Please see the links below for coverage of Fr. John McHugh’s funeral Masses in Robstown, Texas, as well as Mora, New Mexico. Fr. John died on July 31, 2017 and was buried in Holman, New Mexico, next to SOLT Founder, Fr. James Flanagan.
When I first met Br. Michael he was doing some work in the Bishop’s office. I was a SOLT lay member and Fr. Flanagan’s chauffeur for the summer. Fr. Jim and I were sitting at an old, rustic, dining room table chatting with Bishop Jerome Hastrich… the Ordinary of the missionary Diocese of Gallup, NM. Little did I know that this cheerful brother was the Bishop’s right-hand-man!
Upon Bishop Hastrich’s death, for some strange reason, the new bishop decided to canonically suppress Br. Michael’s community. Fr. Flanagan rescued Br. Michael, bringing him into SOLT and giving him, not only a new life… but a new name as well; Br. Michael of The Precious Blood.
What many people in SOLT never knew about this truly humble brother was that he himself was a co-founder of a Religious Congregation… The Brothers of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Bishop Hastrich was concerned about his priests living alone in the desert and he decided to establish a community of Brothers who could be companions and helpers for his priests. Br. Michael was the first to respond to the Bishop’s advertisement announcing the foundation of the new community.
When Brother met with Bishop Hastrich in Penn Station, NYC, he asked the holy Bishop, “How many members are there in the new community?” Bishop Hastrich responded, “One… YOU!” Brother Michael went on to found the community with Bishop Hastrich and became the first Superior General and the first Novice Master of The Brothers of Our Lady of Guadalupe (a Religious Congregation with Vows).
Most people with this kind of stellar resume, coming into a new community (SOLT), would make sure that everyone knew about their impressive background. But that was not the good brother’s way. His was the way of humility… Our Lady’s way! I had a number of mission assignments with Brother and not once, in conversations with me or with others, did he exploit this “treasure trove” of credentials.
Br. Michael was so well formed as a religious that, due to the depth of his interior life, he was practically “invisible”… or to put it another way; he was simple and transparent… and this is what made him such a unique and wonderful brother. Very often, due to his appearance, Brother was completely misunderstood and perceived as being something he certainly was not! Because he was legally blind, he walked slowly and very deliberately. And because of his bleeding disorder, he held his head up high. Put these 2 traits together and what do you have? A “Primadonna”! Throw in an “upside-down-smile”, the result of a mini-stroke, and what do you get… a “sour-puss” Primadonna! But the minute you engaged him, you would immediately discover that he was very cheerful, humble, and supremely friendly.
Br. Michael’s sufferings were never ending… and this is what made him the truly special brother that he was. In 3rd world mission, he was incomparable. He would live anywhere, sleep on any sort of a bed, eat anything put in front of him, and travel great distances without a single word of complaint. In friendship, he was the same Br. Michael with the humblest campesino or the wealthiest benefactor. His deep understanding of the importance of balance and common sense in religious life was something all of us in SOLT can learn from (I know that I am still learning from his example!). Br. Michael was one of Our Lady’s gifts to her society… and our wise and discerning Founder saw that right from the start.
Submitted by Fr. Larry Tucker, SOLT
Father John S. McHugh passed into eternal life on Monday, July 31, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was 93 years old. Fr. John was born on August 9, 1923 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to James McHugh and Laura Lee (Stevens) McHugh. Father was preceded in passing by his parents and only sister, Mary Lee (McHugh) Braune.
Baptized on August 23, 1923 at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Fr. John attended grammar school at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City and secondary school at St. Gregory the Great in Shawnee, Oklahoma, graduating in 1941. After a year of study at the University of Oklahoma, he enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed in England during World War II. He was a bombardier on a lead crew in the Air Force and flew in 18 combat missions until his plane was shot down over Germany in 1945. One of only two men surviving the crash, he remained a POW in Germany until the war ended. Upon returning home, he continued his studies at St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas before entering seminary with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
On May 24, 1952, Father was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. His first assignment as a priest was as Assistant Pastor at Cristo Rey parish in Santa Fe, NM. Later he was made Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Holman, NM.
