Archive for: November 2013

The most valuable thing!

            Two friends were visiting the gravesite of a world renowned celebrity. One asked the other: “What was the most important thing for him?” He had passed to posterity with his fame, and he is remembered with admiration and respect. He requested Westminster Abbey to have the following inscription on his tombstone: “While I was alive, I thought my artistic career was the most important thing; but now the only important thing is that I was a believer in Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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             The most important and valuable thing for any person is to have a good relationship with God and our neighbor. It does not matter if we have a long or short life, with fame or without it, with riches or poverty. The rest is not important, neither a long life nor power. Sometimes both of these things are the most important for most people, but they are irrelevant. We are here to LOVE AND TO SERVE AS JESUS DID.

             I do not remember where I read it, but this is a story with a deep message: A Christian woman arrived to a home of a very poor family where the father was ill and suffering a lot of pain. The woman was there with the intention of telling them about Christ. But the man, reluctantly told the woman: “I do not wish anyone to pray here nor to read the Bible, since I do not believe in these things.”

            Immediately, the Christian woman assured him and his afflicted wife that she would do something to help them and left to bring them groceries and clothes for the family. When the lady came back, the man who abruptly prohibited her to pray or to read the Bible asked her: “PLEASE READ THE STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN FOR ME.” She gladly did it, and when she finished reading to him, he said: “I have seen many priests and Levites, but never before I have seen a Good Samaritan. The bitterness and prejudice of this man disappeared thanks to a good action of this Christian woman. It is a true joy to help others – to be happy. That woman did it, and we all can do it too in many circumstances in life.

             “Almost always, he have all the resources we ask from heaven in our hands,” said William Shakespeare. We want God to do for us what we can, and must do. We blame God for disgraces He does not send, these are consequences of injustice, selfishness and misuse of human liberty. We need to assume our responsibilities, wise decisions, and do as much good as we can. We need to act wisely, to work with enthusiasm, to serve God and pay attention to our faith through kind merciful deeds with joy and compassion. Let us stop blaming God for a bitter destiny and let us build a pleasant and promissory destiny.

             The clue for victory that you can obtain is on five letters. These letters are: I WANT. We seldom find limits when we are really interested on doing something. It is true that not everything is possible, but when we are convinced of these words: I WANT, we can overcome obstacles than seemed impassable. It does not matter that even experts foresee failure. How many people, after suffering a terrible accident, their doctor tells them they won’t be able to walk again… and today, they not only can walk but they participate in sport competitions. Children who showed learning difficulties their teachers told them they were not good for academic activities but now they became great inventors. None of these pessimistic announcements stopped the initiative of inventors and scientists, or the audacity of the persons who dared start great projects for the good of their neighbor. They always thought: I WANT, and this is how they also said I CAN and they did. Together we can create a better society, in which we could see our brother or sister not as a rival or an object. Why so much technological progress next to a moral recession? No more misery, violence or hatred, we are brothers and sisters. Let us acknowledge all the good thousands of people have done to us who were sent by God. Wonderful truth! There are a lot of people who have served us and our mission is to also serve others with simplicity and love. Trust in the capacity that others have to do good deeds, trust in God and His total devotion. Trust in yourself, to become a Good Samaritan and to be a blessing and happiness to your neighbor. Trust can make miracles!

Diocese offers assistance for victims of sexual abuse / La Diócesis ofrece asistencia a las víctimas de abuso sexual

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Diocese offers assistance for victims of sexual abuse

Bishop Mark J. Seitz once again invites anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, religious or any minister of the church, to contact the Victims Assistance Coordinator,

Mrs. Susan Martinez, LCSW,

(915) 872-8465 or the Chancery, (915) 872-8407.

The Church desires the healing of any one that has been harmed.

