Archbishop’s homily before City Council vote
Homily from Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at liturgy celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross from St. Joseph’s Chapel in the archdiocesan Pastoral Ministry Center, today, September 14. The Mass was held prior to a San Antonio City Council vote regarding a “Reproductive Justice Fund” for a half-million dollars that could finance travel and other expenses for those women seeking to procure abortions out-of-state. “This is truly a sad day in the history of our beautiful city,” the archbishop said, sharing that he was speaking with a heavy heart and discussing the grief – and even anger – that this proposal has brought forth. “We know that the Lord will triumph, and we will redouble our efforts to provide true help and assistance to women in need.”
Pope Francis names 21 new cardinals
Pope Francis said on July 9 that he will create 21 new cardinals, including the Vatican’s recently appointed doctrinal chief Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, at a consistory on September 30.
The 86-year-old pope made the announcement from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square after reciting the Angelus prayer, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
This is the full list:
- Archbishop Robert Francis Prevost, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops (United States)
- Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (Argentina)
- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. (France)
- Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (Italy)
- Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Italy (Switzerland)
- Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan, S.J., Bishop of Hong Kong (China)
- Archbishop José Cobo Cano, Archbishop of Madrid (Spain)
- Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town (South Africa)
- Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches (Italy)
- Archbishop Ángel Sixto Rossi, Archbishop of Córdoba (Argentina)
- Archbishop Luis Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá (Colombia)
- Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś, Archbishop of Lodz (Poland)
- Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, Archbishop of Juba (South Sudan)
- Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora (Tanzania)
- Bishop Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang (Malaysia)
- Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo, Bishop of Ajaccio (France)
- Bishop Américo Emanuel Alves Aguiar, Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon (Portugal)
- Father Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesian Order (Spain)
Three are over the age of 80:
- Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, apostolic nuncio (Italy)
- Archbishop Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez, Archbishop Emeritus of Cumanà (Venezuela)
- Father Luis Pascual Dri, OFM Cap., Confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has created 121 cardinals from 66 countries at eight consistories.
The last consistory to create new cardinals took place on Aug. 27, 2022. The new cardinals included Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Ten members of the College of Cardinals have turned 80 since the last consistory, thus losing their chance to participate in a future papal election. Seven more cardinals will turn 80 before the end of the year, including Cardinal Angelo Camastri and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.
Immediately following the 2020 consistory, Pope Francis had appointed 83 of the members of the College of Cardinals eligible to vote in a future conclave. Benedict XVI had named 38 of the cardinal electors and John Paul II had appointed 11.
Ahead of the upcoming consistory, there are currently 121 cardinal electors, 81 (67%) of whom have been appointed by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis out of surgery, recovering in hospital
The Vatican said he evening of June 7 that Pope Francis is out of surgery and that the abdominal operation he underwent “took place without complications.”
The 86-year-old pope will remain in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for several days to recover after the surgery, according to the Vatican’s spokesman.
In a surgery lasting three hours, Pope Francis underwent a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction using prosthetic materials in the early afternoon of that day.
The operation under general anesthesia was planned by the pope’s medical team in recent days after it became necessary due to a hernia that was causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, according to Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office.
Official clergy assignments for 2023
The following is a list of changes in assignments for priests in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, effective July 1, 2023, unless otherwise noted.
- Father Jim Fischler, CICM, as pastor of St. Louis Church in Castroville.
- Father Mike Horan as pastor of St. Dominic Church in San Antonio.
- Father Gustavo Montanez as pastor of St. Patrick Church in San Antonio.
- Father Jaime Paniagua as pastor of St. Dominic Church in San Antonio.
- Father Eduardo Morales as pastor of Divine Providence Church in San Antonio.
- Father Edvin Rodriguez as pastor of St. Joseph Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Del Rio.
- Father Jesus Camacho as pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Macdona and Sacred Heart Church in Von Ormy.
- Father Oscar Tello as pastor of St. Patrick Church in Sabinal, St. Joseph Church in Knippa, and St. Mary Church in Vanderpool.
- Father Jesus Anguiano as pastor of St. Henry Church in San Antonio.
- Father Matthew De Leon as pastor of Sacred Heart Church and School in Uvalde.
