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  • June 13, 2018

    “At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.
    Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy.  Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma.  Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”
  • June 5, 2018

    Join us for Faith & Family Night at the Houston Dynamo on August 4. The game starts at 8:00pm with pre-game festivities beginning at 5:30pm.

    This link can be used to purchase tickets, Faith and Family Night with the Archdiocese. A portion of the ticket sales will come back to the Archdiocese and benefit Non-Inner City Catholic School Tuition Assistance.

  • June 1, 2018

    The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston continues to prepare the men who will shepherd the city’s rapidly growing 1.7 million Catholics at St. Mary’s Seminary. On the weekend of the Feast of Corpus Christi (June 2-3, 2018), the local faithful will have the opportunity to directly support Archdiocesan seminarians with the Corpus Christi Collection.

    This effort provides funds to operate the Seminary and facilitate formation for the seminarians studying at St. Mary’s.  The seminary also houses the Archdiocese’s permanent diaconate program and the University of St. Thomas School of Theology.

    “The seminary is a peaceful environment that lends itself to a prayerful place for meditation and spiritual formation, which is essential to the formation of a seminarian,” said Father Trung Nguyen, rector of St. Mary's and also a graduate of the seminary. “The seminary is unique in that the seminarians live here, study here and worship here. The campus is arranged so the living spaces, academic classes and spiritual spaces are separate but also easy to get from one to the other. The architecture was well thought out to allow our seminarians space for thoughtful contemplation and also for social gatherings.”

    Cardinal DiNardo has said that the need for more priests continues to be crucial for the growth of our Catholic faith. He asks us to pray for current seminarians in formation and for an abundance of new vocations to join their ranks so that we may evangelize and proclaim the good news of salvation to all people. 

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Texas Catholic Herald

  • June 12, 2018

    On Corpus Christi weekend, June 2, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo ordained Father Robert David Hust, Father Matthew Gilbert Suniga, Father Paul Anthony Foltyn and Father Jose Luis Gutierrez to the priesthood.

    (Left to right) Father Robert David Hust; Father Matthew Gilbert Suniga; Daniel Cardinal DiNardo; Father Paul Anthony Foltyn; and Father Jose Luis Gutierrez gather following their June 2 Ordination Mass celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

    HOUSTON — As the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart’s campanile bells tolled loudly outside the Co-Cathedral building echoing throughout downtown Houston’s south end, inside four newly ordained priests beamed with joy and anticipation as they raised their hands to give a blessing to the packed church.

    On Corpus Christi weekend, June 2, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo ordained Father Robert David Hust, Father Matthew Gilbert Suniga, Father Paul Anthony Foltyn and Father Jose Luis Gutierrez to the priesthood.

    Cardinal DiNardo echoed Jeremiah: “I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart.”

    He welcomed everyone to the joyous occasion, including the family, friends and extended communities of the four priests to be ordained.

    “Thank you to all of you who have come from various parishes of this Archdiocese, who have watched our priests-to-be grow in faith, love and ability to shepherd.”

    Cardinal DiNardo also extended praise and thanksgiving from Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz who concelebrated the ordination Mass with Cardinal DiNardo.

    PHOTOS: Called to work in God's vineyard

    Hundreds of friends and family of the newly ordained priests joined dozens of priests and deacons from around the Archdiocese for the Ordination Mass.

    In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo encouraged the newly ordained priests to be active evangelizers of the Gospel; faithful in the celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation; and always present to the needs of the people of God. Cardinal DiNardo said their lives should reflect the teachings shared in their homilies.

    Cardinal DiNardo invited those present and those throughout the Archdiocese to pray for the newly ordained priests as they began their new assignments.

    Father Foltyn will serve at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Houston. Father Gutierrez will serve at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Hempstead.

    Father Hust will serve at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Houston. Father Suniga will serve at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land.

    The bilingual Mass — with readings in English and Spanish — had the Rite of Ordination, which includes the Calling and Presentation of the Candidates, Election by the bishop and consent of the people, the promise of obedience and an invitation to prayer. During this invitation to prayer, the candidates prostrate themselves on the floor as the congregation invokes the prayers of the saints through a chanted litany and of the Holy Spirit.

