Archive for: August 2013
By Fr. Ron Gonzales, S.J. Pastor, Sacred Heart
It is amazing how many Catholics here in the city have no clue about the vast Jesuit history which makes up a good part of the origins of the Diocese of El Paso. Even more, are the many Catholics who have no clue about what a Jesuit is when I reveal that I am a Jesuit, asking me, “are they considered Catholic?” Well, hopefully the celebrations of the Centennial of the EI Paso Diocese and Janine Young’s illuminating weekly columns have helped in this regard. Not to mention the fact that we now have a rather popular Jesuit Pope who in the last several months has done wonders just by being himself. In any case, Sacred Heart Church here in the Segundo Barrio, is considered the “Mother Church” of the EI Paso Diocese. It has been active since 1893 when it was completed along with Immaculate Conception downtown. From its origins Sacred Heart was exclusively for the Spanish speaking community while Immaculate Conception was for the English speaking community. Over the last several years, however, there has been a greater and greater need to have at least one Sunday Mass in English. Many who move to EI Paso and have either been educated or been exposed in some way to Jesuit (Ignatian) Spirituality through our retreats find a need to remain connected in some way. However, they are often disappointed when they discover that there are only ALL Spanish masses celebrated at Sacred Heart. Secondly, although our children who attend Mass with their parents often feel more at ease in Spanish, they nonetheless need to learn English in order to improve their educational and job opportunities. Fortunately for our older parishioners who ONLY speak Spanish, they will be assured that all the other daily Masses and most of Sunday Masses remain in Spanish. Therefore, with the support of the Jesuit community, the staff and a good number of parishioners, Sacred Heart now offers the 10:00 AM Sunday Mass in English. We hope that this will bring even more people to celebrate with us here in the Segundo Barrio in this very historic downtown Jesuit Church. Bring your family and friends to celebrate a different experience. And while you’re at it, after mass come on over to our restaurant and enjoy a nice breakfast before heading home. All are welcome! AMDG (Ad Majorem Dei” Gloriam/For the Greater Glory of God).
The Office of Young Adult Ministry will be offering the fall series of Theology on Tap at “The Lunchbox Restaurant” on Tuesdays, September 17, October 1, 15 and 29. This is the fourth season for the internationally acclaimed program for Catholics 18-40 yrs of age. The theme of the series is “Young Adult Catholics in the Post- Modern World” and topics for the evening programs will cover inter-religious dialogue, consumerism, the global ecological crisis and polarization in Church and society. Each evening begins with happy hour and dinner at 6 pm, followed by a presentation and opportunity for group discussion. For more information contact the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at 872-8438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Marco Raposo
Justice and Peace Ministry Director
Our ongoing JUSTICE for IMMIGRANTS Campaign has organized a “STRAGERS NO LONGER Pilgrimage of prayer and action” asking that COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM Legislation be passed at the House of Representatives. The STRAGERS NO LONGER Pilgrimage of Prayer and Action started on the last week of August and continues at the first week of September. We want to let Representative O’Rouke know that we Catholics are asking the House to pass a just and compassionate comprehensive Immigration Reform that respects the dignity of every human person and keep families united. For this reason we are going to pray and advocate. We want to thank Rep. O’Rourke for what he has done for immigration reform so far, and continue to motivate him to champion this humane reform approach. Bishop Seitz was scheduled to meet with Rep O’Rourke in the last week of August. During that same week, we began our gathering in several parishes throughout the diocese to pray the migrant rosary and call people to contact Rep O’Rourke. The campaign and pilgrimage will conclude on September 7th, 3pm, at the USMexico Border Fence, where the bishops of the border dioceses will gather for a Solidarity Prayer Service on behalf of immigration reform, family unity, and the end to border violence. The Bishops of the Dioceses of El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, San Angelo, Chihuahua, San Antonio, Piedras Negras, Laredo, Nuevo Laredo, Brownsville, and Matamoros, also known as the TEX-MEX Bishops, have been gathering periodically for over a decade to collaborate in ministry to respond pastorally to the several pressing challenges of the border dioceses. 10 years ago, they issued a Binational Pastoral Letter entitled “Strangers No Longer – Together in the journey of hope”, about the reality of immigration in our country today and what the Catholic Church teaches and how it ministers regarding this issue. The celebration of solidarity is also an opportunity for all of us, together with the bishops, to acknowledge once again and give thanks to God for this historical document in the US and Mexican Church on behalf of the “least of these my brothers and sisters”
By Roy Portillo
Catechist/Responsible Santo Niño de Atocha Parish
The youth of the Neocatechumenal communities in the Diocese of El Paso, received the blessing of our Bishop Mark Joseph Seitz as they departed for World Youth Day (WYD). The communities sent 50
