Bishop’s Note: Dynamic Tore Anderson, a young Catholic university student at St. Edward’s University in Austin is a member of the Diocese of San Angelo. Some five years ago when I formed the Peace Ambassadors for San Angelo—made up of Christians, Muslims and Jews— Tore stepped forward and offered herself to be a Junior Peace Ambassador. She is indeed a wonderful Peace Ambassador for Christ even since her early teenage years. I asked her to share her story with all of you of how she was touched by the Holy Spirit. –Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
By Tore Anderson
“Rooted”- (Adj.) Being firmly implanted.
When you think of the word rooted, images of lush green plants with mile long roots come to mind. Picture seas of leaves and flowers, blooming with water drawn from the strongest to the thinnest of roots, all interconnecting to bring nourishment. Now, think of Arizona. Do you see these plants? Or do you see a dry barren landscape? Interestingly enough, the theme of the annual Stuebenville Conference in Tucson, Arizona was Rooted. Rooted, firmly implanted, in faith is a very powerful thing. Within the three days of attending the Stuebenville Conference, the course of my life was dramatically altered by the Holy Spirit.
First, let me start off with a little background on myself, and the actual conference. My name is Tore Anderson. I just graduated from Central High School this year, and I am attending St. Edward’s University in Austin in the fall. This year was my third year to attend the Stuebenville Conference, lovingly called Stubie by all those who attend it. Stubie is put on by the Franciscan University of Stuebenville in Ohio. The conference has a new theme every year and is targeted toward teenagers. There are many different conferences, and the best one is in Arizona! The praise and worship is at a concert level, and it has lovingly been put that you can act like a Baptist at Stubie! Stubie is centered around the Eucharist and Adoration, while still fitting in relevant talks for girls and boys on how to live a more fulfilling life in Christ.
I went to Stubie for the third year in a row with the Sacred Heart Youth Group. Before the conference we spend a couple days in Arizona with Our Mother of Sorrows Youth Group to do various service projects around the Tucson area. My group was chosen to paint fences and lay gravel for an apartment complex. The manager of the apartments and a resident did nothing but praise us for our good deeds, and like any practicing Catholic knows, good deeds go hand in hand with faith. There is nothing like doing something good for others to help you appreciate your faith and the love God shows us on a daily basis. So even before attending the actual conference, I was already in a great mood from doing my part to help a community in need. Every day we had been going to daily mass and receiving the Eucharist, which is one of the most important things we can do as a Catholic. What sets us apart from other religions is the belief that in the Eucharist what we are consuming is actually Christ! We are becoming one with Jesus for that split second, and inviting him to heal our hearts and speak to us. The Eucharist is a powerful tool and the most sacred part of our Mass.
But I know what you really want to hear! How did the Holy Spirit alter my life!? No, I wasn’t cured of cancer on my trip. And no, I didn’t raise out of a wheel chair. But the Holy Spirt did rock my world... Like I mentioned before, we had been going to daily masses where I had partaken in the Eucharist. Well, while Jesus was briefly within me, I began to pray, and really ask God where he was calling me to. All my life I had wanted to be a teacher. Heck! My major was primary education! But suddenly, the more I reflected in Mass, I started to get an inkling that possibly God was calling me to do bigger and better things with my life.. But of course, I am 18 (I think I’m an adult, but don’t tell my parents that!) and I decided that I was probably just having the normal second doubts... Wrong!
The second day of Stubie, we had the most AMAZING Adoration. As you all know, Adoration is a time of meditation and prayer while the blessed sacrament is present in the monstrance. Kneeling on the hard concrete floor (another Stubie saying- pain is a form of prayer) I said the three most dangerous words anyone could pray: Come Holy Spirit. I asked the Holy Spirit to come into my life, and guide me on the path that God wanted for me. Anyone who has said those three words will tell you, it RUINS your life, but that’s just it. It was YOUR life. Not God’s life. Right there in that auditorium full of a thousand Catholic youths, singing praises and lifting their hearts up in adoration for Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came to me and told me exactly where I needed to be. The first day of Stubie we saw a slideshow. A little promotional for the Franciscan University. Of course I wasn’t paying too much attention, I was already thinking about what we would be served for dinner.. But in that slideshow they interviewed a man who was studying to be a theology major. Well... Maybe I should have listened to his interview. Surprisingly enough, the Holy Spirit ironically informed me, the girl the who was thinking about lasagna, that I was called by God to be a theology major.
