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  • April 20, 2017

    The annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be held in parishes across the Archdiocese this weekend, April 29-30 with the theme "Strengthening the Church at Home."

    The annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be held in parishes across the Archdiocese this weekend, April 29-30 with the theme Strengthening the Church at Home. This appeal supports over 40 percent of dioceses and eparchies in the United States and its territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.

    "For many dioceses, it is challenging to support ministries because of fragile financial situations or isolated communities," said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "It is through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal that we can make a difference here at home and help our mission dioceses offer places for people to encounter the loving and merciful Christ."

    In 2016, the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions allocated over $9 million to 84 dioceses for programs of evangelization, Hispanic ministry, seminary education, lay ministry formation and other essential pastoral ministries. The Subcommittee oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections.

    The home page for the collection can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions. Additional resources on the collection and the projects it supports include an interactive mapvideos about the home missions, and an annual report.

  • April 9, 2017

    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement in response to explosions on Palm Sunday at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt that have killed at least 40 and injured at least 100:

    “In the early hours of Palm Sunday, as Christians began the celebration of the holiest week of the year, our brothers and sisters in Egypt suffered unspeakable persecution. They were at Church.  They were praying.  And in the midst of what should be peace, horrible violence yet again.  I express our deepest sadness at the loss of those killed, our prayers for healing for all those injured, and our condolences to those who suffer the loss of loved ones.

    I also express our solidarity with the Coptic church in Egypt, an ancient Christian community that faces mounting persecution in its historic home from violent extremism.  I also pray for the nation of Egypt, that it may seek justice, find healing, and strengthen protection for Coptic Christians and other religious minorities who wish only to live in peace.

    I also join Pope Francis in his prayer for the victims of this attack, and that ‘the Lord [may] convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.’ The Prince of Peace assures us that the darkness of terror cannot withstand the Easter light of Resurrection.  We entrust all those who suffer and who have perished into the arms of the crucified and Risen Christ.”

  • April 7, 2017

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Oscar Cantú, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued a joint statement calling for renewed peace efforts in Syria.

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Oscar Cantú, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued a joint statement calling for renewed peace efforts in Syria.

    The full statement is as follows:

    “Three days ago, our Conference of Bishops decried the chemical attack in Syria as one that ‘shocks the soul.’  The use of internationally banned indiscriminate weapons is morally reprehensible.  At the same time, our Conference affirmed the call of Pope Francis to attain peace in Syria ‘through dialogue and reconciliation.’ 

    The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask the United States to work tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities. 

    We once again make our own the earlier call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people. May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries.’

    Join us as we pray for the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Peace that the work of humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding will find strength in the merciful love of her Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  

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Texas Catholic Herald

  • April 25, 2017

    As we continue through these 50 days of the Easter season, daily personal reflection can lead us to a rich Pentecost where we, like the followers of Jesus in the upper room, are called and sent to be witnesses to the world.

    The Catechetical Framework for Lifelong Faith Formation was promulgated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo on Aug. 6, 2013.

    This document became the definitive framework by which catechesis is to be carried out in this Archdiocese, be they Archdiocesan programs, Catholic schools, parish formation programs, early childhood centers, university campus ministries, catechetical efforts in detention facilities, or home-based catechetical efforts.

    It was Cardinal DiNardo’s firm conviction that a consistent application of this document’s vision and content across all parishes in over 10 counties of this Archdiocese would serve our catechetical and evangelization efforts well.


    The intention of this framework was to develop curricula across the life cycle. Curricula, or curriculum, is an intentionally planned sequence of instruction consisting of age-appropriate understandings that increase in depth across the life cycle.

    Elements of curriculum include the “What” we teach, “How” we teach (methodology) and “Assessment” (did the learner understand?). In developing the curriculum from the framework the overall theme emerged: Growing closer to God through Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit alive in the Church.

    From that point 4 Big Ideas surfaced to serve as the unifying anchors for curriculum content across the life cycle. They are:
    • Who is Jesus Christ?
    • How do we get to know and love Jesus Christ?
    • How does Jesus Christ teach us to live a moral life?
    • How are we called to become missionary disciples of Jesus Christ?


