August 14, 2019
The Archdiocesan chancery offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, August 15-16, 2019. They will reopen on Monday, August 19, 2019.
August 12, 2019
More than 1,300 teachers and school administrators from Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston celebrated the beginning of a new school year with Daniel Cardinal DiNardo at an August 9th Mass.
The Mass, held at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, kicked off the new school year praying for 49 Catholic primary schools and 11 Catholic high schools. The schools have a total of more than 18,000 students, some who are starting the week of August 12th while other schools begin the week of August 19th.
“We are so happy and excited to be starting this new school year with a renewed spirit,” said Debra Haney, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese.
Cardinal DiNardo, who had recently returned from the Knights of Columbus annual convention in Minneapolis, told the teachers and administrators how a high school student was honored there posthumously and inducted as a knight like his father.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was hailed as a hero last May after he lunged at a gunman who had burst into his Colorado high school. The quick-thinking move gave other students the chance to hide and two other students were able to take the shooter down. But Castillo was fatally shot in the struggle.
“Kendrick Castillo had gone to Catholic schools all his life until he went on to a public high school. He was an ordinary kid who turned into an extraordinary hero. These are the children you are teaching,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
The Cardinal and superintendent Haney both presented the Sally Landram Excellence in Education Award to Catholic school educator Grace Kwong of St. Francis de Sales Catholic School. The honor awards $1,500 to teachers who exemplifies excellence and professional dedication. The award is made possible by the generosity of the John W. and Alida Considine Foundation. Kwong said she would use the funds for new school bulletin boards and technology.
August 9, 2019
A second collection for infirm priests will be held at Archdiocesan parishes during Masses Aug. 10-11. The collection helps provide much-needed medical and emergency support for retired and infirm priests.
Archdiocesan faithful are urged to support our ailing clergy during this time of escalating medical costs. With more than a third of our priests over 65, the Archdiocese is facing more responsibilities as priests age or face serious illness.
Your generosity for our retired and infirmed priests who have dedicated their active ministry years to the tireless care of the Archdiocese is greatly appreciated.
Please keep all of the retired and infirm clergy in your prayers.
Texas Catholic Herald
August 13, 2019
School is back in session for the 2019-2020 school year for the 11 Catholic high schools and 49 Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese.
Mariana Carbajal, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Jerome Catholic School in the Spring Branch area of Houston, organizes her classroom’s reading bookshelf Aug. 1. Carbajal said she’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces in her new batch of students this year. (James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald)
HOUSTON — School is back in session for the 2019-2020 school year for the 11 Catholic high schools and 49 Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese.
To prepare for the new school year, Archdiocesan teachers met for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshop on Aug. 6 at St. Jerome Catholic School in Houston. National speakers came to speak to the teachers, administrators, nurses, and counselors. They also discussed the need to support social and emotional learning.
A follow-up Oct. 14 in-service is being planned for all primary schools. Catholic schools incorporate religion to the STEAM approach.
“The traditional science fairs will turn into STREAM fairs this year as we seek to support our schools in implementing strong STREAM programs,” Catholic Schools Superintendent Debra Haney said.
Haney said the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Education Department launched its fourth cycle of accreditation for Texas Catholic schools. That means that all schools will be evaluated in a new way over the next seven years.
“This new cycle brings about more accountability and incorporates the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools,” she said. St. Helen in Pearland and St. Agnes Academy will be the first to undergo this new accreditation process, she said. The new system allows the schools to focus on continuous growth models and consistent improvement via “a systematic approach.”
The school year will also focus on new curriculum and technological initiatives. Haney said they will be producing “what we call content specific Teacher Guidebooks for English Language Arts and Math, and we plan to publish the other subject areas in upcoming years.”
These guidebooks will include items such as the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills); National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools; Catholic curriculum standards; Catholic Identity Curriculum Integration (CICI); Works of Mercy; Catholic social justice teachings; and differentiation and accommodations for students with special needs.
Haney said they also have several teachers and technology coordinators that are completing a special certification with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Those completing the program, which offers additional strategies for integrating best practices into efforts, will be among the first in the nation. Schools would then receive the title of “Innovative Catholic School.”
Dr. Mazie McCoy, principal at Corpus Christi Catholic School which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, said this will be the second year the school has an operational STREAM lab.
