In our deanery, ACTS saw its beginnings when Mrs. Theresa Hemmi of Hallettsville became so impressed with the profound changes observed in returning ACTS retreatants, including her sons, that she decided she must make an ACTS retreat. She attended a retreat out of St. Francis of Assisi Parish from San Antonio in October 1997, along with Mrs. Lucille Werner Carlwin and Mrs. Barbara Werner Hemmi. In accordance with norms of ACTS Missions, Sacred Heart needed a core group of women to bring ACTS into the parish/deanery. The following additional locals attended an ACTS retreat in San Antonio and provided the core group for the first Sacred Heart ACTS retreat: Tillie Schott, Rosemary Hemmi, Barbara Michalcik, Elaine Rogers, Virginia Curley, Bea Heinzel, Sr. Lois Etzler, Lillian Stoneking and Geradette Haas. These ladies joined the St. Francis San Antonio team for the first Sacred heart Hallettsville ACTS Retreat held in October 1998 at the Spiritual Renewal Center in Victoria, directed by Ramona Leonards and co-directed by Lillian Stoneking, with Sr. Lois Etzler serving as Spiritual Director. St. Francis also sponsored the second Sacred Heart Hallettsville ACTS retreat in November 1999, which was held at the Cathedral Oaks Retreat Center near Oakland, where we now hold most of the local retreats. St. James Gonzales women also participated on this team, which was led by Lillian Stoneking.
Phillip Hemmi of Hallettsville made his initial retreat with St. John Neumann parish from San Antonio in 1987, just as the ACTS movement was beginning. At the urging of Theresa and Joe Hemmi, Phillip Hemmi attended his second ACTS retreat, along with Urban Hemmi, and Clarence, Ronnie and Myron Rehm from Hallettsville. They attended with St. Matthew's, San Antonio in September 1998, with Joe Hemmi serving on team. Subsequently, Bill Curley, Wayne Freytag, Paul and John Morkovsky, and Tim Michalski attended San Antonio retreats, thus providing Sacred Heart Hallettsville with the essential core team to be sponsored by San Antonio ACTS Missions.
At the request of Msgr. John Peters, St. Matthew's of San Antonio sponsored the first Sacred Heart Hallettsville Menís ACTS Retreat in March, 2000 at Cathedral Oaks, with Fr. John serving as Spiritual Director and the aforementioned local men serving on team. With an ACTS team reinforced by locals from the first retreat, the second Sacred Heart ACTS Menís Retreat was held at Cathedral Oaks in November 2000, with Mike Rehm of St. Matthew's serving as Director and Bill Curley and Wayne Freytag serving as co-directors.
The ACTS charter for Sacred Heart Hallettsville and Neighboring Parishes resulted in a Core Team, which was formed in June 2000 with Bill Curley as the Chairman and Msgr. John Peters as the Spiritual Director. The movement has continued to grow and we presently conduct five retreats a year, including one for area Teens.
In passing on the gift of ACTS to our Hallettsville Deanery, the Holy Spirit has now moved on to the Victoria Area , with three parishes there having Core Teams, and Victoria ACTS Missions Core serving to spread the gift to other areas, including Texarkana, Ganado and Bay City. The movement has also resulted in formation of the Gonzales/Waelder ACTS Core, and recently the start of the Hostyn Deanery ACTS Core. Father Gary Janak has also been instrumental in moving ACTS to El Campo where a Core group has been formed.
With numbers growing with each new retreat, monthly follow-on meetings are held for the men and for the women, alternating between Hallettsville, Yoakum, Shiner, Sweet Home, and Moulton. Neighboring Core groups have their own follow-up meetings and also websites.