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Quick links to the photo albums that supplement this page are provided below.
St. Athanasius Chapel/Hall
December 20, 2014
"Ut hos agros benedicere, conservare, et ab
omni daemonum infestatione custodire digneris ...."
~ Litany of the Saints
Splish, splash, slush! Torrential rains the day before the ceremony turned the site into a quagmire. The location of St. Athanasius Chapel/Hall was a lake (see first photo in Groundbreaking Photo Album). The ground inside the tent set up for the event required hours of sump pump work before tarp could be laid down and chairs placed. The morning of the event, Fr. Van Vliet was on the bulldozer moving dirt to prepare a walkway so guests wouldn’t sink in the mud.
But neither rain nor the chill kept the faithful from coming! With great joy, over 200 people joined His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and our pastor in the historic site blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for St. Athanasius Chapel/Hall. It will be the first building in the first Traditional Rite parish in the Archdiocese in over 40 years! The chapel/hall will seat 350 faithful, and serve temporarily as the main church for the parish.
In his introductory remarks, Fr. Van Vliet explained that work has begun on a caretaker’s residence to be used as a temporary rectory until the second phase of construction begins. A half-mile driveway off of Breen Road into the property will be laid soon, and after that, construction begins on the chapel/hall. Plans are to be on the property by late 2015.
We are extremely honored and humbled by the presence of His Eminence, especially as it is the first time he has visited the site, and the first time a Cardinal has attended an FSSP groundbreaking. With all the standing water, Cardinal DiNardo quipped the day was more a “parting of the Jordan” than the breaking of the ground!
Fr. Van Vliet thanked all who made the day possible, most especially His Eminence, who welcomed the Fraternity into the Archdiocese, Betty Lee White, who donated the land, Fr. Lockey, who opened his parish to the apostolate, and the faithful, who have offered prayers, labor and capital to make construction possible. Since its formal erection in August 2013, Regina Caeli has raised over $2.3 million in donations and pledges from parishioners and benefactors. Quite a feat since 40% of the 120 families currently registered are under the age of 12!
Joining His Eminence and our pastor in the breaking of the ground were Fr. Lockey, Judge Frank Rynd, General Counsel of the Archdiocese, and Jerry Tipps, Architect. (Judge Rynd was instrumental in the negotiations to establish the parish.) Also in attendance were Fr. Eurel Manzano, Personal Secretary to the Office of the Cardinal, and FSSP priests: Fr. John Shannon from Immaculate Conception Church in El Paso and Frs. Philip Wolfe and Terrence Gordon from Mater Dei Catholic Parish in Irving.
As the ceremony came to an end, the church bell tolled noon and Cardinal DiNardo led the faithful in the Angelus. Te Deum laudamus!
More pictures at Groundbreaking Ceremony, Dec. 20, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
At the bottom of the page under Documents:
Remarks of Cardinal DiNardo on this historic day
Invitation to Groundbreaking
About His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Advent and Christmas. With construction beginning in 2015, we may be in our own home next December. On Gaudete Weekend, the parish held a 12-hour Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving for the funds raised to date and in supplication for a successful construction of the facilities and funding of the other phases of the parish complex. In addition, the parish held, on consecutive Sundays, celebrations in honor of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Photos of Advent and Christmas, 2014 located at the top of the page.
October/November Projects. In the second half of October, Regina Caeli volunteers worked on preparing a new area for the 12,000-pound marble Pieta owned by SEAS. After consultation with SEAS and our pastor, Jerry Tipps designed a 300 sq. ft. stone shrine with altar. The statue was moved to its new location after the new foundation was laid. The shrine will be completed in 2015.
In November, Tanya and Andrew Feenstra found a bargain sale on church pews. The catch: move them off the existing premises pronto! An emergency call went out for parishioners to help disassemble, pack and wrap the pews on Saturday Nov. 8 and to re-locate in a storage facility the following Tuesday.
October 25, Special Workday. A busy day for all hands, big and small. The men primarily focused on post installations for a new fence that will section off part of the land for the animals to roam during construction. Father was on the bulldozer; others tackled site clean-up and grounds work. By mid-afternoon, everyone was ready for the supper of hot dogs, hamburgers and home-cooked sides. Supper at the site is not usual on workdays, but a certain Canadian in black was having a birthday the very next day. The birthday cake was kept under wraps until it was time to be presented. Father delighted in the joke when he saw it. For those who do not know, he is not a fan of speed bumps. (And he is 54 years young.)
