By Jimmy Patterson
My Uncle Bill’s life was celebrated, and he was mourned and shown to his final resting place last month on the same Thursday and Friday in June that over a thousand remembered the gentle giant, Father Barry McLean. Both the men died on the same day. Two excellent examples of the faith, gone, just like that.
My Uncle Bill had a huge influence in my life. It was 1973 when I visited him and my Aunt Loretta, another marvelous example of character in our family, in their suburban Columbus, Ohio, home. In the corner of their backyard were a set of stairs that led to a pathway across a creek. Over the creek was a snow-covered meadow and I remember distinctly walking across it even after almost 40 years. My memories, I suppose, remain so great of that walk because at the end of it was a church, St. Pius X, my aunt and uncle’s home parish.
I still remember my first Mass and the serenity and peace I felt. The feeling of calm I was left with. The newness of the worship experience.
Having been born a Southern Baptist, I was used to a somewhat different way of hearing the Word, and though I still count my childhood preacher, Brother Henry Kinkade, and Billy Graham as two major spiritual influences in my life, I will never forget the experience of that first Mass.
It would be 10 years before I was again treated to the Catholic way, when I met my wife Karen and went through RCIA.
My family never really opposed my move to Catholicism -- after all, Uncle Bill and Aunt Loretta were strongholds of the faith. When Karen and I told my parents I would be converting, though my mother had some hesitation, my father, I distinctly remember, simply said, “As long as you believe in Jesus, I don’t care how you do it.”
My Uncle Bill used to write letters, back when letter writing was how extended families communicated. Long distance charges were too much for most families, especially when they piled up every month. So my Uncle Bill would write letters and my father would sit in the living room and read them to my mom and me back in the day. And I loved those letters.
They were funny and packed with the latest from the Ohio Pattersons. (We were the Texas Pattersons).
Listening to those readings of my uncle’s letters are I am sure what gave me my initial interest in writing and the appreciation I have for the power of the written world.
It can be easily argued that Uncle Bill, then, planted the seeds in me for both my faith and my profession, although my wife Karen has been the guiding light for both these past 30 years or so.
My uncle was a huge influence in my life and was one of my heroes.
At his funeral Mass at St. Pius X last month, he taught me another lesson; a lesson that my father had long since instilled in me, but perhaps I had not remembered quite the way I should have these years.
My grandmother lost two husbands. The first, Claude Patterson, my grandfather, died of a hereditary cancer the family still deals with today. Grandma’s second husband died in what my family still only refers to as “a horrible accident in a train yard.”
When my grandmother’s second husband died, she was on her own with four children — my father, my two uncles and my aunt. My dad was already away in the Navy, and would send his military paychecks back home to help my grandmother with the essentials. As much as it helped, it wasn’t enough to handle everything, and so my Uncle Bill, still in high school, moved out and got his own apartment so there would be enough money for his mother to raise his younger brother and sister.
Perhaps an even bigger lesson in humility I was reminded of at my uncle’s funeral was his work as an engineer at North American Aviation, a company that worked with NASA. Uncle Bill held the patent on the design of an antenna that improved communications between the Apollo spacecraft and mission control. I’m sure I was told the story years ago, but it was not something we went around bragging about.
Although Uncle Bill invented the improved communications aboard the spacecraft, he was an employee of North American Aviation, and as such, a cog in the machine, if you will. He never received — or, more importantly, sought out —recognition for his achievement and technological advancement. And he never received what he deserved. Sadly, a superior took credit for his accomplishment.
Throughout much of his life, Uncle Bill constantly fought a degenerative bone disease that made it nearly impossible for him to move even from room to room without a walking aid of some sort. Yet he was diligent in whatever craft he took up and was known in our family as a man who never met a clock he couldn’t fix. He worked with great intricacy on the tiniest of pieces.
Two days before he died he fell and the frailty of what remained of his physical body could no longer take any more upheaval. The fall was thought to have directly contributed to his death on June 17.
Two of my larger-than life heroes — my father and my uncle — are now gone.
Or are they?
Both left anyone they touched with a lifetime of lessons. Both taught that humility was a gift, bestowed by God’s grace. If that humility is practiced it will lead to a life from which many can learn much.