While serving as Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. John was introduced to Fr. James Flanagan, who had come to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe as a step in the founding of a new religious congregation under the authority of Archbishop Byrne. On July 16, 1958, Fr. Flanagan founded the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) with Fr. John as the first priest member.
Fr. John would go on to serve for six years as Pastor at St. Gertrude the Great in Mora, NM and five years as Associate Pastor at St. Francis Seraph parish in Kansas City, Missouri.
Thirty years of Fr. John’s priesthood were spent in Belize, Central America, where he founded the first SOLT mission outside of the US, as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize, and St. Martin de Porres parish in Melchor, Guatemala from 1969 to the late 1990s. Fr. John spent and consumed himself in these border towns during a time of great civil unrest in the region. He left a lasting mark not only in the lives and hearts of the people in Benque Viejo, Melchor and the surrounding areas, but also through the establishment of Mount Carmel High School in Benque Viejo, which began in 1991 as a “second-chance” school and now boasts an enrollment of over 400 students.
Fr. John returned to the US from Belize to serve as Regional Priest Servant for the American Region of SOLT for six years, followed by eight years at St. Gertrude’s once again.
Father spent the last five years of his earthly life in Corpus Christi, TX, where the SOLT Generalate is located. Through the fidelity of Fr. John and Fr. Flanagan, SOLT has grown from its humble beginnings in Holman, NM to having missions and apostolates both in the United States and throughout the world. Fr. John leaves a spiritual legacy of joy, courage, faithfulness and love of the Blessed Mother and the Church in the hearts of those who knew him.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Rosary: St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Robstown, TX, 7 pm
Friday, August 4, 2017
Funeral Mass: St. Anthony’s in Robstown, 10 am
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Wake and Rosary: St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church in Mora, NM, beginning at 5 pm
Monday, August 7, 2017
Rosary: St. Gertrude’s in Mora, 9am
Funeral Mass: St. Gertrude’s, 10 am; Burial to follow at the SOLT Sisters’ Convent in Holman, NM
Brother Michael of the Precious Blood Brady was born in Westfield, New Jersey on June 21, 1935 to Henry and Florence Brady and was baptized on July 7, 1935 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and given the name of Henry Elliot Brady. He had one sister, Barbara Freiberg who predeceased him. He had a deep and abiding affection for the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, nuns who taught him in grade school and high school. Brother Michael entered religious life in 1978 as a Brother of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Gallup, New Mexico, under the direction of Bishop Jerome Hastrich. In 1998, Brother transferred to the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and professed his final promises as a permanent Brother on the 8th of September, 2005.
Brother is survived by his two nephews, John and Allen Sanford and their spouses and his two great nephews, Michael and John Sanford.
Brother was a dedicated religious who loved Our Lady and the Eucharist. Throughout his years in SOLT he served in several missions and apostolates, most notably in Muzquiz and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Our Lady of Corpus Christi, the Lay Formation Center in Florida, Casa San Jose in Texas and Branchville, New Jersey. In addition, Brother Michael accompanied Fr. Larry Tucker on many mission appeals.
Brother Michael was known for his incredible memory, perceptive comments and an enjoyment of conversation. He was always genuine and sincere and will be missed by his fellow community members and many friends.
Seven weeks ago, I arrived in Belcourt, N.D. to St. Ann’s Church for their summer camp, not knowing what to expect. I had talked to three people who had been to Belcourt on mission trips or for the summer camp, and all of them loved their experiences. St. Ann’s is located at the heart of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. When I told people I was going to Belcourt for part of the summer, I got mixed reactions. Some people were really excited for me, while others would say, “Why would you go to Belcourt? There’s nothing there.” I did not really know what to expect, but I expected that the Lord was going to do some big things.
I came to St. Ann’s primarily to be a counselor at their annual summer camp. The camp was divided into three age groups: grades 1-3, grades 4-6, and grades 7-9. Each camp lasted for two weeks. Counselors came in from all over the country, including Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Every camp day we would pray a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Without this prayer time, I don’t think we could have gotten through the summer and been able to work with the kids and each other the way they deserved. The first week I was here was a lot of get-to-know you and preparation, which was fun and good to do, but I really just wanted camp to start. The theme of the camps focused on the seven virtues, with each day focused on a different virtue through talks, skits, and small group discussions. Each camp day also finished with Mass with the kids. Camp also involved a lot of activities typically seen when the average person thinks of camps. This included large group games, canoeing, sports, arts and crafts, and science. It helped the kids to be exposed to Jesus and grow closer to Him while also having a fun time.
After reflecting on the summer, one virtue seemed to represent the general theme of the summer: Hope. Hope is “placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit…buoyed up by hope, we are preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity” (CCC 1817-1818). It is important to understand when discussing hope that it is a gift from God, and not something that comes from ourselves. Most obvious, I could see the gift of hope being bestowed upon the kids during camp, usually in the little moments. People who had no exposure to Jesus in the past were asking deep questions about Jesus’s life, resurrection, and how He is present and working today. Some of the most precious and profound moments were some the simplest ones. Some kids started hugging the priest after being blessed in the Communion line, while some would voluntarily lend their sweatshirts to other kids who were cold. These small acts of charity prompted by the Spirit were leading them to the happiness that flows from charity.
I also saw hope through the people of the community. The first week we were here we went to picnics at the houses of various families. This generosity continued throughout the duration of my time here, camping and spending time with different families around town. The St. Ann’s community, including parishioners and staff, is filled with a lot of hope in God and for Belcourt, even though there is significant darkness in the community. They are a people proud of their heritage and who they are, and are willing to put in the work to improve themselves and the people around them. The parishioners and staff are beams of light in a community with lots of darkness. But Belcourt is not much different than any other place in the world. There is darkness everywhere, and we are all called to be beams of light in the darkness.
One of my biggest takeaways from this summer is that the massive hope that I’ve experienced in the small town of Belcourt is a mere sliver of the hope that God wants to pour out upon the whole world. Jesus desires for us to be bursting with hope for Heaven and the great the great joy that comes from this. Leaving Belcourt will be a challenge as I have been pretty sheltered from the busyness and distractions of the world. But I am confident that God will give me the grace I need, and that He has big plans for me going forward, and big plans for each one of you reading this. I’ll finish with a quote from St. Pope John Paul II:
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal” (Address of the Holy Father John Paul II, Vigil of Prayer, World Youth Day, 19 August 2000).
Submitted by Patrick Finnegan. He is studying Occupational Therapy, is from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Every life has a beautiful destiny placed upon it by God. That destiny includes a vocation and a unique mission or purpose which not only bring the person to complete fulfillment but which also participates in a personal way in the drama of God’s saving plan in human history.
The calling to give oneself completely to Christ as a Brother or Sister is a vocation, which is irreplaceable and essential to the holiness of the Church. “The call…is an initiative coming wholly from the Father who asks those whom He has chosen to respond with complete and exclusive devotion. The experience of this gracious love of God is so powerful that the person senses the need to respond by unconditionally dedicating his or her life to God, consecrating to Him all things present and future, and placing them in His hands…through a complete self-offering.” (Vita Consecrata, 17)
This self-offering is made through the profession of the vows (a vow is a solemn promise) of poverty, chastity and obedience, a new and special consecration of the whole person which manifests in the Church a marriage effected by God, and a sign of the future life. This also explains why profession of vows is not a sacrament. ‘When God bypasses, so to speak, the sacramental economy, He is acting in a way in which He would have acted had man not fallen into sin, that is, by Himself directly infusing into the soul the graces that are needed.’ (see C. Schleck on Aquinas) This self-offering, therefore, “is an anticipation of the direct union with Christ in heaven when sacraments (and sin) shall be no more.” (Thomas Dubay, SM)
Through the gift of the profession of vows, Brothers and Sisters are graced to begin to live this future life and make it visible to the people of God even here and now. They do this through a universal love for all of mankind which reflects the way in which the Trinity loves each human being created in His image and likeness and which will be the way we love each other in eternity.
We thank God for this beautiful vocation and rejoice to celebrate:
- The First Profession of Brothers Uriel Lopez and David Snow on Sunday, July 9th, at Our Lady of Corpus Christi (OLCC), 1200 Lantana St., Corpus Christi
- The Perpetual Profession of Br. Ryan Avery on Monday, July 10th at 5pm at OLCC.
- The Perpetual Profession of Sr. Mary of Divine Love, Sr. Maria Stella Maris, Sr. Maria Lucina of the Lamb of God, Sr. Maria Mater Dei, Sr. Mary Joseph of Divine Mercy, Sr. Maria Hostia, Sr. Mary Joy of Our Father, and Sr. Maria Solanus Casey on Tuesday, July 11 at 5pm at St. Theresa’s Church, 1302 Lantana St., Corpus Christi.
- The First Profession of Sr. Mary Kelli Ann Lopez on Friday, July 14, at 11:30am at OLCC.
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His love endures forever!” (Ps 107)
Submitted by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT
Right now, on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and at the SOLT Mission of St. Ann’s, a fresh excitement and enthusiasm fills the air. With the school year over and summertime in full force, volunteers from all over the country have been arriving to staff and serve the 18th annual St. Ann’s Summer Camp. This six-week long enterprise brings the light of Christ and the New Evangelization to the Native American (Chippewa and Metis) children in a fresh and accessible way, with an open invite to all kids of the Reservation. The volunteers serve two weeks with 7th-9th graders, two weeks with 4th-6th graders, and two weeks with the teeny-weeny 1st-3rd graders. Every day, these children of God experience Him in Mass, prayer, skits, talks, and also in the love and grace flowing through relationships with the self-giving volunteers that have gathered to serve. The campers also learn arts and crafts. They dance and sing. They participate in games and sports sessions, and they forget for six hours a day the problems and heaviness they may experience in their home lives. They laugh and breathe.
Who are these volunteers that come to share with these campers the love and light of Christ? What drew them? How do they hope to serve? These young men and women come from eleven different states. Most of them are on their summer breaks from college. For some, this is their first time doing mission work, or their first time up at St. Ann’s. For others, this is their fifth time or third or second year returning. They have heard of our summer camp from friends, from family, from parish priests, from SOLT members, their parish youth minister, or the SOLT website. They come with their gifts, laughter and love, and with a great desire to make a difference, as St. Peter tells us, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Briana Villarreal from Del Rio, Texas, writes: “I want to show this community that they are loved by Christ and by me; that they have someone to lean on.” Blair Harbison from Panama City, Fla. hopes “to allow the Lord to work in me in such a way that the campers are able to see the joy that living in Christ brings.” “I am most excited to work with the amazing staff and the other counselors…to serve the wonderful children attending the camp and to be completely surrounded by Christ’s love for a month and a half” says Reygan Jagneaux from Ville Platte, La. However, not everyone serving the camp came from far away. Two of the camp counselors, Kiana Brunelle and Dusty Keplin, attended St. Ann’s Summer Camps as children, and have chosen to stay in Belcourt for the summer to serve their own people. Kiana writes, “I hope to give the kids an inspiration and someone to look up to.” And they will. They all will make a difference in how they will give of themselves.
Will you also support these counselors and our St. Ann’s Summer Camp? Please, please pray for our kids and our mission, that the love of Christ this summer will find its way into their hearts and homes and overtake them completely and forever. Thank you for your prayers and sacrifices! For more information, please visit our website at www.stannsmission.org. Ave Maria!
