In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon talks Walking with Moms in Need..
  • Tips for Protecting Archives during Hurricane Season...
  • Webinar to fight human trafficking...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

For the last six months comments about the year 2020 has been a punchline for the “unprecedented” times we are experiencing. Back before COVID changed the world, the USCCB launched Walking with Moms in Need to dedicate 2020 as a year of service where Catholic parishes and communities "walk in the shoes" of local pregnant and parenting women in need. The website for this initiative has a plethora of resources for parishes to more actively engage in supporting pregnant and parenting moms. The Parish Inventory Tool helps parish leaders identify local resources for pregnancy assistance such as pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, social service agencies, hospitals, and especially Catholic programs and resources. It also asks parishes to begin thinking about how these resources are communicated and advertised to those who are most in need of support. I encourage parish leaders to use these resources to join in this important effort.

Catholics in Texas have long worked to support women and families in need. We see expectant mothers and fathers who, for a multitude of reasons, worry and fear they will not be able to provide for their children. Following our Lord Jesus Christ, Catholics are moved to compassion and to action. We minister to new families because Christ calls us to love our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. There are 36 Catholic pregnancy care centers funded by the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which is funded by the State of Texas Alternatives to Abortion program. Today we submitted comments to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in support of the services provided in this program. These services include counseling and mentoring, care coordination for perinatal services, educational materials, referrals to county and social service programs, life skills classes, material items, and support groups. This program gives parents the support needed to give every baby the welcome that a human person deserves. It is the epitome of “walking with moms in need.”

​This is also a good time to remember that October is Respect Life month and the 2021-2022 theme is “Live the Gospel of Life.” It explores how Jesus becoming man and redeeming us through his humanity reveals the dignity of all human life.  As the Church celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s prophetic encyclical, The Gospel of Life, this year’s Respect Life Resources call on us to reflect on the following questions:

  • Do I talk about and act towards others as I would talk about and treat Jesus himself?
  • Do I inform myself of the Church’s teachings and engage in the civic arena as first a follower of Christ?
  • Do I support and advocate for laws and policies that protect and defend human life?
  • Do I help pregnant and parenting mothers in need?
  • Am I ready to support a loved one nearing death?

Visit: www.respectlife.org for more resources to use throughout the year on this topic.

Hurricane Season Archive Tips

As hurricane season continues, physical protection of records should be included in inclement weather preparation plans. Irreplaceable items such as sacramental records should be temporarily stored inside plastic bins, on higher ground, and away from windows to mitigate potential water damage. Items stored in fireproof safes may still be in danger of water damage. Additionally, an inventory of records and if possible, a digital copy of the items, should be stored securely online, "in the cloud."

If items are subject to flooding, damaged items should immediately be assessed as soon as it is safe to enter an area. Paper towels, nitrile gloves, N-95 masks, fans, desiccant packets, trash bags, and tables can be used for clean-up and can be purchased at most home improvement stores. As a safety precaution, those entering an area with standing water should wear tall rubber boots, nitrile gloves, a mask and goggles – even if mold is not visible. Protective clothing, such as Tyvek suits, should be donned and those with long hair may tie their hair into a scarf or bandana. Water-damaged items should be laid flat on a clean surface to dry; books such as sacramental registers or financial ledgers should be interleaved with dry paper towels to prevent pages from drying together. If items are not water-damaged, they should temporarily be moved to a clean environment to prevent mold growth.

Dry items should be monitored for mold growth before they are moved back into storage. To prevent mold growth, items should be stored in a cool area with controlled humidity and proper air circulation; fans and desiccant packs may be used for this purpose. If an item has suspected mold growth, it should be isolated and stored in a freezer to prevent future growth. Do not attempt to clean active mold growth (soft and fuzzy), spores may spread to other items. Do not use cleaning products on paper items. For more detailed information the Northeast Document Conservation Center provides free guides and the American Institute for Conservation has provided a free tutorial video series.

Fight Human Trafficking

Attention faith leaders! Please register for the webinar Faith to Fight Trafficking hosted by NTZ Faith (No Trafficking Zone) on Friday, Oct. 9. The scourge of sex/human trafficking plagues every city and neighborhood in our state. In Texas alone, more than 300,000 people are trafficked daily. 79,000 of these victims are children and youth. (University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work) This evil is destroying lives, families and communities. Through this webinar, Dr. James Dixon, Jacquelyn Aluotto, and other subject matter experts will explain how our No Trafficking Zone (NTZ) Faith response organizes faith leaders across Texas into an anti-trafficking network. All ecumenical leaders and their ministry leaders (youth, women and men, social impact, etc.) are all urged to participate in this critical, complex, and robust session.

Upcoming Texas Executions

Due to Covid-19, there are no executions scheduled for the remainder of 2020.

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."

 

The Pope's October Intention

The Laity's Mission in the Church
We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.

The Texas Catholic Voice is a publication of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. For more information, write news@txcatholic.org or call 512-339-9882.