|Bishop DD Hayes and Bishop Vann exit DFW Airport after Ash Wednesday Services|
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
It was announced earlier this week, and in the month of January, that the Diocese of Fort Worth will be opening a new Catholic grade school this coming Fall, as part of Holy Cross parish. This will be grades K-1-2 to start with. In this same year, about one month earlier, we will open the Parish of Blessed John Paul II at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Fr Kyle Walterscheid, currently our vocation director, will be the founding pastor. Fr. Isaac Orozco, currently my priest secretary will assume the ministry of the diocesan vocation director. The Diocese is grateful to both priests for their dedication, zeal, and priestly example. The demographic studies of the Diocese of Fort Worth, including one by the Meitler firm, both clearly indicated what we knew:the expanding population presents both challenges and blessings to the Diocese. The new Holy Cross parish school, and the new parish, are the first steps to implement the recommendations of the study.
The Diocese has had for many years a dedicated campus ministry staff in our colleges. The local priests have worked very diligently to provide Mass and the Sacraments for the students, and the campus ministry directors have been overseeing the entire pastoral care plan for college students. Thanks especially to all of them, and to Kevin Prevou, our director of youth and young adult ministry in strengthening and supporting the ministry on all of our college campuses.
The establishment of this parish builds on that strong foundation and gives us a chance to begin to establish a model of parish life similar to St. Mary’s at College Station, and St. John’s University Parish on the campus of the University of Illinois. The director of Campus Ministry at the University of North Texas and Fr. Kyle as the Pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish will be joined by FOCUS missionaries, who, as missionaries, will extend the presence of Christ and His Church more fully into the lives of the Catholic students on campus, who represent the largest religious denomination on campus.
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 11:39 AM
|Msgr. Steenson and Bishop Vann with candidates for the Ordinariate|
Sunday, February 12th, saw the liturgical establishment of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston. Donald Cardinal Wuerl and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo presided, along with a number of other Bishops and Archbishops, when Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson PA, celebrated the Mass that inaugurated the Ordinariate. There were approximately 800 people in attendance at the beautiful new Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston. Anglicans that had already been received in the Church, or were part of Anglican use personal parishes were present, along with many priests, deacons, and religious. There was a very good sized group from the Diocese of Fort Worth, along with Lucas Pollice, our Director of Catechesis, and Bert and Rosary Guidry of St. Michael’s parish in Bedford who assist in the catechesis for all of those seeking full communion.
In his homily, Msgr. Steenson relied on the Fathers of the Church to show that Church’s ancient concern for reconciliation and full communion. He especially saluted the priests present who came into the Church years ago as “pioneers’ in the Pastoral Provision. I would especially mention here Fr. Allan Hawkins who was present, and he, along with his congregation of St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington, made careful preparation, study and prayer in their journey to full communion years ago. Their pioneer journey of Faith years ago has now begun to bear fruit in a significant way. An Anglican priest friend of mine mentioned years ago, at a meeting, “we are just looking for someone to reach out to us with a hand.” And, so it has been done in the person of Pope Benedict XVI. As another priest said, this is not just about “swimming the Tiber”, but the Pope has built us a bridge.” All of this is certainly the fruit of the ecumenical movement which predated the Second Vatican Council, but as well is found in the documents of the Council.
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 11:28 AM
Monday, February 20, 2012
I am somewhat behind in my postings, although I have been able to get some recent pictures posted. This is in part due to the finishing the 2004-2011 “Quinquennial Report” in preparation for the Region X ad limina visit which will occur from March 14 - March 21. I would like to offer some of the following reflections. These are being written a block over from the Trevi fountain in Rome, at the Casa Santa Maria of the North American College, where I lived as a graduate student from 1981-1985. I am here for brief time for the Consistory in which Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Edwin Cardinal O’Brien have received the “red hat.”
The Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in Mineral Wells, which I have already written about, on the February 10 Vigil Mass, which is the patronal feast day of this parish, would be an important day to reflect on the healing presence of Christ in the Sacraments, and especially how this gift was manifested at Lourdes in France, and how it continues in the at the grotto and in the Church’s healing ministries. The message of Our Lady of Lourdes was connected with repentance and conversion. Christ is always present in His Church and His healing love is made known through the intercession of His mother, and His presence in the Sacraments, especially Penance and Anointing of the Sick. On a wider scale, and especially in our country, His healing presence has been known through the many and varied ministries of Catholic Health Care. For example, the cornerstone of the 1938 patient tower of St. John’s Hospital in Springfield (sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis..now part of the Hospital Sisters Health System), reads “To suffering humanity, for His sake.’ The message could not be clearer, and the Church must be continually free to proclaim and live that message.
In the broader context of religious liberty, the freedom of that mission is being challenged and potentially hampered by Health and Services regulations, even in its accommodation. At the heart of the controversy is a proposed violation of our freedom of religious liberty. In this one violation we find many. The Gospel of Life and Catholic values do not square with providing abortifacients. Furthermore, I cannot envision a scenario in which creating an unconditional contraception on demand approach to healthcare would advance the mission of Jesus Christ. Certainly, in place of this approach, society can find consensus on promoting healthy lifestyles that validate mutual respect and honor among couples, families and individuals. Jesus came to restore to health the damaged souls of the many. It is our obligation to live out that mission in a way that looks tenderly and responsibly at men, women and children who come to us for care.
The recent accommodation proposed by the Administration, after a combined effort by many Catholic groups and individuals in protest, has been the subject of scrutiny and with good reason. It is a matter of justice to take into consideration the religious freedom of dioceses and Catholic entities that are self-insured. My brother bishop, Most Reverend Robert Lynch, of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, recently called into question this proposal, and called for all Catholics to keep “beating the drums.” Cardinal Roger Mahony did the same. Be assured that the Bishops of the United States will work diligently in the months ahead with other Catholic groups to study the accommodation and it's implications. In the meantime we must keep our voices heard and participate in the public square.
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 8:04 AM
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I was able to get away to be in Rome to be present for this year's consistory in which the United States has received two new cardinals. The now Cardinal Timothy Dolan and I have been friends for many years, so I am grateful that I was able to be present at the Consistory where he received the “Red Hat”. The Consistory took place on Saturday February 18 and the Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday February 19. This has also given me a chance to visit with one of our priests studying in Rome, Rev. Jonathon Wallis, and our two seminarians, Matthew Tatyrek of Holy Family parish in Vernon, Texas, and Joe Keating, of St. Mark’s parish in Denton, Texas. I have known Cardinal O’Brien for a number of years as well. The Church in the United States is blessed with the vocation and the courageous leadership of both, especially in these times. Ad multos annos to both!
|Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Vann converse with another prelate.AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito|
|St. Peter's Basilica as the sun sets|
|Awaiting the entrance of the Holy Father|
|The Consistory has begun|
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 6:13 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012
|Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Mineral Wells, Texas|
The past few days have been filled with blessings and challenges for the life of the Church in the United States. On February 10th I was able to celebrate a special Mass for the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Mineral Wells, Texas. This was on the vigil of the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Mass was in English and Spanish in the new Church, but the accompanying pictures (although a little dark) show the older Church in the late afternoon. Many people attended the Mass, and a dinner was held afterwards. A special thanks to Fr. Balaji Boyalla, SAC, who is the Pastor of this parish. The celebration was held to strengthen parish life, and increase the parishioner’s knowledge of and connection to Mary the Mother of God, whom we know as Our Lady of Lourdes from the apparitions in Lourdes France in 1858. Fr. Balaji is a member of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, better known as the Pallotine Fathers, because the religious community was founded by St. Vincent Palloti. The Irish Pallotine Fathers evangelized much of north Texas, and through their ministry and pastoral care, truly enhanced the formation of the laity in their Catholic Faith. The majority of the Pallotines who came to Texas were Irish. We are grateful for the presence of Fr. John Casey and Fr. Philip MacNamara who continue to pastor and help so many people in their Catholic faith. We are also blessed now with the arrival of the Pallotines from India who are assisting us in carrying on the work of the Irish fathers. Present in our Diocese are Fr. Jacob Alvares and Fr. Balaji Boyalla. We are grateful for all.