    Chanting ‘Veni Sancti Spiritus,’ the Imposition of Hands followed, then the newly ordained are vested with their priestly stole and chasuble, presented by seminarians and put on by fellow priests of the Archdiocese.

    The new priests’ hands werethen anointed by Cardinal DiNardo and handed the bread and wine, followed by a kiss of peace — a greeting shared by the bishops and several priests of the Archdiocese.

    Following the Ordination Mass, hundreds gathered in celebration at St. Mary’s Seminary for a reception. From there, their journey as new priests ordained to minister to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the Archdiocese began.

  • June 12, 2018

    Faithful rally in prayer vigil at Our Lady of Lourdes after Santa Fe shooting rocks town

    Father John Kappe, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Hitchcock at center, presides over a memorial prayer vigil with Deacons Alvin Lovelady (right) and Joe Kelly (left) on May 30 for victims and those affected by the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting. Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

    HITCHCOCK — Deacon Alvin Lovelady, associate director of the Office of Correctional Ministries for the Archdiocese, prayed his heart out — the hardest he has ever prayed — for two hours the morning of the Santa Fe High School shootings on May 18.

    That was the time period between finding out in a call at 7:50 a.m. from one of his daughters, who works at the school as a bookkeeper, that she didn’t know whether her mother — his wife, who also works at Santa Fe as a teacher’s aide — or her niece — his granddaughter, a graduating senior — had safely escaped.

    Word finally came shortly before 10 a.m. that they had made it out uninjured.

    Deacon Lovelady said, “I could only do as so many around the world did, and that was to watch as it unfolded. I could do one thing I had been trained as a deacon to do when people are in trouble and looking for help in a seemingly lost situation and that was pray.”

    “By the grace of God, they survived,” he said.

    Photos: Glimpses from the vigil in Hitchcock

    “As the days unfolded after the event, along with many priests, deacons and other religious leaders in our community and beyond, we were able to enter the chaos of the victims and families of those involved and offer them help. I guess you could call us second responders, we’re still there when everyone else goes home. May God continue to bless everyone affected by this event as we move forward in this journey of healing and forgiveness one step at a time, even if they are baby steps,” Deacon Lovelady said.

    Archdiocese united to support, offer healing to victims and families
    The day of the shooting, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said the Archdiocese community “would unite to support and offer healing to those affected.” 

    Cardinal DiNardo said he was “deeply saddened” and that his prayer and the prayers of Catholics are with the “victims and families of those killed and injured in this horrific tragedy.”

    In a separate national statement as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo said, “Our community and our local Church joins an ever-growing list of those impacted by the evil of gun violence. I extend my heartfelt prayers, along with my brother bishops, for all of those who have died, their families and friends, those who were injured, and for our local community.”

    The 10 fatalities and 13 injured became the deadliest campus shooting in Texas since a sniper in a clock tower killed 16 people and injured 31 at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966.

    A vigil to gather in prayer

    The outpouring of love and support in the community has helped them — clergy going to the hospitals to offer comfort to those shot and their families, the prayer vigils lifting them up starting on the very night of the tragedy through a Memorial prayer service May 30 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, just six miles from the school.

    At least 300 parishioners, friends, family, visitors and survivors of the shooting gathered in the church to remember those who died, including eight high school students, aged 14 to 17, and two beloved Santa Fe school teachers.

    One by one, as Father John Kappe, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, read the names of each of the victims, 10 teens — several wearing green “Santa Fe Strong” shirts — slowly walked down the aisle, each carrying high a candle in memory of one victim.

    A framed photo of Jared Black, who had just turned 17 that Wednesday and was reported to be excited about his birthday pool party that Saturday, started off the row of framed photos and roses as Father Kappe read aloud their names, “These 10 people shared their lives with you... Jared Black, Shana Fisher, Christian Garcia, Kyle McLeod, Glenda Perkins, Angelique Ramirez, Sabika Sheikh, Chris Stone, Cynthia Tisdale and Kimberly Vaughn.”