- Father Mark Del Rosario, SSS, as pastor of St. Joseph Church Downtown in San Antonio.
- Father Phil Henning as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Stonewall.
- Father Archie Tacay, CICM, as pastor of St. Louis Church and School in Castroville and St. Francis Church in Mico.
- Father Marlee Abao, CICM, as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in San Antonio.
- Father Binoj Jose, HGN, as administrator of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pearsall.
- Father Robert Rosales as administrator of St. Cecilia Church in San Antonio.
- Father Raja Alangaram, MSFS, as administrator of St. Paul Church and School in San Antonio.
- Father Naveen Thumma as administrator of St. Cornelius Church in Karnes City and St. Elizabeth Church in Fashing.
- Father Stan Marciniak as administrator of St. Joseph Church in Dilley.
- Father Albert Toangutu Tomeka as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Del Rio.
- Father Chinnappan Arockiasamy (Samy), MSFS, as parochial vicar of St. Anthony Mary Claret Church in San Antonio.
- Father Ed Gonzalez as parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in San Antonio.
- Father Roger Montecalvo, CICM, as parochial vicar of St. Louis Church in Castroville.
- Father Avula John Devadas from the Diocese of Kurnool, India, as parochial vicar of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in New Braunfels.
- Father Abraham Antony Karukaprambil from the Diocese of Rayagada, India, as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace Church and St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Church in San Antonio, effective August 15.
- Father Mark Hriinii, MSFS, as parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Church and School in Uvalde.
- Father Abraham Pendlikatla from the Diocese of Cuddapah, India, as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Church in Honey Creek.
- Father Tom Moonnanappillil, MSFS, director of the Propaedeutic Year Program at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, effective April 14, 2023, with residence in Lopez Hall, and as adjunct vicar for Clergy (part-time), effective July 1.
- Msgr. Rigoberto de Guzman from the Diocese of Antipolo, Philippines, requested by Father Jim Myers, PSS, for the Assumption Seminary formation team.
Statement of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller regarding fire at Ciudad Juárez immigration facility
I weep with Christ and the families of the 39 brothers and sisters who died in the tragic fire at the immigration detention center in Ciudad Juárez early this morning. Most of the victims were from Venezuela, and the death toll will surely increase. It is horrible. The plight of the migrants is a real, dramatic story. These little ones — the least — are used by those who are “powerful” in this world. I spoke this morning with the bishop of Ciudad Juarez and he informed me that he would be presiding at a memorial Mass today at noon for the migrants. I invite all in the archdiocese to join in spiritual communion with the liturgy at that time. The bishops of Texas, currently gathered in Austin for meetings at the Capitol, will also send a letter of condolence to the local Church in northern Mexico. I again call on the federal governments of the United States and Mexico — as the bishops of both countries have done for decades — to enact common sense immigration reform which reflects the highest ideals of our country as well as a desire to recognize and protect the dignity of each person and their humanity. Lord have mercy!
Lloro con Cristo y las familias de los 39 hermanos y hermanas que fallecieron en el trágico incendio del centro de detención de migrantes en Ciudad Juárez esta madrugada. La mayoría de las víctimas eran procedentes de Venezuela y el número de muertos seguramente aumentará. Es algo horrible. La difícil situación de los migrantes es una historia real y dramática. Estos pequeños, los más pequeños, son usados por los que son “poderosos” en este mundo. Hablé esta mañana con el obispo de Ciudad Juárez y me informó que presidiría una Misa en memoria de los migrantes hoy al mediodía. Invito a todos en la Arquidiócesis a unirse en comunión espiritual con la liturgia en ese momento. Los obispos de Texas, actualmente reunidos en Austin para sostener encuentros programados en el Capitolio, también enviaremos una carta de condolencia a la Iglesia local del norte de México. Vuelvo a hacer un llamado a los gobiernos federales de Estados Unidos y México, así como lo han hecho los obispos de ambos países durante décadas, para que promulguen una reforma migratoria con sentido común que refleje los ideales más altos de nuestro país, así como el deseo de reconocer y proteger la dignidad de cada persona y de su humanidad. ¡Señor ten piedad!
