View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville



View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Volume 7, Issue 8
‘Merciful like
the father’
theme for
Jubilee Year
Radio Vaticana
The upcoming Extraordinary
Jubilee Year of Mercy will be a moment of true grace for all Christians
and a reawakening to continue
along the path of the new evangelization and pastoral conversion
indicated by Pope Francis.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy will
be inaugurated on Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will run until Nov.
20, 2016 which is the solemnity of
Christ the King.
For the first time in the history
of Jubilee Years in the Church, this
one offers the possibility for individual dioceses around the world
to take part in the event by opening their own Holy Door, or Door
of Mercy, in a cathedral, or church
or at a shrine that is popular with
The logo for the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy portrays the
figure of the Good Shepherd carrying the lost soul that provides a
fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. Similarly, it’s
motto, Merciful like the Father,
serves as an invitation to follow the
merciful example of God who asks
us not to judge or condemn but to
offer love and forgiveness instead.
The Jubilee Year will be punctuated by a series of celebratory
events in 2016 each with its own
separate theme and that are expected to attract large numbers of
pilgrims to Rome.
They include a celebration
from Jan. 19-21 for all those involved with pilgrimages and another gathering on April 3 for believers who are living through the
experience of mercy and on April
24 a gathering for young people to
profess their faith.
Other events later on in the
year include a gathering on June
12 dedicated to those who are sick
or suffer disabilities and a similar
gathering on Nov. 6 that will be
dedicated to all prisoners. On Sept.
4 there will be a day dedicated to
those involved in volunteer and
charitable work and on Oct. 9, a
day dedicated to Marian spirituality. Finally, there will be a special
Jubilee Day for deacons on May 29,
on June 3 for priests and on Sept.
25 for catechists.
Serving More Than A Million Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville
»Year of Mercy
Door of
The Valley Catholic
The Valley Catholic
A mosaic of the Holy Family photographed at Holy Family Parish in La Grulla. The mosaic,
i which
hi h was created
t d outt of Talavera tiles by
artisans in Monterrey, Mexico, was added to the façade of the church in September. Father Juan Rogelio Gutierrez, pastor of the church,
said he selected the image because it was a more true-to-life depiction of a family than the traditional images of the Holy Family. “Many
parishioners have told me this image is more relatable to families of today,” he said. “The image transmits the warmth and tenderness of a
loving family.”
December 2015
faithful are invited to join Bishop Daniel E. Flores at 7 p.m. on
Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Solemnity
of the Immaculate Conception,
for a Mass at the Immaculate
Conception Cathedral marking the opening of the Year of
The festivities will begin at
6 p.m. at St. Thomas Church,
located at 155 E. Jefferson St. in
downtown Brownsville, where
a procession to the cathedral
will start.
Father Michael Amesse of
the Missionary Oblates of Mary
Immaculate, rector of the cathedral, said a Holy Door of Mercy
will be ceremonially opened at
this liturgy and remain open for
the entirety of the year, marking
the cathedral as a special place
of pilgrimage during this Year
of Mercy.
“The bishop is going to walk
through the Door of Mercy on
that day,” Father Amesse said.
“Everyone present will also
have the opportunity to walk
through the Door of Mercy.”
After the Mass and after
every Mass during the Year of
Mercy, the Litany of St. Joseph
will be recited. Father Amesse
said the cathedral was placed
under the patronage of St. Joun
seph to guide the parish during
the Jubilee Year.
The Holy Door is a special
a of the celebrations which
take place during a Jubilee Year.
The first Jubilee Year was proclaimed in 1300 by Pope Bonicla
face VIII. The ‘Jubilee Year’ or
‘Holy Year’ is a special time of
grace in the life of the Church.
Since that first Jubilee, there
have been only 29 others. Pope
Francis has called for a Jubilee
of Mercy to be held from Dec.
8, 2015 until Nov. 20, 2016 in
order to draw the eyes of the
Church and of the world, in a
particularly focused way, to the
splendor of the mercy of God.
The use of these doors dates
back to at least 1475. The Holy
Door is a unique door in each
» Please see Door of Mercy p.3
Un articulo sobre la fiesta
de la Sagrada Familia y la
columna del Mons. Juan
(“The WORD is sent
breathing love.”)
Catholic Charities, nursing
home celebrate 50 years
Page 3
Father Harry
Schuckenbrock, OMI
Page 8
Highlights from 2015
Pages 9-12
Páginas 12-13
The Valley Catholic -
Sobre el
Año de la
ueridos Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo,
En la persona de nuestro
Señor Jesucristo, siendo la persona
del Hijo eterno de Dios Padre, se
nos muestra la definitiva expresión
de la misericordia de Dios. Él, por
obra del Espíritu Santo, se hizo
hombre en el seno de la Virgen y
en cada gesto, cada palabra, cada
obra del Señor entre nosotros se
nos manifiesta la plena voluntad
del Padre misericordioso. Él desea
que su amor nos llegue y que nos
penetre hasta lo más íntimo de
nuestro ser para que alivie nuestras
heridas. De hecho, el amor de Dios
se expresa en forma misericordiosa precisamente porque llega para
sanarnos y fortalecernos.
Al mismo tiempo, el Señor
Jesús, por medio de su obra de
misericordia hacia nosotros, nos
invita a extender la gracia de la
misericordia a los que sufren. La
persona que ha experimentado
la misericordia de Dios recibe,
por la gracia del mismo Señor, un
impulso divino animándola a convertirse en agente de la misericordia de Dios en el mundo.
Con sus ojos fijos en este misterio tan grande, el papa Francisco,
con la ayuda del Espíritu Santo,
ha decretado para la Iglesia un
Año Santo de la Misericordia. Este
tiempo especial de gracia y misericordia comienza el 8 de Diciembre
con la solemnidad de la Inmaculada Concepción y terminará el
20 de Noviembre de 2016 con
la solemnidad de Cristo Rey del
Universo. Quisiera invitar a todos
a vivir esta gracia que el Señor nos
ofrece durante el jubileo extraordinario de la Misericordia.
El tema de la misericordia
de Dios se ha manifestado como
enfoque principal de la Iglesia en nuestros tiempos. San
Juan Pablo II, el Papa emérito
Benedicto XVI, y ahora el Papa
Francisco han repetidamente, a
veces con lágrimas, desarrollado
una enseñanza profunda sobre este
misterio central de la fe Católica
y de la vida humana. Es una señal
de la providencia de Dios sobre el
mundo y sobre la Iglesia el que esta
enseñanza se ha ido profundizado
y divulgado durante estos años
bajo la tutela de tres sucesores de
San Pedro. Cada uno ha ofrecido
sus enseñanzas en profunda continuidad con la sagrada tradición y
al mismo tiempo con sus propios
rasgos tan particulares. De hecho,
el tema es insondable ya que se
Mercy: a gift from God
ear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the person of our Lord Jesus
Christ, being the person of the eternal
Son of God the Father, we have shown to us
the definitive expression of God’s mercy. He,
by the Holy Spirit, became man in the womb
of the Virgin and in every gesture, in each
word, and in each of the Lord’s works among
us, manifests the full will of the merciful
Father. He desires that his love reach us and
penetrate through to our deepest being, and
to heal our wounds. In fact, God’s love is expressed in a merciful form precisely because it
comes to heal and strengthen us.
At the same time, the Lord Jesus, through
his merciful deeds towards us, invites us to
extend this grace and mercy to others who
suffer. The person who has lived the mercy
of God receives, by the grace of the Lord, a
holy impulse calling him or her to become an
agent of God’s mercy in the world.
With his eyes fixed on this great mystery,
Pope Francis, with the help of the Holy Spirit,
has decreed a Holy Year of Mercy for the
Church. This special time of grace and mercy
begins December 8th with the solemnity
of the Immaculate Conception and ends
November 20th, 2016 with the solemnity
of Christ the King of the Universe. I would
like to invite everyone to live this grace that
the Lord offers us during the extraordinary
jubilee of Mercy.
The topic of the mercy of God has shown
itself as a primary focus of the Church in our
times. Saint Johan Paul II, Pope Emeritus
Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis have repeatedly, at times with tears, developed a profound teaching on this central mystery of the
Catholic faith and of human life. It is a sign of
God’s providence over the world and over the
Church that this teaching has deepened and
spread during these years under the guidance
of three successors of Saint Peter. Each pope
has offered his teaching in profound continuity with sacred tradition and at the same
time with the particular features distinctive of
each. In fact, the topic is inexhaustible, as it is
about the unending sources of God’s love.
Today’s world suffers greatly. For the
longest time, we have suffered as human beings from cruelty and hardness of heart in the
world. These are expressions of sin dominating the mind and freedom of human beings.
But it seems that in our era, men’s capacity
to do harm has multiplied in proportion to
trata de las fuentes inagotables del
amor de Dios.
El mundo de hoy sufre mucho.
Desde antes, hemos sufrido como
seres humanos la crueldad y la dureza de corazón en el mundo. Estas
son expresiones del pecado dominando la mente y la libertad del
mismo ser humano. Pero parece
que en nuestra época la capacidad
del hombre para hacer daño se ha
multiplicado en proporción con
nuestro dominio tecnológico. Las
guerras, el terrorismo, la crueldad
del mercado que vende hasta a
los no-nacidos para ganar más
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd., San Juan, TX 78589-3042
Telephone: 956/781-5323 • Fax: 956/784-5082
Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Brenda Nettles Riojas
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Evana A. Zamora
(956) 784-5038
Gustavo Morales
(956) 266-1527
December 2015
Gilbert Saenz
(956) 451-5416
Michael Kent
(956) 566-7075
our technological dominance. Wars, terrorism, the cruelty of the market that sells even
the unborn to gain more money and power,
combined with modern temptations to isolate
ourselves behind our private screens to avoid
human contact, all this shows that the world
needs to receive again the announcement of
mercy as a gift that comes from God and as
the responsibility of every human being.
The Holy Year will have many elements
which I will write more about as the year
progresses. For now, it would be good to note
in broad strokes the main themes. It is probably best is to contemplate this mystery under
two different but closely related aspects. First,
the Year of Mercy invites us to rediscover and
deepen our personal encounter with God’s
mercy. Secondly, the Year of Mercy invites us
to find new paths to express mercy toward
other people. It is very clear that without receiving God’s mercy, as Christians, we cannot
live this mercy in relation with others.
It is good to note that the basic element of
re-engaging God’s mercy in our lives implies
the examination of our conscience in order
to dedicate ourselves again to participation in
the Church’s life, especially the sacraments.
Reconciliation and communion are key in the
spiritual life. Similarly, we know that reading
the Gospel and daily prayer lead us to live the
encounter with the Lord Jesus more efficaciously. During this year, the Lord invites us
to live again the grace of our relationship with
Pope Francis has noted that a pilgrimage is an important way of living the Year of
Mercy. I intend to designate the Immaculate
Conception Cathedral in Brownsville as the
main Church of pilgrimage in the Dioceses,
together with the Basilica of Our Lady of San
Juan del Valle, in San Juan. I invite you to visit
these Churches during the year to live more
intensely the blessing and graces of the Lord
Jesus Christ and to receive the indulgences
dinero y poder, combinado con
la tentación contemporánea de
aislarnos detrás de nuestras pantallas privadas para evitar contacto
humano, todo esto muestra que el
mundo necesita recibir de nuevo
el anuncio de la misericordia
como regalo que viene de Dios y
como responsabilidad de cada ser
El Año Santo tendrá varios
elementos de los cuales escribiré
mencionando algunos puntos
conforme el año va transcurriendo. Por lo pronto, sería bueno
señalar a grandes rasgos los temas
principales. Posiblemente lo mejor
es contemplar este misterio bajo
dos aspectos distintos pero estrechamente relacionados. Primero,
el Año de la Misericordia nos
invita a reencontrar y profundizar
la misericordia de Dios. Secundo,
el Año de la Misericordia nos
anima a buscar nuevos caminos
para expresar la misericordia hacia
otras personas. Es muy claro que
sin recibir la misericordia de Dios
no podemos como cristianos vivir
la misericordia en relación con los
granted by the Holy Father.
With the strength of a renewed relationship with the Lord we can dedicate ourselves
with more strength to being living agents of
mercy. The works of mercy, traditionally lived
in the Church, are an essential part of our
journey during the Year of Mercy; they are
expressions of the second aspect that I have
mentioned: to intensify the practice of mercy
in the world.
These are the corporal works of mercy:
1. Visit the sick
2. Feed the hungry
3. Give drink to the thirsty
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Clothe the naked
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead
And these are the spiritual works of mercy:
1. Teach (with humility) the one who doesn’t
2. Give counsel to the troubled
3. Correct (charitably) the one who is mistaken
4. Forgive (from the heart) the one who
offends us
5. Comfort the sorrowful
6. Bear with patience the faults of others
7. Pray to God for the living and the dead
During this Holy Year the Lord invites
us all to examine our lives and thus make
more space in life to practice more concretely
the works of mercy. The testimony of mercy
practiced in the world is what the world today
needs the most.
The Son of God suffered the Cross for the
forgiveness of our sins and to invite us to respond with compassion to his disfigured body
marked with the signs of brutality. We could
say together with Saint Thomas Aquinas that
our salvation consists in responding to the
Lord who has loved us so much. The Lord
identified himself with those who suffer and
in responding to them we comfort Him. Faith
without love does not save, and a love that
does not extend to help the one who suffers is
useless. Remembering this truth of the Faith,
I ask the Lord to help us all to share the mercy
we have received.
Mother of Mercy, Immaculate Virgin
Pray for us.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son
of Mary,
Have mercy on us.
Es bueno notar que el elemento básico de reencontrarse con
la misericordia de Dios implica
examinar la conciencia para poder
dedicarnos de nuevo a la participación en la vida de la Iglesia,
especialmente en los sacramentos. Reconciliación y comunión
son claves de la vida espiritual.
De igual manera sabemos que la
lectura del Evangelio y la oración
diaria nos conducen a vivir más
eficazmente el encuentro con el
Señor Jesús. Durante este año el
Señor nos invita a vivir de nuevo la
gracia de nuestra relación con él.
El Papa Francisco ha señalado
la peregrinación como modo
de vivir el Año de Misericordia.
Tengo intenciones de designar
la Catedral de la Inmaculada
Concepción en Brownsville como
templo principal de peregrinación
en la Diócesis, junto con la Basílica
de Nuestra Señora de San Juan
del Valle, en San Juan. Les invito
a visitar estos templos durante el
año para vivir más intensamente
las bendiciones y gracias del Señor
Jesucristo y para recibir las indulgencias concedidas por el Santo
Con la fuerza de una relación
renovada con el Señor podemos
dedicarnos con más fuerza a ser
agentes vivos de la misericordia.
Las obras de misericordia, tradicionalmente vividas en la Iglesia,
forman parte esencial en nuestro
camino durante el Año de la
Misericordia ya que son expresiones del segundo aspecto que he
mencionado: el de intensificar la
práctica de la misericordia en el
Estas son las obras de misericordia corporales:
1. Visitar a los enfermos
2. Dar de comer al hambriento
3. Dar de beber al sediento
4. Dar posada al peregrino
5. Vestir al desnudo
6. Visitar a los presos
7. Enterrar a los difuntos
Y estas son las obras de misericordia espirituales:
1. Enseñar (con humildad) al
» Por favor lea Misericordia p.15
Bishop Flores’ Schedule - December 2015
Dec. 4
6 p.m.
Bishop’s Annual Dinner at St. Joan of Arc Parish Hall
Dec 5
7 p.m.
TSTC 11th Annual Noche de Gala
Dec. 8
6 p.m.
Procession & Mass for Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec. 9
6 p.m.
Colonia El Flaco
Mass for Feast of Juan Diego
Dec. 12
7 p.m.
Mass for Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec. 25
Midnight Christmas Mass
Dec. 25
1 p.m.
Christmas Mass
December 2015-
The Valley Catholic
Editor’s note: Join us each month as we take a glimpse back in time and review the history of the Diocese of Brownsville.
Charitable arms mark 50 years of service
Catholic Charities,
nursing home
established in 1965
The Valley Catholic
Like the Diocese of Brownsville, Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley and San Juan Nursing Home are celebrating their
50th anniversaries in 2015.