La Diócesis ofrece asistencia a las víctimas de abuso sexual

El Obispo Mark J. Seitz nuevamente invita a cualquier persona que haya sido víctima de abuso sexual por un sacerdote, diácono, religioso o ministro de la iglesia, para que se comunique con la Coordinadora de Asistencia a Víctimas,

Sra. Susan Martínez, LCSW,

(915) 872-8465 o con la Cancillería, (915) 872-8407.

La Iglesia desea sanar a toda persona que haya sido lastimada.

Demos gracias durante todo el año

Acción de gracias no es solo un día festivo, es un modo de vivir

Adaptado del Concilio Internacional Católico de Corresponsabilidad por Janine Young, Directora Interina de la Fundación para la Diócesis de El Paso

Traducción por Anita Marta

A través de los años, el Día de Acción de Gracias en Estados Unidos se ha convertido en una expresión nacional de gratitud, pero1-2 algunas veces parece ser solamente otro día festivo de actividad comercial que con frecuencia dista mucho de la fuente de nuestros dones. A través del mes de noviembre, escuchamos que debemos ser agradecidos pero no se nos dice de qué debemos estar agradecidos o a quién darle las gracias.

La fe del corresponsable Cristiano proclama gratitud a Dios como su principio. El corresponsable Cristiano está conciente del agradecimiento a Dios los 12 meses del año, no solamente en noviembre, y el corresponsable sabe, como San Ignacio de Loyola nos enseñó, que “encontramos a Dios en todas las cosas.” Por consiguiente, encontramos la razón de agradecerle a Dios por todas las cosas – por la salud mental y física, por nuestras familias, por nuestro sustento, nuestros éxitos y el regalo de nuestra educación, inteligencia y libertad de vivir plenamente y de forma gratificante.

Pero también le damos gracias a Dios por los desengaños y las tristezas de nuestras vidas, aun por nuestros errores, porque sabemos que Dios estuvo presente en cada uno de esos momentos, listo para enseñarnos y para guiarnos. El corresponsable puede profundizar en la oración y agradecerle a Dios por las enseñanzas en tiempos difíciles y en tiempos de alegría.

La Carta Pastoral sobre Corresponsabilidad de los Obispos de Estados Unidos nos dice que un corresponsable es aquel que recibe agradecido los dones de Dios, los cultiva de forma responsable, y los devuelve multiplicados al Señor.

La corresponsabilidad se centra en un reconocer diario que nosotros no somos los dueños absolutos de nosotros mismos, nuestro tiempo, nuestros talentos y bienes materiales. En cambio, hemos recibido todo don de la naturaleza y gracia de Dios. A través del Bautismo estamos llamados a utilizar nuestro tiempo, talento y tesoro de forma responsable para nuestras familias, nuestras comunidades parroquiales, los ministerios pastorales de nuestra diócesis, y los ministerios globales de la Iglesia Universal. La corresponsabilidad no se trata solamente de dar para cubrir una necesidad. Se trata de vivir una vida que muestre gratitud al Señor por nuestras vidas, nuestras habilidades, y nuestros recursos.

Como corresponsables, somos guardianes de nuestra Fe Católica dentro del cuerpo de la Iglesia. La corresponsabilidad es el medio por el cual podemos vivir nuestra fe hoy mientras reconocemos la responsabilidad compartida que tenemos con las generaciones futuras para alimentar la fe y atender las necesidades de la Iglesia. La corresponsabilidad exige que vivamos nuestras vidas en base al ejemplo de Cristo de “amarse los unos a los otros como yo los he amado.” La corresponsabilidad de agrada a Dios porque el buen corresponsable es cuidadoso de la creación, es respetuoso de la justicia y caridad, y ora constantemente.

