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  • May 23, 2017

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is expressing shock and sadness in the wake of last night’s terror attack at Manchester Arena.

    WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is expressing shock and sadness in the wake of last night’s terror attack at Manchester Arena.  In this moment of national tragedy and grief for England, Cardinal DiNardo has written a letter of condolence to the Most Reverend John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, Bishop of Salford and the people of England. The Diocese of Salford serves the area of greater Manchester and Lancashire.  In the letter, Cardinal DiNardo expresses solidarity along with the continued prayers of the Church in the United States in the face of such unspeakable loss.     

    Full letter follows: 

    Dear Bishop Arnold, 

    Words are not enough to convey the deep shock and sadness with which Catholics and all people of good will in the United States learned of the horrible attack which took place yesterday at England's Manchester Arena. 

    The unspeakable loss of life, terrible injuries, and untold trauma to families -- especially to children -- summon prayers from around the world. In a way, I assure you and all those who suffer from this atrocious evil the continued prayers of the Church in the United States. 

    We commend to the comforting arms of our crucified and Risen Lord the many who have died, and we entrust to Our Lady of Manchester those who suffer. 

    Evil, as dense and dark as it is, never has the last word. As we prepare to celebrate the new dawn of Pentecost again, may the Easter words of the Risen Christ, "Peace be with you" (John 20:19), settle deep into the hearts of the citizens of your great country. 

    Fraternally in the Risen Lord,
    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
    Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
    President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • May 8, 2017

    The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is proud to announce that our seminarians Michael Applegate, Michael McFall, Jonathan Moré, and Truong Son Nguyen, will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priesthood through the imposition of hands and invocation of the Holy Spirit by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo.

    The Mass will take place on Saturday, June 3, at 10:00 am at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in downtown Houston.

    All are cordially invited to come and pray for our seminarians.

    (It is always special to have the brother priests there. Priests and Deacons, please bring alb).

     La Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston se complace de anunciar que nuestros seminaristas Michael Applegate, Michael McFall, Jonathan Moré y Truong Son Nguyen, serán ordenados a la Orden Sagrada del Sacerdocio mediante de la imposición de manos y la invocación del Espíritu Santo por Su Eminencia Daniel Cardenal DiNardo.

    La Misa tendrá lugar el sábado, 3 de junio, a las 10:00 am en la Co-Catedral del Sagrado Corazón en el centro de Houston.

    Todos están invitados a venir a orar por nuestros seminaristas.

    (Sacerdotes y Diáconos favor de traer alba.)

  • May 5, 2017

    Bishops say law will have negative impact on Texas

    AUSTIN — The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is disappointed with the legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 4.  As passed, the bill does not help peace officers build trust with the migrant community. Therefore, we call on Governor Abbott to veto the bill.  We understand that the Governor’s original goal was to ensure that local sheriffs and police did not undermine the immigration laws enforced by the federal government.  The bill exceeds this goal, because it also allows local peace officers to inquire into the legal status of people who are detained, rather than just those who are arrested. With such a law, people who have done nothing to merit arrest or citation can be asked for their legal status.  The bill will decrease trust from our immigrant community in our law enforcement officers.

    Our clergy, religious brothers and sisters, and laity have a long history of involvement in serving migrants. Our ministry compels us to speak out on the issue of immigration reform, which is a moral issue that impacts human rights. We continue to advocate for more just and comprehensive laws related to immigration, which includes reunification of families and creating more just pathways to citizenship. Any enforcement measures should have the goal of targeting dangerous criminals for incarceration and deportation. SB 4 does not meet these standards.  We ask Texans to join us in praying for our leaders, peace officers, migrants, and citizens. May we give thanks for the good laws of our state, and tirelessly work to ensure that our laws always protect each of our God-given rights.

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Texas Catholic Herald

  • May 23, 2017

    Formation involves both conforming ourselves to God, or growing in holiness, and becoming more fully who we were uniquely created to be.