THEOLOGY?? I was all set to be a third grade teacher! I wrote it on all my scholarships, and I had just gotten back from orientation where I signed up for my fundamentals of education class. The funny thing about the Holy Spirit is it doesn’t care what YOU had planned. In all reality, I am living out God’s plan. Not my own. Was it hard to accept the different path I was called to? You betcha. I had to go home and tell my mother that after church camp I was suddenly called to change my major!? That’s a scary thought! I literally had to be rooted in my faith, and trust that if I took this leap of faith into the wind, my roots in Christ would keep me standing firm and steadfast. So I did. Literally four days after I got back from Stubie, I told my mom, called my school (I’m officially majoring in Religious and Theological Studies, thank you very much!), and visited my long time friend, Bishop Mike to tell him about this amazing calling and my amazing leap of faith. So here I am now, writing an article upon request of the Bishop, sharing with you complete strangers how the Holy Spirit knocked down every plan I had made for my future, yet firmly and deeply planted its roots within me.
Being Catholic, having faith in Christ, is something that I treasure so deeply, especially in today’s world. At Stubie, I got to hear stories of martyrs, some as young as 14 and 10, who had such great faith they laid down their lives for Christ. And here I am, complaining about changing my major! If there is anything you can take away from reading this article, I hope that you can understand my complete trust in God. I took a leap of faith, and I landed on my feet! Putting all your trust in God is the first step in planting roots. At first they are the tiniest roots, that need nurturing, caring, and knowledge. Go to Mass! Take the Eucharist! Pray! Go to Adoration! Read the Catechism (I recommend the YouCat for all teenagers). Take steps to deepen your faith, and pretty soon your roots won’t be so thin, but they will implant themselves into the ground you have cultivated and deepen, helping you grow into a strong and firm tree, whose branches eventually stretch out and touch the heavens
Galveston-Houston Archbishop Daniel DiNardo, first Texan to be named a cardinal to be homilist, hold news conference in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO -- The 50th anniversary of the Diocese of San Angelo will mark the first time a cardinal has ever visited West Texas. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, and the first-ever cardinal from the state of Texas, will serve as homilist at the anniversary Mass, at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 16, 2011, at the San Angelo Coliseum.
“It is a joyful time for your diocese, an occasion to celebrate your growth in faith and in numbers, growth in sacramental ministry and outreach,” DiNardo said in a letter to the people of the Diocese of San Angelo. “It is also a joyful time to see the beautiful communion that the Diocese of San Angelo has with all other local churches in Texas, both those that preceded your establishment, as well as those that have come to be after you and even from you. It is most joyful to know your intense communion, loyalty and affection for the Holy Father and the Church of Rome.”
In addition to DiNardo serving as homilist for the Mass, the cardinal will also be joined by Most Rev. Joseph Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston and the fourth Bishop of San Angelo; Most Rev. Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, and the Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, current Bishop of San Angelo, at a press conference, at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2011, at the San Angelo Fairfield Inn, 1459 Knickerbocker Road. (Note: The press conference will be the only occasion where the cardinal will be available to speak with the media.)
“Though we are separated by many miles, our ties draw us close together,” DiNardo said. “Our Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza was raised to the episcopacy for the Diocese of San Angelo in 1979 before being appointed to lead the Galveston-Houston diocese. Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, who served as Auxiliary Bishop and Chancellor for our Archdiocese, was ordained to the priesthood in San Angelo. This Metropolitan Church is very grateful to you for nurturing faithful Christian shepherds for our local Church.
“As you mark this milestone in your diocese’s history, be assured of our continued prayers for your success in building up the Lord’s Church in Texas. May God bless Bishop Michael Pfeifer, your 73 parishes and each of you as you continue to serve the Lord’s people for years to come. “
-- Jimmy Patterson, Director of Communication, Diocese of San Angelo
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
The annual celebration of Family Day, focusing on eating together as a family, is celebrated every year on the fourth Monday of September, which this year is September 26. Parents, mark this special day on your calendars and plan a wonderful dinner together with your children. I encourage all of our parishes to celebrate this day, as it is a unique way to give life to our number one diocesan priority—Family Life and Marriage.
Parents, dinner time is the perfect time to connect with your kids on a daily basis. Through the reflective prayers said during grace plus the array of favorite meals served and the loads of laughs shared about the day’s events, you can help continually feed your child’s mind, body and soul.