Nuestro reto como Cristianos corresponsables en noviembre es de servir como recordatorio a aquellos alrededor nuestro que dar gracias es un hábito esencial en la vida, que se presenta al Dios de misericordia y de abundancia. Los buenos corresponsables nunca se pierden de la oportunidad de agradecer a Dios. He aquí algunas sugerencias para permanecer en Agradecimiento a Dios:

  • Muchas parroquias ven cómo muchas personas asisten a Misa el Día de Acción de Gracias como en los días de obligación. Asegúrese de estar en ese grupo, y traiga a sus hijos a decirle a Dios “muchas gracias por este día tan especial.”
  • Los bancos de alimentos y refugios necesitan comida durante todo el año, pero muchos lanzan colectas especiales el Día de Acción de Gracias. Llene su cajuela de donaciones, y asegúrese de estar actuando en un espíritu de gratitud a Dios.
  • Organice un viaje hacia una cocina de beneficencia, banco de alimentos o servicio de entrega de alimentos el Día de Acción de Gracias o en algún momento cercano a la festividad. Esto puede ser benéfico especialmente para los niños, pero todo el que experimente la necesidad de otros valora no solo lo que tienen, sino también la hermandad que comparten con sus hermanas y hermanos que tienen menos.
  • Ayude a que su parroquia sea una parroquia de corresponsabilidad; o sea, un lugar de hospitalidad donde quienes adoran se sientan bienvenidos y amados.
  • Haga que la gracia en la festividad de su familia sea especialmente memorable. Avise a las personas con tiempo que se les pedirá nombrar a una persona, una situación, una experiencia, por la cual estén agradecidos al Dios de amor.
  • Haga que la frase “Gracias a Dios,” sea más frecuente y sincera en sus conversaciones. No tema utilizar el lenguaje de un corresponsable agradecido.
  • Haga un tiempo este mes para orar por alguna experiencia en su vida que fue difícil para usted. Permita la presencia de Dios en este momento y sienta que su corazón responda con gratitud.
  • Haga un tiempo también en el cual usted recuerde una experiencia de profunda felicidad y alegría – el nacimiento de un niño, un momento especial con un ser amado, un don recibido que fue más allá de lo que usted esperaba. Deje que Dios esté con usted en estos momentos y manifiéstele su profundo agradecimiento
Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a national movement to encourage giving following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso will be taking part in this special day by encouraging donors throughout the diocese to share their time, talent and treasure with the parishes, ministries, and schools of the Diocese of El Paso. For ideas on how to give on GivingTuesday, visit www.elpasodiocesefoundation.org or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FoundationfortheDioceseofElPaso to post pictures and stories of how you are participating.

Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a national movement to encourage giving following Black Friday and
Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. The Foundation for the
Diocese of El Paso will be taking part in this special day by encouraging donors throughout the diocese to share
their time, talent and treasure with the parishes, ministries, and schools of the Diocese of El Paso.
For ideas on how to give on GivingTuesday, visit www.elpasodiocesefoundation.org or “Like” us on Facebook
at www.facebook.com/FoundationfortheDioceseofElPaso to post pictures and stories of how you are participating.

Giving thanks the whole year round

Thanksgiving is not just a holiday, it’s a way of living

Adapted from the International Catholic Stewardship Council by Janine Young, interim director, Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso

Over the years, Thanksgiving in the United States has become a national expression of gratitude, but sometimes it appears to have just1-2

become another commercial holiday which often strays from the source of our gifts. Throughout November, we hear that we should be thankful but we are often not told what to be thankful for or to whom to give thanks.

The faith of the Christian steward proclaims gratitude to God as its foundation. The Christian steward is aware of thankfulness to God 12 months of the year, not just in November, and the steward knows, as St. Ignatius of Loyola taught us, that we “find God in all things.” Therefore, we find reason to thank God in all things – for health of mind and body, for our families, our livelihoods, our successes and the gifts of education, intelligence and freedom that make our lives full and rewarding.

But we also thank God for the disappointments and sorrows in our lives, even our mistakes, because we know that God was present in each of those moments, ready to teach us and to guide us. The Christian steward can go deep in prayer and thank God for lessons learned in times of trouble as well as times of joy.

The US Bishops Pastoral Letter on Stewardship tells us that a steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly and in justice, and returns them with increase to the Lord.

