View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville



View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Volume 5, Issue 8
Serving More Than A Million Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville
Religious to
be honored
at Mass
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — Bishop Daniel E.
Flores will celebrate a Mass in honor of World Day for Consecrated
Life at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, at the
Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan
del Valle-National Shrine.
All religious priests, sisters and
brothers are invited to attend.
The Mass is open to the public
so that the faithful may recognize
and pray for the religious serving
in the diocese.
Sister Marcella Ewers of the
Daughters of Charity said she
looks forward to the diocesan celebration for Consecrated Life every
“I am always amazed at the
large number of religious communities, both men and women,
who have chosen to serve in the
Rio Grande Valley,” said Sister Ewers, who serves as president of Juan
Diego Academy, a Catholic regional high school in Mission. “I am
grateful to Bishop Flores for providing this opportunity for all of
us to gather in solidarity with one
another to celebrate our choice of
living a consecrated life and to give
witness to our vocation of service
in the Church.”
The religious priests, brothers
and sisters serving in our diocese
are engaged in parish ministry,
education, health care, social work,
missionary outreach programs,
community development and
much more.
“It is a great event because it is
a day, a moment where all the consecrated men and women are recognized for what they do in their
vocation,” said Brother Moises A.
Lopez of the Missionary Servants
of the Cross, who serves as director of religious education at Our
Lady of Mercy Parish in Mercedes.
“I always look forward to gathering with other religious, talking to
them and exchanging ideas, but
also to pray for one another.
“It is like a family reunion.
» Please see Consecrated p.4
Photos by Cesar Riojas Jr./ The Valley Catholic
Lent is the 40 day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday
Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.
Lenten message from Pope Francis
The Vatican
As Lent draws near, I would
like to offer some helpful thoughts
on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These
insights are inspired by the words
of Saint Paul: “For you know the
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
though he was rich, yet for your
sake he became poor, so that by his
poverty you might become rich”
(2 Cor 8:9). The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to
encourage them to be generous in
helping the faithful in Jerusalem
who were in need. What do these
words of Saint Paul mean for us
Christians today? What does this
invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean for us today?
1. Christ’s grace
First of all, it shows us how
God works. He does not reveal
himself cloaked in worldly power
and wealth but rather in weakness
and poverty: “though He was rich,
yet for your sake he became poor
…”. Christ, the eternal Son of God,
one with the Father in power and
glory, chose to be poor; he came
amongst us and drew near to each
of us; he set aside his glory and
emptied himself so that he could
be like us in all things (cf. Phil 2:7;
Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is
a great mystery! But the reason for
all this is his love, a love which is
grace, generosity, a desire to draw
near, a love which does not hesitate
to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with
the one we love in all things. Love
makes us similar, it creates equal» Please see Lent p.15
February 2015
Pope plans
for Blessed
Junipero Serra
in Washington
Catholic News Service
FLIGHT FROM MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis said his
September trip to the U.S. will
take him to Philadelphia, New
York and Washington — where
he intends to canonize Blessed
Junipero Serra — but probably no
other stops.
Pope Francis made his remarks Jan. 19, in an hourlong
news conference with reporters
accompanying him back to Rome
from a weeklong trip to Asia.
Four days after announcing he
would canonize Blessed Junipero
in the U.S. in September, the pope
said he wished he could do so in
California, the 18th-century Franciscan’s mission field, but would
not have time to travel there.
The pope said he planned instead to perform the canonization
ceremony at the Basilica of the
National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception, saying Washington
would be a fitting location because
a statue of Blessed Junipero stands
in the U.S. Capitol.
The pope also confirmed he
would visit the United Nations
in New York. He had already announced his participation in the
late-September World Meeting of
Families in Philadelphia.
Asked about widespread speculation that he would visit the
U.S.-Mexico border on the same
trip, Pope Francis said “entering
the United States by crossing the
border from Mexico would be a
beautiful thing, as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants.” But he said making such a
visit would raise expectations that
he would visit Mexico’s shrine of
Our Lady of Guadalupe, and he
joked that “war could break out” if
he failed to do so.
“There will be time to go to
Mexico later on,” he said.
