it’s a recruitment for the parish as well.”

 

2015 Bazaars/Kermes Schedule:

June 5 – 7 – Corpus Christi Parish
June 6 -7  – Guardian Angel Parish
June 13 – San Antonio de Padua Parish – Mini Bazaar
June 13-14 – Santa Lucia Parish
June 13-14  – Sacred Heart Parish
June 26-28 – Sts. Peter and Paul Church
July 3-5 – St. Paul the Apostle Parish
July 10-12 – Ysleta Mission Festival @ Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
August 14-16 – St. Thomas Aquinas Parish
August 28-30 – Faria Del Vallé 2015 –  Cristo Rey Parish
Sept. 11-13 – Fiesta Mexicana – San Juan Diego Parish
Sept. 18 -20 – San Elceario Parish, San Elizario, Texas
Sept. 19 -20 Fr. Yermo School
Sept. 18-20 – El Buen Pastor Parish
Sept. 25-27 – La Purisima Parish
October 2-4 – Our Lady of the Valley Parish
October 3-4 – LifeTeen Craft Fair, St. Luke Parish
October 9-11 – St. Patrick’s Canutillo
October 17 – St. John the Apostle, Monahans @ Ward County Coliseum

Embajadores de Solidaridad, Van Rumbo a Honduras

-Marco Raposo, Director del Ministerio de Paz y Justicia y Elizabeth O’Hara, Editor del RGC 

“¡La SOLIDARIDAD transformará el mundo!” Este es uno de los lemas del Departamento de ‘Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS), organización católica centrada en la solidaridad como parte de la misión de la Iglesia.

íderes pastorales y niños en catequesis que nos recibieron en un pequeño pueblo en las afueras de Choluteca, Honduras

íderes pastorales y niños en catequesis que nos recibieron en un pequeño pueblo en las afueras de Choluteca, Honduras

Para los feligreses de la Diócesis de El Paso, esta misión les llevará a un viaje a nuestra diócesis hermana en Choluteca Honduras, a partir del 17 de mayo.

“Estamos ansiosos de reunirnos con nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Honduras para compartir con ellos sobre nosotros mismos y tratar de profundizar y fortalecer nuestra relación eclesial centrada en nuestro compromiso común de discípulos de Jesús”, dijo Marco Raposo, director del Ministerio de Paz y Justicia.

Raposo dijo que la delegación de El Paso se compone de dos pequeños grupos de aproximadamente cuatro personas cada uno e irán a visitar a dos parroquias en Choluteca: San Andrés y San Antonio. Aunque algunos de los “embajadores solidarios”, como se les llama, tienen experiencia en misionar en otros países, otros no.

“Es una decisión personal para mí”, dijo Adriana Posadas, embajador solidario de la Parroquia de San Marcos.

Honduras tiene una población estimada de casi 8 millones de personas, aproximadamente la población de la ciudad de Nueva York. Es el cuarto país más pobre de las Américas.

En el Paso, se celebra una colección especial en Misa una vez al año para la asistencia de Choluteca. Este año, se llevará a cabo los día 6 y 7 de junio.

“Quedó muy claro para nosotros que una forma de ayudar a las personas en la diócesis de Choluteca, en sus propios esfuerzos para el desarrollo humano, fue invertir en las áreas de educación y salud”, dijo Raposo.

El viaje de este año también dará a los embajadores de solidaridad la oportunidad de dar seguimiento a muchos de los refugiados ayudados por la Diócesis de El Paso, el año pasado.

En el verano del 2014, cerca de 2.000 refugiados llegaron a El Paso desde América Central, la mayor parte de Honduras, dijo Raposo. La difícil situación de los inmigrantes, especialmente las mujeres y los niños no acompañados, dejó una impresión duradera en los que se ofrecieron a ayudarles.

“Quiero ir a conocer a mis hermanos y hermanas Hondureños y llegar a conocerlos mejor, así como les estoy ayudando aquí en Nazaret Hall,” dijo Holder Eina, feligrés en la parroquia de San Pío.

El Señor Obispo Seitz habló ante el Comité Judicial de la Cámara, en Washington DC, en junio del 2014 con respecto a las preocupaciones de la repatriación de los menores no acompañados.

“El Papa Francisco condenó la ‘indiferencia global’ y la ‘cultura de usar y tirar’ que conducen a la indiferencia de los que huyen de la persecución o la búsqueda de una vida mejor”, declaró el Señor Obispo Seitz. “En el Evangelii Gaudium, (exhortación apostólica del Papa), el Santo Padre habla particularmente sobre la importancia del trabajo para con los inmigrantes y señala que es esencial que los católicos ‘se acerquen a nuevas formas de pobreza y vulnerabilidad (incluidos migrantes y refugiados), en donde somos llamados a reconocer el sufrimiento de Cristo.’”

