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Living Our Call

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
– Santa Teresa of Avila

Searching in and out

A few months ago, I was listening to a mother of three kids, two of them with special needs sharing how difficult it has been losing her job, keeping piles of unpaid bills, and even worst, looking for a place where to find the next meal for her children. Usually, during difficult times people say: “everything is going to be ok.” Instead, I prefer to share the Psalms 31:25:

“Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord.”

There are many reasons why someone might feel confused or sadden, especially during the past months when many might have felt “left behind”. However, people’s actions might change the course of events. I was amazed about how wonderfully generous hearts get out of their comfort zone to care for others in need by working extra hours giving up their rest, volunteering to either deliver food to the elderly unable to get their own groceries, standing for hours giving food to those who lose their job or calling to their neighbors just to check on them. The list goes on.

God among us

Some have decided not to harden their hearts and become Jesus’ witnesses with their actions by caring for others or strengthening their faith by holding tight to prayer.

“Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you grow hardened by the deceit of sin” – Hebrews 3:13

However, others are struggling with their faith. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard people say: “I want to see Jesus.” We need to be attentive and look around with a different lens so we can be able to see God’s hand in our midst or even more, listen to his voice. We need to BELIEVE that it is God who is calling us by name to go out and do his will. (1Samuel 3:7-8)
We need to realize that being a real follower and friend of Jesus means trusting, obeying, and surrendering our self-will to who love us the most, Jesus our Lord. If we want to journey this life with Jesus and be feed by his teachings, we need to get closer to him to know him more, and consequently love him more as well. Some are willing to lend a hand to teach His words and life as Pilgrim Center of Hope through conferences, pilgrimages, and various media productions. I encourage you to come and see and discover what Jesus has in store for you, as I did one day.

Living in love

Knowing Jesus is surrendering our intellect and heart to him by showing the world that he knows us better than we know ourselves and his plan in our life is better than we can imagine. He will guide us in every step and provide what is needed sometimes with unimaginable surprises as we remain in his love and follow his commands.

We should live a faithful life dressed up with Jesus’ love as we fulfill our everyday life, and one of God’s commands, love one another (John 15:17). God is calling us to bear fruit remaining in him, the vine.

It is necessary to shorten the distance between us and  Jesus. If we keep our mind and heart away from him, we could make the mistake of believing that someone or something else is able to meet our needs. However, we need to realize that as long as we remain in Jesus, he will work through us to continue building a community of which we are part of. We cannot prescind from our union with others if we want to fully live our faith. We cannot divert from Jesus who provides to us, the branches, everything to bear fruit. We are called to be instruments of God if we want to fulfill our purpose of knowing him, serve him, and love him. After all, God has written in our hearts the desired to see him and is always drawing us to him because only in him we will fully live the truth and happiness that we are always searching for. (CCC 27)


Veronica is a bilingual wife, mother, lay evangelist, and a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Media Production Assistant

PILGRIM CENTER of HOPE
7680 Joe Newton | San Antonio, Texas 78251210-521-3377 | PilgrimCenterOfHope.org

Our Mission:
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH) guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.
Our Core Values:
Humility & Trust | Docility & Discernment | Kerygmatic Joy

Our ministry encompasses pilgrimages, conferences, and evangelization outreach. PCH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, founded in June of 1993 by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox.

Media Production Assistant

Position Filled

This position has been filled. Thank you for your interest.

JOB OPENING: Media & Comm. Assist.

PILGRIM CENTER of HOPE

7680 Joe Newton | San Antonio, Texas 78251 | 210-521-3377 | PilgrimCenterOfHope.org

Our Mission 
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH) guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Our Core Values
Humility & Trust | Docility & Discernment | Kerygmatic Joy

Our ministry encompasses pilgrimages, conferences, and evangelization outreach. PCH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, founded in June of 1993 by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox.

______________________________________________________________________________

Media & Communications Assistant

WORK SCHEDULE: 40 hours

STATUS: Non-Exempt

COMPENSATION: Starting at $18/hour

EDUCATION: High School Diploma, Higher Education Preferred

SUMMARY: The Media & Communication Assistant (MCA) person is a “Media Missionary of Hope” who both enacts the mission of PCH and promotes its events; through video production as well as broadcast, social, digital & print media campaigns. The MCA will act as a creative producer for the weekly video series Journey with Jesus and Meet Mary, as well as monthly productions of Socials with the Saints and Meet the Master.

