Our Ministries
27 Sep

To Celebrate a Life of Love: Abraham Moonnanappillil

July 26, 1928-September 24, 2022

With deep sentiments, I announce that my dad, Mr. Abraham Moonnanappillil, age 94, entered his eternal rest on September 24, 2022. He was born on July 26, 1928 in Thidanad, Kottayam (Dt), Kerala, India.

He was preceded by his parents, Chacko (93)& Elyamma Moonnanappillil (91), his wife, Mrs. Thressiamma Moonnanappillil (86), his first daughter, Elsy (9), and his third son, Babychan (4). Abraham is survived by his children Joseph and Padma Moonnanappillil, Mercy and Jojo Enthumplackal, Johnson and Bincy Moonnanappillil, and Fr. Tomichan Moonnanappillil; his grandchildren Reema and Stanly, Kevin, Remi, Delphi, Ritu, Twisha, and Dinu; and his great-grandchild, Allen.

Abraham and his wife were farmers who worked hard to support the family and educate the children with great love, despite losing two children due to serious illness. Abraham was a man of deep faith and lived his life till the last breath with uprightness and sincerity. He was a man of integrity and made every effort to carry out his responsibilities with a deep sense of justice and sincerity. Dad made sure that we all attended the Sunday services and encouraged us to attend the daily Masses as often as possible. As he got older and the farming responsibilities reduced, he attended daily Mass, even though it was over a mile of a walk, and he continued until he fractured his hip at the age of 89 and was wheelchair bound. Once he could not attend the daily Mass, he spent his day reading newspapers, watching Mass, listening to spiritual talks on television, reciting the rosary, and reading the Bible. On my visits during vacation, I saw him waking up early in the morning to pray the rosary. During my last visit in June 2022, his health was declining, and I witnessed him waking up in the middle of the night to pray the rosary. He would say it aloud so that he would not fall asleep while praying.

He served my home parish community as a CCD teacher for several years. He also served as the parish pastoral council member and treasurer. He always insisted on daily family prayer and would never let us have dinner without reciting the rosary and the devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus as a family.

I can attribute my vocation to the priesthood to the faith and prayers of my dad. Of course, stubbornness is our family trait, which we all have inherited paternally. In contrast, I can attribute my caring, empathy, service attitude, compliance, and counseling aptitude to my mom, a maternal inheritance. I can further attribute my attitude toward discipline, cleanliness, and orderliness to my mom and dad as common traits we have inherited.

I am beginning to feel the absence of my parents, and I think I can now relate better to what it means to miss our parents or loved ones. My dad was laid to rest on September 27 at St. Joseph Church cemetery, my home parish, along with my mom who was buried five years ago. My siblings and I are blessed to have Abraham and Thressiamma as our parents. May the good Lord grant them eternal rest.

I take this opportunity to thank and appreciate each of you for your prayers and support during this difficult time. I will celebrate a Memorial Mass for my dad at 10 am on Friday, September 30 here at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. I invite you all to attend.

Sincerely,

Fr. Tomichan Moonnanappillil, MSFS (Fr. Tom)

St. Francis of Assisi Church

4201 De Zavala Rd.

San Antonio, TX 78249

27 Sep

To Celebrate a Life of Love: César de León

October 31, 1934-September 18, 2022

César de León, age 87 of San Antonio, was taken by the Holy Spirit to his Home on Sunday, September 18, 2022, with his wife and daughter, Leticia, beside him. He was born October 31, 1934 in Brownsville, Texas to Timoteo and Manuela (Saldaña) de León. He was raised in the home of his grandparents, Pablo and Julia (Figueroa) Saldaña. César is survived by his wife, Kathleen Beathard de León; his children, Leticia de León Bradley and her husband, Doug, César de León and Patricia de León; stepchildren, Robert Alexander and his wife Dianne and Stephen Alexander; his grandchildren, Alexis de León, Connor Bradley, Sophie Bradley and Chloe Bradley; step-grandchildren, Ryan Alexander, Patrick Alexander, Mason Alexander, Brooke Alexander and Aydin Alexander; his brother, Eusebio Franco, Jr. and his wife, Mary.

César was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas in 1958 and was awarded a Master of Science degree from Texas A & M University in 1962. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. César was the Chief Engineer at the Western Company and served as Director of the Office of Pipeline Safety in the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. After retirement he traveled throughout Europe, Africa, and Central and South America.

