By Msgr. Franciszek (Frank) Kurzaj
Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation President
On Nov. 14, at St. Paul Community Center in San Antonio, the citizens of South Texas had the opportunity to delight in the healing music of Fryderyk Chopin. The wonderful preludes, etudes, waltzes, and mazurkas of this great Polish composer, whose 200th birthday is celebrated all over the world, were performed by an accomplished pianist and educator, Dr. Jan Bogdan Drath. This artist graduated from the State College of Music in Katowice, Poland and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from North Texas State University. He is the founder and director of the Annual Chopin Workshop at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The concert was organized in conjunction with the annual Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation Gala which gathers the descendants of the first Polish settlers in Texas, who found their roots in Silesia, Poland. he Foundation seeks to deepen the unity among the Silesian Texans and to build a cultural bridge between Texas and Silesia, Poland.
In an exquisitely decorated auditorium of the Community Center, around 400 people in complete silence listened to Chopin’s melodies After each piece of music the audience exploded with thunderous applause. At the end of this spectacular concert, the audience and the artist, with Chopin’s Funeral March, memorialized the recent death of Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, a great contemporary Polish composer, who died Nov. 16, 2010, and was buried in Katowice, Poland. They also paid tribute to a 100 year old lover and protector of Polish song and music, Proxie Urbanczyk Pollok, of Panna Maria, Texas, who passed away the day before the gala.
The second part of the event took place in the ballroom of the St. Paul Community Center where the participants viewed a video presentation of the 2010 trip to Poland and the Holy Land and had the opportunity reminisce about their previous trips to Poland. During this part of the celebration they also recognized and honored the recipients of the 2010 Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation Service Awards.
The first was presented to the family of Alphonse J. Moczygemba (posthumous) and Mary Moravitz Moczygemba for their exceptional contributions to the Silesian community of Texas. Another was presented to Urban Concrete Contractors Ltd. for representing Silesia in Texas with sterling integrity and exceptional generosity. Accepting the award were the founders, Ronnie and Terry Urbanczyk.
The last Outstanding Service Award was presented to Snoga’s Bar-B-Cue for representing Silesia in Texas with superior generosity and hospitality.
The participants left with boxes of Polish items from the silent auction and hearts filled with great pride and joy for experiencing this unforgettable evening.
The public debate on church teaching on condoms triggered by Pope Benedict XVI’s comments in a new book is an ideal opportunity for parish priests to clarify it for the faithful from the pulpit, said the president of Caritas Internationalis.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told The Record, Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of Perth, that many Catholics do not know what the church teaches in this regard.
“This could be a good opportunity for us in the parishes to clarify and to teach,” said the cardinal, who has completed separate doctorates in philosophy, theology and moral theology and holds a diploma in clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
The book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, was based on interviews Pope Benedict granted German journalist Peter Seewald. The book was released Nov. 23.
In the book, Pope Benedict said: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward discovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.”
Cardinal Rodriguez laughed off claims made in secular media globally that the pope had changed the church’s teaching on the use of condoms.
“It has been the doctrine of the church all the time that when there are emergency cases the principle of double effect (applies). The pope was only quoting the extreme cases, so I believe it is coherent (with existing Catholic teaching),” Cardinal Rodriguez told The Record Nov. 26 during a four-day trip to Australia.
The church teaches that the principle of double effect may be employed when one is considering an action that is morally good, yet the action involves one or more unintended bad consequences. Because these consequences are side effects and not directly willed, the choice that brings them about is morally acceptable.
“We, as disciples of Christ, have a lot to learn; we cannot pretend that in special matters all the baptized know everything, as we are always learning and trying to implement what the mother church is teaching us,” the cardinal said in a Catholic News Service report.
An interfaith group of more than 50 members three years ago pledged to join in an effort to cut U.S. poverty in half by 2020.
In that time, the ranks of American poor have only risen. The latest Census Bureau estimates that 44 million Americans are in poverty, including one in five children.
Members of the interfaith group, Fighting Poverty With Faith, urged the House to pass the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act during the House’s lame-duck session after Thanksgiving. The companion bill in the Senate already has been approved by the upper chamber.
The bill would make free and reduced-price meals more accessible to children from low-income families during the summer months, when they are not in school to receive such meals there.
Currently, about 20 million children receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school during the school year. But during the summer months, the number drops sharply to 3.3 million, according to Kevin Concannon, Agriculture Department undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.