Stewardship is centered on the daily recognition that we are not the absolute owners of ourselves, our time, our talents or material goods. Rather, we have received every gift of nature and grace from God. Through Baptism we are called to use our time, talent and treasure in a responsible manner for our families, our parish communities, the pastoral ministries of the diocese, and for the global ministries of the universal Church. Stewardship is not about just giving in order to fill a need. It is about living a life that shows gratitude to the Lord for our lives, our skills, and our resources.

As stewards, we are caretakers of our Catholic faith and its embodiment in the Church. Stewardship is the means through which we can live our faith today while recognizing the shared responsibility we have to future generations to nurture the faith and tend to the needs of the Church. Stewardship demands that we live our lives based upon Christ’s example to “love one another as I have loved you.” Stewardship pleases God because the good steward is careful of creation, is respectful of justice and charity, and is prayerful at all times.

Our challenge as Christian stewards in November is to serve as a reminder to those around us that giving thanks is an essential lifetime habit, rendered to the God of mercy and plenty. Good stewards never miss an opportunity to thank God. Here are some suggestions for keeping God in Thanksgiving.

  • Many parishes see as many people attend Mass on Thanksgiving Day as on holy days of obligation. Make sure you’re in the crowd, and bring your kids to say thank you to God on this special day.
  • Food banks and shelters need food all year long, but many launch special drives on Thanksgiving. Fill up your trunk with donations, and make clear you are acting out of a spirit of gratitude to God.
  • Line up a trip to help at a soup kitchen, food bank or meal delivery service on Thanksgiving or sometime near the feast. This can be especially beneficial to children, but everyone who experiences the needs of others appreciates not only what they have, but the fellowship they share with their sisters and brothers who may have less.
  • Help your church be a stewardship parish; that is, a place of hospitality where worshippers feel welcomed and loved.
  • Make grace at your family feast especially memorable. Let people know ahead of time that they will be asked to name a person, a situation, an experience, for which they are grateful to a loving God.
  • Make that phrase, “thank God,” a little more frequent and sincere in your conversation. Don’t be afraid to use the language of a grateful steward.
  • Set time aside this month to pray over some experience in your life that was difficult for you. Let God show you his presence in this moment and feel your heart respond with gratitude.
  • Set aside another time in which you recall an experience of deep happiness and joy – the birth of a child, a special moment with a loved one, a gift you received that was beyond your expectation. Let God be with you in these moments and express your deep thankfulness.
Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a national movement to encourage giving following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso will be taking part in this special day by encouraging donors throughout the diocese to share their time, talent and treasure with the parishes, ministries, and schools of the Diocese of El Paso. For ideas on how to give on GivingTuesday, visit www.elpasodiocesefoundation.org or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FoundationfortheDioceseofElPaso to post pictures and stories of how you are participating.

Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a national movement to encourage giving following Black Friday and
Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso will be taking part in this special day by encouraging donors throughout the diocese to share
their time, talent and treasure with the parishes, ministries, and schools of the Diocese of El Paso.
For ideas on how to give on GivingTuesday, visit www.elpasodiocesefoundation.org or “Like” us on Facebook
at www.facebook.com/FoundationfortheDioceseofElPaso
to post pictures and stories of how you are participating.

 

Priest, deacon assignments

Bishop Mark, J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso, is pleased to announce the following assignments:

Effective Nov. 1:

Father Andrew Martinez, OFM Conv. Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry (Campus Minister at UTEP)

Effective Nov. 8:

Father Trini Fuentez, Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral,

Father Emmanuel Alcazar, Pastor of Queen of Peace Parish,

Father Célimo Osorio, Pastor of Santa Teresa de Jesus, Presidio, and Missions attached to the Parish, i.e. Our Lady of Peace –Candelaria; San Jose –Redford; and Sacred Heart–Shafter,

