Archbishop Gomez addresses challenges Catholics face

August 20, 2013

HOUSTON — A record crowd of 1,000 people heard from keynote speaker Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles at the Fourth Annual Archdiocesan Prayer Breakfast July 26 at the Hilton of the Americas in downtown Houston.

The Prayer Breakfast has grown each year since it began when local lay people became inspired by the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. and wanted to bring the concept to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Since then, a collaboration of lay faithful and Archdiocesan staff have organized and promoted the event.

Daniel Cardinal Dinardo briefly addressed the crowd in the lead up to the keynote. He noted that there was a skeptic to the idea of a local edition of the gathering. It's not that it wasn't a good idea, this person believed; it was just that it might be difficult for people to fit it into their schedule.

"That skeptic was me," Cardinal DiNardo said, as he added that he was happy to have been proven wrong.

In his keynote address, Archbishop Gomez spoke softly but intensely of the challenges to our faith today and beyond. He recalled the often forgotten role faith had in the days before this land came to be known as America.

"The first point is this: America was founded by saints, missionaries and mystics," said Archbishop Gomez. "The truth is that two centuries before any of the Founding Fathers was even born this country was being explored and evangelized."

Despite what is being encountered today, from the redefinition of marriage, to protecting unborn life, to welcoming the stranger, each of us can contribute to a renewed evangelization.

"Friends, America is once again a mission territory. A place that needs to hear the good news of God, the good news of Jesus Christ," said Archbishop Gomez, as he urged everyone to be witnesses to their faith.

Downey and Kerri Bridgwater chaired this year's event and led a committee that included Father Michael Barrett, who formerly served in the local Archdiocese but has joined Archbishop Gomez to serve in Los Angeles. The event was generously underwritten by Raye White.