24 months. That’s how long it’s been since a visit from San Antonio’s Auxilary or Archbishop has been made, for a mass at least. Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette was present in the fall of 2019 to bless the then new Convocation Center, a few months before the pandemic took its toll on our school, and masses all over the city, country, and world. But, a glimmer of light is becoming visible at the end of the tunnel.
The Pep brought you the story a few weeks ago of the Archdiocese calming guidelines when it comes to mass. Thanks to that and the limited cases of COVID-19 found among the community, Central has been able to celebrate mass like that of more than a year ago, albeit with some minor but gradual trends back to normal.
This past Monday, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller was in the Kahlig-Cowie Convocation Center as the main celebrant for mass. The main purpose of the mass was to celebrate the transition of representation in Student Council for the upcoming school year. A “very grateful” Archbishop was happy to celebrate mass with the Central Community. He says, “I was real blessed to be here today and to be invited.” He continues, “To be with the guys…to be with the young men in a healthy environment, striving for goodness for helping society, and for one day to be in the ministry- its wonderful.”
During his homily, Archbishop Gustavo mentioned that it was a “joy and a light,” to be back on the campus of Central. He elaborates on his words, saying, “All my previous experiences here, they have been very nourishing.” He continues on to say, “So when I express joy, its because I was very happy to be here, even before I entered… Knowing that this school is moving forward in the mission, it’s joyful.”
He then expresses his definition of the ‘light,’ and what he meant by that. He says, “Sometimes when we talk about joy, we think that it is more of an inner feeling, but the light is also very gratifying. The light is brought from what you see with experience and what you receive.”
It’s definitely been tough to express the message he had in his homily, especially as COVID-19 continues to linger. With the pandemic now showing signs of relief, he explains that he’s been exposed to crowds, even during the severe moments of the pandemic. Archbishop Gustavo also mentioned during the homily, about his experience performing mass in front of 1300+ minor immigrants at the Freeman Coliseum on Easter Sunday. However, in the midst of that, he says that there is something different about being in the presence of education, rather than just the presence of minors. “In the beginning it was only Zoom, then it became hybrid, but to see most of the young men are here in person-that is different.”
Archbishop Gustavo closed out the mass by giving the newly-elected student council members a blessing. “Those guys are stepping up,” he says. “To serve the community is a sign of hope and it is a sign that we are really training people in leadership. So to see them with confidence and to see the expression of the student body, saying go ahead, move forward, thank you for your leadership, that’s a very healthy sign.” He also adds, “And to know that the faith is a key component to the whole thing. The boys are here not just because of the academics, but because of the faith and values, the Christian values that they are receiving.”
Archbishop Gustavo says, “For me, being the ‘Shepherd’ of this community in San Antonio, is just goodness and I am humbled in what I experienced today.”
Archbishop Gustavo has a message, directed to the congregation of San Antonio as the pandemic starts to slow and life starts to get back to normal. He says, “We are people of hope, and we need to be better after the pandemic. We don’t want to go back, we are moving forward. And I pray, that you will do all that you can, to be better, when the pandemic is over. The school needs you, the Church needs you, the world needs you. Be better.”