El viaje de solidaridad durará unos 10 días, dijo Raposo. Al regreso a El Paso, los embajadores intercambiarán opiniones sobre sus experiencias, añadirán al plan de estudios para el próximo viaje e iniciarán los esfuerzos de reclutamiento para el grupo de viaje del año próximo.

Fr. Rahm Returns!

-Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor 
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Fr. Harold Rahm

Jesuit priest Fr. Harold Rahm served El Paso’s Segundo Barrio just 12 years – from 1952 to 1964. Now, 51 years later and at age 96, the heralded priest will return to the neighborhood he helped shape to receive the first-ever “Segundo Barrio Person of the Year” award.

“Without him, there is no barrio as we know it,” said George Salom Jr., a Sacred Heart volunteer.

Fr. Rahm was just 33 years old when he arrived at Sacred Heart as an assistant pastor in 1952. Within his first year, he established the Our Lady’s Youth Center, an outreach program targeting low-income youth. Fr. Rahm’s main goal was to get kids away from gang fighting and into school and other activities. Today, the youth center has moved from its original location on South Kansas Street to the corner of Kansas and Paisano Blvd. and is known as Las Alas.

Janine Young, author of the book, Diocese of El Paso: Centennial History, said the impact of Fr. Rahm’s advocacy remains alive today.

“He helped countless young people avoid gangs and drugs by giving them self-esteem and moral guidance,” she said. “Most importantly, Fr. Rahm taught all of us about the power of Christian charity and love for our brothers and sisters.”

In 1953, Young wrote, Fr. Rahm established the Guadalupe Employment Office and the Guadalupe Thrift Store. In ’57, Fr. Rahm founded the Guadalupe Way of Life Homes for young adults. In 1959, he started the Tepayac Credit Union for residents.

“What Fr. Rahm did in the ‘50s and early ‘60s is what Pope Francis is trying to get us to go back to now,” said Fr. Ron Gonzáles, S.J., current pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. “He did what we would call today a ‘social analysis.’ He talked to people, he found out what their needs were and he tried to fill those needs. Regardless of where they came from.”

From one venture to another, Fr. Rahm rode a bicycle through the busy streets, earning the title, “The Bicycle Padre.” Young wrote that it wasn’t unusual for the priest to be seen riding his bike through the cotton fields near North Loop and I-10 where Camp Juan Diego was built. The Mission Valley camp he founded in 1959 was geared toward inner city children who never had the chance to go to a summer camp. The children were bused from Segundo Barrio, paid just $2, and could swim, participate in arts and crafts and, play games. By 1964, more than 600 children attended Camp Juan Diego.

“If you’ve gone to a Jesuit high school or university, there’s something we say: ‘Finding God in all things.’ And I think he was able to look at the people and know that God was there but you had to look deeper, under the grime and dirt,” said Fr. Ron.

After Fr. Rahm left for Brazil in 1964, parishioners carried on his work. Young wrote that in 1967, a group of mothers formed the Fr. Rahm Information and Referral Service Center. Today, it is known as the Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe.

“The impact of Father Rahm on El Paso is tremendous!” said Young.

The return of Fr. Rahm has created a huge buzz in the Chihuahuita neighborhood. The list of activities for Fr. Rahm include a dinner in his honor at the Camino Real Hotel, a Bicycle Parade through South El Paso and a Mass at Sacred Heart.

“We’re excited because it’s a celebration of the Segundo; its people, its culture, its past. And I would hope, its future,” said Fr. Ron.

Fr. Rahm, who still resides in Brazil, will be celebrated alongside members of his current parish as well as family members who will travel to El Paso to witness his honor. Organizers said the priest is surprised by all the attention he is getting.

“He said, ‘I can’t believe people in El Paso even remember me,” said organizer, Gracie Cain. “And we were like, ‘No one will ever forget you!’”

 

EVENT SCHEDULE:

May 13: 9:30 a.m. Welcome Fr. Rahm at El Paso International Airport
May 14: 6 p.m Dinner at Camino Real Hotel
May 16: 9 a.m. Bicycle Parade and Mural unveiling at Sacred Heart Church
May 17: 2 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart

 

Dinner tickets are $75 each or a table of 10 for $750.  Limited seating so get tickets early. For more information, please contact Gracie Cain at (915) 999-1781 or gracie@emajj.com