members to the event in Brazil. The group was accompanied by Fr. Jesus Mena the pastor of Guardian Angel parish and others adults in charge of the communities of El Paso. The group left on July 21 and returned on August 4. Everyone returned very happy that they were able to be close to the Pope and to fulfill the mission to which the Pope has called every one for. They have also experienced that God provides through all the difficulties they faced. The nature of the Neocatechumenal Way is defined by Pope John Paul II when he writes: “I recognize the Neocatechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic formation, valid for our society and for modern times” The Neocatechumenal Way is at the service of the bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian Initiation and of ongoing education in faith. The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or association, but an instrument to serve the parishes at the service of the Bishop to return to faith many people who have abandoned it. Part of the mission of the brothers and sisters in Brazil was to go to the streets and squares to announce the good news to those that are distant from the church also through the WYD events young people discover their vocation. This initiative has also echoed the words of Pope Francis: “Evangelization in the Church involves leaving the Parrish’s itself. The Church is calling us to come out of itself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographical but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery “, we turn to those who do not know that Jesus Christ is alive and wants to give us life in abundance. “We don’t have a right to stay caressing our soul, locked into our own ….one little church” he said in his Easter pastoral letter this year, and has repeatedly criticized the Church “self-referential” which looks at herself in a kind theological narcissism that seeks Jesus Christ for itself and does not let anyone in, “a Church that does not come out, sooner or later, becomes ill due to its own confinement. Though also true that a church that leaves outside to proclaim can have an accident as it can happen to anyone who goes out. But I prefer a thousand times an accidental church than a sick church. ” We know there are many people with profound suffering from loneliness, rejection, old age, sickness, marriage problems, inability to forgive, the lack of meaning in their lives…. And we know that salvation comes to man by the announcement of the Kerygma: that Jesus Christ is risen, he is alive, he gave his life for every man who accepts this good news that Christ loves you and he has certainly forgiven their sins and he gives the Holy Spirit a new life in you. Why not go out into the streets to proclaim what God is doing with us, healing our wounds, showing us his love, opening heaven to us? In fact, we have seen how people, who had left the Church, have been attracted by the songs and the cordiality between the brothers… have come and have heard us and believed. Several people who were in a park in Rio hanging out hearing us proclaim have said they were going to go and return to their parish to continue to nurture their faith. Many have been comforted while buying groceries at a supermarket; for all this we are happy and thankful to our Bishop for his support, encouragement and blessings. It is true, that sometimes we seem a bit strange to people, it’s hard to break the ice and talk to complete strangers, we fight the sense of the ridiculous … but as St. Paul says to the Corinthians: the love of Christ impels us to do this and he will reward us. We are looking forward to the next WYD.
By Anita Marta
Rio Grande Catholic
Beyond cultural, social and language barriers, World Youth Day 2013 gathered almost four million people in Rio de Janeiro. It was a great joy for the youth of the Diocese of El Paso to participate in World Youth Day activities, where seminarians and youth from several parishes of the Diocese of El Paso attended, along with Bishop Mark Joseph Seitz, who was in the group waiting for Pope Francis. Brenda Castañón from St. Mark Parish who will soon start her master degree, told the Rio Grande Catholic, she is astonished “by the magnitude the Catholic Church has, on how one person can gather almost four million people. I am impressed by the way Pope Francis addresses people, with such determination and at the same time with great love, saying: ‘youth today is hungry for money and power, so they are weak and malnourished.’ Pope Francis is sending us to feed on values, in the family, at school, and basically, everywhere we are. The journey is only a beginning to make changes in our lives.” All the youth at the gathering made plans to see each other at World Youth Day in Poland, they say the Holy Father have given them a very important responsibility and they hope to deliver results, that they must continue and persevere. Carlos Corral from Saint Charles Seminary, speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese, said: “it was an extraordinary experience,” that he loves Brazil and for this reason he studied Portuguese, which allowed him to move around the city more easily; however, he said “we all spoke the same language, we sang a hymn ‘Nuestro Padre Abraham’ in several languages – at the same time – but somehow we all understood each other.” He said he wanted to meet our Holy Father Pope Francis, and other youth, as well as the culture of that country. “When we were waiting for the pope, Bishop Mark was with us for hours, this meant a lot to all. How lucky we are to be Catholics!” Pope Francis addressed the youth in a simple way and asked them to be present before the needs of the society, and not to self-centered. Studies show that Brazil is the country with the highest Catholic population, followed by Mexico. (Source: Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life/CNS, updated March 13, 2013)
