Bishop Cahill highlights graces of joy, gratitude at Prayer Breakfast

August 14, 2018

Bishop Brendan J. Cahill was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Prayer Breakfast on July 19 at the Hilton-Americas Houston in downtown Houston. (Left to right): Steve Smith, Danny, Bishop Cahill, Mrs. Raye G. White and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo attended the 2018 Prayer Breakfast. Photo by Jonah Dycus/Herald.

HOUSTON — Bishop Brendan Cahill discussed the life, trials and triumphs of the late Father Charles Kram Jr. at the July 19 Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Prayer Breakfast.

Bishop Cahill, a priest in Galveston-Houston for 25 years, was ordained the third bishop of Victoria in June of 2015. Father Kram’s hometown of Shiner is part of the Diocese of Victoria. 

“(Bishop Cahill) does such a great job of bringing the people of the Diocese of Victoria into common community together,” Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said. “That’s the role of the bishop … to teach, govern and sanctify.”

In his introduction, Cardinal DiNardo also thanked the more than 900 attending the Prayer Breakfast. This year’s event was emceed by Steve Smith and chaired by Danny Grant. “Our Catholic identity teaches us always to be mindful, merciful and ask for God’s help,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “And certainly to ask Him to continue to forgive us and give us a new and improved relationship with the world around us and with our own Catholic communities.”

Bishop Cahill, a graduate of St. Cecilia Catholic School, St. Thomas High School and St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, made time before and after the event to visit with numerous friends and acquaintances in attendance.

The theme of the 2018 Prayer Breakfast was taken from Father Kram’s book “Gladly Will I Glory (In My Infirmities),” co-written by Anthony Warzecha, which chronicles Father Kram’s “joyful journey through life despite enormous suffering.” During his keynote, Bishop Cahill said he was introduced to Father Kram’s story just a few weeks into his role as the Bishop of Victoria. 

Shortly before his priestly ordination, Father Kram had contracted polio in 1952 and was paralyzed from the neck down. He was later ordained a priest in 1975. Upon Father Kram’s death in 2000, a group called the Father Kram Beatification Project began a process of remembering the priest’s life and sharing his stories of faith. After reading “Gladly Will I Glory” and listening to many of these stories, Bishop Cahill started inviting people to pray in devotion to Father Kram and for his intercession.

Father Kram’s joy and gratitude in life despite his disabilities provide a resonating message and a sound spiritual compass for all faithful to follow, according to Bishop Cahill.

“There are many stories about how this man who was confined to a wheelchair and suffering physical disability was witnessing to the power of God’s grace and God’s love each day,” Bishop Cahill said. “(Father Kram) saw his physical limitation as an opportunity to give thanks to God because he would say ‘I’m able to allow others to serve me.’ Think how hard that level of humility is. I know myself, I like to be strong and doing things for others. What is it like when others have to take care of me? Will I be able to see that as a blessing and have gratitude, that God even gave me this weakness so others could grow in holiness?”

Citing Scripture and Father Kram’s books throughout his talk, Bishop Cahill said one’s spiritual path must include gratitude and emptying of self-will.

“(Emptying our self-will) is common to our spirituality, yet it’s a very hard thing to do each and every day … To hand over my will to God, trusting that God who has given me everything will provide everything for me each and every day,” Bishop Cahill said.

Father Kram’s life expectancy was only five years at the onset of his illness but he went on to live for almost another 50 years.

“In a sense, the day he contracted his disease he lost control of a lot of his life. He could have been ordained a priest (in 1953) like he had planned,” but the fullness of life is found in trusting in God each and every day, Bishop Cahill said. “If we are open to the Spirit, we come to realize everything in our life is a gift from God.”

The 2018 Prayer Breakfast meal was underwritten by Mrs. Raye White. Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza, who ordained Bishop Cahill a priest in 1990, was among the numerous Archdiocesan priests in attendance. Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz offered the benediction.

The annual Archdiocesan Prayer Breakfast was created to unite the Greater Houston community in expressing trust in and dependence on God through prayer.

As a forum to encourage people of all backgrounds in their journey of faith, the Prayer Breakfast reaffirms the desire of each participant to integrate their faith and daily life. This yearly gathering acknowledges the need for all persons to be supported in prayer as they strive to encounter the living God and thereby discover lasting meaning and hope.