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We had a great time at MACC recently as we celebrated Fr. Elizondo’s 75 birthday!  The mass was celebrated by Archbishop Gomez and we had over 200 people in attendance.  Felicidades!

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We were blessed to have Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa Honduras present for our 3rd Annual Symposium on Immigration.  The director of CRS Southwest and myself picked him up at the airport and took him to the Archbishop’s residence.   I joined the Cardinal and the Archbishop for dinner along with 5 other guests.  It was an eye opening experience to hear about events in his home country.  He gave a powerful keynote on “global solidarity” (I will post the talk soon) and was present for a panel discussion at the end of the day.  We had many people present from CRS, Pax Christi, the Archdiocese, even the former ambassador of Honduras (under the Clinton administration).  It was a very fruitful experience, let us continue to pray for Honduras and for the Cardinal who gets daily death threats.  There is a $13 million dollar bounty on his head, but that does not keep him from speaking out against the scourge of drug trafficking has been taking place in Honduras.  We look forward to next year’s symposium!

I was asked why we always address God in the informal instead of the more formal Thee or Thou.  I remember hearing somewhere that it has to do with viewing God in a familiar way.  In doing a bit of googling I found out that Thou and Thee (as in the Our Father) is actually the informal way to address God! All this time I thought that it was the formal sense.  Actually, “you” is the formal form, but the English use of the informal Thee is not used much anymore.  In fact, the Spanish Tu is equal to Thou in English.  So in other words, we have always used the informal sense when addressing God even in English!  What a revelation for me!

I have been away from my blog for awhile as we have been gearing up for the summer schedule of courses here at MACC.  I am happy to annouce that we will be building a new and improved website for MACC!  It is looking good so far.  We just started a session of the Hispanic Ministry for the 21st Century Program (once called the Mini Pastoral).  There are so many exciting things happening here lately! Gracias a Dios. 

A lot of things have happened in the new lately as well, some of it quite disturbing.  A friend of mine was busted for solicitation of a minor – talk about shock!  I wish I had an answer to some of these problems in the world.  Recently a famous priest left the Church because of a scandal.  What is disturbing is that he carried on this relationship for two years (or so he says)!  La pobre mujer!  Was she just going along with this relationship to please the man she loved?  Keeping it hidden, secret…”shhh just tell them your my cousin from Cuba”  Fr. Alberto seemed to be quite happy going about his life as a priest with a movida, but what does that say about him and how he treated this woman?   Once he got busted …well, he quickly gets on national television, tells of his love for this woman, and then within days joins the Episcopal Church without even an good bye or ay te watcho!  If I were her I would look on him with suspicion and ask him “why didn’t you do this years ago?”, or  “Ay tu, now you want to do it cause you got caught by the paparazzi?”  He says they have been together about two years, but my gut says it was probably much longer.   I know of a former priest who left because of a woman, they have three college age children now, he works at my parish and his wife is the DRE!  Fr. Alberto should have taken the high road to show his love for this woman, maybe I am just a romantic, but his actions seem kind of cowardly.  He didn’t even have the decency to talk to his bishop – is he trying to save his TV career, or too embarrassed?  Pues no que he loves her?  I think after 6 months he should have known what he wanted, but I guess he wanted his cake… 

 I think the Episcopal bishop handed it poorly as well.  He should have at least consulted with Fr. Alberto’s bishop.  What does that say about the Episcopal Church or the Hispanos in it? 

just my opinion

A Poem by Naomi Martinez.  hermanaresist.com  

The grass will be mowed this weekend.
they want it cut every week here
Like close shaven bikini lines
and it’s already up to my bedroom window.
It’s hot 11.5 months out of the year
the leaves are never brown (irony?),
there is no autumn.
They want crisp cookie cutter lawns.
Once we lived in an apartment
where they didn’t allow
children to play in the hallways.
One place only allowed 1 kid-
so the other one magically became invisible.
Passing by the outskirts of Edinburg,
a sign read “no outside visitors allowed”
posted on the parking lot of an apartment complex.
My (white) friend, new to here, asked
why more don’t complain about landlords,
there are laws in place,
resources–
and that messy lawns
are just sinverguenzas.
And there are so many
reasons behind
that simple observation,
one of those times
where I stay quiet
because the explanations
are never simple.
They are layered
under centuries
and we walk under the ladder.
And I can never wrap
my head around
the simplicity that
must go through their
uncomplicated minds
when they lay blame.
And I can’t understand
that
free
style
uncomplicated
way of living
breathing
it must hurt-being so honest,
clean, yummy looking, crisp.
It’s the reason I am quiet
concentrating on stories, reasons, lives.
There was a house once
with a broken refrigerator, no running water, broken stove.
Of course the sinverguenzas never
called the landlord.
because they lived paycheck to paycheck
and had no where to go
and had been turned town countless times
sometimes it was because
professionals would be bothered
by crying babies
or sometimes it was
“we usually have quiet couples”
read-not single mothers.
Once, once
there was a place
that didn’t allow toys
on the front steps.