“We have a STREAM Lab coordinator who works with all students grades kindergarten through eighth,” she said.
For the upcoming year, McCoy said Corpus Christi’s teachers were trained in the “Lucy Calkins Method.” Calkins, the founding director of a teaching college at Columbia University, is said to be one of the most influential literacy educators in the country. She is one of the originators of the “workshop” method for reading and writing instruction, which centers on independent student work in combination with teacher modeling and one-on-one and small-group guidance.
“We are implementing Readers and Writers Workshop in our elementary curriculum, which support explicit instruction and will provide rich opportunities for practice,” McCoy said.
St. Martha Catholic School in Kingwood is overcoming obstacles for both teachers and students. The campus flooded on May 7. Principal Jessica Munscher said the school is still in the process of rebuilding but hopes to be ready in time for school.
“We plan to continue in our mission to meet children where they are at academically so that every child can be successful,” she said. “We have two academic excellence teachers on staff this year that will work as instructional specialists to help teachers differentiate and support students who need remediation and accommodations as well as [gifted and talented] challenges.”
P.J. Jackson, principal at St. Jerome Catholic School in Houston, said new this year the school’s early education programs will emphasize action-based learning, which she said, “is a process of embracing children’s need to move and the science of physical activity in terms of how it relates to children’s ability to learn and enhance their learning.”
The school’s pre-kindergarten to second grade classrooms were set up to utilize this method, she said.
“We’re always excited with new and returning students because so much growth happens over the summer and that’s part of what we have hope for what you can become. You know, at this age and stage... they’re really still becoming the person Christ wants them to be,” she said. “It’s just exciting to be around young people who have so much growth potential to become the best version of themselves. It’s true in the light of Christ.”
Khanh Pham, principal at Our Lady of Fatima in Galena Park, said the school’s goals for the school year include increasing enrollment, expanding overall growth on the standardized tests and to increase parents/volunteers participation.
“(We want) to focus on our school niche in the art and music program, to hopefully bring home the Steps for Students David Guite Spirit Award and to grow together in faith with our parish and school community,” he said.
He said this year the school is adopting the new Sadlier Phonics to Reading program for grade pre-kindergarten to third grade. The school’s computer lab was updated with new machines, including iPads and Chromebooks.
Dr. Emilie Robert, the new principal at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Hitchcock, said their focus is to meet the needs of the community better and, expand to add seventh and eighth grades.
Robert said the school will be training teachers with the “Love and Logic Discipline Program,” to enhance their classroom management skills.
A new learning program was also incorporated into the school’s technology curriculum, allowing students to practice skills in their school subjects.
Suzanne Barto, principal at St. Laurence Catholic School in Sugar Land, said the school is focusing on the overall mental health and well-being of our students, staff and families.
“We have a new (program) that will teach the students about how to handle conflict, bullying, anxiety, good choices and more,” she said. “Parents will benefit from speakers we bring in to talk about concerns with the different age groups and resources. For the staff, we are making lounge areas more relaxing and adding a staff leadership team to allow them more input into initiatives.”
Barto said they are currently reworking the middle school math program to allow some students to work at a much faster pace and have purchased a new resource textbook series for kindergarten through eighth grade.
“We are starting a one-to-one program in our sixth grade, which will allow those students to take a Chromebook home that is assigned to them through eighth grade,” she said. “This should help with accountability and allowing more use of technology, where appropriate.”
Haney said the Catholic Schools Office will also continue their focus on evangelization, forming passionate disciples, religious and leaders for the Church who will evangelize through sacred Scripture, are practitioners of faith traditions, and are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is currently in 13 Archdiocesan Catholic schools.
The NSLP, School Breakfast Program (SBP) and Afterschool Care Program (ASCP) are federally assisted meal programs that provide meals and serve nutritious, low-cost or free meals to students in public and non-profit private schools in Texas.
Lunches meet federal nutrition guidelines, and are reimbursable to schools based on number of meals served.
The 13 Catholic schools that are in the program are: Assumption, Holy Ghost, Holy Family in Galveston, Our Lady of Fatima in Galena Park, Our Lady of Lourdes in Hitchcock, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Queen of Peace, Resurrection, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Christopher, St. Joseph in Baytown, and St. Pius V in Pasadena. †
August 13, 2019
Several high schools in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are preparing to welcome incoming freshmen and give their seniors a worthy sendoff into adulthood.
Sharpened pencils wait for incoming students in the new 2019 - 2020 school year. At least an estimated 18,500 students will attend one of the 60 Catholic primary and high schools in the Archdiocese. (James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald)
Several high schools in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are preparing to welcome incoming freshmen and give their seniors a worthy sendoff into adulthood.
This year, 11 high schools will have graduating seniors as St. Catherine Montessori School prepares to graduate their first senior students.
Brian Tucker, adolescent community and high school administrator at St. Catherine, said the school has been incorporating additional AP classes that encompass the Montessori philosophy as their students pass to the next grade.
The school is already making plans for their first graduation and commencement Mass, which will feature addresses by graduating seniors.
Annie Chambliss, director of communications and marketing at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, said the school will launch the Institute for Global and Social Awareness, which will coordinate programming for students to participate in service and travel experiences. Highlights of the program include exchange programs with 150 Sacred Heart schools across 41 countries; all grade levels participating in social awareness service Projects; and domestic and international travel opportunities.
On Aug. 14, the school will also be breaking ground on a new turf field and sports complex.
“This will be home to all Duchesne field sports including soccer and field hockey,” Chambliss said. “It will also serve as a facility to be used in PE classes for all students and for training for student-athletes.”
Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory begins their 11th school year with a new school president, Paul Beck.
“I will continue to advance the school’s academic achievements, increase building space to meet our growing enrollment,” Beck said.
During the upcoming school year, Cristo Rey’s 536 students will be able to tap into their school spirit as they cheer on the school’s football team, in its second year, while seniors selected for the Robotics elective class will have an opportunity to build multitasking robots and compete against some of the strongest programs in Houston.
For Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, last school year was a stellar year for both enrollment and achievements and the school plans to continue that trend.
Ken Lojo, principal at Strake, said he is “looking forward to having our students back with us on campus after the summer break so we can continue guiding them in their Catholic formation as ‘Men for Others.’”
Patti Abbott, principal at O’Connell College Preparatory School in Galveston, said one of the new programs for the high school this year is the Vex Robotics Club.
“VEX Competitions bring STEM skills to life by tasking teams of students with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.” she said.
St. Agnes Academy will focus throughout the year to live more sustainably, making better choices about recycling, using paper and silicone straws, and wasting less.
St. John XXIII College Preparatory is hosting their first-ever Middle School Fine Arts Frenzy on Oct. 19. They are also in the planning stages for great athletic competitions and workshops to engage middle school athletes.
Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) plans to continue to grow its Young Leaders Program by being one of the first high schools in the nation offering leadership coaching to its students starting in the fall of 2019. With the program, students will have the opportunity to meet with a faculty coach during their high school years.
Sister Lauren Beck, CCVI, president of IWA, said, “Our faculty coaches will help them achieve precisely what colleges are asking for — integrated experiences that make the most of students’ passions and talents, which ultimately result in deeper understanding and impact.”
Boling continues to break records, win awards
HOUSTON — Strake Jesuit College Preparatory 2019 graduate Matthew Boling, who is headed to the University of Georgia, anchored the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team that set an unofficial world junior record of 38.62 seconds in the Pan American U20 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. He and his team USA teammates broke the previous record of 38.66 seconds set by the USA team at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships.
Over the summer, Boling was nominated for an ESPY for ‘Best Record-Breaking Performance’ for his sub-10 second 100-meter run in April. The award show, produced by ESPN, honors the best in sports. He also was named the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2018-19.
August 13, 2019
Focused on tackling social justice issues such as bullying, at least 600 youth from the Junior Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver gathered at The Westin Oaks Hotel in the Galleria for their 23rd biennial convention July 11 to 14.
Knights of Peter Claver Supreme Knight James K. Ellis speaks to attendees of the 23rd biennial Junior Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver Biennial Convention in Houston July 13. At least 850 attended, representing councils and chapters from at least 25 different states. (James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald)
HOUSTON — Focused on tackling social justice issues such as bullying, at least 600 youth from the Junior Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver gathered at The Westin Oaks Hotel in the Galleria for their 23rd biennial convention July 11 to 14.
An effort spearheaded by Kennedy Wiltz, a 16-year-old Our Lady Star of the Sea parishioner in Houston, and 17-year-old Carrington Guillory of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the event marked a turning point for youth division of the Knights of Peter Claver (KPC), and for the two themselves.
For the first time, the youth convention hosted a social justice rally that narrowed the organization’s vision on confronting bullying — an issue that plagues many young people, especially African Americans. Recently, the national organization Knights of Peter Claver focused their actions on social justice issues affecting African Americans: racism, the criminal justice system, Black Lives Matter, human trafficking and domestic violence.
Wiltz, the Junior Supreme Lady who leads the female youth division of the Ladies Auxiliary, and Guillory, her Supreme Knight counterpart, chose the issue due to their own personal experiences in school and peer community.
While African-American students make up 15 percent of the U.S. public school student population, 25 percent of African-American students reported being bullied in schools, according to a 2016 National Center for Educational Statistics report.
The National Education Agency said that racism, hate and bullying can be prevented by building a culture that can intervene before incidents happen and handle them appropriately if they do.
The rally opened with a march of all the attendees, who carried a variety of banners with anti-bullying messages. Two special guest speakers followed: Shonnie Murrell, a multi-instrumentalist and BET reality star, and Alex Gotay, director of campus ministry at St. Thomas High School.
Murrell shared her experiences of being bullied while she drummed her way to being the highest leader for Grambling State’s marching band. The experience helped her to grow as a person and achieve her dreams of working with major hip hop stars. Gotay shared his own testimony and encouraged the youth to find their identity in Christ.
KPC Supreme Knight James K. Ellis said the social justice rally was an effort to instill Catholic values in the youth so they can appropriately and safely call out bullying in their own communities.
He also saw the convention as an opportunity to rally young people at a time when many youths are leaving the Church.
“This is so enriching to see that we can capture the attention of young Catholics,” Ellis said. “And to teach them some values about things that they’ll go on to use in life” like democratic procedures, and other civic skills. Ellis said priests, and men and women religious also attended to raise awareness for vocations, especially in African American youth.
That same weekend, as Hurricane Barry bore down on the Gulf Coast, organizers said at least five groups stayed home to prepare for the storm. Barry also forced New Orleans Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri, OFM, the conference’s scheduled Sunday Mass celebrant, to remain in the Crescent City.
The conference included service projects at Texas Southern University’s Catholic Newman Center and Covenant House in Montrose, as well as personal addresses by Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner and U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Both Wiltz and Guillory said they found the effort to produce the convention both challenging and convicting.
Being a young Black Catholic, Guillory said, “means a lot.” “You see the social justice issues... each and every day, and maybe sometimes we see it, but we don’t speak out on it.”
As the youth division’s eminent leaders, he said they see their roles as the opportunity to be the megaphone and voice the concerns of Black Catholics like themselves.
Wiltz expanded the lens of Black Catholicism and that Black Catholic youth are still exactly that: youth.
“It’s important that we’re black, and we’re all black together, but that we are all youth as well,” Wiltz said.
She said they experience the same challenges that other young people face, but as Junior Knights and Ladies, they have the richness of the Catholic Church’s teachings and leaders to help them “discover it at their own time.”
To other young people, especially after co-hosting the convention with Guillory, Wiltz said, “don’t doubt yourself, because that’s what I do a lot. Don’t be hard on yourself when you make mistakes, because things happen. You’re human, you’re entitled to mistakes.”
Guillory agreed and said, “Just because you have a title doesn’t mean you have to be perfect 24/7. No... You’re going to make mistakes... But use that to motivate you, to get deeper in your belief.”
When Guillory encountered challenges, he soon realized “God’s got me” and to “sit down... pray... and talk. Let’s do this first.”
Kennedy’s pastor, Father Stephen Sohe, SSJ, of Our Lady Star of the Sea, said seeing the youth gather was “everything” to him.
He saw the convention as a way for the youth to be part of the Church “and be proud of it.” The youth “are a gift,” he said. “They celebrate their own gifts to the Church... While they still may have a long way to go, I see hope for tomorrow among these youth.”
Founded in 1909, the Knights of Peter Claver was created to offer African-American men a venue to practice the Catholic religion. The organization has flourished with more than 17,000 members across the country and the creation of a Ladies Auxiliary and junior divisions. In Galveston-Houston, there are at least 1,875 members.