Statement of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller regarding migrants found by U.S. Border Patrol trapped in train car
Prayers are requested by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, from all in the archdiocese for the 15 migrants found late Friday afternoon by U.S. Border Patrol trapped in a train car between the towns of Knippa and Sabinal, near Uvalde. As of early evening it was reported that two individuals were discovered deceased inside the train car and 10 were in need of immediate medical attention. Several of the victims were airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio in critical condition, and the archbishop was able to see them there. Others in serious condition were sent to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital — Westover Hills and Methodist Hospital, as well as Medina Regional Hospital in Hondo. Father Matthew DeLeon, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Sabinal and St. Joseph Church in Knippa, was on site at the scene of the tragedy and worked with law enforcement officials to provide pastoral care to the victims, blessing them and also reciting Prayers for the Dead. Catholic Charities of the archdiocese was also sending counselors to area hospitals receiving victims to offer services.
Archbishop invitation to 2023 Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress
The Reinstatement of the Distribution of the Precious Blood to the Faithful
La Reinstauraci6n de la Distribucion de la Preciosa Sangra a los Fieles
When a bishop goes to school
By Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak
For Today’s Catholic
It has been jokingly referred to as “Baby Bishop School.” Its official name is “The Annual Course of Formation for New Bishops” and it is sponsored by the Dicasteries for Bishops, Evangelization and Eastern Churches. Due to the pandemic, it has not been held for three years. Therefore, two sessions were held this year, to accommodate the substantial number of bishops appointed during this time period. I was assigned to the second session, from September 12-19.
One hundred and seventy-six bishops attended the second session, from the countries of Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Philippines, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Dominican Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Uruguay, Venezuela and 21 bishops from the United States. I was utterly enthralled with the languages being spoken, as I walked the grounds of the Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of the Legionaries of Christ, where the course took place. I soaked in the universality of the Catholic Church. For the first time since my ordination as a bishop, I understood more vividly what is meant by the College of Bishops.
The title of the weeklong course was, To Announce the Gospel in the Changing Epoch and After the Pandemic: The Service of Bishops. Each day began with Mass, celebrated by a different Cardinal of the various Vatican Dicasteries. I truly enjoyed concelebrating Mass with all of them, especially Cardinal Tagle, who was so personable, and joy filled. Each day included various presentations, on such topics as The Ministry of the Bishop in the Context of the Synodal Way of the Church, The Church in the Postmodern Society, The Family and Universal Fraternity, Episcopal Holiness in the Catholic Communion, and Educating for Synodal Leadership. The presentations and discussions were of great assistance in acquiring a deeper understanding of episcopal leadership.
The last session was entitled, The Encounter with Peter. On that day, we gathered for Mass at the Basilica of Saint Peter, which was celebrated by Cardinal Marc Quellet, the Prefect for the Dicastery of Bishops. Following the Mass, one by one, each bishop venerated the relics of Saint Peter. The excitement intensified, as we were brought to Clementine Hall, with its beautiful Renaissance frescoes and various works of art and awaited the arrival of Pope Francis.
I was almost numb when the Holy Father walked into the room. He spent almost two hours with us, encouraging us to be faithful bishops open to dialogue and exhibiting compassion for the poor and the suffering of the world. I found Pope Francis to be jovial and attentive, as he listened to questions proposed to him by the bishops. At one point during the encounter, his walking cane fell onto the floor and a loud boom echoed throughout the room. The pope smiled and said to us in Italian, “It must be a ghost!” We all laughed, as did the Holy Father. At the end of the session, he shook each of our hands. It is a day I will always remember.
As I do every day, I prayed for all of you in the archdiocese, including our priests, deacons, religious men and women, and our seminarians, during my time in Rome. The days were long and intense, but the experience greatly enhanced my understanding of episcopacy. Throughout the week, I realized how important it is for me to remain close to Christ and our Blessed Mother. I know prayer will sustain me, as I seek to do God’s will. Please pray for me, that I will be faithful to the call entrusted to me by the Lord Jesus. God’s blessings to you.