“You don’t have to be a mathematician to know we have a very serious problem here,” Concannon said.
“While crisis presents challenges, it also presents opportunities,” said Candy Hill, senior vice president for social policy and government affairs for Catholic Charities USA, one of five Catholic organizations that are part of Fighting Poverty With Faith. She noted that each of the umbrella group’s 52 members are “working through their own networks to cut poverty.”
Catholic Charities USA has been working for several years on its Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America.
Catholic Charities in Chicago provided 273,000 more meals this past summer than it did in the summer of 2009, noted Max Finberg, director of the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Speaking during a Nov. 22 news conference inside a Senate office building, Finberg said, “It’s nice that the fellows behind us in the Capitol are beginning to pay attention to this (bill).”
Some of its other provisions include expanding the access of low-income rural areas to the summer food service program, and requiring school lunch and breakfast programs to establish local school wellness policies for their schools that include goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity and education, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness.
When an economy is in upheaval, “it falls disproportionately on poor people,” Concannon said. However, with poverty-fighting measures such as the nutrition bill, “we certainly have the capacity to redirect” poverty, he added. “We should have the will to do it.”
In addition to working to get the nutrition bill passed, Finberg said, advocates also should fight to give greater access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly known as food stamps — to eligible people. Currently, about one-third of those eligible do not receive the assistance. Finberg also encouraged outreach by churches to other denominations to devise joint approaches to combating poverty.
A South Korean chancellor whose diocese was affected by the recent North Korean military provocation criticized the aggression and expressed concern for local residents.
“The relationship between the North and the South worsened under the current South Korean government,” Father John Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of Incheon, which covers Yeonpyeong Island, told the Asian church news agency UCA News. “The South Korean government should introduce dialogue and embrace the North.”
On Nov. 23, North Korea fired several hundred artillery shells at the South Korean island in the Yellow Sea. The attack killed two soldiers while injuring 13 soldiers and three civilians, said the South Korean military.
The shells also set fire to about 70 houses and mountains in the island, local media reported. Meanwhile, South Korea returned fire, aiming at the North Korean coastal artillery base.
The attack damaged the only Catholic Church on the island. However, all Catholics, including Father Joseph Kim Tae-heon, the parish priest, were safe because they evacuated to a bomb shelter as soon as the shelling began.
While 80 percent of the residents have since gone, Father Kim has opted to stay on the island with those remaining, UCA News reported Nov. 24.
North Korea accused the South of firing first. South Korea was conducting military exercises in the area but said its shells were not directed at the North.
Father Kim expressed concern for the island’s residents, including its more than 450 Catholics.
Father Baptist John Kim Hun-il, executive secretary of the Subcommittee for Aid to North Korea under the Korean bishops’ committee for reconciliation, said North Korea should stop the attack.
“Aiming at civilians and civil houses is inhumane, and it can cause further tragedy in the Korean Peninsula,” he added, urging South Korea to stop the return fire and, through dialogue, persuade the North not to provoke such attacks.
I welcome all of you to this prayer service this evening. In a special way I greet Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to Mexico, bishops and priests — esteemed ecumenical and interfaith leaders — and distinguished representatives of the civic community. ¡A todos, les doy la mas cordial bienvenida !
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, it is good for us to come together at prayer for the first time here – in this Plaza in front of San Fernando Cathedral and in the official center of our City of San Antonio. One of the first four churches built here in San Antonio in 1731, San Fernando has been called the “soul of the city: la cathedral de San Fernando es bien conocida como el alma de la ciudad.” And so, we gather here this evening — from many places in this country and from around the world — as our brothers and sisters in the faith have done for nearly 400 hundred years, to pray together as we mark a new beginning in the history of this local church.
There is rich symbolism in our gathering this evening Volvamos nuestra atención a los signos y simbolos de esta ceremonia.
At the beginning of this prayer service, I knocked on the door of the cathedral and was welcomed inside. He tocado las puertas de la catedral y al entrar he recibido la bienvenida. This is a venerable tradition that symbolized my entering for the first time the place where the cathedra, the bishop’s seat, is located. It also implies, however, that each of you is to feel free, in a sense, to knock and to be welcome every time you come to this holy place to pray and to have God listen to your prayer. Que consolador es tocar y experimentar la bienvenida de Dios y la bienvenida de la comunidad, Su Pueblo.
As I entered the cathedral, I kissed the cross of Jesus. Con humildad he bezado el Crucifijo. The crucifix reminds us of the great love that the Lord has for us — that he was willing to lay down his life for us. My friends, this evening I tell you that I, too, love you very much, and like the Good Shepherd, I am willing to lay down my life for you.
At the beginning of this solemn vesper service, I also lit the paschal candle, Cristo, luz del mundo, symbolizing the light of Christ in the darkness of the world. It is Jesus who is at the heart of our mission and ministry; it is the risen Lord who can dispel the darkness in our lives. Jesucristo, el Senor, es la luz del mundo!
And now we pray before the Blessed Sacrament. As you know, the Eucharist is both the sign and source of our unity, and it is also the foundation of our charity, Jesucristo realmente presente en la Eucaristia es fuente de unidad y fundamento de la caridad. In a recent message Pope Benedict says that the Eucharist is “an inexhaustible source of communion for the whole of humanity. . . In fact the exercise of charity, especially for the poor and the weakest, is the criterion that proves the authenticity of the Eucharistic celebration.” (Message for the 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 27 Sept. 2010).
This evening, we also extend a welcome to all people of good will to join us in praying to the one God from whom all blessings flow. Bienvenidos todos a trabajar por la unidad en Dios, siendo justos en el ministerio de la caridad. We want to be good neighbors! Queremos ser buenos vecinos, Buenos projimos!. There is so much mindless hatred and violence in our society. There is so much wanton killing and violation of human rights. In a divided world and nation, the challenge is to find what unites us, to identify common ground, to discover creative ways of consulting and collaborating with one another, working for the common good of all our people. There is a great need today for people willing to work tirelessly for justice and peace. You can count on me to pursue these goals with you. Procuremos a toda costa el bien comun y practiquemos la Buena voluntad, !Cuénten conmigo!
I entrust myself and the Archdiocese of San Antonio to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, la Morenita, la madre, la Guadalupana. La fiel discipula de Jesus. Faithful disciple of Christ, she brought two nations together as one during the time of Juan Diego and has brought together many people of diverse backgrounds since then. Patroness of the Americas, dear Mother Madre querida, increase the unity among us.
This evening, I make St. Paul’s prayer, which we have just heard proclaimed, my own as my first prayer for you as your new archbishop. You undoubtedly want to know who I am, what kind of bishop I am, what the future of our local church will be. Ustedes quieren saber quien soy, que clase de Obispo sere, cual sera el future de nuestra Iglesia local. Well, that will become clearer as we get to know one another in the days and months and years that lie before us. This evening I simply want to share with you — briefly — my deepest faith and prayer and love for you.
Also, I wish to address in a special way the priests who serve in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, for you are my principal collaborators. Ustedes sacerdotes son mis principales colaboradores en el ministerio. I invite you to join me in making St. Paul’s prayer for the Church of Ephesus our prayer for the church we serve here in Texas. I also ask you to recommit yourselves this evening to the ministry of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments, and the work of social justice. Hagamos nuestro el compromiso de vivir intensamente la Buena Nueva de la Palabra, de celebrar con dignidad los sacramentos y de trabajar arduamente en el campo de la justicia social para la Gloria de Dios, y asi el bien de Su Pueblo. Cuento con ustedes! Jesucristo, cuenta con ustedes!
Volvamos nuestra Mirada confiada al Padre de quien viene toda parternidad, quien nos quiere ver como hermanos, como familia. Our prayer this evening calls upon God our Father, whose fatherhood is the model of all family life, both among the saints in heaven and the Church here on earth. We gather as God’s family this evening in communion with all our brothers and sisters who have gone before us in the faith everywhere through the centuries and millennia — in communion with all who profess their faith in the risen Lord Jesus throughout the world today — and in communion with our Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI. Espiritu Santo, Senor y Dador de vida es el que hace la unidad desde lo mas intimo. It is the Holy Spirit who also is the bond that draws us together – old and young, female and male, old-timers and newcomers, lifelong Texans and this newest Texan archbishop! One of my responsibilities — one I especially share with our priests — is to build up and preserve the unity of this local church. Working together, we can effectively carry on the mission and ministry of the risen Lord which has been entrusted to us.
The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, St. Paul tells us, has another dimension: that Christ will live in our hearts through faith and that this will be evident in our love for God and for one another. El Espiritu Santo se manifiesta a traves de la fe y se ratifica su presencia en el amor que nos tenemos unos a otros. Love is at the heart of the Good News. Love is the gospel we proclaim. But we must live that love, not merely pronounce it correctly. And we are to love as Jesus loved — without limit, without exception, being willing to lay down our lives for one another.
My dear sisters and brothers, from the first moment when I first learned that the Holy Father was appointing me the archbishop of San Antonio, I immediately felt, in faith, a deep affection for you. Desde el principio que escuhe la nueva mision encomendada con espiritu de fe los ame! I look forward to demonstrating this love to you in my actions as your pastor in the days to come. Habra oportunidades para mostrarles el amor de Dios en mi amor personal.
St. Paul’s prayer is bold and full of vision, and that is why I chose it for our reflection this evening. The Apostle tells us that the Holy Trinity — Padre, Hijo, y Espíritu Santo – want to dwell in our midst. They do so in the Word of God, in the sacraments, in us as a holy people (even though we are always in need of healing and spiritual renewal). But when God — who is love — dwells within us and among us, we are filled with the very fullness of God! The very fullness of God! That is my prayer for us as your Shepherd — that we experience the very fullness of God! Nothing is more important. Nothing else ultimately matters.
Our heavenly Father is all powerful and cares infinitely about each of us. Nuestro Padre celestial es todopoderoso y cuida a cada uno y a todos con infinito amor. But he is not a distant Father who sits on a faraway throne removed from our daily lives. He is right here present among us this evening, drawing us together with his bonds of love, inviting us to enter more fully into his presence.
St. Paul prays that the Church of Ephesus — and we pray that the Church of San Antonio — will be strengthened by the inner life of the Holy Spirit. Mi oracion es que experimentemos el amor de Dios en plenitud. No hay nada mas importante en la vida.
When we begin to experience the very height and breadth and depth of God and God’s love — then his “power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine! (Eph 3:21)” Su amor es Eterno!
“Glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen!” (Eph 3:21)
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States and representative of Pope Benedict XVI – Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to Mexico — Francis Cardinal George, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishops Patrick Flores and José Gomez, my predecessors, — my brother archbishops and bishops – especially the neighboring suffragan bishops of West Texas – members of the Catholic Conference of Texas – ecumenical and interfaith leaders – civic officials – priests, religious, permanent deacons, faithful of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, mi querida familia y amigos, my friends from many other places — today marks a new beginning in the wonderful history of the Catholic faith in this local church of San Antonio. ¡Bienvenidos!
We gather in memory of the early Franciscans who brought the gospel to this region, including the Venerable Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús, the “apostle of Texas,” who established the first missions here in San Antonio de Béjar in the early 18th century. We remember Father Miguel Calvo who founded San Fernando Church in 1731, the cathedral that has been called the “soul of the city”, “el alma de la ciudad” de San Antonio. We recall with special gratitude the ministry of the two recent shepherds, Arzobispo Patrick Flores and Arzobispo José Gomez, quienes se encuentran entre nosotros.
We also recall the Catholic immigrants who came to this area in addition to those of Hispanic descent; for example, the Alsatians to Castroville in 1844. Castroville was the first place that members of my religious community, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, were appointed to serve, although they eventually served many years at El Campo, Texas! We thank all the groups…..who have come to San Antonio – and so many others of diverse backgrounds, but forming one Catholic Church, nos encontramos aqui como miembros vivos de la Iglesia. We are grateful for the various ministries led by religious orders of men and women from the beginning of our local church until the present.
In short, we thank God that, for nearly 400 years, the Roman Catholic Church in Texas has continued faithfully to proclaim the Good News here. We also rejoice that a personal and deeply pious Catholic religiosity has matured here, including the beautiful devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our Mother, la Morenita.
It is very significant that today we celebrate the feast of Blessed Miguel Augistin Pro, sacerdote fiel, a Jesuit priest who was martyred on Nov. 23, 1927, during those dark times for the Mexican people and the Catholic Church in Mexico. He was only 36 years old when he died. The central message of his ministry was the kingship of Christ in the faithfuls’ hearts and lives. In fact, he died with the words Viva Cristo Rey! on his lips.
Today, we also look to the future, and for this we have the guidance of the Word of God, especially the readings that we just heard proclaimed. They help shape our celebration this afternoon.
In the first reading, God takes the initiative and calls Samuel. God always speaks first. That is the way it should be. Creation is to listen attentively and resp ond appropriately. And Samuel does precisely this. However, it is worth noting that, before he heard God’s voice, Samuel was sleeping in the sanctuary, en un lugar propicio, Samuel responde al Senor con la donacion de su ser. He was available for a communication from God. He was open to God’s call. And because of this, something new began in the history of salvation.