Family Day is a national movement that encourages parents to frequently eat dinner with their children. The parental engagement fostered during your frequent family dinners can also help keep your kids substance free. More than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.
Moms and Dads, here is a guide -- the Family Day Star Pledge -- to bring families together:
Spend time with your kids by having dinner together;
Talk to them about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol;
Answer their questions and listen to what they say;
Recognize that YOU have the power to keep your kids substance-free!
More information on Family Day/Pg. 14.
By Fr. Barry Mclean
Diocesan Liturgy Committee
Many of the words of the Mass were first used by the apostles, saints, Church fathers, drawn from the scrolls of the Hebrew Scriptures, written and oral Tradition of the Church. Some are the words of Jesus Christ and others of those who followed Him. Through the centuries, the faithful have given their lives to say those words. They have also given their lives to ensure that the right words were said.
For all those reasons and more, the words of the Mass matter. They matter a great deal. That is why the forthcoming changes to the English translation is serious business that calls for a bit of time and study to be understood.
I downloaded the priest’s words and the people’s words from the USCCB website and made copies for a group of people. I read the priest part and they read the people’s parts. When we finished the reading, we begin to explore the meaning and spirituality of the words. Some of the news words are, “And with your Spirit,” “consubstantiation,” and “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” These words are catechetical moments.
One reaction to the new missal’s Confiteor “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” was, ‘Here we go again with the old-fashioned guilt.’ However, that is not what is happening.
The priest part in the beginning of the Penitential Rite has also changed. The old calls upon the people to “acknowledge our failures”; where as the new is to “acknowledge our sins.”
The point of the word “sins” is not to make us feel bad about ourselves; rather it is to have us speak truthfully about ourselves. That God loves us even though we have grievous fault (sin). Our God is a God of mercy who died for us and who loves us no matter what. Therefore, the word reminds us who we truly are and calls us to gratefulness for the gift of our salvation. We are all in need of salvation. We are all broken. We all are in need of love, forgiveness and healing. We are all called to humility for everything is a gift from God. Humility is where perfection begins, which leads to dying to self (charity) for our brothers and sisters – the good and the bad alike.
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
Everyday we are seeing more and more heartbreaking news about the drought and famine in Somalia and the eastern parts of Africa. We see millions of people being forced from their homes, leaving behind what meager possessions they had and walking for days over rough terrain searching for food and water. They are suffering from hunger, thirst, disease and drought.
There are parents whose little children have died, and children who have been orphaned. Parents fleeing the devastating famine on foot, sometimes with many children in tow, are having to make unimaginably cruel choices; which children have the best chance to survive when food and water run low? Who should be left behind? The United States estimates that more than 29,000 Somalia children under age 5 have died in the famine in the last 3 months.
Our sisters and brothers of the Body of Christ in Africa are suffering from hunger, thirst, disease, poverty, sickness and drought. It is a humanitarian crisis that cries out for help from Christians throughout the world. Our Holy Father, on several occasions, has asked Catholics to respond generously to the desperate needs of our brothers and sisters in East Africa and Somalia.
My sisters and brothers of the Diocese of San Angelo, I once again turn to you, pleading for your financial help and spiritual support for those in this current tragic situation. Our generosity could literally feed thousands and provide them clean water, shelter and other life-saving goods. I ask you to consider making a financial offering and to offer your prayers for the millions of starving people in Africa. You can send your donation directly to the Diocese—designated for the starving in Africa—or put it in the collection of your local parish, designating it for the starving in Africa. As soon as your assistance is received by the Diocese, every penny will be sent to help these millions of people who are on the verge of dying of starvation. Above all, pray for them in our Masses and all our prayers. Thank you for your past generosity. God’s peace.
St. Ann's Fall Festival
St. Ann's Catholic Church -- Colorado City
Mitchell County Ag Barns
October 7, 2011
Raffle, Food, Games, Prizes!
(The Angelus inadvertently left the above event out of the Fall Festival listings this month and last. We regret the omission. Please visit the St. Ann's Fall Festival in Colorado City this year.)
By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A decade after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, led to a backlash against Muslims, many Americans are still uncomfortable with followers of Islam and think its teachings are at odds with American values.
Slim majorities of the people polled this summer by the Public Religion Research Institute say Muslims are an important part of the U.S. religious community and that they are comfortable with Muslim women wearing burqas or Muslim men praying in public in an airport. Those majorities were less than 55 percent in each category.