The sign on the cake reads: "54 MPH. Watch Out for Speed Bumps."
Procession in Honor of
Our Lady of the Rosary
October 5, 2014
"Regina in caelum assumpta,
Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii ...."
~ Litany of Loreto
One could not have asked for a more beautiful day to have a procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary! There had been rain earlier in the week (to the delight of the children - see the photos), but Sunday was perfect! That morning at the High Mass, our Lord made sure we were paying attention. Fire alarms went off during the Pater Noster, triggered by the incense drifting to the ceiling. This was a first, having never occurred in the three years we have been in the FLC.
The procession at the site this year was on more open ground than last year, due to the extensive clearing of the property by the work crews in preparation for future construction. After the procession, there was delicious barbacoa with rice and beans and decadent desserts to follow.
Photos at Rosary Procession, October 5, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
September 27-28, Commitment Weekend
October 19, Celebration Sunday
The parish held a 12-hour prayer vigil before the Blessed Sacrament from 7 p.m. Saturday, September 27, to 7 a.m. Sunday, September 28, for the success of the capital campaign. Construction of St. Athanasium Chapel/Hall cannot begin unless the Minimum Goal of the campaign is met. A reception followed each Sunday Mass, during which parishioners made their pledge commitments to help fund construction. CCD children offered their gifts, too! Deo gratias! By Celebration Sunday, October 19, the parish met the Minimum Goal and was moving into the Challenge Goal for a rectory and parish office.
August 29 - October 7, 2014. Fr. Yves-Gyrres Yama Mupier, priest from the Diocese of Idiofa, Province of Bandundu of Congo (formerly Zaire), visited the parish with his parents and fellow parishioners Robert and Veronic Mupier. Fr. Yves, fluent in his native language and French, was visiting the U.S. to see family, improve his English, and perhaps learn a little Latin and something of the Traditional Mass. Like our pastor, he is very skilled in construction and has led a number of projects in his native country. Please pray for Fr. Yves and for the faithful in his homeland who suffer many hardships.
Fr. Yves with his parents and our pastor, Oct. 5 at the Rosary Procession
September 19-20, 2014. Fr. Michael Passo made a quick stop in Houston to visit his twin brother Gabriel before continuing on a fundraising trip for the FSSP Mission in Columbia, where he is stationed. He celebrated the morning Mass on Friday and Saturday.
Read About Fr. Michael Passo, FSSP at the bottom of the page under Documents.
Capital Campaign Kicks Off!
July 27, 2014 and ongoing
In all things, love and serve the Lord!
From the day the apostolate was formed, the goal was to move into our church on our own land. First requirement: Be a parish, which occurred August 15 last year. Second: Chancery approval of a capital campaign and construction. Third: A fundraising plan. All which led to July 13, when Father formally announced the In Omnibus Amare et Servire Domino Capital Campaign to be Kicked Off on July 27 with a BBQ Celebration at the KC Hall near the site.
And Kick-Off we did! Over 320 people gathered to hear the plans, see the architectural drawings and watch the video. Fr. Van Vliet and Co-Chairs Steve Boss and Paul Grant discussed the goals, current funding levels and importance of each person's contribution in making this parish and its capital campaign a success. They also thanked the many volunteers. The parish complex will be in a Mission style with buildings enclosed within a walled perimeter, leaving much of the land rural for meditative purposes.
Prayers are essential to successful fundraising and future construction. On June 8, Pentecost Sunday, the parish began monthly Holy Hours to ask for Divine assistance, and added a Rosary after the 8 a.m. High Mass to the Sunday schedule. During the summer months, the children led this Rosary.
Please click here for the online brochure and video.
Photos at Campaign Kick-Off Celebration, July 27, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
July 29 - August 13, pastor on holidays. Fr. Lockey celebrated the morning Masses until Fr. Ferguson arrived on August 1 to assume pastoral responsibilities until the return of Fr. Van Vliet. Fr. Ferguson last visited two years ago, and the parish was delighted to once again hear his Southern accent and see him in person. He is Vice-Rector of the FSSP seminary in Nebraska, a Professor of Theology, and a gifted organist.
From our 2012 Photo pae About Fr. Ferguson, FSSP.
External Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Procession after the High Mass
June 22, 2014
In Sorrow and Union of Prayers
June 11 - 20, 2014
On the evening of June 11, 2014, an assailant, since arrested, brutally attacked FSSP priests Frs. Joseph Terra and Kenneth Walker in their rectory at Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix, Arizona. Fr. Walker did not survive. Fr. Terra is expected to make a full recovery after extensive recuperation. He would like to return to his apostolate once he is able.
Fr. Walker served as replacement for our pastor in early August 2013, and profoundly impressed us with his holiness and cheerful demeanor. Both priests were friends of Fr. Van Vliet and worked with him. Fr. Terra is a self-taught tailor by hobby and made several of the vestments worn by our pastor during Mass. Fr. Walker assisted our pastor in various woodworking projects at the FSSP seminary in Nebraska. He was a priest for two years.
In union with the prayers of Mater Misericordiae Mission and faithful everywhere, our parish offered a spiritual bouquet to Fr. Terra and the Family of Fr. Walker, a Holy Hour for both priests on Trinity Sunday, June 15, and two Requiem Masses on June 16. Fr. Van Vliet was in Kansas for the funeral and burial of Fr. Walker on June 20, 2014. Fr. Lockey graciously served in his absence.
At the bottom of the page under Documents:
From the FSSP Superior General: Fr. Berg on Fr. Walker
From our pastor: Fr. Van Vliet on Fr. Walker Funeral
From our 2013 Photo page: About Fr. Kenneth Walker. (Photos of his visit are on the 2013 page.)
Photos at Requiem Mass, June 16, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
June 8, 2014. On Pentecost Sunday, we had a surprise visit by Fr. Kevin O'Neill, FSSP who was in town for a wedding of one of our parishioners. In addition, we had the first of several anticipated Holy Hours for the success of the capital campaign. The capital campaign will be made public in late July and will conclude by mid-October.
Read About Fr. Kevin O'Neill, FSSP at the bottom of the page under Documents.
More Merriment in May, 2014
Evening Crawfish Boil
Youth Group at the Site
May 24, 2014
The Very Rev. John Berg Visits Our Parish
Fourth Sunday After Easter
May 18, 2014
The Very Rev. John Berg, Superior General of the FSSP, visited our parish for a second time this weekend. Since his last visit in 2012 at the Ground Blessing, we have become an official parish in the Archdiocese and can now actively seek funds to develop our land. Fr. Berg took a tour of the grounds, and noting the extent of clearing and preparation of the site done by our pastor and volunteers, suggested we hurry to complete the funding as "St. Joseph is looking rather lonely out there".
Fr. Berg celebrated the High Mass, and gave a powerful sermon on the Gospel reading. He warned that man, from the time of Adam onward, has wanted God to serve man instead of man to serve God. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to lead the Church and to bring souls to Heaven. Faith is the source of unity and obscurity of the Faith makes unity harder.
After both Masses, Fr. Berg met with the faithful. The next day, he left to visit the apostolate in Mexico.
From our 2012 Photo page: About Fr. John Berg, FSSP Superior General. (Discussion of his prior visit and photo album are on the 2012 page.)
May Crowning and First Communion
May 4 and May 11, 2014
"Accipe hunc habitum benedictum
precans sanctissiman Virginem ...."
~ Conferral of the Brown Scapular
On the Third Sunday after Easter, which was also Mother's Day, CCD students received First Communion at the 8 a.m. High Mass, and afterwards the special protection of Our Lady through the conferral of the Brown Scapular. The CCD children, taught by Mary Haddox, prepared all year for this glorious day, and met with Father several times. Congratulations to First Communicants Bradyn, Giana, Carter, Nicholas, Ronan, Gabriella, and Matthew! The previous Sunday, they led the congregation in the presentation of flowers to Our Lady.
More photos at Crowning and Communion, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
Palm Sunday to Easter
April 13 - April 20, 2014
Responderunt ei: “Jesum Nazarenum.”
Dicit eis Jesus: “Ego sum.”
~ Good Friday Service
This is our first Passiontide and Easter as a parish, but our third with Fr. Van Vliet, and although the liturgy remains reassuring in its constancy, still there was an undercurrent of pending change. Father announced in the Season of Septuagesima that the capital campaign had started (see below), and on the weekend of Palm Sunday, a videographer visited the site and the FLC to film men at work and families at worship. An unscheduled CCD class was squeezed in after the long Palm Sunday High Mass, and many pictures were taken to capture parish life as it currently exists.
Two things were different at Easter this year. During the Easter Vigil, a young woman took the name Valentina and entered the Catholic Faith, receiving the sacraments. At the High Mass on Easter Sunday, ladies under the direction of Kerri Strubing sung Easter hymns.
At the top of the page under Photo Albums:
Maundy Thursday, 2014
Stations of the Cross, April 18, 2014
Good Friday Liturgy, 2014
Easter Vigil, 2014
Season of Lent to Passiontide, March 5 - April 5, 2014
March 12 - March 25, 2014. Our pastor made an unexpected trip to his parent's home in Canada to be with his father in his last days. Peter Van Vliet passed to his eternal reward on March 21 with his family by his side, after having received Extreme Unction and the Apostolic Blessing from his son. Father was the celebrant for the Requiem Mass on March 24. He was back in Houston on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to celebrate an evening Mass with the faithful.
Fr. Joseph Orlowski, FSSP served in his absence. Coming from the East Coast and freezing temperatures, he arrived a day later than planned due to intemperate weather. Msgr. Golasinski, retired pastor of Annunciation Church downtown (who had offered the indult Mass for years), stepped in to celebrate the morning Mass on March 13. Fr. Orlowski previously served as a college chaplain in Fort Worth, and several of the students made a pilgrimage to Houston for Sunday Mass and Vespers on March 23.
Read About Fr. Jos. Orlowski, FSSP at the bottom of the page under Documents.
Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 19, 2014
St. Joseph is one of the patron saints of our parish, and like last year, a novena was prayed to him for the success of the parish and the capital campaign. The parish novena ended on his feast day, and over 100 people attended an evening High Mass in his honor. A delicious supper and dessert reception followed. Much progress has been made on clearing the land since it was first consecrated to him in 2012 (see the pictures below). May St. Joseph continue to bless our parish and our homes.
Progress on the land consecrated to St. Joseph
Ash Wednesday, March 5. Photos at Ash Wednesday, 2014 Photo Album at the top of the page.
Season of Septuagesima, February 16 - March 4, 2014
Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, February 22. This feast day is the anniversary of the foundation of the Confraternity of St. Peter. Although Fr. Van Vliet was travelling, he returned in time to say a private evening Mass for local members of the Confraternity. He announced that the silent phase of the capital campaign had begun, the public phase would start in the summer, and that the campaign would end October 19, 2014.
To learn more about the Confraternity, please click here.
Fr. Van Vliet with First Communion Class, Septuagesima Sunday
Fr. Van Vliet explains aspects of the Mass, February 16, 2014. More CCD photos here.
Congratulations to our Confirmandi!
January 11, 2014
"Veni, Creator Spiritus, mentes tuorum visita ...."
Our first Confirmation! On January 11, 2014, His Eminence, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 11 parish children and one child from another parish. Candidates for Confirmation enter a two-year CCD program taught by Fr. Van Vliet and also undergo a test and personal interview with him to determine their readiness for Confirmation. Congratulations to Joseph, M.D., Eulie, Nicholas, Julia, Richard, Jesus, Jennifer, Peter, Shea, Kateri, and Anne Marie!
The ceremony opened with the hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus" and ended with the Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Prior to the ceremony, His Eminence gave a preliminary talk with the candidates and quizzed them on the faith. Assisting in the ceremony were Fr. Eurel Manzano, the Cardinal's Secretary and Master of Ceremonies, Fr. Paul Lockey, Pastor of SEAS, and FSSP seminarians Stephen Braun, Michael Malain, and Timothy O'Brian.
Over 200 people came to support the Confirmandi and show their appreciation to the Cardinal for the honor of his vist. His Eminence noted that this was the first time he had conferred the sacrament in the Old Rite. It was a wonderful ceremony, reception, and day, the only mishap being a hand injury suffered by our pastor when he caught a crucifix that had started to fall. Two stitches after the reception, and he was back to work.
Read more about Confirmation in the Traditional Rite.
More photos at Confirmation, 2014 Photo Album located at the top of the page.
Feast of the Epiphany
January 6, 2014
Blessing of the Epiphany Water
January 5, 2014
Left: Litany of Saints, RIght: Adding blessed salt to water.
Full description of the blessing of the Epiphany water can be found here.
Photos are the courtesy of parishioners.