The 2017 Summer Volunteers at St. Ann’s
May 1st, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, has been designated as Religious Consecrated Brothers Day throughout the world. The Consecrated Life Office of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, in conjunction with the SOLT Regional Priests Council, celebrated this vocation in the Church.
A concelebrated Mass took place on May 1st under the blue dome at Our Lady of Corpus Christi. Fr. Samuel Medley was the Principal Celebrant. Using the readings for the day, he reflected on the life of St. Joseph and the vocation of consecrated brothers. He referred to one of our distinguished brothers in SOLT, the late Br Richard Bunch, and how he lived out his brotherhood. At the end of the celebration of the Holy Mass, Fr. Jerry Drolshagen, SOLT Regional Priest Servant shared what a brother does.
Six Consecrated Brothers serve in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. They include Br. Michael Brady, Br. Nicholas Coombs, Br. John DeMay, Br. Peter McArdle, Br. Martin McGough, Br. Danny Tozzi.
Following Holy Mass, Sr. Gloria Rodriguez from the Office for the Consecrated Life, Diocese of Corpus Christi, offered a presentation at Café Veritas at OLCC. Sr. Gloria read a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio and presented the brothers with a card and gift in appreciation for their service.
Within the American Region, five brothers are at the SOLT House of Studies in Detroit, Michigan. They include Br. Timothy Burnham, Br. David Brokke, Br. Ryan Avery, Br. Javier Ebertowski and Br. Gene Grandy. They study at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and serve at Most Holy Redeemer parish in Detroit.
We pray for more brothers in the Church! Their witness of consecrated life offers a beautiful witness to the family of God. If you feel called to this vocation, contact Fr Mark Wendling email@example.com for more information.
This May 20th, young missionaries from seven different states will set out on the adventure of a lifetime! Shortly after completing their Spring semester of studies, they will gather in Houston, TX to prepare for their mission to Belize, Central America. Serving alongside the SOLT teams already present in Belize, the missionaries will engage in many of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, bringing a jolt of enthusiasm and generosity to the stability of the service already present there.
Follow their journey at meetsolt.com
Many young people, in service to the poor, volunteer in missions every year, finding a life-giving environment to discern their vocations and share the love of Jesus Christ. Many of our volunteers have experienced a call to a deeper discipleship throughout their time and have felt themselves called to live this out through generous self-gift in marriage, family life, priesthood, consecrated life, or through friendships in their current state of life according to God’s will.
SOLT serves in dioceses throughout the world, many of which are mission territories. At this time, we have volunteer opportunities for five mission locations. Two of these are located in the English-speaking country of Belize in Central America (Benque Viejo and in Belize City), and two are located in Mexico, where proficiency in Spanish is a requirement for volunteers. The other mission site is located on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, near the Canadian border.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Becky Trujillo who passed into Eternal Life this morning just before 3 am. Her fellow SOLT members were able to keep vigil through the night. Last night, Fr. John McHugh, Sr. Margaret Mary Loehr, Dorothy Lickteig and others gathered by her bedside to pray and sing. Many SOLT members continued to keep watch and pray into the night as she peacefully drifted into her eternal rest. Details regarding funeral arrangements will be made available soon.
Sister Mary of the Redemption Mansfield remembered Becky with these thoughts:
Becky Trujillo was one of the early single lay members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). Becky came to SOLT in the latter part of the 1960s, after SOLT had moved its headquarters from Mora, New Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri. She remained a faithful member of SOLT, as a single lay person, for the rest of her life here on earth.
Becky was among the first of the great lay evangelizers of SOLT. For wherever you found Becky, you found her evangelizing. That might be in some formal setting, such as on a EFT Migrant Worker Ministry, or in a SOLT parish organization, or on a bus, or in a shopping mall, or on a street corner, or in a nursing home (Becky herself was confined in a nursing home during these last years of her life).
We bless and thank God for choosing Becky Trujillo to be a member of the SOLT family—as our sister whom we can imitate.