Monday, November 13, 2023

Sisters, what can we do in the face of the suffering of God's people, Israeli and Palestinian?

 What can we do in theface of the suffering of God's people, Israeli and Palestinian?  Would you like to be in a conversation with other sisters?   Contact Sister Martha Ann Kirk indicating what place and time zone you are in and your reasons for wanting to be in this conversation.  Thank you. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Request for Advocacy for Clemency or Commutation from Death Penalty

An Invitation to Write Letters to President, Governors, and Board of Parole to stop execution and revisit the case for commutation, etc., advocate for abolishment of Death Penalty. 

Texas Board of Pardon and Parole Phone Number: 512-406-5452 [Main Office]. 

Additional contact information for the office of Governor Greg Abbott. 

Phone Number: 512-463-1828. 

November State Scheduled Executions

o   Brent Brewer (TX) – execution date November 9, 2023 (His story: SCOTUS Denies Review to Texas Prisoner Sentenced to Death with Contested Junk Science | Death Penalty Information CenterStop Executions – TCADP)

STOP the Execution of Brent Brewer | Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) (

§  Texas Board of Pardon and Parole Phone Number: 512-406-5452 [Main Office]

§  Additional contact information for the office of Governor Greg Abbott. Phone Number: 512-463-1828

o   William Speer (TX) – execution October 26 2023 – STAYED – New Execution Date to be determined (His story: Texas Execution of William Speer Stayed for October 26, 2023 – The Forgiveness Foundation)

o   Emmanuel Littlejohn (OK) – November 2, 2023 – STAYED – New Execution Date to be determined (His story: Execution of Emmanuel Littlejohn Stayed in Oklahoma Before November 2, 2023 – The Forgiveness Foundation)

o   David Renteria (TX) – execution date November 16, 2023 [Writ of Mandamus - David-Renteria-Petition-for-Writ-of-Mandamus.pdf (; His story: David Renteria to be executed in November in 2001 slaying of girl (]

o   Casey McWhorter (AL)– execution Date November 16, 2023 (His StoryAlabama Gives Casey McWhorter Execution Date of November 16, 2023 – The Forgiveness Foundation

o   Melvin Bonnell (OH)- execution rescheduled to November 18, 2026 (His story: Ohio Reschedules Execution of Melvin Bonnell from October 18, 2023, to November 18, 2026 – The Forgiveness Foundation)

o   Phillip Hancock (OK) – execution Date November 30, 2023 (His Story: Oklahoma Execution of Phillip Hancock Rescheduled from May 4, 2023, to November 30, 2023 – The Forgiveness Foundation)

Why an Incarnate Word Sisters join this effort? Our Congregation has a Corporate Stance against Death Penalty. 

Read our Corporate Stance here:, Paz y Tierra / Justice, Peace and Earth: CCVI Sisters: 20 Years Against the Death Penalty (

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Interior War, Ancient War and Prison of Revenge

Punish, kill, revenge, get back at someone are the rules of the ancient times. Twenty seven states still have death penalty while twenty three states have already abolished death penalty.  Are we still in the prison of hatred?  Is death penalty a just law?  Are we getting what we deserve as a society from our lawmakers?

United States of America, a land of freedom, and yet a land of imprisonment.  We are imprisoned by complacency, by indifference, by revenge to get back at someone because for some old practice that is called justice.  Is it really justice?  People get punished using the rule "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."  If I get killed, somebody will get killed.  And we say that we are not at war but at peace?  We look at the people in Gaza, praying that God will have mercy on Israelites and Palestinians especially the civilians and that the war will be put to an end.  We have our own interior war in United States.  One life, a life of a nation, is a life at stake.  We cannot put a price on any one's life.  Ending one's life or ending a whole town's life is a wound that penetrates throughout generations.

In the history of United States, death penalty has been in existence since the Colonial times.  In Biblical history, there was once a punishment as death penalty where murder is to be judge with death  (Leviticus 24:19-20).

Is this the justice of God?  If we look at the book of Numbers 35, a compassion for a person who committed murder through the city of refuge is given.  The city of refuge is a place where people who accidentally killed someone can go to.  There is a required two witnesses before anybody can be condemned to death.  There is a year of freedom once the high-priest passed away.   Did this rule last in the land of the chosen ones?