Published in Today’s Catholic
35th Anniversary of the Visit of St. John Paul II to San Antonio, Texas
The Archdiocese of San Antonio welcomed St. Pope John Paul II to the city for a historic 22-hour visit on this day – September 13 — 35 years ago. The Holy Father began his time here in 1987 with an outdoor Mass for more than 350,000 people in Westover Hills, at a site now occupied by John Paul Stevens High School. That liturgy still ranks as the largest gathering of people in the history of Texas. Later, the pope prayed with those in formation for religious life at San Fernando Cathedral, spoke to Catholic Charities personnel at Municipal Auditorium, addressed the Hispanic community at Guadalupe Plaza, and greeted Polish parishioners on the campus of Assumption Seminary. The popemobile also paraded downtown with the pontiff and Archbishop Patrick Flores, with many iconic photos of the Alamo in the background.
Archbishop’s statement on death of Queen Elizabeth
I pray for the soul of Queen Elizabeth II of England, who is lovingly remembered for her commitment and dedication to the United Kingdom. She fulfilled her innumerable tasks with fidelity, and faithfully served her country with the utmost integrity. She met with five popes, and maintained close relationships with the Catholic Church. Few people have the opportunity to live almost a century, and to offer such an outstanding example of selfless service. We pray that God welcomes her warmly.
Statement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, regarding abduction of Nicaraguan bishop
The world has been aware of the many atrocities that the government in Nicaragua has committed against people of faith, including many priests and bishops. Earlier this morning it was reported that Bishop Roland Alvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, was abducted by government authorities. This is extremely painful for the priests and people there; this continued abuse of authority by the government against its citizens. Today we especially pray for the bishop — whose whereabouts are currently unknown — that he be in good health physically, spiritually, and emotionally during the midst of this crisis. It is our prayer that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard his heart and mind in Christ Jesus. As Psalm 34, verses 18-19, state, “The righteous cry out, the Lord hears and He rescues them from all their afflictions. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.”
Bishop John W. Yanta dies on August 6 at the age of 90
Bishop John W. Yanta, a prelate proud of his Polish heritage who traced his lineage to the first settlers of Panna Maria, died at his residence in San Antonio on August 6 — the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord — after years of dealing with a number of serious health ailments with a resolute and prayerful demeanor as he continued to lead and guide work on a number of endeavors close to his heart.
The first bishop of Polish background to be appointed to a Texas diocese, Bishop John Yanta’s life had a typical American flavor. Born on Oct. 2, 1931, the fifth of eight children, he grew up on a family farm-ranch in Runge. He attended Runge public schools and religion classes at St. Anthony Church there from first to seventh grades.
Bishop Yanta’s roots went back to the Opole area of Silesia, Poland, the same area that produced St. John Paul II. There was the typical immigrant connection — his ancestors sold their possessions and purchased sailing-ship tickets to America — and Texas.
His mother’s relatives came from the Pluznica area near Opole with the first 100 families who settled in Panna Maria in 1854. Panna Maria is the first permanent Polish colony and Catholic church in the United States.
John Andrew Yanta and Mary Magdalen Pollok were married on June 15, 1920, in the parish church at Panna Maria. The bishop’s father died in 1971. The bishop’s parents enjoyed 51 years of marriage. The couple’s first child was a girl, Valeria. Seven sons followed — Edwin, Ernest, Wilfred, John, Fabian (deceased), Joseph James, and Vernon.
On the farm, there were always chores. What free time the boys had was spent in kicking ball or having playful fights. On Sundays there was the creek, fishing, or swimming. They would hunt, too. A steady routine of hard work and simple fun molded the entire family.
The years at Runge public school were followed by two years at Central Catholic High School and 10th grade at Maryhurst Normal Seminary in Kirkwood, Mo., where he studied to be a Marianist priest. He changed to Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 1946 and completed his theology courses at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 1956.
ishop Yanta always wanted to be a priest, and he never shared this with his family in his early years. He said that he was a mischievious little boy and he knew his brothers would have laughed at the idea of becoming a priest. His heroes were priests. One was the pastor of St. Anthony’s in Runge, Father Charles Drees. The other, a seminarian who spent his summers in Runge teaching religion to the children of the parish before he was ordained, was Father Erwin Juraschek. It was he who later invited the seminarian John Yanta to serve in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
John was in the seminary the year their father was sick. The seminarian took a year off to take over management of the ranch. It was a very critical year for him, one in which he might easily have discontinued his path to the priesthood. The future bishop, however, was very committed to his vocation.
