In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon reviews Respect Life Month....
- School accreditation visits begin...
- Comment letter regarding proposed SNAP rule changes...
- News from the Archives...
- and more...
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
October is Respect Life Month for the Catholic Church in the United States and we hope you will take extra time to pray and work for greater reverence for human life, from the first moment of conception to the final breath of life on earth. Our Gospel calls us to live our life to its fullest, which includes recognition of the inherent dignity of all stages of human life.
This is the foundational principle of all of our advocacy work in the Church. We begin with our continued advocacy to end the tragedy of abortion. In many cities in Texas the 40 Days for Life campaign is underway. Look for an opportunity to spend one hour in prayer for the unborn as a part of this powerful campaign of prayer and action.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides resources (timelines, homily helps, announcements, activities, etc.) to help parishes, schools, families, ministries, and individual Catholics share the Gospel of Life during Respect Life Month and throughout the year.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of USCCB Respect Life Committee, tells us, “This year’s theme, Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life, is particularly suited for the times in which we live. The attacks against human life seem to grow more numerous and callous by the day. Despite these challenges, we know that Christ has conquered sin and death once and for all. Through our Christian hope in the Resurrection, we are given the grace to persevere in faith. Our sacrifices on behalf of the Gospel of Life can contribute to the redemption of this current culture of death.”
As we enter Respect Life Month, Texas is also increasing the number of executions in the coming weeks. We must continue our prayer and work to end this practice in Texas. Catholic Mobilizing Network has a Respect Life Month toolkit which offers Catholic parishes and groups opportunities to include the death penalty in their Respect Life Month activities through education, advocacy, and prayer.
If you are hesitant about incorporating information on the death penalty in your Respect Life Month activities, one easy way is to include those on death row, their victims, and their family members in the Prayers of the Faithful. Praying for those impacted by the death penalty is a simple action perhaps even the most hesitant could be willing to take!
While we grieve the atrocity of abortion, the injustice of the use of the death penalty, and all other threats to human life, as Catholics we know the death does not have the final word because we believe in the life to come. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega—beginning and end. Jesus tells us, “…I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” (John 11:25).
School Accreditation Visits Begin
The fall of 2019 marks the beginning of the fourth cycle of accreditation for Catholic schools in the state of Texas, where every school is visited over a seven-year period. Various teams of Catholic school educators will visit schools and review self-studies the schools have produced to ensure the schools are meeting the accreditation standards and benchmarks established by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department. The self-study is designed to address Catholic Identity, Governance, Academic Program, Student Services, and Facilities. Through the combined efforts of the TCCB Education Department, the visiting teams, the Catholic school communities and the accreditation commission, the accreditation process ensures that Catholic schools in Texas maintain standards of quality and compliance and dedicate their efforts towards continuous school improvement.
TCCB Comment Letter Regarding Proposed SNAP Rule Changes
The TCCB recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding proposed rule changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The TCCB called upon the USDA to withdraw the rule changes affecting categorical eligibility or grant a demonstration waiver for state flexibility related to clients in innovative programs on the path to self-sufficiency. These proposed changes have the potential to affect 1.5 million food-insecure Texans who currently receive SNAP. Our letter also highlighted the impact of these rules on our implementation of HB 1483, the “Making Work Pay” bill that we worked with Catholic Charities Fort Worth to pass. You can read the letter in full here.
A Message From the TCCB Archives
Last month, Jakob Hurlimann, a seminarian of the Diocese of Austin, visited the archives to assist with the Roman Missal collection. Some of these liturgical books also represent the revisions created by the Second Vatican Council (each year has more of the Mass translated into English). Jakob, who recently returned from two years of study in Rome, was able to review, interpret, and organize the significant collection of Missals for Lead Archivist Selena Aleman. Some of the more rare editions date back to the late 19th century. This collection will eventually become a research resource to interested clergy in the state of Texas. Much thanks and well wishes to Jakob, who will be spending his pastoral year at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Temple.
Catholic Archives of Texas Reorganization Project
Due to a records reorganization project, the Catholic Archives of Texas is temporarily unable to host researchers. The intent is to reopen the archives to researchers in early 2020. Thank you for your patience and understanding. For any questions regarding research access to the Catholic Archives of Texas, please contact Morgan Daniels at email@example.com or at 512-339-9882.
Prayer for the Legislature
During the interim session, please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them rest and refreshment from their work, bless their return home to their districts to be with their families and constituents, and give them grace and guidance in the interim.
In the News
- Stephen Barbee (10-2-2019)
- Randy Halprin (10-10-2019)
- Randall Mays (10-16-2019)
- Ruben Gutierrez (10-30-2019)
Support for victims of Natural Disasters
Catholic Charities USA is collecting donations to assist those affected by the Tropical Storm Imelda, the Midwest Storms, Alabama Tornadoes, California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, and other natural disasters. CCUSA forwards 100 percent of funds raised directly to Catholic Charities agencies that serve the affected communities. To learn more visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.