The person who fulfills this position is one who cultivates knowledge & interest in the “new evangelization” as understood and proclaimed by the Catholic Church.

The new evangelization is not a matter of merely passing on doctrine, but rather of a personal and profound meeting with the Savior.  Before we can pass on the Gospel to others, it must first have permeated our own lives so that we in turn may bring it to others.  It is important to recall that evangelization involves conversion, that is, interior change.  Evangelization must emanate from a deep experience of God.  – John Paul II

CHARACTERISTICS/TRAITS:

  • Passion for creative productions including but not limited to: video, radio, social media
  • Proficiency with industry-standard video & photo editing tools and digital media formats
  • Clear and effective communicator. Personable and active listener.
  • Strong copywriting and copy editing skills
  • Good time management skills with the ability to multi-task
  • Detail-oriented approach with ability to work towards meeting deadlines.
  • Enthusiasm for promotion of PCH mission through media & interpersonal relationships.
  • Organized. Exercises sound judgment and discretion in focusing on job objectives, establishing priorities, and reacting to the unexpected.
  • Motivated; a self-starter who exercises good judgment in decision-making.
  • Consistently meets the mission’s core values and branding; aiming for a high level of professionalism.

EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS:

  • HS Diploma. Higher Education preferred.
  • 1-3 years’ experience: social media marketing/content development & video production
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Outlook, Excel, Word)
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud (Premiere & Photoshop at minimum), or equivalent digital media editing tools.
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments and responsibilities and to use good judgment in prioritizing assignments.
  • Ability to independently set and meet goals according to objectives developed by Directors.

RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES:

The following duties will be executed in conjunction with PCH Staff, as directed by PCH Media Coordinator and/or PCH Directors:

  • Be informed of, and committed to, the mission and values of Pilgrim Center of Hope.
  • Execute a results-driven social media strategy.
  • Develop engaging content for social media platforms.
  • Create and edit written, video, and photo content using software editing programs & equipment such as cameras, microphones, lighting, and video switcher.
  • PCH Branding: Maintain the unified brand voice of PCH across different media channels.
  • Collaborate with PCH team to create a social media calendar.
  • Assist in the development and management of social media marketing strategy.
  • Media Relations: Write and disseminate press releases. Write, coordinate production & dissemination of radio PSAs. Coordinate “Living Catholicism” print column. Coordinate promotional appearances by PCH event speakers on broadcast media. (1 hr/wk)
  • Assist in updating PCH website, when necessary.
  • Impact Statements: Maintain an ongoing archive of, and advocate for the dissemination of, testimonies related to PCH ministry.
  • Newsletter: Edit Missionary of Hope newsletter for VIP contacts. Mailed out every two months. (2 hrs)
  • Events: Represent PCH and its mission when asked to attend functions. Occasionally attend weekend events for production of live media content.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings and functions (2 hrs/wk).
  • Be available for assistance in the office with phone calls.
  • Other duties as defined by PCH Media Coordinator and/or PCH Directors.

CALL TO ACTION:

  • Call 210-521-3377 and ask for Mary Jane Fox and request an interview.
  • Email resume to DTMJFox@PilgrimCenterOfHope.org with subject line: “MCA Position Inquiry”
  • Visit our website: PilgrimCenterOfHope.org

Unique & United: Church’s Diversity Testifies to Truth

Can you imagine John Williams’ Star Wars orchestral scores, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue performed with only one type of instrument? Or even more impossible: one scale… or one note?

An orchestra’s beauty and power derives from the diversity of instruments, sounds, musicians, notes, and many other factors—all playing various parts toward communicating one piece of music.

God works similarly!

Within the Roman Catholic Church, we see a wide variety of gifts from God called charisms, manifested in diverse spiritualities. Even further, most Roman Catholics here have no idea that Roman Catholicism is just one of many expressions of the Catholic faith.

Let’s reflect on how God is working through both types of diversity.

In San Antonio alone, we see a wide variety of religious orders—Franciscans, Oblates, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Claretians, Jesuits, Salesians, and more. One might ask: Why are there so many? Don’t they all believe the same thing? Don’t they all do similar work?