The report released Sept. 6 by the Brookings Institution, which partnered with the religion institute for the study, noted similarities to how Catholics and Mormons were treated in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
"Throughout American history... immigrants professing faiths outside the existing mainstream have tested the commitment to religious liberty," said the report, "What It Means To Be An American."
It noted that Mormons' endorsement of polygamy was seen as an affront to marriage and a threat to democracy, leading to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being "hounded" to "the brink of legal extinction by the 1890s."
Antipathy toward Catholics went deeper, the report said in an analysis of the data by Brookings fellows E.J. Dionne and William A. Galston.
"Catholicism aroused two fears," they said, "that its theological principles were incompatible with liberal democracy and that it required transnational loyalties to a 'foreign potentate' (the pope) that took precedence over American citizenship."
It took American Catholics a century to allay those fears, the pair noted. And part of that included the reinterpretation of Catholic teaching by the Second Vatican Council "to eliminate the elements least compatible with liberal democracy... the tendency toward theocracy and reservations about freedom of religion and conscience."
The study also found a double standard for how people judge whether those who commit violence in the name of religion really represent that faith.
A large majority -- 83 percent -- told researchers they do not think self-identified Christians who commit violence in the name of Christianity are really Christian. But when it comes to self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of violence, less than half -- 48 percent -- say the perpetrators are not really Muslim.
Galston and Dionne drew parallels to previous generations when, in times of world war, German- and Japanese-Americans were subjected to intense persecution. Some of that was fostered by the government, they noted, such as when more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forced from their homes into concentration camps.
"Respect for civil liberties is more entrenched than it once was," observed Galston and Dionne, "and the large flow of immigrants since the mid-1960s has accustomed younger Americans to a more diverse society. Muslims in America have benefited from these trends."
They noted that despite "highly publicized outbursts from some localities and candidates for political office, more than three in five Americans reject the contention that American Muslims want to establish Shariah as the law of the land."
Still, in just the past six months, the study found an increasing number of people believe Muslims want to establish Islamic law in the United States. The figure grew from 23 percent of the general public in February to 30 percent in August. Among Republicans, 45 percent say Muslims want Shariah law in the U.S., up from 31 percent in February. Twenty-two percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents agreed that Muslims want Shariah, up from 15 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in February.
At a news conference where the report was released, Robert Jones, founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, said there were 49 bills introduced in 2011 in 22 state legislatures aimed at heading off the introduction of Shariah-based law in local statutes or its use in courts.
Also at the news conference, Muqtedar Khan, associate professor in political science and international relations at the University of Delaware, said the figure that 47 percent of Americans disapprove of Muslims and Islam has remained constant for many years. But what has changed is that now, instead of saying they disapprove because of terrorism, more people are replying that Shariah is the reason they disapprove of the religion.
Khan said that's especially disheartening because "it's never going to disappear," since "living by the Shariah is an important aspect of Muslims' faith." He gave the example of following the Ramadan practices of fasting, prayer and charitable giving that are laid out in Islamic law as a typical way Muslims follow the law. "Because of that we are going to have a perennial problem."
"I sometimes wonder if those who disapprove of Shariah, if they find out murder is prohibited, will they approve," he said. He likened the possibility of American Muslims being able to implement Shariah law in the United States to the efforts by some Christians to enact elements of Christian teachings against abortion and same-sex marriage.
After decades of trying to make those illegal and not succeeding, even with the strong majorities Christians hold in legislatures and Congress, Khan questioned how people expect Muslims to enact the whole of Shariah law in the United States when they constitute less than 2 percent of the population.
"Muslims have failed to enact the Shariah in countries where they have 100 percent Muslim population," he said. "The point is really Shariah is just a prop to say we don't like Islam and Muslims."
The survey was based on 2,450 phone interviews in English and Spanish conducted in the first two weeks of August. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points for the general sample.
By Deacon Charlie Evans
Diocesan Liturgy Committee
Are you ready for the new Roman Missal changes? On the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, all Catholic Churches in the United States will begin using a revised translation of the book of prayers for Mass (formerly referred to as the Sacramentary).
The Order of the Mass is not changing, but you will notice changes to some of our now-familiar prayers and responses.
People for the most part do not like changes. Most of the time changes are good and this is one of those times.
Words affect our lives. How we say and hear words effect how we react to life: the way we live, pray, and believe. The revised translation of the Roman Missal can convey images that can help us express our feelings of praise and thanks to God in new ways for all God does for us.
We should each be very excited to pray this revised translation when it is ready since it will give greater meaning to the call for “Full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy” (CSL, 14), in the constitution on the sacred liturgy, one of the documents from the second Vatican council.
Change, as we all know, is part of life. We also are not the Catholic people we were only a few years ago. I am sure that both you and I have grown in our holiness and in our faith and understanding of God.
After praying the same words of the Mass for so many years, both the priest and the people will have the opportunity to be more conscious of the words they pray. This can be a time for us to commit ourselves to be more active in the Mass. We aren’t bystanders; we are part of the Mass. We are the Church.
Richer meanings of the words and allusions to Scripture may be heard in a new spiritual way, one which transforms our hearts, drawing us closer to Christ and to each other. As a parish, we can grow spiritually from this experience. One of the goals of the revised translation of the Roman Missal is to increase our awareness of Christ’s presence in the sacred liturgy.
The Second Vatican Council, in its Decree on the Sacred Liturgy, said this: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy and to which Christian people (who are) a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people, have a right and (an) obligation by reason of their baptism.”
So, our full, conscious and active participation in the mass is not merely a right. We are obliged, by our baptism, to share in it fully, consciously and actively. We are not simply to be there while mass is going on; we need and should be part of the Mass.
The Mass is tremendous. The Mass is beautiful. The Mass is absolutely wonderful because it is the power of God’s presence among us. God’s holy people. That presence does not depend on us but, if that presence is going to be more fully effective, it needs me and you to take part in the Mass fully, actively and consciously.
I found a beautiful prayer (at left) that can help us as we experience how we change the way we pray.
Editor’s Note: The following letter was submitted to newspapers throughout the diocese on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
911. For years those numbers simply meant a call for help. The 10th anniversary of 9/11/01 marking the date of the worst terrorist attack on the United States of America is a time of much reflection and remembrance.
Ten years later, thousands still suffer from the wounds of that deadly day and feel many strong emotions. The Memorial Monument in San Angelo unites us in solidarity and prayer for the thousands of victims and their families as we also honor the selflessness of firefighters, law enforcement people, medical, health and social workers, chaplains, and other brave individuals who gave and risked their lives in the service of others.
Sacred Scripture and traditional ethical principles teach us how to respond justly to terrorism and that it is wrong to use religion as a cover for political, economic or ideological causes.
As people of faith we mark this anniversary by pledging ourselves to promote justice and peace by making:
4A time for prayer and service: we pray for the victims and their families; for the military, for world leaders, for an end to violence; we serve our neighbors in need.
4A time for dialogue: this is a time to engage in dialogue with Muslims, Jews, fellow Christians.
4A time for witness and solidarity: to promote together values of mutual respect, human dignity, respect for life and security without resorting to discrimination and violence.
4A time for hope: placing our trust in God, seeking God’s mercy, we offer mercy and forgiveness to others, realizing this does not absolve from responsibility. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
The Diocese of San Angelo will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sunday, October 16, 2011, with thousands of parishioners in the diocese assembled for the celebration at 11 a.m., at the San Angelo Coliseum. Joining the faithful will be 15 bishops and archbishops and one cardinal from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The list of bishops confirming their attendance at the weekend celebration includes:
The visit by Cardinal DiNardo, principal celebrant of the Mass, will mark the first time a cardinal has ever visited the Diocese of San Angelo. DiNardo is the first cardinal ever named from the state of Texas by the Vatican.
-- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Diocese of Galveston-Houston (principal celebrant of the anniversary Mass)
-- Archbishop Paul Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma
-- Bishop Douglas Deshotel, Diocese of Dallas
-- Bishop Kevin Farrell, Diocese of Dallas
-- Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (4th Bishop of San Angelo)
-- Bishop Charles Grahmann, Diocese of Dallas
-- Bishop Ronald Herzog, Diocese of Alexandria, La.
-- Bishop Armando Ochoa, Diocese of El Paso
-- Bishop Raymond Pena, Diocese of Brownsville
-- Bishop Placido Rodriguez, Diocese of Lubbock
-- Bishop James Tamayo, Diocese of Laredo
-- Bishop Kevin Vann, Diocese of Fort Worth
-- Bishop Joe Vasquez, Diocese of Austin (former priest, Diocese of San Angelo)
-- Bishop John Yanta, Diocese of San Angelo
-- Bishop Patrick Zurek, Archdiocese of San Antonio