He was ordained to the priesthood on March 17, 1956, in San Fernando Cathedral by Archbishop Robert E. Lucey. He celebrated his first Mass in St. Anthony’s in Runge.
His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in San Antonio from 1956-1962. In 1962 he was named director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). While serving in that capacity until 1968, he also served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Grace, Holy Name, and St. Pius X parishes in San Antonio.
He was the founder of the San Antonio Neighborhood Youth Organization (SANYO) in 1965 and served as its executive director until 1971, when he was assigned to the archdiocesan Office for the Laity.
His initiation of SANYO (San Antonio Youth Organization) in 1965 was one of his most cherished memories. He organized it for the benefit of the impoverished youth of the city at the time of the War on Poverty during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration.
“Part of me died when SANYO closed,” he recalled, stating it was a program of great fame and integrity.
In 1970-1971, Bishop Yanta went to Poland to study the country’s history and culture and to improve his knowledge of the Polish language. “I have great respect for the variety of ethnic cultures within the archdiocese. It was my exposure to the Hispanic and Black cultures that made me realize that I knew almost nothing of my own Polish heritage,” he said.
At the time he was there, Poland was under Communist control and he marveled at the strength of the Catholic Church and the Polish people. “I could understand the euphoria of the Poles when Karol Wojtyla because the first Polish pope,” he said.
Bishop Yanta is a charter member of the Polish American Priests Association (PAPA) and became its first national president in 1991.
Highly active in several Polish-American organizations, he was the coordinator of Pope John Paul II’s visit with Panna Maria parishioners and Texas Polonia in 1987 at Assumption Seminary.
In 1973, then Msgr. Yanta was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in San Antonio.
In addition, he was named editor-in-chief of “Today’s Catholic,” a position he held until 1983. In 1981 he became archdiocesan director of Communications.
When the archdiocesan newspaper, “Today’s Catholic,” was in danger of “fading out,” Bishop Yanta accepted the position of editor-in-chief. “We got the newspaper back on its feet,” he said with pride.
While editor of the newspaper, he helped to get Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA) off the ground in 1981.
With an expressed sense of profound humility, Msgr. Yanta accepted a new appointment as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese at a press conference in the chancery on October 27, 1994.
“I am greatly honored by the confidence His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, has placed in me,” he said.
“Divine Providence has united Archbishop Patrick Flores and myself in a variety of ways for many years,” the bishop said. “To you, archbishop, I pledge my love, loyalty, and obedience to serve you and all the members of our beautiful archdiocesan family.”
When he was appointed auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Yanta described himself as “happily fulfilled in all my priestly assignments over these 38 years.”
He especially paid tribute to his two pastorates, Sacred Heart Parish in the city’s Westside and St. James the Apostle on the Southside, where he was serving when he received his episcopal appointment.
He was consecrated auxiliary bishop in a ceremony held Dec. 30, 1994, in Panna Maria.
The bishop had a reputation as an organizer and a “doer.” An action that brought the bishop into public view was his jail sentence in 1993 for blocking the entrance to the New Women’s Clinic abortion center on San Pedro Avenue. It was the way he chose to observe the 20th anniversary of the “Roe vs. Wade” Supreme Court ruling.
It was a non-Catholic, Jack DeVault, who got me actively involved in the Right to Life movement,” he said. “He made me realize that I should do more than give lip service to saving the lives of the unborn.” He added, “I guess you could say I give 101 percent to any project I undertake.”
On Jan. 21, 1997, Bishop Yanta was appointed prelate for the Diocese of Amarillo, and became the bishop there on March 17, 1997. He retired on January 3, 2008, and moved back to San Antonio.
Upon his retirement, Bishop Yanta remained active, forming study groups, recording, producing, and distributing CD’s that featured him reciting all the mysteries of the rosary.
Bishop Yanta faced a life-threatening illness in December 2017 which had him out of commission for eight months, but he rebounded.
He was honored on June 13, 2019 during a presidential welcome reception at Our Lady of Częstochowa Church in Houston with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
The honor was presented to Bishop Yanta by President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda. The decoration is awarded to non-citizens and those living abroad for distinguished contributions to international cooperation and was presented in recognition of Bishop Yanta’s numerous initiatives in the Polish community.
