21 Oct 2011

Fighting for the True Faith in El Paso, Texas

UPDATE #2: Father’s brother David is asking that if you DO send a letter or make a phone call to let him know at ReturnFrRodriguez@gmail.com His full comment is at the bottom of this post, but here are the particulars:

- The phone number for the diocese is (915) 872-8400 .
- If you do call, please also make a log of your call and email it to ReturnFrRodriguez@gmail.com
- The log would look something like this:
“Sept 27, Tue, 1245pm (CST), spoke with Mary for 15 min requesting the return of Fr. Rodriguez. (add any details of your conversation, and finish with your name) – John Doe of the Diocese of Dallas (for example)”

UPDATE #1: Below is a video of Fr Rodriguez saying Mass at a beautiful church in Shafter. H/T to Larry at BDAC.

We’ve discussed my friend Fr Michael Rodriguez before, and how he went to a City Council meeting and simply explained the Catholic Church’s teaching about homosexuality.

For teaching the Faith threatening their 501 (c)(3) status (AKA ‘pastoral needs’), Bishop Ochoa has moved him 250 miles away to Shafter, TX (population 40)…leaving his former parishioners abandoned and livid. (The Bishop’s press release is here.)

Bishop Ochoa

If you would like to respectfully contact the Bishop and ask that Fr Rodriguez be reinstated to his flock, or that the Bishop provides them the Traditional Latin Mass according to Pope Benedict’s express wishes, here is the contact information:

Most Reverend Bishop Armando X. Ochoa
499 St Matthews
El Paso, Texas 79907
915-872-8419 (Bishop’s Office)
915-872-8409 (Fax)
915-872-8400 (Main Line)
OfficeOfTheBishop@elpasodiocese.org

This echoes what recently happened in Canada.

Here’s what parishioners in El Paso, Texas have to say about it.

There is a much bigger struggle developing over the case of the priest from El Paso who was exiled by his bishop for preaching about homosexuality. The struggle is being waged by the faithful who aren’t remaining silent.

.

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How much do we love the Traditional Latin Mass? We love it enough to travel hundreds of miles to attend the Mass of all time! About 90 people were in attendance at Fr. Michael Rodriguez’s Traditional Latin Mass(Missa Cantata, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost), on Sunday,October 9th,2011. It took place at Sacred Heart Catholic Church (built in 1890, in what was then known as a mining town, now considered a “ghost town”), located in the small town of Shafter, Texas (population-40), at 11am Central Standard Time. The faithful came from Las Cruces, Alamogordo, El Paso, Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio. It was such a beautiful Mass.The sermon was bilingual,Spanish and English. The choir and schola was comprised mostly of youth, the future of the One True Church! Fr. Rodriguez, “El Cura de Shafter”, gave a blessing over the people and food in the church hall afterward, and everyone had a wonderful time talking and eating. This was such a success that we want to do it again. At present, we are thinking the first Sunday of the month. So mark your calendar for November 6, 2011, in case you can come. Fr. Rodriguez is doing well, and we gave him all the well wishes and prayers from all those who were unable to come down. His faith and courage continues to inspire us to greater love of God and neighbor (esp. via the spiritual and corporal works of mercy) and to remain steadfast in the one, true, holy Catholic Faith.

+++

From Fr Rodriguez’s brother (Dave):

+JMJ+

Pax Christi,

If you have a bit more time and are interested in learning more about what is happening in the Diocese of El Paso, and what you can do to help us, please read on:

BRIEF EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

For the past 9 1/2 years, Fr. Michael Rodríguez has served as parish priest of San Juan Bautista in central El Paso. Recently, Bishop Armando Ochoa reassigned Fr. Rodríguez to Santa Teresa de Jesús Parish in Presidio, TX, and the surrounding missions of Candelaria, Redford, and Shafter, TX. We, the parishioners of San Juan Bautista, and hundreds, probably even thousands, of other Catholic faithful from around the diocese and southern New Mexico, want to make a public appeal to our Bishop: please restore the traditional Catholic parish life that we had at San Juan Bautista. We are convinced that this parish life is, by far, the greatest spiritual treasure of our city.

