Parishes across the Diocese of Tyler are scheduling Lenten missions and reconciliation services to help the faithful prepare more fully for Easter. Holy Week schedules also are being posted.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will celebrate the Mass of Holy Chrism Tuesday, April 11, at 11 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The bishop will consecrate the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick, and Holy Chrism to be used in parishes in the coming liturgical year. Oils will be distributed to parish representatives. The Mass also will include a renewal of priestly vows.
Parish services and missions are below. If your parish is not listed, please see your bulletin.
St. Edward Church. Bilingual Stations of the Cross are prayed every Friday during Lent at 6 p.m., followed by food and fellowship in the parish hall.
St. John the Evangelist Church. The parish reconciliation service is April 4 at 7 p.m.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7:30 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, Living Stations of the Cross, 6 p.m., Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 7:30 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass, 9:30 p.m.; Easter Sunday, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)
St. Charles Borromeo Church. The parish reconciliation service will be Wednesday, April 5, beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to Father Frels, priests from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be present to hear confessions, including Father Nelson Muñoz, who speaks Spanish.
Adoration is each Wednesday of Lent, 6-7:30 p.m. Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday of Lent at 6 p.m., followed by a meatless soup supper in the parish hall.
We need altar servers for the Holy Week liturgies (April 13-16). Any server who can serve at one or more services during Holy Week please meet Father Jonathon and Deacon Jim in the Church after Mass on Palm Sunday, April 9th. We need you to volunteer for one or more of the following: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.
Gun Barrel City
St. Jude Church. The Lenten mission concludes Friday, March 30, 6-8 p.m.
The English Seder Supper is Saturday, April 8, following 5 p.m. Mass. The Spanish Seder Supper is Sunday, April 9, immediately following Mass.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, bilingual Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:30 p.m., followed by a procession to the altar of repose and adoration until midnight; Good Friday, April 14, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish); Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass, 7:15 p.m.
Holy Spirit Church. Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday of Lent at 5:45 p.m.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass at 8 p.m.; Easter Sunday, April 16, Mass of the Resurrection at 9:30 a.m.
Immaculate Conception Church. The parish reconciliation service is Wednesday, April 5, at 6 p.m.
Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday of Lent at 4:45 p.m., followed by Mass at 5:15 p.m. and a parish Lenten dinner at 6 p.m.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 6 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, Stations of the Cross, 2:15 p.m., Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass, 8 p.m.
St. Mary Church. The Lenten penance service will be Monday, April 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Lenten Bible studies are Sundays at 5 p.m. and Thursdays following 12:05 p.m. Mass.
St. Andrew the Apostle Church. Capuchin Father Simeon Gallagher will lead a Lenten mission on A Theology and Spirituality for Relationships April 3-6 at 7 p.m. each night. Father Gallagher is the Director of the Preaching Ministry Office of the Mid-America Province of the Capuchin Order. He conducts retreats, parish development programs, parish missions and religious education workshops. His association with the Emmaus Spirituality Program for Priests has gained him an international reputation in conducting retreats for priests. He was instrumental in founding Emmaus in Great Britain and he has presented ecumenical lectures at the Jean XXIII Centre, Geneva, Switzerland. His work has taken him to various countries and for the past several years, he has worked closely with the U.S. Armed Forces at various military bases around the world. He recently returned from engagements in Asia and Australia. Father Gallagher holds advanced degrees in Ascetical Theology, Religious Education and 19th century British Literature. He literature degree has earned him a reputation as a scholar in the works of John Henry Cardinal Newman. The mission schedule is:
- Monday, April 3, 7 p.m., Hebrews 11:1-6, Sustaining Good Relationships: Faith as Foundation
- Tuesday, April 4, 7 p.m., Psalm 23, Communication in Relationships: Prayer as Model
- Wednesday, April 5, 7 p.m., Romans 7:14-27, Breaking Relationships: Sin as Interpersonal
- Thursday, April 6, 7 p.m., Corinthians 12:12-26, Building Better Relationships: Graces for Growth
St. Patrick Church. Confessions will be heard Tuesday, April 4, 6-8 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m. (Spanish).
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, bilingual Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 p.m., followed by adoration until midnight; Good Friday, April 14, Stations of the Cross, noon (Spanish) and 2 p.m., bilingual Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m., confessions noon-1 p.m. and 2-3 p.m., bilingual Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 7 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, bilingual Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m., bilingual Vigil Mass, 8 p.m.; Easter Sunday, April 16, Masses at 9 a.m., noon (Spanish), 5 p.m. (bilingual). A bilingual Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 3 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. The Holy Week schedule is: Hoy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 13, 7:30 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, 3 p.m., Celebration of the Lord’s Passion; Holy Saturday, April 15, 8:30 p.m., Easter Vigil; Easter Sunday, April 16, 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish).
St. Joseph Church. The parish Lenten penance service is Sunday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, bilingual Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7 p.m., followed by procession to the altar of repose; Good Friday, April 14, Stations of the Cross at 12:05 p.m., Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (Spanish), 3 p.m. at the school, 7 p.m. (English) in the church; Holy Saturday, April 15, bilingual Vigil Mass, 8 p.m.; Easter Sunday, 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish).
St. Peter the Apostle Church. The parish Lenten retreat is Friday, March 31, beginning with Mass at 8:30 a.m. The speaker is Mark Knox, diocesan Director of Youth Evangelization. A light breakfast will be provided, but please bring a sack lunch. The day will include time for reflection.
Sacred Heart Church. The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 6:30 p.m., followed by Eucharistic procession to altar of repose and adoration; Good Friday, April 14, confessions, noon-2:30 p.m., Via Crucis, 12:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus rosary, 2:30 p.m., Stations, veneration of the cross, and Communion service, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Spanish); Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass, 8 p.m., followed by a reception in the parish center; Easter Sunday, April 16, Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Tenebrae “Service of Darkness” is Friday, March 31, 7 p.m. The service will include readings from Scripture, and sacred music. The name Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness or shadows and has for centuries been applied to the ancient monastic night and early morning services of the last three days of Holy Week, which in medieval times came to be celebrated on the preceding evenings. This service is marked by readings from Sacred Scripture, the singing of psalms and hymns, and a gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights until a single candle, a symbol of the Lord, remains. Come join us for this time of reflection and prayer in the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Stations of the Cross are prayed every Friday during Lent at 6 p.m. in the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul on the Bishop Gorman campus.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 6 p.m., Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul, 7 p.m., bilingual, Cathedral; Good Friday, April 14, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3 p.m., Cathedral, 6 p.m., Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul, 7 p.m., Cathedral (Spanish); Holy Saturday, April 15, Vigil Mass, 8 p.m., Cathedral; Easter Sunday, April 16, is the usual Mass schedule for the Cathedral and the Chapel, with the exception of the 5 p.m. Youth Mass, which will not be celebrated.