Father Ralph Solis, Parochial Administrator of San Felipe de Jesús Parish,

Father Pablo Matta, Parochial Administrator of St. Paul the Apostle Parish,

Father Jose Morales, Parochial Administrator of Holy Spirit Mission – Horizon City,

Deacon Ignacio Bustillos, Parish Life Coordinator of San Judas Tadeo Parish,

Deacon Juan Alvarez, Parish Life Coordinator of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish,

Effective Dec. 1:

Father Mariano Lopez, Parochial Vicar of St. Pius X Parish and San Juan Bautista Parish

Effective Dec. 16:

Transitional Deacon Allan Oluoch, Parochial Vicar of St. Patrick Cathedral

A Stewardship Prayer for Thanksgiving

Share this stewardship prayer with others and use it for your daily family prayers.

A Stewardship Prayer for Thanksgiving

From a prayer by Beth Canete, St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church, Limassol, Cyprus

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

for the beauty of the earth and its amazing colors;

for crisp autumn mornings and sparkling winter nights;

for mountains and forests, rivers and seashores.

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

for the water that cleanses, the clothes that bring warmth, the food that nourishes and the home that gives comfort.

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

for those who love us and care for us; for those who value us for who we are;

for those we call family, friends, neighbors.

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

for the gift of Christ, your son;

for his life, his gospel, his cross, and his Church;

for his Eucharistic meal and the promise to be with us always.

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

for the time you’ve allotted us, the life you’ve offered us, the opportunities you’ve afforded us, and the miracles you’ve worked for us.

Thank you, Lord

For all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in our life;

and for your infinite love that meets our daily needs.

May our love, too, be known for its abundance,

its readiness to bless and heal,

to offer peace and promote justice,

and to serve in Jesus’ name.

Amen

In everything give Thanks! Everything?

There are many things that divide Americans, but thanksgiving is something we have always been able to share. Since I have arrived in El Paso I have come to know that the first Thanksgiving actually took place when the Spaniards of Oñate’s exploration finally arrived at the

InSeitz By Bishop Mark J. Seitz

InSeitz
By Bishop Mark J. Seitz

river we now call the Rio Grande on April the 30th, 1598 and the Native Americans there shared a meal with the exhausted travelers. Thanksgiving was given to God and Mass was celebrated.

Whether we were Native Americans or Spaniards, Puritans, Baptists or Catholics we have all held the common conviction that we owe praise and thanksgiving to One alone. God is the source of every good thing. As one well-known hymn puts it “all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above…”

The fact is that we are a thankful people. We thank God for many blessings. For us in this nation, particularly in this community, our list ought to be very long. As we say in the Preface at Mass, “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks…”

But what about times when things don’t go our way? How ought we to respond when prayers seem to go unanswered. Can we in fact give thanks when we face these very challenging economic times; when many have seen paychecks shrink and jobs disappear? What are we to say to God when our health is not good and our children are not making the choices that we would encourage? Can we be thankful then or do we ration out our thanks to God according to the level of His cooperation?

What does Jesus have to say about that which constitutes an appropriate occasion to give thanks? Most of us would agree that we certainly owe God thanks when he numbers us among the blest. In some translations of the Bible that word “blest” is translated, “happy”. For most of us that group would include those who are experiencing success and for whom all is going well. Then what about the Beatitudes?? Jesus says, “Blest are the poor in spirit, blest are those who mourn, blest are the pure in heart”, etc. (see Matt. 5) Could it be that those who are poor (in spirit or otherwise) have reason to be thankful? Is it possible that those who mourn might also turn to God in thanksgiving?

At the Last Supper, on the night before he died, Jesus gave thanks to his Heavenly Father in the sacred meal that very early on came to be known as Eucharist, a Greek word that means, ‘Thanksgiving’. It is somewhat shocking when we consider and realize anew that Jesus is thanking and praising his Heavenly Father on the night that he knows will lead to his suffering and death.

