10 -12 -- SAN ANTONIO, Texas Bishops meeting at Oblate Renewal Center
12 -- WALL, Confirmation at 6:30 pm
14 -- SAN ANGELO, Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 11 am Presbyteral Council meeting at 1 pm
15 -- SAN ANGELO, Newman Center Appreciation dinner
16 -- ELDORADO, Confirmation at 6 pm
17 -- SAN ANGELO, Palm Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 9:45 am
19 -- SAN ANGELO, Penance Service at 7:00 pm at Sacred Heart Cathedral
21 -- SAN ANGELO, Holy Thursday Mass at 7:00 pm at Sacred Heart Cathedral
22 -- SAN ANGELO, Good Friday – Soup lunch at Noon; Way of the Cross Procession at 1 pm, St. Margaret Church
22 -- SAN ANGELO, 7 pm – St. Joseph, Good Friday service
23 -- SAN ANGELO, Easter Vigil, 8 pm, Sacred Heart Cathedral
24 -- SAN ANGELO, Mass at 10 am at St. Mary Church
25 -- SAN ANGELO, Bishop’s residence – Easter dinner for staff, 6 pm
26-28 -- Rest and prayer
28-29 -- SAN ANTONIO, MACC Board of Trustees meeting
30 -- MIDLAND, Confirmation at 5:00 pm at St. Ann Church
1 -- ANDREWS, Our Lady of Lourdes – Confirmation, 10:30 am
1 -- SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral Gym, CCD Awards Banquet, 6 p.m.
2 -- SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center – Meeting of the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese Steering Committee at 10:30 a.m.
2-- ST. LAWRENCE, Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
5 -- MIDLAND, Our Lady of Guadalupe-Confirmation 6:30 pm
6 -- ODESSA, Holy Redeemer –Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
7 -- SAN ANGELO, Holy Angels –Confirmation at 5:30 p.m.
8 -- MIDLAND, St. Stephen – Confirmation at 5:00 p.m.
9 -- STANTON, St. Joseph- Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
10 -- ABILENE, Holy Family- Confirmation at 6:30 pm.
11 -- FT. STOCKTON, St. Joseph –Confirmation at 6:30 pm.
12 -- SONORA, St. Ann – Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
13-15 -- CONCEPTION, Mo. – Graduation Ceremony at Conception Seminary
16-17 -- CORPUS CHRISTI – Meeting of the Board of the Kenedy Foundation
18 -- SAN ANGELO, St. Joseph –Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
19 -- ABILENE, St. Vincent – Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
20 -- BROWNWOOD, St. Mary – Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
21 -- SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart -Confirmation at 5:00 pm
22 -- ODESSA, St. Joseph –Confirmation at 3:00 p.m
23 -- ODESSA, St. Elizabeth-Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
24 -- MIDLAND, San Miguel Arcangel-Confirmation- 6:30 pm
25 -- SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center – Charitable Foundation Meeting at 10:30 a.m.
25 -- BALLINGER, St. Mary – Confirmation at 7:00 p.m.
26 -- COLEMAN, Sacred Heart- Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
27 -- SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center – Staff Mass at 8:30 a.m., Staff Meeting at 11 a.m.
27 -- SAN ANGELO, Christ the King Retreat Center – Rosary at Mary’s Grotto at 6:30 p.m.
28 -- ABILENE-DYESS AFB, 25th Priestly Anniversary Mass of Father Gildardo Garcia at 1 p.m.
29 -- ODESSA, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bless Youth Center, 11:30 am
31 -- BIG LAKE, St. Margaret-Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
Christ the King
11 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
12 -- Deacons Quarterly Mtg.
12 -- Adoration, 5-6 pm
15-16 -- First United Methodist
17 -- CKRC Confirmation Retreat
18 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
19 -- Adoration, 5-6 pm
22-24 -- Office Closed – Holy Week/Easter
25 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
26 -- Adoration, 5-6 pm
29-May 1 Beginning Experience
2-Rev. Russell Schultz (2004)
5-Rev. Clifford Blackburn, OMI (2005)
7-Msgr. Kevin Heyburn (2001)
9-Rev. Leo Diersing (1999)
9-Rev. Tom Diab (2007)
15-Deacon Wayne Rock (2006)
28-Rev. Francis Hynes, C.M.(1996)
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
The catastrophic earthquake and destructive tsunami in Japan that has left thousands dead and millions struggling to survive and great property destruction raises the question: How could God let all of this happen? Some people even ask: Does God cause such a disaster? To give some type of an answer to these questions, we go back to some basic biblical principles and Judeo-Christian teachings with regard to these and similar disasters that have happened through the ages.
1. No quick answer will suffice to answer these questions and the fundamental question of: Why does evil exist? To understand these disasters in nature in the world in which we live, we go to Divine Providence through which God carries out God’s plan for creation. Divine Providence is the disposition by which God guides all creation to perfection. God, as we know in the Bible, created all things and saw that they were good. We also know that at the very beginning with our first parents in the garden, something terrible happened—that mere creatures through their own free will, turned against God, their creator and Father and this not only affected their relationship with God but their relationship with creation. St. Paul tells us that all creation is groaning and in labor pains [did he mean earthquakes and hurricanes?] to be set free from the slavery of corruption, longing for a new beginning and new life that can only come about through God’s action as God leads creation to its ultimate perfection.