Each person who has ever existed, has been gifted with a unique set of experiences, characteristics, talents, etc. Just so, the saints who founded each religious order, lived within different cultural, historical, and personal circumstances. While every religious order professes the same faith, their charisms are unique.

For example, the Carmelite community trace their origin to the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel, and emphasize listening to God’s voice interiorly. Their charism is contemplation, and they wear distinctive uniforms or habits. Whereas, the Marianists were founded during the French Revolution and grew among small faith-sharing communities. They emphasize inclusive social outreach, and wear clothing similar to the people they are serving. Side-by-side, these communities look very different, but they compliment each other and work toward the common goal of union with God and love of neighbor.

In San Antonio, we are also blessed to have Catholic communities other than Roman Catholics. These include the Maronite, Byzantine, and Syro-Malabar Catholics. Walk into any of their gatherings for Sunday worship, and you’ll not only hear different languages spoken or sung, but you’ll also notice different forms of our sit-stand, bow-kneel Catholic calisthenics. You’ll see different ways of receiving the sacraments—which may even have different names. For example, what Roman Catholics call the Sacrament of Matrimony, some eastern Catholic Churches call the Mystery of Crowning.

How did this happen? When the first apostles were sent forth and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they went to many peoples and cultures to spread faith in Christ. Today under Pope Francis, there are different hierarchies of leadership for many Catholic Churches.

At the same time, we are all one Church, one Body of Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that there are diverse histories, symbolism, theologies, forms of holiness… “The mystery celebrated in the liturgy is one, but the forms of its celebration are diverse.” (cf. 1200, 1202)

In other words, our Catholic family is the most beautiful orchestra. When we profess during Mass that the church is “one” and “catholic” (universal), this is what we mean.

“From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. […] The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity.” (CCC 814)

This is beautiful, good news in an increasingly divided world. How can so many different people, languages, cultures, histories, theologies, and missions be united? God shows us how; in the Church. Let’s embrace this good news and share it with others. We need to be witnesses for God through unity.

I encourage and challenge you to learn more about the various expressions of our one faith. Do not be afraid of differences; the unity among these unique expressions will help us all together testify to the living God among us!


Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of this Catholic evangelization apostolate that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter Him through pilgrimages, conferences and outreach. Read the column monthly in Today’s Catholic newspaper.

Seniors hear a message of hope

SAN ANTONIO – Senior citizens and other adults from San Antonio and beyond, gathered for Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Catholic Seniors’ Conference on May 4, 2019 at St. George Maronite Catholic Church’s Phoenician Ballroom.

Pilgrim Center of Hope offered resources for seniors including Mass celebrated by the ministry’s chaplain, Fr. Patrick Martin, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, ministry and vendor exhibitors with resources for physical, mental, and spiritual health, and much more.

During morning Mass, Fr. Patrick Martin encouraged those present to trust that the all-loving God is present to them in all circumstances, especially times of illness, loneliness, difficulty, and suffering.

Messages of joy and hope were offered in presentations by Jeannette Santos, LPC, Fr. Pat Martin, and Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox.

  • Recordings of the first 2 presentations, as well as photos of the day’s events, are available to view on the CSC website.
  • The Foxes’ presentation also drew adults of various ages, as it was the second in a Saturday morning Meet the Master series being offered by Pilgrim Center of Hope and open to all throughout the rest of 2019.

Seniors walked away encouraged and renewed in spirit, ready to continue their journeys in hope. On evaluation forms, seniors thanked Pilgrim Center of Hope for offering this experience especially for them.

Women renewed, challenged on North Side

SAN ANTONIO – Women from all over San Antonio’s north side and beyond gathered for Pilgrim Center of Hope’s “Come to Me” Catholic Women’s Conference on April 12 & 13, 2019 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church’s Event Center.

This was the first of two smaller conferences—rather than one large conference—in 2019. (Another conference will take place on San Antonio’s south side, September 20 & 21, 2019 at St. Margaret Mary Church.) It marked the first time CWC has been held at the venue, and was Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller’s first time visiting the Event Center; which previously had been a Protestant church.