Pope Francis said he hoped to
visit three Latin American countries in 2015 — Bolivia, Ecuador
and Paraguay. He said he planned
to visit two African countries —
the Central African Republic and
Uganda — in late 2015.
Artículos sobre el viaje del
Santo Padre a Sri Lanka
y Filipinas, recursos para
Cuaresma, y el Día Mundial
del Matrimonio
(“The WORD is sent
breathing love.”)
A look at the second Bishop
of Brownsville
Page 3
The Basilica to host two
mariachi concerts
Page 7
Deacon David Espinoza
Page 9
Páginas 11-13
The Valley Catholic - February 2015
para una
nueva luz
de justicia
y paz
Oren por la paz de Jerusalén”
como dice el Salmista. Cuando leemos éstas palabras
pensamos en la Tierra Santa, en
el Medio Oriente. Pero también
pensamos en tantas ciudades y
pueblos alrededor del mundo
destrozados por la lucha y la
violencia. Pensamos en el Padre
Gregorio López Gorostieta, un
sacerdote que fue asesinado en
Altamirano, en el estado mexicano
de Guerrero, encontrado muerto el
día de Navidad. También recordamos a incontables hombres,
mujeres y niños que han perdido
sus vidas debido a la violencia en
muchas partes de América Latina.
También pensamos en la violencia
en los Estados Unidos, en grandes
y pequeñas ciudades, detalladas
diariamente en los noticieros, a
menudo para personas que ya no
son sensibles al sinsentido de todo
Es una batalla para ganar la
paz, pero no una que peleamos
con armas convencionales; más
bien, es una batalla ligada primordialmente con la oración, empezando a partir de Dios la conversión de los corazones endurecidos
por objetivos egoístas, y establecidos con medios violentos.
No nos engañemos, el mal
se deleita en la desesperanza y
la muerte. Debemos de estar
armados con esperanza y amor
por la vida. Esto es lo que anima
nuestra oración. La oración, a su
vez, fortifica nuestra esperanza y
amor, ya que estos dos son dones
indispensables enraizados en el
Dios que da vida y no olvida la
súplica del pobre.
Debemos enseñar paz a
nuestros niños, al mostrarles lo
que significa el actuar justamente
y con compasión hacia otros.
También debemos de armar a
nuestros niños con amor a la vida
y el don de la esperanza. En breve,
los debemos de enseñar a rezar.
Debemos de pedir a nuestros
gobiernos que busquen justicia,
especialmente para las inocentes
victimas de violencia. Un espíritu de desconsideración por la
vida humana busca propagar su
Pray for Peace, Justice
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” as the
Psalmist says. When we read these words
we think of the Holy Land, and the
Middle East. But we think also of so many cities and towns around the world torn by strife
and violence. We think of Father Gregorio
Lopez Gorostieta, a priest who was killed in
the city of Altamirano, in the Mexican state of
Guerrero, and found dead on Christmas Day.
We recall also countless other men, women
and children who have lost their lives due to
violence in many parts of Latin America. We
think also of violence in the United States, in
big cities and small, daily detailed in the news,
often to a people no longer sensitive to the
senselessness of it all.
It is a battle to win peace, but not one
fought with conventional weapons; rather, it is
a battle engaged first of all by prayer, begging
from God the conversion of hearts hardened
by selfish aims, and set on violent means.
Make no mistake, the evil one delights in
despair and in death. We must be armed with
hope, and with a love for life. This is what
animates our prayer. Prayer, in turn, fortifies
our hope and love, for these two indispensable
graces are rooted in the God who gives life
and forgets not the cry of the poor.
We must teach peace to our children, by
showing them what it means to act justly and
with compassion towards others. We must
also arm our children with a love for life and
malvada influencia en cada nuevo
hueco de la cultura. La sociedad
civil existe para frenar este avance.