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 5:32 PM
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
On Monday, February 6, at St. Mary’s parish in Gainesville, the former convent chapel (once the chapel of the School Sisters of Notre Dame) was blessed and dedicated as St. John’s Chapel. The sacred furnishings that had been once in the small church of St. John’s in Valley View, Texas had been refurbished and installed in the former convent chapel. This chapel, which will be used for daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration, will be a reminder to the people of St. John’s in Valley View that the liturgical life and worship once in their parish Church (now closed) will continue in this new chapel dedicated as well to St. John.
A special thanks to Fr. Victor Cruz, pastor of St. Mary’s, the parish leadership, and the former parishioners of St. John’s for their work and dedication in accomplishing this work. This chapel furnishes, then, a sacred space for contemplative prayer, and a time to spend in conversation with the Eucharistic Lord amidst the challenges of daily life. Photos by Julie Rauschuber.
|The procession into St. John's Chapel|
for the start of Mass
|Bishop Vann leads the procession during|
Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
|Bishop Vann blesses the altar with incense|
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 4:18 PM
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
On February 1, 2012, the Diocese celebrated for the first time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. It was celebrated in the context of Vespers for the Presentation, and there was a special blessing for all religious present. Vespers were in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. There was a reception afterward in the Cathedral annex.
Present were many religious women and men, including the new communities who have recently come to the Diocese. It was an evening to reflect on the witness of vowed religious, and the blessings that religious life has been to North Texas and the Diocese of Fort Worth. The new communities that were present also brought to the event a great hope for the future. What follows is the text of my homily in English and Spanish.
|Image: Stained glass window from|
St. Mary of the Assumption, Fort Worth
Homily for Vespers of the Presentation of the Lord
Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, J.C.D., D.D.
St. Patrick Cathedral – Fort Worth, Texas
February 1, 2012
Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, J.C.D., D.D.
St. Patrick Cathedral – Fort Worth, Texas
February 1, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas,
Welcome to St. Patrick’s for the First Vespers of the Presentation of the Lord. It is my hope that since this beloved day in the Church's calendar, which since the time of Pope John Paul II has been set aside for the recognition of the vocation of the consecrated life, will become a regular part of the liturgical life of our Diocese, here at St. Patrick's, which since 1888, has been a location of prayer, praise and apostolic life for the Church in North Texas.
Bienvenidos a la Catedral de St. Patrick para Víspera de la Presentación del Señor. Tengo la esperanza que ya que este es un día tan apreciado y especial en el calendario de la Iglesia, y que desde el tiempo del Papa Juan Paulo II ha sido designado para el reconocimiento de la vocación a la Vida Consagrada. Espero llegue a ser parte de la vida litúrgica de nuestra Diócesis, aquí en St. Patrick’s, que desde 1888, ha sido un sitio de oración, alabanza y vida apostólica para la Iglesia en el Norte de Texas.
A little history of this day! My daily Roman Missal reminds us that "this was originally celebrated in the Eastern Churches as "The Meeting"; in the sixth century it began to be celebrated in the West, where the focus became the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was accompanied by solemn blessings and processions with candles; hence, it is popularly called "Candlemas." By the offerings of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and the prophecy of St. Simeon, the life of Christ here begins to point toward His Resurrection."
¡Un poco de historia de este día! Mi misal Romano nos recuerda que “esto fue originalmente celebrado en las Iglesias en el Este como, “La Presentacion”, en el siglo sexto comenzó a ser celebrado en el Oeste, donde el enfoque fue puesto en la Purificación de la Santa Virgen María y fue acompañado por bendiciones solemnes y procesiones con velas; llegando a ser conocido como Día de la Candelaria. Por las ofrendas de la Santa Virgen María y San José, y por la profecía de San Simeón, entonces es aquí donde comienza la vida de Cristo a dirigirse hacia la Resurrección.”