SERVICES
Visitation will begin at 6:00 pm followed by the Vigil Service at 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at Mission Park Medical Center, 8332 Fredericksburg Road. The Funeral Mass will begin at 11:30 am on Friday, October 7, 2022 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 4201 De Zavala Road. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road. In lieu of flowers, his family requests contributions in his memory are made to Sembradores of San Antonio, P.O. Box 100674, San Antonio, Texas 78201.

23 Sep

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Woe to the Complacent

There was a rich man and a poor man. The poor man was Lazarus and the rich man—well, he was nameless. Surprised? Wouldn’t we expect it to be the other way around? The rich ones are seen and recognized with prominent names. They may even be famous. But in this case, the one who isn’t even supposed to be seen or heard from has the name. What a reversal! What a turning upside down!

We hear a description of where the two characters in the story were physically located and what happened to each one both on earth and in the afterlife. But did they actually ever talk to each other? Get to know each other? Is it only in the afterlife that they both realize how much they needed each other?

The reading from the prophet Amos begins with the words “woe to the complacent.” The story of the rich man and Lazarus illustrates just that. We can be totally oblivious to what is going on, to who yearns to break bread with us, to who yearns for connection. And what is the price we pay for this?

I haven’t gone back to the classic short book, The Little Prince by Antoine Saint Exupery, for quite some time. But when I began this reflection, I remembered the phrase “become responsible for” in the book. I googled the phrase and the title of the book and this is the dialogue that I discovered.

There is a chapter that finds the Little Prince unhappy and lonely. And then he meets a fox.

 “Come and play with me,” he says to the fox.

“I cannot play with you,” the fox replies. “I am not tamed.”

“What does that mean — to tame?”

“It means to establish ties. To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…please, tame me!”

“I want to, very much,” the Little Prince replied, “but I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” the fox said.

The Little Prince finally understands what the fox has been saying: To tame something means you’re investing time and energy in order to know it better. When this is achieved, you and this other thing become forever intertwined.

The opposite of complacency is connectedness—a realization that we need each other. And this is what the corporal works of mercy are all about. We feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick, bury the dead, and visit the imprisoned. We see them. We hear them. We do something!

For an end to our complacency, for this let us all work and pray.

27 Sep

Fall 2022 Bible Study

Paul’s letter to the Romans has been at the center of reflection, conversion, and controversy from the very beginning. In Romans: The Gospel of Salvation, theology professor Dr. Andrew Swafford and Jeff Cavins provide an authentically Catholic, comprehensive, and simple way to understand the overarching theme of Romans: salvation.

Dr. Swafford and Cavins provide historical context, highlight the connections to Jesus and Christianity Paul makes with the Old Testament, and explore the ways in which Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel’s prophecies, which leads to the universal, “Catholic” family of God.

In this 8-session program, Catholics learn…

  • The Catholic teaching on salvation
  • How to explain salvation to non-Christians
  • What is required for salvation—faith or works
  • What Paul really means by “works” not leading to salvation
  • How Christ’s death changed our relationship with God
  • The meaning of the difficult passages in Romans
  • How we can enter more deeply into Christ

We are offering this Bible study on Tuesdays from 9:30-11 am in the JP II Room and on Wednesdays from 7-9 pm in the Good Shepherd Room. We begin on Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28. Please register here. This is the Bible study that we were going to begin in the spring of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down. If you did not purchase the study set in 2020 or do not have it anymore, it is available for purchase at https://ascensionpress.com/products/romans-the-gospel-of-salvation-study-set?variant=11593897639972. Questions? Contact Larry Perry in the parish office.

16 Sep

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Talk About Money

Would you be surprised to learn that 1/3 of Jesus’ parables talk about money? Jesus and Joseph probably had a small business in carpentry, earned an honest living, and used the money to feed the family. Jesus did not hate money or moneyed people, but he did challenge his followers to keep money in its proper place. God is God and money is money.

Where does our allegiance lie? What tempts us most to trust in possessions for security rather than putting our faith in God’s providence?

In a webinar that I attended this week, on assessing the readiness of catechumens to receive sacraments, the presenter kept using this discernment question. Am I being led toward God or away from God? Is what I am doing leading me toward God or away from God?