    Recently, I attended the ordinations of two friends I studied theology with in graduate school. Our degree program at Notre Dame was one in which seminarians and lay people study theology, pray, and do ministry alongside one another.

    Watching these men become priests through the Sacrament of Holy Orders was an experience filled with great joy — in large part because the event was something each of these men had been awaiting and anticipating for 10 years since their initial moment of feeling called to the priesthood.

    The purpose of this time is formation, a term used in the Church to describe the process of preparation for ministry that encompasses intellectual, spiritual and personal development.

    I believe that the term formation is helpful to understand young adult and college campus ministry. Formation involves both conforming ourselves to God, or growing in holiness, and becoming more fully who we were uniquely created to be.

    It is a process of learning and growing, trying on and risking discovering something new about oneself. These are the essential tasks of not only ministers in the Church, but of every baptized Christian.

    In particular, the questions of identity, purpose and meaning are felt quite palpably by college students and young adults.
    The young adult years are those in which people define who they are apart from their parents, discover their values, talents and passions, and make decisions about their life’s ultimate purpose.

    What will I major in? What career will I have? Will I marry (and who will it be)? What is God’s will for my life?

    Perhaps, though, I’m struck by the concept of formation because it connotes a sense of the slow and steady work of God in our lives — conforming ourselves to God and becoming more fully who we are takes time.

    It takes practice. It takes patience. We fall back into patterns of sin, struggle with unanswered questions, and pray through times when we cannot hear God’s voice. The work of growing in holiness and being authentically ourselves is challenging. But it is through these seasons that we are truly formed. 

    We are formed not only for our careers and professions, marriage and religious life, but formed in preparation for our eternal home and union with God. We are being formed for heaven, and we have hope that God who began a good work in us will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6).

    At its core, ministry is accompaniment, walking and journeying with people. As a college campus minister, I walk with young people during some of the most challenging,
    memorable and transformative years of their lives.

    My students wrestle with big questions, especially those related to career discernment and practicing the Catholic faith in a secular environment. In ministering to them, I seek to listen and sit with them in their questions.

    I share life with them — drink coffee and eat meals, cheer them on at sports games and participate in campus events with them.

    And I look forward to the day when I can sit with them as Rice alumni and see how — through the studying and paper-writing, the existential crises and spiritual highs, and the tears and the joys — they have been transformed.

    Nicole Driscoll is the campus minister at Rice University.

  • May 23, 2017

    Catholics should not leave these issues to politicians but to directly address in our own communities the myriad reasons why abortion is ever seen as a legitimate and viable option at all.

    Last Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives witnessed the scuttling of more than 120 bills before the 2017 session voting deadlines.

    Among the bills kept from a vote were several important pro-life bills, which included efforts to ban (and enforce the existing federal ban) the late-term, partial-birth abortion procedure (HB 200), to require more accurate reporting of abortion complications by medical providers (HB 2962) and to eliminate the wrongful birth legal action (a spur to promotion of eugenic abortion for children with potential disabilities) (HB 434).

    It will come as no surprise that individuals who consider themselves “pro-choice” generally oppose such legislation. What is surprising is the criticism of such measures by some who identify as adamantly pro-life.

    Such groups are critical because they favor more expansive legislation, including this session’s proposed ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure (HB 844) and a ban on all abortions within the State of Texas (HB 948).

    These groups have tended to lob vehement criticisms at those pro-life organizations and politicians favoring a more incremental approach and to oppose their measures in the legislature.

    Is it prudent to adopt an incremental approach? In examining the question, it helps to examine the legal framework established in 1973 by Roe v. Wade and its progeny. Current federal law prohibits any state from imposing “undue” burdens on abortion access prior to fetal viability (roughly 22 to 24 weeks).

    Practically speaking, this means that efforts to outlaw abortion completely prior to viability (cf. HB 844, 948), while laudable in intent, are almost certain to be struck down in the ensuing court challenges; indeed, identical efforts in other states have recently been overturned in the federal courts.
    But is there a downside to the passing of such a bill, beyond the fact it is unlikely to be upheld?