It is a day, since it is 40 days after Christmas, that still echoes the glory of that season, even as we now begin to turn to Lent. The Gospel for Mass for this day, from St. Luke, proclaims the beautiful "Canticle of Simeon" which we pray every night, and this story, in its entirety, proclaims not only on the faithful waiting of Simeon, but also Anna as well. Their words proclaim to us that God is Faithful, that in the Incarnation, God is here... here and now, among us!
Reflecting on all of this, and on some of my own personal experience (some of which you have already heard), I believe this is a fitting day to celebrate the gift of consecrated life, because it is eloquent witness to God's faithfulness that God is here. That is the message that you carry with you, woven into the fabric of your lives, through your profession of vows in the Church.
Pienso que es un día indicado para celebrar el don de la vida consagrada. Puesto que es elocuente testimonio de la fidelidad de Dios, que Dios está aquí... este es el mensaje que llevas contigo, tejido en la tela de tu vida, por medio de tu profesión de votos en la Iglesia.
I think of my own life and how again and again, religious life said that God is here!
Growing up, as August 4th drew near, we would always get ready for the great family days of my Aunt's home visit. She had the same companion for years, Sister Mary Martin. Their joyful witness told us that "God is here" in the midst of our family life!
!Recuerdo como en mi propia vida, la vida religiosa me mostraba, una y otra vez, que Dios está aquí!
Recuerdo que durante mi niñez al acercase el 4 de Agosto, siempre nos preparábamos para nuestra reunión de familia cuando visitaba mi Tía en casa. Ella viajaba con la misma compañera por años, la Hermana Mary Martin. Su testimonio fue siempre lleno de gozo y nos mostraba que “Dios está aquí” en medio de nuestra vida en familia.
My grandfather's and father's faithfulness to assisting the Sisters, particularly in the days before driving, taught us that "God is here" in the midst of daily life and daily obligations. These may be tough at times, but religious reminded us that "God is here."
Sophomore biology, especially the labs and the dissection was challenging, but Brother Schoffman's vocation reminded me that "God is here" in the midst of my studies!
In my early days of hospital work, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis said by their very presence that "God is here." Yes, even in the midst of suffering and pain.
En mi trabajo en el hospital, las Hermanas de San Francisco mostraban con su presencia eficaz que "Dios está aquí." Si, aquí en medio del sufrimiento y el dolor.
And in two conversations that were pivotal in finding the life the Lord wished me to lead, one with an Ursuline Sister and another with a Dominican Sister, reminded me that in the midst of decisions and uncertainty, "God is here" to show us the way.
Conversaciones claves que me ayudaron encontrar el camino de vida que el Señor me indicaba a seguir, una fue con una Hermana Ursulina y otra con una Hermana Dominicana, me recordaban que en medio de la decisión e incertidumbre, "Dios está aquí" para mostrarnos el camino.
I know well that this is a different time and place, which in some ways is much more challenging. The witness of consecrated life is certainly not as omnipresent as it once was, but there is hope for the future! Yet, you are here, and your lives, ministry, and witness teach all of us again on this Candlemas Day, that yes, God “that light for revelation to the Gentiles” as St. Luke says, still truly is here!
Yo sé bien que esta es una época y un lugar muy diferente, que de muchas maneras se presenta con grandes retos. ¡El testigo de la vida consagrada ciertamente no es tan omnipresente como antes lo fue, pero si hay esperanza para el futuro! Aun así, están Ustedes aquí – y con sus vidas, su ministerio y testimonio- nos ensenan a todos de nuevo en este Día de la Candelaria, que si, Dios "quien es la luz para la revelación a los gentiles" como dice San Lucas, aun verdaderamente esta aquí!
Posted by Bishop Kevin W. Vann, JCD., DD at 2:46 PM