Hospitaller Region - Central Texas
Central Texas Region Partnership with Saint Louise House
The Central Texas Region has expanded its partnership with Saint Louise House, a nonprofit that offers supportive housing for women and children experiencing homelessness. This August, members provided and served a meal at one of Saint Louise House's weekly community dinners, a chance for fellowship and program content for its residents. This is the first instance of what will be an ongoing, quarterly service opportunity with Saint Louise House.
In July, Central Texas members also supplied back-to-school backpacks and school supplies for the children of Saint Louise House for the third year in a row; this year's drive also included much-needed supplies for the community's toiletry and cleaning supply closet.
Central Texas celebrates its Annual Christmas Mass
The Central Texas region celebrated its Christmas Mass and dinner with Bishop Joseph Vasquez, chaplain Father Chris Ferrer, and members and friends of the Order on December 3rd. Many exciting new plans are unfolding for 2022, including regional healing masses every quarter at parishes around the Austin area and the new candidate formation.
2021 Tri-Texas Retreat
The Central Texas Region hosted the 2021 Tri-Texas Retreat, including guests from the Houston, Dallas, and Lafayette regions. Abbot Placid Solari, Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Charlotte Region, led a group of nearly 30 knights, dames, candidates, and friends in a weekend of prayer and fellowship with the theme of life in community. Central Texas is currently sponsoring two candidates in formation. Our region is growing!
Healing Mass at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Austin
The Central Texas Region assisted at a Healing Mass at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Austin last month with the Rev. Chris Ferrer, a chaplain, concelebrating with the Rev. James Misko, vicar general of the Diocese of Austin. Members presented Father Chris with his Order of Malta stole. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with him in the years to come, and we hope this is the first of many Healing Masses sponsored by the Order in central Texas.
Central Texas Region Hosts School Supply Drive
The Central Texas Region completed another school supply drive for Saint Louise House, a nonprofit in Austin that offers housing and support to women and children experiencing homelessness. Members shopped for and assembled 20 backpacks for children of all ages -- and this year, we were also able to offer school supplies to six mothers returning to school to get their degrees!
The partnership with Saint Louise House has been a beautiful opportunity for us during the pandemic. We look forward to deepening our involvement with this wonderful ministry. This fall, our efforts will expand to include setting up apartments for new Saint Louise House residents.
Central Texas Region on Pilgrimage May 2020
With our Lourdes Pilgrimage cancelled again in 2021, the members of the Central Texas Region found a pilgrimage opportunity closer to home. St. Mary Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Brenham, TX is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. Bishop Vásquez, Bishop of the Austin Diocese, blessed the church doors to initiate the parish jubilee year and Pope Francis decreed a Jubilee Year of Grace, granting a plenary indulgence to all pilgrims who fulfill the requirements.
On May 6th, the day we would all have been returning from Lourdes absent the pandemic, members of the Order and friends gathered in Brenham to celebrate the St. Mary Immaculate Conception Jubilee Year. After an interesting and informative talk on the history of the church given by the parish historian, there was time for the sacrament of reconciliation before Fr. David Leibham, our new Central Texas Chaplain led us in procession through the Holy Doors. The beautiful Mass Fr. Leibham celebrated for us was enriched by the fact that he grew up in Brenham and celebrated his first Mass in the church. We enjoyed a wonderful Italian dinner at a nearby restaurant to top off the pilgrimage.
Saint Louise House Service Partnership 2020
The Order of Malta Central Texas is supporting Saint Louise House in Austin, an organization that serves women and children experiencing homelessness. Each Saint Louise House family lives in supportive community housing, and the supplies are crucial to maintaining cleanliness at home during a pandemic. Over the summer, members gathered and donated cleaning supplies. In July, members purchased and assembled 20 backpacks, filled to the brim with nearly $2000 worth of school supplies, each personalized to the needs of a particular child in grades K-12.
Christmas Mass 2019
Bishop Joseph Vasquez celebrated Christmas Mass for the Central Texas Region of the Order of Malta last night, assisted by Father Dean Wilhelm, regional chaplain, and Father Jesse Martinez, parochial vicar at St. Louis King of France Parish.
Investiture 2019 carried a special significance for the Central Texas Region, as we celebrated the Investiture of our first “home-grown” candidate, Christy Wilkens, DM. Christy and her husband Todd were companions for their son, Oscar, on the 2017 American Association pilgrimage, where they heard the call to join the Order themselves. Todd is a candidate in the Class of 2020. Our region is small but growing!
Lourdes Pilgrimage 2019
The Central Texas region sponsored two malades for the 2019 pilgrimage, accompanied by several members and volunteers from the Austin area. We were so grateful for the opportunity to serve these beautiful children and their families.
Pre-Lourdes Mass and Dinner 2019
Bishop Joe Vasquez blessed the malades of the Central Texas region at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin. Assisting the bishop at Mass were Father Dean Wilhelm, chaplain for the Central Texas region, and Father Red Blevins, associate pastor at St. John Neumann. This was the first Mass Bishop Vasquez has celebrated for the Federal Association. In his homily, he expressed his desire for the Order’s growth in our region. Reflecting on the Gospel, he noted that our ability to minister to others who are suffering depends on us keeping our eyes directed toward our Lord on the cross, whose suffering is the source of all we do.
Retired Priests Happy Hours 2019
Members of the Central Texas region answered the Austin Diocese’s call to minister to our retired priests, in thanks for all they have done for the faithful. Once a month, we sponsor a happy hour, providing food, drinks, and happy companionship to these faithful priests who devoted their lives to the service of Christ.
Texas Tri-Region Retreat 2018
The Central Texas region hosted its first retreat for all Texas members of the Order at Cedarbrake Retreat Center in Belton, TX. Father Luke Millette was the spiritual director, providing much-needed enlightenment and reflection throughout the weekend.
The Central Texas Region is one of the newest Regions in the Federal Association. Started in 2017, we currently have 9 members, including two who were newly invested in 2019 and 2020. We are actively recruiting and encouraging new members!
Our Region has undertaken service projects in support of retired priests of the Diocese of Austin, as well as Saint Louise House, a local nonprofit serving women and children experiencing homelessness. We meet monthly online to pray the Rosary (and hope to resume in-person activities soon).