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley, the charitable
branch of the Diocese of Brownsville, sponsors programs that provide assistance to individuals and
families experiencing a crisis in
their lives, regardless of religion.
It is part of the larger family of
Catholic Charities USA and Caritas Internacionalis.
Each year, more than 100,000
Valley residents receive assistance
from Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley.
Programs sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley include emergency assistance, which provides rental, utility and financial assistance for the
infirmed, unemployed and the
homeless as well as assistance with
medical transportation, fire loss
and funeral costs. Counseling for
individuals, couples and families is
also available.
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley is also ready to
respond in the event of a natural
disaster such as hurricanes, floods
and other catastrophes, providing
short-term and long-term recovery services.
Other programs sponsored
by Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley that assist the community at large include Tim Coats,
which distributes jackets and coats
to needy Valley residents every
Fall and Winter; the Summer Food
Service Program, which provides
breakfast and lunch for children
when school is out for the summer and Sharing Baskets, which
provides meals to 5,000 families in
time for Thanksgiving.
Door of Mercy,
continued from pg. 1
of the Major Papal Basilicas in
Rome which is ordinarily sealed
with brick, but which is opened for
Jubilee Years when pilgrims cross
through it as a symbolic gesture.
The symbolism of these doors is
thought to come from the ancient
practice of offering ‘sanctuary’ in
churches to those who had run
afoul of the law. So too, today, the
Church remains a home for sinners
and invites us to cross the Threshold of the Holy Door and open
our hearts to receive the mercy of
Why a Year of Mercy?
Seeing the great need for mercy and healing in the world, Pope
Francis called for the Year of Mercy. It is a time for the Church across
the world to take approximately a
year to focus on forgiveness and
healing in a special way.
Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Francis
writes in Misericordiae Vultus, the
Photos by The Valley Catholic
Above: Every year San
Juan Nursing Home hosts
the Senior Olympics for
adult day care centers
and nursing homes in
the area. Left, Johnny
Bodden, a senior at
Juan Diego Academy in
Mission, sorts canned
goods for Catholic
Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley’s annual
Sharing Basket project,
which feeds 5,000
families in time for
In June 2014, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
added humanitarian relief for
immigrants to its long list of programs and services. In response
to influx of immigrants arriving
in the United States, mostly from
Central America, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley took
the lead in opening two respite
centers to provide medical attention, food, showers, clothing and
more. The respite center at Sacred
Heart Church in McAllen continues in operation. To date, more
than 27,000 people have received
Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, is the “face”
of the Father’s mercy—he reveals
the mercy of God by his words, actions, and person. We follow Jesus’
example when we open ourselves to
the Father’s mercy by looking “sincerely” into the eyes of our brothers
and sisters, including those “who
are denied their dignity.”
Accepting Pope Francis’ invitation for the Year of Mercy is an incredible opportunity to grow.
Pope Francis has asked us as
individuals and as a Church “to be
a witness of mercy” by reflecting
on and practicing the spiritual and
corporal works of mercy.
Encountering mercy means
encountering God. It can transform your life, your relationships,
your work, and your ability to embrace and experience all of life.
As we celebrate this Jubilee Year
of Mercy we are called to greater
conversion of heart, greater fidelity to the Sacrament of Confession,
and greater efforts to be beacons of
mercy in our world.
San Juan Nursing Home
The Virgin of San Juan Nursing Home, as it was called in 1965,
was opened by Father Jose Maria
Azpiazu of the Missionary Oblates
of Mary Immaculate primarily as
a convalescent home for aging and
infirmed priests. However, it was
quickly discovered that there was
a need for a long term care facility
for the general public.
The Virgin of San Juan Nursing Home officially opened to the
public on Jan. 10, 1966 as a 46-bed
facility providing skilled nursing,
physical, occupational and social
therapy, daily religious services
and more, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
San Antonio native Sister
Maurilia Sierra of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus served as the facility’s first administrator from 1966
until August 1973 when she was
elected assistant general of her
community, a position that relocated her to Paris, France.
In January 1967, the nursing
home was one of only eight facilities in South Texas that was certified for extended medical care under a new medicare program that
provided up to 100 days following a hospital stay of at least three
days. This earned the facility statewide attention from the media.
The Most Rev. Humberto S.
Medeiros, the second bishop of
the diocese, set a precedent for his
successors, making regular visits
to the nursing home. The bishops have continued to reaffirm
this ministry for the elderly and
infirmed with their presence, support and prayers.
Today, San Juan Nursing Home
is the only Catholic long-term care
facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
The full-time pastoral care team
continues to provide religious
services on a daily basis and Mass
every Sunday and on feast days.
Prayer and faith are integral to the
nursing home residents and the
staff. Grace is prayed as a community before every meal.
The nonprofit facility, which
has expanded to include 122 beds,
focuses on the holistic care of its
residents addressing the body,
mind and the spirit.
San Juan Nursing Home also
offers a pain management program which addresses issues of
physical pain, emotional pain, suffering and loss of control through
song, prayer, therapeutic touch
and aromatherapy.
The nursing home is located
on the grounds of the Basilica of
Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine. For more information, call (956) 787-1771.
Arturo Mari/Catholic
News Service
St. John Paul II
pushes open the
Holy Door and
walks into St.
Peter’s Basilica
on Christmas Eve
1999. Opening a
sealed Holy Door is
one of the traditions
that usually marks a
Holy Year.
The Valley Catholic -
»Women speak for themselves en la Frontera
Confessions of a pack rat on a journey to less
he truth is I prefer an
uncluttered space. My attempts, however, fall short.
I have a tendency to save everything because I believe that it may
be useful later. This habit is exasperated by my growing collection
of books and research material for
different writing projects along
with my collection of supplies for
sewing, crocheting, mix-media art
and scrapbooking.
I have closets, cabinets and
shelves stuffed with fabrics,
threads, yarns, paints, craft paper.
I tell friends, my entire home is an
art studio. You can find a creative
work underway in almost every
room of my home. The mixedmedia arts are a magnet for all
sorts of items, some of which
most people would discard. The
artist in me knows even an empty
box or piece of wood can be
repurposed for one of my nicho
shrine projects.
But the art and craft supplies
are not alone in taking space in
my home. When my husband and
I bought our home 21 years ago, it
took us several years to purchase
furniture and fill the rooms. As
a young couple with two young
children we never imagined that
our once spacious home would be
filled with an excess of accumulated possessions we hold on to. It
is easy for this excess to clutter our
living spaces and such clutter is
not conducive to a healthy home
or work space.
We have fallen prey to
overindulgence and the trap of
consumerism. When we first got
married 27 years ago I made the
Nettles Riojas
Editor of The
Valley Catholic
ornaments for our first Christmas
tree. The day after Christmas we
started a tradition of going to the
half-off sales to buy decorations
for future Christmases. We have
since amassed boxes full that
sit in our attic 11 months of the
year. We have accumulated so
much that we started putting up a
second tree.
Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our
Common Home appealed to
everyone to consider how we are
caring for our environment. In his
appeal, he even addressed what he
calls the “ecology of daily life,” the
setting in which we live our lives.
In the section “Joy and Peace,”
he notes Christian spirituality
“encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of
deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption.”
He said, “We need to take up
an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in
the Bible. It is the conviction that
“less is more”. A constant flood of
new consumer goods can baffle
the heart and prevent us from
cherishing each thing and each
My husband asked me for my
Christmas list in November. The
truth is I don’t need anything.
What I need is to let go. I am
embarrassed by my weakness for
sales, the excess we’ve accumulated, and my failure to purge what I
do not need.
The Holy Father’s words
resonate as I commit myself to
simplify and create a healthy
space to work and to live.
He said, “Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by
moderation and the capacity to
be happy with little. It is a return
to that simplicity which allows us
to stop and appreciate the small
things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us,
to be spiritually detached from
what we possess… This implies
avoiding the dynamic of dominion and the mere accumulation of
My father died in August this
year, and my siblings and I have
the task now to go through what
he left behind. It pains me to see
how much he held on to after my
mother’s death 23 years ago. He
still had boxes of her costume
jewelry. The truth is I still have
boxes of some of her craft items.
I call them “las cajitas de posibilidades” (boxes of possibilities).
I believe my father would have
lived his last years with less stress
if he had gotten rid of roomfuls of
furniture and possessions he no
longer needed.
As I continue on my pilgrimage, I want to change my pack rat
ways and let go by purging myself
of the excess in my life. I realize
too, it’s about making time to
organize and make decisions on
what stays and what goes; what
are the essentials. Sometimes we
have to evaluate how much value
we assign to possessions. After
all, when we die we’re not taking
anything with us. One of my biggest fears is the clutter I will leave
behind when I die.
Susan V. Vogt in her book
“Blessed by Less: Clearing Your
Life of Clutter by Living Lightly”
gives some practical tips to what
she calls “living lightly.” She
started her journey of letting go
one Lent when she decided to give
away an item a day. This Advent
leading into Christmas, I plan to
do the same.
We are each called to be good
stewards. As December moves us
into a new year, I look forward to
the possibilities that living lightly
will create, including making
more space to focus on what is
important starting with spiritual
growth. Already I see the difference with the small steps we
have taken in our office where a
cleaner, uncluttered environment
allows us room to concentrate on
the work before us.
Moving forward, this prayer
from St. Ignatius Loyola offers us
some focus on letting go of not
just material possessions but of
other tendencies as well.
Take Lord, and receive all my
liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all
that I have and possess. Thou hast
given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I
return it. All is Thine, dispose of it
wholly according to Thy will. Give
me Thy love and thy grace, for this
is sufficient for me.
»Family Life
Gift that can’t be bought: love
ecember is a wonderful
month to reflect on the
word “gift” and perhaps
to recall all the various definitions
and subtle differences in meanings that this word holds. During
this time of Advent as we prepare
our hearts to once again “receive”
the gift of the Christ Child who
grew in age and wisdom and
ultimately gave the greatest gift
of all - his life – so that we might
have the gift of eternal life; we
also prepare to celebrate that great
mystery through the giving and
receiving of “gifts”.
Perhaps we are contemplating what “gifts” we want to buy or
make for our friends and family
members to express the love we
have for them. And although we
know that the greatest gift we can
give another is our love, most of
us tend to fret over what “gift” we
should give.
Recently I had lunch with a
friend and after lunch we walked
into a little shop connected to the
restaurant. I was not too interested in looking because I was not
planning to shop, but my friend
told me to select something from
Lydia Pesina
Director, Family
Life Office
the store because she wanted to
gift it to me. Then several things
in the store seemed appealing to
me when before I had not paid
much attention to anything.
I stopped and reflected on
that incident because I tend to see
myself as not being a very materialistic person but I got excited
about the “gift” I selected. I want
to believe that the joy came not
as much from the pretty pendant
I chose as much as from the love
that my friend Lety has always
shown me.
Hopefully during this Advent
season we will have some reflection time to consider the “gift
of love” that we have received
from Jesus who is “the reason for
the season” and the love that we
intrinsically have for our family
members; the ones we most get
along with as well as the ones that
perhaps we don’t always understand.
Pope Francis stated that “The
Christian vocation is first and
foremost a call to love, a love
which attracts us and draws us
out of ourselves, “decentering”
us and triggering “an ongoing
exodus out of the closed inwardlooking self towards its liberation
through self-giving, and thus
towards authentic self-discovery
and indeed the discovery of God”
(Deus Caritas Est, 6). (3/29/15)
The gift of love is not so much
centered on how we “feel” as
much as on how we “act” out of
the love we are called to have for
one another. And love is centered
on service as we hear in the above
mentioned quote from Pope
Francis: “an ongoing exodus out
of the closed inward-looking self
towards its liberation through
self-giving….” Jesus taught us
“self-emptying love” through
the Paschal Mystery of suffering,
death, and resurrection. We too
are called to give that gift of love
to one another through serving
God by serving our family, by
serving the Church/ community,
and by serving the poor.
My mother, Carmen Colegio
Reyna, died a few months ago and
presently I am meeting weekly
during lunch with a couple of
friends who have also lost a parent this year. We are walking our
grief journey together through a
process guided by “The New Day
Journal” by ACTA Publications.
From our sharing and reflections,
I am reminded of what a great gift
my mother has left me through
her life of love and service to our
family. Although this Christmas
will be the first one without her in
our home, I will be recalling that
the Christmas gift she left me will
not be under the Christmas tree,
but it will continue to be imbedded in my heart.
I pray that the gift of love that
our forbearers have left us and the
gift of love that we can each share
with our family members (putting
aside our ego and any difference
we may have) will be the main
gift that adorns our homes this
Changes to
begin Dec. 8
Catholic News Service
juridical process is necessary for
making accurate judgments, the
Catholic Church’s marriage annulment process must be quicker,
cheaper and much more of a pastoral ministry, Pope Francis said.
Rewriting a section of the Latin-rite Code of Canon Law and of
the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Pope Francis said
he was not “promoting the nullity
of marriages, but the quickness of
the processes, as well as a correct
simplicity” of the procedures so
that Catholic couples are not “oppressed by the shadow of doubt”
for prolonged periods.
The Vatican released Sept. 8
the texts of two papal documents,
“Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” (“The
Lord Jesus, the Gentle Judge”) for
the Latin-rite church and “Mitis et
misericors Iesus,” (“The Meek and
Merciful Jesus”) for the Eastern
Catholic churches.
The changes, including the option of a brief process without the
obligatory automatic appeal, go
into effect Dec. 8, the opening day
of the Year of Mercy.
Pope Francis said the changes
in the annulment process were
motivated by “concern for the salvation of souls,” and particularly
“charity and mercy” toward those
who feel alienated from the church
because of their marriage situations and the perceived complexity
of the church’s annulment process.
The new rules replace canons
1671-1691 of the Code of Canon
Law. Pope Francis also provided
a set of “procedural regulations”
outlining how his reforms are to
take place, encouraging bishops
in small dioceses to train personnel who can handle marriage cases
and spelling out specific conditions
when a bishop can issue a declaration of nullity after an abbreviated
Those conditions include:
when it is clear one or both parties
lacked the faith to give full consent to a Catholic marriage; when
the woman had an abortion to
prevent procreation; remaining in
an extramarital relationship at the
time of the wedding or immediately afterward; one partner hiding
knowledge of infertility, a serious
contagious disease, children from
a previous union or a history of
incarceration; and when physical
violence was used to extort consent
for the marriage.
The reformed processes were
drafted by a special committee
Pope Francis established a year
earlier. Among the criteria he said
guided their work, the first he listed was the possibility of there being “only one executive sentence
in favor of nullity” when the local
bishop or judge delegated by him
had the “moral certainty” that the
marriage was not valid. Previously
an appeal was automatic and a
declaration of nullity had to come
from two tribunals.
The rules are not retroactive,
however, any initial sentence issued Dec. 8 or later would fall under the new rules and not require
an automatic appeal if both parties
The Word of God in the Life
and Mission of the Church
(Second Sunday of Advent)
Reading 1
BAR 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm
PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Reading 2
PHIL 1:4-6, 8-11
LK 3:4, 6
LK 3:1-6
(Third Sunday of Advent)
Reading 1
ZEP 3:14-18A
Responsorial Psalm
IS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Reading 2
PHIL 4:4-7
IS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)
LK 3:10-18
(Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Reading 1
MI 5:1-4A
Responsorial Psalm
PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Reading 2
HEB 10:5-10
LK 1:38
LK 1:39-45
(The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary
and Joseph)
Reading 1
SIR 3:2-6, 12-14
1 SM 1:20-22, 24-28
Responsorial Psalm
PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
PS 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10
Reading 2
COL 3:12-21
COL 3:12-17
1JN 3:1-2, 21-24
COL 3:15A, 16A
CF. ACTS 16:14B
LK 2:41-52
The word of the Lord abides for
ever. This word is the Gospel
which was preached to you. (1 Pet
1:25; cf. Is 40:8).
With this assertion from the
First Letter of Saint Peter, which
takes up the words of the Prophet
Isaiah, we find ourselves before
the mystery of God, who has
made himself known through the
gift of his word.
This word, which abides for ever,
entered into time. God spoke his
eternal Word humanly; his Word
“became flesh.” (Jn 1:14).
This is the good news. This is the
proclamation which has come
down the centuries to us day.
