Archive for: May 2014

Dinner, students bring care package for retired priests





El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz, photo above, addresses the more than 400 people who attended the benefit dinner for Casitas San Mateo retirement home for priests of the Diocese of El Paso. The dinner raised funds for the operation of the housing complex at the Pastoral Center.

El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz,  addresses the more than 400 people who attended the benefit dinner for Casitas San Mateo retirement home for priests of the Diocese of El Paso. The dinner raised funds for the operation of the housing complex at the Pastoral Center.




Pat Fierro, chancellor of the Diocese of El Paso, gives participants at the dinner, held at Sunland Park Race Track, a presentation on the retirement facility.

Pat Fierro, chancellor of the Diocese of El Paso, gives participants at the dinner, held at Sunland Park Race Track, a presentation on the retirement facility.






Students from St. Raphael Parish School bringing donations of household goods as a gift for the retirement home are welcomed by Bishop Mark Seitz and Father Tony Celino, vicar general. The students were accompanied by St. Raphael pastor Msgr. Francis Smith and Diana Bulko , St. Raphael’s director of religious formation..

Students from St. Raphael Parish School bringing donations of household goods as a gift for the retirement home are welcomed by Bishop Mark Seitz and Father Tony Celino, vicar general. The students were accompanied by St. Raphael pastor Msgr. Francis Smith and Diana Bulko , St. Raphael’s director of religious formation..

Film focuses on impact of drone strikes in Pakistan

The Pax Christi film for June investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.

“Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars” will be shown at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, at the Mother Teresa Center, 2400 East Yandell Drive, El Paso.

Directed by Robert Greenwald, founder and president of Brave New Films, the film highlights the stories of persons killed by drones and persons hospitalized because of drone strikes. Among the persons interviewed are politicians, military officers, a former drone operator, and families of drone victims. Also included is never-before-seen footage from tribal regions in Pakistan.

Sponsors of the film series are Pax Christi El Paso and the Peace and Justice Ministry of the El Paso Catholic Diocese.

Admission is free. Donations are accepted.

For information, call (915) 740-3962.

Bishops urge Immigraton Reform action; DMRS staff to take part in National Migration Conference

Special to the Rio Grande Catholic

WASHINGTON—Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’(USCCB) Committee on Migration, including those who celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona April 1, planned to travel to Capitol Hill, May 29, to urge lawmakers in the House of Representatives to act on immigration reform legislation.

“Our trip to the border opened our eyes, even more than previously, to the human tragedies generated by our immigration system,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

“Bringing our experience, as well as the solidarity and spirit we felt with residents on both sides of the border, to our lawmakers in Washington is a natural next step.”

Bishops participating in the day include Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami; Bishop Elizondo; Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City; Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.

The day included a Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.

“The only real solution to this broken system is action by Congress,” Bishop Elizondo said. “We need a debate and vote on this issue. Inaction is equivalent to supporting the status quo, which Americans agree needs to be changed.”

The bishops held meetings with members of Congress throughout the day.

Meanwhile, plans and registration for the 2014 National Migration Conference are underway.

Six members of the El Paso Diocese Migration and Refugee Service staff will attend the conference, said Melissa Lopez, DMRS director.

“This is a training conference for our staff,” Lopez said, and some of the El Paso staff will take part in visiting members of Congress to encourage immigration reform.

The conference, scheduled July 7- 10, in Washington, is organized by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS).

This year’s conference theme is ‘In Faith, In Solidarity, In Service’

Conference participants will address challenges faced by refugees, migrants, and trafficking victims

The conference will focus on the Catholic Church’s response to the challenges and hardships refugees, immigrants, migrants, trafficking victims, and other persons on the move face in the United States and throughout the world. One of the primary goals is to increase public awareness on migration questions and to educate public policymakers and those interested in related migration issues. The conference also aims to develop and strengthen diocese and parish capacity to welcome and provide hospitality to newcomers and their families.

“There is a very real possibility that Congress could pass immigration reform this year. This summer’s National Migration Conference gives us a real opportunity to stimulate that conversation,” said Ambassador Johnny Young, executive director of the bishops’ Migration and Refugees Services.

Speakers and guests include Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department; award-winning documentary filmmaker Anayansi Prado; and the St. Camillus Multicultural Choir.

Campus Ministry offers Mass at White Sands

Franciscan Father Andrew Martinez, photo above, delivers the homily during the UTEP Catholic Campus Ministry’s Mass at the White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico. Photo at left: Students climb the dunes at White Sands prior to the Mass which drew a number of participants from the UTEP campus.

Franciscan Father Andrew Martinez, photo above, delivers the homily during the UTEP Catholic Campus Ministry’s Mass at the White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico.



Students climb the dunes at White Sands prior to the Mass which drew a number of participants from the UTEP campus.