My uncle was a writer, a humorist, and an evangelizer of the faith. He was a good husband married 60 years to Aunt Loretta and a loving father of six children. He was a veteran of the United States Navy and he was a humble man who did what was asked of him and would have never thought once about shouting about his accomplishments.
Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
In many ways, I am who I am today because of these two men who have served as great teachers.
Men of humility don’t strive to leave a mark on others, it just happens. What higher praise can be bestowed on one’s life?
By Ryan Rojo
SAN ANGELO — What does it mean to be a servant? My first thought was that we are all called to be servants (c.f. Mark 9:35). For a priest to serve his brothers and sisters flows from his baptismal character that we all share in. Fr. Barry McLean embodied this universal call to service.
I recall once needing a ride to San Angelo for a seminarian gathering. Father Barry told me that he would be willing to drive from Abilene to Odessa to pick me up and get me to San Angelo. His willingness to serve, flowing from his baptismal character, manifested itself exponentially through his priestly identity as spouse. It was out of his love for the Church (and therefore its members) that moved Fr. Barry to action. The universal call to serve was, therefore, actualized and exalted through the grace of his ordination.
The priest, while participating in the universal call to service, is engaged in some type of “super-service” through his administering of the sacraments. Fr. Robert Barron, rector-designate of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, reminds his seminarians that the priest is always standing on the edge of mystery. The priesthood, therefore, is always pointing to something that is “larger than this life.” In his administering the sacraments, the priest is making visible (although veiled) an invisible reality. By administering the sacraments, the priest is allowing the faithful to participate with grace that makes them more human. Fr. Barry, therefore, also participated uniquely through his priestly office in the service of God and man through the sacraments.
7-9 — SAN JUAN, Texas – Tex-Mex Bishops Meeting
10-12 — CORPUS CHRISTI – Kenedy Foundation Meeting
14 — SAN ANGELO, Angelo Catholic School Mass at 8:30 a.m.
15 — JACKSON, Miss., 175 Anniversary of Diocese
18-19 — AUSTIN, Catholic Conference
21 — SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center –Staff Mass, 8:30 am; Staff Meeting, 11 am, Angelo Catholic School Diocesan School Commission Meeting
22 — SAN ANGELO, Golf Tournament, for Catholic Schools
23 — EOLA, St. Philip - Mass, 8 a.m.
24-27 — CHICAGO, Extension Society Meeting
30 — FORT STOCKTON, Mass at Prison at 2:00 pm.
2 — ABILENE, Holy Family – RCIA – 6: 30 p.m.
4 — SAN ANGELO, Holy Angels – St. Francis Mass and Blessing of Animals at 8:30 a.m.
5 — SAN ANGELO, Pastoral Center – Staff Mass at 8:30 a.m. and Staff Meeting at 11:00 a.m.
7 — JUNCTION, St. Theresa – Confirmation at 9:00 a.m.
10 — CRANE, Good Shepherd - Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
11 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Mass, 6:30 p.m. to observe beginning of Year of Faith.
12 — ODESSA, St. Mary – Confirmation t 6:30 p.m.
13-15 — TULSA, Okla. — Holy Sepulchre Meeting
16-17 — SAN ANGELO, Christ the King Retreat Center – Fall Clergy Conference
18 — SWEETWATER, Immac. Heart –Confirmation at 6:30 pm
23 — CHRISTOVAL, Carmelite Hermitage – Day of Prayer
23 — BIG SPRING, Holy Trinity – Confirmation at 6:30 p.m.
25 — ABILENE, Sacred Heart – Confirmation at 6:30 pm.
27 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral - Wedding
30 — ODESSA, St. Mary – Mass for 19th Anniversary of Adoraton Chapel at 6:30 p.m.
