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  • April 15, 2019

    Amidst the devastating fire taking place at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Pairs, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to the people of Paris.

    WASHINGTON — Amidst the devastating fire taking place at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Pairs, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to the people of Paris.

    The full statement follows:

    “The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure.  Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God.  Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire.  We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.”

    Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work.

    Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)

  • April 15, 2019

    Following a severe storm that brought devastation to the Southeast, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed sorrow over the loss of life and destruction as result of the storm.

    WASHINGTON—Following a severe storm that brought devastation to the Southeast, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed sorrow over the loss of life and destruction as result of the storm.

    The full statement follows:

    “I am greatly saddened by the reports of devastation and loss of life due to this past weekend’s storm. The heavy winds, rain and reported tornado has left a path of destruction in the Southeast expected to stretch as far north as New England. Several lives have been lost including those of three children. It is reported that tens of millions of people have been impacted by the severe weather.  

    As we enter this Holy Week, let us pray for those who have lost their lives and for the loved ones they leave behind and ask the Lord to comfort the grieving and inspire neighbors and people around the country to respond generously in the recovery efforts. The gift of Easter reminds us to trust in the Lord who by his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection promises life everlasting.”

  • April 13, 2019

    Cardinal DiNardo Recovery Update

    On April 10, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, CENTER, attended a dinner at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston following a Lenten Day of Prayer for priests serving  in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Pictured with Cardinal DiNardo is Father Jeff Bame, LEFT, and Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz.

    The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is pleased to report that Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was released last Friday, April 5 from an inpatient rehabilitation program following two weeks of therapy after suffering a mild stroke on March 15.

    Cardinal DiNardo appreciates the continued prayers for him during his recovery. He would also like to express gratitude to the TIRR Memorial Hermann medical team for their care and support during his rehabilitation.

    Cardinal DiNardo will continue outpatient therapy in the coming weeks as he gradually returns to his duties and remains eager to return to work.

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Texas Catholic Herald

  • April 18, 2019

    On Tuesday, April 16, at least 1,725 faithful attended the Mass presided by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz to witness when all of the oils used in sacramental ministry throughout the 10-county Galveston-Houston Archdiocese were blessed and the Sacred Chrism was consecrated by Bishop Sheltz. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo preached the homily for the Mass and attended the entirety of the hours-long Mass in choir. The Chrism Mass was his first public-facing ministry appearance since suffering a mild stroke March 15 while leading the Stations of the Cross at the very same Co-Cathedral.

    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo preaches the homily at the annual Chrism Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, April 16. The occasion marked Cardinal DiNardo’s first public appearance since suffering a mild stroke on March 15. Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz served as the principal Mass celebrant. Every year during Holy Week, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are invited to gather for the celebration of the Chrism Mass – one of the most solemn and significant events of the liturgical year. (Photo by James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald.)

    HOUSTON — Every year during Holy Week, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston gather at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston for the celebration of the Chrism Mass — one of the most solemn and significant events of the liturgical year.

    On Tuesday, April 16, at least 1,725 faithful attended the Mass presided by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz to witness when all of the oils used in sacramental ministry throughout the 10-county Galveston-Houston Archdiocese were blessed and the Sacred Chrism was consecrated by Bishop Sheltz.

    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo preached the homily for the Mass and attended the entirety of the hours-long Mass in choir. The Chrism Mass was his first public-facing ministry appearance since suffering a mild stroke March 15 while leading the Stations of the Cross at the very same Co-Cathedral.

    Hundreds of priests from the Archdiocese joined Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza in concelebrating the Mass. The priests also renewed their promises at this Mass. Approximately 50 gallons of oil were blessed with the consecrated Chrism.

    At the start of the Mass, Bishop Sheltz thanked Cardinal DiNardo, who typically presides over the Chrism Mass, for allowing him to be the celebrant for the “beautiful celebration.” Bishop Sheltz echoed the prayers of many around the world and said: “Our prayers are with you and we are blessed that you can be with us on this sacred occasion.”

    Bishop Sheltz said the Chrism Mass “is truly a beautiful night to gather in prayer” before Holy Week, “immersed in the mystery of our Lord’s passion and death so that we may be more intensely prepared to welcome His resurrection with great Easter joy.”

    The Archdiocese said in an April 12 statement that Cardinal DiNardo was released April 5 from TIRR Memorial Hermann, an inpatient rehabilitation program in Houston’s Texas Medical Center following two weeks of therapy. He will continue outpatient therapy in the coming weeks.

    In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo said the Chrism Mass was a sign of unity of the bishop and his priests, of priests with each other and of unity with the local Church.

    He also said that he sent a message on behalf of the U.S. bishops, as well as the in the name of the Galveston-Houston Church, to the archbishop and people of Paris regarding the blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral “for the incredible loss of that massive place of treasure and beauty.”