God protected Cain from revenge when Cain murdered Abel.  Moses murdered the Egyptians, he was guilty, run away from the Egyptians. God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush.  David fell in love with Bathsheba put Uriah in a risky and life-threatening position where he, the husband of Bathsheba, died. None of these chosen ones died.  Who are the chosen ones?  Christ made all of us God's chosen ones.  He died not selectively but the Messiah died for all.  The Word made flesh came for His love to be manifested for every single person who has ever lived and who is yet to live so that we can be with God for all eternity.

Fast forward, here in United States of America, we are watching the war in Gaza by Israelites and Palestinians who are using the old rule of justice, an "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" while this country is the number one producer of weapons of mass destructions, gun violence kills most people, we have a "silent" war that has been happening over the millennium.  Death penalty is a silent killer.  As a society, we punish people to die.  Unless we abolish this law to kill people who commit heinous crime, some were proven innocent, we are guilty of murder as well through our complacency and directly through our taxes.  According to Amnesty International, the cost to put the people in death penalty along with its litigation and follow-up representation can go up to $237 million a year compared to a non-death penalty maximum life imprisonment can only cost over $11 million a year (  

It is time that as a nation, we can have more peaceful society where healing is cultivated rather than revenge, hatred, punishment, and cruelty.  Jesus ended a cruel punitive behavior of the society on the cross.  "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they were doing."  We certainly do not know what we are doing after two millennia as we are still in this unresolved punitive behavior that is brought by the colonial times and some interpretations that have existed in the Old Testament.  There is an inconsistency between upholding what the country whose foundation is built upon what is life-giving i.e. pursuit for life, liberty, and happiness.  

Last October 10, the University of Incarnate Word commemorated the World Day Against Death Penalty.  It was a date when UIW, Catholic Mobilizing Network, Texas Coalition Against Death Penalty, and Texas Pax Christi sponsored a symposium to talk about abolishment of Death Penalty through panel of experts in this topic: Monique Coleman, the sister of Ryan Matthews who was exonerated from death row, Mitesh Patel, who advocated for clemency for the man who killed his father, and Dr. Doshie Piper, an Associate Professor in Criminal Justice.  

October 10, 2023 is another date when we as a nation executed another person on death row.  This time, it was Mr. Jedidah Murphy.  His execution in Texas proves our continued support for this system of hate and revenge.  We are responsible as a society for this life executed.  Another person in death row, William Speer, who is originally scheduled for execution on October 26 received a stay on execution.  Speer was forgiven by the brother of a person he killed more than 26 years ago, when he was merely 16 years old.  His completed education that time was 8th grade. Living in prison, he committed murder of his fellow inmate.  He was remorseful for what he did.  A converted man, a baptized Christian in 2021, he is becoming an instrument of healing among the prisoners which is a source of light for the victims' family.  His appeal for clemency was unanimously denied on October 24, 2023.

There is a silent war among every US Citizens, especially the legislators who have been entrusted to uphold laws that are good for their constituents.  It is a war crying out loud in the deepest core of our being for a change.  If we are not going to talk about this, we agree to continue to uphold this undignified ancient practice, and putting people who are normally victims of poverty, lack of education, sexual, mental and physical abuse into capital punishment.  We need a government and society that upholds program that builds good and moral behavior, education, and life-sustaining skills.   We all have voices.  Are the voices that need to be heard getting heard?  Have we used our voices to make long lasting justice and peace possible for the future generations to thrive?  Are we sustaining practices that we can be proud of?  Are we grateful for what we are upholding in the present?  

It is a call to revisit our participation in the justice and peace system of this country.  Call on your legislators to abolish the Death Penalty Laws.  We are wasting tax-payers money and ignoring the opportunities that we can take to make way for true peace.  We can truly promote life, liberty, and happiness by true peace in our hearts with action in our legislative system.

Make true peace a reality by supporting various organizations that are working hard to abolish this inhumane practice:

  • Texas Coalition Against Death Penalty
  • Catholic Mobilizing Network
  • National Coalition To Abolish The Death Penalty (NCADP)
  • Equal Justice USA
  • Journey of Hope    
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 
  • Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
  • Witness to Innocence
  • International Commission Against Death Penalty
  • Amnesty International 

We are the generation who will end death penalty.  

