South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 43, Ed. 1 Friday, December 7, 1990 Page: 4 of 12
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I_OUR CATHOLIC FAMILY
Laity are strength of parish, says pastor
- --——--—-- “I care a lot about these people. Life isn’t easy and with-
By Paula Espitia out the Lord it’s almost impossible,” he continued, stress-
STC staff writer____ _ ing the importance of people supporting each other in their
SINTON—The building of God’s kingdom is the work
of all the baptized, and this growth is evident in the parish
of Our Lady of Guadalupe as they prepare to celebrate
their 50lh anniversary as a worshipping community.
The history of Our Lady of Guadalupe issimilar to other
churches. It began as a mission of Sacred Heart Church
here and gradually earned its independence as a parish. As
the size of the congregation increased so did the size of the
church building. The present building was completed in
1958 and blessed by Bishop M.S. Garriga. Other additions
including a parish hall and new rectory came over the next
However, the present parishioners and pastor, Father
Thomas McGcttrick, say that the priests and other faithful
who came before them arc the most important part of their
parish's history. Various priests who served the commu-
nity over the past 50 years included Msgr. Albert Schmitt
and Fathers William Bogart, Paschal Bergin and Pietro
Father Domingo Dc Llano came to the parish in 1974
and was responsible for bringing the Dominican Sisters
from Mexico City to assist in the various ministries in the
parish. Father De Llano’s faith and encouragement moti-
vated many parishioners to become involved in the life of
“The major strength is that people
consider this to be their parish.
They see themselves as a large
family with everybody having
Father Thomas McGettrick, pastor of Our Lady of Trujillo, parish secretary. The parish is preparing to
Guadalupe, Sinton.looksata new parish directory with celebrate their 50th anniversary on Dec. 12.(STC
Richard Zapata, parish council president, and Delia photo by Luz Loza)
He has also been a great encouragement to Father
McGcttrick, pastor for the past four years, who credits his
predecessor, who is presently the pastor of St. James the
Apostle Parish in Refugio, for the tremendous involve-
ment of the laity. “He has the great gift of calling people
into ministry and then training them and giving them
“This isa great parish because so many lay people have
been so well organized and trained,”continued the pastor.
“They work very hard.”
A willingcss to share their time, talents and treasures has
enabled the congregation to form strong ministries within
their parish, which consists of 1,1-TO families.
rather McGcttrick pointed out the various organizations
and the works they accomplish, such as the men’s club,
which helps to organize the parish’s annual spring ja-
maica, and the Guadalupanas, who make lunch on Fridays
tor the community to raise money to meet various needs.
And the parish has benefitted from work of the prayer
group, which recently celebrated its first anniversary.
The prayers of the parish community had a great influ-
ence on Richard Zapata, president of the parish council.
Zapata grew up in the parish and recalled a time at age 16
when he felt a deep void in his life. Looking back, he said,
“God guided me and protected me, although I wasn’t
aware of it until I later became involved in parish life.”
After spending time in prayer, he was approached by
Father De Llano, who asked him to be a lector. With the
help of the Dominican Sisters, the once shy boy was now
proclaiming the word of God before the assembly.
“God showed me,” continued Zapata, “that anything is
possible.” He said becoming a lector was a “significant
event in my life...I couldn’t have done it in another
When he later went to college he continued to return as
often as he could and eventually moved back to the church
he calls his home. He now worships with his wife, Alise,
and their I-year-old son. He has contributed to the parish
through various ministries including being a catechist and
“The Church was always been here for me. There was a
time when 1 was lost and searching and (the parish) gave
me the help I needed,” said the 27-year-old-man who feels
a deep sense of commitment to his brothers and sisters in
It is unnatural tor a mother to choose to Kill her baby!
The natural choice is life!
Abortion is an unnatural choice!
As president of the parish council, he said he feels the
organization needs to “become aware of the people’s
needs as a community.” To meet these needs he said the
parish must continue to raise funds form support groups.
Zapata also belong-, to a small group which meets
weekly to reflect on scripture and discuss the ongoing
activities of the parish. “It makes all the difference in the
world to have a support group of Christians that we can
turn to in a time Of need to lead us along the path of Light.”
Another factor in building community spirit in the past
year is the formation of comunidad de base (home base
communities) by another group of Dominican Sisters from
the Rio Grande Valley. Father McGcttrick said the Span-
ish-speaking groups have been very successful and the
team will return to form small English-speaking commu-
The religious education program serves over 400 chil-
dren of the parish. Instead of a director of religious
education, two boards direct the programs for elementary -
and high school-age youth.
A stronggroupof Eucharistic Ministers and lectors offer
their gifts during the Masses and reach out to the home-
Father McGettrick stressed the invaluable work the
Dominican Sisters have done in their many years at the
parish, including visiting the sick and elderly.
Delia Trujillo grew up in the parish with her parents and
five brothers and sisters. She has served as parish secretary
for the past four years and expressed the motivation or her
felow parishioners. “Everybody is always willing to help.”
BENEFIT BY OUR
When it's time to sell, it's time to call Harold or George
She noted those attending the four weekend Masses fill
the church to capacity. “Masses arc never lacking in
music” due to the various choirs which enhance each
liturgy, she said.
Also taking their turns assisting in the Masses arc over
40 altar servers sponsored by Gilbert Silva, who also leads
an active youth group.
“He knows every kid in the church,"said Father IMcGct-
trick. “He’s marvelous with young people.”
Silva enjoys spending time with the youth whom he sees
as a vital pari of the Church’s mission. “I’ve aJ ways heard
people say that the youth arc the Church of lomorrow, but
l feel they are the Church of today. They will be our future,
but wc need to work with them right now.”
Many oTthe active parishioners credit Father Dc Llano
for leading them to their involvement in the parish. How-
ever, they also attribute the continued growth in their faith
to their present pastor. “He is a very holy man,” said
Zapata. “His example and words of wisdom from the
pulpit are encouraging. You can sense the Spirit speaking
through him; sometimes it consoles, but it also cuts some-
However, Father McGettrick sees the fortitude of the
community coming from the people he serves. “The major
strength is that people consider this to Be thcir parish. They
see themselves as a large family with everybody having
“A jot of people are anxious to build up God's king-
dom .’’continued the pastor. “We priests need to learn that
parishes depend on us a lot less than wc think.”
_ & TOMMY MAKEM
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Freeman, Robert E. South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 43, Ed. 1 Friday, December 7, 1990, newspaper, December 7, 1990; Corpus Christi, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth840671/m1/4/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .