Vol. 4, 2016-2017
The Corpus Christi Area Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (KOC) honored clergy and religious at the 28th Annual Clergy and Religious Appreciation Banquet at Richard M. Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown. Twelve councils of Knights were represented at the Oct. 7 event. And some 200 people enjoyed a delicious meal as guest speakers, Father Richard Gutierrez, parochial vicar for Corpus Christi Cathedral and Sister Mary Aloysius Kim from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, shared their vocation stories.
The purpose of the banquet is to thank priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Corpus Christi “for the fine work they do to help us maintain and further our faith,” said Ron Alonzo, KOC's state membership director.
After regaling attendees with his discernment story, Father Gutierrez attributed his vocation to the priesthood to four women in his life, his mother, his grandmother, his aunt and Our Lady of Guadalupe. “God has called me to be a priest. Am I worthy of it? No. Some days I wonder what God sees in me. But I do what my mother always said, especially when I’m stressed out – give it up to Him and let the Holy Spirit guide me. I do that every day.”
Comparing the priesthood to falling in love, he said, “priests share the love that God has given us – to everyone around us. That’s why I answered yes,” he said. “I get to be in the front line to the Body of Christ, and I get to see that smile on somebody’s face when they know that their sins are forgiven.”
“Serving God is exciting,” Father Gutierrez said. “When you love what you do – you’ll never work again in your life. There’s always a new adventure. I remember every child I baptized. Even at funerals, I remind them that death is not goodbye – but 'see you later' because Christ has won eternal life for all of us when He conquered death on the cross.” (See his vocation story in the next issue of the South Texas Catholic.)
Unlike Father Gutierrez, Sister Mary Aloysius’s parents were devastated when she told them that she wanted to become a religious. “We were very close, and they did not want to lose me. My mom cried for days, and my dad ended up sick in bed.”
Consequently, she acquiesced and, out of respect, gave up on her desire to become a sister. It would be ten years before she would speak of it again.
Sister Mary Aloysius says Our Lady of the Rosary played a pivotal role in her life. “I would not be here today without her intercession. I was once dead, and now I am alive. My story is a story of all of us, and a common thread that runs in all our lives is God’s unrelenting pursuit of us.” (See her vocation story in the next issue of the South Texas Catholic.)
Alfredo Vela, state deputy of the Texas Knights of Columbus, presented Bishop Michael Mulvey with a check that he, in turn, delivered to Sister Milagros Tormo from the Missionary Sisters of Jesus Mary and Joseph to be used for The Ark Assessment and Emergency Shelter for Youth.
Bishop Mulvey thanked Sister Milagros for the Ark. “Your work is so valuable in this society, and it’s like a light, a very quiet light.”
Addressing religious, priests, and deacons, Bishop Mulvey urged them to live by the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit brings us wisdom, and the Spirit brings us an understanding of what God wants, not what the world wants. It brings us knowledge, a deeper knowledge of the ways of God.
“Let us not forget that God in His Holy Spirit is leading the Church. And therefore, you and I need to be men and women of the Spirit of God – to be examples first of all, and to be courageous in leading the Church in the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” he said. “I want to thank each one of you, the deacons, priests religious, for the gift that you are to the Church. You’re an example to so many people.”
Father James Stembler, Vicar General for the diocese, ended the evening with prayer.
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