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Networking Action through Eco-Study Tours in San Antonio, Texas

The more we understand why we have to do justice on the environment, the more we will be able to understand the urgency of it.  If we look at our daily food consumption, grocery shopping that produces trash in the landfill, the daily restaurants and to go food shopping, the more we will understand how much poor our environment is becoming. 

In a throw-away culture, people want convenience.   You get your coffee, you throw your single-serve brewing pods that are non-biodegradable.  How many are using these disposable plastic brewing cups?  I can see this in school, in the house, in car dealers, in hospitals, etc.  If there are 332 million people in United States and 27-30% of Americans are using this single-serve brewing cups, we are dumping that much plastic that are non-biodegradable in the landfill.  This is how much is going to get burned in the atmosphere.  The burning of this plastic produces harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory illnesses, cancer, and other chemicals that can harm the reproductive system.  If you are really serious about getting healthy, one of the things you can help is to reduce the amount of plastics that are getting into your trash.  

Reducing the amount of single-use plastic trash and polystyrene in our trash can be resolved by being a little bit more conscious in our daily choices and grocery shopping.  If people who buy these non-biodegradable resources convert into an environmentally friendly traditional coffee brewing machine, or coffee press, there will be a significant decrease in the amount of trash in our environment not to mention the chemicals that get into our body through the chemicals from the plastic from the food and our environment.   This is just one example among the daily choices we make affecting our health, environmental justice, and the future of the children and their children.  Ponder what other resources that are harmful and that you throw in the landfill that you can opt for a smarter and environmentally-friendly choice?

Learn more about how you can be part of the solution by networking with the friends of environment.  Participate in the Eco-Study Tours in San Antonio, Texas:

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Responding to the violent deaths in the Middle East

Our hearts grieve at the increase in the number of people killed and wounded in the violence of war.  We sorrow at the culture of violence and war that terminates with the right to live. Warfare is the real adversary. Wars endanger all humanity and threaten all life in our common home.  

United with Pope Francis' prayer for "a stop to the armed attacks," we pray that more people will reject weapons, inhumanity and hatred. Let us pray to nurture the culture of nonviolence and peace in all nations of the world. The people in Israel and Palestine are in our hearts. Let us pray that we promote, in unity, actions rooted and grounded in love that seek the path to justice and stand along humanity.

Let us pray:

Incarnate Word, we ask that peace prevails in our common home.

Walk with us in our promise to extend your healing love to all that causes fear, 

hopelessness and sorrow on our planet.

Please guide our path to justice and peace.


Sign the Declaration of Peace

Respuesta ante las muertes violentas en Medio Oriente

Nuestros corazones lloran ante el aumento del número de personas asesinadas y heridas por la violencia de la guerra.  Nos aflige la cultura de violencia y guerra que pone fin al derecho a la vida. La violencia bélica es el verdadero adversario. Las guerras ponen en peligro a toda la humanidad y amenazan a toda la vida en nuestra casa común.

Unidas a la oración del Papa Francisco para “que cesen los ataques armados,” rezamos para que más personas rechacen las armas, la inhumanidad y el odio. Recemos para alimentar la cultura de no violencia y de paz en todas las naciones del mundo. La gente en Israel y Palestina están en nuestros corazones. Recemos para que en unidad promovamos acciones enraizadas y fundamentadas en el amor que buscan el camino hacia la justicia y nos mantiene al lado de la humanidad.



Verbo Encarnado, te pedimos que la paz prevalezca en nuestra casa común.

Acompáñanos en nuestra promesa de extender tu amor sanador a todo lo que causa miedo, desesperanza y dolor en nuestro planeta.

Por favor, guía nuestro camino hacia la justicia y la paz.



Firma la Declaración de la Paz

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Stewardship and Care of the Earth Call to Actions

An invitation to take actions on various concerns related to stewardship and a call to care for creation:

  1. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
If you are interested in viewing the latest update on what you can do to support the Climate justice through economic and foreign relational commitments, please refer to the email below from our friends from Sisters of Mercy.

          From the Sisters of Mercy: 

“Given Pope Francis’ urgent call to care for our Common Home, both in Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum, NETWORK has drafted a letter (attached) urging President Biden to fix the agreement immediately, out of our shared Catholic values. Please consider signing on your congregation and sharing with your Catholic associates. While the form requests individual contact information, it is the congregations and organizations that will be listed. To sign, please click the link: 

IPEF Congregations/Organizations Supporting Climate Justice through Economic and Foreign Relational Commitments: here

NOTE: If you want to see the letter drafted by NETWORK, give us a comment or send us an email:

  1. Laudate Deum: "Laudate Deum": Apostolic Exhortation to all people of good will on the climate crisis (4 October 2023) | Francis (

What is it about?  Here’s conversation about it:

  1. Stewardship on life

It is a waste of resources if the people’s effort is spent on revenge and killing people as a form of justice.  There is no peace in revenge and deliberately taking life.  Why not restorative justice, rehabilitation, circular healing, and other life-giving initiatives like the eco-socio-economic programs?

UIW Symposium for Abolishment of Death Penalty October 10 with various time for events

11:30    Vigil outside San Fernando Cathedral
6:15pm Dinner @ UIW SEC Ballroom
7pm      Talks/panelists


From the Organizer:


If you are not a UIW student or employee and want to park your car, you will need to sign up for a visitor's pass.  Here are the instructions:

Visitors you may register your vehicle for a guest parking permit at no cost via the T2 Cardinal Cars website. You must create a Guest Login to register your vehicle.  This is free of charge.

Please have the following required items before you begin the process:

·        Valid email address (you will be required to verify your account using this email)

·        Vehicle license plate number and State

·        Vehicle Make, Model, Color, Style

You will receive a confirmation email with a receipt listing valid vehicle and parking date(s). 


For those of you who registered to ride the UIW bus to the Vigil downtown, please meet in front of the Diane Bennack Concert Hall.  The shuttle will leave promptly at 11:30 so please be five minutes early.  

For questions, please contact the UIW Parking Office at (210) 283-5066 or call me, Arturo, at 210-259-1060.

Hope to see you there. 

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Eventful Season of Creation: Spreading Sustainability in all Generations

On September 22, 2023, the collaborative work of UIW, Pax Christi, CCVI JPIC, and Laudato Si Animators continued the UIW tradition of programs for the Season of Creation and encouraging younger students to participate in the Season of Creation.  Previous celebration can be revisited in the Incarnate Word Sisters Justice Peace, and Integrity of Creation blog (

Eighteen high-school students from St. Anthony High School and Incarnate Word High School, and twenty-eight students from pre-K to 8th grade from the UIW Brainpower Connection Schools participated in an art contest, where their art works were displayed in the CHRISTUS Heritage Hall of the Village at Incarnate Word, a retirement community home next to the university and another sponsored ministry of the Incarnate Word Sisters.

A big thanks to Dr. John Hooker, Dr. Benjamin Miele, Ms. Patricia Ramirez, Mr. Daniel Potter, Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Laudato Si Animators, the UIW community, the Incarnate Word Sisters, and Texas Pax Christi, who made the eco-pilgrimage possible. Dr. Carlos Garcia, MSE Dean, provided transportation for the high school students.  UIW Medical Health’s Dr. Shaylon Rettig, Mission, and Ministry’s Ms. Beth Villareal, Headwaters’ Sr. Cindy Stacy, Ettling Center, and Sustainability Department’s Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez and Teofilo Reyes also contributed to bringing their juicy ideas and background works to celebrate UIW’s Season of Creation.  The team promotes sustainability, raising awareness of our own contributions and responsibility to care for the Earth.  To hold this outdoor event without any bottled water being used, we gave the students reusable water bottles from the beginning of the pilgrimage, reminding participants that the UIW campus is surrounded by water refilling stations in each of the buildings. 

The team started as early as 7am getting ready with the resources and preparing for what the day would bring. The eco-tour started at 9am and ended at 11am. We had four groups of high-school students led by Arthur, Sr. Christi, Maria, and UIW student Jessica Solomon.  Everyone was given a pilgrimage guide containing facts, quotes, and prayers or reflections related to pilgrimage, community gardens, the pollinator garden, the solar house, artworks, Headwaters, and the Blessing of the Animals. The event only featured four of these while the Blessing of the Animals was scheduled for October 3. The Headwaters Sanctuary was not covered by the event but is open to the public.  It is adjacent to the UIW campus and offers nature trails and the Blue Hole, making it a popular spot for outdoor education, reflection, hiking, and volunteer works for the preservation of native plants and species.

Everyone joyously celebrated the season with all the eco-friendly and sustainable gifts they can bring home and talk about after the end of their pilgrimage.  Apart from the reusable water bottles, other eco gifts were given after answering questions about the tour.  The students had a chance to have reusable utensil kits, native seeds, reusable water bottles, and some biodegradable toothbrushes (including biodegradable bristles, yes!).  Some cheerfully received extra gifts after answering questions on sustainable habits and were given eco-friendly friendship bands that were personally crafted by Maria Trevino and Sr. Marylou. The friendship bands included sustainability pledges such as “I will use reusable water bottles (instead of bottled water)”, “I will plant and care for a tree”, “I will turn off the faucet when not in use”, “I will start a pollinator garden” and many others. 

Sustainability is visible in the UIW campus, being part of the Laudato Si Action Platform.  The practice of sustainability is still growing and that is the point. Sustainability is an ongoing process with an invitation to what individuals and the collective society are already able to do and what else can be done to further lessen our carbon footprint and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

One of the pilgrimage stops is the Art Exhibit in CHRISTUS Heritage Hall, which is part of the Village Retirement structure. The youth get to see the creativity of the pre-K to the middle schoolers.  We received 28 entries, thanks to the administrators and faculty of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Schools, and St. Anthony Catholic School.  Winners won gift cards for the artists and a fund to improve their school community garden. Throughout the day, the Village residents and staff were able to see the artworks, which inspired much curiosity and pondering.

Redemption (6th - 8th grade First Place)
Left: redemption (6th -8th First Place)

As the last activity of the Season of Creation, Sr. Martha Ann, Dr. Darlene Carbajal of the UIW Communication Arts Department, Darlene Jasso and Edwin Mendoza, founders of the Little Angels of Mary in Guatemala  facilitated the Annual Blessing of the Animals at Our Lady’s Grotto on October 3 at  6 pm.  This has been a tradition for more than forty years.  Dogs from small, medium, and large, pictures of cats, squirrels, and dogs, and animal stuffed toys paraded the seats of the Grotto. Annually the gathering has begun with “Sacred Creation,” a version of St. Francis’ “Canticle of Creation” which was set to music by Bro. Rufino Zaragoza, OFM with all incarnating the prayer.

Catherine Cuasay, Expressive Arts Therapist, led music for this and “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.” On this Vigil of the Feast of Saint Francis, we reflected on his love for nature. Each of the animals’ names was mentioned, and all sang together “May God bless you,” as the animals were sprinkled with water, a symbol of life.  The owners were able to celebrate the friendship and accompaniment that these humble creatures have provided for them and similarly, the animals had a great time seeing their fellows.  Everybody had a chance to smile while some had a memory of their four-footed pets.  We are also aware that we are outside surrounded by trees where there are birds, squirrels, crickets, and other animals who are celebrating that eventful occasion.

As we enjoy the milder temperature of the fall season, let us not forget that the Care of Creation is an ongoing process that we can practice all throughout the year.  We invite you to reflect on what sustainability means and what you can advocate for by living it and breathing it as part of your lifestyle. 

Left: Sr. Martha Ann with Darlene and Edwin, founders of Little Angels of Guatemala, UIW students, two pets, and Sr. Christi and Sr. Carmen                                                                                                            

Other Winning Art Pieces (from top to bottom): Waterway Peace (3rd - 5th grade category first place), Co-Creators (Pre-K - 2nd grade category first place)

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

A Call to Pray, Reflect and Take Action as a Mission

It has been record-breaking heat on earth where people had to endure the brutal hot temperature in longest days of July.  This has not happened in 120,000 years as reported by scientists in the news.  San Antonio hit a triple digit temperature for the most days of July with 125 degrees in some areas of Southern Texas.  The end of the Summer this year is about to come by September 22.  It comes with hope that the change in season will soften the blow of the summer’s raging temperature.  The end of the season does not, however, end the truth on Climate Change.  On October 4, Pope Francis will publish an exhortation as another message calling us to reflect on our call to revisit Laudato Si, the encyclical published on October 2015 in lieu of the call for ecological conversion.