The reading from Amos calls us to continue to look at our business dealings and all of our dealings with people. Are we honest in these relationships? Are we using our gifts to call forth the best in each situation?

The Gospel calls us to use our gifts of intelligence and perception. It is our privilege and duty to exercise these gifts by keeping ourselves well informed in matters of the world and of faith. We are promised that we shall be welcomed into God’s kingdom if we use our gifts to build friendship and give life to our world.

How is my use of the gift of money building friendship and giving life? Is it leading me toward God or away from God?

9 Sep

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Coming Home

Precious, treasured, and wanted—we all want confirmation that we matter. While we wander, LOVE awaits! This is the message Jesus communicates—no matter how lost, forgotten, or shunned we may be, love and compassion wait. Will we be the ones who live that love? With open arms? Will we call others home? Will we seek that “home” for ourselves? Or will we be the ones declaring that someone is not deserving of that love, that welcome, that home?

Jesus lived the compassion and love that welcomed everyone into his midst, into his circle, and into his way of life. He gave access to abundant life to persons who were denied the fullness of life or who had strayed. What would our world be like if we followed this example?

Who is a long way off in my life? How can I welcome with joy? Run to them? Embrace with complete acceptance? Am I willing to be an instrument of God’s mercy, compassion, and love?

In his book, The Church of Mercy, Pope Francis discusses the parable of the Prodigal Son. What can you do as part of the church of mercy to show all people that they are the closest thing to God’s heart?

Maybe someone among us here is thinking, my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable; my unbelief is like that of Thomas. I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people.

But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said, “Father, I have many sins”? And I have always pleaded, “Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything.” We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God we are not numbers, we are important; indeed we are the most important thing to him. Even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

Excerpted from The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis.

30 Aug

To Celebrate a Life of Love: Carol Anne Kershaw

January 15, 1948-August 8, 2022

Carol Anne Kershaw, 74, of San Antonio, Texas, passed away on August 8, 2022. She was born to parents, Edward Chanda and Anne Zimny Chanda, on January 15, 1948 in Queens, New York.

She graduated from Mater Christi HS, Queens College and St. John’s University and received a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

Carol worked as an educator in Kingwood, Texas for more than 20 years, and as an administrator of Early Head Start. She loved teaching kindergarten because the children were innocent and eager to learn. It was a wonder to her when she taught children of pupils who she taught 20 years earlier or met someone while shopping who remembered her as their teacher.

Carol enjoyed being a part of the Kingwood Bunc-ettes, where she and her fellow bunco players got together monthly, pretended to play Bunco, but mostly shared special moments in their kids’ lives. She also loved to knit and play word games. Her favorite pastime, however, was cheering her grandchildren in their many activities including baseball, basketball, flag football, and soccer. Indeed, she was most happy when all her children and grandchildren were together, the most recent time being in Colorado just a few weeks before her passing.

Ever faithful to our Lord, Carol was an active member of two parishes: St. Francis of Assisi in San Antonio and St. Francis of Assisi in Castle Rock, Colorado, as she and her husband split their year between the two states. She was a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Ladies’ Auxiliary of Knights of Columbus, and the Children’s Liturgy team.

Carol met Richard Kershaw as a teenager when they were neighbors. They were married on December 1, 1969 in Queens, New York. The Air Force brought them to Houston, Texas in 1972, where they remained until retirement. Together they raised two children: Meghan (Morgan) Matson and Geoffrey (Alice) Kershaw.

Carol is survived by her husband, Richard Kershaw; her children, Meghan Matson and Geoffrey Kershaw; her grandchildren, Ian Matson, Ryan Matson, Colin Matson, Jackson Kershaw, and Caroline Kershaw; her sister, Mary Nichols; and her brother, Eddie Chanda.

An interment at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery will occur on September 9, 2022 at 2 pm. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis of Assisi (4201 De Zavala Road, San Antonio, TX) on September 10 at 11 am with a reception immediately after. Fr. Tony Vilano will officiate the ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to A Women’s Haven- Pregnancy Center, one of Carol’s supported charities. https://www.awomanshaven.com/.

30 Aug

St. Joseph Songs Playlist

This is a playlist. Press play to listen to it straight through, or select the playlist icon (in the upper right) to select individual songs.