Corpus Christi, Texas, Aug 22, 2009 (CNA) - If you ask anyone in Bishop about fishing, all fingers will point to Carlos Garza. “He loves to fish,” says Gina Garcia, a clerk at Stripes in Bishop, where Garza makes his daily stop for gas, ice, and coffee.
“He’ll arrive to the store after daily Mass, grab snacks, and head out to the water,” she adds. When Garza returns, he almost always has a stringer full of fish.
“When I head out to the water, I usually catch something,” says Garza, a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Kingsville, Texas. “Redfish are my favorite, but I’ll take a large drum or trophy trout any day.”
After retiring, Garza picked up fishing as a hobby. He frequently fishes the waters of Baffin Bay in Riviera. “It’s only 30 minutes away, and the fishing is great,” says Garza, as he loads up his old dingy aluminum boat. He checks for his cast net which he uses to catch mullet and piggy perch for bait, then recites the daily prayer before heading out to Drum Point.
It was Drum Point, a popular fishing spot in Riviera known for catching black drum, redfish, and trout, where Garza’s life took an unexpected turn. On a cool, sunny day in January 2004, Garza was fishing alone when he began to reflect on his life. “I wasn’t happy, I was losing control of my family, and my drinking and cursing was getting worse. It wasn’t the life that I wanted.”
Garza recalled speaking to God and asking Him for guidance. “I asked God to forgive me for all of my sins and I gave myself up to Him.” He then placed his fishing rod down, knelt in the middle of the boat and began crying. “I suddenly felt this unexplainable peace within me.”
He left for home immediately to share his story about his encounter with God. “I rushed home and as soon as I saw my wife, I embraced her and told her how much I loved her,” said Garza, as his eyes swelled up with tears. “I then ran to my children and told each of them how much I loved them. They were speechless because it had been a long time since I had told them that.”
A short time after his encounter with God, Garza was back on the boat re-visiting the same spot, however, this trip was not as joyous. The winds were picking up and the waters became choppy.
“A wave threw me overboard and I was hanging on my boat. I knew if I let go, I could’ve been killed by the boat propeller. I was alone and had no one to help me. I remember thinking to myself, ‘God, I just gave up my life to you, how can this be happening?’”
Garza then gained control, switched the motor off and eventually pulled himself up to safety. “I had faith in God and was thankful He was listening,” said Garza with a huge smile.
Garza still fishes and balances his duties as a husband, father, Eucharistic Minister, and religious education teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel. He is frequently asked to lead prayer services and rosaries. He laughs about his fishing experience. “Everybody should fish. Even Jesus tells Simon to go fish!” If you don’t believe me, check out Luke, Chapter 5, verse 4,” says Garza jokingly.
Printed with permission from South Texas Catholic, newspaper from the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
New York City, N.Y., Aug 22, 2009 (CNA) - A new book on Our Lady of Guadalupe intended to explore her history and her message of love has debuted on major U.S. bestseller lists.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” debuted at number six on the August 14, 2009 release of the New York Times bestseller list. It has also appeared on the bestseller list of the Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly.
The book is authored by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Guadalupe expert Msgr. Eduardo Chávez. It traces her history as a religious and cultural symbol from the sixteenth century to the present.
The Knights of Columbus held their First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Phoenix on August 6-8. The festival drew a crowd of 20,000 in what was said to be the largest Catholic celebration of the year in that area.
Carl Anderson is also the author of the bestselling 2008 book “A Civilization of Love.”
Msgr. Chávez was the postulator of Guadalupe visionary St. Juan Diego’s cause for canonization and is one of the most prominent experts on the Guadalupe apparitions. He is the first dean of the Catholic University Lumen Gentium of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
The web site for “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” is at http://www.GuadalupeBook.org
Winnipeg, Canada, Aug 22, 2009 (CNA) - The Catholic bishops of Canada are urging Catholics to voice their opposition to a radical bill that would allow assisted suicide and euthanasia for those with severe chronic mental or physical pain or even depression. Insisting that killing is not compassionate, the bishops said the lives of those who suffer should be valued and affirmed.
"Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the antithesis to what should be at the heart of human civilization - trust, respect, concern and solidarity, based on reverence for all human life," Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg wrote in a July 17 letter to his fellow bishops.
The archbishop, head of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), urged bishops to invite Catholics to become informed about euthanasia, to speak to their political representatives, and to join with others in fighting efforts to change the law.
“This debate must be taken seriously,” Archbishop Weisgerber continued, noting an apparent growing tolerance in the news media towards euthanasia and assisted suicide, Canadian Catholic News reports.
Bill C-384, introduced into the Canadian House of Commons by MP Francine Lalonde of the Bloc Quebecois, would amend the Criminal Code of Canada to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is Lalonde’s third attempt to pass such a law.
The Quebec College of Physicians presently has an ethics task force investigating whether euthanasia might be appropriate in some circumstances.
Archbishop of Edmonton Richard W. Smith wrote a pastoral letter on the topic to the faithful of his archdiocese in July.
He noted that Catholics have a “serious responsibility” to speak out in defense of “the precious gift of human life wherever it is threatened.”
Distinguishing euthanasia from requests to refuse excessively burdensome treatment, he explained that directly assisting someone in taking their own life is cooperation in an “objectively wrong” action and is itself immoral.
The description of assisted suicide as a “compassionate” response was a “misuse of language” that can blind us to the killing of another human being, the archbishop said.
“True compassion calls us to stand with our suffering brothers and sisters and affirm that they are always a gift and never a burden; that their lives are at every moment worthwhile and never without meaning,” Archbishop Smith insisted.
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), which is co-sponsored by the CCCB and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, has produced a one-page primer on C-384.
"The legalization of euthanasia and/or assisted suicide is not about autonomy, dignity and choice," COLF director Michele Boulva told Canadian Catholic News. "It is about giving some of us the right to kill others."
"Euthanasia can never be considered as care," she continued. "It is killing."
She also charged that countries and U.S. states that have allowed the killing procedures have witnessed the erosion of safeguards.
The COLF primer said that Bill C-384 is not only for the terminally ill because the legislation does not define terminal illness.
“A person could request euthanasia or assisted suicide right after being diagnosed and not be actively dying,” it reported.
Anyone over 18 years old who requests assisted suicide while in severe chronic mental or physical pain or depression may receive it even if he or she has refused appropriate treatments. The primer warned that medical practitioners are not required to refer patients to a psychologist or palliative care specialist.
COLF also noted that the person requesting to be killed must only make two requests to die more than 10 days apart while only “appearing lucid.”
Additionally, the primer charged that the bill endangers the sick, depressed, elderly and disabled and will confirm the fears of those who may feel burdensome.
“Instead of protecting them, Bill C-384 opens the way to their elimination. Many of the weakest members of society may feel pressured into a ‘duty to die’,” COLF warned. It said that a truly compassionate act would provide proper care, effective pain control, and social, emotional and spiritual support.
The primer also attacked the often used slogan “death with dignity,” saying dignity does not depend on health, lack of suffering, or being valued by society.
It also warned of a loss of trust between doctors and their patients and between the vulnerable and the powerful in society. The primer noted that 6,000 Dutch citizens have reportedly been killed by their doctors without their consent under the cover of legalized assisted suicide.
“We can expect people to be killed because they chose to die while depressed or temporarily in intense pain, instead of receiving proper medical attention,” the primer added.
C-384 is scheduled for debate in Parliament on September 29.