Texas Catholic Voice September 2021

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.

Pro-life update

Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 4, the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol, into law last Friday. TCCB staff were invited to attend the signing and honored to be present. Today a federal district judge will hear arguments regarding a request by the Department of Justice to temporarily block the Texas Heartbeat law. Please pray that Judge Robert Pitman denies the restraining order.


In the News

From our own Twitter account, @TXCatholic:

Jesus is Condemned to Death, the first station of the Way of the Cross, statues on the grounds of Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, San Juan, Texas.

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

Use the resources from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to help your parish celebrate 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

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."

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.

papal seal

Pope Francis' prayer intention for October

May all Christians be missionary disciples

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.