    Cardinal DiNardo also thanked the congregation for their support and prayers during a time of “great crisis” with the clergy abuse scandal.

    “Some of our priests are hurt. Many people are also hurt,” he said. “We are in a time of rebuilding and it is a time of anguish and a time of pain.”

    “We are a priestly people, but a priestly people of service,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “In fact, we even ordain a whole group of men, deacons, so that they can constantly remind us that we are servants. If this is true for the priests, then it is true for all of us. A nation of priests who are servants are a people of praise. Maybe in our Church now, there needs to be more praise and repentance, so we can focus ourselves on the basics of what Jesus has done for us.”

    The blessed oils and consecrated Chrism reflect the power of anointing, Cardinal DiNardo said.

    “Jesus infuses into the oils the Spirit’s blessing, consecration and power.  These anointings, therefore, are actions and they signify genuine realities of healing, dedication and consolation.” 

    Following his mild stroke, Cardinal DiNardo received the Anointing of the Sick, which he called a “beautiful experience” that united him with “all the people who are ill.”

    He admitted that he wasn’t yet fully recovered, but looked forward to being close with the Church during Holy Week, especially witnessing those who will be “plunged into the waters” and then confirmed at Easter Vigil. The Archdiocese was set to welcome 1,512 catechumens and 631 candidates into the local Church.

    Cardinal DiNardo called the faithful to join him in encouraging “all our priests,” and to hold them to accountability.

    He also said we must resolve “to march forward as faithful witnesses.”

    “In light of that second reading, Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. If we are going to do anything, we’re going to have to be faithful witnesses,” he continued. “That is the only way the Church ever makes any headway. It’s not by all the other things we do. Faithful witness is what our call is: bishop, priest, deacon, religious or married, wherever our vows are.”

    After the Mass, the oils and Sacred Chrism were subsequently sent to the parishes to be used in the upcoming year for the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.

  • April 18, 2019

    With the celebration of Passion (Palm) Sunday this past weekend, the Church has begun its annual immersion into the mysteries of Holy Week. Christians around the world, from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to local parish churches in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are preparing to follow the Way of the Cross through the Passion, the Death and ultimately the Resurrection of the Lord.

    Father Thu Ngoc Nguyen, pastor of Christ the Incarnate Word Catholic Church in Houston, washes the feet of a parishioner during Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 18. Father Nguyen is the vicar for Vietnamese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

    HOUSTON — With the celebration of Passion (Palm) Sunday this past weekend, the Church has begun its annual immersion into the mysteries of Holy Week. Christians around the world, from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to local parish churches in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are preparing to follow the Way of the Cross through the Passion, the Death and ultimately the Resurrection of the Lord.

    Holy Week marks the pinnacle of the Church’s liturgical year, culminating in the celebration of the Paschal Triduum, which begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening and ends with the celebration of evening prayer on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the year.

    This holy day is actually the first of a season of fifty days, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus and ending with His glorious Ascension into heaven and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These mysteries are the foundation of our Christian faith, as Paul recognized: “if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” (1 Cor 15:14)

    Nonetheless, for the Christian the glory of Christ’s Resurrection is reachable only through the mystery of His Passion and Death, which is the focus of meditation for Holy Week.

    In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in preparation for the Paschal Triduum, the Chrism Mass was presided by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz on Tuesday, April 16.

    At this Mass, where priests of the Archdiocese also gather to renew their promises, all of the oils used in sacramental ministry throughout the 10-county Galveston-Houston Archdiocese were blessed and the Sacred Chrism was consecrated by Bishop Sheltz. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo preached the homily for the Mass and attended the entirety of the hours-long Mass in choir. 

    After the Mass, the oils and Sacred Chrism were subsequently sent to the parishes to be used in the upcoming year for the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.

    On Holy Thursday, April 18, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is held in the evening and begins the Paschal Triduum. This Mass commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, rooted in Christ’s commands to “love one another” (Jn 15:17) and to “do this in memory of me.” (Lk 22:19) To this end, many priests will perform the optional ritual of the washing of feet, which imitates the example of Christ who humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.

    At the end of this Mass, the Eucharist is carried by the priest in solemn procession through the church until it arrives at a special place of repose where the faithful are encouraged to spend time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Meanwhile, the altar in the church is stripped bare and crosses are veiled or removed from the sanctuary.

    On Good Friday, April 19 -- the only day of the year on which the Mass is not celebrated -- the faithful instead receive Holy Communion from sacred Hosts consecrated the previous night. The liturgical celebration focuses on the suffering and Death of the Lord as the Passion narrative from the Gospel of John is proclaimed and the Holy Cross is adored and presented before the people for veneration.

    Calling to mind the time in which Christ was in the tomb, Mass is not celebrated again until the Easter Vigil, which takes place after nightfall on Saturday, April 20. The faithful gather after sundown to celebrate this lengthy Mass, consisting of four parts, which in ancient times would last throughout the night until sunrise as Christians kept “vigil” for the Easter dawn.

