Texas Catholic Voice Jan. 30, 2023

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Teachers of the Year recognized ...
  • Catholic Schools Week begins ...
  •  Rallying for life ...
  • And more!

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

Last Tuesday, Children at Risk hosted an anti-human trafficking rally at the Capitol. Father Paulo Puccini from St. Austin Catholic Parish offered a beautiful prayer at the event:

"All powerful, loving, and merciful God,
You created humanity in your image
so that we may share in your divine life.  

"You endowed us with the gifts of wisdom and understanding to comprehend your marvelous creation.
Above all, you have given us the gift of freedom to pursue happiness and the well-being of all people under your loving care. 

"We pray today for all victims of human trafficking.
We remember all women, men, and children whose freedom has been cruelly denied to them.
We grieve for all those who experience violence and are exploited.
We lament the suffering of those who labor without rest under inhumane conditions. 
We also recall the anguish of family members who long for their missing children, spouses, and loved ones. 

"Lord God, help us to proclaim and protect the dignity of all your children. 
May our society be devoted to the care of each and every person.
Protect our law enforcement officers who work to liberate those who are enslaved and trafficked.
Guide our health care workers who heal the wounds of survivors. 
May our economy offer meaningful work so that all may exercise their God-given talents freely.
May all people be able to provide for themselves and their families under the banner of your love. 

"Above all, may we all be united in proclaiming and living out our foundational belief that we are all created equal and share in our common dignity that comes from you, O Lord our God.  Amen."

Some of the bills we will be supporting this session to combat human trafficking are: 

SB 337/HB 350: This bill requires registration of what are known as “white label” ATMs. These ATMs are not operated by a bank or financial institution and can be purchased over the internet. The TCCB supports this bill to aid law enforcement in human trafficking investigations. 

HB 279: This bill amends the penal code by treating a disabled individual the same as a child in human trafficking. In the cases of adults, force, fraud, or coercion must be proven but not in the cases of children. The TCCB supports this bill to protect vulnerable disabled persons from trafficking. 

SB 483/HB 1433: This bill prohibits persons convicted of offenses in another state or under federal law related to the promotion of prostitution from obtaining a license as a massage establishment, massage school, massage therapist, or massage instructor. The TCCB supports this bill to combat illicit massage businesses (IMBs). 



Rallying for life across the state

The Texas Rally for Life was held on Saturday at the Capitol and Gov. Greg Abbott was the keynote speaker. TCCB was on the host committee and Bishop Vasquez of Austin, Bishop Cahill of Victoria, and Bishop Sis and Bishop Emeritus Michael Pfeifer of San Angelo were in attendance. Governor Greg Abbott was the keynote speaker and we also heard moving speeches from abortion survivor Claire Culwell and Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation, who was conceived as a result of sexual assault and placed for adoption.  

Southwest March for Life was in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Bishop Peter Baldacchino of Las Cruces and Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso celebrated Mass followed by a rally and march. This regional event is a beautiful expression of solidarity in the pro-life movement. Although abortion is banned in Texas and we celebrate the thousands of lives saved, the reality is that some women are traveling to our neighbor states where abortion remains legal. New Mexico has seen an influx of abortion providers as well since they can no longer operate in Texas. The fight is not over until the humanity of every unborn child in the country and the world is recognized and protected.

TCCB Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to Julie Ortiz of St. John Berchmans Catholic School in San Antonio and Geralyn Klimitcheck of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Hallettsville, who have been named Elementary and High School Teachers of the Year, respectively! Read more about them here...

Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

It’s Catholic Schools Week when we celebrate all the wonderful Catholic schools in Texas and across the country forming young people to be disciples of Christ and carry on the mission of the Church.  

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Pope Francis' prayer intention for January

For educators
We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all.

Prayer for the Legislature

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 wisdom and prudence to work for the common good of all the people of Texas.

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Upcoming Executions in Texas

Wesley Ruiz, Feb. 1
John Ballatine, Feb. 8
Gary Green, March 7
Arthur Brown, Jr., March 9
Anibal Canales, Jr., March 29
Thomas Andre, April 5
Ivan Cantu, April 26

The Texas bishops ask for clemency for everyone on death row and pray for the abolition of the death penalty.  

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.