Por Anita Marta
The Rio Grande Catholic
Trascendiendo barreras culturales y sociales, la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud 2013 en Río de Janeiro reunió a casi cuatro millones de asistentes. Para los jóvenes de la Diócesis de El Paso fue un gran júbilo el haber podido participar en la Jornada Mundial de
la Juventud, donde asistieron seminaristas y jóvenes de varias parroquias de El Paso, todos ellos acompañados por el Obispo Mark Joseph Seitz. Brenda Castañón de la Parroquia de San Marcos y estudiante con planes de iniciar su maestría pronto, dijo en una de las entrevistas a Río Grande Catholic, estar asombrada “por la magnitud que tiene la Iglesia Católica, de cómo es que una sola persona puede reunir a 3.7 millones de personas. Me impresiona la forma de hablar del Papa Francisco, con tanta determinación y a la vez con tanta ternura, diciendo que ‘hoy en día la juventud está empachada de dinero y de poder, y por lo tanto está débil y mal alimentada.’ El Papa Francisco nos envía a alimentarnos de valores en la familia, en la escuela y en términos generales en todo ámbito que frecuentemos. La jornada solo comienza para hacer cambios en nuestras vidas, dijo.” Todos los jóvenes han hecho planes de verse el la próxima Jornada Mundial de la Juventud en Polonia, ellos dicen que el Santo Padre les ha hecho un encargo muy importante y que esperan dar resultados, que esto solo es el inicio de la jornada y que hay que continuar y ser constantes. El seminarista Carlos Corral originario de Ciudad Juárez, actualmente dentro del programa del Seminario San Carlos, habla inglés, español y portugués, dijo que fue “una experiencia extraordinaria,” que siente mucho cariño por Brasil motivo por el cual estudió portugués lo que le hizo más fácil desplazarse en esa ciudad aunque dice que durante la ceremonia “todos hablábamos el mismo idioma, cantábamos una misma alabanza ‘Nuestro Padre Abraham’ en varios idiomas – al mismo tiempo – pero todos nos entendíamos de alguna forma.” Él dijo que deseaba conocer primeramente al Santo Padre Francisco y a otros jóvenes del mundo, así como la cultura de ese país. “Cuando estábamos esperando al papa, el Obispo Mark Seitz estuvo con nosotros durante horas acompañándonos lo cual significó mucho para todos. ¡Qué afortunados somos de ser Católicos!” El Papa Francisco se dirigió a los jóvenes y con sencillez les pidió hacerse presentes ante las necesidades de la sociedad, y a no quedarse encerrados en sí mismos. A nivel mundial, Brasil es el país que cuenta con el mayor porcentaje de Católicos, seguido por México. (Fuente: Pew Research Center’s Fourm on Religion and Public Life/CNS, updated March 13, 2013)
World Youth Day Ceremonies – Ceremonias de la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud
By Deacon Frank Segura
Marriage and Family
Life And indeed we should! Pope Francis has embraced this call with a particular urgency! Observed since 1972 (41 years), October is Respect Life Month and Respect Life Sunday, celebrated throughout the United States, it is the first Sunday in October and this year falls on October 6th, 2013 . And quite fittingly, this year’s theme is “Open Your Hearts to Life!” We recently heard in our Mass readings of “that night” when God’s chosen people were delivered, that an exodus from bondage ensued and God’s people were given freedom . We know they were delivered from death, and they were given life. Our forefathers acted “with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, that they might have courage”, and they acted as holy people of God. Their faith was acted out. Through their offering of ancestral hymns of praise, this sacrifice was so that they would receive the courage to put into “effect with one accord the divine institution…” God’s covenant promise to bring His chosen ones to their promised land, our heavenly homeland and their faith in action caused them to be delivered from death and be preserved as the nation chosen for His own inheritance. He came that we might have life. God’s word demonstrates to us, shows us, and teaches us that as His believers, we can shape and respect our own lives, traditions and understanding of the preciousness of all form of life. To be relevant in these times, this changing world, the wisdom of God equips us to respond appropriately and effectively to life issues. Our desire for a better homeland, be it a heavenly one on earth, calls us to act and speak in the one and same accord. To speak on behalf of the preciousness of all life from the moment of conception to a natural death may take some degree of courage for some of us, but the Holy Spirit, the Lord, The Giver of Life does not call us to timidity or silence. Opening our hearts to life means strident defense of the unborn, and ensuring their dignity in this world. Opening our hearts to life means addressing the needs of our elderly and homebound, being life-giving and consciously doing no harm to any child of God. To open our hearts to life is to remove and eliminate all that would cause us to reject and not serve any person, rather than to appreciate, to affirm, to offer a safe haven, consolation, peace and hope. Brothers and sisters, become one who loves and become one who finds God in the other, become the Church God has called you to be. Open your hearts to life !
The child has the right to be… brought up within
marriage: it is through the secure and recognized
relationship to his own parents that the
child can discover his own identity and achieve
his own proper human development. The parents
find in their child… the permanent sign of
their conjugal union, the living and indissoluble
concrete expression of their faith paternity and
Donum Vitae, no. 1
Life Matters: Explaining the Reality of
Marriage to Family and Friends