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  • December 7, 2018

    Colorfully costumed dancers and music highlight the annual Archdiocesan Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe set for Sunday, Dec. 9 in downtown Houston.

    Media Advisory

    For immediate release

    WHAT:         Procession, festivities and Mass celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    WHEN:         Sunday, December 9, 2018
                            Procession 9 a.m., Mass 12 p.m.
    WHERE:       Procession starts at the Archdiocese’s Chancery, 1700 San Jacinto, Houston and concludes at George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas 

    CONTACT:   Jo Ann Zuniga, Communications, jzuniga@archgh.org, 713-652-8213 (office), 713-503-8035 (cell)

    Festive celebration for Our Lady of Guadalupe set for downtown Houston, Dec. 9

    HOUSTON — Colorfully costumed dancers and music highlight the annual Archdiocesan Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe set for Sunday, Dec. 9 in downtown Houston.

    Up to 1,000 Danzantes and Matachines (indigenous folk dancers), wearing elaborate headpieces and traditional Aztec-style dress, will process from 1700 San Jacinto St. to the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center.

    The event begins in front of the Chancery with a blessing of the procession at 9 a.m. Sunday by Father Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, Vicar for Clergy and Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services for the Archdiocese.

    Then the dancing starts swirling to the drum beat as the procession continues toward the convention center. Mass will be celebrated at noon on the first floor, Exhibit Hall B.

     “It is a special day where we join together to honor our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and give thanks for the blessings we have received on this day that is so meaningful for our Church,” said Lazaro Contreras, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese.

     “This celebration joins us in the hope of Our Lady of Guadalupe... It is she who says ‘Am I not here, who is your mother?’” Contreras said. “We rejoice and unite as one Church, one family with the immense love and divine protection of our Blessed Mother.”

     The annual event, sponsored by the Archdiocesan Guadalupana Association, commemorates the official Church feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.

     Association president Priscella Marquez said, “This is a magnificent celebration where people of all ages show their devotion to our Lady of Guadalupe, which has continued for the past 46 years in our Hispanic/Houston community.”

    Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego

    In 1531, on a hill near a rural village just outside of Mexico City, the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared to a humble peasant named Juan Diego, now St. Juan Diego.

    Surrounded by light and speaking in his indigenous tongue of Nahuatl, Our Lady told Juan Diego she wanted a church built to manifest her Son’s love and hear the petitions of the faithful. To help him in his mission, she gave him a sign, imprinting her beautiful image on his cloak. From it would flow miracles.  The news spread quickly throughout Mexico, and in the following years, millions would convert to Catholicism.

    ---

     The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.7 million Catholics in 10 counties.

    It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 5th largest in the United States.

  • December 5, 2018

    "Saddened to learn of the death of former President George H.W. Bush, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family."

    The Secretariat of State of the Holy See sent the following message to Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston:

    “Saddened to learn of the death of former President George H.W. Bush, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family.
    Commending President Bush's soul to the merciful love of almighty God, His Holiness invokes upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace.”

    Cardinal Pietro Parolin
    Secretary of State

  • December 3, 2018

    “The world, our country and the City of Houston recently lost a courageous man, dedicated leader and selfless public servant, President George H.W. Bush. I join the faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in offering prayers and condolences to the entire Bush family. President Bush’s career in the public eye – from the Lone Star State to the global stage – was marked by incredible statesmanship and honor. His strong faith in God, devotion to his wife of 73 years, the late First Lady Barbara Bush, and his boundless love for the covenant of family served as a model for all to follow. The City of Houston was very proud to call him one of our own and one of our brightest points of light. We will forever be grateful for his presence and commitment to our community and to the people of Houston.”

    “May the glory of the Risen Lord transform our sorrow into serenity.”

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Texas Catholic Herald

  • December 11, 2018

    As many of you know, Advent is not just about preparation, but more fundamentally about hope — hope against darkness. And these days, it seems like there is more darkness than usual.

    The Christmas tree is seen as Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from the window of his studio
    overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 2. The tree from northern Italy is nearly 76 feet tall and weighs 4.5 tons. CNS photo.

    Usually, Advent seems to sneak up on me, but not this year.

    This year, I find myself longing for it so that my thoughts and emotions can be reflected in the wider world. As many of you know, Advent is not just about preparation, but more fundamentally about hope — hope against darkness. And these days, it seems like there is more darkness than usual.

    Whether it be from the rhetoric of our national politics or the seemingly perpetual unveiling of a Church in crisis; many faithful people are asking how are we to keep the faith in times such as these? 