Christ the King
10 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
11 — Adoration
14-16 — Lubbock Deacons Annual Retreat
17 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
18 — Adoration
20-23 — San Angelo Men’s ACTS Retreat
24 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
25 — Adoration
29 — Continuing Education of Deacons-Vatican II Documents
28-30 — Beginning Experience
1 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
2 — Adoration
8 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
9 — Adoration
12-14 — Engaged Encounter
14 — Natural Family Planning
15 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
16 — Adoration
16 — Deacon Quarterly Meeting
18-21 — Women’s Walk to Emmaus
22 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
23 — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
26-28 — Encounter the Cross
29 — Heart of Mercy Prayer grp
30 — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
1 — Office Closed – All Saints Day
4 — CKRC Confirmation Retreat
5 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
6 — Adoration
8-11 — San Angelo Women’s ACTS Retreat
12 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
13-15 — DOSA Good Leaders, Good Shepherds
16-18 — RCYC
19 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
20 — Adoration
22-25 — Office Closed – Thanksgiving Holiday
26 — Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
27 — Adoration
30-2 — Beginning Experience
Check our website for the latest: www.sanangelodiocese.org
4 — Deacon Thomas Lambdin (1982)
5 — Rev. William Meagher, OMI (1970)
7 — Red. Francis Schoutteten, OMI (2002)
8 — Deacon Simon Franco (2008)
15 — Rev. James Norman, OMI (1987)
21 — Rev. Deacon Blake (1989)
Job Announcement: Teacher
ODESSA — St. Mary’s Central Catholic School is currently looking for a 3rd grade teacher. The candidate must hold a valid teaching license and at least a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, preferably with a specialization in Math and Science. Please call the school for more information 432.337.6052.
Soldiers of Christ Men’s Conference
MIDLAND — The West Texas Catholic Men’s Organization welcomes Jesse Romero and Robert Rogers to the inaugural Soldiers of Christ Men’s Conference, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Registration begins at 8 a.m.), Saturday, October 6, at St. Stephen’s Church in Midland. Early Registration is $25. Registration at the door on the day of the event, $35. A continental breakfast and lunch is included in the price of the registration.
For more information, visit www.wtxmen.com or call: Tommy Flores, 432.349.2236 or Rey Sanchez, 432.260.7776.
Cathedral pilgrimage to Italy
SAN ANGELO — The Cathedral will sponsor its annual pilgrimage to Italy from January 2-11, 2013, led by Msgr. Voity. Pilgrims will be spending time in Assisi, Florence, Pisa, Rome and the Vatican. The group will also participate in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Space is limited and some departures are available out of Midland. Reservations are first-come, first-served. For more information, call the Cathedral Offices at 658-6567.
Holy Angels tour of Ireland
SAN ANGELO — Holy Angels is hosting a 10 day "Treasures of Ireland" tour from July 8-17, 2013. Cities visited will include: Dublin, Glendalough, Cobh, Kinsale, Cork, Kenmare, Adare, Limerick, Connemara and Galway. Travel the Ring of Kerry! See St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, the Book of Kells, the Rock of Cashel, the Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, and Castles! For more information, call Lori Hines at 325-942-8192. If you would like a brochure emailed to you, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEAS pilgrimage to Italy
ODESSA — Join the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Choir and Parish on a ten-day pilgrimage to Majestic Italy, March 5-14, 2013. Attend various sung liturgies, including the Solemn Mass at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and the opportunity to sing for the Holy Father during his weekly general audience.
In addition to singing and celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Choir will also perform a formal, public concert at the Church of St. Ignatius for the City of Rome. Besides offering unique liturgical and musical opportunities, this pilgrimage will take us to the sacred sites of our Catholic faith, including the Sistine Chapel, and to pray at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, in St. Sebastian’s Chapel. We will also take in the historic venues of Rome, including the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. Visiting Venice, Padua, Florence, Livorno and Assisi will certainly round out what promises to be a spiritually rewarding and altogether unforgettable experience.
The package cost is $3,195.00 plus taxes and fuel surcharges.For more information or to obtain a brochure, contact Christopher Wilcox at 432-367-4657 or seasmusicodessa@ gmail.com, or Peter’s Way Tours at 1-800-225-7662.
Harvest of Hope, Peace and Joy
FORT WORTH — Catholic Divorce Ministry (CDM) presents Harvest of Hope, Peace, and Joy, its International Conference and Leadership Seminars; open to all who have experienced divorce or loss of a relationship and those who minister to them.