The Catholics of El Paso have now been left without the priest who was the lone voice speaking the truth and upholding all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Anyone in El Paso can tell you that the most reverent Mass offered was at San Juan Bautista. Fr. Rodríguez had Confessions five times a week and often stayed past midnight absolving our sins. He had a Holy Hour almost every day, and all-night Adoration at least once a month. The Rosary was prayed daily at San Juan, many times more than once. Every Friday, after the evening Mass, Fr. Rodríguez led the Stations of the Cross in Spanish, and others prayed them in English every Friday at 12:30 p.m. At San Juan Bautista, we had many other devotions, novenas, blessings of sacramentals, processions, and additional Masses for First Friday and First Saturday. There were also numerous classes in the faith for both the adults and youth of the parish. Fr. Rodríguez was the only priest speaking out in public to defend Marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In addition, he was the only priest of the diocese offering the Traditional Latin Mass. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has made it very clear that the Traditional Latin Mass should be offered generously throughout the world wherever the faithful are requesting it. Here in El Paso, hundreds of us are requesting a daily Traditional Latin Mass, just as it was being offered at San Juan Bautista. We respectfully ask Bishop Ochoa to do nothing more than obey the directives of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Moreover, in just two years, the small parish of San Juan Bautista has had five men go to the seminary and two women to the convent. Another two men and two women will probably go this year to seek a religious vocation and many more youth are discerning a religious vocation thanks, in part, to the example and spiritual direction of Fr. Michael Rodríguez. Finally, Fr. Rodríguez was the only priest in the diocese who was openly promoting true Catholic education and supporting those who wish to homeschool within their family.

Many Catholics will attest to the fact that no other priest in El Paso was working harder than Fr. Rodríguez for the sanctification and salvation of our souls. And now he is gone, and so is the rich and magnificent spiritual life that we formerly had at San Juan. The grief and sorrow which many of us are experiencing is unimaginable. We’ve lost our spiritual father! Many of the faithful are utterly devastated. They simply do not know where to go for the feeding and care of their souls. Hundreds of letters have already been written to our Bishop, and we intend to make it thousands upon thousands. The injustice is palpable, especially for those who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as the poor, the elderly and children who relied on him for their spiritual nourishment. Their pain and hopelessness is written all over their faces.

This morning we presented Bishop Armando Ochoa with a petition of more 180 signatures, and are still in the process of gathering more. Our hope is to have 500 by next week and then grow that number even more. We are urging our Bishop to be obedient to Pope Benedict XVI, and provide El Paso with a parish life centered on the Traditional Latin Mass. Secondly, we are pleading with our Bishop: please, please send Fr. Rodríguez back to us. We love him, he’s sacrificed so much for us, and El Paso desperately needs the light and strength of his priesthood.

David V. Rodríguez, El Paso native and younger brother of Fr. Rodriguez
(915) 541-5853

WE ARE ALSO TRYING TO GET OTHERS TO HELP IN OUR EFFORTS OF REQUESTING THE BISHOP TO BRING HIM BACK. HERE ARE OUR SUGGESTIONS.

(1) Offer prayers and fastings for the speedy return of Fr. Rodriguez to San Juan Bautista.

(2) Call the El Paso Chancery daily and speak to whom ever you can regarding this matter, explaining how even though you do not live in El Paso, you believe it is very important for Fr. Rodriguez to return to his sheep without a shepherd. Hopefully you can speak from the heart and in full sincerity. You can also express a desire to see a re-growth in the Traditional Latin Mass. We would like to see the chancery flooded with phone calls of support for Catholic truth in the interest of the good of souls. (Feel free to talk their ear off!) Explain to them why this is important, even for someone who does not live within the diocese, but how we are all part of the Church and it affects us all. Explain how important it is to have a priest who will defend and proclaim the truth, who will pray with his people on a daily basis before the Blessed Sacrament, who will remain in the confessional past midnight absolving sins.
- The phone number for the diocese is (915) 872-8400 .
- If you do call, please also make a log of your call and email it to ReturnFrRodriguez@gmail.com
- The log would look something like this:
“Sept 27, Tue, 1245pm (CST), spoke with Mary for 15 min requesting the return of Fr. Rodriguez. (add any details of your conversation, and finish with your name) – John Doe of the Diocese of Dallas (for example)”

(3) Write to the Office of the Bishop requesting that Fr. Rodriguez be returned. The letter could be a brief summary of some of what you mentioned over the phone, a personal testimony, a simple request, or any other similar matter. Each letter can focus on the return of Fr. Rodriguez and/or the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional parish life in El Paso. As per the letters, we are interested in quantity over quality. I would keep them brief, no more than one hand written page. We never know how much attention will actually be given to them by the bishop or his staff. Little children can also draw pictures and send letters (for example, as a home school project). Many letters should be sent, not just one. We want to continue our support of the Faith until justice has been restored. Remember, there are many poor people in the Diocese of El Paso (poor materially and poor spiritually) who have had their voice and their advocate removed from them.