The 2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal is under way. Please see the website.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will preside at the Chrism Mass Tuesday, April 11, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The bishop will bless the oil of the ick, the oil of catechumens and the holy chrism to be used in the administration of the sacraments in parishes throughout the diocese in the upcoming liturgical year. The oils will be distributed to representatives from the parishes in attendance.
The Pines Catholic Camp near Big Sandy will host a Pines Picnic Sunday, April 2, noon-4 p.m. The day will include Mass with Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, lunch, tours of the camp, and more. The day is free and is open to camp alumni and new families who want to see for themselves what The Pines has to offer. The camp is at 300 White Pine Road Big Sandy, TX 75755. For more information and to register, see The Pines website.
A formation day for catechists involved in quinceañeras will be Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Chancery in Tyler.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we each can play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities. The Catholic Church is a leader in abuse prevention programs and procedures, so that we may protect our most valuable gift from God – our children. For information on how you can become more informed and involved in keeping our children safe, see the Safe Environment website or call: Maria Flores 903-534.-077 ext 188. Suggestions for Safe Environment educational materials, bulletin inserts, prayers in English and Spanish, and links to other resources are available there.
The Texas Catholic Conference Advocacy Day at the State Capital is April 4. Advocacy Day is a daylong event with a rally on the steps of the State Capitol with the bishops of Texas to promote the Church’s values of life, justice, charity, and religious freedom to members of the Texas Legislature. After the rally, small teams of Catholics will meet with their state lawmakers and educate them on the Texas bishops’ legislative priorities. The group from Tyler will be led by Father Lowry, pastor of St. Edward Parish in Athens and co-director of the sanctity of life program for the diocese. The deadline to register is Monday, March 27. More information and registration flyer are here.
Father Gavin Vaverek will offer a presentation on Dealing Successfully with Failed Marriages Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-noon, at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches in the Margil Center. The session will offer a brief explanation of the how and why of the Church’s respect for every marriage and the processes for establishing that a failed marriage was in reality never what Christ intended marriage to be. The session will also offer the specific steps for moving forward with addressing a failed marriage with the help of the Church. Father Vaverek, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Lufkin and a canon lawyer, will talk about divorce and remarriage, the Tribunal, and steps toward returning to the sacraments. The day is free with no pre-registration required. Sacred Heart Church is at 2508 Appleby Sand Road in Nacogdoches.
The cloistered Dominican nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Lufkin are having a Holy Hour for vocations April 7 at 7 p.m. The monastery is at 1501 Lotus Lane, Lufkin, TX, 75904.
The Abortion Dialogue Academy will offer a workshop on responding to common pro-choice arguments Thursday, April 6, 6-8 p.m., at St. Matthew Church in Longview. The Abortion Dialogue Academy is a national non-profit organization dedicated to teaching anti-abortion advocates to speak persuasively on the issue. For more information about the ADA, see the group’s website.
The Office of Youth Evangelization is sponsoring a Catholic Family Camp weekend June 23-25 at Casa Betania near Tyler, featuring nationally-known Catholic speaker Cooper Ray. There will be family activities, Mass and adoration, formation opportunities, camp fires, games and skits, and much more! This will be an opportunity to help your family grow closer to one another and to Christ. For more information, see the youth office website here.
Catholic Charities East Texas will offer free GED classes (High School Equivalency) starting soon. Classes will be held twice a week at Catholic Charities 202 W. Front St. Tyler, TX Call today, 903-258-9492.
Support Catholic Charities East Texas through Amazon. When ordering from Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com and choose Catholic Charities, Diocese of Tyler, as the recipient of the donation from the purchase.
Catholic East Texas, the diocesan magazine, is online! Share the link to our full-color publication with family and friends. The magazine is an evangelical publication designed to implement Bishop Strickland’s vision for sharing the beauty of Catholic teaching, history, culture, spirituality, and liturgy in a way that makes our ancient faith attractive to both Catholics and non-Catholics in Northeast Texas. Every article, column, and review in the magazine is written by the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Tyler. Access the magazine online here.
St. Edward Church. Bilingual Stations of the Cross are prayed the Fridays of Lent at 6 p.m. Join us afterwards in the parish hall for food and fellowship.
Join us for Bible Study after the noon Mass on Wednesdays. We are studying “Follow Me: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John.” For information, contact Ron Williams at 903-288-0013.
St. Vincent de Paul needs you. If you can volunteer 1-5 hours a week, you can give comfort to our friends and neighbors in crisis. Attend a meeting (1st Wednesday of the month after the noon Mass) or call 903-675-0076.
We are offering confirmation classes for anyone 5th grade and older who has not received the sacrament of confirmation. Classes are Saturday, April 1 and April 8. Both sessions are required. Registration is Tuesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. For information, call Zoila Hunt at 903-677-1922.
St. Catherine of Siena Church. Soup and bread suppers are served the Fridays of Lent at 5:20 p.m., with Stations of the Cross prayed at 6:10 p.m.
Please help us restock our food pantry so we can continue to serve the hungry in our midst. Please bring canned meats and fish, bags of potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter and preserves, crackers, soups, lentils, and juices.
Stroke Scan will be here Saturday, March 25, in the parish hall.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church. We will have nocturnal adoration March 25-26.
Quinceañera platicas are scheduled for April 1 and May 6, 9 a.m.-noon.
The youth retreat is April 8.
Our Catholic Summer University will be June 5-9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.
St. Francis of the Tejas Church. Our Friday Lenten Fish Fries are serving lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-7 p.m., through April 7. Buffet is $12 for adults, $6 for children (ages 5 and under eat free). Delivery to downtown merchants is available for $15. For to go orders, call 936-545-8549.
Ethics and Integrity recertification will be April 22 in both English and Spanish.
Little Rock Scripture Study meets Sundays in the hall, 2-3:30 p.m. We are studying the Gospel of Luke.
Holy Mass from the sanctuary of St. Francis of the Tejas is broadcast Sundays at 5 p.m. on KIVY Channel 16.
