Dear Parishioners: Picture1We say so-long to our Summer Seminarian, Billy Burdier, this weekend.  He has been here for the last eight weeks.  His time here has been well spent working at OLM School, the Vacation Bible School, assisting at Masses, visits to shut-ins, writing a weekly column and working along side Fr. Barrow and myself.  Billy has a lot of energy and personality but also a lot of talent.  He speaks three languages fluently and can get by in few more.  He displayed his musical talents at the Vacation Bible School with his guitar playing and singing!

Billy was a great help over these weeks and we thank him. Billy can now enjoy some time of rest and relaxation with his family before he returns to Rome for priestly studies. This fall he enters his third year of theological studies  at the Gregorian University and priestly formation at the North American College in Rome.

Please keep him in you prayers as he continues to prepare for the priesthood. You can personally thank Billy for his time and service here at Our Lady of Mercy at a “Farewell Reception” on Sunday in Mercy Park following the 10:30am Mass.  We wish him well in his future endeavors and assure him of our continue prayers.  Farewell Billy and God Bless!

Last week I was in San Antonio, Texas for the Annual Summer Meeting of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors.  Hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference the meeting is a gathering of the men and women who advocate for the Catholic Church at statehouses across the nation. During the meeting we were updated on public policy issues like immigration reform, gun control, conscience protection, religious freedom, abortion, assisted suicide, refugee littlesisters9resettlement, poverty and educational choice.  These issues effect every state and we were able to hear from the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops about them.  These diverse public policy issues are getting more complicated and more numerous.

We had the great privilege of having Father Paul Murray, O.P. of  the Pontifical  University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome offer very insightful theological reflections on our work as Catholic Conference Directors. Fr. Murray is a Dominican Friar who hails from Ireland and is the author of many books. While there we were also able to visit the Alamo.  Of course this Mission was  the site of the  historic battle between Texans and the Mexican Army of General Santa Anna. It’s a lot smaller in person and certainly very different from the classic John Wayne film!

san fernando cathedralWe also celebrated Mass at the  Cathedral of San Fernando with the Archbishop of San Antonio, the Most Reverend Gustavo-García-Siller. The beautiful  Cathedral was founded in March 1731 by a group of 15 families who came from the Canary Islands at the invitation of King Phillip V of Spain. It is now a hub of the City of San Antonio.  Over 5,000 people participate at weekend Masses each week. The Cathedral Parish has over 900 baptisms, 100 weddings, and 100 funerals each year.

Following the meeting I made a trip to Austin, Texas to visit the LBJ Presidential Library. It isIMG_1112 quite an impressive place that is full of history and brings to life the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.  He is one of the most fascinating U.S. Presidents in history. After Austin I moved on to Houston where I was able to visit  the President George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Park. The elder President Bush’s life and presidency is also well worth the visit. His vast service to the nation throughout his life most especially during the Second World War was well worth spending time examining.

I am happy to be back home at OLM!  I thank Fr. Barrow for his able stewardship of our parish during my absence.  Also I am grateful to Bishop Evans for helping cover Masses while I was away. OLM was certainty in good hands while I was in Texas! I’ll remember the Alamo but I won’t miss the Texas temperatures! Pray for peace!  Be well. Do Good. God Bless. Go Sox!