Archive for: January 2015

Knights on Bikes Revs Up Interest

Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor

When one sees a line of big, heavy metal motorcycles parked one after another, sloping to the side, it conjures up all kinds of images. Tough guys. Bar fi ghts. Salty language. So imagine seeing a dozen bikes all in a row outside of a classroom portable at St. Raphael’s Parish.

These are El Paso’s Knights on Bikes.

“It’s okay to love God. To be tough and to have a better image,” said organizer Lawrence Stewart.

Stewart helped found the local Knights on Bikes in 2011 while mentoring local “squires” or youth from 10-18 years old as part of a Knights of Columbus project. Currently, there are 17 Knights on Bikes representing Cristo Rey, Most Holy Trinity, Queen of Peace, St. Pius, St. Luke and St. Raphael parishes. Amongst the members is Deacon Robert Diaz from Queen of Peace who didn’t even own a motorcycle when he fi rst learned of the group.

“My dad was always against motorcycles when I was growing up. And I was always against them for my own kids,” Deacon Robert said. “This group of men is different. They show that being Catholic is cool. And they do that from the perspective of people who see Jesus Christ from an angle no one expects.”

“Every member considers himself a Knight of Columbus fi rst,” said Fernando “Fernie” Silva. The men are Fourth Degree Knights or “Sir Knights.” And must be in good standing with their Knights of Columbus chapter to join, he said.

Knights on Bikes participate in various diocesan events such as the March for Life and the Border Mass. The men can often be seen as an escort to Bishop Mark J. Seitz, who Deacon Robert said, was thrilled to learn of the evangelical group.

“We gave him a motorcycle vest and he asked for a motorcycle to go with it!” he laughed.

The group hopes to expand to more parishes in 2015. For more information on how to join Knights on Bikes, contact Lawrence Stewart at or follow the group’s Facebook page.


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Knights on Bikes with Bishop Mark Seitz and at a summer picnic at St. Stephen’s Parish.

Knights on Bikes with Bishop Mark Seitz and at a summer picnic at St. Stephen’s Parish.

Duchess Award

El Paso Catholic Schools was awarded the 2014 “Duchess Award” by the Sun Bowl Association for the Catholic School’s float entry in the 78th Annual FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade on Nov. 27, 2014. This was the first time Catholic Schools entered a float in the parade. The theme was “Gaming Mania: Video, Board Games & Arcade” and the Catholic Schools float utilized a Monopoly-themed float complete with Sister Elizabeth Swartz, Superintendent of Schools, portraying the part of the Monopoly mascot, complete with top hat and cane.




-Jim Horan, Principal

Most Holy Trinity 8th graders have been mentoring the third grade students this school year as a means of helping them grow spiritually. The students meet once a week and discuss a variety of spiritual topics such as sacraments, the commandments and creation. Over time, the discussions have become deeper and the students have developed a sense of family.

“My students are benefitting,” said third grade teacher Rosa Cepeda.

“They are opening up to their eighth grade mentors and developing close relationships.”

Eighth grader Jessica Garcia said, “When I was in third grade, if I would have had this program I would have learned to become more involved in the community. It’s very important at this age to learn about our faith because when you get older you may have questions that could have been answered sooner. The eighth graders and third graders learn from each other, we get to know each other not just as students, but as friends.”

Garcia’s third grade partner is Daria Pace. Pace said, “I really like it because we get to talk about Jesus and God. I like how Jessica makes it fun and is kind to all of us.”

Larry Aguirre, middle school religion teacher, set up the program using an online resource from Sadlier. The program is based on the Religion textbook with a mentor piece for younger children built in.

“Our students are learning what it’s like to be in a leadership role,” Aguirre said. “After each session we go back and review it and see about how they can do the lesson better.”

This semester the students did a lot of oral discussion during sessions; and the teachers are hoping to add journal writing in the Spring.