Students climb the dunes at White Sands prior to the Mass which drew a number of participants from the UTEP campus.

‘Who do you say I am’ theme of Young Adult retreat June6-8

Special to the Rio Grande

“Who Do You Say I Am?” is the theme of a retreat for young adults June 6-8, at .San Patricio Retreat Center, San Patricio, NM

Sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of El Paso the retreat is an opportunity to find some quiet time with God and with other young adults, to deepen understanding of your faith,and to experience prayer in the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The theme of the retreat says it all, said Sister Janet Gildea, young adult ministry director. “Who do you say Jesus is in your life?” This is a time to explore your relationship with Jesus: how it’s been, where it’s going, what’s the invitation to grow a deeper faith.

San Patricio Retreat Center is 17 miles east of Ruidoso, NM

Register online at: A deposit of $25 is requested at registration to hold your place. Payment can be made in person at the Young Adult Office or mail your check payable to Diocese of El Paso, 499 St. Matthews, El Paso, TX 79907. For more information or questions contact Sister Janet by phone, text or email (915-525-5882, jgildea@elpasodiocese. org)

Freedom to serve poor, vulnerable theme of third Fortnight for Freedom

Special to the Rio Grande Catholic

WASHINGTON—Catholic dioceses and parishes across the United States are once again encouraged to raise awareness for domestic and international religious freedom concerns during the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4.

The two-week celebration will focus on the theme, “Freedom to Serve,” emphasizing the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable.

“During the Fortnight, our liturgical calendar celebrates great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the first martyrs of the Church of Rome,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“This is a time when Catholics can unite themselves in prayer to the men and women throughout history who spread the Gospel and lived out Jesus’ call to serve the ‘least of these’ in even the direst of circumstances.”

Two nationally televised Masses will bookend the Fortnight. Archbishop Lori will celebrate Mass at the Baltimore Basilica on June 21, at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4, at noon EDT.

USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, will be the homilist at the July 4 Mass.

Materials to help dioceses and parishes participate in the Fortnight. can be found online at www.fortnight4freedom. org and religious-liberty/.

Cardinal hopes synod will find new ways to share teaching on family

By Dennis Sadowski

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Initial reviews of responses from around the world on questionnaires about church teaching on the family in advance of this fall’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family show that the teaching is misunderstood, said a cardinal who will run one the synod’s sessions.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, told Catholic News Service he found the responses “shocking, if I am allowed to use that word.”

“Shocking because almost in all parts of the world, the questionnaires indicated that the teaching of the church regarding family life is not clearly understood by people, and the language by which the church proposes the teaching seems to be a language not accessible to people,” Cardinal Tagle said in an interview May 16 at The Catholic University of America.

“So this is my hope, not for change — how can you change the biblical teachings? But maybe a real pastoral and evangelical concern for the church: How do we present the good news of the family to this generation, with its limitations, with its greatness, with its unique experiences?

“We should not be talking only to one another. The gospel of the family, the good news that is the family, should be presented to families where they are and how they are,” the cardinal added.

In February, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tagle as one of three presidents of the synod. The presidents — including Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris and Cardinal Raymundo Assis of Aparecida, Brazil — will take turns running the general sessions of the synod, which will be held Oct. 5-19.

The cardinal was in Washington to participate in commencement activities at the university, from which he obtained a doctorate in sacred theology in 1991.

A sidelight to the synod was the first Asian Conference on the Family, convened May 13-16 in Manila. While Cardinal Tagle was unable to attend the conference because he was traveling in Rome and the United States, he said he hoped it would focus attention on how issues such as migration and poverty affect families throughout Asia.

“We don’t have big wars in the Philippines, but couples get separated because of poverty, not because there has been a breakdown in communication, of mutual understanding, not because they could not stand each other anymore,” he said.

Poverty forces couples to find jobs elsewhere in the Philippines or in other countries and that separation contributes to major challenges for families, especially children, he said. Families also often are faced with concerns stemming from religious differences, when one spouse is Catholic and the other is not.

“Interreligious dialogue does not happen in universities first and foremost. It happens in the home,” he explained. “How does the church equip, first of all, the Catholic partner to engage in interreligious dialogue so that family becomes a school for interreligious dialogue for wider society?”

Do as I say as well as I do

“Go to your room,” the father told his misbehaving son.

Later, the child quietly returned and said, “Dad, you didn’t come check on me.”janet

“Why did I need to check on you?” asked the father. “Are you sick?”

“No,” answered the boy, “but you didn’t check on me. How do you know whether I did what you told me to do?”

We might also wonder why the parent did not confirm that the child obeyed. Even the child thought his father would follow up on his behavior. If the child had not behaved appropriately the first time, why did the father think he would behave when sent to his room? Is it faith? Is it because fathers inherently trust that their children will live up to their expectations?