    They then placed their candle next to a victim’s portrait and a white rose, several of the teens visibly emotional. At the sound of each name, a bell tolled loudly, echoing throughout the church.

    Deacon Lovelady, assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes, participated in the prayer service and his wife Linda attended along with other teachers and students from the area. Wearing her green “Santa Fe Strong” T-shirt, Lovelady huddled with a group of other Santa Fe ISD teachers as they shared their experiences of knowing the students and teachers who passed away and comforted each other.

    ‘No one in this church planned to be here’

    Father Kappe encouraged the attendees, offering words of solace and hope.

    “The truth is that up until almost two weeks ago, no one in this church this evening planned to be here. Our plans and our schedules at this time were vastly different. We were all going to be somewhere else,” he said.

    “But we are here because life goes on, and we need to pray for our friends and our loved ones, especially those who were injured or have died,” the priest said. “We need to continue to support each other in our healing. We need to pray in thanksgiving for the blessing that our deceased loved ones have been in our lives. And we need to continue to be a light in the darkness of this world.”

    The shooting shocked communities still in recovery from Hurricane Harvey, the parish itself having been recently renovated after seeing Harvey’s floodwater fill the sanctuary. Many of those affected, students, parents and community members, were flood victims themselves.

    “We need to focus on the memories and the good times at Santa Fe High School that made you happy,” Father Kappe said, “and helped you to enjoy being in high school: the football game, the prom, the pep rally, the common bonds of friendship, and all of the other high school memories that have made you who you are.

    “Those are things that nothing and no one can take away from you. We are especially here to calm our hearts and our spirit so that we can reclaim the peace that has temporarily been taken away from us.”

    Those in attendance included shooting survivors and family members, members of the school staff and administration, as well as youth ministers and clergy from nearby parishes who helped minister to the community at the hospital or in parishes.

    “You don’t need me to tell you that there will be a tremendous void in your school and in all of your lives because of the death of some of your peers and family members,” said Father Kappe. “Don’t ever forget the void that they filled in your lives while they were living.”

    Father Kappe said, “When we break through these painful emotions, we will all be able to celebrate their new lives with God. Jesus knows more than anyone else the pain and suffering you are going through. He has gone to prepare a place for each of them.”

    Bring hope to a dark place

    When Lovelady and her fellow teachers returned to school the following week of the tragedy, they were greeted with gifts of sunflowers to each of the teachers from teachers of other Santa Fe schools. Then beyond their community, Friendswood ISD delivered hundreds of green “Santa Fe Strong” T-shirts for the school community.

    To try to keep tradition going, Alvin ISD, which was already off for the summer, lent dozens of school buses to drive the Santa Fe graduating seniors back to their elementary and middle schools to relive their educational journey, thank their teachers and encourage the younger students.

    Lovelady said, “It’s a wonderful tradition and it was so good to see all the smiles and how they were high-fiving the younger students. We have to remind them that it’s okay to be happy through the sadness.”

    Outside the church, 10 green crosses surrounded a larger wooden cross, each bearing the name of a shooting victim. Inside, uniformed law enforcement stood watch in the narthex of the church and offered a visible presence.

    Officer who confronted alleged shooter still in critical condition

    According to May 30 reports from the Santa Fe Police Department, Officer John Barnes, with the Santa Fe Independent School District, is still hospitalized and remains in critical condition.

    Wounded by a shotgun blast while confronting accused shooter 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, hospital officials said Barnes flat-lined twice. He and a fellow officer are recognized for drawing Pagourtzis away from other students.

    On May 23, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner named retired Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston to his commission against gun violence, with 36 others from a cross-section of the city community.

    Following the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, Archbishop Fiorenza spoke at a vigil at Houston’s City Hall, calling for change and to protect and pray for all walks of life.

    ‘Forever be Santa Fe strong’

    In closing his reflection, Father Kappe shared a call to love and forgive.

