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Jayme Mathias

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Jayme Mathias
Hon. Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias, 2014.jpg
Austin ISD District 2 Trustee
Assumed office
November 19, 2012
Preceded by Sam Guzman
Personal details
Born Jayme Lee Mathias
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Tiffin, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Luyao Tang
Residence Austin, Texas, U.S
Alma mater St. Louis University (B.A., Philosophy)
St. Louis University (B.A., Classical Humanities)
Washington Theological Union (M.Div.)
St. Edward's University (M.S., Organizational Leadership & Ethics)
St. Mary's University of Minnesota (M.A., Philanthropy & Development)
Our Lady of the Lake University (M.B.A.)
Our Lady of the Lake University (Ph.D., Leadership Studies)
Website www.jaymemathias.com www.jaymemathias.com

Jayme Lee Mathias (born May 3, 1972) is an American politician and priest known for his ministry to the Roman Catholic Church, his role in diffusing Independent Catholicism in Central Texas, and his service on the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees and other boards.

Family and Early Life[edit | edit source]

Mathias was born on May 3, 1972 at Mercy Hospital in Tiffin, Ohio. His parents, David Lee Mathias (1947-2017) and Rose Marie Reinhart (1947-).[1]

Education[edit | edit source]

Mathias attended New Riegel Public Schools, where he became the village’s first Eagle Scout on his fifteenth birthday and was later named valedictorian of the Class of 1990.[2]

He joined the Conventual Franciscan Friars of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation and moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he lived at St. Bonaventure Friary and completed his B.A. in Philosophy and his B.A. in Humanities|Classical Humanities, both summa cum laude, at St. Louis University in 1995.

In 2001, Mathias earned his Master of Divinity and graduated as the James A. Coriden Valedictor at the Washington Theological Union in Takoma Park, Maryland. His subsequent degrees include a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University in Austin (2008), a Master of Arts in Philanthropy & Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota (2010), and a Master of Business Administration and his Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio (2011).

Ministry in the Roman Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

After Mathias’ first year of studies at St. Louis University, the Conventual Franciscan Friars sent him to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he studied Spanish. He returned to St. Louis where he interned at the Hispanic Center and taught Spanish at St. Christopher Catholic School during the remainder of his undergraduate studies. In 1995, after completion of his undergraduate studies, the Conventual Franciscan Friars assigned him to serve in youth and gang ministry at Cristo Rey Catholic Church in Austin, Texas. During his graduate studies, he interned at the Washington Hospital Center and in the campus ministry department of Georgetown University. He also directed the summer school programs of the Washington Theological Union and led the fundraising efforts of Priests for Equality,[3] a program of the Quixote Center.

On June 3, 2000, Mathias was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Leonard Olivier at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. On March 10, 2001, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gregory Aymond at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio.

In 2001, Mathias returned to Austin and served as Parochial Vicar of Cristo Rey Catholic Church in East Austin. During that time, he served on the board of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (known at that time as Austin Area Interreligious Ministries), and he co-founded La FUENTE Learning Center, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization offering English as a Second Language classes, adult education, and youth programs. The learning center was modeled on the program of PUENTE Learning Center in Los Angeles, a program that Mathias was en route to visit on the morning of September 11, 2001, when his flight was grounded due to the acts of terrorism that transpired that day. He also became a trainer of Círculos de Estudio by the Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos of the Mexican government. During an INEA training in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, Mathias concelebrated Mass with Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on July 31, 2002, during the pope’s fifth and final visit to Mexico.

Mathias first made national news in 2003 when he became a liaison between law enforcement and immigrant survivors who came to him after their friends and family members had died in a train car while crossing into the U.S.[4][5]

Later in 2003, encouraged by his superior, Mathias applied for and was accepted into five law schools, including Catholic University of America, St. Louis University, and St. Mary’s University. His Conventual Franciscan community was hit with a multimillion-dollar settlement as part of the national priest sex abuse scandal,[6][7] leaving Mathias unable to attend law school in the Fall.[8] He subsequently accepted a teaching position in the Spanish and theology departments of San Juan Diego Catholic High School in Austin, Texas. During his two years of teaching there, he became a certified instructor of secondary foreign languages through the Region XIII Education Service Center.

In 2005, Bishop Gregory Aymond named Mathias President of San Juan Diego Catholic High School, which, at that time, was part of the Cristo Rey Network. Mathias led the school for four years.[9] During this time, Mathias participated in and became an alumnus of Leadership Austin,[10] served on the Board of Directors of the National Catholic College Admission Association, and was asked by the City of Austin to mediate between the Austin Police Department and the community of Dove Springs after the fatal shooting of Daniel Rocha by police.

In 2009, Mathias was named financial administrator of Cristo Rey Catholic Church, where he was asked to investigate alleged financial abuses in the parish. On April 1, 2009, the day after the deadline by which the parish's Finance Council had demanded that the pastor of the parish resign, he was found brutally murdered in his home in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,[11][12] and Bishop Aymond named Mathias pastor of Cristo Rey Catholic Church. Mathias grew Cristo Rey to be Austin's largest Spanish-language Roman Catholic congregation, with eight Sunday Masses, only one of which was in English. As such, Mathias became a champion of the immigrant community.[13]

Ministry in the Independent Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

After more than ten years of ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, Mathias was introduced to Independent Catholicism by a couple who suggested that his theology seemed aligned with more progressive beliefs, than with the traditional beliefs espoused by the Roman Catholic Church. In 2012, on the eleventh anniversary of his ordination, Mathias incardinated into the American Catholic Church in the United States and co-founded Holy Family Catholic Church,[14] an inclusive, Catholic community in the Independent Catholic tradition.[15] Within five years, he had built the congregation to over 200 to 300 people who weekly gathered for the church’s three Sunday Masses, served by six clergy. He also served as Dean of the St. John XXIII Theological Institute.[16]

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S., Mathias made history by celebrating at his parish the first same-sex, Catholic marriage in Texas on June 27, 2015.[17][18] Three weeks later, he and his husband, Luyao Tang, were married in a large, public ceremony on the lawn of the Texas Capitol.[19]

Elected Office[edit | edit source]

On November 6, 2012, Mathias was elected to the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees.[20][21] Mathias served as District 2 Trustee, responsible for a single-member district of nearly 55,000 voters and 20 public schools, largely in East Austin.[22]

Mathias was re-elected to the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees on November 6, 2016.[23][24][25] During his service on the Austin ISD Board, Mathias was elected in 2015 to the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of School Boards.[26] In 2017, he was elected to the Steering Committee of the Council of Urban Boards of Education of the National School Boards Association.[27][28] In 2017, Mathias was appointed Executive Director of the Mexican American School Boards Association. In this role, he advocated for a new state-approved curriculum for Mexican American Studies.[29]

Electoral History[edit | edit source]

General Election Results 2012 & 2016
Year Incumbent Votes Pct Challenger Votes Pct
2012 General Election Sam Guzman 5,656 49.58% Jayme Mathias 5,751 50.42%
2016 General Election Jayme Mathias 8,538 68.51% Adolphus "Andy" Anderson 3,924 31.49%

Controversy[edit | edit source]

In 2011, as pastor of Austin’s largest Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic congregation, Mathias worked with local leaders to invite to his congregation U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, who was largely viewed at that time as a champion of the undocumented community. The Hispanic, Roman Catholic Congressman accepted the invitation. Three days before the event, Monsignor Michael Sis, Vicar of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, asked Mathias, on behalf of Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, to disinvite the Gutierrez due to the latter’s views on women’s reproductive health. Mathias would later point to that conversation as the moment when he realized he could no longer in good conscience serve a church which, in his estimation, dishonored women, marginalized members of the LGBTQ community, fixated on singular issues of conscience, and now refused to stand in unity with the immigrant community.[30][31] The tension between Mathias and his bishop made local headlines.[32] Mathias made the headlines again when preached on compassion for the LGBTQ community during the double-funeral of a young lesbian woman who was murdered, together with her mother, by the father of her lover.[33] Mathias announced to his congregation his decision to take a sabbatical at the end of May 2011, to complete his doctorate and his fourth graduate degree.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Obituary for David Lee Mathias". Traunero Funeral Home & Crematory. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  2. "High School Alumni in New Riegel, Ohio". Classfinders.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  3. The Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures. Volume III: The Writings. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira Press. 1999. p. xi. ISBN 0-9644279-5-8. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  4. Gold, Scott. "3 Bodies Found in Texas Rail Car: Gruesome discovery bringing the number of dead migrants to 120 this year coincides with new U.S.-Mexico effort to combat the crisis." Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  5. Gold, Scott. "3 immigrants' bodies found in railroad car: U.S., Mexico agree to try to cut border deaths". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  6. Smith, Peter. "Abuse Scandal Casts Pall over Local Franciscan Order: Plaintiffs Call Action against Clerics Inadequate". BishopAccountability.org. Courier-Journal. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  7. Smith, Peter. "The Archdiocese Settlement: Abuse suits settled for $25.7 million". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  8. Mathias, Jayme. ""Not a Lawyer, but Still Following God's Call!"". ACCUS Newsletter. Holy Family American Catholic Church. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  9. Zaragoza, Sandra. "Growing private school puts emphasis on jobs". Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  10. "Essential Alumni: Class Rosters". Leadership Austin. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  11. "Diocese Seeks Prayers For Central Texas Priest Missing In Mexico". KBTX-TV. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  12. "Austin, Texas priest found murdered in Mexico". Catholic New Agency. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  13. Serrano, Jody. "Raul Zamora". The Daily Texas. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  14. "Meet Our Pastor!". Holy Family American Catholic Church. Holy Family American Catholic Church. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  15. Ross, Robyn. "Critical Mass: An Austin church remakes Catholicism without the Pope, celibate priests, or most of the other rules". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  16. "ACCUS Training: St. John XXIII Theological Institute". American Catholic Church in the U.S. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  17. Bien, Calily. "American Catholic Church will conduct same-sex weddings". KXAN. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  18. Messer, Kate X. "Gay Marriage American Catholic Style". Austin Chronicle. Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  19. Mutnick, Ally. "Ceremonies and Celebration as Marriages Begin: Texas couples began impromptu weddings in Travis County and others following Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states." The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  20. Bernier, Nathan. "Mathias Wins East Austin AISD Race By 104 Votes". KUT 90.5 FM. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  21. "Austin ISD School Board Members". Austin Independent School District. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  22. Dreyer, Thorne. "Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias, Austin school trustee and American Catholic priest, on Rag Radio". The Rag Blog. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  23. Lueckemeyer, Olivia. "District 2 Incumbent Jayme Mathias re-elected to Austin ISD board of trustees". Community Impact. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  24. "Ballotpedia: Jayme Mathias". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  25. Cantu, Tony. "Austin Election Day Results: City Council, Bond Issue, School Board, State Races". Downtown Austin Patch. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  26. "TASB Board of Directors". Texas Association of School Boards. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  27. "NSBA's Council of Urban Boards of Education Announces 2017-2018 Leadership". National School Boards Association. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  28. "Trustee Jayme Mathias Elected to Board Association Steering Committee". Austin Independent School District. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  29. Bolaños, Christene. "Texas Board of Education Gives Green Light to Statewide Mexican American Studies Course, But With Name Change". Latino Rebels. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  30. Ross, Robyn. "Critical Mass: An Austin church remakes Catholicism without the Pope, celibate priests, or most of the other rules". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  31. Messer, Kate X. "Gay Marriage American Catholic Style: Local pastor celebrates marriage equality". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  32. Dhanagom, Christene. "Diocese declines to host immigration event due to pro-abortion, pro-homosexual speaker". Life Site. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  33. "Lesbian Lover and Mom Shot Dead by Girlfriend's Enraged Father". Unfinished Lives: Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 


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