    Isn’t it better to clearly state our opposition to a grave evil, regardless of the current, unjust nature of the law? So goes the argument which, although understandable, nonetheless ignores the real costs and dangers involved.

    Those following this issue will recall Texas’ 2016 defeat in the Supreme Court when HB 2, passed in 2013, was defeated in the Supreme Court.

    The basis of the Court’s decision was that HB 2 — a much less restrictive law than some proposed in 2017 — still imposed an unconstitutional burden on abortion.

    Not only is there a financial cost to these losses — the State pays not only its own legal fees but (as the losing party) those of the abortion providers as well — but a further cost in political defeat and establishment of a negative legal precedent that can be used to support abortion in future.

    What, then, is a faithful Catholic to do? Is the slower and more measured approach morally licit? The answer, as Pope St. John Paul II described in Evangelium Vitae, is yes.

    Recognizing the existence of grave moral evil in the modern world, he also understood that there may be no reasonable possibility, at a given time, of eliminating that evil through political means.

    In such a situation, a legislator (or a faithful Catholic) may support an incremental approach aimed at reducing the evil to the extent possible — even if not entirely eliminating it; such an approach has the added virtue of prudence.

    Using an incremental approach, important gains have been made during this legislative session including, most notably, greater protection of human trafficking victims from coerced abortion. Significantly, the incremental approach has, during the last 20 years, aided in a significant reduction in the number of abortions sought.

    At the same time, the events of this legislative session remind us that seeking purely political and legal solutions to social evils are at best half-measures. It is incumbent on us as Catholics not to leave these issues to politicians but to directly address in our own communities the myriad reasons why abortion is ever seen as a legitimate and viable option at all. 

    Julie Fritsch is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life Activities.

  • May 23, 2017

    This was one of the coolest celebrations of Catholic faith that I’ve experienced that took place outside of a Church.

    On April 21, the seminarians of St. Mary’s Seminary played a basketball game against a team of priests who reside in the Archdiocese. The game took place in a packed gym at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, and the score of the game did not matter.

    It was one of the coolest celebrations of Catholic faith that I’ve experienced that took place outside of a Church. The gym hosted 3,000 fans that added to the excitement as they cheered every play and supported current and future priests. It was an electric environment that was much bigger than the game of basketball.

    The fans who came out to support got to see men who give their lives to Jesus participate in a simple game of basketball. It gave the people of God a chance to see priests and seminarians in a different environment than they normally see. They saw us having fun.

    They saw us encouraging each other and working as a team. They also heard from priests and seminarians throughout the game how much the priesthood meant to us. The crowd also had the chance to see students from the various Catholic high schools in town during the halftime show.

    It was a great event and I think everyone who came had a wonderful time. Several of us hope this game becomes an annual event because it was such a spectacular one! It was definitely bigger than basketball.

    One of the most powerful moments for me was looking into the stands and seeing all the people who I’ve been able to walk with on their journey of faith. They have trusted me in some of their most difficult and joyful moments in life.

    And they came to cheer me on during a basketball game! Many times in my priesthood, I’ve been the spectator in the faith life of others. I’ve been there to cheer them on or reassure them that life is going to be okay and that God loves them.

    I’ve been blessed to see them overcome challenges and see God’s love working through them. It was moving to see so many people whose lives the priests have touched cheering us on throughout the game. They were there because they love their priests and seminarians, so they cheered us on during every play!

    The people of God know that their priests love them. We are there for some of the most important moments of their lives and they appreciate the fact that we bring them God’s grace in the Sacraments. And they showed up in huge numbers to show their love for priests and seminarians!

    The game was maybe a little more fun for the priests because we prevailed 50 to 46 in the game, but this event was so much bigger than basketball.

    It was about Catholics coming together to celebrate love: the love God has for us, the love that priests and seminarians have for the people we serve, and the love that we have for each other as God’s beloved sons and daughters. 

    Father T.J. Dolce is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations.

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