Learn to laugh with friends and peers as you journey toward wholeness, healing, growth, wisdom and peace! With a focus on spirituality, this conference offers knowledgeable speakers and variety of topics plus a rich array of activities, workshops, and people who understand that God never abandons us. International Conference and Leadership Seminars at Diocese of Fort Worth — Campus of St. Ann Catholic Church, 100 SW Alsbury Blvd., Burleson, TX 76028, October 4–6, 2012.
The 2012 theme is Harvest of Hope, Peace, and Joy! Keynote speaker will be Bishop Kevin Vann, JCD, DD. He was ordained and installed as the third bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth TX in July 2005 and has served as the US Conference of Catholic Bishop Episcopal Liaison to Catholic Divorce Ministry since May 2010.
The entire CDM Board of Directors is committed to offering an affordable, valuable, and memorable experience. We hope we can count on your commitment to join us!
Conference details and registration information is available at www.nacsdc.org.
The Angelus publishes the execution dates of Texas offenders on death row each month so that the faithful in the Diocese of San Angelo can pray for them. The following offenders face upcoming execution dates. Please pray for them as well as the victims, families and all who are affected by violence:
Offender/Scheduled Execution Day
Marcus Druery / August 1
Ramon Hernandez / November 14
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
In less than two months, the Standard-Times has featured another article by Bonnie Erbe—she seems to be a favorite of the local paper—in which Bonnie once again tries to link the US Catholic Church leaders to a political party as regards the question of the Obama Administration’s proposed insurance mandate that would force Americans to violate their conscience and the religious liberty that is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Once again we call on our local paper to feature a national column on the true Catholic position as regards the health care mandate of President Obama that violates religious freedom and would force churches and religious organizations to provide abortion-induced drugs and devices, as well as surgical sterilization and contraception in their insurance plans.
In this column, we want to outline clearly what is the correct Catholic Church position on the Obama Administration’s recent compromising statement on insurance coverage that does not meet the standards of respecting religious liberty and moral convictions of all the stakeholders in the health coverage transaction.
The Catholic Church remains fully committed to defense of our religious liberty, and we strongly protest the violation of our freedom of religion that has not been addressed. Violation of our religious freedom is at the center of this vital issue.
The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services has received wide attention and has been met with vigorous and united opposition. In an unprecedented way, the federal government will both force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their moral teaching and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. This amounts to an unjust law. An unjust law cannot be obeyed. It must be pointed out loudly and clearly that this is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, and abortifacient drugs even it that violates their religious beliefs. So that she doesn’t make other false assumptions, Bonnie Erbe needs to read clearly the latest Catholic statement on this important matter of conscience and religious freedom.
The debate is not about access to contraception, nor is it about religious freedom of Catholics only, but also those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops “banning contraception” when the U.S.Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. This is not about women’s health care—which we want for them and all men. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything. Rather, it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church, consisting of its Faithful and its institutions—to act against Church teaching. This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been the concern of the Bishops Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding. This is not as Erbe would want to characterize it—about a Republican, Democratic, a Conservative or Liberal issue – it is an American issue.
At the heart of this issue is that the government has no place defining religion and religious ministry.. The government would want to create and enforce a new distinction—alien both to our Catholic tradition and to federal law--between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors—namely the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in schools and universities, and others in need, of any faith community or none.
The health mandate forced by the government is an error in theory—an error that has great consequences in principle and practice. It violates basic principles of morality, and violates the practice of freedom of religion as understood in the First Amendment.
At the basis of the Church’s position on this critical issue is the teaching about religious liberty. The human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom comes from God, not from any human being. This freedom means that all people are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of a social group, or any human power, in such ways that in matters of religion, no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her own beliefs—This right of human persons to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus, it is to become a civil right.
A recent letter to President Obama from some sixty religious leaders, including Christians of many denominations and Jews, argued that “It is emphatically not only Catholics who deeply object to the requirement that health plans they purchase must provide coverage of contraception that includes some that are abortifacients.”
Let it be said loudly and clearly as regards this issue – that we do not seek a sacred public square which gives special privileges and benefits to religious citizens. Rather, we seek a civil public square, where all citizens can make their contributions to the common good. At our best, we might call this an American public square.
Never before has the federal government used its power to violate religious liberty in the way it is happening now, insisting that religious organizations pay for programs that violate their moral convictions.
A decade after drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom. In it, he stated: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”