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Parroquia. A faith formation catechist meeting will be Sunday, March 26, 3-5 p.m. in the parish hall.
Reunión de catequistas de formación de fe en el salon parroquial Domingo 26 de Marzo 3-5 p.m.
Invito a todas las personas que están interesadas en aprendar más sobre la fe y la Sagrada Biblia los Miércoles después de a misa a 6 p.m. en el Templo Parroquial.
Jueves a las 6:30 p.m. inicia con la Santa Misa. Grupo de Oración Huellas en la Arena and Come Lord Jesus.
St. John the Evangelist Church. Envelopes for donations to the Easter flower fund are available in the church entry hall. Drop your envelope in the collection basket by April 9. Give $10 or more to have a loved one’s name printed in the bulletin.
Stations of the Cross are prayed Fridays after the 6 p.m. Benediction and Mass. The Knights of Columbus serve Lenten suppers after Stations.
Join our faith community, and nearly 14,000 Catholic communities across the United States, in a life-changing Lenten journey of encounter with CRS Rice Bowl. Pick up your family’s CRS Rice Bowl from the entry hall today, and don’t forget to download the CRS Rice Bowl app! May these 40 days better prepare us to encounter ourselves, our neighbors, and our God. For more suggestions, see the CRS website.
A reconciliation service will be April 4.
First Friday each month the sanctuary is open for adoration with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 8:15 a.m.-6 p.m.
Volunteers and sponsors are needed for the golf tournament Saturday, April 1. The tournament will be at Land’s End Golf and Country Club. Registration is $100 per person. Forms are available in the church entry hall. For information, contact Sherry Badalich, 903-473-2275.
El primer viernes de cada mes, el santuario está abierto para la adoración con la exposición del Santísimo Sacramento de 8:15 am a 6:00 pm.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will celebrate confirmation June 10.
St. Charles Borromeo Church. Adoration is held on the Wednesdays of Lent, from 6-7:30 pm. Please come and spend time with Jesus, whether you can stay for just a few minutes or for the entire 90 minutes.
Stations of the Cross are prayed at 6 p.m. each Friday during Lent, followed by a meatless soup supper in the parish hall. We need volunteers to sign up to bring soup and to help serve and clean up afterward. Please volunteer to help out for one or more of these soup suppers.
Join our faith community, and nearly 14,000 Catholic communities across the United States, in a life-changing Lenten journey of encounter with CRS Rice Bowl. Pick up your family’s CRS Rice Bowl from the vestibule today, and don’t forget to download the CRS Rice Bowl app! May these 40 days better prepare us to encounter ourselves, our neighbors, and our God.
We will have a potluck meal Sunday, April 2, after the 9 a.m. Mass. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a meat, salad, veggie, side dish, or bread.
The parish reconciliation service is Wednesday, April 5, at 6 p.m. The priests from the Cathedral, including Father Nelson, who is fluent in English and Spanish, will be here for confessions.
Gun Barrel City
St. Jude Church. The Knights of Columbus are offering two $1,000 scholarships to qualified seniors for the 2017 fall semester. Applications are at the back of the church, and must be turned in to a Knight or the parish office before April 1.
The 2017 St. Jude softball team is taking signups now for the upcoming season. A signup sheet is available in the vestibule of the church.
The Knights of Columbus are having a membership drive throughout the month of March for all men interested in becoming a Knight. Men must be over the age of 18 and practicing Catholics. For more information, contact Grand Knight Joe Castillo, 469-254-1947, Jim Bowles, 903-340-7174, or any other Knight.
Knights of Columbus fish fries are the Fridays of Lent, 5-7 p.m. in the parish hall.
Adoration is after 8:30 a.m. Mass every Friday.
The Cenacle Prayer Group meets every Tuesday after 8 a.m. Mass in the chapel to pray. All are invited to join us.
Holy Spirit Church. Knights of Columbus Council #15174 will offer Lenten Friday fish fries March 24 and April 7. Dinner includes fried fish, coleslaw, beans, hush puppies, desserts, and beverages. Serving begins at 5:30 p.m. The dinners are open to the entire community, and funds raised will purchase wheelchairs for those in need, fund donations to Hawkins Helping Hands and East Texas Food Bank, purchase food for holiday gift baskets, and fund donations to the Gabriel House Project.
We will pray vespers Friday, March 31, at 5:30 p.m., followed by Stations of the Cross at approximately 5:45 p.m. and a Cajun soup supper and art auction after.
The Rosary Makers’ fashion luncheon will be Saturday, April 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. Call 903-857-9868 for information or to purchase tickets.
Join us for a Scripture study the Wednesdays of Lent, 6-7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. BYOB (Bible).
A liturgical ministry training for altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Communion, lectors, and ushers (in that order) will be Sunday, March 26, after the 9:30 a.m. Mass. This is a mandatory training. If you cannot attend, please see Father Mike or Deacon Sam.
We need a large group of volunteers to do some spring cleaning on and in our church grounds, windows, cleaning meditation garden, including weeding, raking pine needles, painting of benches, planting, etc. We will meet Saturday, April 22, at 8:30 a.m. Please bring rakes, cleaning clothes, ladders, etc. Please sign the sheet in the narthex. The more volunteers we have, the less time it will take to complete the different jobs.
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, the church will be open from noon-3 p.m., with veneration of the cross at 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.; Easter Sunday, Mass of the Resurrection at 9:30 a.m.
Exposition is every Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. We pray for peace in our nation.
Immaculate Conception Church. Men’s Club meeting is Thursday, March 30, at 6 p.m.
We will have a parish reconciliation service Wednesday, April 5, at 6 p.m. Fathers Eugene Tillekeratne and Bernard Boteju will be here for confessions.
The cardboard “rice bowls” are available at the entrance of the church building. God willing, you will be able to return the “bowls” to the church later during Holy Week or Easter. You might think of giving up something for Lent (not eating meat every day, fasting, abstaining, no candy, cake, soft drinks, coffee, no sugar, whatever) and putting the daily money not used in the rice bowl.
We are trying to bring food to church every week for those in need who come to our Immaculate Conception Catholic Community for help and assistance. (If we did a can/package every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday we actually would have 47 cans/packages. What the heck, why not make it a full case of 48?) Our canned foods offerings help keep our St. Vincent de Paul food pantry open and active. We are blessed to be able to look for and to find and to feed Christ in our brothers and sisters who are in need. We are called to recognize the truth that we are completely and totally dependent on God for all the needs of our lives. And we hopefully do recognize our own need and hunger for Christ/God.