    “As we have been in the past, we may forever be Santa Fe strong,” he said. “May we may be an example to the many people who are focused on this very small community of Santa Fe, and that they may learn from us that love and forgiveness will always be much stronger than evil.”

  • June 12, 2018

    Parishioners arrived hours before the rededication Mass at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Spring, joyful of finally being home in their church after being ousted for nine months by Hurricane Harvey's flooding and subsequent repairs.

    Father Norbert Maduzia, pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Spring anoints the walls of the newly renovated church building during the parish’s rededication Mass on May 31. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Father Maduzia realized that “God was suffering along with those who had lost so much in the storm.” Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

    Parishioners arrived hours before the rededication Mass at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Spring, joyful of finally being home in their church after being ousted for nine months by Hurricane Harvey's flooding and subsequent repairs.

    "It's been tough. It really was a labor of love. This deepened my trust in God, the Good Shepherd, accompanying us," said Father Norbert Maduzia, St. Ignatius of Loyola pastor.

    "God was suffering along with those who had lost so much in the storm."

    In fact, finding Jesus missing an arm and hanging on the parish's processional crucifix floating face down in the floodwaters made Father Maduzia realize, "God was suffering along with those who had lost so much in the storm."

    Jesus' arm was found floating in the church and a parishioner with restoration experience from the Smithsonian Institution repaired the processional crucifix. Held high, it led the procession and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo as they entered into the church for blessings, anointing and the May 31 rededication.

    Cardinal DiNardo, who heads of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, told the congregation: "We enter with gratitude."

    Photos: Parishioners flock to newly renovated parish, celebrate return home

    Parishioners spent the past nine months worshipping in nearby school gyms, neighboring churches and a parking lot tent.

    He told them, "Now you're no longer sojourners, but you're back home. I congratulate you for your patience and for some of your impatience and outbursts. People have suffered greatly in this area. But the church is built upon the rock of Peter."

    As Cardinal DiNardo thanked Father Maduzia for all his work, the crowd of about 1,300 burst out in applause and gave their pastor a standing ovation.

    The parish priest went viral online, streaming live on Facebook -- now viewed more than half a million times -- as he walked through the still-flooded church sanctuary with Father Khoi Le, parochial vicar. It was Father Le, who picked up the broken cross to save it from the floodwaters.

    The northwest Houston community of Spring saw more than 16 inches of rain, pushing nearby Cypress Creek more than a record-breaking 15 feet past its banks for several days.

    "I've prayed about that image and realized Christ was sharing in the passion of his people," Father Maduzia said in August. "He, too, was now homeless, off the cross, and broken as are many through these floods."

    "He, too, was now homeless, off the cross, and broken as are many through these floods."

    But the journey took its toll and the previously 4,000 family members dwindled to about 800-strong.

    Cardinal DiNardo took note, "Some have wandered away, but welcome them back as with the prodigal son. It's truly amazing that this was all done in nine months."

    Parishioners for 15 years at St. Ignatius, Beatrice and Domingo Marquez, married 66 years and parents of seven children, hung in there throughout the ordeal. The parish met for Mass at nearby high schools, community centers, and eventually in a tent in the parish parking lot.

    "We passed the test," Domingo said. "What a blessing to be back!"

    Beatrice said, "We were very sad when all that happened. But they worked very hard and everything looks brand new."

    That afternoon of the rededication, a special delivery arrived -- a glistening gold-colored statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, the Madonna who holds the baby Jesus and is protector against hurricanes.

    Another new addition, each corner of the altar is held up by angels holding Communion and chalices. Cardinal DiNardo, describing how he would generously anoint the altar, said, we "pour chrism like it's the mega-Confirmation of the year."

    Although contractors are finished with mucking out the buildings, ripping through Sheetrock and tossing out waterlogged furniture and sheet music, three of the buildings remain under repair, including the church hall.

    A large white tent remaining on the 14-acre St. Ignatius campus doubled as the hall for the reception held after the rededication. Homes throughout nearby neighborhoods are still in reconstruction mode.

    Cardinal DiNardo said, "I know you've been through grief and anger, but now we're all rejoicing."

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