    The Childhood Curriculum (Grades 1-5/6) has been in the stages of development and piloting in target parishes in our Archdiocese for the past three years and has now been launched into implementation stage one. Parish Catechetical Leaders were in-serviced this year on this Childhood Curriculum and were presented with implementation strategies for Fall 2017. The curriculum can be used with any textbook resource from publishers as long as they are on the approved textbook conformity list of the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops).

    This childhood curriculum incorporates a new lesson design sequence that is infused with Scripture, engages and motivates our children by making age-appropriate personal connections to their faith, clarifies and solidifies the meaning of key Catholic doctrinal concepts, and provides a means through which our children will be able to articulate their faith in conversations with their peers and family.


    The Early Childhood (Pre K3–K) and the Younger Adolescence (Grades 6-8) are in the development process for launch in Fall 2018. The Older Adolescence (grades 9-12) and Adult curriculum will enter the development process soon. The common anchors for all of these curricula will be the 4 Big Ideas which will coincide with the year so that all ages will be formulating their answers to these Big Ideas at the same time.

    This will help to unify parish catechetical efforts as our children revisit these questions each year and delve deeper and deeper to grow into that mature adult understanding of their faith. In addition, when implemented Across the archdiocese, our catechetical efforts will all be united in a common direction.
    What can you possibly do now to help prepare you and your family?

    Reflect personally on these Four Big Ideas:
    • Who is Jesus Christ for ME?
    • How can I get to know and love Jesus Christ?
    • How does Jesus Christ teach ME to live a moral life?
    • How am I called to become a missionary disciple of Jesus Christ?

    After a fruitful and prayerful Lenten journey, as we continue through these 50 days of the Easter season, daily personal reflection on our answers to these questions can lead us to a rich Pentecost where we, like the followers of Jesus in the upper room, are called and sent to be witnesses to the world.


    Julie Blevins is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

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  • April 25, 2017

    Married couples have “a solemn obligation to love and care for each other.” This love and care requires intentional effort.

    Married couples have “a solemn obligation to love and care for each other.” This love and care requires intentional effort.

    Self-help is one of the first places many couples turn to for enriching their marriages. Many good books, webinars and online programs are available, however, one should know that research tells us many marriage enrichment workshops, retreats, weekends offer benefits greater than other self-help approaches.

    The area of Marriage Enrichment of the Archdiocese offers and supports many opportunities for education, formation and sharing for all diverse ethnic groups.


    The Office of Family Life Ministry focuses on highly structured programs that focus on teaching the importance of commitment, love, sacrifice, friendship and forgiveness, and also teach other areas. Programs (secular- and faith-based) also focus on communication, problem solving, adaptability and conflict resolution.


    Many people think a happy and successful marriage comes naturally and all that is required is to learn and develop skills to make their marriages strong, satisfying and enduring.

    Those are all very important, but it is very necessary that any enrichment opportunity help spouses to include two or more of the following characteristics:
    • Brings the awareness, in both spouses, that marriage is not just between the two of them but three: that includes God in the first place;
    • Shows clearly the value of sacrifice for one another;
    • Teaches ways to ask and offer forgiveness;
    • Gives an opportunity of making you more aware of your own goodness;
    • Allows you to be more aware of your spouse’s goodness;
    • Helps you focus daily on the good in each other;
    • Helps you focus on the good in your relationship;
    • Improving how your loving sacrifice, generosity and forgiveness are continuous, as Christ does it with us;
    • Teaching you how to communicate in a positive, joyful and uplifting manner.

    Unfortunately, very few couples take advantage of marriage enrichment programs like this. Most wait until their problems are severe before they seek help, and often it’s too late for education. Major interventions are required in most of the cases.


    Couples looking to reaffirm their love improve intimacy and gain healthy communications skills may wish to try out a couple’s workshop.


    Marriage Enrichment activities work hard to offer opportunities to English, Spanish and Vietnamese speaking couples.


    In March, 28 married couples attended the 36th annual Marriage Renewal workshop, presented by the Vietnamese ministry team at the St. Dominic Archdiocesan Center.


    Activities to enhance self/couple awareness included learning strategies that promote connection with each other and with the Catholic community, and experiences to help deepened one’s sense of Sacrament and service. The safe climate of the workshop provided married couples the opportunities to learn from others shared experiences.