On the Fridays during Lent, we pray Stations of the Cross at 4:45 p.m., celebrate Mass at 5:15 p.m., and have a Lenten supper at 6 p.m.
Our Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 13, 6 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, Stations of the Cross at 2:15 p.m., Veneration of the Cross, 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday, April 15, Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.
Our Lady’s Guild of Longview. We are offering two $1000 scholarships. Anyone who is going to college or technical school in the fall and is a member of St. Mary’s, St. Matthews, St. Anthony’s, or Our Lady of Grace is eligible. Applications are available in all church offices. Deadline for submission of application is Friday, April 7. Please call Katherine Zuniga with any questions or for more information, 903-315-7510.
St. Mary Catholic School. St. Mary Catholic School is enrolling for the 2017-2018 academic year. St. Mary is a college preparatory PreK3-12 program focusing on academic excellence and with a program that includes fine arts and competitive athletics. To schedule a tour, call 903-753-1657. For information about the program or tuition, call principal Amy Blalock, 903-918-7182, or Melinda Dunn, 903-806-0175, or see the website.
A Knight to Remember Gala will be Saturday, May 13. Raffle tickets are $25 and can be purchased from any school family or from the church office. Don’t miss your chance to win a Dodge Challenger. All proceeds benefit the students and programs at St. Mary Catholic School.
St. Mary Church. St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a food collection initiative called “40 cans for 40 days” in which we are asking each family to donate one can of food for each day of lent. The food will be given to the local food pantry. The bin is located by the church office.
Please join us at the Parish Center every Friday during Lent following the 5:30 p.m. Mass for the Parish Fish Fry. The meal includes fried catfish, French fries, hush puppies, mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, tea or lemonade. Adults eat for $8/plate, children ages 5-10 $4, children under 5 eat free. Families of 4 or more eat for $25.
Ethics & Integrity Recertification will be Saturday, April 1, noon-1:30 p.m. in the Parish Center. The class is free but there is a $10 fee for the background check. The Diocese of Tyler requires that all church employees and volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults have a certification on file at the Chancery.
Our Bereavement Committee is looking for some new volunteers to help with meals for families following a funeral. Please call Waynell Kuhlman at 903-757-5904 if you are interested in this ministry of compassion.
St. Mary’s Teen Connection meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Come join us, 7:30-9 p.m. in the parish hall, for fellowship, faith, food, and fun.
St. Mary’s Middle School Youth Group will meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month 5:30-7 p.m. in the Parish Center. All middle school students are invited. Let’s get together to love God, love others and make disciples!
Adult confirmation classes for those adults who have not yet received the sacrament will be offered on Wednesday evenings, April 12 and 26, at 7 p.m. in the parish hall.
Gluten Free hosts are available at all our Masses for people with celiac disease. Please see the instituted acolyte or deacon before Mass to request a gluten-free host. Those hosts will be consecrated separately from the other hosts. Please go to the instituted acolyte or deacon you informed to receive that host for Holy Communion.
Young Adults is starting a new series in room 304 in the Parish Center. Free childcare is provided! Catholic Atheist will look at five specific ways in which we profess God, but then act and think as if he doesn’t exist.
We meet every Sunday.
Monthly confessions for students in faith formation are available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Parents also are invited to make use of the sacrament as an example to their children.
St. Patrick Catholic School. Registration for the 2017-2018 academic year is open. St. Patrick is a co-educational private Catholic school serving students of all faiths in grades PreK3-8. We offer exceptional educational opportunities to our students and are dedicated to their spiritual, academic and physical development. Our programs emphasize religious education, advanced curriculum, technology and physical fitness. Students learn the skills that empower them to excel in today’s society. St. Patrick is the only school in the Lufkin area to offer the Kumon math program and to be designated as a PreK Center of Excellence, a gold standard in high quality PreK by the State of Texas. For more information, call 936-634-6719 or see the website.
St. Patrick Church. Father Gavin is looking for an adult willing to help in training and scheduling altar servers. Training can be provided. Altar servers help our Mass go smoothly so everyone can join in prayer with fewer distractions. If you would be willing to help, please contact the church office or Father Gavin.
Confession times will be available Tuesday, April 4, 6-8 p.m. (English) and 7-8:30 p.m. (Spanish).
The Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 13, 7 p.m., followed by adoration until midnight; Good Friday, April 15, Stations of the Cross at noon (Spanish) and 2 p.m. (English), bilingual Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m., confessions, noon-1 p.m. and 2-3 p.m., Passion liturgy, 7 p.m. (bilingual); Holy Saturday, April 15, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m., bilingual Easter Vigil Mass, 8 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 16, Masses at 9 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5 p.m. (bilingual), bilingual Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.
Volunteers are needed for our parish cleanup Saturday, March 25, 8 a.m.-noon.
Stations of the Cross are prayed Friday evenings during Lent, 6:30 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish.
The Ladies of the Rosary group meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. in the parish office. Join us and make mission rosaries. For more information, contact Mrs. Wanda Brandon at 936-824-3253 or Mrs. Bea Treviño at 936-829-2209.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Stations of the Cross are prayed the Fridays of Lent following the 5:30 p.m. Mass.
Confessions are available on Saturday mornings 11 a.m.-noon or by appointment. Just call or text.
The Altar Society’s annual International Dinner is March 26. Cuisine from six different countries will be featured, so possibilities are endless: American, German, Mexican, Vietnamese, Cajun and Italian. And desserts, lots and lots of desserts! What will you prepare? Sign up sheets are in the narthex. Our Altar Society will be glad to answer any questions. Additional help is needed to transport things to the Kimbro Center, set up, clean up, and then return things to Seton Center. Monetary donations are always welcome. For more information or to lend a helping hand, please call Susie Miller at 936-399-4784.
The next baptism classes will be Tuesday and Thursday, April 4 and 6, at 7 p.m.
Join our faith community, and nearly 14,000 Catholic communities across the United States, in a life-changing Lenten journey of encounter with CRS Rice Bowl. Pick up your family’s CRS Rice Bowl from the rear of the church today, and don’t forget to download the CRS Rice Bowl app! May these 40 days better prepare us to encounter ourselves, our neighbors, and our God. See the CRS website.
The Easter raffle is under way. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5, on the honor system (drop your ticket and money into barrel). First prize is a Sony 32” LED Bravia TV. Feel free to donate more prizes.