    There is a line I frequently quote from a Basilian priest, Father Edmund McCorkell, who passed away many years ago: “The secret to getting what you desire, is to desire the right things.” In a similar way, I think the secret to keeping the faith is to make sure our faith is in the right person. Of course, the person is Jesus. However, I think we sometimes forget that this is a particular kind of faith, and a particular kind of hope. 

    In the Scriptures, we find Jesus is the bridge between who we have been and who we are called to be. In our sacramental life, Jesus is the literal embodiment of transformation. This sacramental worldview is a demanding one, for it tries to discipline us to see beyond the surface; beyond the skin tones; beyond the economic-status; beyond the nationalities; beyond the sexual orientations; beyond the political agendas and affiliations; beyond the actions; so that we may see the soul within. 

    In the Eucharist, we learn to see and know the presence of God in a little white wafer. Every time I celebrate Mass, my prayer for myself and all those present, is that this piece of bread that becomes the Body of Christ, can help us see beyond the issues to the people behind them. Because I fear that if we are too quick to “solve the problem,” then we might overlook the story that we need to hear — the story that moves us beyond resolution to the conversion that lasts so much longer. 

    When we place our hope in Jesus, we must simultaneously let go of what has been and what is. We cannot live with hope and be defined by our past, and by who we have been. I know many people who are not simply angry because of what is happening, they are sad because they feel powerless. In my many conversations with students, they feel they are inheriting a world filled with problems that cannot possibly be solved. Yet our faith tells us that solutions are not often what we imagine them to be. Most of the time our solutions are more like stories that we pass down so that we may learn from others. We don’t solve them, so much as we grow beyond them. 

    However, I also understand that people want the Church to solve its problems. We want clarity and certainty because the Church should be better than this. It is a thought I have had more than a few times myself; but then I remember that the Church is really more like a family than a business. That when I read through the Bible, approximately two-thirds of it is about loss, suffering, confusion and exile. 

    Why do I think I am exempt from this? At the same time, what our faith and science both tell us is that there is a difference between curing and healing. Even once a disease is cured, the process of healing takes time. The same is true in our Church and country today. 

    And this is why I need Advent so much this year. Because Advent is about hoping for the fulfillment of a promise, without understanding what that fulfillment will be. It is a season of poetry, rich and layered; much different than the prose to which we are accustomed.

    Advent is a season of the impossible becoming reality — the return from exile, healing of suffering, peace that overcomes fear, the breaking down of division between those who have power and those who do not. 

    In this moment of crisis, I keep the faith because I recognize that we have been entrusted as stewards of something that is not our own. We are bearers of light, but not the light itself. This demands both responsibility for doing our part while we can, and the willingness to let go so others can give of their gifts to do their part. 

    Not that long ago, I was discussing this moment of crisis with a dear friend. It occurred to him that the saints assumed their responsibility with a deep trust even when it was not clear whether their hope would ever be realized. He spoke of how St. Catherine of Siena died before the Avignon schism was repaired; and St. Edith Stein and Father Alfred Delp, SJ, similarly bore burdens of their times without knowing if the hope animating their writings or resistance would survive. 

    These examples merely mirror the reality of Jesus on the cross, who had to die before new life could begin. Then and now, we are reminded that the generational work of disciples is not a productivity the way the world understands it, but a persistence that makes the space for grace to complete the incomplete, and make real the unrealizable.

    And this is why Advent is so timely this year. May the same flames of faith we light this season bring us hope, and make room for the incarnation of God in our world anew. 

    Father Christopher Valka, CSB, is the chaplain, director of The University of St. Thomas Donald S. Nesti, CSSp, Center for Faith & Culture and campus ministry  at the University of St. Thomas.

  • December 11, 2018

    The names ring out, “David Porter, Thomas Myers, Diana Rodriguez…” Mostly men in the mix, but several women, of all races, including Asian. They are among 60-plus homeless people who died in the streets of Houston in 2018 remembered Nov. 29 at an Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service.

    Father Reginald Samuels, at far left, was joined by interfaith leaders Sarva Medley, Hindu priest of the ISKCON Houston Hare Krishna Temple; Rabbi Oren Hayon and Cantor Rollin Simmons of Congregation Emanu El; Rev. Laura Mayo of Covenant Baptist Church and Imam Wazir Ali of the Masjid Warithuddeen Mohammed for the Homeless Memorial Service, held Nov. 29 at the Congregation Emanu El. Photo by Jo Ann Zuñiga/Herald.