One attendee, Blanca, excitedly shared that the building used to be the church that her husband had attended before converting to the Catholic faith. Pilgrim Center of Hope transformed the building into a “spa for the soul” including areas for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, ministry and vendor exhibitors helping women deepen and share their faith, and much more.

During Saturday morning Mass, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, challenged those present to apply their gifts toward unity in the Church and between peoples, assuring the women: “We need you” to heal divisions and build bridges.

On evaluation forms, women’s comments were overwhelmingly positive, citing the intimate and personal atmosphere. Laughter was heard throughout the weekend, especially during joyful and reflective presentations by Sr. Tracey Dugas, FSP, Kendra Von Esh, and Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox. Women walked away healed and renewed in spirit, ready to continue their journeys in hope.

We thank attendee Nea Britton for sharing her photos, some of which are included in the gallery below.

All women who did not experience the April event are welcomed to register for the September conference.

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Holy Hour for Peace In the Holy Land

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem invites you to a Holy Hour for Peace in the Holy Land & Prayer for Persecuted Christians.

The Knights & Dames of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem have entrusted this annual prayer to Pilgrim Center of Hope. Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. will preside. All are welcome to join us in prayer!

840 Men Transformed

SAN ANTONIO – On Saturday, February 23, 840 “men of hope” came forth like Bartimaeus, who cried out to Jesus, Master, I want to see (cf. Mark 10: 51) for the annual Catholic Men’s Conference (CMC) of San Antonio. Pilgrim Center of Hope has been presenting CMC since 2004. The vast majority of these men came from parishes throughout the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

CMC 2019 was a Spirit-filled day marked by an enthusiastic demonstration of faith by husbands, fathers & sons, friends, and leaders. All were educated and challenged by speakers Dr. Ralph Martin, Fr. Larry Richards, and Fr. Ken Geraci, CPM. the crowd celebrated Mass with Bishop Michael Boulette, prayed together (Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet), and gathered in small groups in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as part of our Eucharistic Healing Service led by Fr. Ken Geraci, CPM.

Men told us:

  • “Healing Service was great & very powerful” – Matthew Laijas, St. Anthony Elmendorf, TX
  • “Inspiring talks touched the core of my heart” – Emmanuel Odin, St Joseph Del Rio, TX
  • “Good to see so many men adoring Jesus” – Mario Hernandez, St. Anthony Robstown, TX
  • “This conference was spiritually uplifting” – Steve Navarro, St. Anthony Mary Claret SA, TX
  • One wife said, “My husband came home on fire (Holy Spirit).”

CMC 2019 – At a Glance

  • A tremendous response to Reconciliation (Over 20 Confessors were available t/o the day)
  • Powerful Eucharistic Healing Service (Over 700 men came forward in groups of 10-15)
  • All men received spiritual tools & resources about our faith and Church (provided by PCH)
  • Brisk sales of resources on prayer, Scripture, sin & repentance, and growing in faith

At the heart of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Ministry of Conferences is the mission of providing an experience where all can learn about their true personal dignity in God, encounter Christ and the Church and be encouraged to know and love God, so as to go forth inspired and empowered, using their gifts to transform their families, parish, and society.

Mindfulness in Living Catholicism

What are we Catholics to do when someone suggests we practice Mindfulness?

You see this word a lot lately, even Time Magazine recently had a whole issue dedicated to Mindfulness as a path to happiness.

Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness defined this way was how a practicing and very faithful Catholic explained it to me. She shared that this technique has helped her with her obsessive tendencies that can send her emotions overboard. By making note of how a text, email or comment made her feel without judging herself, she is able to keep her emotions in check.

Mindfulness is also defined as a Buddhist spirituality in which one meditates in order to empty oneself and in the practice of it, achieve self-awareness. This is incompatible with the Catholic faith which calls us instead to place ourselves in the Presence of God so as to grow in awareness of who our loving Creator and Father has created us to be.

When my Catholic friend initially brought up mindfulness, I dismissed it quickly as New Age, but that was wrong of me. Her explanation opened my understanding of not only the multiple definitions of mindfulness, but also how we should not judge a meaning based simply on a word.

This experience reminded me that as a Catholic, I am not to just accept what is being offered nor am I to dismiss without consideration. Instead, I am to listen and discern.