You can send letters to
“Bishop Armando Ochoa, 499 Saint Matthews St, El Paso, TX 79907-4214
If you do send a letter, we also ask that you send a scanned copy of it to ReturnFrRodriguez@gmail.com

(4) Forward this email to as many people you know, requesting the same of them. Particularly forward this email to anyone you know who is concerned about the Catholic faith, the salvation of souls, and the promotion of the truth regarding Catholic marriage, abortion, and other defenses against the attack on family. We cannot describe adequately how much Fr. Rodriguez was alone in his defense of the truth, particularly with regards to the liturgy, orthodoxy, and all life issues. Please forward this email to any Catholic websites you read or Catholic organizations to which you belong. It may be helpful to remove the FWD in the subject line.

We are hoping to get huge support (local, national, and even international) for the return of Fr. Rodriguez. We believe this has happened to so many faithful all over the Catholic world. In these modern times, prelates often talk about how this is the ‘Church of the People’ and yet so often the authentic voice of the Catholic faithful is completely ignored in these dark days of diminishing Faith. The more support we receive (and the documentation of that support), the more public pressure we can bring to bear on this matter of injustice. This is a movement to promote our Catholic Faith, to defend orthodox Church Teaching, esp. on matters such as the sanctity and uniqueness of Marriage, to restore the traditions of our Faith, especially the Traditional Catholic Mass, and also an effort to return Fr. Rodriguez to the sheep who desperately need a shepherd.

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23 responses to “Fighting for the True Faith in El Paso, Texas”

  1. avatar

    I will write the Bishop when I stop being angry. Right now all I can tell him is Ezekiel 34:1-10.

  2. avatar

    I have written to the Bishop and I pray that ALL OF US WRITE TO HIM. WE NEED TO STOP ALL THE INTIMIDATION AND PLANNED DESTRUCTION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    WITH GOD WE WALK

  3. avatar

    Why would the Bishop care if they had a valid Holy Latin pre-Vatican ll Mass. Doesn’t he see how fervent the people are. It is the Mass of all time & of the Saints. He will be held accountable! I have driven 2 hrs. one way when I had to, to attend this same Mass..and I’d do it again.I am not a good writer, but I will write to him.

  4. avatar

    Maybe we need yo write to the Vatican and inform them of what has happened and ask for support and ask them to contact the Bishop.

  5. avatar

    Although I live in Los Angeles, I’m not going to let that stop me from writing to Bishop Ochoa. If attempts to get Father Rodriguez back in a parish fail, people should write to the Holy Father and suggest Bishop Ochoa be removed.

  6. avatar

    So long as we always strive for humility and charity in our thoughts, words, and actions, putting the greater portion of our time as regards this matter into prayer, one can certainly expect a happy result.

  7. avatar

    How many Catholics are in Shafter, TX? And who was their priest then? All parishes deserve priests who will be Catholic! We must fight for every parish in the U.S. I watched the video of the city council meeting. Fr. Michael was very good. He was correct. He was not mean or discriminating or judging. He was attempting to protect those who are deceived by the sin of homosexuality.

    1. avatar

      Lisa, I couldn’t agree with you more. However, that also means our prelates have to be more like Father Rodriguez and less like bishop Ochoa! In fact, when I write to our nuncio to recommend men to replace Bishop Ochoa as El Paso’s prelate(as you probably know, the Holy Father named Bishop Ochoa Fresno’s prelate; in the same letter, I will recommend Father Rodriguez to take Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde’s place when he sends in his resignation; he has views that are more like Bishop Ochoa than Father Rodriguez), I will recommend men that are pro-Latin Mass and anti-modernist and speak out against homosexual acts!

  8. avatar

    This proves that, if all goes well, Father Rodriguez may be known as Bishop Rodriguez!

  9. avatar

    [...] of San Juan Bautista in El Paso, Texas used to have Fr Michael Rodriguez as their pastor, but the Bishop moved Father 250 miles away and they no longer have the Traditional Latin [...]