The summer’s wildfires and bush fires have impacted lives of people, animals, and even cost billions of dollars of damages to the environment and livelihood across the country and in other parts of the world such as Greece, Canada, Australia, Croatia, France, Spain, etc.  A lot of these wildfires are record-breaking in in terms of the number of fires and the extent of the burned areas.   As scientists already reported, this climate change is anthropogenic.  This means, what we are experiencing is caused by human activity and not by cosmic-induced phenomena.  The solution is in our hands.  The greenhouse effect of burning fossil fuels, and other carbon-emitting human-based activities causing atmospheric changes.  The symbiotic relationship of the atmospheric changes to the geological, biological, and ecological system is getting manifested through the changes in weather patterns becoming erratic, and more dangerous.  We are observing the occurrence of natural disasters such as typhoons, storms, and hurricanes that are becoming more frequent and more disastrous which the climate scientists have already warned us.  If human beings are resilient and adaptable to changes, why bother about this Climate Change?  Weather patterns as part of the climate of a region help people and even animals to adapt to the kind of living environment and sometimes survival mechanism. As we are already experiencing effects of Climate Change, the urgency about this crisis demands our action now.  The United Nations (UN) sees 1.5 °C as a critical turning point to avoid cataclysmic results by the end of the century.

There have been several actions such as studies, and even Kyoto Protocol treaty to moderate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 1997 even before the historic Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.  The Paris Climate Agreement marked the world-wide commitment of 194 parties to tackle Climate Change.  Pope Francis wrote the Laudato Si encyclical in 2015 to educate us of our interconnectedness with the creation, and to invite us to answer the call for ecological conversion.   The world has not been more aware of this call.

This is the time to pray, reflect, and take action.  Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  It is today when St. Helena, while on a pilgrimage on the events where Jesus Christ had thread upon, discovered the true cross in Jerusalem in 320 AD.  It was on September 14 that her son Constantine dedicates the Church of the Holy Sepuclcher in September 14, 335 AD.  Today, we offer our prayer, reflection, and works that Jesus Christ will be triumphant in our lives to pray, reflect and take actions.  As we have learned in the movie "The Letter" as part of the Laudato Si project reflecting the situation in the world, the four vulnerable recipients of the environmental phenomenon are the poor, indigenous, nature, and the youth. This is an invitation to reflect the call to be united in a cause for ecological conversion and to be especially united in solidarity with our vulnerable brothers and sisters incuding the Creation where we all belong.


Message from Laudato Si Movement Program Coordinator for Texas and New Mexico

Rally for the Climate Emergency

Texas State Capitol

Sunday, September 17

Noon – 2 p.m.

Calling all Catholics!  In support of restoring God’s creation to have clean water and air, abundant biodiversity, rich soil quality, protect human health from conception to natural death and to bear witness to the climate emergency we face, you are invited to the south steps of the TX State Capitol.  Come stand and raise your voice for those whose voices are not heard, suffering from environmental injustice and racism.  Hear and learn from speakers and organizations about what more you can do and more importantly, be witness to all political and business leaders to take collective action to end the war against our Earth.  We do this in solidarity with the NYC March to End Fossil Fuels, for the upcoming start of the UN Climate Ambition Summit, as we demand a rapid, just and equitable transformation to save our planet.  Catholics will gather at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 203 E. 10th St. for prayer before proceeding to the capitol at 11:45 a.m. as a people of faith.  You do not need to register but to help with a head count, please let us know how many you are bringing to the event at SignUp Genius  *This is a permitted event by the State Preservation Board.

Rally for the Climate Emergency

Texas State Capitol

Sunday, September 17

Noon – 2 p.m.


People of good will who care about clean water and air, biodiversity, soil quality, the climate crisis or human health, are invited to this state permitted event on the south steps of the TX State Capitol.  Come stand and raise your voice for those whose voices are not heard, suffering from environmental injustice and racism.  Hear and learn from speakers and organizations about what more you can do and more importantly, be witness to all political and business leaders to take collective action to end the war against our Earth.  We do this in solidarity with the NYC March to End Fossil Fuels, for the upcoming start of the UN Climate Ambition Summit, as we demand a rapid, just and equitable transformation to save our planet.



Other Information on the Catholic Youth Conference: Join or support young Catholics marching for their future (


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Choosing Natives for Resilient and Bio-diverse Eco-system

I occasionally volunteer for Headwaters, where I would meet a few people who are also passionate about nature and building community.  I would learn some interesting facts about nature while I get myself immersed in the beauty of nature.  Working with nature can be relaxing, fu
n, and educational.  You can see interesting plants blooming in the middle of the forest, you can meet fellow nature enthusiasts, you can work hard under he sun and you can have your daily exercise getting your hands dirty with soil while walking, standing, and reaching out for something can be your exercise of the day.   
The last time I volunteered for Headwaters, I learned about the Natural Plant Society of Texas.  They give regular and scheduled talks to the public so that the public and members can be aware of the essence of having a locally sound yard and habitat for local species among other things.   One of the recent flowers that I learned from my recent encounter is the "fall obedience."  One of the friendly folks explained and showed to me why it was called “obedience.”  When you push or touch this flower to face a certain direction, this flower will stay where you push it towards.  It is normal that when you touch a flower, it will bounce back at you.  Not this flower.  I also learned that Bermuda grass is a kind of invasive plant.  It does not belong to San Antonio Region, and therefore, it is considered non-native and harmful to the local plants.  We plucked all the Bermuda grasses, weeds, and other invasive plants in all designated areas until we could no longer find any.

After learning a few things about the local plants from my nature-friendly friends, I became conscious of my surroundings, especially those that my new naturalist friend told me.  When I look at the Bermuda grass in the lawn of some of the houses in the neighborhood, it seems natural, green grass on the ground.   It looks beautiful and serene.  However, think twice before you appreciate that lawn with foreign grass.  Having a Bermuda grass and very green lawn in San Antonio, Texas would not be an ideal garden feature you would see or even adapt.  Maintaining Bermuda grass in Southern Texas is not recommended by horticulturist and Natural Plant Society.  It can take up a lot of water for the kind of weather and the drought situation in this region.  I learned from the Natural Plant Society that if you are to keep grass in your lawn in Texas, it is better to choose buffalo grass, horse herb as a turf, which belongs to a family of low-water-use landscape.

Why remove the non-native? Non-natives are normally high maintenance.  It is mostly the local plants that are considered known food for consumption of the local animals and insects.  As a source for food consumption, their numbers would generally dwindle down while the non-native plants occupy and compete with the space and resources that are meant to be for the local plants.  The diseases that the local plants are prone to will also cause these natives to decrease more in number while the invasive non-native plants, being immune to local plant diseases, continue to grow.  Eventually, the native plants have been suffocated by the non-native and invasive plants.  With the presence of only non-natives in the habitat, the animals and insects would no longer find food familiar to them.  One example is that if the bees cannot find flower that they are familiar with, they will go to another habitat, or another place that is suitable for them, having food and a safe habitat. With the drought-stricken city or even state, the residents are to be aware of the benefits of planting natives.  These plants are normally acclimated to the weather and can be low maintenance in terms of water and heat resistant to sun exposure.

Even more conscious of the climate if we use our resources to have vegetables and fruit-bearing plants that are local to us.  Thus, if you are spending a lot of money on your yard, you can harvest something right out of your garden over a few months.  That will be your food security apart from having gardening as a hobby.  When you have a edible garden in your yard, you know the kind of food that you are putting into your body. Hopefully, you will not use chemicals so you can have an organic and satisfying meal.  If you have some leftovers, you can enjoy being charitable by donating your extras to the local food pantries or distribution centers.

Another native plant that is perfectly suited to San Antonio weather is the Texas sage, and oleander.  These do not require much water and are considered a sub-tropical shrub.  These plants work best in USDA zones 8-10.  They can be in full bloom amidst the triple digits weather most of the time.  

When we choose native plants, we conserve our precious water so that it can be used for some other purposes that are critical during the summer season.  The local wildlife and birds will also thank you for choosing native plants.  This type of plant can also save you time in pampering and checking whether they need fertilizer or some trimming and other maintenance that you would do for a non-native species.  Since these plants are known locally, the ecosystem can thrive and flourish according to how nature designed them to be.  Given their natural habitat, the plants can adapt to the make-up of the soil, the weather, and other resources that make the plant grow.  The animals and insects can also find their local sources of food, without going further.  With local consumers, and local producers in the natural habitat, we cooperate with the nature to have healthy and bio-diverse eco-system.

Check out this interesting and cool music by Hila the Earth who invites all to get the native plants on the map:   Hila the Earth - Native Plants (Let's Get Them on the MAP!) (

Learn more about native plants by checking the website: Why Native Plants? - Native Plant Society of Texas (

 Check out out events and survey to serve you better: Justicia, Paz y Tierra / Justice, Peace and Earth: Common Home (

 Happy Season of Creation!  Let's make nature thrive.