    In the first part, the Lucernarium, the faithful assemble around a blazing fire, which represents a new creation. The new paschal candle is lit from this fire, and in turn is used to light smaller candles held by the priest and the people as they process into the dark church. The celebration of light climaxes with the singing of the Easter Proclamation which announces the victory of the Light of the World over the darkness of sin and death.

    The Liturgy of the Word follows in the second part, consisting of seven readings from the Old Testament (in some places reduced to three) and two from the New Testament (the epistle and the Gospel). These readings span salvation history from creation through the Law and Prophets, highlighting the fulfillment of God’s promises.

    In the Baptismal Liturgy, the third part, water is blessed and catechumens, who have prepared through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), are baptized and confirmed. In some places, candidates for full communion (those converts who are already baptized) will also make a profession of faith and be confirmed. All the faithful renew their baptismal promises and are sprinkled with the new water.

    This year in the Archdiocese, 1,512 catechumens and 631 candidates will be brought into the Church through the Easter sacraments.

    Finally, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the faithful celebrate the fullness of the Paschal Mystery by offering sacrifice to the Lord and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the new and everlasting covenant.

    Throughout Easter Sunday, April 21, the Church celebrates the Resurrection of the Lord.

    The Paschal Triduum ends at sunset with the celebration of Evening Prayer, but the paschal candle will remain prominently displayed in the sanctuary for the next fifty days. This pillar of light will remind us that the long night of sin and death is over and that our Lord Jesus Christ stands revealed as the Light and Salvation of the world.

  • April 15, 2019

    A major blaze engulfed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral April 15, sending pillars of flame and billowing smoke over the center of the French capital.

    Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)

    PARIS (CNS) -- A major blaze engulfed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral April 15, sending pillars of flame and billowing smoke over the center of the French capital.

    The fire erupted about 6:30 p.m. local time. Authorities said the cause was not certain, but that it could be linked to renovation work that the cathedral was undergoing, the BBC reported.

    Officials ordered an evacuation of the area around the 850-year-old cathedral that has withstood world wars and political turmoil throughout France's history.

    Le Monde, a Paris daily newspaper, reported that the fire erupted in the attic of the cathedral. Televised images showed the church's iconic steeple was ablaze.

    In 2018, the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Paris opened an urgent fundraising appeal to save the cathedral, which was starting to crumble.

    The Associated Press reported that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said about an hour after the fire started that firefighters were attempting to contain a "terrible fire" at the cathedral. An AP reporter at the scene said the roof at the back behind the cathedral, behind the nave, was in flames and yellow-brown smoke and ash filled the sky.

    City officials cordoned off the area around the Gothic-style church and urged people to evacuate the immediate surroundings.

    As the sun set over Paris, the fire consumed the upper portion of the cathedral and the main steeple was filled with flames. It eventually collapsed into the church.

    "Everything is burning. The framing, which dates from the 19th century on one side and the 13th on the other, there will be nothing left," Andre Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told Agence France-Presse.

    At one point, emergency responders entered the cathedral in an attempt to preserve priceless art and statues from destruction.

    The blaze elicited emotional responses from throughout France as Christians began the observance of Holy Week.

    "I had a scream of horror. I was ordained in this cathedral," Bishop Eric Moulin-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops' conference, said in reaction to the disaster.

    "For a Parisian, our lady is a kind of obvious," he said. "I've been here this afternoon. This tragedy reminds us that nothing on this earth is made to last forever. I think a lot about the Diocese of Paris. The chrism mass will not be celebrated. It is a part of our flesh that is damaged. But I hope this will create a new momentum, a universal movement."

    French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, "Our Lady of Paris in flames. It is emotional for a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn."

    The magnitude of the fire resonated with church leaders as well as those involved in preserving culturally important sites around the world.

    The Vatican issued a statement in the evening saying that it learned "with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world."

    "We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation," the statement said.

    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to the people of Paris that same day. 

    “The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure,” he said. “Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God.  Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire.  We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.”

    Timothy Cardinal  Dolan of New York, said in a statement from the archdiocese that he immediately went to St. Patrick Cathedral next to his office in midtown Manhattan and asked through "the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames!"

    "God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze," he said he prayed.

    Audrey Azoulay, director general of UNESCO, the United Nation's cultural agency, said in a tweet that her office "stood at France's side to save and restore" the cathedral, which was added the organization's world heritage list in 1991.

    She described the cathedral as "a priceless heritage" and that the agency was monitoring the effort to fight the blaze.

    In addition, the Diocese of Rome tweeted, "We are close to our brothers and sisters of the Church of #France, to the ecclesial community and to all Parisians. United, let us pray to the Virgin Mary, revered to #NotreDame, as mother of hope and all consolations."

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