The ultimate goal is to build the students’ faith and prepare them for the spiritual challenges of the future. Information: 751-2566

Loretto Academy

The Loretto Academy Theater Arts Department participated in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAAPS) One Act Play competition in San Antonio. The play, “A Night in the Ukraine” placed third overall. Cast members, Eugenia Camacho and Rebecca Filetti, were named to the All-Star Cast and Leanne Polisoc was named Best Actress. The play is based on the Marx Brothers play of the same name. The all-female cast members played male parts that originally were played by the Marx Brothers (Harpo, Groucho and Chico). The production was under the direction of Cody Ritchey.

Information: 566- 8400



St. Raphael’s

St. Raphael School kicks off 2015 with a school mass at 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 6 to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Toys the students collected for the “Monsignor Trees” will be taken down and distributed to several local charities as part of the celebration. The school is located at 2310 Woodside.

On Jan. 7, the school will hold its annual Science Fair in the parish hall. The school’s 7th and 8th grade classes will be competing for a chance to participate in the Diocesan Science Fair later in the month.

During the last week in January, St. Raphael will take part in the national celebration of Catholic Schools Week. On Jan. 25 the school will celebrate its annual Family Mass at 9 a.m. followed by an Open House. On Mon., Jan. 26 the school is planning on streaming video of the school-wide living rosary. Then on Tues., Jan. 27 students will write letters of appreciation to their parents for giving them the gift of a Catholic Education. Wed., Jan. 28, the entire Catholic School community is invited to a special mass at St. Patrick Cathedral at 9 a.m. St. Raphael School will host a Benefactor’s Tea to thank the members in the community following the mass. Finally, on Fri., Jan. 30 the school will hold an Alumni Mass at 8:15 a.m. All of the school’s alumni are invited to the mass and reception.

Information: 598-2241

Father Yermo

Father Yermo Schools invite you to the school’s “Catholic Schools Call You by Name” Alumni and Benefactors Liturgy. Mass will be given by Bishop Mark J. Seitz on Sun., Jan. 25, 2015 in the Father Yermo Schools Chapel at noon. A reception will follow. The school is located at 220 Washington St.

The week of Jan. 26-30, the school will hold various events for Catholic Schools Week. Mon.: Prayer Day; Tues.: high school will hold its NHS Induction and the elementary school an NJHS Induction; Wed.: Teacher Appreciation Day and the National Appreciation for Catholic Schools’ Mass at St Patrick Cathedral; Thurs.: high school Junior Ring Ceremony and elementary/ Early Learning Center will host their Grandparents Day; Fri.: elementary/ Early Learning Center will celebrate Spirituality Day and the high school will celebrate Student Appreciation Day.

Information: 915-532-6875

St. Matthew

Kicking off our new year with a Penny Drive to raise funds for our classrooms. Fellowship opportunities for parents will be available at our coffees with different faculty members and our students will be making the final preparations for their science projects at our School and Diocesan Science Fairs. Catholic Schools Week will start with an “Open House,” and continue with “Proud to be a Falcon” (student appreciation); “Falcon Benefactor Tea” (pastor, school board, benefactor tea); “Proud Falcon Parents” (parent appreciation); “Falcons Love Thy Neighbor” (service learning project); and “Falcons Give Thanks” (teacher, school/parish staff appreciation). Please join us!

Diocese Found in Compliance with Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

-Diana Bulko, Safe Environment Coordinator

Following an onsite audit on November 3 and 4, 2014, of its records and procedures by an independent auditing firm, the Diocese of El Paso has been found compliant with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter Audit focused on the issue of addressing past incidents of child abuse by members of the Church and its prevention in the future. The audit firm of Stonebridge Business Partners of Rochester, NY, which was contracted by the USCCB as a result of a national search process, conducted the audit. During this onsite audit in the Diocese of El Paso, it reviewed records for the period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Auditors also interviewed both internal and external people involved with this issue including Bishop Mark Seitz, clergies, lay members of the review board as well as administrators of Catholic School.

As stated in the in the Charter. “In Matthew 25, the Lord, in his commission to his apostles and disciples, told them that whenever they show mercy and compassion to the least ones, they show it to him.” Jesus extended this care in a tender and urgent way to children, rebuking his disciples for keeping them away from him:

“Let the children come to me” (Mt 19:14). And he uttered a grave warning that for anyone who would lead the little ones astray, it would be better for such a person “to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mt.18:6). The Diocese of the El Paso Safe Environment Office remains committed to the safety of all, especially our children and young people. To review the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Code of Conduct and Behavioral Guidelines for the Diocese of El Paso visit our website.

For information regarding workshop dates, online registration and to download Criminal Background Check Forms please check the Safe Environment website on the Diocese home page or contact Diana Mendez Bulko,MPS, Safe Environment Coordinator at 915 872-8427 or email at

Los Estatutos para la Protección de Niños y Adultos Jóvenes

Por Diana Bulko, Coordinadora de Ambiente Seguro
Traducción por Anita Marta

Después de una auditoría local el 3 y 4 de noviembre del 2014, para los archivos y procedimientos por una compañía de auditoría independiente, se encontró que la Diócesis de El Paso está en conformidad con los Estatutos de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos para la Protección de Niños y Adultos Jóvenes. La Auditoría de estos Estatutos se enfocó en la cuestión del trato de incidentes pasados de abuso infantil por elementos de la Iglesia y su prevención en el futuro. Llevó a cabo la auditoría la Firma de Auditores Asociados Stonebridge de Rochester, NY, la cual fue contratada por la USCCB como resultado de un proceso de investigación a nivel nacional. Durante esta auditoría local en la Diócesis de El Paso, se revisaron los archivos correspondientes al período del 1 de julio del 2013 hasta el 30 de junio del 2014. Los auditores también entrevistaron a personas tanto internas como externas involucradas en esta cuestión incluyendo al Obispo Mark Seitz, clérigos, y laicos del consejo de revisión así como administradores de la Escuela Católica.

Como se establece en los Estatutos. “En Mateo 25, el Señor, al comisionar a sus apóstoles y discípulos les dijo: “Cuando tuvieron misericordia y compasión con algunos de estos mis hermanos más pequeños, los hicieron conmigo.” Jesús extendió su cuidado de forma tierna y urgente para los niños reprendiendo a sus discípulos por retirar a los niños de él:

“Dejad que los niños se acerquen a mi” (Mt. 19,14). Y expresó una grave advertencia, “si alguien hace caer en pecado a uno de estos pequeños que creen en mi, mejor sería que le amarraran al cuello una piedra de molino y lo tiraran al mar.” (Mt. 18,6). La Oficina de Ambiente Seguro de la Diócesis de El Paso permanece en su compromiso de seguridad para todos, especialmente para nuestros niños y adultos jóvenes. Para revisar los Estatutos para la Protección de Niños y Adultos Jóvenes, Guías de Código de Conducta y Comportamiento para la Diócesis de El Paso visite nuestra Página Web. Para información acerca de talleres, de inscripciones en línea y para imprimir las Formas de Revisión de Antecedentes Penales por favor revise la Página Web de Ambiente Seguro en la Página de la Diócesis o contacte a Diana Méndez Bulko, MPS, Coordinadora de Ambiente Seguro al 915-872-8427 o a su correo electrónico

From the Office of Education

The El Paso Catholic Schools have created an annual awards recognition to publicly acknowledge the contributions of the many people who, on behalf of Catholic education, have shared their gifts of time, talent and treasure and have given back to the civic community and the Church. The 19th Annual SEED Awards Presentations will be held on Thurs., Jan. 22, 2014, at the El Paso Museum of Art. Any member of the Catholic school community (student, parent, board or staff member), may nominate a person in one of the categories: Staff/ Faculty, Volunteer, Benefactor and Alumni. Information: 872-8426