Mary Queen of Heaven Church. Stations of the Cross are prayed the Fridays of Lent at 6 p.m., followed by a simple meal.
The Rosary Group meets on Fridays. During Lent, the rosary will be cited starting at 5:20 p.m. at the church with Stations to follow.
Knights of Columbus Council 12253 will hold a seafood gumbo dinner Friday, March 31, 5-7:30 p.m. in the church. All are welcome and the meal is free, though the council is accepting donations to help fund local charities.
Refreshments are served after the 10 a.m. Mass on Sundays in the parish hall. Come join us, and get to know your parish family.
Easter lilies can be purchased for $10 each. Help us decorate the altar at Easter and remember loved ones. To purchase lilies, see Carol Leonard, Pat Rummel, or Judy Harrell.
St. Joseph Church. The Knights of Columbus Lenten fish fry will be Friday, March 24, 5-8 p.m. in the parish hall. Cost is $8 per plate.
A sacramental preparation class for those preparing to receive the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation is Sunday, March 26, at 4 p.m. in the school.
Travel with Deacon John Sargent to Ireland June 23-July 2. Cost is $3,700 per person. To register, call 855-842-8001 or 508-340-9370, or register online at www.proximotravel.com.
Each family is asked to collect one canned good per day for the 40 days of Lent. Cans may be dropped off at the church or church office at any time. The collection benefits the Marshall Food Bank.
Our Holy Week schedule is: Holy Thursday, April 13, bilingual Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7 p.m., followed by Altar of Repose in the parish hall; Good Friday, April 14, confessions, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., English Stations of the Cross, 12:05 p.m., Spanish Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3 p.m. at the school; English Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 7 p.m.; Holy Saturday, bilingual Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.; Easter Sunday, Mass of the Resurrection, 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish).
All graduating high school seniors of Marshall and surrounding areas are invited to give your name, address, and school name to the office. We will be mailing invitations to our upcoming Senior Mass and lunch soon.
The food bank is requesting cans of soup. Please help us feed the hungry in our midst.
Hot meals are served to those in need Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the parish hall.
St. Peter the Apostle Church. Knights of Columbus fish fries are at 6 p.m. on the Fridays of Lent.
St. Michael Church. We have fish fries in the parish hall the Fridays of Lent, 5-8:30 p.m. If you wish to volunteer to help, please contact the church office.
We will have Lenten retreats Wednesday, March 29, at 9 a.m. (English) and 6 p.m. (Spanish) in the church, and at 7 p.m. (English) in St. Michael Hall. Confession times will be available before and after the talks.
We need participants for the Way of the Cross play. We practice Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in St. Michael Hall. All are welcome to participate.
Come and Join our Apologetics/Bible Study Wednesdays in St. Michael Hall from 9-10:15 a.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to come and participate in learning the word of the Lord.
We are trying to update our parish records. If there are still families who need to register as members of this parish, update personal information, or wish to have offering envelopes for the year 2017, please come by or call the parish office as soon as possible at 903-572-5227.
Sacred Heart Church. Sacred Heart Outstanding Catholic Kids (SHOCK) youth group meets Wednesday nights, 6:45-8:30 p.m.
Our food pantry is open on the second Tuesday of every month, 9 a.m.-noon. All monetary support is appreciated, and special envelopes are now available in the vestibule for your support. Help us feed the hungry in our midst.
St. Mary’s Chapel, Stephen F. Austin State University. Stations of the Cross are prayed the Fridays during Lent after Mass.
Knights of Columbus are offering fish fries on the Fridays of Lent.
The Men’s Retreat will be March 31-April 2. The Women’s Retreat will be April 1-2.
Sacred Heart Church. Eucharistic adoration is every Thursday at noon.
LifeTeen, for young people in grades 9-12, is held on Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m.
Sacred Heart Church. The Catholic Daughters of the Americas will serve a baked potato supper Friday, March 24, 6-7 p.m.
Mass is celebrated at 12:05 p.m. every Thursday of Lent.
Learn the Spanish language. Lessons in basic, intermediate, and advanced are available. Lessons are $10 each. For information, call Betty Rodriguez, 903-691-7931.
Bishop Gorman Catholic Schools. Registration for the 2017-2018 academic year is open. Bishop Gorman is a college preparatory 6-12 program that focuses on academic excellence with an emphasis on Catholic Christian formation. Bishop Gorman is a Top 50 Catholic High School, 2005-2015; a Blue Ribbon “Excellence in Education” Award Winner 1998 by the U.S. Department of Education; TAPPS 3A Overall State Champions 2001 and 2002; TAPPS 3A Academic State Champions, 1999, 2000, and 2002; and Middle School PSIA State Academic Champions 2014. For more information, call the school at 903-561-2424 or see the website.
Giving to Gorman has never been easier. Let your Amazon purchases help Bishop Gorman. Bishop Gorman is part of the Amazon Smile program. Amazon Smile pays .5% of your purchase to Bishop Gorman. To participate, go to smile.amazon.com and login using your normal Amazon username and password. Set up an Amazon account first if you do not already have one. Once on Amazon Smile, search for Bishop Gorman Catholic School as your charity of choice and continue shopping. Each subsequent time you shop on Amazon, start at smile.amazon.com instead of the usual Amazon website.
The school will present its student production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida” April 7-9 in Haddad Gym. Starring students Rachel Mikita, Sean-Riley Cunningham, Molly Breedlove, and Matthew Navarro, the bittersweet musical tells the story of people who must choose between love, honor, and duty to their people. For ticket information, contact the school at 903-561-2424.
St. Gregory Cathedral School. Registration for the 2017-2018 academic year is open. St. Gregory is Tyler’s oldest private, Christian elementary school, serving grades PreK-5 and the city’s only U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, a distinction earned by scoring in the top 15 percent of the nation on national standardized tests. St. Gregory has the distinction of being a three-time Blue Ribbon school, one of the very few in the nation to achieve this honor. For more information, call the school at 903-595-4109, or see the website.
John Paul the Great Catholic Campus Ministry (UTTyler). We have Mass, adoration, confessions, and the rosary throughout the week. See our schedule on our website.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Construction has started on the new covered entrance for the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul. The main entrance to the Chapel will be fenced off for approx. eight weeks. There will be no change to the Mass schedule, but please use the side entrances for access to the Chapel. Because this will be an active construction site, please watch kids closely. We apologize for any inconvenience, but the end result will be beautiful.
