Group Leaders – Ministry of Pilgrimages
Group Leaders for the Ministry of Pilgrimages are committed volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in the importance of pilgrimage. Each has applied and been accepted into the Ministry by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox, who in turn guide, educate, and train Group Leaders in spiritual and practical elements of the pilgrimage experience. Each is a true Pilgrimage Group Leader; experienced, highly professional, and deeply concerned for their pilgrims. Together, they are united in the Pilgrim Center of Hope’s mission of evangelization.
Deacon Tom Fox, C.K.H.S., & Mary Jane Fox, C.D.H.S.
Deacon Tom Fox, C.K.H.S., and Mary Jane Fox, C.D.H.S., had a re-awakening of their Catholic faith in the 1980s. While on a trip through the Holy Land, they were directed by a local priest to take a silent walk along the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus unmistakably spoke to them each.
In September 1986, Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox left their respective careers in hotel management and the travel industry to work full-time for St. Matthew Catholic Church. For the first seven years, their main ministry was door-to-door home visitation; in the first two years, they visited over 10,000 families. They also helped establish other outreach ministries at St. Matthew.
In 1992, the Foxes led a group of pilgrims in the Holy Land. After escorting them to the airport, they returned to Jerusalem to spend two weeks in a hermitage in the Garden of Gethsemane. In those two weeks of prayer, they discerned that God wanted them to develop a Catholic evangelization ministry. With the help of friends and benefactors, The Pilgrim Center of Hope was founded in June of 1993.
Tom was ordained to the permanent Diaconate in August 1988. Mary Jane is a member of the ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) Advisory Board and the National Council of Catholic Women. They became Oblates of the Congregation of St. John in 1991.
Tom and Mary Jane’s mission has included travel to parishes in California, Kansas, Louisiana, Mexico, and within Texas to give presentations on their ministry experiences, Parish Missions and on Door-to-Door Home Visitation Outreach. In June 1989 and June 1990, they assisted the pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Belize City, Belize, in a parish-wide evangelization effort.
Their ministry of pilgrimages has led them to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Eygpt, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey. Their speciality (and dearest to their hearts) is the Holy Land, having traveled there more than 62 times since 1986.
Their ministry work has been featured in five nation-wide Catholic periodicals and on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) show Living His Life Abundantly in 1995 on the video I Am the Bread of Life, produced by Stepstone Productions, Inc. In February 2008, they received the Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA) Leadership Award. In March 2011, they received Guadalupe Radio Network‘s ’Pescadores de Hombres‘ (Fishers of Men) Award. They were invested into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in October of 2011. In October 2012, they received the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s "Living Stones Award" on behalf of The Pilgrim Center of Hope.
"The call we received from the Lord to serve in the field of Catholic evangelization has been a most enlightening, inspirational and challenging vocation!"
Pam Carpenter made her pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Pilgrim Center of Hope in 2014. She is LEED AP and Principle Architect with Seventh Generation Design in San Antonio, together with her husband, Scott. They are both parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Boerne.
Scott Carpenter made his pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Pilgrim Center of Hope and Catholic Relief Services in 2012. He is LEED AP and Principle Architect with Seventh Generation Design in San Antonio, together with his wife, Pam. Scott is also an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Scott and Pam are parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Boerne.
Debbie Garza is a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Leon Springs. She has traveled with the Pilgrim Center of Hope to the Holy Land, Italy, and Greece. On pilgrimage in Italy she has spent extensive time in both Rome and Assisi, as well as other holy sites in Turin, Venice, Padua, Siena, and San Giovanni Rotondo. She recently completed the ACTS Spiritual Companion Program at the Oblate School of Theology.
She says, “On pilgrimage I know the ears and eyes of my heart have been opened by God’s grace and I’ve experienced the Joy of the Gospel. I am committed to helping other pilgrims experience their personal journey of faith on pilgrimage.”
Kathy Gottardy experienced her first pilgrimage with Pilgrim Center of Hope to the Holy Land in 2019. She says, “During this time in the Holy Land, I experienced an intimate and personal relationship with our Lord that I had not felt before.” She also realized the difference between a tour and a pilgrimage, and the importance of experiencing the sites and listening to where God is leading you during your pilgrimage time. (Pictures are wonderful, but experiences are what you will remember when you are back home.) Since then, she has experienced a Marian pilgrimage and a pilgrimage to Italy with PCH.
She is currently a parishioner at the Shrine of St. Padre Pio where her husband Deacon Ken has been assigned since 2016. She enjoys being part of her church community and has been involved in many ministries including faith formation, ACTS, Marriage preparation, Baptismal preparation, and Confirmation instruction. During her faith journey, she has realized the richness of our Catholic faith and is always working to learn more about it.
Yolanda was born in Monterrey, Mexico and studied at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. She now lives and works in San Antonio.
She says, "The Pilgrim Center of Hope has been instrumental in my spiritual life through pilgrimages and now I want to share what I have received and learned with others. Pilgrimages are incredible opportunities to be connected with God and the Church."