Agustín hablo de dos ciudades,
misteriosamente entrelazadas en
este mundo: La Ciudad de Dios
en la que el amor de Dios domina
a la criatura humana, “usque ad
contemptum sui”, y la ciudad del
hombre, en la que el amor al ego
domina “usque ad contemptum
Pero, todos los mejores poderes
de la ciudad humana son insuficientes para crear paz si el llamado
a convertirse a la Ciudad de Dios
no es escuchado y, por gracia de
Dios, de alguna manera atendido
por todos nosotros que vivimos
dentro de la ciudad del hombre. Ya
que en el fin de las cosas, la ciudad
del hombre debe de transformarse
en la ciudad de Dios. Esto significa
que los corazones deben alzarse
hacia el celestial Jerusalén, respondiendo al llamado de la trompeta
del redentor de nuestra naturaleza,
el Crucificado y resurrecto Cristo,
quien nos muestra como hombre
cómo conocer la paz en Dios y
entre nosotros.
Debemos escucharlo, y verlo
nuevamente, ya que la alternativa
a la vida con Dios, al final, no es
vida en absoluto. No porque Dios
the grace of hope. In short, we must teach
them to pray.
We must ask our governments to seek
justice also, especially for innocent victims
of violence. A spirit of disrespect for human
life aggresively seeks to spread its malevolent
influence into ever new recesses of culture. A
civil society exists to stem this advance.
Augustine spoke of two cities, mysteriously intermingled in this world: The City of
God wherein the love of God dominates the
human creature, “usque ad contemptum sui”,
and the city of man, wherein the love of self
dominates “usque ad contemptum Dei”.
But, all the better powers of the human
city are insufficient to create peace if the call
to become the City of God is not heard and,
by God’s grace, in some way heeded by all of
us who dwell within the city of man. For at
the end of all things, the city of man must be
transformed into the City of God. This means
nos quitase la vida, pero porque los
corazones humanos se hundirían
en esa última etapa en lugar de
preferir no tenerla, buscando, en
cambio, conformarse con una vida
de sombra que venera los antirelicarios hechos por ellos mismos:
cavidades vacías y frías donde los
corazones de carne hechos con
clemencia una vez habitaron.
Mientras continuamos este
Nuevo Año, renovamos nuestra
fe en la misericordia del Redentor
nacido por nosotros. La Ciudad
de Dios empieza en Belén. Su luz
sobrepasa la oscuridad. Invito a
todos los fieles a ofrecer oraciones
especiales pidiendo por la paz y la
justicia en nuestras comunidades
fronterizas y por el fin de la violencia alrededor del mundo, y por
la conversión de los corazones anclados en la violencia. Sería lo más
apropiado ofrecer estas oraciones
ante el Santísimo Sacramento, o
rezar el Santo Rosario por esta
intención. El Señor nos escucha, y
su Santa Madre reza por nosotros.
Que una nueva luz de justicia y paz
entre en los corazones humanos
con el comienzo del nuevo año.
Señor Jesucristo, Príncipe de la
Paz, Arquitecto y Edificador de la
Ciudad de Dios, ten misericordia
de nosotros y en todo el mundo.
that hearts must rise toward the heavenly Jerusalem, responding to the clarion call of our
nature’s Redeemer, the Crucified and Risen
Christ, who shows us as man how to know
peace in God, and with one another.
We must hear Him, and see Him anew,
for the alternative to life in God is, in the end,
no life at all. Not because God would take life
from us, but because human hearts would
seem at that late stage rather to prefer not to
have it, seeking instead to settle for a shadowlife that venerates self-made anti-reliquaries:
empty, cold cavities where fleshy hearts made
for mercy had once dwelt.
As we continue in this New Year, we renew
our faith in the mercy of the Redeemer born
for us. The City of God begins in Bethlehem.
Its light overcomes the darkness. I invite all
the faithful to offer special prayers asking for
peace and justice in our border communities and for an end to violence around the
world, and for the conversion of hearts set on
violence. It would be most appropriate to offer
these prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, or
to say the Holy Rosary for this intention. The
Lord hears us, and his blessed Mother prays
for us. May a new light of justice and peace
enter human hearts with the beginning of a
new year.
Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Architect and Builder of the City of God, Have
Mercy on us and on the whole world.
Happy Anniversary, Bishop Flores!
May God continue to bless you as you
shepherd the faithful of the diocese.
To read the Bishop’s blog,
En Pocas Palabras, visit
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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The cover of the special welcome edition of The Valley Catholic from 2010. Bishop Daniel
E. Flores celebrates his fifth anniversary as bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville on Feb. 2.
Bishop Flores’ Schedule - February
Feb. 1
3 p.m.
