In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- Bishops meet, celebrate the witness of Bishop Raymond Peña ...
- Respect Life Month begins: pray for laws to protect mothers and babies ... And more! ...
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
This week the bishops of Texas were scheduled to attend their biannual meeting in San Antonio, but circumstances changed due to the passing of Bishop Emeritus Raymundo Peña of the Diocese of Brownsville.
Cardinal DiNardo recognized that when Bishop Peña was an active bishop, he never missed a TCCB meeting, so it was fitting to move the meeting to Brownsville for his funeral.
The move was providential as it allowed the bishops to make two impromptu visits to the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen as well as a pregnancy resource center. Several bishops and TCCB staff toured the respite center and were able to see firsthand the beautiful work of Catholic Charities in welcoming the migrants.
Families can rest and shower and are provided delicious meals by volunteer staff. We were touched by the sight of young children, babies, and pregnant mothers being treated with such compassion. We are very grateful to Sister Norma Pimentel for welcoming us on such short notice.
After departing the respite center, Bishop Seitz and I happened upon a pregnancy resource center and spontaneously decided to drop in and thank the staff for their work to protect human life.
The center is funded by the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which recently received increased funding from the state so that mothers will have the assistance and resources to choose life. Bishop Seitz offered a blessing to the staff who were deeply grateful for our visit.
They shared with us that three mothers had walked into the center that day who were considering abortion, but left the center choosing life, comforted by the knowledge that the center would provide practical support for three years.
These three lives were saved on the Feast of the Archangels and the staff felt assured Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael would continue to watch over and protect these yet to be born children.
On Thursday morning at Bishop Peña’s funeral, Bishop Flores said we must live the Resurrection in a world that loves too much the ways of death. These ministries and Bishop Peña’s life of service are examples of that lived Resurrection.
In the News
From our own Twitter account, @TXCatholic:
We wanted to share a story about the amicus brief from @TXCatholic and the @USCCB in the Ramirez v. Collier case before #SCOTUS this fall. (Here’s the brief)
We filed in support of John Ramirez’s request that Texas allow his pastor to pray aloud and lay hands on Ramirez while Texas executes him. But we didn’t know that, at the same time we were finishing the brief, one of our own was receiving that same comfort as he passed.
At the San Juan Nursing Home, Bishop Flores was sitting with Bishop Peña as his breathing began to slow. Bishop Flores said that he noticed his vitals beginning to fall and he began to pray aloud the prayers of commendation for the dying.
He prayed them with Bishop Peña throughout that hour and Bishop Peña went home to Our Lord at 4:20 p.m., September 24.
When told that @TXCatholic staff were touching up the brief at the moment Bishop Peña passed, Bishop Flores smiled. He said he was sure Bishop Peña would help move the brief along.
It so happens Bishop Flores is the current bishop moderator for the Catholic Mobilizing Network to end the death penalty, and Bishop Peña was a leader on criminal justice ministry and work to end the death penalty.
Working for the Church can be hard. Our frailties and failures seem magnified against what we expect of ourselves, and what others reasonably expect of us. But then sometimes the Holy Spirit just comes down and looks you right in the eye.
May Bishop Peña rest in peace, and may we do him proud.
October is Respect Life Month
Upcoming Texas Executions
Stephen Barbee Oct. 12, 2021
Fabian Hernandez Nov. 3, 2021
Kosoul Chanthakoummane, Nov. 10, 2021
Ramiro Gonzales, Nov. 17, 2021
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.
Pope Francis' prayer intention for October
May all Christians be missionary disciples