Bishop Yanta thanked President Duda and the First Lady, stating, “You honor us with your presence — welcome to America and to Texas and its Polonia. I humbly accept this prestigious award in the name of our Polish people living today in Texas and throughout the USA, and in Poland.”
A number of high-ranking Polish government officials were in attendance, along with over 300 representatives from Texas Polish communities, churches and organizations.
Later that year, Bishop Yanta celebrated his 25th anniversary as a bishop on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019.
The Mass of celebration was held at the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Panna Maria, where he had been ordained as a bishop 25 years earlier on the same feast day.
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, was the homilist and Bishop Emeritus Michael Pfeifer, OMI, of the Diocese of San Angelo was the principal celebrant.
Six other priests served as concelebrants including Bishop Yanta’s seminarian classmate: Msgr. Emil Wesselsky.
Bishop Yanta had specifically picked the day of the Feast of the Holy Family for his ordination and this jubilee celebration as a reflection of his deep commitment to family.
For most of his retirement, the bishop had been focused intensely on the development of the Polish Heritage Center at Panna Maria, whose founding he has spearheaded.
The first step began in 2008 when Bishop Yanta first conceived of how to remember his immigrant ancestors. He began to ask certain professionals how to bring this discernment to fruition. He made contact with Steve Harding, who had impressed him with his work in Sarita, Texas, for the Kenedy Memorial Foundation.
Bishop Yanta provided him with the “Blue Book,” which was a compilation of the bishop’s Polish heritage. The book was an aid to Harding in his task of bringing the bishop’s vision to life. Harding designed the concept that was given to Morkovsky AIA to draw the plans that would become a reality.
In April 2016, the land was cleared and ground as prepared for construction. The task of constructing the building itself went to MJ Boyle Construction. The structure of the Heritage Center would be “dried in” with the roofing laid in place. From the outside the Center looked finished. But the hardest work lay ahead.
In 2018 Keller-Martin was contracted to finish the inside of the Center. Revisions were made for technology on the Center, and the challenge of COVID also impacted completion.
The building houses and makes available a vast inventory about those who left Poland. The goal is to provide professionally prepared genealogies including church and civil primary records. Another ambitious endeavor will be to index all scanned family photographs provided by descendants.
The growing collection of families’ histories are located in the Genealogical and Research Library, where patrons can conduct research. There is a growing collection of books related not only to immigration history but also Polish history, available in both English and Polish.
The Center celebrated its grand opening October 23-24, 2021.
In a September 2021 interview with “The West Texas Catholic,” newspaper of the Diocese of Amarillo, Bishop Yanta was asked what advice he would give to young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood and what advice he would also give to parents who might be encouraging their sons to seek a vocation to the priesthood.
He responded, “I think my answer to both the men who are discerning a vocational call and to his parents are the same: do not presume whom God calls, He calls all! Be supportive, be prayerful, look for the gift that God is calling on to benefit His Church.”
On March 18 of this year, Bishop Yanta was honored at the Hope for the Future 13th Annual Khaki and Plaid Gala for championing Catholic education for a lifetime and a recent significant financial gift to Catholic education.
Bishop Yanta graced one of his former schools, St. James the Apostle Catholic School of San Antonio, with a $500,000 challenge grant to assist the people there towards their hope for additional classroom space.
“This is indeed a tremendous gift from which we thank you from the depths of our faith and from our hearts,” said Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette at the event held at the Witte Museum. “Be blessed, Bishop Yanta, as you have been a blessing to us in all these years of service.”
The following week, on March 22, Bishop Yanta was again recognized at the 20th Annual Catholic Television of San Antonio Leadership Luncheon for his invaluable role in the founding of the station 40 years ago. The bishop had been honored the previous year, in 2021, in a virtual event, but the station wished for Bishop Yanta to receive recognition in a public setting as the COVID-19 pandemic eased and allowed for an in-person gathering.
“There are still a few of us around who remember the absolute excitement of the presbyterate, mixed a little concern, over 40 years ago when the possibility of having a Catholic television station in San Antonio was being discussed,” said Bishop Boulette at the luncheon. “We had now Bishop John Yanta, Msgr. Larry Stuebben, and our Ordinary, Bishop Patricio F. Flores, clearly celebrating the challenge and embracing the vision.”