St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians brings this whole line of thought to what may at first sight appear to be an unavoidable, but incomprehensible, extreme. He proclaims with gusto, “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings…!” (Col. 1:24) Anyone, it seems to me, with just a hint of Faith can give thanks when things go their way. If we are to take these teachings of Christ and of Paul, his Apostle, seriously we must conclude that what distinguishes the person of deep and living Faith is that they can always see God’s hand at work, even in the midst of difficulty and hardshipeven in the face of death itself.Coat

It is not a matter of welcoming the evil that comes our way. What the Christian recognizes is that God is not defeated by evil. God’s plan is not thwarted when hardship descends upon us. Jesus stares suffering and death in the face; he enters into them and transforms these ancient curses into the path of life! God does His best work in the midst of evil.

So I would like to send you to your Thanksgiving Feasts as Jesus did the man he had healed from leprosy-the one who returned to give thanks. When you gather around the table and mention the things for which you give thanks, I invite you to expand your list. Thank God for your financial difficulties, which remind you to trust in God alone. Thank God for your family conflicts, which give you the opportunity to reach out in an unconditional love like Jesus who “loved us while we were yet sinners”. Thank God for your physical infirmities, which remind you that this life is not a stroll through paradise. Yes, you can even thank God for the death of the body, which for the one who seeks God’s mercy opens the door to eternal life.

May our union with Christ come to be such that the words of St. Paul may take root in us. “In whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3: 17)

¡Demos Gracias en todo! ¿En todo?

Hay muchas cosas que dividen a los americanos, pero la Acción de Dar Gracias es algo que siempre hemos podido compartir. Desde mi llegada a El Paso me he enterado que la primera celebración de Acción de Gracias ocurrió cuando finalmente la expedición

InSeitz By Bishop Mark J. Seitz

InSeitz
By Bishop Mark J. Seitz

española de Don Juan de Oñate llegó al río que hoy conocemos como Río Grande, un 30 de abril de 1598 y los Nativos Americanos compartieron los alimentos con los agotados viajeros. Se dio la celebración de Acción de Gracias a Dios y se celebró una Misa.

Ya sea que seamos Nativos Americanos o españoles, puritanos, Bautistas o Católicos todos tenemos la convicción común que debemos alabar y dar gracias a Uno solamente. Dios es la fuente de todo lo bueno. Como dice el muy conocido himno “todos los buenos dones alrededor nuestro son enviados del cielo…”

La realidad es que somos gente agradecida. Damos gracias a Dios por muchas bendiciones. Para nosotros en esta nación, en particular en esta comunidad, nuestra lista debe ser algo extensa. Tal como decimos en el Prefacio en Misa, “Es justo y necesario, es nuestro deber y salvación darte gracias siempre y en todo lugar…”

¿Pero qué pasa en los momentos cuando las cosas no ocurren como nosotros queremos? ¿Cómo debemos responder cuando las plegarias no son respondidas? ¿Podemos en verdad dar gracias cuando enfrentamos estos tiempos de retos económicos; cuando muchos han visto sus cheques de pago reducidos y han visto sus empleos desaparecer? ¿Qué le vamos a decir a Dios cuando nuestra salud no es tan buena y nuestros hijos no están tomando las decisiones que nosotros les hemos inculcado? ¿Podemos entonces ser agradecidos, o racionamos nuestro agradecimiento a Dios según el nivel de colaboración de Él?

¿Qué tiene qué decir Jesús acerca de lo que constituye una ocasión propicia para dar gracias? Muchos de nosotros estamos de acuerdo en que debemos dar gracias a Dios cuando nos cuenta entre los bendecidos. En algunas traducciones de la Biblia la palabra “benditos” se traduce como, “felices.” Para la mayoría de nosotros ese grupo incluiría a aquellos que viven el éxito y para quienes les va muy bien en todo. ¿Luego entonces, qué de las Beatitudes? Jesús dice, “Felices los que tienen espíritu de pobre, felices los que lloran, felices los de corazón limpio,” etc. (Ver. Mateo 5). ¿Puede ser quizá que aquellos pobres (de espíritu u otro) tienen un motivo para ser agradecidos? ¿Será posible que aquellos que lloran también se vuelvan a Dios en agradecimiento?

