Bishop Cahill returns to Houston for Prayer Breakfast
May 22, 2018
Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria will speak at the 2018 Prayer Breakfast in Houston July 19. Photo by James Ramos/Herald.
HOUSTON — Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria started discerning his path to the priesthood back when he was a student at St. Cecilia Catholic School and St. Thomas High School in Houston.
“I felt the call from a young age,” he said. “Even in junior high and high school I thought about the possibility of being a priest.”
Now leading the Diocese of Victoria as bishop, the former vicar for clergy of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is set to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Prayer Breakfast, set for Thursday, July 19, at 7:30 a.m. at the Hilton Americas-Houston, located at 1600 Lamar St. in Houston.
This year’s theme is “Gladly Will I Glory,” based on the Scripture reference 2 Corinthians 12:9 and the life of Father Charles Kram Jr.
In a visit with the Texas Catholic Herald, Bishop Cahill talked about his calling to the priesthood, his three years being a bishop and the theme for his talk this July.
Starting from the beginning, when did you get the call to priesthood? What was your spiritual journey from hearing the call to accepting it and moving forward with your decision?
I thought about it from a young age. Father Drew Wood, the vocations director at the time, was very inspirational for me. He’d also gone to St. Thomas and is a wonderful priest. (I was drawn) to the altruistic view of priesthood that he represented ... standing up for people, serving people, bringing them to God.
I graduated from St. Thomas and went to Rice University for a year. And there I stayed active at the Catholic Center at Rice, but by the end of my freshman year I’d applied and was accepted to the seminary.
I got a lot of support from friends, even non-Catholic friends, who respected what I felt I was called to, what I wanted to do. It was a supportive, prayerful environment to discern. And then when I went to seminary at St. Mary’s in Houston, I never really was far from home - from St. Thomas High School to Rice, to St. Mary’s and University of St. Thomas.
I had a lot of the same friends and friendships over the years. I felt very supported in the call and challenged to become a better person. But I think every day you’re challenged to be a better person.
What has been your most rewarding experience ministering to the people in the Diocese of Victoria? What has been a challenge for you?
As a bishop it’s a privilege to see people on fire with the faith. When I’m invited or go participate in a certain event, people are wanting to show their best in what they’re doing for God and in what they’re doing for the Church.
So whether it be celebrating the sacraments, a confirmation, or ordination to the priesthood or diaconate, or visiting a grade school or CCE program, I get the opportunity to see people living out their faith in a special way.
There are also a lot of ministries being developed throughout the diocese, like ministries to young people, trying to engage people in their 20s and 30s. Things like that I find very encouraging.
The greatest challenge is the challenge of our culture. The way I put it is that sometimes it seems the culture treats us like we’re crazy. And by that I mean with respect to the human person. What does it mean to truly love and truly have good relationships?
I find in life that there’s a reason these values endure, of love and friendship and how we relate to one another. That’s why I say it’s the beauty of priesthood or consecrated life, or people who give themselves to the Church in service.
You see them fully living their humanity, fully living what it means to respect and love people. It’s funny that sometimes it’s almost like the reverse, like the world treats us like we’re the crazy ones.
And actually, we’re the ones trying to live our married life to the full, trying to live as single men and women, or consecrated women and men or priests or brothers. We are just trying to fully live this message that God has given us.
What do you look forward to about speaking at the Prayer Breakfast in Houston?
I look forward to getting back to Houston. I know it’s a huge event, I’ll see a lot of people. That will be fun. I’ve been (in Victoria) now three years, I’m kind of settled in and getting to know this area.
I can share some of my experiences from here with the people back in Houston. I’ll be able to share with my friends in Houston, because 45 years of my life was in Houston.
What is your theme for the talk at the Prayer Breakfast? What inspired your topic?
The theme is “Gladly Will I Glory,” which is inspired by the life of Father Charles Kram Jr., a priest of the Victoria Diocese who is being proposed for possible sainthood.
He died in 2000. Here’s a priest who we think of as an example of holiness, whose family was a model of holiness. I’m going to share the value of this priest which brings out the best in us.
Father Kram was diagnosed with polio, which severely affected him throughout his life, but he still lived each day to the fullest. I’ll focus on (the importance) of community and relationships.
What do you hope attendees remember and take to heart from your talk?
What struck me about Father Kram is that despite his disability his relationships matured and developed even further. He did not become isolated nor did his friends abandon him. No, they continued to love him, be with him, relate with him.
I will highlight three main points: The power of authentic friendships, the importance of the value of every human person and the possibility of every day holiness. Father Kram gives us an example of this life, how the foundation of everything to him was the relationship with the community, the family and God.
I’m not proposing to change the world, just to have people who are motivated to come to Prayer Breakfast or look for a prayerful thought, to be encouraged by what they’re doing.
Why is the Prayer Breakfast good for the community, especially after Hurricane Harvey?
Following Harvey, our realities changed, as it does at whatever level of our life when we face disaster. But sometimes because of our disability or need for help, we begin to isolate ourselves.
What we did see in Harvey and in the response, and what we do see whenever we experience these tragedies, is that when we open ourselves up in love to another, you actually realize the height of the human spirit - to encourage one another, to be there for one another.
Tickets available now
Individual tickets for the Prayer Breakfast are available for $60 and tables for $600. To purchase and for more information, visit www.archgh.org/prayerbreakfast. Due to limited seating, there will be no walk-up registration on the day of the event.