CHRISTOVAL — Deacon Martin Mary Hubbs, who more than 10 years ago opted against medical school and for the heremetical life, will be ordained a priest at 11 a.m., Friday, May 25, 2012, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo.
Deacon Hubbs will not be considered a diocesan priest, but will remain in service to the Carmelite community at Mt. Carmel, a hermitage southwest of Christoval, a small town 20 miles south of San Angelo.
The priestly ordination will be presided over by the Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, Bishop of San Angelo.
Deacon Martin entered his life as a hermit three days before 9/11 -- September 8, 2001. Deacon Martin says news of the attacks only confirmed the personal decision he made.
“I thought, if this was what things were coming to, it was better to realize my vocation as quickly as possible so I could start doing what I was supposed to be doing,” he said.
When he takes his priestly vows Friday, Deacon Martin’s responsibilities as a priest will differ than that of priests who work for a diocese or within a parish.
“It’s important to realize that at the hermitage, we’re not engaged in the type of pastoral ministry such as at the diocesan level, and so in that sense we don’t do baptisms, funerals, weddings or anointings of the sick. The context of the heremetical priesthood is to serve in the sacramental life.”
The Diocese of San Angelo has celebrated four diaconal ordinations within the last six weeks. Those seminarians-turned-clergymen are expected to take their priestly vows in about a year.
The diocese still has two significant celebrations coming up next weekend. Parishioners at St. Stephen’s in Midland will celebrate the 50th priestly anniversary of Msgr. Jim Bridges on Saturday, May 26, with a dinner following a 5 p.m. Mass, and Catholics in the small community of Rowena, southeast of San Angelo, will celebrate 50 years of Msgr. Bernard Gully’s priesthood Sunday, May 27 with a 9:30 a.m. Mass.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
In accord with Church policy, on May 18, 2012 as I turn 75, I am sending my resignation as the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of San Angelo to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. What will happen after that? How soon will it happen? These are questions that will be answered eventually by our Holy Father. I do know this, that some time in the future – soon or maybe a little later — a new bishop will be named for the Diocese of San Angelo.
As I await our Holy Father’s reply, I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability as your Bishop, and pray daily for all of you. As the future is somewhat cloudy, I will be writing less for the West Texas Angelus, and reviewing which pastoral commitments for our communities I can accept as we await word from the Holy Spirit through Pope Benedict.
Already, I encourage all the people of our diocese to pray for the bishop who will come after me, and once the new bishop has been appointed, give him your abundant prayers and full, entire support. This is a time to look to the future, and to ask Jesus our Good Shepherd to guide us as we march into the future with a new shepherd.
Please continue to pray for our diocese each day and to pray for me, your servant. What the future holds for me is still uncertain. I trust the good Lord will guide me as the good Lord has guided me throughout my priestly and Episcopal service. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know whose hands hold the future and that is enough for me.
So, don’t look back to the past, look forward. If we reflect on the past, let us do so with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation for God’s many graces and blessings that we have received through the years of being a diocese. And, as we look to the future, let’s look ahead with much confidence, hope, and trust knowing that our God who has been good and gracious in the past will bestow loving care upon us as we strive to be God’s children and disciples of His Son, Jesus Christ, following the example of Mary. Once a more definite date has been given about the future, I will let you know so there will be time to offer a Mass of gratitude. Thank you for your support and prayers over the past 27 years. God’s peace.
Your servant in Christ and Mary,
Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI
Bishop of San Angelo
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Bishop Michael D Pfeifer says President Obama’s support for gay
marriage violates religious and natural understanding of marriage
Bishop Pfeifer’s statement:
"President Obama’s unequivocal support for the redefinition of marriage is very disturbing and saddening. The President’s position on same-sex marriages goes against the basic biblical teaching that a true marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman, and the constant Judeo-Christian understanding of the natural and religious meaning of the union of marriage. The president’s decision undermines the institution of marriage, which is the very cornerstone of our society. As the meaning of marriage is established by a Divine authority, no human being is granted the authority to change the long-held unique and inestimable value of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
“Several months ago, President Obama made the decision to abandon support for the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] which caused great sadness among people who believe that a true marriage is designed by God and understood for millennia and across cultures as a union of one man and one woman.
“Unfortunately President Obama’s latest decision is not surprising because of actions already taken by his Administration that erode the unique meaning of marriage.
“The Catholic Bishops stand firmly ready to affirm every positive measure taken by our government to strengthen marriage and family. Within the Church, marriage and family are a primary ministry, and we will take every action to teach and preach about the sacredness of marriage as designed by God. “
By Jimmy Patterson
Editor / West Texas Angelus
ABILENE — Thaddee Uwimana had a good childhood. He was raised in a Christian family with three brothers, two sisters and a mom and dad active in the Catholic Church in his native Rwanda. His knowledge of the United States came in part from watching John Wayne movies (he has a portrait of The Duke hanging in his living room) and watching the Chicago Bulls play in the NBA Championships in the 1990s.
Thaddee, pronounced Teddy, enrolled in a small seminary before opting instead for medical school in Rwanda. After med school he became a doctor in Rwanda and even owned five houses. He was one of the fortunate ones.
But when the factions in Rwanda, the Hutus and Tutsis, began warring, Thaddee and his wife and child were forced from their home and lived for five years in refugee camps. They called small spaces under bushes and below trees their new home. They would become refugees in their own country for five years, before fleeing to Kenya and finally to the Ivory Coast where the violence caught up with them again. Thaddee and his family would apply for residency in the United States and finally in 2002 he and wife, Pascasie and their two children moved to Abilene.
It wasn’t until he left Rwanda, though, that the worst part of the journey for the Uwimana family began to unfold. Two of his brothers and one sister were murdered in Rwanda. And then came the cruelest hurt of all.