En la Última Cena, la noche antes de que Él muriera, Jesús dio gracias a su Padre Celestial con el sagrado alimento que muy pronto se conoció como Eucaristía, palabra griega que significa ‘Dar Gracias.’ En cierta forma es impresionante cuando consideramos y de pronto comprendemos que Jesús está agradeciendo y alabando a su Padre Celestial la misma noche cuando Él sabe que iría hacia el sufrimiento de la muerte.

San Pablo en su carta a los Colosenses nos trae este pensamiento por lo que al principio aparentemente puede verse como inevitable, e incomprensible al extremo. Él proclama con gusto, “Al presente, me alegro cuando tengo que sufrir…!” (Col. 1,24). CualquierCoat persona, me parece, que con un poco de Fe puede dar gracias cuando las cosas van bien. Si tomamos estas enseñanzas de Cristo y Pablo, su Apóstol, debemos concluir seriamente que aquellos quienes se distinguen como personas de Fe profunda y viviente es porque ellos siempre ven presente la mano de Dios, aun cuando entre de las dificultades y en la privación-aun cuando se enfrenta la muerte misma.

No es cuestión de abrazar lo malo cuando viene a nosotros. Lo que el Cristiano reconoce es que Dios no es vencido por el mal. El plan de Dios no se detiene cuando la privación desciende sobre nosotros. ¡Jesús ve el rostro del sufrimiento y de la muerte; Él entra en ellos y transforma estas ancestrales penas en el camino de la vida! Dios hace Su mejor obra en medio del mal.

De modo que quisiera enviarlos hacia sus Festividades de Acción de Gracias como Jesús lo hizo con el hombre al cual sanó de la lepra-el único que regresó a darle las gracias. Cuando usted se reúna alrededor de la mesa y mencione las cosas por las cuales está agradecido, yo lo invito a aumentar su lista. Agradezca a Dios por sus dificultades financieras, lo cual le recuerda confiar solamente en Dios. Déle gracias a Dios por sus conflictos familiares, lo cual le da la oportunidad de tender su mano con amor incondicional a manera de Jesús quien “nos amó aun cuando fuimos pecadores.” Déle gracias a Dios por sus enfermedades físicas, las cuales nos recuerdan que esta vida no es un camino en el paraíso. Si, usted aun puede agradecerle a Dios por la muerte del cuerpo, la cual para todo aquel que busque la misericordia de Dios se abre la puerta de la vida eterna.

Que la unión con Cristo llegue a ser tal que las palabras de San Pablo se arraiguen en nosotros. “Y todo lo que puedan decir o hacer, háganlo en nombre del Señor Jesús, dando gracias a Dios Padre por medio de él.” (Col. 3,17).

Casitas San Mateo nearing completion

Casitas San Mateo, a four building complex of residences for retired priests of the Diocese of El Paso, photo above, is nearing completion 4-3on the grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in El Paso’s Mission Valley. The duplex style buildings, photo at right, contain individual apartments for the priests, divided by carports for the priests’ automobiles. Bishop Mark Seitz said he is developing the policies that will govern the operation of the retirement homes under a board of directors. The complex will allow retired priests to share activities and prayer life, and will allow them to interact with young men preparing for the priesthood at the seminary.4-2

I want to be a priest, but not yet

A young man, we will call Agustin, who had recently graduated from high school expressed an interest in being a priest. I arranged to visit him and his parents at their home. They warmly welcomed me and expressed their thankfulness for coming to visit them. Afterfrmiguel our formal introductions, I asked Agustin since when he had been thinking about becoming a priest. He responded very sincerely by sharing with me about his two years experience in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation at his parish.