When Cardinal George told me that the Holy Father wanted to appoint me the archbishop of San Antonio, my first response was to say, “Yes, here I am. Sí, aquí estoy.” I immediately felt real peace and joy tempered by a deep awareness of the great responsibility I had been asked to embrace. I felt, in faith, a deep affection for you, the people of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. And so, yes, we are beginning something new today. But we are certainly not starting from nothing. As I said in my opening words, we are building on a solid history of faith and ministry — but with what I pray will be a new hope, a new strength, a new vision.
Perhaps when I say a “new vision,” that makes you nervous! Let me first clarify that I am referring to a “renewed vision”, not something entirely new. What do I mean?
La segunda lectura describe el primer día de Pentecostés. The disciples and the mother of Jesus are in the Upper Room. The previous seven weeks were a whirlwind of events – Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. Now they are gathered, waiting and in prayer – much as we are gathered here this afternoon , reunidos en oracion y en comunion– in preparation for the next phase of the Church’s mission and ministry. Yes this describes the first Pentecost.
The new day begins with a roar of the sounds from heaven, a mighty wind – like the wind on the first morning of creation that swept across the dark waters of chaos and brought order into the world. And then tongues of fire are seen – the gift of speech in different languages from the Holy Spirit, the gift of proclamation of the Word of God! Something very wonderful is happening, and the walls of the Upper Room cannot contain it. The disciples must share these gifts with others – with the whole world!
So, the scene immediately shifts to the street outside where a crowd is already gathering. La gente afuera esta esperando el mensaje, la presencia siempre viva de Dios. People of every tongue and nation are eager – hungry – to hear the word that the disciples speak. No one is excluded from their proclamation that Jesus is Lord, that God loves all people, that all of us are sisters and brothers, beloved children of the one God, for God alone is able to feed the deepest hungers of the human heart.
However, it is also true that some of the bystanders think the disciples are simply intoxicated with “new wine.” This reminds us that the Christian message is countercultural, la Buena Nueva nos confronta y nos habre horizontes de esperanza y nos lleva a donde no queremos ir; it can be profoundly unsettling and even threatening to some in the crowd. Ignorance, fear, and insecurity feed racism and hatred toward the stranger. The worldly pursuit of possessions, pleasure, and power militate against the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. We live in a deeply divided nation and region where the notion of brotherly love may seem quaint and naïve. At times the problems of the world – and in our very homes and families – may seem so enormous that we are tempted simply to withdraw into ourselves and seek only our own personal good, neglecting the common good. Or we may defiantly stake out our own position without seeking common ground with others. So, yes, there are times when we may be timid or afraid to speak “the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).
But then we must reflect again on the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Genesis (2:7) the Spirit of God breathed life into dust and created a human being. At Pentecost the Spirit breathed life into a once cowardly disciple and created a new man who now had the gift of bold speech. A few weeks earlier Peter had been unable or unwilling to speak about Jesus, even to a serving woman at midnight! On Pentecost morning he is willing to proclaim the risen Lord to the entire world! La conversion de Pedro es fruto del Espiritu Santo,lo transforma en proclamador y servidor de la palabra, lo hace fiel discipulo de Jesucristo!
My friends, it is the Holy Spirit that enables the community of faith to proclaim the gospel, to attract a crowd, to have something to say worth hearing. The wind blows where it will. God has the power to accomplish in our midst what he wants – in spite of all obstacles. But what must we do to enable this to happen? ¿Qué nos toca hacer? We must be open to God’s word as Samuel was. We must be willing to be empowered by the Holy Spirit like Peter and the other disciples. And most of all we must be in a loving, mutual relationship with Jesus, the risen Lord.
Such a relationship is not restricted to our time here in church or to one hour a week or even one hour a day. It is to be an abiding, loving relationship. It is to grow ever deeper and stronger, leading us always to say “Yes” and “Amen” to the Father, to carry out his will, to observe his commandments. We are to love God fully, holding nothing back. And to love one another as Jesus has loved us – continuously, without limits, throughout our life. My brothers and sisters, I do love you, and I am willing to lay down my life for you! Mis hermanos su arzobispo los ama y esta dispuesto a dar su vida por ustedes a ejemplo del Buen Pastor.
Such love is not grudging. It is truly a joy. And again, it is not something that we have come to ourselves. Not only does God take the initiative and speak first. God also loves us first. The Lord Jesus has chosen all of us to be his beloved disciples. El Señor nos ha escogido y nos llama. We are all called to share God’s love with the world – with everyone we meet, wherever we go, wherever God leads us.
Remain in me! The Lord is the vine; we are the branches. We are called to bear much good fruit, ser fruto que perdura porque es el La Vid. As we continue the mission and ministry of Jesus in this local church, he will give us all that we need, all that we ask.
My friends, this Missionary of the Holy Spirit, your new qrchbishop, invites you – that is, the Lord himself calls you – to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led missionaries of the gospel in the world. Let us pray with confidence because our future is truly in God’s good hands. Let us also re-commit ourselves to working together because our future, empowered by God’s Spirit, is also in our hands.
We gather today with Mary, our Mother, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, just as the first disciples prayed with her in the Upper Room. We also entrust our mission and ministry to her loving intercession. May the quality of our love for one another bring out to everyone that we are truly the Lord’s disciples and missionaries!
Viva Cristo Rey!
At a solemn Mass of Installation and reception celebrated at St. Mark the Evangelist Church, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, became the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio on Nov. 23.
His 76-year-old father, Gustavo García Suarez, and 75-year-old mother, Maria Cristina Siller de García, along with all of his siblings and their immediate families, were in attendance. Archbishop García-Siller, born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, is the eldest of 15 children.
Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, was present to see his auxiliary bishop for eight years be officially installed. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was also in attendance. The Papal Nuncio to Mexico, Archbishop Christopher Pierre, was in attendance as well. Archbishop José Gomez, who will officially become the archbishop of Los Angeles in March of 2011, was also there to celebrate the installation of his successor. Archbishop Gomez left the archdiocese in May of to become coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles. Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Flores, who served as shepherd of San Antonio for almost two-and-a-half decades until his retirement in 2004, was in the first pew at St. Mark’s for the service.
Speaking at the start of the liturgy was Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú, who acted as an interim administrator of the archdiocese. He will continue as auxiliary bishop.
More than 30 archbishops and bishops attended the ceremony, coming from Honduras, and throughout Texas, California, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. Other archbishops among the 1,500 faithful at St. Mark’s included Archbishop Eusebius Beltran of Oklahoma City, Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Neb., and Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M.
In addition to the hierarchy present, the Mass was concelebrated by the priests of the archdiocese, members of the archbishop’s religious order, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, and visiting priests. Among the visitors concelebrating was Archbishop García-Siller’s brother, Eugene, who serves as a priest in San Luis Potosi.
At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, prelude music by the San Antonio Brass was followed by the joyful strains of Laudate, Laudate Dominum. The 55-voice Archdiocesan Choir provided the singing for the solemn liturgy under the direction of Rick McLaughlin, who is also director of Music for San Fernando Cathedral. Preceding the procession was a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, followed by more than 300 deacons, priests, archbishops, and cardinals.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the pope’s delegate to the United States, was introduced by Bishop Oscar Cantu in his last official act as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. Archbishop Sambi then read an apostolic letter, or papal bull, confirmed the appointment of 54 year-old archbishop.
Following protocol, the apostolic nuncio’s letter was then presented by Msgr. Terence Nolan, judicial vicar, to the College of Consultors, consisting of Msgr. Lawrence J. Stuebben, Msgr. Thomas Murphy, Msgr. Michael Boulette, Msgr. Carlos Davalos, Msgr. James Janish, Msgr. Franciszek Kurzaj, and Father David Garcia. Two other members of the College of Consultors, retired Auxiliary Bishops Thomas Flanagan and Bernard Popp, were unable to attend the liturgy.
After this formal acknowledgment of Archbishop Gustavo’s appointment as archbishop of San Antonio, he was taken by Archbishop Sambi to assume his seat in a symbolic cathedra, the bishop’s chair. Their parting embrace here gave rise to a round of thunderous applause. The archbishop was then presented with the symbol of his pastoral ministry as archbishop, a crosier, a symbolic shepherd’s staff that belonged to Archbishop Jerome Droassaerts, who served as archbishop from 1918 to 1940.
Representatives of Catholic affiliated groups then came forward to offer their respects to Archbishop Gustavo. Representing women religious of the archdiocese were Sister Mary Teresa Cullen, CSB, Sister Marinela Flores, CCVI, Sister Rosann Ruiz, FMA, Sister Agnes Bochenek, OLS, and Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP. Brother Edward Loch, SM, and Brother Brandon Alana, SM, represented men religious.