Fathers are an interesting breed. Yes, they are in a class all their own. Fathers accept us as we are. But they urge us to do better. And they comfort us and reassure us of their love even when we fail to improve, once again assuring us that they love us as we are. Such a paradox. Maybe that is why we love them so much.

Maybe that is also why I love one of the changes to the Mass that was made two and a half years ago. It is based on the story in Matthew 8:5-13. However, in this case, Jesus is the Son who does not need to check on whether what he has asked of His Father has been done.

A Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his severely ill servant. When Jesus responds that He will go to the man’s house and cure the servant, the centurion stops Him because he knows that if a Jew enters the house of a Roman, the Jew will then be considered unclean. In respect to Jesus, he explains that since he is a leader of men, he only needs to give an order and he knows it will be carried out. He does not need to go amidst his legion of soldiers to verify they have done what he ordered. He further states that he knows whatever Jesus commands to be done will certainly be carried out. The centurion shows his great faith by saying, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Not only does Jesus praise the Roman on his faith but Jesus Himself never needs to go to the home to be sure the servant has been healed. He understands His own authority as well as His Father’s.

By such examples, that special breed of fathers encourages their children to become better than they thought they could be. A father guides his children and leads them by his own example. A father does the right thing even when it is hard to do or not what he wants to do. And, yes, sometimes, a human father also follows up to ensure that his guidelines are being followed, because every child relies on his father to check on him and help him choose the right path every step of the way.

Jesus did not need to verify that the servant was healed. We do not need to confirm that our souls are healed by God’s love. But we are humans and we do need to be led by the example of those we love, both our earthly fathers and our Heavenly Lord. Happy Father’s Day to the fathers who lead by the example of He who enters under our own roofs, leading us to His Father and our own.

Transforma tu tristeza en alegría

Para las personas laboriosas no hay tiempo de estar tristes. Cada vez que perdemos el ánimo, perdemos muchos días de nuestra vida; necesitamos entender el lenguaje de la vida, que siempre nos habla a través de cada cosa o acontecimiento,frwilson tanto cuando nos favorece como cuando no. Todo es para nuestro bien aunque nos cueste aceptarlo. Hemos de comprender que todo eso que consideramos como una desgracia o un fracaso, aunque lo parezca, es para nuestro bien. No taches a la vida de injusta, cuando no son las cosas como tu deseas que sean. Lo único injusto, por ser muy limitado, es nuestro modo de ver y juzgar. Si comprendes que la vida, está dirigida por la misma inteligencia Infinita, encontrarás paz en tu alma. El rechazo, la rebeldía por falta de comprensión, te causará siempre sufrimiento.

Un hábil pintor se ganaba la vida viajando de pueblo en pueblo para pintar retratos de la gente. En una pequeña población donde llegó, se le acercó un hombre de edad mediana; su ropa estaba sucia y descuidada; la barba crecida y el cabello desgreñado; olía a licor; el rostro y la mirada eran profundamente triste.

Ese hombre deprimido le pidió al pintor hacerle un retrato. El pintor hizo sentar al hombre y comenzó su trabajo con suma atención y cuidado; mientras lo pintaba, el hombre amargado comenzó a abrirle su corazón al pintor: “Acabo de perder mi empleo; me he separado de mi esposa; mis hijos me han abandonado; estoy en la miseria y no tengo con qué ganarme la vida. ¡Soy un desgraciado…!”

Escuchando en silencio y con paciencia, el pintor continuaba dedicado a su trabajo. Elaborando el retrato el pintor gastó mucho más tiempo del acostumbrado. Satisfecho tomo el lienzo y se lo presentó a su cliente. Este se quedó un rato mirando el retrato de un hombre bien presentado, limpio, afeitado, con cara alegre y sonriente, de mirada tranquila. ¡PARECÍA EL RETRATO DE UN HOMBRE FELIZ…!

Sorprendido y medio rabioso exclamó: “Ese no es mi retrato. ¡Ese no soy yo!” El artista que había mirado muy hondo al interior de su personaje, respondió: “No es el retrato del hombre que tu eres en este momento… ¡Pero si el hombre que hay dentro de ti y que tu puedes llegar a ser!”

