Below is the text of the letter sent to the people of Our Lady of the Atonement by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.
My Dear and Faithful People,
It is with my responsibility to you as bishop and pastor at the forefront of my thoughts that I offer you these words. From the outset of this letter, I wish to affirm significant growth of our Lady of the Atonement Parish since it was erected by my predecessor, Archbishop Patrick F. Flores. Your community has become a parish that draws many Catholics with a desire for clarity of doctrine and a traditional liturgical expression. I have known your parish, in my many pastoral visits, to be a place of contemplation and reverence, a place of beauty in architecture, decor, and expression, a place of doctrinal clarity, and a place of close knit community. I affirm these strong and important aspects of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish as values important in our Catholic Church and to be cherished in all of our parishes. It is my sincere intent to respect, support, and promote these values at Our Lady of the Atonement Parish.
I also recognize the Pastoral Provision as a great blessing in our Archdiocese, and a path to communion for many of our separated brothers and sisters. I will protect and promote the celebration of the liturgy according to the Book of Divine Worship with Our Lady of the Atonement Parish for the benefit of members of Christ’s faithful people who have joined us from the Anglican tradition.
With this in mind, because of the pastoral concern that I have for your parish’s ecclesial communion, I have asked your pastor Father Christopher Phillips, effective today, January 19, 2017, to dedicate some time to reflect on certain specific concerns that I have shared with him. These specific concerns relate to expressions in the life of the parish that indicate an identity separate from, rather than simply unique, among the parishes of the archdiocese.
During this time of reflection and prayer, Father Phillips will not have the responsibility of pastoral care or authority in the parish. I have asked Msgr. Frank Kurzaj to take on this pastoral responsibility and authority as Parish Administrator. Msgr. Kurzaj, with the assistance of Father Jeffery Moore your Parochial Vicar and Deacon Michael D’Agostino, will support the ongoing life and activities of the parish. Msrg. Kurzaj is currently pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Floresville, and has been pastor of St. Paul Church and Holy Name Church in San Antonio. He has also served the archdiocese in a variety of boards and committees, including the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors.
Please know that I pray for each of you and for your parish, now and in the coming days. I am grateful for the many ways that the Holy Spirit is at work in your parish community. I ask that pray for your pastor during this time of reflection; I also request that you pray for me as I seek, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to carry out the episcopal duties entrusted to me for the sake of our local Church.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M. Sp. S.
Archbishop of San Antonio