Catholic school children paying their respects included Adrianna Reyes, a second grade student at Sacred Heart School in Uvalde; Sylvia Nothstein, a third grade student at Mount Sacred Heart School in San Antonio; Presley Carter, a fifth grade student at St. James School in Seguin; Sophia Lopez-Rendon, an eighth grade student at Providence Catholic School in San Antonio; and Nathan Glavy from Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, who was accompanied by Father Pat McBaid.
Among other organizations welcoming the archbishop, the Knights of Columbus was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Escamilla, the Knights of St. Gregory was represented by Robert Kiolbassa, and the Knights of St. Peter Claver were represented by Gary Simons.
Cultural group representatives also greeted Archbishop Gustavo. They were: Polish, Dorothy Pawlek and Dawn Eden; German, Deacon Kenn Knopp and Augusta White; Tanzanian, Beatrice Hiyonsaba; Rwandan, Anne Marie Uwimana; African-American, Carol White and Reginald Davidson; Vietnamese, Duc Nguyen and Thu Ngo; Italian, Richard and Barbara Bertani; Filipino, Jim and Elena Irwin; and Irish, Bob McBarron.
Marie Navarette and Anita Cavazos represented the Guadalupanos.
Representatives of Catholic universities who brought greetings were Dr. Arturo Chavez of the Mexican American Catholic College, Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, of Oblate School of Theology, Dr. Charlest Cotrell of St. Mary’s University, and Dr. Tessa Martinez Pollack of Our Lady of the Lake University. They were followed by seminarians from Assumption Seminary: Isak Keyman-Ige, Richard Samour, Oscar Tello, David Schrock, and Martin Castaneda. Schrock and Castaneda represented the Diocese of Amarillo and Dallas, respectively.
The archbishop’s family was represented in the reading of the Scriptures at the Mass. Sister Myryam García-Siller, the archbishop’s sister, and Alejandro Siller, the archbishop’s cousin who is a member of the faculty at the Mexican American Catholic College, participated in the Liturgy of the Word. His mother and father presented the bread and wine at the Offertory of the Mass.
In comments at the conclusion of Mass, Archbishop Gustavo offered particular thanks to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, its leaders, and especially Bishop Oscar Cantú, who had been the administrator of the archdiocese for the last few month; to his parents, his family and relatives, especially those who came from Mexico, to his religious family, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, including those who also came from Mexico; to his former colleagues and friends from the Archdiocese of Chicago, and to those who were involved in the celebrations during the days of the installation.
“My friends, thank you for your presence here this afternoon,” he said. “You have made this a very memorable celebration, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
A reception followed at the St. Mark’s Community Center.
The evening before his Mass of installation, Archbishop-designate Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, took part in a special prayer vigil Nov. 22, at Main Plaza in front of San Fernando Cathedral. The event included the new archbishop’s welcome by civic and interfaith leaders, his receiving the “keys to the cathedral,” and an hour-long prayer service. This event was held in Main Plaza in order to give as many persons who desire the opportunity to participate in the celebration. Because of limited seating, the Mass of Installation on Nov. 23 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church was by invitation only.
On Nov. 21, thanks to the generosity the San Antonio Express-News, La Prensa, and Today’s Catholic newspapers, Archbishop Gustavo published in full-page advertisements a letter to the community to attend this open-air service. In the letter the archbishop wrote: “I personally invite you to join me for an evening of prayer, Please stand with me in this place where the faith of our city has been strengthened and nurtured for nearly 300 years, as we ask God for the wisdom and guidance I will need as his humble servant.”
Before the prayer service officially began, the archbishop was welcomed to the city by members of the civic and interfaith community, including Protestant ministers, rabbis, and an imam.
He also officially took possession of San Fernando Cathedral. Using the crosier, Archbishop Gustavo knocked on the cathedral door and said, “May the doors of San Fernando Cathedral, the mother church of San Antonio, be open wide for I come as a servant in the name of the Lord to dispense God’s love and mercy.”
As the doors were opened, he was welcomed by Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu, apostolic administrator; Msgr. Terence Nolan, chancellor; Father Tony Vilano, cathedral rector; and Sister Therese San Miguel, OSF, director of Campus Ministry.
Bishop Cantu gave a crucifix to the archbishop to kiss and return. The archbishop, assisted by seminarians, then performed a blessing with holy water. Archbishop Gustavo proceeded to the tabernacle for prayer, and then entered the sacristy to vest in alb, stole, and cope for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament to follow. It was displayed on an outdoor altar in a gold monstrance for the 2,000 people in attendance to see and reverence.