Join us the evening of Sunday, March 26, at the Bishop Gorman Middle School Gym for a concert by the Mette family. Michael James Mette is a Catholic musician and speaker who travels the country with his wife Michelle and their six young children. His music is a modern reflection of his faith blending alternative rock with faith-based lyrics. The concert will be 90 minutes and will include lights, video, music and testimonies by Michael and Michelle.
Donations for flowers for Easter Sunday in honor or in memory of a loved one are$10. The money must be turned in to the Cathedral office on or before April 10. Please remember to provide the name of the person being honored. Envelopes are in the foyer of the church.
The Knights of Columbus Council 1502 Lenten fish fries are March 24, March 31, and April 7, 6-8 p.m. in the KC Hall on the Loop. Advance tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for children (ages 10 and under eat free); at the door, tickets are $10 and $6.
“Tenebrae: Service of Darkness,” a Lenten evening of solemn prayer, readings from Scripture, and sacred music, is March 31, at 7 p.m. The name Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness or shadows and has for centuries been applied to the ancient monastic night and early morning services of the last three days of Holy Week, which in medieval times came to be celebrated on the preceding evenings. This service is marked by readings from Sacred Scripture, the singing of psalms and hymns, and a gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights until a single candle, a symbol of the Lord, remains. Come join us for this time of reflection and prayer in the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Mothers of Ministry will host their annual Father-Daughter Dance Saturday, April 8, 5-8 p.m. in the Cathedral Center. Cost is $20 per couple, and proceeds benefit the Magdalene Home.
Young people wanting to go deeper into their faith are invited to the second Underground meeting Monday, March 27, 6-7:30 p.m. in the church basement.
St. Joseph the Worker Church. Stations of the Cross are prayed the Fridays of Lent at 6:20 p.m.
The Little Flowers Girls’ Club, a club for Catholic girls ages 5-10, meets the first Saturday of every month through the month of May, beginning with Mass at 9 a.m.
The Little Women Hospitality Club for Catholic girls ages 11-18 meets the first Saturday of every month through the month of May, beginning with Mass at 9 a.m.
Prince of Peace Church. Springfest 2017 is May 13. We need your help and support to make it a joyful community event. Please contact any of the following if you can help: Jim and Annette Krause, 713-594-4484; Linda Rossler, 903-839-7138; Tony Zapata, 903-530-3639; or Julie Miller, 903-245-1223.
Father Gavin Vaverek, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Lufkin and a canon lawyer and defender of the Bond for the diocesan Tribunal, will present a session on “Dealing Successfully with Failed Marriages” Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-noon in the Margil Center at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, 2508 Appleby Sand Road.
The session will offer a brief explanation of the how and why of the Church’s respect for every marriage and the processes for establishing that a failed marriage was in reality never what Christ intended marriage to be. The session will also offer the specific steps those in failed marriages can take to begin moving forward in addressing their situation with the help of the Church.
Father Vaverek said the session is part of an outreach by the diocese to encourage those in failed or irregular marriages to come forward and begin rectifying their situation by taking advantage of the diocesan Tribunal.
“Pope Francis has made a great effort to make the Tribunal more accessible to people,” he said. “Our diocese has invested a lot in our Tribunal. We have a good number of canon lawyers to serve as judges, we have no large backlog of cases, and since Pope Francis eliminated the second instance automatic appeal, we’ve basically cut in half the amount of time (a case takes) because it’s heard only by us and not by (the Tribunal in) San Antonio. So we’re in a position where we can deal with more cases than we’ve been seeing. And we can get a judgment rendered in 6-12 months instead of 18-24 months.
“So we’ve been putting in place the steps to be able to do some outreach to invite people to consider it,” he said.
The session also is intended to correct the various misunderstandings of the Tribunal and marriage process that are so common.
“Practically, we find continually that people have a lot of misconceptions about the process,” Father Vaverek said. “There are people who think that because they’re divorced, they can’t go to Communion. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether they’re divorced and remarried. And sometimes that can be dealt with fairly readily. Sometimes it’s a longer process, but it’s not as long as it used to be.”
The issue of rectifying marriages within the Church has a direct bearing on the faith lives of Catholics.
“As Bishop (Álvaro) Corrada told a cardinal in France when the cardinal had commented about how, in the United States, ‘they’re so crazy about annulments,’ Catholics in the United States want to live their faith. They want to attend Mass and receive Communion.
“Religious practice is higher here than anywhere else in the developed world,” Father Vaverek said. “People want to be able to participate, including in the celebration of the Eucharist. Our culture comes from a very legalistic, law-and-order tradition, and, unlike in Europe where people aren’t necessarily so constrained by this, our people will allow themselves to be kept from this full and active participation by their situation. So if we can relieve them of that barrier, then it’s our obligation to do everything we can to restore them to the full practice of their faith.”
The session is aimed at those who work in Christian Initiation and encounter people with marriage issues “so that they have good information and can accurately help those they encounter,” he said.
“And, hopefully, we’ll also attract couples or individuals who have these issues in their lives and who have been hesitant to talk to their local priest about them.”
Whatever the individual or couple’s situation is, Father Vaverek stressed that “we have a number of well-trained and experienced people who can help. We want to help as many people as possible correct their situations so that they can return to a full life in the sacraments.”
The session is free, and no registration is required.
Robin Perry has been named principal of Bishop Gorman Catholic Schools in Tyler, effective June 1.
The announcement was made by Bishop Joseph E. Strickland and Father Anthony McLaughlin, vicar general of the Diocese of Tyler and president of Bishop Gorman, at a March 22 press conference at the school.
Perry, 46, is a veteran Catholic educator who comes to Bishop Gorman Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Memphis, Tenn., a PreK-3-12 program where she was head of school. Perry also is a graduate of Immaculate Conception Cathedral School.
“I am pleased that Mrs. Perry will serve as the new principal of Bishop Gorman School,” said Bishop Strickland. “Her background, personality and enthusiasm for Catholic education fit perfectly with our mission to form our students as intentional Disciples of Christ.”
Bishop Strickland thanked Perry for “her discernment in choosing to come here” and for “embracing this new path that God has called her to. It’s a joyful day, a day of great hope, a day of excitement, and a day in which our new president and principal, our faculty and student body and staff, the whole Gorman family, face new challenges and new work to continue to be disciples and to build up this part of God’s kingdom.”
