In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon addresses resuming public masses...
- Archivist Selena Aleman provides a Catholic Archives of Texas update...
- May is the month of Mary...
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
The TCCB staff is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and the policy implications. This week, Governor Greg Abbott announced he will let the stay-at-home order expire and begin a phased re-opening of Texas in May. He also provided joint guidance with the attorney general that will help faith communities in their decision-making as to when and how to re-open.
The bishops and our priests are acutely aware of the pain and sacrifices you and your families are making in the midst of this pandemic as public worship is limited. They also recognize there remain challenging questions regarding measures to expand access to the sacraments for the lay faithful in a way that ensures the protection of human life, especially for the most vulnerable, in a manner consistent with and respectful of liturgical norms, while also respecting appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices.
In that regard, the bishops and dioceses remain in communication with state, local, and public health officials to determine and develop appropriate plans to resume public celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The geographical breadth of our state, varying regional incidents of COVID-19, demographic differences, and other factors do not allow for a “one-size-fits-all” approach for Texas, therefore these decisions must be made locally with respect for the Catholic principle of subsidiarity.
I look forward to the day when we can all join together as the body of Christ and receive the Eucharist with our families and friends again. Until that time, please pray for our bishops, our priests, religious, and lay leaders as they minister to their communities and prayerfully discern the way forward.
Catholic Archives of Texas Update
In 1948, Carlos E. Castaneda, a historian at the University of Texas at Austin, transferred materials collected in archives across the United States, Mexico, and Spain to the care of Bishop Lawrence FitzSimon of Amarillo. Castaneda, along with members of the Knights of Columbus Historical Commission, collected source material for 20 years, to write a comprehensive history of the Church for the Texas Centennial. Eventually, Castaneda published a seven-volume account, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936, documenting the establishment of the Church and Catholic contributions to the state. Today, the materials collected by Castaneda serve as the most prominent collection for the Catholic Archives of Texas (CAT).
Beginning in 2019, the CAT has shifted its focus to providing greater access to its materials. The CAT archivist has begun to contribute collection guides to the Texas Archival Resources Online to make the archive’s collections more accessible to researchers. Over time, a collection guide or finding aid will be published for every collection. Finding aids will serve as a "table of contents;" however, items will not be available for online publication at this time. Also forthcoming is a guide for those interested in donating collections and information for those interested in researching existing collections.
Honoring Mary in May
May is traditionally the month of Mary and this year, due to the devastating impact of coronavirus across the world, there is a heightened need for Mary's powerful intercession. On May 1, the US and Canadian bishops will be reconsecrating the two nations to the Blessed Mother under the title, "Mary, Mother of the Church." Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated in a letter to his brother bishops, “This will give the Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell, and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus.” In 1792, Bishop John Carroll dedicated the United States to the Immaculate Conception and in 1846, all of the US bishops consecrated America to Mary under the title "Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States." Canada was previously consecrated to Mary in 1954 and in 2017, on the occasion of the country's 150th birthday.
Pope Francis, in his letter on the month of May, has asked that everyone "rediscover the beauty of praying the rosary at home" and has included two special prayers to say at the end of the rosary.
In the News
Upcoming Texas Executions
- Randall Mays - 5/13/20*
Please join our bishops in praying for those scheduled for execution, for the victims of violent crimes and for all affected, including their families and communities. As the bishops of Texas wrote in their pastoral letter, "May God give us the grace to witness to the dignity of human life. May the Lord console the suffering, protect our community, and grant conversion to those responsible for the inflicting of death and violence upon others."
* Due to Covid-19, the last six executions in Texas have been postponed. Randall Mays' execution may also be rescheduled.
The Pope's May Intention
We pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.