The Apostle, St. Paul, is a master of discernment and can teach us much in how to differentiate between New Age, other spiritualities and the Fullness of Truth; which is Jesus Christ as revealed through His Catholic Church. St. Paul teaches us to, “Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil,” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

We test everything by discerning the source; is it human, a spirit, or is it God? St. Paul teaches, “See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity, bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power,” (Colossians 2:8-11).

If, as with my Catholic friend, we are using mindfulness as a tool to remain in the present moment, this is good. Ignatian Spirituality, a time-honored practice of the Church, tells us that the present moment is where God is and where his grace exists for us to receive. If in this present moment we praise God for who He is and for who He has created us to be, this is Divine and worthy of our attention.

If, however, we discover in listening that we are being advised to consider a mindfulness spirituality that calls us to look inward, focus on self and empty ourselves, we should instead use this as an opportunity to evangelize. Often it is out of ignorance and a hope for inner peace that we fall into deceptions. We are not to judge the person, but certainly admonish in kindness so he or she does not continue to be misguided. The best way is to ask lots of questions as this draws the person into discernment as words are put to thought. With your questions, you have a wonderful opportunity to guide them from what they may think is a path to happiness on to the Way, our Lord Jesus Christ, The Path to Happiness.

God has placed each of us in this time and in this culture for a reason and we do not have any reason to be afraid. Living Catholicism means to grow in faith as we try and live it out in the people we encounter and in the circumstances we find ourselves. In these moments and in all moments, we are to remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit and as our Lord Jesus tells us, “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say” (Matthew 10:19).

Nan Balfour is Events Coordinator at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of this Catholic evangelization apostolate in Today’s Catholic newspaper. Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

People must lift each other up, be lights to the struggling

Writer and philosopher GK Chesterton once said, “We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.”

As the chairperson for the upcoming Catholic Men’s Conference (presented by Pilgrim Center of Hope), which takes place Saturday, not only do I agree with Chesterton, but I believe we are all called to do something about it.

Too many of us as Christians have forgotten that our primary call is to discipleship. Instead, we have settled into doing the bare minimum with no call, risk or challenge.

The Bible tells us that, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Combine that with the two Great Commandments of loving God above all else and loving your neighbor, and you see why I believe that it is imperative for us to lift each other up and do everything possible to be a light to those who are struggling with life’s pressures, who have lost their way and who have lost all hope.

Each year, the Catholic Men’s Conference of San Antonio features dynamic speakers who educate and challenge men to be better husbands, fathers, leaders and friends. Our presenters for 2019 include Father Larry Richards, Father Ken Geraci, CPM, Dr. Ralph Martin, and Bishop Michael Boulette. By coming together as a band of Christian brothers, we will encourage and inspire one another to grow spiritually and go from good to great in our faith lives.

The conference is open to men of all faiths. Whatever your state in life, it is never to late to begin anew in Christ. All of us would like to be better versions of ourselves. We all have room to grow. We all need to be challenged, otherwise, we will never step out of our comfort zones or the accelerator-down lifestyle that is overwhelming far too many.

The great theologian and scholar St. Thomas Aquinas once said, “The four typical substitutes for God are wealth, pleasure, power and honor.”

The pursuit of and focus on these worldly desires an often be the cause of the stormy seas that batter us on our life’s journey. They can also be obstructions (a form of blindness) to a more fulfilling spiritual life.

Fourteen years ago, when the conference was established, we chose as our theme Mark 10:51, “Master, I want to see” – because it resonated with lots of men who found themselves feeling dissatisfied with life despite having achieved the dreams of having a successful career, a beautiful family, and being a productive member of society.

It was St. Augustine who said, “Our heart is restless, until it rests in you (God).” Attending the 2019 Catholic Men’s Conference will provide all men an opportunity to encounter Jesus. It will also offer the direction and resources, the tools, to find Him in the sacraments and Scripture – and even more importantly, in each other and in the world around us.

When a man has these transformational experiences, his faith is deepened and he develops a stronger commitment to Christ. This is when a man is able to touch others in profound ways and do what St. Francis of Assisi encouraged: “Preach Christ at all times, if necessary use words.”

This column written by Robert V. Rodriguez originally appeared in the San Antonio Express-News Belief section on Sunday, February 17, 2019.