Dozens of priests and deacons were in the audience, representing the archdioceses of San Antonio, Chicago, Mexico City, Monterrey, Mexico, and the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Archbishop Gustavo’s religious congregation. There were also a number of bishops among the attendees, including Coadjutor Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the fifth archbishop of San Antonio. In addition, close to 50 members of Archbishop Gustavo’s immediate family made the journey from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, for the festivities, including his parents.
The prayer service included evening prayer, or vespers. The first reading was proclaimed by Jose Arturo Garcia-Siller, the archbishop’s brother. Music for the ceremony was provided by an archdiocesan choir under the direction of Rick McLaughlin. A reception followed the 90-minute service.
The Most Reverend Gustavo García-Siller will be installed as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio at a Mass of reception and installation to be held at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in San Antonio at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 23. The Apostolic Letter, or Papal Bull, affirming his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 14, will be read by the Holy Father’s delegate to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.
The archbishop-designate succeeds Archbishop José Gomez, who was named in April to be the successor to Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles upon his retirement in early 2011 after serving the Archdiocese of San Antonio for five years. Archbishop Gomez will return to San Antonio for García-Siller’s installation.
Because of limited seating, entry to the Installation Mass is by invitation only and will be limited to those who have tickets for the Mass. However, with the help of Time Warner Cable and WOAI television, the archdiocese will make a live broadcast of the Mass available on Catholic Television of San Antonio on Time Warner Cable Channel 15 and WOAI digital channel 4.2. EWTN will be providing a satellite uplink and will carry the Mass of Installation on its global network. The broadcast will also be available on the Guadalupe Radio Network’s Catholic station in San Antonio, KJMA-89.7 FM.
Cardinal-Francis George, with whom the archbishop-designate served as an auxiliary bishop in Chicago for nearly eight years, will also be in attendance at the installation along with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. More than 30 archbishops and bishops will be attending the ceremony, coming from Honduras, and throughout Texas, California, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin.
Archbishop-designate Gustavo García-Siller was born in San Luis Potosí S.L.P., Mexico, to Gustavo García Suarez and Maria Cristina Siller de García. He is the eldest of 15 children. His parents, siblings, nieces and nephews will attend the celebration. His brother Eugene, who is also a priest, will concelebrate the Mass with the other priests and bishops in attendance, and Sister Myryam, the archbishop-designate’s sister who currently serves in Chile, will proclaim one of the Scripture readings during the celebration.
Archbishop-designate Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, is extending an open invitation to a special prayer vigil Monday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m., at Main Plaza in front of San Fernando Cathedral. The event will include the new archbishop’s welcome by civic and interfaith leaders, his receiving the “keys to the Cathedral”, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and an hour-long prayer service. This event is being held in Main Plaza in order to give as many persons who desire the opportunity to participate in the joy of these two days of celebration. Because of limited seating, the Mass of Installation on Tuesday, Nov. 23, is by invitation only and only those with a ticket will be admitted to St. Mark the Evangelist Church for that solemn ceremony of installation for the sixth archbishop of San Antonio.
On Sunday, thanks to the generosity the San Antonio Express-News, La Prensa, and Today’s Catholic newspapers, Archbishop-designate Gustavo published in full-page advertisements a letter to the community to attend this open-air service. In the letter the soon-to-be archbishop writes: “I personally invite you to join me for an evening of prayer, Please stand with me in this place where the faith of our city has been strengthened and nurtured for nearly 300 years, as we ask God for the wisdom and guidance I will need as His humble servant.”
Before the prayer service officially begins, the archbishop-designate will be welcomed to the city by members of the civic and interfaith community. He will also officially “take possession” of San Fernando Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese.
The prayer service will include “Evening Prayer” or “Vespers,” which is celebrated by Catholics throughout the world at the close of the day. It is a part of the Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office, which the Catholic Church considers as the official prayer of the whole people of God. There will also be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a special devotion in which Catholics are reminded of the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the consecrated host. The Blessed Sacrament will be displayed on an outdoor altar, in a monstrance, which is gold or silver vessel that holds the consecrated host for the people to see and reverence.
The City of San Antonio has generously made free parking available. The free parking will be available for Vespers on Nov. 22, after 5 p.m., at 211 South Flores. People should look for signs that read: “Cathedral Parking Only!”
The prayer service will last 90 minutes.