Archbishop Gustavo added, “I want to pay tribute to some of the people who were critical to the foundation of CTSA: Archbishop Patrick Flores, Bishop John Yanta, Monsignor Larry Stuebben, Sister Charlene Wedelich, Deacon Pat Rodgers, and others who directed the fledgling station in its early days.”
Funeral arrangements for Bishop Yanta are currently pending.
Letter to San Antonio City Officials from Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, regarding abortion resolution
July 28, 2002
Dear City Officials,
I was dismayed to learn of the July 27 press conference on the steps of City Hall and the upcoming August 2 special City Council meeting to consider a resolution in support of “reproductive health care rights.”
According to media reports, the proposed resolution reads, “People have a basic human right to medical services and treatment, including abortion.” (My emphasis on the last two words.)
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated recently following Congressional passage of the deceptively named Women’s Health Protection Act, “Simply repeating the mantra that abortion is healthcare doesn’t make it so. Deliberately ending the lives of defenseless and voiceless human beings is the antithesis of healthcare.”
In late June, following the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, I stated, “At this crucial time, we must now commit as a nation to devoting additional resources and implementing policies that support mothers and fathers, children, and families. This includes everyone — the Church, elected leaders, and all people. No woman should ever feel alone; that she is trapped and that abortion is her only option. There has to be a vision put forth that is positive and life-affirming.”
My statement continued, “The Catholic Church has a long and proud history of providing this assistance through programs such as pregnancy shelters, food pantries, financial support, parenting classes, and myriad other services. Our parishes, Catholic Charities, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and many other organizations and ministries stand ready to help to ensure better futures for these mothers and fathers and their babies. We know that this good work must grow and increase.”
Precisely at a moment when the Church should be collaborating more closely with city officials on ways to prioritize the well-being of all people with both material resources and personal accompaniment, the time and energy put forth by our elected officials and civic staffers on resolutions such as the one proposed fail to increase or provide the vital resources women need to care for themselves and their children.
As the U.S. bishops highlighted prior to the Dobbs decision, the Catholic Church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the country. The Church consistently bears witness in word and deed to the beauty and dignity of every human life. We have witnessed this first-hand with the Church’s caring and compassionate response to the horrific tragedy in Uvalde and the deaths of 53 migrants callously abandoned in a sweltering tractor trailer in south San Antonio.
I urge the City Council to reject the proposed resolution and join with people of good will and our faith communities to work to build a true culture of life in this wonderful city named for St. Anthony, a community which has had faith at its forefront since its establishment in 1718.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS
Archbishop of San Antonio
Statement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, regarding the deaths of 53 people from human smuggling or trafficking in San Antonio
We pray for the souls of the 53 people who died in such a cruel, inhuman manner on June 27, and also keep in prayer the 11 survivors – adults and children – as well as their families and all of the first responders who assisted and saved lives and must now carry with them the memories of this scene of carnage. I urge all in the archdiocese to unite in solidarity, as these brothers and sisters are members of our family. We also ask the Lord for mercy and understanding in this time of trial and suffering, still remembering our beloved in Uvalde. Give us the strength Lord to do your will. Help us O God.
Declaración del Arzobispo Gustavo García Siller, MSpS, sobre la muerte de 53 personas debido a tráfico o trata de personas en San Antonio
Oramos por las almas de las 53 personas que murieron de manera cruel e inhumana a Junio 27, y también nos mantenemos en oración por los 11 sobrevivientes, adultos y niños, así como por sus familias y por todos los socorristas que ayudaron y salvaron vidas, y que ahora deben llevar consigo los recuerdos de esta escena de matanza. Exhorto a todos en la Arquidiócesis a unirse en solidaridad, ya que estos hermanos y hermanas son miembros de nuestra familia. Pidamos también al Señor misericordia y comprensión en este tiempo de prueba y sufrimiento, recordando aún a nuestro amados hermanos en Uvalde. Danos la fuerza, Señor, para hacer tu voluntad. Ayúdanos, oh Dios.