Como ese pobre hombre, todos los seres humanos poseemos la extraordinaria capacidad de experimentar sentimientos y emociones. Pero así como disfrutamos de la alegría, el gozo, el optimismo, la satisfacción y la alegría de vivir, también sufrimos a rato los golpes duros que nos propinan los verdugos de la tristeza, la aflicción, los temores, las angustias. Esto es inevitable y todos pasamos en la vida por momentos amargos. Pero lo grave, es cuando los sentimientos negativos se convierten en el clima habitual de la persona. CUÁNTAS VIDAS ENSOMBRECIDAS o TOTALMENTE ARRUINADAS Y MISERABLES POR LOS NUBARRONES DE LA TRISTEZA… Ya no es una tormenta pasajera, sino un tétrico estado habitual que amarga la vida y recibe el nombre de “depresión”. Por algo, la tristeza y la depresión son unos de los más horrorosos fantasmas que aterran al hombre del Siglo XXI. Nunca antes el ser humano había vivido tan triste y con tanto temor como en este tiempo. Cuando se ha logrado el mayor progreso de la humanidad, las mejores comodidades y seguridades; vivimos insatisfechos, tristes y con miedos…

Las personas tristes y deprimidas pueden sentirse angustiadas, vacías, pueden perder interés por su trabajo, por su familia, sufrir insomnio y cansancio. La tristeza interfiere en el normal funcionamiento de la personalidad y causan profundos sufrimientos a sus víctimas y a las personas que les rodean. Y lo triste es que estos sufrimientos no son necesarios y se podrían prevenir y sanar…

El pintor no era simplemente un buen artista. Era un verdadero sicoterapeuta que supo leer el interior de la personalidad y fue capaz de mostrarle a esa victima de la depresión, LAS POSIBILIDADES DE VIDA Y ALEGRÍA QUE LATÍAN EN EL FONDO DE SU PERSONALIDAD: ¡El hombre alegre que había en su interior y que el podía llegar a ser!!! Tu también puedes cambiar no solo tu vestido, sino el interior de tu corazón, como todos los sentimientos negativos; no se logra una transformación de la noche a la mañana, pero con esfuerzo y constancia, ¡SE LOGRA! ¿Cómo?, muy sencillo, visita a un amigo: Jesucristo; piensa bien de ti, de los demás y del mundo que te rodea. Quiere y sirve a la gente y la gente te querrá y servirá a ti. El pintor fue un verdadero apoyo y luz, para aquel hombre aburrido de la vida; piensa que Dios no te creó para estar triste, Dios te dio la vida para que vivas feliz. El hombre del siglo XXI sufre terrible tristeza y depresiones porque ha abandonado a Dios y ha perdido el sentido de su vida. Descubre el regalo de la fe, ora y vuelve a Dios y transformarás tu tristeza en alegría. ¡Agradece las bendiciones que has recibo y vive alegre!

Sacramentos de iniciación

Los 50 días de la Pascua, es un tiempo propicio para celebrar los Sacramentos de Iniciación, Bautismo, Eucaristía, (Primera Comunión) y Confirmación.frraul

Las personas adultas y niños mayores de siete años, que pasaron un largo tiempo de Catecumenado, recibieron los tres Sacramentos, en la noche de la Vigilia Pascual. Y están ahora en el tiempo llamado de Mistagogia, para profundizar en el conocimiento y la vivencia del Misterio Pascual y los Sacramentos que recibieron.

Para los niños de siete a ocho años o más, que fueron bautizados en su infancia y que han asistido en sus parroquias a la preparación para recibir el Sacramento de la Eucaristía por primera vez, este es el tiempo. Han aprendido las verdades básicas de la doctrina Cristiana, han aprendido a examinar su conciencia, su vida, su comportamiento con sus padres, sus deberes con Dios, con la Iglesia, las oraciones fundamentales, el acto de contrición, y están listos para ir al Sacramento de la Reconciliación o Confesión.

Llegado el día vienen acompañados de sus padres o padrinos (instruidos también anteriormente), aunque poco nerviosos, pero emocionados, a confesar sus pecados y a recibir el perdón de Dios, una celebración de amor y de paz.

Unos días después, llega el momento. Los preparativos en cada familia, el vestido, no elegante, no costoso, ni extravagante, pero si digno y respetuoso, las niñas vestidas de blanco y los niños con su camisa también blanca, para recordar las vestiduras del Bautismo.

Es un día en que la familia se reúne POR ELLOS, tíos, abuelitos, amigos, parientes, tal vez personas que están un poco alejadas de la Iglesia, ese día acompañan al hijito o hijita del compadre y del compañero de trabajo.

Es por esto, que estas liturgias, son una vital oportunidad para orientar a nuestros feligreses e invitados, a hacer una auténtica celebración de invitación a todos, niños, familia e invitados, a volver el domingo próximo, esta es la ocasión que se presenta como el principio de una celebración que se repita toda la vida en el Sacramento.

Toda la comunidad, catequistas, padres, padrinos, coros, ministros de comunión, hemos de estar participando cada cual en su ministerio, durante este memorable acontecimiento para ellos y dejarlos gozar de su primer encuentro con Jesús Sacramentado.

Esta es la PRIMERA Comunión, no la única ni la última, por eso es necesario prestar atención al Post-sacramento, principalmente por la invitación a la Eucaristía Dominical y la integración de las familias a la comunidad cristiana.

Por tanto la celebración de la Primera Comunión, no es una fiesta de un día, sino el principio de la participación en el banquete de la Eucaristía.