    HOUSTON — The names ring out, “David Porter, Thomas Myers, Diana Rodriguez…” Mostly men in the mix, but several women, of all races, including Asian. They are among 60-plus homeless people who died in the streets of Houston in 2018 remembered Nov. 29 at an Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service.

    This year Congregation Emanu El, the synagogue by Rice University, hosted the interfaith service led by Rabbi Oren Hayon. Last year the service was held at the downtown Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart presided by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo.

    The event highlights the plight of the homeless to raise awareness on how the community can help as well as gives dignity to those who lost their lives, said Rabbi Hayon.

    “On any given night, there are more than 4,000 who remain homeless in Houston and the surrounding counties,” he told more than 150 attending the service, including residents of shelters who arrived in groups.

    Tamekia Victor gave witness to her new life after surviving being homeless and now sober, saying, “Only by His grace, I haven’t lost my mind.”

    Father Reginald Samuels, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston officer of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, offered a reflection on those who passed.

    “We are all called and instructed to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first because poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice make it impossible to live a life commensurate with the dignity in which we have from God,” he said. “Our real home is our spiritual world.”

    Other interfaith leaders who participated included Sarva Medley, Hindu priest of the ISKCON Houston Hare Krishna Temple; Rev. Laura Mayo of Covenant Baptist Church and Muslim Iman Wazir Ali of Masjid Warithud-deen Mohammed. Among the prayers requested, the service asked for God to “help us overcome obstacles of intolerance and indifference.”

    After each name was called out of the persons who died homeless, a candle was lit on a table at the front. A total of 59 candles burst into flame with a 60th one lit for all those who passed away with no identification, said service organizer Eileen Meinert, of The Ignatian Spirituality Project. 

    Other local sponsors in addition to the Ignatian Spirituality Project and Congregation Emanu El included Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, The Donald S. Nesti, CSSp, Center of Faith and Culture and the Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston. 

    After the service, those attending gathered to break bread over a vegetarian meal of spaghetti and salad. 

  • December 11, 2018

    Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza thanked firefighters at a Mass Nov. 25 honoring their service in protecting residents and their property as well as charitable work, including collecting toys for children at Christmas.

    Above, fire truck ladders hoist up a giant U.S. flag seen between the crosses of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and its bell tower as part of the ceremony for the Annual Firefighters Mass Nov. 25 in Houston. Below, Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, center, and Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña to the left and Father Lawrence Jozwiak, pastor of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, celebrated the Annual Firefighters Mass Nov. 25 to honor those who serve to protect residents and their property. Photos by Jo Ann Zuñiga/Herald.

    HOUSTON — Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza thanked firefighters at a Mass Nov. 25 honoring their service in protecting residents and their property as well as charitable work, including collecting toys for children at Christmas.

    Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña along with his command staff and firefighters from other jurisdictions processed into the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart carrying ceremonial axes and the banner of St. Florian, patron saint of firefighters who was a Christian in the Roman Army leading firefighting brigades.

    Music by a bagpipe and drummer corps wafted down from the choir loft.

    Praying over the firefighters, Archbishop Fiorenza asked “God to have a very special, powerful blessing above all of you, men and women, who defend us day and night, all through the year.”
    During the Mass, a special tribute was given to firefighters who passed away in the previous year. Each name of deceased firefighters was read aloud accompanied by the tolling of a large silver-hued bell.

    That tribute included Sealy Fire Chief Eric Zapalac who died of a massive heart attack last November; Houston Fire Department firefighter Jakob Lawson who passed of cancer October 2017; and Houston Fire Department and Batson Volunteer firefighter Brian Sumrall, who died in a Sept. 17 tractor accident on his way to load hay into the vehicle of a cattle owner impacted by Hurricane Harvey flooding. Sumrall had also assisted rescuing people from their flooded homes in the Batson, Texas area near Beaumont.

    “This Mass is an opportunity for all active and retired firefighters to pray together, to honor those firefighters who have passed and to have a fraternal gathering with other firefighters and their families,” said Chief Josef Gregory, Mass organizer and Houston firefighter.

    “This is a dangerous, high-risk profession. Support from family, friends and the community lets our firefighters know they are appreciated,” Chief Gregory added.

    Fire trucks also lined the street in front of the Co-Cathedral with crossed ladders hoisting a large U.S. flag between the crosses of the church and bell tower. Father Lawrence Jozwiak, pastor of the Co-Cathedral, sprinkled holy water on the fire trucks and equipment after Mass.

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