2011: A Year in Review

December 20, 2012

HOUSTON — While January may be thought of as the time for new beginnings, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has marked many fresh starts throughout 2011. 

The Archdiocese welcomed 2,490 new Catholics this Easter, ushering the second largest RCIA class in the nation into the Church. A Pastoral Planning Process kicked off a new era of visioning for the future of Catholic generations to come. The Archdiocese launched a redesigned website, inaugurated an original program to enhance the safety of young people and implemented an updated translation of the Roman Missal. 

Those are just a handful of the notable happenings in the Archdiocese in 2011. In this last edition of the Texas Catholic Herald for the calendar year, we look back at the news and events that marked a year of constant renewal in the local Church.

Archdiocese welcomes 35 permanent deacons

HOUSTON – Daniel Cardinal DiNardo ordained 35 men to the permanent diaconate at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

“We offer songs of jubilation as thanks to God for this ministry and for these 35 men,” Cardinal DiNardo said during his homily. “They too thank God for graces received for a journey — perhaps some would describe as a five year marathon — in coming to this order of the diaconate. The journey to holy orders is marked by joys, challenges, occasional struggles and doubts and probably today, by a certain amount of relief.”

The cardinal expressed gratitude to the wives and children of the permanent deacons who accompanied them throughout their formation.

Training and preparation of the deacons is carried out through efforts led by Deacon Gerald DuPont, the Archdiocesan director for the Permanent Diaconate.

“The deacon is the constant reminder for all of God’s people … that Christ came to serve, not to be served,” Cardinal DiNardo said during his Feb. 12 homily. “You are to be servants of the Word, as teachers and preachers.” — JONAH DYCUS

Online and at your fingertips: www.archgh.org

HOUSTON — The message of God’s love is timeless, but the ways those messages are received have changed over time. The digital world now offers innovative ways to meet new people, converse with old friends, learn the latest news ... and practice faith. In light of this, and to enhance the Archdiocese’s mission to widely proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston revamped its official website, www.archgh.org, and launched the redesigned version on Feb. 21, 2011. 

The new features on the site — from a more robust parish locator to a reorganized website structure — were designed to help the Archdiocese widen its reach and fulfill the Christian call to share God’s boundless love with all people. 

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo chose the theme for this new website: “Inviting All to Become One in Christ.” This Archdiocese has a diversity of gifts, languages, cultures, ethnic groups, families and generations. The Archdiocese launched the new website as a tool to bring all closer together as one family of faith, united in Jesus Christ. 

In addition, the Archdiocese launched its own Facebook page and YouTube channel this year. Join the conversations at www.facebook.com/archgh.org and www.youtube.com/archgh. — JENNY FABER

Planning for the future

HOUSTON — In March, the Archdiocese began the Pastoral Planning Process: a year-long initiative to draw together local Catholics to develop a plan that will lay out a vision of how the Archdiocese can grow alongside the next generation. 

The initiative kicked off with 28 Listening Sessions – group gatherings to discuss participants’ hopes for and needs of the Catholic Church – from March to June. The sessions, held at parishes and institutions across the Archdiocese, gathered feedback from key constituents in the Archdiocese: active Catholics; priests; religious sisters and brothers; deacons; youth and young adults; inactive Catholics; and people of other faiths. In addition, a survey was distributed online and at parishes to gather feedback. About 7,000 Catholics completed a survey or attended a Listening Session. 

The feedback from these sessions and surveys was analyzed along with recent demographic data to create a picture of the “current reality” of the Archdiocese. Next, a vision for the Archdiocese’s future will be developed and possible paths toward that future will be identified. — JENNY FABER

More than 140 local Catholics ‘put face on numbers’

AUSTIN — State legislators witnessed “Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day” when faithful from across the state converged on the State Capitol in Austin to promote important issues with Texas lawmakers.
More than 140 delegates from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston made the trek to Austin for the rally.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo urged all parishioners to participate in Advocacy Day in an effort to increase the presence from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which is the 12th largest diocese in the United States.

The Cardinal was one of nine bishops from Texas among the hundreds of Catholic faithful present advocating for legislative priorities for the Texas Catholic Conference, which hosts Catholic Advocacy Day and serves as the public policy voice of the Texas bishops.
During a rally and press conference on the South Steps of the Capitol, the bishops commented on a range of issues facing the state, including the budget, human trafficking, sonogram access and payday lending.
Advocacy Day participants continued the mission of spreading the message, later informing legislators and their assistants about the Catholic concerns, which also include education, immigration, family life, health and human services and criminal justice reform. — JONAH DYCUS

A growing local Church

HOUSTON — On April 24, the Archdiocese welcomed 2,490 new Catholics into the Church. Of those new Catholics, 1,578 unbaptized adults and children received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation and 912 baptized Christians professed faith in the Catholic Church and received the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. The Archdiocese welcomed the second largest number of new Catholics in the United States this year. In addition, another 1,300 adult Catholics were confirmed into the Church at Pentecost this spring. — JENNY FABER

Houston, we have Pope Benedict XVI! 

HOUSTON — Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and about 40 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston were at Mission Control at NASA-Johnson Space Center to witness the historic conversation.