March 2020 Texas Catholic Voice
In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon discusses TCCB work during the pandemic...
- Director of Education Lisette Allen shares message to Catholic schools...
- Texas Catholic Historical Society participates in annual meeting
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
I sincerely hope and pray our TCV readers and their loved ones are faring well physically, emotionally, and spiritually as we shelter in place and everyone does their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Like many of you, the TCCB staff is working from home, and we are grateful for the blessings of technology that make this a possibility. Our archivist is moving forward with digitization by scanning microfilm of the sacramental records from dioceses across the state. Our Director of Education is working with the superintendents on the many challenges facing Catholic schools due to COVID-19, and the policy staff continues to engage in advocacy efforts, especially relating to the current pandemic.
On the Feast of the Annunciation the Catholic bishops of Texas released the pastoral statement, “An Annunciation Message of Hope” reassuring us that “while we are facing so many unknowns, we can be certain of God’s faithfulness.” We will continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance in all our work while reflecting on Pope Francis’ words in his extraordinary Urbi et Orbi address last Friday: “Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.”
We commend Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for taking measures to enforce the executive order halting unnecessary procedures such as abortions. This action will help protect unborn life and ensure needed supplies and PPE (personal protective equipment) are available to healthcare providers to preserve their lives, too. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing the ban, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his decision and the ban on abortions has been temporarily reinstated. Also in regard to healthcare amid this pandemic, a majority of the bishops have released a statement on the allocation of scarce healthcare resources and we are collaborating with coalition members to convey to Governor Abbott the urgent need for ethically sound Mass Critical Care Guidelines.
A Message from Lisette Allen, Director of Education
“I offer this prayer to you. It is very short, only three words, they are the opening words to the wonderful prayer, Veni, Sancte Spiritus. In English, of course, this is, 'Come Holy Spirit.' When the Lord left his apostles, a very confused group, he simply told them: 'Don’t worry, I will not leave you orphans, I am sending you the Holy Spirit.' We call on Him and those three simple words, 'Come Holy Spirit,' to bring us an infallible answer to whatever problems we face, both to see what we should do and to have the strength to do it.”
These words of the late Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh have been a great comfort to me as the events of the past few weeks have unfolded. Our Catholic schools are being challenged in ways never imagined and I am truly in awe of the response of the superintendents, principals, teachers, staff, and parents and students. I am especially grateful I have the privilege of working alongside such an amazing group of dedicated Catholic school leaders who know absolutely no boundaries when it comes to the spiritual and educational needs of their communities. They are navigating through this crisis admirably and preparing for the future in creative ways to continue the indispensable mission of Catholic education. Through the charitable and cooperative effort of everyone, I believe we will emerge stronger from this crisis with a renewed appreciation and zeal for our Catholic schools.
Texas Catholic Historical Society Annual Meeting
Every year the Texas Catholic Historical Society (TCHS), whose goal is to foster the study and preservation of the Catholic experience in Texas and the Southwest, hosts a panel of historians at the annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). This year’s event took place on Feb. 28, at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin. The panel presentation entitled “’Good Morning Sister’: The Influence of Catholic Educators in Texas and the Southwest,” focused on the historical role of women religious in education. Dr. Petra Munro Hendry, a professor at Louisiana State University, discussed the impact of French women religious on the Gulf Coast in the 19th century. Dr. Amanda Bresie, a teacher at Greenhill School in Dallas, spoke on St. Katharine Drexel and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions; and Stephanie L. Lang, program administrator for the Center for Community Engagement at the University of Texas, examined the legacy of Holy Cross Catholic School in East Austin.
The meeting also included an awards presentation. TCHS President Claudia Anderson presented the Castañeda Award to Sister Madeleine Grace, CVI, the past president of the Society, for her active support of TCHS. Catholic Southwest editor Dr. Richard Fossey presented the Foik Award celebrating an outstanding book on Catholic history and the Southwest to Peter Guardino for his book, The Dead March: A History of the Mexican American War. Dr. Fossey also presented the Foley award for the best article published this year in the Catholic Southwest to Claudia Anderson for her article, “Seeking Solace: Lyndon B. Johnson Turned to the Catholic Church.”
Next year’s TCHS meeting will take place on March 5 during the annual TSHA meeting being held at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth. The Society offers opportunities to meet others interested in history, to present papers to a scholarly audience, and to publish in its journal. Those interested in TCHS are encouraged to visit the Society’s new website at: https://txcatholic.org/historical-society/.
Upcoming Texas Executions
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."
UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the state of Texas granted a 60-day stay to Tracy Beatty and John Hummel who were scheduled to be executed in March. At this time, the orders for execution of Fabian Hernandez and Billy Wardlow have not been stayed and remain on schedule for April. Click on their names to the left to voice your opposition and plead for clemency.
The Pope's April Intention
Freedom from Addiction
We pray that those suffering from addiction may be helped and accompanied.
The Texas Catholic Voice is a publication of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. For more information, write email@example.com or call 512-339-9882.