Summer fun, reflection in the Archdiocese

July 17, 2012

HOUSTON ― Summer time is an opportunity for students and families to recharge before the new school year begins. It also offers a lot of time for kids and college students to spend at home with nothing to do besides playing video games and watching television. They might wander outside, depending on the weather (which so far this summer goes from intense heat to severe thunderstorms). Unless students of all ages are attending classes, summer time can be a time of boredom. The Texas Catholic Herald wants to help — not just students, but young adults and families as well — find summer things to do around the Archdiocese that are not only fun, but also serve to feed the spirit and provide reflection. Here are a few retreats, tours, camps and volunteer opportunities available to add to your summer activities.

Camps, tours and retreats

St. Ignatious Loyola holds choir camp

The music ministry of St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, 7810 Cypresswood Drive in Spring, will present its 15th annual choir camp July 30 through Aug. 3 from 9 a.m. to Noon. 

Children ages 4 through 8th grade will work on a musical entitled "Oh, Jonah!" which will be presented on Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. Attendees will also enjoy songs, instruments, drama, crafts, snacks and games.

Campers are also invited to sing at the 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5 in honor of the parish patron.
To register, contact

Tours are available on Fridays or by appointment to see Shrine of the True Cross in Dickinson. (Louise Kelly/Herald)

Tour the Shrine of the True Cross

The whole family can tour the Shrine of the True Cross in Dickinson. The church is offering tours on Tuesday, July 24, through Thursday, July 26, and Tuesday, Aug 7, through Thursday, Aug 9. All tours begin at 10 a.m. 

For those interested, morning prayer is at 8 a.m. and Mass begins at 8:30 a.m. 
Tours include time to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and to venerate the Precious Relic of the Wood of the True Cross. The Shrine is located at exit 19 on the Gulf Freeway at 300 FM 517 E in Dickinson. 

The Catholic parish is an Archdiocesan shrine and a place for pilgrimage. The church was originally established as St. Joseph, one of the early "mainland missions" of the Galveston parishes.

To book a tour call 281-337-4112.

Visit Our Lady of Walsingham shrine

Visit the shrine at Our Lady of Walsingham Church, 7809 Shadyvilla Ln. in Houston, on Fridays on by appointment.

The design of the new American shrine was inspired by the one remaining fragment of the east window that was part of the 12th century priory at Walsingham, England, site of the original shrine. Rising 35 feet above the altar of its center, the height of the shrine in Houston is exactly half that of the original one in England. 

This shrine is a place where the mystery of the Annunciation is remembered. It is also a place of veneration of the Holy Family as an example of the sanctity of family life.

The shrine and grounds are open daily to visitors during parish office hours and Tuesday afternoons until 7 p.m. (during hours of Adoration in the Holy House Chapel). 

Weekend experience for engaged couples

Engaged Encounter is a weekend experience where couples planning marriage have the time together to concentrate on each other, free of the tensions, pressures and interruptions of daily life. It is a designed to give couples an opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about their future life together.

Self identity, role expectations of each other, money, sex, children, family and religion are some of the topics of face-to-face dialogue with one's partner.
This year it is set for July 22 at the Cameron Retreat Center, located at 2403 Holcombe Blvd. in Houston. 

Engaged Encounter is one of the instructional programs for marriage preparation sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. If one or both persons have been married previously, it is recommended that they attend New Life program instead of Engaged Encounter.
The retreat is offered in both English and Spanish. For more information, call 713-741-8706.

More than 70 priests attended the June 2 priest ordination Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. (Rebecca Torrellas/Herald)

Are you being called to religious life?

The 2012 Life Awareness program will be held July 27 to 29 at the Holy Name Retreat Center, 430 Bunker Hill Rd., in Houston. This program is for single Catholic men and women (ages 18 and 45) who believe they may have a calling to the priesthood or vowed religious life. There is no charge for the weekend. The program is sponsored by the Serra Clubs of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and by the Archdiocesan Vocations Office.

The program provides a forum for the participants to learn about the opportunities to which God may be calling them. Typically, 40 or so men and women spend the weekend in group discussions, one-on-one conversations, prayer, quiet time and social activities all conducted by a staff of Archdiocesan and Order priests, sisters and brothers.

For more information visit or call Denny Matranga at 713-462-0136 or Jim Kelly at 713-681-6360.

Retreat transforms daily life spiritually 

"Transformed - A Young Adult Retreat" will be held Aug. 3 to 5 at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, 430 Bunker Hill Rd. in Houston.

Throughout the weekend, attendeed will find new ways to daily transform their daily lives and ministries from "the pattern of this world" into the Image of Christ. Using Scripture, young adults will find a better understanding of how to live a joyful, sacrificial and reconciling life with God and one another. For more information, call 713-464-0211.

Monthly gathering for young adults

Christ in the City, sponsored by the St. Michael Young Adult Group, is held on the first Thursday of every month. It is a gathering for young adults that focuses on not on social activities or even catechesis, but on deepening relationships with Jesus Christ. 

The gathering is an hour of prayer and song in front of the Blessed Sacrament that also includes a short scripture reflection as well as an opportunity for confession. Christ in the City's goal is to provide opportunity for spiritual growth by putting Christ at the center. For more information, email

Become a volunteer

Help heal both offenders and victims of murder

The faith-based organization Bridges to Life brings victims of crime and offenders together through a program that draws on the teachings of the Bible and the pain and suffering of victims. By encouraging offenders to take responsibility for their crimes, it is hoped both parties will experience healing.
This year