    The workshop also included Mass and Reconciliation for couples to reconcile with God and one another. The most precious gifts that the married couples gave to each other during the weekend workshop were the private time that they have for each other without distractions.


    In these workshops, married couples strengthen their relationship and deepen their sense of belonging to their Catholic community. The workshop is created by couples for couples; it seeks to support marriages by creating opportunities for spouses to experience God’s unconditional love, boost their relationship skills, and motivate them to share their gifts in active service to other couples and the greater community.

    The workshop enables marriages to flourish; illuminates the Sacramental nature of Marriage; and fosters communication among the couple and the sense of service to the community, the Church and the world.


    We encourage couples to take time away from regular life, to learn from someone who’s been there to express selfless love, gratitude and fellowship, to grow closer to each other and to God, and have a better marriage.

    The next English workshop is scheduled for Oct. 13 to 15.


    Don’t give up in your efforts to grow in the human aspect as in the interior life and learn from Christ and His Mother to love to the point of carrying the cross and be crucified for the sake of love.


    St. Josemaria Escriva said: “Couples have the grace of the married state — the grace they receive in the Sacrament of Marriage — which enables them to live all the human and Christian virtues in the married life: understanding, good humor, patience, forgiveness, refinement and consideration in their mutual relations... We should ask God for the strength to overcome our whims and to practice self-control, but we also need the help of a confessor or other means of formation to work out our shortcomings...” 


    Maritza C. Roman-Pavajeau is an associate director of the Office of Family Life Ministry. Minh Thuy, member of the Leader Team of Marriage Renewal Workshop, also contributed to the article.

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  • April 25, 2017

    The first person of the Trinity mentioned by name in Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit. We read that in the beginning, before the world had form or shape, there was a “mighty wind sweeping over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

    The first person of the Trinity mentioned by name in Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit. We read that in the beginning, before the world had form or shape, there was a “mighty wind sweeping over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

    The Hebrew word translated here as: “mighty wind,” is ruah; literally it means “spirit” or “breath.” Truly the Spirit of the Lord, is a mighty wind; He is described in just the same way in the Acts of the Apostles when He descends upon those gathered in the upper room (Acts 2:2).

    Before the creative Word of God was spoken by the mouth of the Father, the Spirit of the Lord was “sweeping” over the waters. While sweeping is an adequate rendition, a more perfect translation of the Hebrew: rachaph, is “trembling.”

    Recall to mind a moment in your life when you were eagerly awaiting something you knew was going to change your world for the better. Perhaps it was the moment before a first date or the seconds before opening a college acceptance letter.

    In these quiet yet powerful moments, we tremble with the excitement of what is to come. Before God created the world, the Spirit was trembling with excitement for all the great things that would come once the words “let there be” were spoken.

    This holy trembling is how the Spirit still works in the Church today. The Sacrament of Baptism is a true fulfillment of God’s promise in that Old Testament: “It shall come to pass that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 3:1). Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism becomes a bath which makes us holy (Catechism 1227).

    The Spirit dwells within each member of the Body of Christ, and in the important spiritual moments of our life, He is there trembling with excitement as He did at the dawn of creation.

    In our local Church of Galveston-Houston, young people prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, in 10th or 11th grade. A common misconception is that Confirmation involves the candidate “confirming” that they want to live out their Catholic faith. It is essential that we as a Church remember it is God who acts in the Sacraments, not us. When a person receives Confirmation, they are not confirming, they are being confirmed, which comes from a Latin word meaning “to strengthen” or to “make firm.”

    The power and presence of the Holy Spirit is strengthened in each of us as we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation helping us to become active members of the Church, which by her very nature is missionary (Catechism 849). The same Spirit at work in the creation of the world is the principle agent of our mission to sanctify and renew the world.

    In the Rite of Confirmation, as the bishop anoints the candidate’s head, he speaks the words: “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In Latin to be sealed: signaculum, means both to “mark” and to “make known.” To truly fulfill our mission as baptized Christians, our lives must be marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit who trembles within us, but we must also make the Spirit known to the world through word and deed.

    I challenge you to pray for a renewed openness to the power of the Holy Spirit in your own life, and ask you to remember the teens and adults of your parish who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this year. Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and renew the face of the earth!

    Brian Henritze is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.

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