2. Ultimately only Christian faith and trust in God’s providential care can help us understand these calamities in the context of the original goodness of creation, the mystery of sin and its effects on creation, and the disasters in nature and God’s patient love for sinful people and tarnished creation down through the ages.
3. We firmly believe based on the Bible that God is the Master of the whole world, which contains both good and evil and that God’s Providence is leading all of broken creation to its final perfection.
4. The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by His Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose to vanquish evil and to give us new hope and life. Ultimately the Resurrection of Christ will make all things new and restore proper order in creation. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if it did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.
5. How shall we think about these disasters that afflict our world from time to time, like the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan? Does God punish us with earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes? Our faith answer is “no,” but this still doesn’t help us fully understand why innocent people suffer. To a certain degree we must accept that some mysteries are simply beyond our ability to grasp. We may never know why God created a world in which catastrophes are possible. But then again, that may not be the most important question we can ask.
6. Perhaps a better approach would be to ask how we should respond when disasters strike. Can we hold fast to our faith in God even in the face of human suffering? And can we find His presence, His grace, and His intimate love, even if we have lost family and our possessions to a flood, or our homes to an earthquake? Disasters call all of us to open our hearts and hands to comfort, to pray and share what we can with those afflicted.
7. Natural calamities happen in our tarnished world, and there is not much that we can do about them. But simply because they are out of our control we should never think that God is the immediate cause of hurricanes, earthquakes or floods. We should never think that God has abandoned us or is exercising His wrath upon us for our sins.
8. God wants to give us unshakeable faith to convince us that nothing can separate us from God’s love and providence, not even the devastation of an earthquake or tsunami. Yes, we will grieve our losses. We will weep and feel pain. Even in the midst of our loss and sorrow, God is with us to comfort us and give us promise of hope and restoration.
9. At the same time, every time there is a great disaster in the world, we are reminded of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel that one day the world as we know it will be destroyed, will be changed. Are these the last times? Are there worse disasters to come? As we review the history of the earth, and the history of people on planet earth, we see that down through the ages, there have been great catastrophes, some which are natural, and some which are caused by God’s own people. Each one of these is a reminder in some way that everything that surrounds us on planet earth is material and will one day pass away. But if we are faithful to our God, we will not pass away. We will live forever with our God.
By Jimmy Patterson
Texas’ 4.4 million Catholics may have a voice with the bishops who shepherd them, but that does not necessarily translate to the faithful having a voice with their elected U.S. Senators. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, the state’s two Republican Senators in Washington, voted against important recent legislation -- bills that would have lessened the threat of nuclear war and would have called for more humane treatment for immigrants.
Both bills opposed by Cornyn and Hutchison were supported by the state’s bishops, according to the Texas Catholic Conference, an organization devoted to social justice issues and public policy.
Cornyn and Hutchison voted along party lines in opposing the START Treaty and the DREAM Act.
(Please See JUSTICE/20)
The START Treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, 71-26, in December 2010, requires Russia and the U.S. to cut in half the number of nuclear warheads they possess, as well as to reduce the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile launchers.
Cornyn called the treaty “another example, another symptom, of a foreign policy that sends a message of timidity, even ambivalence, not only about our own security, but about America’s leadership in a very dangerous world.”
The DREAM Act, which all bishops in Texas supported but neither of the state’s senator’s voted to ratify, would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, if they attend college or join the military for two years.
The bill was defeated, 55-41, and the vote came mostly along party lines. Experts view the bill’s defeat as the last opportunity for Congress to pass any pro-immigration reform until after the 2012 elections. Proponents have been trying to push through the DREAM Act for more than a decade.
Fr. Mark Miller, pastor at Odessa’s St. Anthony and St. Joseph, and who is committed to social justice issues, said more light needs to be brought to how our elected representatives vote.
“It is time that our Catholics understand that while our Senators are Republicans, they are also most of the time opposed to where our Church stands on issues,” Miller said. “I think people should know this.”
Two web sites help communicate how Texas bishops’ stands and how our congress persons and senators are representing them. For more information, visit networklobby.org and txcatholic.org.
USCCB, ILLINOIS BISHOPS LAUD STATE’S DEATH PENALTY REPEAL WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) congratulated the Illinois bishops, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty, and all advocates for their work to bring about the repeal of the death penalty in Illinois.
“These advocates have worked tirelessly to ensure that Illinois joins the growing momentum to turn away from the use of the death penalty in our country,” said Kathy Saile, director of Domestic Social Development at the USCCB. Governor Pat Quinn signed the repeal of the state’s death penalty March 9, making Illinois the sixteenth U.S. state to abolish the death penalty.
The passage of this legislation would help “to begin building a culture of life in our country,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in a March 3 letter to Governor Quinn.
“No longer will there be a risk in Illinois that an innocent person will be convicted and sentenced to death,” said the Catholic Conference of Illinois in a March 9 statement. “Furthermore, society will continue to be protected and those who commit crimes will still be held accountable through alternatives to the death penalty, including life without parole.”