He said that in a weekend retreat with the whole group of confirmation candidates “I was able to let go of my lack of trust and opened my heart to the loving friendship of Jesus Christ.” He continued excitedly sharing, “It was amazing! I experienced God’s love. Not that I didn’t know about it, but during the retreat I found out it was real. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Agustin shared that ever since that experience he took God and the Church more seriously. In his confirmation class he engaged in service activities that encouraged him to be more generous. He was surprised to find joy whenever he would help others, “there is this good, happy feeling inside of you, in your heart every time you help someone.” He went on to express that the priesthood could be something for him because he wanted to serve others as Jesus did, but he did not know what it takes to become a priest.

I began to explain to him the process to be ordained a catholic priest. I said, “For a young man like you, who has just graduated from high school, it is a process of nine years.” And just when I was going to continue he reacted very surprised by saying, “Nine years! Why so many years?”

I explained to him the process and he listened attentively, but still, with an overwhelmed look on his face as if he was repeatedly saying, “Nine years!”

I said to him. When a young man is accepted into the seminary he is called a seminarian. He participates in an intense formation program. Formation, as the Church understands it, is not equal to a university study program, or even less, job training. Formation is cooperation with the grace of God. Concretely, this takes place in what is called the Four Pillars of Priestly Formation, which are:

I. Spiritual: a relationship of intimacy with God which forms the basis of priestly life and mission. Seminarians have ongoing opportunities to grow in their love for the Lord through daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and directed retreats. Every seminarian meets twice a month with his spiritual director. Other moments of prayer and devotion are also part of their experience such as visits to the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Holy Rosary, days of reflection, workshops, among others.

II. Human: In Pastores Dabo Vobis, Blessed John Paul II wrote, “It is important that the priest should mold his human personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ.” The seminarians are given the opportunity of reliving the experience of formation which Christ provided for the Twelve Apostles. The seminarian grows to have a solid moral character. In other words, “he is a man who is prudent and able to communicate with the world around him; he is a man of communion, one who is capable of making a gift of himself and of receiving the gift of others. He respects himself and others in a mature fashion and is a man who can live as a public person in service of the Gospel and representing the Church” (PPF, 76).

III. Pastoral: “the whole training of the seminarians should have as its object to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest, and shepherd…”( PPF, 238). The seminarian is introduced to several essential elements which are required for effective priestly ministry. These include preaching the Word of God, learning to appreciate the sacraments as part of his future public ministry for the salvation of souls, embracing a genuine missionary spirit, learning skills for effective public ministry, and applying practical experiences of others. He is also exposed to diverse cultural experiences, including various social contexts and structures that can breed injustice. Among these experiences is a deep concern for the poor.

IV. Intellectual: the seminarian deepens his understanding of the mysteries of the faith and prepares to share it with Christ’s faithful and the world. This requires four years of undergraduate studies towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, and four years of theological studies for a Master of Divinity degree. In addition, the seminarian participates in an intensive 10-week spirituality program at Creighton University in Omaha, a 3-month clinical pastoral experience at a hospital, a year-long pastoral internship at a parish and a Summer Apostolate each year. The seminarian is expected to apply these disciplines in light of his priestly mission and ministry.

In conclusion, I said to Agustin, “All that I have shared with you, for the greater part, takes place in the context of the seminary community. The seminarians work together to find ways to come to know each other well, to trust each other and to live out their service in a united manner. In others words, they live together in an atmosphere trying to build an authentic fraternity. A fraternity they will continue to build as future priests.”

After a brief silence, Agustin turned to his parents, who were sitting next to him and also listening to me, then turned to me and said, “Father, now that I know more about what it takes to be a priest, I think I may still want to be a priest, but not yet. I’m not sure. Nine years is a lot of time!”

Let us pray for the young men in the parish communities of our diocese who are being called to be priests that they may be open to their vocation and give a courageous and generous response to the voice of God.