  10. avatar

    What Father Rodriguez has to deal with reminds me of something I read a few weeks ago in “Our Sunday Visitor”. The newly installed pastor of Berkeley’s Saint Joseph The Worker Catholic Church, a parish that had long been a hotbed for what is known as the “Social Gospel”, had the good sense to speak out against abrtion. Many parishoners were not happy(one brazenly said (s)he was going to send what would’ve been a tithe to the parish to Planned Parenthood). However, Bishop Cordelione(I hope I spelled his name right) has decided to back the good guys up(he is, needless to say, standing by the pastor). More good news; despite the loss of those who won’t stand for a pastor who will speak on moral issues, Saint Joseph The Worker has seen a net INCREASE in parishoners since the current pastor has spoken out against abortion. Bishop Cordelione is such a good shepherd I wrote to the Congregation for Bishops(this was after the untimely passing of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, our nation’s Papal Nuncio) to recommend as a candidate for archbishop of Denver after Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was in the running for the Los Angeles episcopate, but lost to one of his former auxiliary bishops, then-San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez, was named Archbishop of Philadelphia(I wrote to Archbishop Sambi recommending Archbishop Chaput to replace Los Angeles native son Cardinal Justin Rigali).

  11. avatar

    I knew Bishop Ochoa was beyond out of line for removing Father Rodriguez. After reading his press release, I feel Bishop Ochoa should be laicized. What’s next, is he going to remove a pastor because he mandates people to dress appropriately for Mass?!

  12. avatar

    A few minutes ago, I read something that was a case of good news/bad news. The good news is the Holy Father removed Bishop Armand Ochoa as El Paso’s prelate. The bad news is, he chose Bishop Ochoa to fill the void in Fresno left by the expiration of Bishop John Steinbock last year. I will write to our nuncio to recommend a Latin Mass devotee as El Paso’s next prelate.

  13. avatar

    Our Priest (Diocese of Fresno) announced at Daily Mass this morning that we have a new Bishop! You guessed it: Bishop Armando Ochoa. In my heart, I was like, “Nooooooo!” What could our Holy Father be thinking?! This fellow should not even BE a Bishop! I’m so bummed. Gotta pray!

    1. avatar

      Bernadette, I will write to our nuncio and recommend El Paso’s next prelate be everything Bishop Ochoa is not.

  14. avatar

    Giving Bishop Ochoa an assignment in the face of his treatment of Father Michael Rodriguez is like rewarding a child for bad beahvior. I will not hesitate to write to Bishop Ochoa if he does in Fresno what he did in El Paso, or anything similar.

  15. avatar

    In the current edition of my see’s archdiocesan paper “The Tidings”, I was appalled at the PRAISE Fresno’s now-Bishop Ochoa has been getting. Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, who succeeded Bishop Ochoa as a Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, said Fresno has been given a gift. Former prelate Cardinal Roger Mahony, a onetime Fresno auxiliary bishop, has also said glowing things about this disgrace(then again, what should I expect from two so-called bishops who, within the last decade, accused me of treating Mass like what they called a “dress-up session” when I wrote to them suggesting changes in dress in Los Angeles churches. I did not so much as say males should be forced to wear ties, and I simply said females ought to wear appropriate-lenght skirts and dresses; no pants, shorts, or too-short skirts and dresses, and no low necklines). If he’s so good for Fresno, I’d hate to see bad!

  16. avatar

    When I read an article in the Los Angeles Catholic newspaper, “The Tidings”, an ex-seminary classmate of Bishop Ochoa’s, now pastor of a suburban Los Angeles parish, not only said glowing things about Bishop Ochoa, but, despite the fact that he himself is NOT Hispanic, spoke as if Fresno’s demographics make Bishop Ochoa good to lead Fresno Catholics. All I have to say about that is NONSENSE! First, Catholic is supposed to mean UNIVERSAL, not ethnocentric! Second, how effective a see’s prelate will be DESPITE his see’s demographics, not because of them. Lastly, I bet not every Fresno Catholic is Hispanic, and Bishop Ochoa does have his share of “Hispanic Ministry” to live down(ethnic ministries are a way of saying, “If you are, ethnically speaking, not one of us, GET LOST!), and no one can try to convince any decent person otherwise.

  17. avatar

    What El Paso needs in a new prelate is someone who will rid the diocese of altar girls, make sure Latin Mass is said every DAY(or at least have seminarians be trained to say Latin Mass before ordination as priests), even if it means he himself does Latin Mass, and institute a dress code(certainly one that mandates skirts and dresses on females)!

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