“My father and mother moved into one of my houses in Rwanda,” Thaddee said. “One day, a rebel came into the house and demanded my father leave, that the house now belonged to him. My father said, ‘No, this is my son’s house.’ They shot him. He was 92.”
Sylvain Uwimana was a Christian, a religious education teacher at his church and a farmer. A good, spirit filled man, Thaddee calls him. So inspirational was Sylvain that Thaddee and Pascasie named their children Sylvie, Sylva and Sylvanius. The younger two children were born in America. Sylvanius was born with Down Syndrome. He had open heart surgery as an infant and has continuing heart concerns.
Life has been a challenge for Uwimana. But it is only his later years in Africa that he terms an “extreme ordeal.”
The challenges he and his family have faced here -- including his professional adjustment -- have been manageable compared with watching your homeland turned into a violent killing field and being forced to flee from camp to camp and ultimately country to country.
Thaddee thought he had found a peaceful home in the Ivory Coast until waking up one morning to the sound of gunfire.
The French military rescued the Uwimanas and ultimately they landed in Abilene, where Thaddee said he expected to find cowboys and horses. His vision of Texas was just what Hollywood told him it would be — even from half way around the world.
Thaddee didn’t find those staged trappings, and life in Abilene has been anything but war-torn. He and his family have a new home, and a new family, at Abilene’s Holy Family, has provided the support and friendship the Uwimanas didn’t have in Africa.
Still, Thaddee says, “I miss my country. It is my native country. I hope to live long enough to see it return to a peaceful country where I can return to visit.”
One of the more difficult changes Thaddee was faced with upon arrival in America was being unable to practice medicine as he could in Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, where he also served as a worker with the International Red Cross. In Abilene, he is the assistant director of nursing at the Windcrest Alzheimer’s Care Center.
Thaddee made $2 a day as a practicing physician in Rwanda but still, being unable to work as a doctor here feels as though his career has been taken from him, he said. When he applies for jobs in his chosen profession, Thaddee said, he never mentions that he has a medical degree from Rwanda, but his coworkers and bosses soon come to know and realize how intelligent he is and how good of a doctor he would be if allowed to practice.
Thaddee has worked at Windcrest for six months. Pascasie, works as a caregiver at Abilene State School, Thaddee’s previous employer. Born on Easter, Pascasie also came from a Christian home, like her husband. They met in college. Together with their children, they don’t have the words necessary to thank the people who have taken them in at Holy Family, and elsewhere in Abilene.
“The church and the schools have been very supportive,” Thaddee said. “Deacon Rhodes is our youngest son’s godfather. He was born right after we came here.”
Thaddee still has nightmares about things he would want no other person to ever see: babies breastfeeding from mothers that have been murdered and unending streams of the victims of violence flooding into the Red Cross hospitals where he worked, for instance.
“I saw many things. Sometimes I still see those images and cannot forget,” he said. “The cholera was horrible. People using Lake Kivu as a bathroom, and also as a source for drinking water. There are no rules there. It’s like a jungle.”
From 1990 when Thaddee was first forced from his home, he and his family ran from the violence, until 2002. Through it all, there was one thing that kept him going.
“If I didn’t have my faith, I would be gone,” he said. “From when I lived in my big house until I was living in the bush, sometimes we didn’t know if we would survive. It is one day at a time. I had many things in life and I lived many different kinds of lives. It is my faith that saved me.”
ABILENE – Lorenzo Hatch says he can’t wait to begin serving the people of God in the Diocese of San Angelo. Friday, the first step of that lifelong prayer comes to fruition when Hatch is ordained a Deacon of the Roman Catholic Church in a 6:30 p.m. Mass, Friday, May 4, at Sacred Heart Church, 837 Jeanette Rd., in Abilene.
Hatch, a graduate of Dumas High School and native West Texan, is one of four diocesan seminarians attending Assumption Seminary in San Antonio who are nearing the diaconate.
Deacon Francis Onyekozuru was ordained April 21 in Odessa; two more seminarians, Sam Matthiesen and Innocent Eziefule will also be ordained deacons in May (Schedule below).
“I have grown in so many ways: spiritually, pastorally, humanly, and academically during these past seven years,” Hatch told the West Texas Angelus, the Catholic newspaper of the diocese. “Many good people have played a big part in this process and for that, I am most grateful. I am also grateful to all those who have nurtured all the seminarians by your support, both financially and especially by your prayers! I look so forward to serving the people of God as a deacon and in God’s grace, as a Priest next year.”
Bp. Pfeifer expressed happiness over the number of young men entering the diaconate in the diocese.
“It gives me great joy as bishop to celebrate in the next few weeks the diaconal ordination of four of our seminarians for the diocese because this means that soon we will have four new priests to serve God’s people,” said Bishop Pfeifer. “I am very proud of the four who will be ordained as deacons. They have prepared well for this great day, and already from their intern programs and studies, I can see that they want to be true servants of the Lord for God’s people. This is a day to rejoice and thank God for these good men.”
Other diaconal ordinations and celebration Masses in the Diocese of San Angelo in May are as follows:
May 14 — OLFEN, St. Boniface — Diaconal Ordination of Sam Matthiesen, 6:30 p.m.
May 17 — ABILENE, Holy Family — Diaconal Ordination of Innocent Eziefule, 6:30 pm.
May 25 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral – Priestly Ordination of Brother Martin Mary Hubbs, O.Carm., 11 a.m.
May 26 -- MIDLAND, St. Stephens, 50th Priestly Anniversary of Msgr. James Bridges, 5 p.m.
May 27 -- ROWENA, St. Joseph, 50th Priestly Anniversary Mass for Msgr. Bernard Gully, 9:30 a.m.
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