Archbishop Gustavo statement about deaths of 50+ people
We pray for the souls of the 50+ people who died in such a cruel, inhuman manner last night, and also keep in prayer the 12 survivors – adults and children – as well as their families and all of the first responders who assisted and saved lives and must now carry with them the memories of this scene of carnage. I urge all in the archdiocese to unite in solidarity, as these brothers and sisters are members of our family. We also ask the Lord for mercy and understanding in this time of trial and suffering, still remembering our beloved in Uvalde. Give us the strength Lord to do your will. Help us O God.
Declaración del Arzobispo Gustavo sobre la muerte de 50+ personas
Oramos por las almas de las 50+ personas que murieron de manera cruel e inhumana anoche, y también nos mantenemos en oración por los 12 sobrevivientes, adultos y niños, así como por sus familias y por todos los socorristas que ayudaron y salvaron vidas, y que ahora deben llevar consigo los recuerdos de esta escena de matanza. Exhorto a todos en la Arquidiócesis a unirse en solidaridad, ya que estos hermanos y hermanas son miembros de nuestra familia. Pidamos también al Señor misericordia y comprensión en este tiempo de prueba y sufrimiento, recordando aún a nuestro amados hermanos en Uvalde. Danos la fuerza, Señor, para hacer tu voluntad. Ayúdanos, oh Dios.
Called to serve moms in need after the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs ruling
“I am truly heartened and overjoyed by today’s historic ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court”, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S., said on Friday, July 24th after learning about the Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade (watch full statement here).
As witnesses and actors in this historic event, we are now called to double down on our personal and institutional commitment as Catholics to provide compassionate, tangible support to pregnant and parenting mothers, and fathers in need. To assist you in this crucial endeavor, below you will find a series of useful resources for pregnant and parenting mothers, fathers, and families in need of support.
Texas Bishops Grateful for Overturn of Roe v. Wade
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops issued the following statement June 24 on the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Dobbs v Jackson:
We celebrate with grateful hearts the historic decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade. The state of Texas will again have the ability to protect and defend children in the womb at all stages. We are grateful the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott have already passed a law prohibiting elective abortion, which will become effective 30 days after the final ruling is issued.
We pledge to redouble our efforts to work with Texas legislators and all others of good will to reinforce current support systems for pregnant mothers with insufficient support, their families, and children in need of adoption or foster care.
This decision ends a very dark chapter in American history, and is the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless Americans from every walk of life. We share their joy and are grateful to them.
This decision begins a new chapter of light in American history with the end of legal elective abortion in Texas. It requires that we become intentionally more aware of the needs of pregnant mothers and fathers of the unborn in our own parishes and communities by listening to them, seeking understanding, and helping them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children. May we continue to lovingly support mothers and fathers in welcoming and caring for God’s gift of life.
There are several initiatives in which volunteers can participate and through which mothers and fathers can seek support. These include Walking with Moms in Need, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, Catholic Charities, diocesan pro-life programs and many parish-based services, such as St. Vincent de Paul Society. For more information, contact your local Catholic parish.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops includes 21 active bishops, who lead approximately 8.5 million Catholics in Texas, 30 percent of the state’s population.
Today’s Catholic Newspaper offers our prayers for the people of Uvalde, TX.
Today’s Catholic Newspaper is the official publication of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and is created right here for you for only $16 a year. You can keep up with current events to impact our Catholic community. Today’s Catholic Newspaper will keep you informed and inspired, subscribe today online at SAtodayscatholic.org or give us a call at (210) 734-1610. #iamTodaysCatholic
Today’s Catholic newspaper and its website are important channels of spreading the Gospel and connecting Catholics to one another and the church.
Pope Francis has said that diocesan publications “can represent significant places of encounter and attentive discernment for lay faithful involved in the social and political arena.”
Today’s Catholic also provides Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, an opportunity to reach out directly to his people on a regular basis.
In addition, Today’s Catholic helps its readers realize that they are part of a larger family that extends well beyond their parish to the rest of the archdiocese and to the entire Catholic world.
We are a very reliable source of information about church news, and explore the fuller story of the church not often covered in secular media.
Today’s Catholic Newspaper Contact Information
Publisher: Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS
Director of Communications: Jordan McMorrough
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San Antonio, TX 78228
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