“Mrs. Perry is known as an exceptional academic and institution-building leader. At Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, she worked tirelessly to integrate the latest educational models and technology into classroom instruction, while building strong constituent relationships at all levels,” said Father McLaughlin. “Perhaps most importantly, Mrs. Perry is a woman of deep and sincere faith, who passionately embraces the ministry of Catholic education as vital to the work of our Church. I am excited for Mrs. Perry’s highly-anticipated arrival to East Texas, so we can begin our work together in ensuring the Gorman school community remains accessible to all, while delivering excellence throughout our mission, and ensuring a robust and sustainable future for Catholic education in the Diocese of Tyler.”
Perry was chosen after an intensive nationwide search for a successor to principal Jim Franz, who will leave the school at the end of this academic year after 19 years at the helm.
“The only charge that I gave to the search committee was a simple one – please find for us the best and the brightest,” said Father McLaughlin, who was named president of Bishop Gorman on Feb. 1. “I am very pleased to report that the committee did offer the bishop and me the very best and brightest. We are happy to appoint and hire Mrs. Robin Perry to be our next principal.”
“It is a great privilege and honor to be here today and to be welcomed into the Gorman family,” Perry said at the press conference. “I am so excited to be a part of this new (president-principal) team as we bring Gorman further into the 21st century and as we make certain that our students have everything they need in order to be successful.”
Perry said she spent the six-hour trip from Memphis to Tyler trying to invoke “the wisdom of Solomon” in order to adequately express her joy and excitement at this new phase in her life.
“I got nothing,” she said to laughter from those gathered in Bishop Gorman’s Holy Family Library for the press conference. “All I have, in order to truly convey my sentiments at this moment, is to say, ‘Hi, my name is Robin Perry, and I am the newest Gorman Crusader.”
She paid tribute to Franz and his nearly two decades at Bishop Gorman, and said she will build upon that work.
“Mr. Franz has done an amazing job,” she said. “It is only through his hard work and the foundation which he and the Gorman family have already established that we can move forward and grow.”
As principal, Perry will be working closely with Father McLaughlin as Bishop Gorman settles into the president-principal model of leadership, a new one for the school.
“The model is becoming more common in Catholic high schools in Texas and around the country,” said Father McLaughlin. “Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that a single person, the principal, cannot do everything that is now required to make a Catholic high school successful. The principal cannot alone juggle the responsibilities of development, of community outreach, of finances, and of curriculum, discipline, and academics. So the president-principal model seeks to divide those responsibilities, to allow the president to handle development and outreach, while the principal oversees such areas as curriculum and guidance.”
Bishop Gorman’s reputation for academic excellence and deep community support greatly influenced Perry’s decision to join the Gorman family.
“When I was in my interview with the search committee,” she said, “there was such a broad range of people who had so much concern and care for Gorman. It was a huge spectrum of the community here in Tyler. I decided that if that many people care about the leadership of a school, I’ve got to be part of that.”
She also stressed the “Catholic” part of the school’s identity, and said Bishop Gorman, and all Catholic schools, have a unique and important role in education.
“The difference between a Catholic school and other schools is that we teach virtues,” Perry said. “We don’t teach values. A value is arbitrary. I value punctuality and neatness. But go look in my daughters’ rooms, and they don’t value the same things. But virtues are timeless. And that’s what we teach here. We don’t have to have a class on virtue; we model it. We see it in the way faculty and staff interact with one another. We see it in how the faculty interacts with the students and how the students interact with each other. We teach virtues, and we have the privilege of acknowledging God’s presence every day. God is present all the time, but we have the privilege of acknowledging it. And that’s what makes it different.”
“I believe that I am entering the Gorman family at an exciting time in its highly-respected and storied history, and I see this opportunity as an amazing time to continue to build and foster a strong and highly-supported school community,” Perry said of her new role as principal. “It’s a great time to be a Crusader with incoming President Father McLaughlin leading the school further into the 21st century.
“I am ever mindful of the strong foundation and traditions that Mr. Franz and the Gorman faculty and staff have worked so hard to build for the students and school community. The level of commitment to the mission of Catholic education by Bishop Strickland, the Gorman family, and the supportive families of East Texas creates an unparalleled opportunity which I enthusiastically embrace,” she said.
Bishop Gorman, a nationally recognized Catholic secondary school for grades 6-12, is the longest serving non-public secondary school in Smith County. Founded in 1958, Bishop Gorman has in recent years been recognized on the National Catholic High School Honor Roll and is a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon “Excellence in Education” award recipient.
Perry was hired after a nationwide search by Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions, A Boston-based search and recruiting firm devoted exclusively to developing excellence in Catholic school leadership retained by the Bishop Gorman principal search committee.
Prior to heading Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, Perry was first the academic dean of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School in Jackson, Tenn., and then principal. She also has served other Catholic schools in Tennessee as a history and English teacher at the junior and senior high school levels.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Tennessee, Master of Arts in Teaching, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Memphis, as well as a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University.
She was born on Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla., but has lived in Tennessee since 1977. She attended Holy Rosary Catholic Grade School, Immaculate Conception Cathedral for Girls for High School in Memphis and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she studied majored in History with a concentration in European history as well as English and communications.
She has a Master of Arts in teaching with a concentration on curriculum and instruction from the University of Memphis and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University.
She has been married to Keith Perry since 1994, and they have two daughters, Anna Katherine, 19, who attends Mississippi State University, and Emilee Grace, 16.
Perry was a competitive swimmer in college, She still swims, runs, and calls herself “a voracious reader” who has “killed two Nooks from overuse” and is on her third.
“Education has been my passion for almost my entire life,” she said. “I love teaching, mentoring, being a part of the learning process. Nothing is more exciting to me than seeing the ‘light bulb’ finally turn on for a student. To know that I have been a small part in shaping our future leaders of our world makes me feel like I have accomplished great things – even if no one else ever knows except for me and that student.”
Terry Braun, father of Tyler priest Father Justin Braun, converted to Catholicism on Christmas Day, 2016. We interviewed them at their home parish, St. Mary’s in Longview, a few days before Terry was to be received into the Church. We asked about conversion, what it’s like to have a priest as a son, and to have a dad about to become Catholic. (This story appeared in the January 2017 edition of the Catholic East Texas magazine.)
Terry Braun: I was raised in central Texas in the country outside of Waco. We went to a little Baptist Church. I went to vacation Bible school and did all the typical things. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, and I went to Sunday school. I was baptized when I was 9 years old. Along the way, my family changed churches to a different Baptist community because of disagreements, then later to yet another one. Of course, as a child, I didn’t understand precisely what happened.
