South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, December 12, 1986 Page: 1 of 16
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Vol. XXI, No. 44 Serving the 314,812 Catholics in the Diocese of Corpus Christi December 12, 1986
Pastoral Institute begins new semester
By Rachclle Parry Ramon
CORPUS CHRISTI—The vast number of people
who continue to participate in the Pastoral Institute
for Ministry’ and Christian Service—now in its third
year—indicates a “hunger” in them “to grow
spiritually,” said the director.
The Pastoral Institute provides spiritual formation
and ministry training for lay people, permanent
diaconate candidates, clergy’ and religious. It can be
taken for diocesan credit, personal enrichment or col-
lege credit through Incarnate Word College in San
Participants from 63 parishes, five missions and
three institutions attended Pastoral Institute classes
in the fall semester, said Holy Spirit Sister
Marguerite Connors, director. There are 81 parishes
in the diocese.
Spring semester classes for Spiritual Formation II,
New Testament, skills courses and other classes are
'scheduled to begin Jan 8. and thereafter. For course
dates and locations, see listing on page 6 of this issue,
or call Emilia Rios at 289-6501.
“The spring semester ends the first three-year cy-
cle of core courses,” explained Sister Connors.
Because of the depth of information studied, the
Pastoral Institute recommends that people take only
one core course each semester for three years then
their skills course during the fourth year.
“This gives participants time to discern God’s call-
ing, to pray and to attend retreats,” continued the
, Sister. “It is especially important that participants
receive guidance from, and work with, their pastors
and become familiar with their parish.”
One of the goals of the Pastoral Institute is to help
prepare people for commissioning as lay ministers by
Bishop Rene H. Gracida. Once grading and reports
are completed for this past fall semester, said Sister
Connors, “we will have a clear idea of how many
Celebration of religious
events varies in cultures
Texas bishops examine
Special Section, Center
Father Roger Smith works
to increase others’ faith
have completed the academic requirements for com-
The first commissioning of lay ministers is
scheduled for June 6, 1987, said the director. Bishop
Gracida has approved the following ministries for
commissioning: Parish Social Ministry, Catholic
School-Religious Education Ministry, Ministry With
Disabled, Evangelizer, Prayer Group Ministry,
Catechist, Religious Education Coordinator, Youth
Ministry, RCIA Ministry, Liturgical Music
Ministry and Liturgical Coordinator.
To be eligible, participants must have completed
the six core courses and a skills course for their area
of ministry. An application and two recommenda-
tions (one from the pastor) must be submitted to the
Pastoral Institute and a letter of intent submitted to
the sponsoring department.
The Pastoral Liturgy skills course will be the first
to begin the second semester. The first of its five ses-
sions will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. to 3
pm. at the Diocesan Pastoral Center here. Other
skills courses will begin in January (see schedule).
With 479 catechists completing the Catechetics
Course last semester, “they comprise the largest
group taking skills courses,” noted Sister Connors.
And the Youth Ministry Institute has been offered
for three years now.
Pastoral Institute classes were offered in 30 loca-
tions throughout the diocese last semester, said Sister
Connors, and 801 people enrolled.
“The exciting part is that the majority of them are
laity,” she continued. “This shows their hunger to
grow spiritually and to serve the Church through dif-
ferent ministries. They really have responded to their
Because of the many Pastoral Institute courses,
“The Diocese of Corpus Christi is by far the forerun-
ner in Texas in presenting courses for lay ministry,”
said Sister Connors with a smile.
See Pastoral Institute, page 3
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be
celebrated Dec. 12 with special Masses
throughout the diocese.
Churches urged to remind people whose
birthday Christmas really celebrates
By Laurie Hansen
NC News Service
WASHINGTON—Bombarded by holiday glitter,
slick television advertising campaigns and the crush
of shopping mall crowds, it’s easy to forget whose
birthday Christmas really is.
The job of the churches, contends Milo Thorn-
berry, director of Alternatives, is to remind people
that Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ.
Alternatives is a 13-year-old non-profit organiza-
tion based in Ellenwood, Ga., dedicated to providing
resources to people who wish to live more responsibly
and consume less.
To help individuals and churches fight commer-
cialism this Christmas, Alternatives has published
two packets of alternative gift-giving guidelines, ac-
tivity resources and worship aids that are titled
Whose Birthday Is It Anyway? and Santa Doesn’t
Come to the Poor. Jesus Did. Will You?
Alternatives’ 1986 Christmas packets say that too
often Christmas becomes a sad rather than joyous oc-
casion because people are harried, lonely, depressed
or disappointed. Many find themselves pressured in-
to buying gifts for family and friends who don’t really
The organization advocates giving Christmas gifts
in a way that “honors the birth of Christ, expresses
our love to our family and friends, and our concern
for the earth.”
Alternatives also suggests:
— Restricting exposure to pre-Christmas
“hoopla” by turning off the television set more
often, making fewer trips to shopping malls, and rid-
ding the home of Christmas catalogues.
—Getting involved in Christmas activities that are
less “consumption-oriented,” by making gifts at
home, Christmas caroling or celebrating with an Ad-
— Including senior citizens, foreign students,
street people, refugees and those who would other-
wise be alone in family and church celebrations.
—Giving gifts of time to society by helping with a
local senior citizen lunch program, visiting prisoners,
or participating on a housing board.
Giving homemade presents to family or friends by
sewing soft toys or floor cushions, framing a favorite
picture, building a spice rack or gerbil cage, stringing
necklaces, or writing a family history.
The packet advises consumers who choose to pur-
chase gifts to “buy with conscience” and question
the values promoted when parents buy their children
“war toys,” gifts that reinforce sexist or racist at-
titudes, or board games that teach competition rather
See Churches, page 9
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Freeman, Robert E. South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, December 12, 1986, newspaper, December 12, 1986; Corpus Christi, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth840692/m1/1/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .