In Brief: Mt. Carmel renovated; Mardi Gras gala; Valentine's Dance; Diaconate ordination

January 29, 2019

At right, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, assisted by Father Jeff Bame, left, and Deacon Juan Aguilar, prays over the newly renovated Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Dec. 22, which had been closed for a year and five months after roof and interior damage from Hurricane Harvey. Photos courtesy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.

DiNardo celebrates Mass at renovated Our Lady of Mount Carmel 

HOUSTON — After a year and five months of renovations from Hurricane Harvey, joyful parishioners returned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church to celebrate Mass Dec. 22 right before Christmas.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo welcomed the crowd back to the beautifully remodeled sanctuary with its iconic large crucifix of Jesus hanging over the altar, redone interior and bright lighting. A new three-panel mural by artist Leopoldo Cuspinera Madrigal highlights a head-and-shoulder drawing of Our Lady with the mountains of Mount Carmel behind her amidst clouds.

Since the altar had not been moved during the renovations, the Cardinal told the packed church that he would bless the building, but would not have to do a complete rededication.

Father Abelardo Cobos, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, said he prayed for God’s help after witnessing the damaged roof and water-soaked interior blasted by Hurricane Harvey August 2017.

He and artist Madrigal collaborated on an art exhibit that raised funds for the church to help with renovations. The Archdiocese worked with all its Catholic churches to deal with insurance and repairs.

“The Archdiocese, our parishioners and all of us have worked so hard together. Our motto was ‘Come Back Home,’” Father Cobos said.

Longtime parishioner Barbara Berntsen said, “After celebrating Masses at our parish hall for more than a year, everyone was excited to finally be back in our church. This was our first opportunity to see the beautiful renovations.”

University of St. Thomas Mardi Gras gala set for March 2, benefits scholarships

HOUSTON — The University of St. Thomas’ 69th annual Mardi Gras Gala is set for Saturday, March 2, at the Hilton Americas Houston.

A time-honored tradition dating back to the beginning of the university, the event helps provide more than $14 million per year for student scholarships and programs. Seven out of 10 students depend on scholarship funding and financial aid.

Accentuated by a festive Carnival theme, the gala will feature classic Mardi Gras merriment complete with food, dancing and entertainment. This year, more than 800 guests are expected at the event to make a difference in the lives of students and honor beloved community leaders Lois and Carol Davis.

To learn more about this fundraising event and tickets, go to or email

Family Life Ministry hosts Valentine’s date night

HOUSTON — The Office of Family Life Ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, with Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, are hosting a special evening date night for couples looking for Valentine’s Day plans. The evening will be held from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. at the Hilton Houston Westchase hotel, located at 9999 Westheimer Road in Houston.

Joe McClane, general manager of KSHJ 1430 Catholic Radio, will be the featured speaker who will discuss living family life and marriage as a Catholic.

$165 per couple or $85 per person. Formal attire requested. For more information, and to reserve tickets, visit or call 713-741-8720. †

Catholic Charities still offering storm relief assistance in Galveston County

GALVESTON — Although nearly 18 months have passed since Hurricane Harvey flooded large swaths of southeast Texas, many people who experienced flood-related losses have yet to reclaim their pre-Harvey lives. Homes sit vacant, bills pile up and hope seems out of reach.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has continued to offer assistance to families who experienced loss to Harvey through its Disaster Recovery Services program. Eligible families and individuals work with a case manager who visits the home for an assessment, connects them with available resources, and offers funding for assistance with temporary housing, home repairs, furnishings and other needed items.

“Catholic Charities’ role in disaster recovery is aimed at helping people return to normal or as close to normal as possible,” said Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. “We are committed to assisting those in the Galveston County area through continued long-term recovery efforts.”

Minor and Helen Caudle, 78 and 73 years old respectively, received help from a Catholic Charities case manager after they had struggled to find help for lingering problems following Harvey.
The Caudle’s home of 45 years was severely damaged by three feet of floodwaters, destroying walls, appliances and furniture. To make their situation worse, Helen was suffering increased medical complications in her fight against breast cancer. Catholic Charities connected the Caudles with construction assistance provided by charity partner BakerRipley, provided financial backing for construction work and purchased all new furniture for the home.

“It’s devastating that so many people are still struggling to repair or rebuild their lives and homes after this much time has passed,” said Brigid DeLoach, Catholic Charities’ vice president of Disaster Recovery. “Many of those served were already financially vulnerable before the storm, which puts them at a greater disadvantage when trying to recover. Catholic Charities is doing everything we can to find those people and let them know we’re here to help.”

To date, Catholic Charities’ Disaster Recovery Services has distributed more than $413,000 in assistance to households that experienced loss from Harvey flooding in Galveston County, in addition to funds distributed in other areas most affected by flooding. Disaster recovery assistance — including case management and financial assistance — is available throughout the 10-county region served by Catholic Charities.

Individuals in Galveston County seeking help with Harvey losses can contact the Disaster Recovery hotline 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday at 832-240-4658. Residents outside of Galveston County call 713-874-6664. †

42 to be ordained as permanent deacons

HOUSTON — Two celebrations will be held to ordain 42 as permanent deacons.

The events are set for Friday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m., both at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located at 1111 St. Joseph Pkwy. in downtown Houston.

When the men receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, it marks the end of six years of rigorous study and pastoral formation. 

There are currently 376 permanent deacons serving in the Archdiocese.