Legacy of faith

North Texas Catholic
(Aug 29, 2023) Feature

Married for 43 years, María Guadalupe and Felipe Muñoz, their daughter and her husband, Sandra and Elías Guadamuz, and their grandchildren, Izabel and Anthony, attend St. Joseph Parish in Cleburne. (NTC/Ben Torres)

“I promise to be faithful to you in good times and bad times, in sickness and in health…”

María Guadalupe and Felipe Muñoz made this promise during the sacrament of matrimony 43 years ago. Together, step by step and “with ups and downs,” they have forged a path, being “two, but only one in Jesus.” 

Pope Francis, during a general audience on Nov. 13, 2019, highlighted Aquila and Priscilla, co-workers of St. Paul, “as models of a married couple responsibly committed to serving the whole Christian community… who open the doors of their hearts to Christ and to their brothers and sisters and transform their homes into a domestic church.” The Holy Father referred to his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and reminded us to turn to God “who has chosen the married couple to be His ‘true living icon’” (11). 

A 17th century painting of St. Paul with Saints Aquila and Priscilla. (Courtesy Photo/ Artvee)

Now, even though Felipe and María Guadalupe (nicknamed Lupe) lovingly face Lupe’s cancer diagnosis, they continue to contribute to their parish community and to strengthen their love day by day, “living to its fullest the meaning of the sacrament of matrimony.” 

GOD DOES EVERYTHING: When Felipe was young, he thought going to Mass when possible, arriving late, and only receiving the final blessing was enough. However, through Church teachings, Bible study, homilies, other faithful Catholics, and “mainly by the grace of God,” he grew to value the Mass and the Eucharist.

Felipe, originally from Durango, Mexico, and Lupe, born in Coahuila, Mexico, feel the beginning of their marriage coincides with their dedication to serving the community of St. Joseph Parish in Cleburne.

“God planted in us the desire to serve,” said Felipe, who is an acolyte, lector, and frequent volunteer in the parish. “The grace and the Spirit of God is the one who does everything,” he asserted. “We only offer Him the little that we do, and we do it with all our heart.” 

GOOD HARVEST: Lupe remembers joyfully that her three children were altar servers from the ages of 6 to 15. Her daughter, Sandra Guadamur, is currently a catechist and oversees sacramental preparation for confirmation. Her grandson, Anthony, the eldest of her six grandchildren, is also a catechist and helps Sandra.

Lupe is happy to serve at Sunday Mass, either as a lector or as a hospitality minister in the parish they love as their own extended family. 

“We feel very happy to be able to serve, that everyone knows us, that the community is growing, and that, by the grace of God, we all work together,” Lupe said. 

THE LORD WILL PROVIDE: Lupe and Felipe are deeply grateful for the great support they have received from the parish community for many years. When both became unemployed, it was thanks to St. Joseph Parish that they both found new jobs, which they still hold. 

"The parish was looking for a person who wanted to work and they hired me," said Felipe, who has overseen the maintenance of the facilities for 39 years. 

Lupe also got a job when a parishioner wanted to hire someone who knew how to make bread. She has been working for more than 25 years in the bakery, and she currently serves as a supervisor. 

María Guadalupe and Felipe Muñoz, their daughter, her husband, and their grandchildren in the St. Joseph Parish in Cleburne. (NTC/Ben Torres)

JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU: After Lupe was diagnosed with stomach cancer, they both found strength in their faith. “I want to offer strength to my wife during her illness. I ask God to give us both strength,” Felipe asserted. 

Lupe is immensely grateful for the blessing of having the support of her husband, her children, and the Church. “God has the last word,” she assured. She appreciated receiving the sacrament of healing administered by Father Sergio Rizo, the pastor of St. Joseph. “You have to be prepared if you really have faith,” said Lupe. 

Felipe said, “God's grace is reflected in our children. They are very attentive to their mother; we are very satisfied the grace of God also moves them and that they are such good children.”

ETERNAL LOVE: In these difficult moments, "we share more, and we care even more for each other. This does not mean that we did not love each other before, but rather, thank God, in these moments more than ever before, we feel that we are two, but only one in Jesus," said the couple. 

They feel happy that "almost all our service has been done together as a couple. ... We have served in various diocesan ministries such as Cursillos and have participated in numerous diocesan activities as representatives of our parish,” the couple commented. 

“We read the story of Tobias' wedding a lot in the Bible,” Felipe said, finding inspiration in the marriage of Tobias and Sarah. “Tobias used to say, “We can't live like pagans who don't know God,” and we like this verse because it helps us remember our past and see our present.”

Sacrament of Matrimony, Pope Francis, Marriage, Aquila and Priscilla, St. Paul, Durango Mexico, Coahuila Mexico, St. Joseph Parish in Cleburne, trending-english