Sometimes it’s safer not to complain

you weigh your options on your shoulders
Reasons why I stay quiet
when my friends speak.

Almost 70 percent Catholic youth stay Catholic as adults.
Only 2-3 percent cite sex abuse as reason they left Catholic Church.
Disaffected youth a primary concern.

WASHINGTON—A Pew Forum poll on Americans and their religious affiliation finds Catholics have one of the highest retention rates, 68 percent, among Christian churches when it comes to carrying the Catholic faith into adulthood.

It also found that a determining factor in whether or not one remains Catholic as an adult is whether or not the individual attended Mass as a child and teenager.

The study also found that the key reason people leave their church, Protestant or Catholic, is that “they just gradually drifted away from the faith.”

The study, “Faith in Flux: Changes in the Religious Affiliation in the U.S.,” was made public by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, April 27.

Pew also found that only 2-3 percent of those polled cited sexual abuse of children as a reason for leaving when asked in an open-ended question why they left. When people were asked to choose why they left from a list of possible reasons, the number jumped from 21 percent for Catholics who became Protestant and 27 percent for former Catholics who are now unaffiliated with any church. Other reasons for leaving the church, such as disagreement on doctrinal matters, figured much higher.

“The report highlights the importance of Mass attendance among children and teenagers,” said Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, past chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and next chairman of the Committee on Doctrine. “Adolescence is a critical time in religious development and, as the poll shows, what happens in the teen years has a long-lasting affect. We have to help young people and their parents appreciate the importance of going to weekly Mass so teenagers know Jesus is there for them now and always.“

Archbishop Wuerl said the poll showed the resilience of the Catholic faith, even in the face of something as horrific as the sexual abuse crisis.

“Catholics can separate the sins and human failings of individuals from the substance of the faith,” he said. “Sexual abuse of a child is a terrible sin and crime,” he said, “but most Catholics people, because of good personal experience with their priests in their parishes, recognize sex abuse by clergy as the aberration it is. They also look to the church’s 2,000-year history, which has seen the faith flourish despite some painful times.”

We are in the middle of Fiesta week in San Antonio, just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Fiesta! Here is the official Fiesta site! http://www.fiesta-sa.org/news-blog.aspx

Fiesta is known mostly as “Party Time” in San Antonio, but really its roots is the celebration of Anglo hegemony.  The victory of the Texian Army over the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto.  Mexicans and Mexican Americans, since 1836 were often the victims of gringo hatred against the “dirty mescans”.  Of course it is not talked about much, because basically Fiesta is now inundated with “mexican” words, symbols, and imagery.  So we say Viva Mexico, Viva Texas, y Viva San Antonio!

Did you hear about the Miss USA participant who was asked by a gay man (one of the judges) about what she thought of gay marriage?  Her wording was kind of funny, but basically she said she believed marriage was between a man and a woman.  Reports say this may have cost her the title as she ended up runner up.  It was pretty brave of her to make that statement in what was basically a “gay friendly” crowd.  Now heres the rub …do we hold her up as a hero of traditional values when she herself promotes beauty contests that basically just pushes physical beauty and body image?  But still, it makes for an interesting story.

As I was surfing through Youtube I came across this beautiful song, very powerful images from the movie the Passion of the Christ (how original), but it was very well done. Enjoy.

It is always so disappointing to read the comments on newspaper articles that have anything to do with Hispanics. They always seem to detour to the topic of immigration, or more accurately, anti-immigration. Does this mean that the sentiment is in the majority, or is it only a small vocal minority? Comments are pretty “safe” avenues to share your thoughts and/or stereo-typing and bigotry – you don’t even have to put your real name just pick a catchy moniker like “Cowboy Bob”, or “Britanicus”, or some other silly creation. I have added my own comments in the past for my local online newspaper, if only to try to add another viewpoint. It is an uphill climb but we was Catholics are called to engage these issues and target our society and culture. Still, it is very sad.