I graduated high school in 1966, and left home in ‘68. When I left, I pretty much left the Baptist Church behind. It didn’t inspire me. I can’t pinpoint any one thing, but I think I was most influenced by what I saw as hypocrisy in religion. The moral rules in the Baptist culture I was raised in were very strict, with absolute prohibitions on dancing, and drinking—but I saw that people did them anyway. They’d slip back into church through the side door the next day, and endure a chastisement in the sermon, but something was missing. I knew that these were, basically, good people, but something was wrong in the way sin was dealt with.
How did you discover Catholicism?
Terry Braun: Well, I met Helen, my wife. I had finished technical school and my mother and I went out to visit relatives in California. I ended up at her birthday party and met her there. I was smitten, I guess you could say, and I start writing to her. We corresponded regularly until I was drafted in May of 1969 and ended up in the Marine Corps. It’s tough to write a letter at boot camp, you just don’t have any time to yourself. After boot camp, I started to have a little free time, and luckily I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, just 90 miles away from her. I’d take a bus and stay with relatives to see her.
The Vietnam War was winding down and so I was stationed in Barstow, California. I was in the Marine Corps until April of 1971, and Helen and I were married two weeks later. Now, Helen was a devout Catholic from a Catholic family, and so we were married in the Catholic Church. Although I wasn’t very concerned about religion in my own life, I made a promise to help her raise our children as Catholics, and I took that promise very seriously.
Were you thinking about converting at that time?
Terry Braun: In my own mind, at the time, it was “Church is Church.” I wasn’t thinking about becoming Catholic, but I gradually came to realize that Catholicism is different. I knew my wife was going to Confession regularly, and although I didn’t understand the details, it struck me that this forgiveness was different than chastisement.
The next years of my life, I worked a lot of Sundays at the steel mill in Longview, so I didn’t go to church with the family often. When I did have Sunday off, I went to Mass and also to parish events. I think a lot of people thought I was Catholic. I didn’t go to Communion, though. Not for 45 years.
Father Justin Braun: As a kid, I knew my dad wasn’t Catholic like me and my mom, but I never felt like my dad was on a different team. He did his part. He got us out of bed for Mass and supported my mother completely in this. I had this recurring thought, though—I really wanted my dad to go to Communion.
Why not go to Communion?
Terry Braun: Well, those were the facts. That was the rule, it was what the Catholic Church taught, and I respected that.
Father Justin Braun: My dad taught me about respect. Whenever he came into the Catholic Church building, he always showed respect. He always genuflected to the tabernacle, he would sing with everyone; he participated at Mass. He taught me respect for the Holy Eucharist even though he never received it.
Terry Braun: Oh, I was mostly clueless about the doctrines of the Faith, but I was raised in a culture of respect. Respect for God was instilled in me, and so I wanted to be respectful in His Church.
Then your son told you he wanted to be a priest.
Terry Braun: Yeah, that was a shock. I had a hard time with that.
Father Justin Braun: Yeah, I definitely told my mom first! When I finally told my dad, I could tell he was disappointed. I know he wanted me to carry on the family name and bloodline. Neither of my parents said, “no,” but they obviously had misgivings.
Terry Braun: Looking back, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. I remember when I was driving him to JV baseball practice one time. It was Holy Thursday. After the drills were over, Justin asked to be excused to go Church, to serve Mass. The coach said to him, “you need to get your priorities straight!” Well, Justin walked off the team, right at that moment. A teenager willing to do that, to give up a sport he loved, I knew he was committed to God.
Father Justin Braun: It all started right here, for me, in the adoration chapel at St. Mary’s. My mom got me to go to Eucharistic adoration with her. She didn’t make me pray or do anything in particular, but she did want me to go. In rebellion, I sat in the back and blasted Metallica through my headphones, but eventually Jesus started to work on me. I developed a love for the Eucharist.
Terry Braun: So, even though I was uneasy, I supported him. I drove him up to Philadelphia to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. That was a culture shock. Although I had spent all that time on the west coast, I hadn’t been any farther east that probably Shreveport. Philadelphia was foreign territory. When I saw that tiny room he’d be living in—you couldn’t even stretch your arms out; it was so small—I was troubled. Also, being Texans, we tend to be a little more friendly than folks from up there, you know?
Father Justin Braun: We were a couple of East Texas boys, and that was our first experience with people from the North! I’m sort of surprised we didn’t just turn around and run back home.
Terry Braun: I remember driving away, and looking in the rear view mirror and seeing him, and I knew we were both wondering, “Is it going to be ok?” It was tough to leave my son. I knew we were both sacrificing.
But, it worked out. It turned out that he made a lot of good friends. It was better than either of us thought.
As he went through his formation, as he grew in his knowledge, I listened to him. When he was home, that was what he talked about. The faith started to get closer and closer to my heart. It was working on me. Once he was ordained, it became really clear to me that I was missing something. Seeing the Eucharist through his eyes, it has changed me.
How did you feel when he was ordained?
Terry Braun: Intensely proud of him. Calling him “Father” for the first time was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Father Justin Braun: My dad’s conversion is the greatest gift God has given to me since my ordination. My dad is going to have the sacraments. There’s nothing more wonderful.
Terry Braun: I’ve been going to Eucharistic adoration with my wife, and there’s a little library in the chapel. I picked things up, read them, and my understanding has increased greatly.
How can Catholics help people like yourself who are in our midst, but aren’t Catholic?
Terry Braun: Be genuine. Never be ashamed about your Catholicism, but practice it honestly. Don’t be a hypocrite. Do what you say, and be honest about it. Be honorable.
We live in a place where most of the people, while they may not know all the details of theology, are Christians, and they want to do what’s right. Sure, things have changed a lot in the last 40 or 50 years, and it’s unreal to me the virtues the world has lost, but we retain a culture of respect in East Texas. That helped prepare me for Catholicism, and it has prepared other people. I was taught to do what’s right.
Father Justin Braun: And, if you do what’s right, and stick with it, you’ll eventually run into the Catholic Church.
Terry Braun: Exactly.
On Christmas Day, 2016, Father Justin Braun received his father, Terry Braun, into the Catholic Church. Terry received Confirmation and first Communion from his son. The entire extended Braun family was in attendance at St. Mary’s Church in Longview, for the event.