D isciples in Mission: Six
Weeks with the Bible
- The Valley Catholic
»Making Sense of Bioethics
Parents and “Sex Ed”
hile some parents might
be happy to avoid the
awkward conversations
that arise around human sexuality
by allowing the school system to
provide their children’s sex education, it is nonetheless important for
parents to recognize that they are
the most significant teachers and
models for their own children as
they mature sexually.
Instilling a healthy attitude
about sexuality in young people involves a variety of considerations,
including conveying a proper
sense of constraints and boundaries. These boundaries arise organically through the virtue of chastity,
by which a person acquires the
ability to renounce self, to make
sacrifices and to wait generously
in consideration of loving fidelity
toward a future spouse, out of selfrespect, and out of fidelity to God.
This critical process of developing sexual self-mastery is an area
where parents are particularly well
suited to help their children.
At the end of the day, the
parental duty to influence in a
positive way a child’s upbringing around sexuality cannot be
abdicated or delegated. Parents
know their children in a personal
and individual way and are able to
determine their readiness for, and
receptivity to, sexual information.
Moreover, the reality of parental
love towards their children enables
a parent to say certain “hard
things” in love that may need to be
said, in a manner that only a parent may effectively be able to say it.
I recall the story that a middleaged woman once shared with me
degrade into a selfish and selfreferential kind of activity, even
within marriage, if we aren’t careTadeusz
ful to attend to deeper realities.
Spouses who have made a
Priest of the Diocese
marital commitment to
of Fall River, Mass.
each other in the presence of God
are uniquely empowered to live in
a way that exceeds merely viewing
each other as objects or as a means
about something that happened
to satisfying their appetites; they
when she was 12. She was at home
become called to, and capable of,
watching TV with her mother,
a higher kind of love that involves
who was the strong authority
friendship, sacrifice and selffigure in the family. At a certain
moment, a scene came across the
Otherwise, a dominance of
screen where a woman was remov- things over persons can take over,
ing her clothing and dancing in
leading to forms of selfishness
front of a group of men. Her moth- in which persons are used in the
er glanced over at her and without
same way as objects are used. In
skipping a beat said: “I’ll kill you
the context of this kind of selfishif you ever do that.” Her daughter
ness, a woman, for example, can
understood, of course, that she
become a mere “object” for a man,
didn’t mean it literally, but appreci- and children can be reduced to
ated that her mother cared enough mere “hindrances” on the part of
about her to be very direct: “What
their parents.
my Mom said on that and many
The human sexual love that
other occasions stayed with me for is nurtured within a healthy
years afterwards, and helped me
marriage, meanwhile, generates
to reflect carefully on the right use
communion between persons, as
of my sexuality.” Parents influence
each comes to consider the good of
their children in thousands of difthe other as his or her own good.
ferent ways, sometimes not even
Marital sexuality is thus meant to
realizing how particular comments go beyond merely existing with
or observations they make can
someone else and using them for
become highly significant to their
selfish gain, and instead calls a
child’s thinking.
person to existing for someone else
Helping children to think
through total self-gift.
correctly about human sexuality
As husband and wife seek
remains a delicate and challenging
to live out these truths of their
task in the midst of a sex-saturated human sexuality, they impart
society like our own. Indeed, our
valuable and important lessons
thinking about human sexualto their children about generosity can easily go off the rails, and
ity, unselfish living, and chastity,
sexual activity itself can quickly
» Please see Sex Ed p.15
Year of Mercy opportunity for spiritual growth
he mercy of God is the hope
of every Christian. This
is the good news that the
Holy Father, Pope Francis wants to
emphasize this during the Year of
Mercy to the universal Church.
Already regarded as the “Pope
of Mercy,” Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee
Holy Year of Mercy to remind
the world that the mission of the
Church is to witness compassion
to a world hurting for God’s love.
The Year of Mercy will also be a
special time for the Church, as a
time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more
Popes traditionally proclaim a
holy year every 25 years, featuring
celebrations and pilgrimages, calling for conversion, repentance and
opportunities to experience God’s
grace by receiving the sacraments,
most especially the Sacrament
of Penance and Reconciliation.
Extraordinary holy years, like the
Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.
The Holy Year will open on
Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception and will
close with the liturgical Solemnity
of Christ the King on Nov. 20,
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Holy
Father will have the joy of opening the Holy Door in Rome at St.
Peter’s Basilica, and the holy door
will become a Door of Mercy
through which anyone who enters
it will experience the love of God
who consoles, pardons and instills
hope. The last Pope to do so
was now Saint John Paul II who
Luis Zuniga
Director, Office for
Pastoral Planning
& San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute.
opened it in 2000.
The Holy Father invites the
universal Church (every diocese
throughout the world) to join in
celebrating the Holy Jubilee Year of
Mercy: “On the following Sunday,
the Third Sunday of Advent, the
Holy Door of the Cathedral of
Rome – that is, the Basilica of Saint
John Lateran – will be opened.
In the following weeks, the Holy
Doors of the other Papal Basilicas will be opened. On the same
Sunday, I will announce that in
every (diocese) local church, at the
cathedral – the mother church of
the faithful in any particular area –
or, alternatively, at the co-cathedral
or another church of special
significance, a Door of Mercy will
be opened for the duration of the
Holy Year. At the discretion of the
local (bishop) ordinary, a similar
door may be opened at any shrine
frequented by large groups of
pilgrims, since visits to these holy
sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path
to conversion. Every Particular
Church, therefore, will be directly
involved in living out this Holy
Year as an extraordinary moment
of grace and spiritual renewal.
The Holy Jubilee Year is also a
continuing celebration of the Second Vatican Council, the opening
of the Jubilee coincides with the
50th anniversary of the conclusion
of the Council.
During the first angelus on
March 17, 2103 at St. Peter’s square
the Holy Father said: “Let us not
forget that God forgives and God
forgives always, Let us never tire of
asking for forgiveness”.
As part of the Catechesis (instruction) for the Holy Jubilee Year
of Mercy, the parables of mercy
found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15 are recommended to ponder
upon: “In the parables devoted to
mercy, Jesus reveals the nature of
God as that of a Father who never
gives up until he has forgiven the
wrong and overcome rejection
with compassion and mercy. We
know these parables well, three in
particular: the lost sheep, the lost
coin, and the father with two sons
(cf. Lk 15:1-32). In these parables,
God is always presented as full of
joy, especially when he pardons. In
them we find the core of the Gospel and of our faith, because mercy
is presented as a force that overcomes everything, filling the heart
with love and bringing consolation
through pardon.” (Misericordiae
Vultus, Bull of Indiction of the
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy).
Pope Francis is hoping the
Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy will be
an opportunity for the Church to
be cleansed, renewed and revitalized. It will also be an opportunity for the Christian faithful to
rediscover the essential mandate of
Church to be in the words of the
Holy Father: the “poor Church for
the poor.”
May this Holy Jubilee Year of
Mercy remind us that God’s love
and mercy endure forever; for in
the end we all stand as beggars
before God in need of his mercy.
Courtesy photo
A Coptic icon depicting the stoning of St.
Stephen, the first deacon and martyr, by
Egyptian artist Bassem Saad, circa 2009.
»Feast Day
Dec. 26
Spotlight on
St. Stephen
Catholic News Agency
Just after Christmas, the Catholic
Church remembers its first martyr,
and one of its first deacons, St. Stephen. Roman Catholics celebrate
his feast Dec. 26, while Eastern
Catholics honor him one day later.
In the Acts of the Apostles, St.
Luke praises St. Stephen as “a man
full of faith and the Holy Spirit,”
who “did great wonders and signs
among the people” during the earliest days of the Church.
Luke’s history of the period also
includes the moving scene of Stephen’s death – witnessed by St. Paul
before his conversion – at the hands
of those who refused to accept Jesus
as the Jewish Messiah.
Stephen himself was a Jew who
most likely came to believe in Jesus during the Lord’s ministry on
earth. He may have been among
the 70 disciples whom Christ sent
out as missionaries, who preached
the coming of God’s kingdom while
traveling with almost no possessions.
This spirit of detachment from
material things continued in the
early Church, in which St. Luke says
believers “had all things in common” and “would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the
proceeds to all, as any had need.”
But such radical charity ran up
against the cultural conflict between Jews and Gentiles, when a
group of Greek widows felt neglected in their needs as compared to
those of a Jewish background.
Stephen’s reputation for holiness
led the Apostles to choose him,
along with six other men, to assist
them in an official and unique way
as this dispute arose. Through the
sacramental power given to them
by Christ, the Apostles ordained the
seven men as deacons, and set them
to work helping the widows.
As a deacon, Stephen also
preached about Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament law and
prophets. Unable to refute his message, some members of local synagogues brought him before their
religious authorities, charging him
with seeking to destroy their traditions.
Before he was put to death, Stephen had a vision of Christ in glory.
“Look,” he told the court, “I see the
heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God!”
The council, however, dragged
the deacon away and stoned him to
The Valley Catholic -
JDA snares state championship
Courtesy photo
Capilla Santa Ana oldest
church in the Valley
The volleyball team from Juan Diego Academy in Mission captured the TAPPS 1A state
championship with a 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20 win over Lubbock All Saints Episcopal
on Nov. 14 at South San Antonio High School. The Lady Lions finished the season with a
37-3 overall record. It is the first state championship for the school’s athletic program.
Sister Pimentel honored
Sanctuary built in
1840 by faithful
from Mier, Mexico
This is the first of a series on the
hidden jewels in the Diocese of
The Valley Catholic
ROMA — Capilla Santa Ana
in Roma was built in 1840 by volunteer labor, on a donated site, of
contributed materials according to
the Texas Historical Marker that
adorns the small sanctuary.
Spiritual and sacramental care
was provided by diocesan priests
from the Spanish colonial city of
Mier, Mexico (founded in 1853),
which is located about 13 miles
from Roma. About 500 people received sacraments in this chapel.
“This chapel was built by the
people of Mier who had a very
deep connection to Roma from the
very beginning,” said Deacon R.C.
Salinas, who serves at Sacred Heart
Parish in Escobares. “Just before
this became the United States of
America, the steamboats started
coming up the river from Brownsville and so more and more people
started moving into the area.”
More people meant a worship
site was needed.
The chapel contains many of
its original elements, including the
baptismal font, the chapel bell that
was used to call the people to worship, the oak armoire that stored
vestments and the pews.
“This chapel is beautiful,” Deacon Salinas said. “You’ll never find
another one as restored in our diocese.”
Behind the sacristy in Capilla
Santa Ana is the living quarters
used by the priests from Mier. By
horse and buggy, the standard
mode of transportation in those
days, the trip from Mier to Roma
could take more than an hour.
“They had to travel up and
down the hills and pass through a
lot of arroyos and gullies,” Deacon
Salinas said. “Nothing was paved
like it is now.”
The Missionary Oblates of
Mary Immaculate took responsibility for the pastoral care of
Roma and established Our Lady
of Refuge Parish in 1853. The new
church with a large bell tower
dwarfed the little chapel.
Elements from the original Our Lady of Refuge Church,
which has been revamped twice,
are also housed in Capilla Santa
The Valley Catholic
Photos by Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
Built in 1840, Capilla Santa Ana in Roma was under the pastoral care of secular
priests from Mier, Mexico who administered the sacraments to about 500 before
Texas became part of the United States in 1845. A number of the original elements
have been preserved including the pews, the stone floor and the baptismal font.
Sister Norma Pimentel, director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and City
Commissioner Richard Cortez were honored Nov. 5 as McAllen’s Man & Woman of the
Year. The award was presented at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce 61st Annual
Rosaries donated for refugees
Courtesy photo
The Shrine of Our Lady of the Island from Manorville, N.Y. donated hundreds of rosaries
to refugees from Central America. The Real Men Pray the Rosary Apostolate led by
David and Valerie Calvillo presented the rosaries to the Immigrant Respite Center at
Sacred Heart Church in McAllen.
Ana, including the retablo, altar
and communion rail.
“There was no longer a need
for Santa Ana Chapel but the sanctuary was still properly maintained
by Our Lady of Refuge Parish,”
Deacon Salinas said. “This is a
tribute to the community of Roma
and the Oblate Fathers for preserv-
ing the historical jewels they have
in their parish.
“What has happened here in
Santa Ana Chapel is truly magnificent.”
Capilla Santa Ana is located at
708 Estrella St. in Roma. For more
information, contact Our Lady of
Refuge Church at (956) 849-1455.
- The Valley Catholic
World Youth Day host city attractive destination
More than two million
expected to attend
event July 25-31
Catholic News Service
KRAKOW, Poland — Guide
Ewa Basiura grasped a heavy iron
cuff chained to the side of St. Mary’s
“Any idea what this was used
for?” she asked her American tour
group. No one ventured an answer.
This is where wayward Catholics were shackled on Sundays to
shame them for their infidelities,
she said.
“Of course, these are not used
anymore,” she added. “If they were,
we’d need a lot more.”
Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s main
square, with its majestic basilica
and medieval curiosities is the
heart of Krakow, the enchanting
former royal capital of Poland.
Pope Francis, invoking Krakow’s “two great apostles of mercy,”
called on the world’s young people
to join him here for World Youth
Day July 25-31.
“The city of St. John Paul II and
St. Faustina Kowalska is waiting for
us with open arms and hearts,” he
said in a letter released in August.
Organizers are expecting up
to 2.5 million people for the international Catholic festival, includ-
ing 35,000 from the United States.
More than 400,000 pilgrims from
around the world had registered as
of October.
The city is so popular with travelers that it ranks in the Conde Nast
readers’ choice of the top 25 cities
in the world. With many Catholic points of interest and its strong
connection to the life of St. John
Paul, Krakow and its environs remain a top pilgrim destination as
“Krakow is historic, atmospheric, romantic, friendly and
charming,” said Basiura, a city
guide and doctor of philosophy.
“There’s always something interesting to see and do.”
The gothic St. Mary’s Basilica
anchors the main square, the largest in Europe. The church is dedicated to the assumption of Mary.
Its most cherished work of art, a
wooden and gilded altarpiece by
German sculptor Veit Stoss, depicts
Mary’s dormition and assumption
into heaven. Outside, situated between the basilica’s massive towers,
a digital clock counts down to the
opening of World Youth Day.
At the center of the square is
Cloth Hall, a medieval market filled
with venders offering Polish handicrafts, art, clothing and jewelry. Religious goods, including renditions
of Poland’s patroness, Our Lady of
Czestochowa, and amber rosaries
can be found there.
Karol Wojtyla, later St. John
Paul, spent nearly four decades in
Krakow and was its archbishop
from 1964 until his election as pope
in 1978. Statues and images of him
appear throughout Krakow, including on Wawel Hill, the city’s birthplace and treasured landmark.
In 1946, newly ordained Father
Wojytla celebrated his first Mass
in the crypt of St. Leonard below
Wawel Cathedral. Later, he was installed archbishop at the cathedral,
which is dedicated to Sts. Stanislaus
and Wenceslas. Memorabilia related to St. John Paul are displayed in
the cathedral’s museum.
Located south of the city center is the immense modern Divine
Mercy Sanctuary, dedicated to the
devotion promulgated by St. Faustina and advanced by St. John Paul
II. Pope Francis is to lead the Way
of the Cross from the sanctuary
during World Youth Day.
In 2002, St. John Paul blessed
the new sanctuary at the site where
St. Faustina died. It had personal
meaning to him, he said during
the dedication. It was the place he
would stop to pray while working
at a nearby factory during the Nazi
occupation of Poland.
The two-story sanctuary, constructed in the shape of a ship with
a capacity for 5,000 worshippers,
is set apart from the city’s historic
Two of Krakow’s most visited
churches are Sts. Peter and Paul and
St. Andrew’s, located adjacent to
one another along Grodzka Street
just off the Main Square.
Pope Francis: A family that doesn’t
eat together is hardly a family
»Birthday & Anniversary Wishes
The list of birthdays and ordination anniversaries is provided so that
parishioners may remember the priests, deacons and religious in their
prayers and send them a note or a card.
Meals not only a time
to share food but also
stories, experiences
Catholic News Service
that chooses to watch TV or play
with their smartphones rather than
talk at the dinner table is “hardly a
family,” Pope Francis said.
“When children at the dinner
table are glued to the computer, or
the telephone and do not listen to
one another, they are not a family, they are retired,” the pope said
Nov. 11 during his weekly general
Continuing his catechetical series on family life, the pope reflected on the theme of togetherness,
which is manifested at the dinner
table. The pope said that “to share
a meal — and not just food, but
also affection, stories, events — is
a fundamental experience.”
The pope said Christians have
a special vocation to foster family
togetherness. The dinner table, he
noted, is the place chosen by Jesus
to teach his disciples and where he
summarized the meaning of his
death on the cross “that nourishes
true and everlasting love.”
For this reason, the family feels
“at home” at the celebration of the
Eucharist where they bring their
“experience of togetherness and
open it to the grace of a universal
coexistence, of the love of God for
the world,” he said.
“Through the participation in
Nancy Wiechec/Catholic News Service
People walk through the market center in early September in Krakow’s main square in
Poland. The city, once the royal capital of Poland, will host the international World Youth
Day in July 2016.
Rev. Oliver Angel, JCL
Rev. Andres Gutierrez
Rev. Emmanuel Kwofie
Rev. Simon Brzozowski, MSF
Rev. Msgr. Gustavo Barrera
Rev. Arturo Castillo
Rev. Ignacio Luna
Rev. Jerzy E. Maika
Rev. Gregory Labus
24 Sister Margarita Ortiz, OP
Karen Callaway/Catholic News Service
A family prays together before a meal in 2012 at their Chicago home. A family that chooses
to watch TV or play with their smartphones rather than talk at the dinner table is “hardly a
family,” Pope Francis said.
the Eucharist, the family is purified of the temptation to be closed
in on itself; it is strengthened in
love and fidelity, and stretches the
boundaries of brotherhood according to the heart of Christ,” the
pope said. “There are no little ones,
orphans, weak ones, defenseless,
wounded and disillusioned, desperate and abandoned ones that
the eucharistic togetherness of the
family can’t nourish, refresh, protect and care.”
However, the pope said that
there are obstacles to family togetherness and Christians are
called to overcome them. At the
dinner table, he said, families
speak and listen, but “there can’t be
any silence that is not the silence
of monks but of selfishness, of the
cellphone, of the television.”
People in wealthier countries,
in particular, are enticed to spend
money on excessive amounts of
food that ultimately distract from
the “true hunger of the body and
the soul,” he said.
“When there is no togetherness, there is selfishness and each
one thinks of him- or herself,” the
pope said. Advertisements have
picked up on the loss of animated
family meals and instead offer “a
listlessness of snacks and hankering for sweets while so many of
our brothers and sisters remain far
from the table. What a shame!”
Pope Francis called on families
to contemplate the mystery of the
Eucharist in which “Christ breaks
his body and shares his blood for
all. There is no division that can resist this sacrifice of communion.”
Christian families who embrace this calling of togetherness,
“cooperate with the grace of the
Eucharist, which has the power to
create an always new communion
that includes and saves,” he said.
Deacon Jose G. Gonzalez
Deacon Gilberto Lopez
Deacon Roberto Cano
Deacon Crawford A. Higgins
Rev. Gustavo Obando
Rev. Alejandro G. Fajardo
Rev. Genaro Hernriquez
Rev. Joel Grissom, SM
Rev. Rodolfo Franco
Rev. Msgr. Juan Nicolau, Ph.D
Rev. Francisco Acosta
Rev. Thomas Pincelli
Rev. Robert DeLong, MSF
Deacon Hector Garcia
Deacon Gerardo Aguilar
Deacon Antonio M. Arteaga
Deacon Ramiro Davila Jr.
Deacon Paul Escobar
Deacon David Espinoza
Deacon Francisco R. Flores
Deacon Reynaldo I. Flores
Deacon Javier A. Garcia
Deacon Oscar Garcia
Deacon Silvestre J. Garcia
Deacon Jose G. Gonzalez
Deacon Gilberto Guardiola Jr.
Deacon Crawford A. Higgins
Deacon Amando Peña Jr.
» Anniversaries
Deacon Graciano Rodriguez
Deacon Gerardo J. Rosa
Deacon Rodolfo Sepulveda Jr.
Deacon Raymond Thomas Jr.
Deacon Nicolas E. Trujillo
Deacon Catarino Villanueva
Deacon Armandin Villarreal
Deacon Luis Zuñiga
» Birthdays
Rev. Leo Francis Daniels, CO
Rev. Rigobert Poulang Mot
Rev. Msgr. Louis Brum
Rev. Eusebio Martinez
Rev. Alejandro Flores
Rev. Horacio Chavarria
Rev. Oscar Siordia
Rev. Ignacio Tapia
Rev. Robert Davola
Rev. William Penderghest,
Deacon Alfred Crixell
Deacon John P. Kinch
Deacon Paulo Escobar
Deacon Ramon G. Leal
Deacon Salvador G. Saldivar
Deacon Reynaldo I Flores
Deacon Juan Valenzuela
Deacon Alejandro Flores
3 Brother Hoss A. Alvarez, MSC
5 Sister Emily Jocson, ICM
23 Sister Dianne Maresha
» Anniversaries
Rev. Thomas Kulleck
Rev. Manoj Kumar Nayak,
Rev. Cesar Partida
Bishop Daniel Flores as priest
Msgr. Agostinho S. Pacheco
28 Deacon Francisco Pon
The Valley Catholic -
Those Who Serve:
Father Harry Schuckenbrock, OMI
Oblate priest served as first director of catechesis
Raymondville native
recalls early days of
Brownsville diocese
The Valley Catholic
SAN ANTONIO — When the
Diocese of Brownsville was established in 1965, there was a great
need for organization and structure. The ninth diocese in Texas
was formed by detaching the four
counties of Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr from the Diocese of
Corpus Christi.
Although the Catholic faith was
present in the Rio Grande Valley
since the 1500s, this was the first
time the Church community was
organized into manageable units,
said Father Harry Schuckenbrock
of the Missionary Oblates of Mary
“In those first days, we were
giving things a direction that in the
older dioceses were already set,” he
added. “It was like beginning brand
The Raymondville native was
tabbed for a key role in the diocese
in those early days.
Bishop Humberto S. Medeiros
appointed Father Schuckenbrock
director of religious education for
the diocese in 1966 and charged
him with conducting the first diocesan-wide census.
In February 1967, Father
Schuckenbrock organized more
than 10,000 volunteers who went
door-to-door to interview families
and gather statistical data.
“Those of us who needed to
make some decisions needed that
information and we didn’t have
that information on the four counties, outside of the U.S. Census,” he
said. “Our census laid out for us the
extent of the growth of the Catholic
faith in the Valley. It helped us determine where we needed parishes
and other ministries. It was exciting putting things together.”
Father Schuckenbrock, 82, was
a force behind many important
projects in the diocese. In addition to the conducting the first
census, he expanded religious
education and was the first pastor
of St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish
in Brownsville, the first parish in
world named for the founder of the
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Today, Father Schuckenbrock
is retired from active ministry and
lives at the Oblate Madonna Residence in San Antonio, a retirement
community for the Oblate priests,
but for him, the Valley will always
be home.
One of seven children, he was
born on July 20, 1933 in Lasara to
Tony and Marie Schuckenbrock
and raised in Raymondville. His
family worked in agriculture and
he helped by picking cotton. It was
during this time that the fully bilingual priest first learned to speak
some Spanish.
“I learned certain things as a
child,” said Father Schuckenbrock,
who is also an avid outdoorsman.
“We used to pick cotton as kids together with the cotton pickers from
Mexico so trying to communicate
with them, we learned a few words,
conversational Spanish. I learned
the grammar stuff in school.”
He left Raymondville as a sophomore in high school to attend the
Oblates junior seminary in San Antonio but returned in the summers
and on holidays to visit with his
family and friends.
He was ordained a priest of the
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on Sept. 8, 1959 at the
DeMazenod Seminary Chapel in
San Antonio and spent more than
half of his 52 years of active ministry serving in the Diocese of
When Father Schuckenbrock
started as director of religious education for the diocese, most parishes only offered first communion
preparation for public school students.
He expanded religious education programs to include students
from first grade to 12th grade and
Courtesy photo
Father Harry Schuckenbrock of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate celebrates
his 50th anniversary as a priest in 2009 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Port
Isabel where he was in residence at the time.
implemented programs for adults
with the help of religious sisters
of the Missionary Catechists of
Divine Providence. He assigned a
sister to each county to oversee the
religious education programs and
provide training and orientation
for new catechists.
“He wanted to make sure the
teachers had everything they needed to do good formation,” said Sister Mary Felice Mojica, 85, of the
Missionary Catechists of Divine
Providence, one of the four sisters
who assisted Father Schuckenbrock. The others were Sister Victo-
ria Pastrano, Sister Wilfred Ontiveros and Sister Yolanda Rodriguez.
“He created a large library with
resources for the catechists with
books and audio visual materials.
He also wanted every student to
have a textbook and every teacher
to have a proper training manual.
“He worked for all of the diocese, not just one part, and made
sure we went to every parish. All
those things showed how enthusiastic he was about people really
learning the religion and living it.”
Towards the end of his sevenyear tenure as director of religious
Anatomy of matachines costume explained
Each element tells
a story about the
Catholic faith
The Valley Catholic
They are vibrant and intricate,
but the garb worn by matachines is
more than meets the eye. Marisela
Garcia, a longtime matchines instructor and costume maker said
every detail on the costumes she
and the other dancers wear are
based on the faith and history of
Catholicism in Mexico.
The sights and sounds of the
matachines are intended to bring
attention to Jesus.
“The headpiece is called a penacho,” she said. “It is a crown and it
is a symbol of the queens who sent
the Spanish explorers to Mexico in
the 1400s.
“But if you notice the shape of
the crown, it is a pyramid representing the Aztec people because
the Aztec people were converted to
Catholic Christians.”
Photos by The Valley Catholic
The concheros — rattles made from
shells — used by matachines are
designed to call attention to Jesus.
Like Church bells which call
the faithful to worship, every
sound the matachines make, from
the drum beats to the rattles from
the concheros, are, “a call from
God,” Garcia said.
The seven feathers in her
crown represent the seven sacraments and the red on the costumes
represents the holy blood of Jesus.
Many costumes are also emblazoned with images of the Virgen
de Guadalupe.
“Our costumes are an opportunity to evangelize,” Garcia said.
“Every dancer that comes to my
group learns about our faith. You
need to know about what you are
“It is an honor and a privilege
to dance for Jesus.”
On Saturday, Dec. 12, matachines groups across the Rio
Grande Valley and around the
world will dance in honor of the
feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
the patroness of the Americas.
In Brownsville, parishioners,
including matachines, from several churches, will journey in procession to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Church at 1200 E. Lincoln St. for
an outdoor Mass with Bishop Daniel E. Flores at 7 p.m. In Brownsville, it is a decades-old tradition
that commemorates the apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to the
indigenous Juan Diego, at Tepeyac,
a hill northwest of Mexico City in
December, 1531.
“It’s an
honor and
a privilege
to dance for
- Marisela Garcia,
matachines instructor,
education for the diocese, Father
Schuckenbrock advocated for a
religious education coordinator in
every parish.
“Because where they had one,
the programs were going very well
but where they did not have one, it
sort of remained a sloppy operation,” he said.
Father Schuckenbrock was the
first pastor of St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish in Brownsville, where
he served from 1996-2005. Masses
were celebrated in a metal building
which was affectionately referred
to as the “bodega church,” by the
parishioners. The building, which
was constructed in 1990, was intended to be a temporary sanctuary
but it took 23 years to raise enough
money for a new church building,
which came with a price tag of
$1.69 million.
Father Schuckenbrock attended the blessing and dedication of
the new 8,854-square-foot, Spanish colonial-style church on Dec. 7,
2013 where he received a standing
ovation that moved him to tears.
The old bodega church – now
the parish hall - was named in Father Schuckenbrock’s honor.
“On that occasion, I got kind of
emotional about the whole thing,”
he said. “They gave me a standing
ovation and it just tore me up.”
“Father Harry is greatly beloved
to us,” said Juanita Barron, secretary and longtime parishioner of St.
Eugene de Mazenod Parish. “He is
loved and respected and we know
that he loves and respects us just
the same…. The fact that he was so
moved at the dedication is further
proof of that. Our joy is his joy.”
“The community struggled to
provide for their own families,” Father Schuckenbrock said. “Despite
the fact that they did not have a
whole lot to give, they gave everything they could give, they really
did. They were extremely generous.
Especially with their time in making tamales and menudo to raise
money for the church. It was wonderful to be with them, to witness
their courage and their hope.”
December 2015
2014 - The Valley Catholic
The Diocese of Brownsville celebrated a milestone anniversary
in 2015. Pope Francis visited Sacred Heart Church in McAllen
via satellite in August. A month later he traveled to the United
States for his first visit. These are among the highlights from an
incredible year.
Sister Pimentel presented
with national award
Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus, executive director
of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley, was among three religious
leaders who received the “Keep the
Dream Alive” Award, a national honor
for excellence in the ministry of social
justice on Jan. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Presented by Catholic Charities USA,
the award is named for civil rights
leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Sister Pimentel was recognized for
her ministry with Central American
Development on Jan. 22 at the San
Juan Pastoral Center. This workshop
shared effective ways in which parish
communities are engaging parents
and helping families grow in faith
KMBH-TV sold
The Board of the RGV
Educational Broadcasting, Inc.
announced that the sale of the
television station KMBH-TV
was finalized on Jan. 23. RGV
Educational Broadcasting, Inc.,
a nonprofit corporation formed
in 1983 with the support of the
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville,
served the Rio Grande Valley
community for 30 years.
Filipino community gathers
for Feast of Santo Niño
On Jan. 18, Bishop Daniel E.
Flores celebrated a Mass for the Filipino community on the Feast of Santo
Niño at St. Anne Parish in Peñitas.
The celebration began with a Sinulog/
Dinagyang/Ati-atihan procession of
the image of Santo Niño, followed by
the Mass and a celebration featuring
Filipino cuisine, dance and music.
Diocese hosts national
family ministry workshop
The Youth Ministry Office of the
diocese sponsored” Engaging Parents
- Forming Family Faith,” a national
workshop by the Center for Ministry
Catholic education
highlighted at annual banquet
The diocesan Catholic Schools
Office hosted the 18th Annual Spirit
Awards banquet on Jan. 23 at Msgr.
Ralph Hall at Our Lady of Sorrows
Parish in McAllen. The event honors
excellence in Catholic education while
raising funds for the diocese’s tuition
assistance program. An honoree
or honorees from each of the 13
Catholic schools in the diocese was
recognized at the event. The diocesan
honoree was Lisette Allen, director of
accreditation for the Texas Catholic
Conference Education Department
in Austin. A native of Harlingen, she
served as superintendent of schools
for the Diocese of Brownsville for six
years before assuming her current
spread the message and devotion of
Divine Mercy, held its annual conference on Jan. 24 at the Performing Arts
Center in Weslaco.
Knights of Columbus
sponsor youth retreat
Bishop Flores celebrated a Mass
in honor of World Day for Consecrated
Life on Feb. 1 at the Basilica of Our
Lady of San Juan del Valle-National
Shrine. All religious priests, sisters and
brothers serving in our diocese were
invited to attend.
Knights of Columbus Council
12040 hosted its 12th Annual Youth
Retreat and Concert, “Vision of Faith”
on Jan. 31 at Our Lady of Sorrows
Parish in McAllen. The event, which
was open to all high school students in
our diocese, featured Steve Angrisano. Bishop Flores served as a guest
speaker and celebrated the closing
Hundreds attend annual
Pro-Life March & Rally
The Annual Pro-Life
March & Rally was held on
Jan. 24 in McAllen, drawing
hundreds of participants. The
event began with opening prayers led by Bishop
Flores at St. Joseph the
Worker Parish followed by
a procession into downtown
during which the participants
stopped to pray at the local
abortion clinic. The event concluded at
Sacred Heart Parish. The event, which
is sponsored by the Respect Life
Apostolate of the Diocese of Brownsville, is held in reparation for the more
than 57 million babies who have been
killed in the United States since the
Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling on
Jan. 22, 1973 that legalized abortion.
Fifth Annual Divine Mercy
Conference held Jan. 24
Fountain of Mercy Ministries, a
local apostolate whose mission is to
Religious honored on World
Day for Consecrated Life
CRS representative
visits Rio Grande Valley
Center for unaccompanied
immigrant minors blessed
Bishop Daniel E. Flores blessed a new
center for unaccompanied immigrant
minors at Resurrection Catholic
Church in Alamo on Jan. 31. Bishop
Flores also blessed frescoes in the
Fatima Chapel finished by the artist
Uriel Landeros, a native of Alamo,
and the St. Gabriel Computer Center
that will be available for use by the
community, especially children with no
computer at home.
Jorge Brenes-Abdalah, a Catholic
Relief Services (CRS) speaker talked
to Catholic school students and to
young Catholic Professionals during a
speaking tour Feb. 2-4 in the Diocese
of Brownsville. During his visit, he
spoke about his experiences and
shared what CRS is doing to provide
sustainable growth and development
in Nicaragua and around the world.
Caritas Internationalis
examines local response
to humanitarian crisis
Members of the international aid
organization, Caritas Internationalis,
came to the Rio Grande Valley in
February to see the local Church’s response to the humanitarian crisis that
caught the world’s attention in June
2014. “We are here at the border and
we are seeing, together, what is
happening to the children and families
in the area firsthand, which gives us
a better reference point for how we
can better be of help,” said Sister
Donna Markham, president of Catholic
Charities USA. Caritas North America,
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean
came south and held their annual
meeting in San Juan Feb. 4-6.
Conference promotes
The Third Annual Diocesan
Stewardship Conference, hosted by
the Diocese of Brownsville, was held
Feb. 5-7 at the Bishop Marx Conference Center of the San Juan Pastoral
Center. Bishop Flores delivered the
keynote address. Sessions in English
and Spanish covered topics such as
the basics of stewardship; stewardship
and discipleship; forming councils and
the diocesan grants program.
Married couples recognized
at World Marriage Day
Couples who celebrated a wedding anniversary of 10, 25, 30, 40,
50, 60 and more years in 2015 were
honored during a Mass for World
Marriage Day on Feb. 7 at the Basilica
of Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine. The Mass, which is
sponsored by the Family Life Office
of the diocese, highlights the positive
example of the couples’ witness to the
Sacrament of Marriage.
Bishop Flores recognizes
Scouts at Mass, dinner
The fourth annual Religious Recognition Mass and Dinner for Scouts
with Bishop Flores was held on Feb.
15 at Holy Spirit Church in McAllen.
The event is for those who earned
religious emblems from the National
Catholic Committee on Scouting.
Bishop, imams, rabbi
participate in interfaith
gathering in McAllen
At a time when conflicts have
been associated with religious tensions in different corners of the world,
religious leaders in the Rio Grande
Valley are engaging in interfaith dialogues for peace and creating opportunities to listen and understand each
other’s faiths and cultures. “I have
my hopes these dialogues can be of
great good for the local community,”
said Bishop Flores during an interfaith
luncheon with the imams and the rabbi
from McAllen, and other representatives on Feb. 19.
Bishop Flores gives talk on
immigration in Washington
Bishop Flores delivered a lecture
on immigration Feb. 24 on the campus
of The Catholic University of America
in Washington, D.C., urging the country to breakout of social “paralysis” on
the issue and approach it with faith.
Pilgrimages to historical cites
celebrate diocese’s jubilee
In honor of the Diocese of
Brownsville’s Golden Jubilee, four
one-day pilgrimages were organized.
The first pilgrimage was held on
Feb. 28 and included visits to historic
sites of the diocese, including the
Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
Brownsville, La Lomita in Mission and
Our Lady of Refuge Church in Roma.
Pharr Oratory wins TAPPS
state championship in soccer
The Pharr Oratory Athenaeum for
University Preparation soccer team
earned the state championship after
playing their final game on Feb. 28
in Waco against the then-undefeated
Austin Hill Country Christian Academy
under cold conditions. The final score
was 2-0. The team was one of the
538 registered members of the Texas
Association of Private and Parochial
Schools (TAPPS) in Division III.
The Valley Catholic - December 2015
Border bishops
meet in Brownsville
Ten bishops from along the TexasMexico border celebrated a Mass for
peace and justice on March 17 at the
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
in Brownsville and consecrated the
border to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary. The bishops meet twice a year,
alternating locations between the two
sides of the border, to continue their
work centered on the pastoral realities
affecting the dioceses in Texas and
northern Mexico, including immigration
and migration issues.
Sister Pimentel speaks
at United Nations
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive
director of Catholic Charities of the
Rio Grande Valley, spoke at the
United Nations in New York on
March 18 during the 59th Annual Commission on the Status
of Women. Sister Pimentel
was part of panel addressing,
“Women Upholding Human
The RGV Catholic Men’s Fellowship sponsored a Catholic Men’s and
Women’s Conference on March 21 at
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in
McAllen. The focus of the event was
family life. Bishop Flores, who spoke
at the conference, shared stories
about his own family and said God’s
providence is constantly working in
our lives.
Bicycle ride to combat
poverty held March 14
recognized at
Charities annual gala
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley hosted its 5th Annual
Gala, “Celebrating 50 Years of Providing Help, Creating Hope,” on March
14 at the Edinburg Conference Center
at Renaissance. Herminia Forshage,
a volunteer and philanthropist, was
the recipient of the 2015 Hope Award,
which honors those who serve the
most vulnerable members of society.
Other key volunteers from the immigrant respite centers in Brownsville
and McAllen were also recognized.
Father Larry Snyder, former president
of Catholic Charities USA, served as
the gala’s keynote speaker.
Teens gather for pro-life
retreat in Brownsville
The third annual Pro-Life Youth
Retreat was held April 10 at Dean
Porter Park in Brownsville. The free,
all-night event, which promotes chastity and pro-life values, is designed
for middle school and high school
Annual Hike for Life
held in Brownsville
The fifth annual Brownsville Hike
for Life was held on April 11 at Dean
Porter Park. Bishop Flores served
as the keynote speaker. Pro-life
advocates sang and prayed as they
walked from the park to the Federal
Courthouse. The purpose of the hike
is to create awareness of the dignity
and value of human life and to raise
funds for the Gift of Life Pregnancy
Center, a pro-life facility in Brownsville
that primarily serves women in crisis
Serra International President
Daniel Grady travelled to the Rio
Grande Valley to attend a conference
for Serra’s National Council for the
United States (USAC). Local Serra
clubs hosted a dinner on April 24 for
the national president and Dr. Ruben
Gallegos, who also serves on the
national board. Serra International is a
lay apostolate that promotes vocations
to the priesthood. Currently there are
four local chapters in the Diocese of
Catholics from across the Lone
Star State united on March 24 for
the Texas Catholic Conference’s
2015 Texas Catholic Faith in Action
Advocacy Day. The bi-annual rally
was hosted by the Texas Bishops to
promote the Church’s values of life,
justice, charity, and religious freedom to members of the 84th Texas
Legislature. The Bishops and event
participants addressed a broad range
of diverse issues including advance
directives reform, school choice tax
credit scholarships, payday lending,
Medicaid expansion, and abortion
facilities regulation.
Pro-life pregnancy center
hosts annual Mass, gala
The McAllen Pregnancy Center
held its sixth annual Mass of Thanksgiving and gala on March 28. The
Mass was celebrated by Bishop Flores
at St. Joseph Church in Edinburg and
the gala, themed “Noche de Vida y
Luna” was held at Valencia Events
Center in McAllen. The proceeds from
the event benefitted the center, which
provides free, confidential services for
women facing crisis pregnancies.
Holy oils blessed
at Chrism Mass
Bishop Flores celebrated the
annual Chrism Mass on March 31 at
the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan
Bishop, Steward the
Caterpillar celebrate Día de
los Niños with families
Project ARISE hosted a Día de
los Niños celebration on April 25 at
the community center on South Tower
Road in Alamo. The event was cosponsored by the Diocese of Brownsville’s Stewardship and Development
Office. Steward the Caterpillar, the
Children’s Stewardship Program mascot, visited with the children and spoke
about sharing their God-given gifts of
time, talent and treasure with
Center volunteer
named finalist for
national award
Thousands of Texas Catholics
attend Advocacy Day in Austin
Basilica hosts
mariachi concerts
The Basilica of Our
Lady of San Juan del
Valle-National Shrine held
its fourth annual Mariachi
Concerts on Feb. 13 and
Feb. 20, featuring their professional house mariachi,
mariachi bands from local
middle school and high
schools along with local
professional groups.
Serra International
president visits diocese
Catholic Men’s and
Women’s Conference
held in McAllen
The 11th Annual Oblate Trail Ride,
a bicycle ride that raises funds to combat poverty sponsored by the Diocese
of Brownsville Development Office,
was held on March 14. The Oblate
Trail Ride, which features 25 and
62.5-mile rides, benefits
the Catholic Campaign
for Human Development,
the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S.
Catholic Bishops. The
funds raised will benefit
projects in the Valley.
del Valle-National Shrine. During this
Mass, the priests, deacons and representatives of the diocesan community
gather with the bishop, who blesses
the holy oils — the oil of the sick, the
oil of catechumens and the sacred
Chrism — for use in the coming year.
The entire assembly is called to renew
its baptismal promises. Priests also
renew their vow of obedience to the
bishop and their commitment to serve
God’s people.
Middle school students
celebrate faith at Youth JAM
The Office of Youth Ministry
hosted the annual Youth JAM retreat
on April 18 at B. Garza Middle School
in Weslaco, where hundreds of sixth-,
seventh- and eighth-graders gathered
for faith and fellowship. The theme of
Youth JAM was derived from Matthew
5:8, which reads, “Blessed are the
pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Alamo native Father Agustino Torres
of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal served as the keynote speaker.
Father Torres now serves in the metro
New York City area.
Diocese, Young Life
work together to bring
teens to Christ
Young Life, a non-denominational
Christian ministry and the Catholic
Church marked a new chapter aimed
at reaching out to young people who
have disconnected from their faith.
Bishop Flores signed a collaborative
agreement on April 21 with Young Life
to “Reach a World of Kids” together
– introducing teens to Jesus Christ,
helping them grow in their faith, and
guiding them back to their respective
faith communities. The signing marked
the first time that a Catholic diocese
and Young Life have formally united
to share in the call to reach “every kid,
everywhere” with the gospel.
Alma Revesz, a lead
volunteer at Catholic
Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley’s (CCRGV) Humanitarian Respite Center (HRC)
at Sacred Heart Church,
McAllen, was named one of
Catholic Charities USA “2015
National Volunteer of the Year” finalists
in April. A parishioner of Our Lady
of Sorrows Church in McAllen. she
volunteers six days a week, averaging
nine to 10 hours a day.
Inaugural women’s
conference held in McAllen
A Catholic Women’s Conference, “Living the Joy of the Gospel
& Celebrating the Feminine Genius,”
was held during the Month of Mary on
May 2. The event was organized by
different ministries of the Diocese of
Brownsville, the Catholic Daughters
of the Americas and other women’s
groups. Keynote speakers included
Bishop Flores and Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo,
president and CEO of Catholic Relief
Group equipped to
share the Good News
Forty eight students from parishes
through the diocese completed the
Escuela Biblica Católica, a fouryear program of intensive study that
December 2015
2014 --The
The Valley
Valley Catholic
covers the entire Bible. The students
received certificates of completion at a
ceremony held on May 2 in the chapel
of the San Juan Pastoral Center. They
were also recognized by the University
of Dallas-School of Ministry, which
developed the program. The goal is for
the laity to be formed so they, in turn,
can implement Scripture studies in
their parishes.
Prison retreat held
in Willacy County
On May 14-17, 2015, the Office of
Jail/Prison Ministry presented the first
Prison Retreat at the Willacy State Jail
Facility located in Raymondville. This
Prison Retreat, similar to the ACTS
Retreats, has had tremendous impact
on the lives of men behind bars across
the state of Texas. Begun by a group
of men in the Austin Diocese, the
Kolbe Prison Retreats have brought
new hope to men who are cut off from
their families and loved ones — who
are in pain, who are suffering and who
are forgotten.
Sacred Heart Parish
celebrates 50th Anniversary
Bishop Flores joined parishioners
from Sacred Heart Church in Elsa to
celebrate the parish’s 50th Anniversary during the noon Mass on May
17. The first chapel was built in 1930,
a mission of St. Joan of Arc Parish in
Weslaco. A building purchased from
the Harlingen Air Force Base was
moved to Elsa and renovated for use
as a church in 1948. A new church
building was blessed and dedicated in
the spring of 1965 by Bishop Adolph
Marx, who was the auxiliary bishop of
the Diocese of Corpus Christi at the
time. He would later be appointed the
first bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville.
Two priests ordained
Bishop Flores ordained Jesus
G. Garza and Rene Gaytan to the
holy priesthood on May 30 at the
Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
Brownsville. Father Garza, a McAllen
native, was assigned parochial vicar of
Immaculate Conception Parish in Rio
Grande City. Father Gaytan, a native
of Magdalena, Jalisco, Mexico, was
assigned parochial vicar of Sacred
Heart Parish in Elsa.
Children from Christian, Muslim,
Hindu and Jewish faith traditions
participated in a variety of games and
activities during an Interfaith Field
Day on May 17 at Fireman’s Park in
McAllen. The event themed, “We are
all God’s Children” was initiated by the
different faith groups as an interfaith
peace project. Between games and
meal sharing, Bishop Flores said, “As
we experience the joy of getting to
know each other, we recognize we
have a great gift of life and we should
all share it with each other. Even
though we belong to different religions
and have different ways and times of
worshiping God, we know that God
loves us all very much and he wants
us to learn how to love one another.
We want to try to be a people who
share that message of love and joy.”
First class graduates from
Catholic high school
Seventy years of faith
St. Thomas Church in Brownsville,
a mission of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, celebrated its 70th
anniversary on July 5 with a Mass
celebrated by Bishop Flores.
The Stewardship and Development Office launched the annual
diocesan appeal “Merciful Year of
Rebuilding Our Faith,” in late July.
Proceeds from the appeal, which ends
in January 2016, will benefit our local
Cano joined 3,100 sisters in the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley, in collaboration with
the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and the Texas Department of
Agriculture, sponsored the Summer
Food Service Program to ensure that
low-income children receive nutritious
meals when school is out for the summer. The program, which ran June 1
to Aug. 29, served more than 90,000
free meals to children, ages 3-18, in
the Rio Grande Valley.
Priests welcomed home
The Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer,
bishop emeritus of the Diocese of San
Angelo and his brother Father Theodore “Ted” Pfeifer of the Missionary
Oblates of Mary Immaculate returned
to their hometown of Alamo on July
12 to celebrate their priestly anniversaries at Resurrection Parish. Bishop
Emeritus Pfeifer celebrated 50 years
as a priest while Father Pfeifer marked
his 56th anniversary of ordination.
Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen
opens renewal center
Holy Spirit Church in McAllen
opened the doors to its new retreat
house, the Holy Spirit Renewal Center,
Youth & Adult Domus on July 19.
Bishop Flores celebrated a Mass of
Thanksgiving before cutting the ribbon
on the new center, which includes 24
dorm rooms and meeting spaces.
Father-Son Program held the
day before Fathers Day
The Father-Son Program was
held on June 20 at the Bishop Adolph
Marx Conference Center in San Juan.
Dads and their 10, 11, or 12 year old
sons were invited to spend a morning
reflecting on what it means to be a
man with Christian values, the move
into manhood and on God’s plan for
the role of men in today’s world.
Pope Francis makes
‘virtual’ visit to McAllen
Pope Francis participated in
a virtual audience on Aug. 31 with
Americans from around the country during an event hosted by ABC
News. The event was moderated
from inside the Vatican by ABC
News anchor David Muir as the
Holy Father engaged via satellite
with individuals in three different
locations: Sacred Heart Parish in
McAllen; Cristo Rey Jesuit High
School in Chicago and a homeless
shelter in Los Angeles. The event was
aired in a one-hour special edition of
“20/20” on Sept. 4.
Immigrant respite center
celebrates anniversary
The immigrant respite center at
Sacred Heart Parish McAllen opened
on June 10, 2014. The immigrants,
mostly from Honduras, Guatemala
and El Salvador, are dropped off by
Golden Jubilee Mass
celebrated on Sept. 2
An open air Mass was celebrated
on Sept. 2 in front of the mosaic at
the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan
del Valle-National Shrine to celebrate
the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese
of Brownsville. More than 3,000 attended the sunset celebration, which
was the principal event of the Jubilee
Year. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
was present at the Mass as well as
several other bishops, including the
Most Rev. Ruy Rendon of Matamoros; the Most Rev. Jose S. Vasquez
of Austin; the Most Rev. Placido
Rodriguez, CMF, of Lubbock; the Most
Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop
Emeritus of San Angelo and the Most
Rev. Raymundo J. Peña, Bishop
Emeritus of Brownsville.
Border bishops
meet in Matamoros
Nine bishops from the U.S. and
Mexico border prayed for immigrants
during an outdoor Mass Sept.
5 along the edges of the Rio
Bravo in Matamoros Tamaulipas, Mexico, calling for
more action in reaching out to
“our brothers and sisters who
Catholic nursing home
celebrates gala
Raymondville native
takes perpetual vows
with Sisters of Mercy
Sister Claudia Cano professed
perpetual vows on Aug. 8 at her home
parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Church in Raymondville. She took
vows of chastity, poverty, obedience
and service to the poor, sick and
uneducated. The Mass and profession
ceremony was celebrated by Bishop
Flores. Sister Cano was joined by family and friends, including her parents
Jorge and Dora Cano. With this final
step into the Mercy community, Sister
celebrated Mass for the 71 active and
18 retired permanent deacons serving
in our diocese.
St. Paul Church
marks 100 years
Juan Diego Academy in Mission
celebrated its first class of graduates
in 2015. Twenty students received
their diplomas at a commencement
ceremony on May 28 in the school
Confederation of Oratory
kicks off Jubilee Year
Father Mario Avilés, procurator
general of the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, announced the
celebration of a jubilee year from May
25, 2015 to May 26, 2016 in honor of
the quincentenary of the birth of St.
Philip Neri (1515-2015), founder of the
Confederation. The Confederation of
the Oratory was founded in Rome by
St. Philip Neri in the 16th century. It is
a society of apostolic life of Catholic
priests and brothers who live together
in a community known as an Oratory.
Annual appeal launched
More than 90,000 meals
provided to students
Interfaith Field Day
U.S. Immigration and
Customs (ICE) agents at
the McAllen bus station
a few blocks away from
the church after being
detained and processed.
They are given a court
date and granted permission to travel to their
final destination. At the
center, the immigrants
are provided food, lodging, clothing, showers,
personal hygiene products and more
while they wait for their buses to
San Juan Nursing Home,
the only Catholic long-term
facility in the Rio Grande Valley, is celebrated its Golden
Anniversary Gala on Sept. 10 at the
Valencia Events Center in McAllen.
Bishop Flores served as the keynote
speaker. Operated under the guidance
of the Diocese of Brownsville, San
Juan Nursing offers its residents Mass
every Sunday, confession and prayer
time that they might otherwise miss
out on due to their health constraints.
Bishop Flores celebrated a Centennial Celebration
Mass on Sept. 13 at St.
Paul Church in Mission. The
cornerstone for the original
church was placed on April
13, 1913. The church cost
$5,078.48 to build, which included the
price of the land for $400. The first
wedding at the church was held in
February 1915.
Catechists gathered for
Annual Convocation
The 2015 Catechetical Convocation was held on Sept. 19 at the
McAllen Convention Center. The
theme of the event was
“Safeguarding the Dignity
of Every Human Person.”
More than 1,700 catechists
who serve in the Diocese of
Brownsville’s parishes, mission churches and Catholic
schools attended the event.
Bishop Flores commissioned the catechists for
their ministry and awarded
service pins to catechists
who have completed 10, 20, 25 and
30+ years of faith formation ministry.
Rio Grande City altar
society celebrates 125 years
Members of the Vela Perpetua
Altar Society from Immaculate Conception Church in Rio Grande City
were honored on the occasion of the
organization’s 125th Anniversary at a
Mass on Sept. 19. The Vela Perpetua
Altar Society was established in 1890
by Louisiana Davis, the daughter of
Henry Clay Davis, who founded Rio
Grande City in 1848 after the Mexican
Valley residents travel
to see Pope Francis
More than 100 people from the
diocese traveled to Washington, D.C.,
New York City and Philadelphia to see
Pope Francis. He visited the United
States from Sept. 22-27, primarily to
celebrate the closing Mass for the
2015 World Meeting of Families.
Retreat held at Segovia Prison
Bishop Flores and Father George
Gonzalez, Diocesan Prison Chaplain,
celebrated Mass at Segovia Prison in
Edinburg on Oct. 4 concluding a threeday Kolbe Prison Retreat led by Mario
Rodriguez a parishioner of Our Lady
of Perpetual Help Church in McAllen.
Kolbe Prison Ministry operates under
the direction and coordination of the
CDOB Jail/ Prison Ministry Office.
Deacons honored
at annual Mass, banquet
The annual Deacons Day celebration was held on Sept. 12 at Resurrection Church in Alamo. Bishop Flores
What unites us: ‘We all love God’
Faith leaders came together to
build peace and learn more about
each other in an interreligious conversation on Oct. 7 at the University of
Texas-Rio Grande Valley Community
Engagement and Student Services
Building in Edinburg. Some of the topics discussed were family life, youth
and ways religion can contribute to the
whole of the community.
The Valley Catholic
ic - Decembe
December 20155
of Health Ministries was held in the
parish hall after the Mass where four
local doctors.
The legal community gathered
Oct. 8 for the Red Mass which is
celebrated each year to invoke God’s
blessing upon all protectors and
administrators of the law, including
lawyers, judges, government officials
and law enforcement agents, as well
as their families and support staffs.
Bishop Flores celebrated the 21th
annual Red Mass at Sacred Heart
Church in Edinburg. Thomas Mengler,
J.D., president of St. Mary’s University
in San Antonio, served as the keynote
speaker at the banquet.
New altar blessed in Donna
More than 1,300 youth attended
YouthBLAST, a one-day conference
to deepen, celebrate and share the
Catholic faith, on Oct. 24 at Weslaco
East High School. The theme of the
event was, “Blessed are the pure in
heart, for they will see God” from the
Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5:8). Bishop
Flores addressed the youth along with
keynote speaker Michael Marchand.
St. Joseph Academy
marks 150 years
The Brownsville Academy, the
school now known as St. Joseph
Academy, opened after the Civil War,
on Nov. 2, 1865 on Elizabeth Street.
Later, it was known as St. Joseph
College and St. Joseph School for
Boys, before adopting the St. Joseph
Academy name in 1930.
Bishop Flores joined Father
Robert DeLong of the Missionaries of
the Holy Family on Oct. 11 to bless the
newly renovated St. Joseph Church
in Donna. The church was originally
built in 1979. St. Joseph Church was
established as a parish in 1928.
Juan Diego Academy captured the TAPPS 1A state championship in volleyball on Nov. 14
with 3-1 win over Lubbock All
Saints Episcopal School.
Bishop Flores celebrated the
Mass of Innocents, which extends
healing to families who have experience the loss of a baby before or
shortly after birth, on Oct. 13 at the
Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in
McAllen. During the Mass, which was
organized by the diocesan Respect
Life Apostolate, parents were invited
to write their baby’s name in a Book of
The diocesan Office of Youth Ministry led a delegation of 58 youth and
adults from across the Rio Grande
Valley at the biennial National Catholic
Youth Conference on Nov. 19-21 at
Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana
Convention Center in Indianapolis.
More than 23,000 youth and
youth ministers attended the three-day
conference, which included prayer,
community and empowerment for
Catholic teenagers and their adult
Sharing Basket project
feeds 5,000 families
Peter Piper Pizza, KRGV and
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley joined forces for the annual
Sharing Basket project, which provided food for 5,000 families in need
just in time for Thanksgiving,
Dinner supports local parishes
White Mass brings faith,
medicine together
The annual White Mass for the
special intentions of health care
professionals was celebrated by
Bishop Flores on Oct. 15 at Our Lady
of Perpetual Church in McAllen. A
reception sponsored by the Office
Father Ignacio Luna celebrated
the 50th anniversary of his ordination
to the priesthood.
Father Leo Francis Daniels of
the Congregation of the Oratory of
Saint Philip Neri celebrated the 50th
anniversary of his ordination to the
Franciscan Brother Mario Nagy
celebrated 50 years of religious life.
Benedictine Sister Nancy Boushey
celebrated 50 years of religious life.
Sister Emma Marie Stillman of
the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and
Blessed Sacrament celebrated 50
years of religious life.
The Bishop’s Annual Dinner was
held on Dec. 4 at the St. Joan of Arc
Parish Hall in Weslaco. The proceeds
from the dinner are added to the Annual Diocesan Appeal and therefore
used to fund Bishop’s charitable giving
throughout the diocese.
Brother Richard J. Sharpe, FMS
Sept. 17, 1947 - May 27, 2015
Brother Richard J. Sharpe of the
Marist Brothers, president of St. Joseph Academy, died on May 27, 2015
at McAllen Heart Hospital. He was 67.
Brother Sharpe had a lifelong calling
to Catholic education. He started his
career as a teacher at Marist High
School in Chicago and later served in
administrative roles at Bishop Carroll
High School, in Ebensburg, Penn.;
Mount Saint Michael Academy in
Bronx, N.Y.; St. Elizabeth High School
in Oakland, Calif. and Our Lady of
Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. before arriving at St. Joseph
Academy in 2002.
Father Jaime Cabañas celebrated
the 60th anniversary of his ordination
to the priesthood.
Father Tomás Matéos celebrated
the 70th anniversary of his ordination
to the priesthood.
Delegation attends
national conference
Father Gomez named
Moderator of the Curia
Bishop Flores announced on Oct.
14 that Father Jorge Gomez has been
appointed Moderator of the Curia for
the Diocese of Brownsville. Father
Gomez assumes this role in conjunction with his roles as chancellor of the
diocese and pastor of Holy Family
Parish in Brownsville. As Moderator of
the Curia Father Gomez assists the
bishop with the internal management
of the diocese.
Father Ruben Delgado celebrated
the 25th anniversary of his ordination
to the priesthood.
Capuchin Sister Marta Garcia
celebrated 70 years of religious life.
Juan Diego Academy
wins state volleyball
Mass of Innocents
honors lost babies
Sister Madonna Onyeukwu of the
Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy
celebrated 25 years of religious life.
year. At the time of her death, she was
the coordinator for special programs for
the diocesan Catholic Schools Office.
Father Michael Montoya of the
Missionaries of Jesus celebrated 25
years of religious life.
Their joy is contagious
Red Mass celebrated
Sister Mary Beatrice Cruz, IWBS
Sept. 28, 1932 - July 17, 2015
Sister Mary Beatrice Cruz, 82,
a Sister of the Incarnate Word and
Blessed Sacrament, died peacefully
at Incarnate Word Convent on July
17, 2015. She made first profession
of vows April 21, 1951 and professed
perpetual vows July 31,1954. Her
years of ministry as a Sister included
serving Incarnate Word Academy Elementary and Immaculate Conception
in Brownsville and also as director of
religious education at St. Joseph Parish in Donna and at St. Mary, Mother
of the Church in Brownsville.
Father Michael Annunziato,
Peace, joy and
blessings to you
and your family.
We thank our
advertisers and
TVC Ambassadors
for your prayers
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March 21, 1927 - January 13, 2015
Father Michael Annunziato of the
Congregation of the Sacred Hearts
of Jesus and Mary-United States
Province died on Jan. 13, 2015 in New
Bedford, Mass. He was 87. During his
61 years of priestly ministry, he served
as pastor of Queen of Peace Church
in Harlingen, Our Lady Queen of
Angels Parish in La Joya and Sacred
Heart Parish in Edinburg, in addition to
assignments in Japan and Massachusetts.
Deacon Irineo Gonzalez
April 12, 1944 - Sept. 27, 2015
Deacon Irineo Gonzalez, 71, who
served as deacon at St. Joseph Parish
in Edinburg for 25 years, died Sept.
27, 2015. “Deacon Irineo and his wife,
Tula have been very involved in the
parish, long before he was ordained
to the diaconate,” said Father Gregory
T. Labus, pastor of St. Joseph Church
in Edinburg. “As a deacon, he was
especially dedicated to sacramental
Sister Helen Rottier, CSJ
March 1, 1941 - May 19, 2015
Sister Helen Rottier of the Sisters
of St. Joseph of Carondelet died on
May 19, 2015 at the Nazareth Living
Center in St. Louis. She was 74. Sister
Rottier worked in the field of education in the Rio Grande Valley for more
than 24 years, serving as a teacher
at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville; an administrator at St. Luke
School in Brownsville; and principal
of Immaculate Conception School in
Rio Grande City before becoming the
first principal of San Martin de Porres
School in Weslaco from 1999 to 2012.
She also taught part-time at Our Lady
of Guadalupe School and Juan Diego
Academy in Mission and served as
interim principal at St. Joseph School
in Edinburg for the 2014-15 academic
Deacon Heriberto A. Treviño
July 2, 1923 - Oct. 16, 2015
Deacon Heriberto A. Treviño, 93,
of Brownsville died on Oct. 16, 2015
at his residence. Born in Los Saenz,
Texas, he had resided in Brownsville
since 1954. Deacon Treviño served
in the U.S. Navy during World War
II. He was ordained a deacon for the
Diocese of Brownsville in 1990 and
served at Mary, Mother of the Church
The communications team
for the Diocese of
Brownsville is exploring
ways to expand The Valley
Catholic newspaper’s reach
and include more parish
stories. To do this, we are
looking for volunteers from
each parish to serve as a
Ambassador for their
The Valley Catholic, the
diocese’s newspaper, is an
award-winning publication
that provides stories each
month, many of which are
not covered by the secular
media. Here is a volunteer
opportunity to help spread
the Good News.
Please call (956) 784-5009
if you are interested in
joining this ministry.
- The Valley Catholic
» La Alegría de Vivir
»Vida Familiar
Cinco etapas de la
Sanación espiritual D
a sanación espiritual consta
de cinco etapas: despertar,
purificación, iluminación,
la oscuridad del alma y la unión
La etapa del Despertar ocurre
durante una crisis o alguna experiencia traumática, se descubre
que hay potencial y un poder
dentro de nosotros que no hemos
utilizado hasta entonces. Muchas
veces necesitan estar frente a una
tragedia para tratar algo nuevo,
entendiendo que su vida en ese
momento es una crucifixión, el
despertar es simbólicamente una
Durante esta etapa se cae en la
realización de que tenemos elección, como si Dios nos hablara y
dijera: “he puesto ante ti la vida y
la muerte, bendiciones y maldiciones, pero la elección es tuya”.
Muchos despiertan al hecho que
debe haber más vida y se preguntan tres cosas: quien soy yo?,
donde voy? y si hay algo más que
esto?. Esta tercera pregunta es lo
que los motiva y explica la profundidad del gran interés espiritual.
La oración en esta etapa es lo que
yo llamo “dame” oraciones llenas
de miedo, o “Dios, si me escuchas
La etapa de Purificación es
una etapa maravillosa donde
estamos trabajando en aquello que
nos mantiene alejados de Dios,
haciendo todo lo posible y hasta lo
imposible para remover de nuestra
vida aquello que nos impide sentirnos en la presencia de Dios.
La lucha más grande en esta
etapa será contra el EGO, esta
parte de nosotros que no quiere
que Dios nos domine. En esta
etapa mucha gente descubre lo que
se llama oraciones de afirmación,
empiezan a experimentar cosas
que ahora entiendan.
La tercera etapa que llamamos
de Iluminación puede ser una
etapa peligrosa que puede ser
destructiva, pues confrontamos
nuestras creencias, ahora empezamos a conocer y a cuestionar
nuestras creencias pero cuando se
presenta la iluminación se empieza
Msgr. Juan
Sacerdote jubilado
de la Diócesis de
a dar gracias a Dios por lo vivido, y
se experimenta el verdadero valor
de vivir, pensando que la vida vale
la pena vivirse. Este es un ejemplo
de revelación: la religión es lo que
yo hago, y espiritualidad es lo que
yo soy. Sin embargo tiene que
haber un balance. Nosotros no somos amantes de nosotros mismos.
Estamos sedientos de paz, armonía
y gentileza, no separación, soledad,
alienación y competición.
Durante la etapa Oscura del
Alma se confronta la crucifixión,
resurrección, ascensión, transformación y trascendencia. Puede
ocurrir en cualquier momento
de la vida. Dios quitara todo de
tu vida, hasta lo bueno, para traer
algo mejor, sin permitirnos vivir
en la mediocridad, para traer la
excelencia a nuestra vida. La noche
Oscura del Alma es una de las
etapas más poderosas de sanación
que un individuo puede trabajar y
En la etapa de Unión Mística,
poco importa si se ha sanado
físicamente o no, ahora nos hemos
superado y estamos mas allá
de lo físico, hemos trascendido
porque sabemos que nada es
imposible. En esta etapa dejamos
de culpar a los demás por nuestra
condición, hemos entendido cual
es el propósito de nuestra vida,
hemos ganado el estima y aprecio
de las personas honestas y hemos
padecido las traiciones de los falsos amigos, apreciamos la belleza
y somos capaces de ver lo mejor
en los demás. Cuando se llega a
la realización que este mundo es
mejor porque nosotros hemos
vivido en el, recordando que la
Gloria de Dios se encuentra en la
persona que está realmente viva,
resucitada, motivada, redimida,
salvada, perdonada, y sanada.
Regalo de amor
iciembre es un mes
fabuloso para reflexionar
en la palabra “regalo” y
quizá recordar todas las definiciones y pequeñas diferencias
en significado que esta palabra
tiene. Durante este tiempo de
Adviento, mientras preparamos
nuestros corazones otra vez para
“recibir” el regalo del niño Jesus,
quien creció en edad y sabiduría
y al final nos dio el regalo más
grande de todos –su vida- para
que nosotros pudiéramos tener el
regalo de la vida eterna; también
nos preparamos para celebrar este
gran misterio a través del dar y
recibir de “regalos”.
Quizá estamos contemplando
qué “regalos” queremos comprar o hacer a nuestros amigos y
familia para expresar el amor que
les tenemos. Y aunque sabemos
que el regalo más grande que
podemos dar es nuestro amor,
la mayoría de nosotros tiende a
preocuparse sobre qué “regalo”
debemos de dar.
Recientemente fui a comer
con una amiga y después de
la comida caminamos hacia
una pequeña tienda conectada
al restaurant. No estaba muy
interesada en mirar porque no
planeaba comprar, pero mi amiga
me dijo que escogiera algo de
la tienda porque me lo quería
regalar. Entonces, varias cosas en
la tienda me parecieron atractivas
siendo que no les había puesto
mucha atención antes.
Me detuve y reflexioné sobre
ese incidente porque me considero una persona que no es muy
materialista y aun así me emocioné con el “regalo” que selec-
Lydia Pesina
Directora, Oficina
de Vida Familiar
cioné. Quiero creer que la alegría
no vino tanto del bello pendiente
que escogí sino del amor que
mi amiga Lety me ha mostrado
Esperemos que en esta
temporada de adviento tengamos
algo de tiempo para reflexionar
sobre lo que consideramos el
“regalo de amor” que hemos
recibido de Jesús quien es “la
razón de la estacion” y el amor
que tenemos intrínsecamente por
nuestra familia; aquellos con los
que debemos de llevarnos bien y
con aquellos que quizá no siempre entendemos.
El Papa Francisco dijo que
“La vocación Cristiana es primordialmente una llamada al amor,
un amor que nos atrae y nos saca
de nosotros mismos, “descentralizándonos” y provocando
un éxodo continuo fuera del ser
introspectivo hacia su liberación
a través de la auto entrega, y así
hacia el autodescubrimiento
auténtico y, ciertamente, el descubrimiento de Dios” (Deus Caritas
Est, 6). (3/29/15)
El regalo de amor no está tan
centrado en cómo nos “sentimos”
sino cómo “actuamos” por medio
del amor que estamos llamados a
tener el uno por el otro. Y el amor
se centra en el servicio como
escuchamos en la cita mencionada por el papa Francisco: “un
éxodo continuo fuera del ser
introspectivo hacia su liberación a
través de la auto entrega…” Jesús
nos enseño el “amor entregado”
a través del Misterio Pascal del
sufrimiento, muerte y resurrección. Nosotros también estamos
llamados a dar el regalo del amor
uno al otro, sirviendo a Dios,
a nuestra familia, a la Iglesia/
comunidad, y a los pobres.
Mi madre, Carmen Colegio
Reyna, murió hace algunos meses
y actualmente me reúno semanalmente durante la comida con un
par de amigas que también han
perdido un progenitor este año.
Estamos caminando nuestro
camino de duelo por medio de
un proceso guiado por el “Diario
de Un Nuevo Día” de publicaciones ACTA. A través de lo que
compartimos y las reflexiones,
recuerdo qué gran regalo me
dejó mi madre con el ejemplo
de su vida de amor y servicio a
nuestra familia. Aunque esta será
la primer Navidad sin ella en
nuestro hogar, estaré recordando
que el regalo de Navidad que me
dejó no estará bajo el árbol de
Navidad, sino que continuará
impreso en mi corazón.
Rezo para que el regalo de
amor que nuestros antepasados nos han dejado y el regalo
de amor que cada uno pueda
compartir con los miembros de
su familia (dejando a un lado
nuestro ego y las diferencias que
podamos tener) sea el regalo
principal que adorne nuestras
casas esta Navidad.
The Valley Catholic -
»Mujeres en la frontera
Confesiones de
una acumuladora
a verdad es que prefiero
un lugar despejado. Mis
intentos, sin embargo, se
quedan cortos. Tengo la tendencia
de guardar todo porque creo que
me será útil después. Este habito
es exacerbado por mi creciente
colección de libros y materiales
de investigación para diferentes
proyectos de escritura así como
mi colección de materiales de
costura, tejido, medios mixtos y
álbum de recortes.
Tengo armarios, gabinetes y
estantes llenos con telas, hilos,
estambre y papel. Le digo a mis
amigos, toda mi casa es un estudio
de arte. Puedes encontrar trabajo
creativo en proceso casi en cada
cuarto de mi hogar. El arte mixto
son un imán para todo tipo de
artículos, algunos descartados
por la mayoría de las personas. La
artista en mí sabe que incluso una
caja vacía o un pedazo de madera
puede ser reutilizada para uno
de mis proyectos de santuario de
Pero los artículos para el arte y
artesanía no son los únicos que toman espacio en mi casa. Cuando
mi esposo y yo compramos nuestra casa hace 21 años, nos tomó
varios años comprar muebles y
llenar los cuartos. Como pareja
joven con dos pequeños niños,
nunca nos hubiéramos imaginado
que nuestra espaciosa casa estaría
llena de un exceso de posesiones
acumuladas que guardamos.
Es fácil que este exceso ateste
nuestros espacios y que este desorden no sea conductivo a un hogar
o espacio de trabajo saludable.
Hemos caído victimas a la indulgencia y la trampa del consumismo. Cuando recién nos casamos
hace 27 años hice adornos para
nuestro primer árbol de Navidad.
El día después de Navidad iniciamos la tradición de ir a las ventas
de mitad de precio y comprar
adornos para la siguiente Navidad.
Desde entonces hemos llenado
cajas que se quedan en nuestro
ático 11 meses al año. Hemos
acumulado tanto que empezamos
a poner un segundo árbol.
El Papa Francisco en su encíclica Laudato Sí: Al cuidado de
nuestra casa en común, apeló a todos para considerar cómo estamos
cuidando de nuestro medio ambiente. En su llamamiento, señaló
incluso lo que él llama la “ecología
de la vida diaria,” el ambiente en el
que vivimos nuestras vidas.
En la sección “Alegría y Paz,”
señala la espiritualidad Cristiana
“fomenta un estilo de vida contemplativo y profético, uno capaz
de disfrutar profundamente libre
de la obsesión del consumismo.”
Él dijo, “Necesitamos tomar
una antigua lección, encontrada
en diferentes tradiciones religiosas y también en la Biblia. Es
la convicción de que ‘menos es
más’. Una marejada constante
de nuevos vienes para consumir
pueden deslumbrar el corazón e
impedirnos apreciar cada cosa y
cada momento.”
Mi esposo me pidió la lista de
Navidad en noviembre. La verdad
es que no necesito nada. Lo que
necesito es dejar ir. Me da pena
mi debilidad por las baratas, el
exceso que he acumulado y mi
fracaso por deshacerme de lo que
no necesito.
Las palabras del Santo Padre
resuenan mientras me comprometo a simplificar y crear un espacio
Fiesta de la Sagrada Familia
El Papa: Dios
quiso nacer en una
familia humana
La pintura
icónica de la
Sagrada Familia
para el Encuentro
Mundial de las
Familias en
ACI Prensa
Nettles Riojas
Editora, The Valley
saludable para trabajar y vivir.
Él dijo, “La espiritualidad
Cristiana propone un crecimiento
marcado por la moderación y la
capacidad de ser feliz con poco.
Es un regreso a la simplicidad la
cual nos permite detenernos y
apreciar las pequeñas cosas, el estar agradecimos por las oportunidades que la vida nos otorga, ser
espiritualmente desapartados de
lo que poseemos… Esto implica
evitar la dinámica de dominio y
los placeres de la acumulación.”
Mi padre murió en agosto de
este año, y mis hermanos y yo tenemos la tarea de ver todo lo que
dejó atrás. Me duele ver todo lo
que acumuló después de la muerte
de mi madre hace 23 años. Él todavía tenía las cajas de mi madre
con joyería de fantasia. La verdad
es que yo todavía tengo cajas con
algunas de sus manualidades. Les
llamo “las cajitas de posibilidades”.
Yo creo que mi padre hubiera vivido sus últimos años con
menos estrés si se hubiera desecho
de cuartos llenos de muebles y
posesiones que ya no necesitaba.
Mientras continúo con mi peregrinaje, quiero deshacerme del
exceso en mi vida. Me doy cuenta
también, se trata de hacer tiempo
para organizar y hacer decisiones
sobre lo que se queda y lo que se
va; qué es esencial. Algunas veces
tenemos que evaluar qué tanto
valor le asignamos a las posesiones. Después de todo, cuando
morimos no nos llevamos nada.
Uno de mis mayores miedos es el
desorden que dejaré atrás cuando
Susan V. Vogt en su libro
“Blessed by Less: Clearing Your
Life of Clutter by Living Lightly”
nos da algunos consejos prácticos para lo que ella llama “vivir
ligero.” Ella empezó su camino
para dejar ir en una Cuaresma
cuando decidió deshacerse de un
artículo por día. Este Adviento de
camino a la Navidad, planeo hacer
lo mismo.
Todos somos llamados a ser
buenos corresponsables. Con
forme diciembre nos mueve
hacia un nuevo año, espero las
posibilidades que el vivir ligera
van a crear, incluyendo hacer
más espacio para enfocarme en
lo que es importante empezando
con crecimiento espiritual. Ya veo
la diferencia con los pequeños
pasos que he tomado en la oficina
donde un ambiente más limpio,
sin desorden nos da espacio para
concentrarnos en el trabajo frente
Avanzando, esta oración de
San. Ignatius Loyola nos ofrece un
poco de enfoque para dejar ir no
sólo posesiones materiales pero de
otras tendencias también.
Toma Señor, y recibe toda mi
libertad, mi memoria, mi entendimiento, y toda mi voluntad, todo
lo que tengo y poseo. Me lo has
dado todo. A ti, Oh Señor, regreso
todo. Todo es tuyo, dispone de ello
de acuerdo a Tu voluntad. Dame
tu amor y tu gracia, ya que esto es
suficiente para mí.
La fiesta de la Sagrada Familia
se celebra cada año el domingo
después de Navidad (el 27 de
En medio de una fuerte crisis
en torno a la integridad de la familia, Dios Amor nos brinda nuevamente el modelo pleno de amor
familiar al presentarnos a Jesús,
María y José.
La Sagrada Familia nos habla
de todo aquello que cada familia
anhela auténtica y profundamente, puesto que desde la intensa
comunión hay una total entrega
amorosa por parte de cada miembro de la familia santa elevando
cada acto generoso hacia Dios,
como el aroma del incienso, para
darle gloria.
Por ello, a la luz de la Sagrada
Escritura, veamos algunos rasgos
importantes de San José, Santa
María y el Niño Jesús.
San José
Es el jefe de la familia y actúa
siempre como Dios le manda, muchas veces sin comprender el por
qué de lo que Dios le pide, pero
teniendo fe y confianza en Él.
“Al despertarse, José hizo lo
que el Ángel del Señor le había
ordenado: llevó a María a su casa”.
(Mt 1, 24-25) Cuando se entera
que María estaba embarazada piensa en abandonarla porque la
quería mucho y no deseaba denunciarla públicamente (como era
la costumbre de la época), pero el
Ángel de Dios se le apareció en
sueños y le dijo que lo que había
sido engendrado en el vientre de
María era obra del Espíritu Santo
y que no temiera en recibirla.
“Ella dió a luz un hijo,y él le
puso el nombre de Jesús” (Mt 1,
25) Cuando nace el niño, él le
pone el nombre de Jesús, como el
Ángel le había dicho.
Luego, cuando Herodes tenía
intenciones de matar al Niño Jesús
y ante otro aviso del Ángel del Señor, José toma a su familia y marcha hacia Egipto.
Por último, con la muerte de
Herodes y ante un nuevo aviso del
Ángel de Dios, lleva a su familia a
instalarse en Nazaret.
San José, Casto Esposo de
Santa María, acoge a Jesús en su
corazón paternal, educándolo,
cuidándolo, amándolo como si
fuere hijo suyo. El Niño Jesús
aprende de su “santo padre adoptivo” muchas cosas, entre estas, el
oficio de carpintero.
La Santísima Virgen María
Desde el momento de la Anunciación, María es el modelo de
entrega a Dios.
“He aquí la sierva del Señor,
hágase en mí según tu Palabra” (Lc
1, 38) En la Anunciación, María
responde con un Sí rotundo desde
una libertad poseída, poniéndose
en las manos de Dios.
En Santa María vemos una
continua vivencia de la dinámica
de la alegría-dolor: criando, educando, siguiendo de cerca a su
Hijo Jesús mostrándole en todo
momento un auténtico amor maternal.
“Su madre conservaba estas
cosas en su corazón” (Lc 2, 52)
Ella fue vislumbrando lentamente
el misterio trascendente de la vida
de Jesús, manteniéndose fielmente
unida a Él.
El niño Jesús
Desde chico, Jesús demuestra que es el Hijo de Dios y que
cumple fielmente lo que su Padre
le manda.
“Vivía sujeto a ellos” (Lc 2,
51) Como niño, Él obedecía a su
madre y a su padre adoptivo, y
permanecía siempre junto a ellos.
María y José fueron sus primeros
“El niño iba creciendo y se
fortalecía, lleno de sabiduría, y la
Gracia de Dios estaba con Él” (Lc
2, 40) Jesús aprende el oficio de
carpintero de su padre adoptivo
“¿No sabían que yo debo ocuparme de los asuntos de mi Padre?” (Lc 2, 49) Cuando Jesús se
queda en el Templo, a los doce
años, se puede pensar que desobedece a sus padres y que eso está
mal. No es así, Jesús demuestra en
este hecho su plena independencia
con respecto a todo vínculo humano cuando está de por medio el
Plan de su Padre y la Misión que Él
le ha encomendado.
El Papa propone una cura para
la tentación de leer el horóscopo
‘El Señor Jesús se
contrapone a los
falsos profetas’
ACI Prensa
VATICANO — “¿Cuántos de
ustedes leen el horóscopo cada
día?”. Es la pregunta que hizo el 16
de noviembre el Papa Francisco a
los fieles desde la ventana del estudio pontificio antes del rezo del
Ángelus al comentar las lecturas
de la Misa del día.
“Yo tendría ganas de preguntarles, respondan interiormente, ¿cuántos de ustedes leen el
horóscopo del día? Callados. Cada
uno que se responda a sí mismo. Y
cuando te vengan ganas de leer el
horóscopo, mira a Jesús, que está
contigo. Es mejor, te hará mejor.
Esta presencia de Jesús nos llama
a la espera y la vigilancia, que excluyen tanto la impaciencia como
la pereza, tanto las fugas hacia
delante como el permanecer en-
Imagen referencial
carcelados en la actualidad de lo
El Pontífice explicó que “el
Evangelio de este penúltimo domingo del año litúrgico propone
una parte del discurso de Jesús
sobre los acontecimientos últimos
de la historia humana, orientada
hacia el pleno cumplimiento del
reino de Dios”.
“Contiene algunos elementos apocalípticos, como guerras,
carestías, catástrofes cósmicas: El
sol se oscurecerá, la luna no dará
más su luz, las estrellas caerán del
cielo y las potencias que están en
el cielo serán conmovidas”, dijo
Francisco sobre lo que narra el
“El Señor Jesús no es sólo el
punto de llegada de la peregrinación terrena, sino que es una
presencia constante en nuestra
vida, siempre está a nuestro lado,
siempre nos acompaña; por esto
cuando habla del futuro y nos impulsa hacia aquel, es siempre para
reconducirnos al presente”.
“Él se contrapone a los falsos
profetas, contra los visionarios
que prevén la cercanía del fin del
mundo y contra el fatalismo. Él
está al lado, camina con nosotros,
nos quiere. Quiere sustraer a sus
discípulos de cada época de la curiosidad para las fechas, las previsiones, los horóscopos, y concentra nuestra atención sobre el hoy
de la historia”.
Pero “el problema no es ‘cuándo’ llegarán los signos premonitorios de los últimos tiempos, sino
el estar preparados para el encuentro”, explicó el Papa.
Por todo ello, “estamos llamados a vivir el presente, construyendo nuestro futuro con serenidad y confianza en Dios”.
- The Valley Catholic
Recommended by SISTER
Coordinator of the Media Resource
Center - Diocese of Brownsville
»From the
Advent and
Format: audio Length: 5 cd’s
Audience: High School/Adults
Author: Fr. John Baldovin, S.J.,
Publication:Now You Know Media. 2011
This series will explore the season of
Advent through its liturgical prayers,
scripture readings, music and poetry.
You will also experience newfound
Christmas joy and understanding
through the Masses and Celebrations of
the “Holy Night”.
South Of The
Format: hardcover Length: no numbers
Audience: Children 3-12
Author:James Rice
The story and illustrations draw attention
to the cultural differences that make the
Mexican Christmas holiday unique and
enjoyable. Santa has become Papa Noel
and is reindeer have been replaced with
eight burros pulling a cart. A sombrerowearing Santa is making his rounds
through the Mexican desert in James
Rice’s latest twist of a holiday tale.
»Worth Watching
What is Advent?
continua de la pág. 2
Format: DVD Length: 91 minutes
Audience: Family
Production: Ignatius Press, 2006
Based on the best-selling book: GrownUps Don’t Know Everything…a story o
love, redemption and above all,Hope…
The Crippled
An image of an
expectant Mother
Mary. Pope
Emeritus Benedict
XVI said Advent
is an ideal time
to reflect on the
Church’s pro-life
values since the
season culminates
in the celebration
of the most
important human
birth in the history
of the world.
Special to the Valley Catholic
que no sabe
2. Dar buen consejo al que lo
3) Corregir (con caridad) al
que se equivoca
4) Perdonar (de corazón) al
que nos ofende
5) Consolar al triste
6) Sufrir con paciencia los
defectos del prójimo
7) Rezar a Dios por los vivos y
por los difuntos.
Durante este Año Santo el
Format: VHS Length: 25 mins
Audience: Children 2-8 yrs
Director:Tommy Nelson Co, Based on
book by Max Lucado, 2001,
Old Asah knew tis well, and when it
came time to teach young Benjamin
Goat about life, the old story-telling
camel told a tale of little Joshua…a
Crippled Lamb who always felt left out.
Joshua longed to keep us with the flock,
but God had very special plans for
him- just as he does for everyone. One
cold night winter night, Joshua was in
the right place at the right time to watch
istory’s greatest event unfold…and to
be a part in it.
On going:
Every Tuesday: 12:15p.m.
2 p.m.
Every Sunday:
6 p.m.
Advent Day of Reflection
(Office of Catechesis)
Bishop’s Annual Dinner
5-6 For Better Forever
(Family Life Office)
Solemnity of the
(Diocesan Offices closed,
Holy Day of Obligation)
12 Feast of Our Lady of
17 Vocation Hour for Family Life
Office at St. Joseph Chapel,
24 Christmas Eve
(Diocesan Offices closed)
the Virgin Mary. In our shopping
and baking, let us remember to
purchase and prepare something
for the poor. When we clean our
homes, let us distribute some of
our possessions to those who lack
many necessities. While we are
decking the halls of our homes, let
us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our
Savior may come to dwell.
Focus on the Liturgy
There are always four Sundays
in Advent, though not necessarily four full weeks. The liturgical
color of the season is violet or purple, except on the Third Sunday of
Advent, called Gaudete or Rejoice
Sunday, when optional rose vestments may be worn. The Gloria is
not recited during Advent liturgies, but the Alleluia is retained.
The prophesies of Isaiah are
read often during the Advent
season, but all of the readings of
Advent focus on the key figures
of the Old and New Testaments
who were prepared and chosen
by God to make the Incarnation
possible: the Blessed Virgin Mary,
St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph,
Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah. The
expectancy heightens from Dec.
17 to Dec. 24 when the Liturgy
resounds with the seven magnificent Messianic titles of the O Antiphons.
The Advent season also has
a Marian and pro-life focus. We
meditate on this wonderful mystery of the Word Made Flesh with
as much eagerness as his Mother,
Mary prepared and awaited the
birth of her son. In the United
States, we celebrate the special
feasts of the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the United
States of America, on Dec. 8, and
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, on Dec. 12.
Other saints’ days traditionally associated in with our preparation
for Christmas include St. Nicholas, patron saint of children whose
feast falls on Dec. 6, and the saint
of light, St. Lucy on Dec. 13.
Señor nos invita a todos a examinar nuestra vida y así crear más
espacio en la vida para practicar
más concretamente las obras de
misericordia. El testimonio de
la misericordia practicada en el
mundo es lo que el mundo hoy
más requiere.
El Hijo de Dios sufrió la cruz
para el perdón de nuestros pecados y para invitarnos a responder
con compasión a su cuerpo
desfigurado y marcado con señas
colmadas de la brutalidad. Podríamos decir con Santo Tomás
de Aquino que nuestra salvación
consiste en responderle al Señor
que tanto nos ha amado. El Señor
se identificó personalmente con
los que sufren y respondiéndoles
a ellos socorremos a él. La fe sin
amor no salva y el amor que no
se extiende para socorrer al que
sufre no sirve para nada. Recordando esta verdad de la fe, le pido
al Señor que nos ayude a todos
a compartir la misericordia que
hemos recibido.
Madre de misericordia, Inmaculada Virgen,
Ruega por nosotros.
Señor Jesucristo, Hijo de Dios
e Hijo de María, Ten piedad de
Bishop Emeritus Raymundo J. Peña’s Calendar
December 2
December 23
of Events
Courtesy photo
Liturgical season
celebrates the
coming of the Lord
Happy New Year! While a
month yet remains in the civil
year, the Church celebrated the
beginning of a new Liturgical year
with the First Sunday of Advent
on Nov. 29.
Advent — from the Latin ad
venio, “to come” — is the liturgical
season anticipating the Adventus
Domini, the “coming of the Lord.”
While the days grow shorter and
colder, we prepare for the “Sun of
Justice” who comes to kindle our
hearts with his light and his love.
The Eternal Word, who is outside of time, became Incarnate in
time, thereby making all time sacred. In the season of Advent, we
await the coming of Christ on all
the levels which we experience
time: in the past — as a babe in the
stable of Bethlehem; in the present
— as grace in our souls; and in the
future — as the Judge at the end
of time.
The Advent season is filled
with preparation and expectation. Everyone is getting ready for
Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too
often, however, we are so busy
with the material preparations
that we lose sight of the real reason
for our activity: the Word made
flesh coming to dwell among us.
Christians are urged to preserve
the spiritual focus of Christmas
amidst the prevailingly secular
and consumer-driven society.
In the midst of the hustle and
bustle of the season, let us strive
to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of conversion
and hope, meditating often on
the incredible love and humility
of our God in taking on flesh of
6 p.m.
11 a.m.
Evins Ministry
Mass at UT-RGV/Edinburg
Counseling at UT-RGV/Edinburg
Mass/Confessions at UT-RGV/Edinburg
Monday - Saturday: 8 a.m.
Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
3 p.m.
Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
Every Thursday:
7-8 p.m. Holy Hour at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
1st: Intention to the Consecrated Life (active and contemplative) and for the Sisters and Brothers in our diocese and the
success of their mission
2nd: Intention to the Permanent Diaconate the deacons (permanent and transitional) of the diocese and their families
3rd : Intention to Married Life: for the welfare and sanctification of all the families in the diocese and for building up the
Kingdom in our domestic churches
4th: Intention to the priesthood and the priests of the diocese for the success of their ministry
5th: Intention to Pope Francis
25 Christmas Day
(Diocesan Offices closed,
Holy Day of Obligation)
26 Christmas Holiday
(Diocesan Offices closed)
New Year’s Day,
Solemnity of Mary
(Diocesan Offices closed,
Holy Day of Obligation)
Clase para Cerficado DER
(Office of Catechesis)
DRE Certification Class
(Office of Catechesis)
Convalidation Conference
(Family Life Office)
16 Sponsor Couple Training 1 Eng (Family Life Office)
19 Professional Day
(Office of Catechesis)
21 Vocation Hour for Family Life
Office at St Joseph Chapel,
22-24 Catholic Engaged
(Family Life Office)
28 Advisory Team
(Office of Catechesis)
31 Mother/Daugther Program
(Family Life Office)
Please submit your schedule to be
published in The Valley Catholic by the
first Friday of each month by email at
[email protected] or fax: (956) 7845082.
Sex Ed,
continued from pg. 5
where that chastity is seen as the
spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness. Parents
are in the unique position of being
able to model for their children a
healthy example of sexual integration, generosity, and self-mastery
within marriage. Under these
circumstances, parents also convey
to their children the beautiful message that human sexuality reaches
far beyond the biological, and
touches on the most intimate core
of the human person, particularly
as experienced in his or her capacity for personal and radical self-gift
to another in marriage, faithful
even unto death.
The Valley Catholic - DECEMBER
Our Catholic Family
‘Her knowledge and wisdom is invaluable’
Bookkeeper has
served Sacred Heart
Parish for 50 years
The Valley Catholic
EDINBURG — From the brief
Bishop Adolph Marx era to the
current Bishop Daniel E. Flores
epis copacy, Maria
“ L u p i t a”
De la Cruz
has served
the Church
since the
early days
of the Diocese
BrownsDe la Cruz
At age
23, she was hired as the secretary
of Sacred Heart Parish in Edinburg
on Sept. 20, 1965, 18 days after
Bishop Marx was installed as the
first bishop of the newly formed
Diocese of Brownsville.
“The job was first offered to
my sister right after she graduated
from high school, but she turned it
down because she was leaving to
attend university in Austin,” said
De la Cruz, who was working at
a store at the time. “My sister told
the priest, ‘why don’t you give my
sister Lupita a job? She doesn’t
have a good job.
“The priest offered me the job
and said, ‘I’ll give you two weeks
and see if you like it.’”
Fifty years later, De la Cruz is
still working at the parish, witnessing history at both her parish and
in the diocese.
Less than two months into her
new job, she answered the telephone call informing the parish
that Bishop Marx had died unexpectedly on Nov. 1, 1965 while
visiting family in Germany during
a break from the Vatican Ecumenical Council in Rome.
“I got the call and that was
something else,” she said. “We were
in shock.”
De la Cruz attended the instal-
lation of Bishop Humberto S. Medeiros on June 29, 1966 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
It was Bishop Medeiros that
helped De la Cruz see her work as
a church secretary as an important
“He sent all the secretaries in
the diocese a letter affirming that
what we were doing was a vocation,” she said. “He reminded us
that when someone calls the parish or walks into the office, the first
person they encounter is the secretary. I took his words very seriously, that it is a vocation … and I
think that’s why I haven’t left.”
The first pastor she worked for
kept the books and she handled
the secretarial duties. When a new
pastor came in, the bookkeeping
responsibilities were added to her
position. She maintained the accounting ledgers by hand for years
and years before computers and
accounting software were commonly used.
De la Cruz, who turns 74 on
Dec. 28, was born in Montemorelos in the Mexican state of Nuevo
Leon and immigrated to the United States with her parents at the
age of 13. They became a migrant
farm worker family and traveled to
Michigan and Illinois each year.
As a teen, De la Cruz began
volunteering at Sacred Heart
Church and a was a member of Las
Hijas de Maria, a prayer group of
young ladies who wanted to follow
Our Blessed Mother’s example of
womanly virtue. As an adult, “my
life has been the Church,” she said.
In addition to her day job in
the parish office, she became involved in the Cursillo Movement
and was the local director. She was
also the director of the lay ministry program for the diocese in its
earliest days. At her parish, she has
served as an RCIA catechist, led
baptismal preparation classes, is a
lector and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, among
other ministries.
De la Cruz, who was called to
single life, has let go of most of her
ministries to care for her mother,
Carmen, who is 98-years-old.
“That is Lupita, she is a won-
Family marks anniversary
of Bishop Marx’s death
Courtesy photo
The family of the Most Rev. Adolph Marx, the first bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville,
gathered at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville on Nov. 1 to mark the
50th Anniversary of his death. Bishop Marx died on Nov. 1, 1965 at the age of 50 in his
hometown of Cologne, Germany while visiting family, just two months after his installation
as our bishop on Sept. 2, 1965. He had been in Europe attending the Vatican Ecumenical
Council in Rome.
Bishop Marx’s family traveled to Brownsville from Germany, Dallas, Houston and
Washington, D.C. to attend a Mass and visit his tomb at the cathedral. Bishop Daniel E.
Flores celebrated the Mass and took some time to visit with the Marx family.
Courtesy photos
When Lupita De la Cruz started working at Sacred Heart Parish in Edinburg 50 years
ago, the church’s finances were maintained through handwritten ledgers.
derful person,” said Father Jerry
Shanley, a priest of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary. “She is
good to her family, she is good to
the parishioners and was good to
me and the other priests. If she can
give, she will give without hesitation.”
Father Shanley, who currently
serves as a chaplain at Valley Baptist Hospital in Harlingen, was the
first pastor from the Congregation
of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and
Mary assigned to Sacred Heart
Church in Edinburg.
For the first 12 years of De
la Cruz’s time at Sacred Heart
Church, the parish was under the
pastoral care of the Missionary
Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In
1977, the parish was transferred to
the care of religious priests from
the Congregation of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
“Lupita helped us through that
transition very well,” Father Shanley said. “We were new here and
she was our guide every step of the
way. She has a profound knowledge of the parish and the people
and their backgrounds.”
“Having served here for as long
as she has, Lupita’s knowledge and
wisdom is invaluable,” said Tere
De Jesus, who works in the ministry of stewardship and development at Sacred Heart Parish. “She
goes about her work with a faithful
heart. She is a jewel in our parish.”
For De la Cruz, the highlights
of her career have been many, but
being part of the construction of
the new church was especially exciting.
Bishop Flores dedicated the
new sanctuary on Nov. 4, 2011, a
project that took 12 years to complete from start to finish.
Another part of her career
that brings her joy is following the
parishioners through their sacraments.
“Entering baptism, communion, confirmation and marriage
information for the same person
into the parish registry, it feels
good,” she said. “It is a testament of
the faith and of God’s love.”
De la Cruz’s mother recently
asked her how long she plans to
work at the parish.
“She asked me, ‘Are you going
to stay in the Church until the end
like Pope John Paul II? Are they
going to have to wheel you around
the office in a wheelchair?’” De la
Cruz recalled with a laugh.
“I replied, ‘I don’t know, mom.
I just pray every day.’ I never
dreamed that I was going to do this
or be here this long, but the Lord
put me here for a reason. I’ll stay as
long as God sees fit.”

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