San Juan
Mass for World Day for Consecrated Life
Feb. 2
Mass at Cathedral
Feb. 2
5:30 p.m.
San Juan
Mass at Basilica for Feast of Our Lady of San Juan
Feb. 5
10 a.m.
San Juan
Talk for 3rd Annual Diocesan Stewardship Conference
Feb. 7
10 a.m.
San Juan
Talk at Lay Ministry Mid-Year Gathering
Feb. 7
11:30 a.m.
San Juan
Mass for 3rd Annual Diocesan Stewardship Conference
Feb. 7
3 p.m.
Mass-Mary, Mother of the Church for Conferencia Carismática
Feb. 15
3 p.m.
Mass-Holy Spirit Church for Catholic Scouting Ceremony
Feb. 18
Ash Wednesday Mass at University of Texas at Brownsville
Feb. 18
7 p.m.
Ash Wednesday Mass
Feb. 21
7 p.m.
San Juan
Rite of Election (Upper Valley)
Feb. 22
2 p.m.
Rite of Election (Lower Valley)
St. Anthony Church
February 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.
»Second Bishop of Brownsville
Bishop Humberto
Sousa Medeiros
His motto: Adveniat regnum tuum (thy Kingdom come)
He was installed
as Archbishop of
Boston, elevated to
cardinal in 1973
The Valley Catholic
Rev. Humberto S. Medeiros
of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass.
was appointed the second bishop
of Brownsville on April 14, 1966.
He was installed at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
Brownsville on June 29, 1966 and
served until the autumn of 1970.
He was installed as the Archbishop of Boston on Oct. 7, 1970
and elevated to cardinal on March
5, 1973. He died on Sept. 17, 1983
of coronary arrest at the age of 67,
a day after undergoing emergency
heart surgery, according to his
obituary by the Associated Press.
As Bishop of Brownsville, he
added 18 new parishes and approved the construction of La
Merced Homes in Mercedes and
El Rosario Homes in Mission —
two scattered-site housing projects sponsored by the Diocese
of Brownsville. Residents began
moving into the three-and-four
bedroom brick homes in May
When he arrived in the Rio
Grande Valley, farm workers were
threatening a strike and the new
bishop quickly supported the demands of Mexican-American migrant workers, according to the
Associated Press.
At times, he would travel with
the migrant workers because, ‘’I
want to be with the people who
need me,” and for the four years
he was head of the Diocese of
Brownsville, he spent Christmas
and Easter in jails visiting with
prisoners and eating prison food.
The second Bishop of Brownsville was described by the Associated Press as, “a stern administrator,” but “comfortable with
the people of his diocese. As the
Valley was recovering from Hurricane Beulah in 1967, he opened
his home to 11 families and also
took in many dogs that were lost
and abandoned in the storm.
The Valley Catholic
Above: Bishop Humberto Sousa
Medeiros is shown with Pope Paul
VI at the Vatican in this 1969 photo.
The photo was originally published
in the Valley Catholic Witness,
which was the diocesan newspaper
at the time.
Left: Bishop Medeiros was installed
as the Archbishop of Boston on Oct.
7, 1970 and elevated to cardinal
on March 5, 1973.
A native of the Azores, an island chain off the coast of Portugal, Cardinal Medeiros was born
Oct. 6, 1915, in the village of Arrifes on St. Michael Island. Unable
to speak English, he came to the
United States when he was 16. He
took a job sweeping floors in a textile plant in Fall River, Mass. for 62
cents a day.
After graduating from high
school, he studied for the priesthood at the Catholic University of
America in Washington, D.C. and
was ordained a priest for service in
the Diocese of Fall River on June
15, 1946.
New sanctuary for San Cristobal & Companions Parish
The Valley Catholic
MISSION — Bishop Daniel E.
Flores blessed and dedicated the
first of several buildings planned
for San Cristobal Magallanes &
Companions Parish in Mission on
Dec. 20, 2014.
The 12,210-square-foot building, which is planned as the parish
hall, will serve as a sanctuary until
a church building is constructed.
It seats 600 and is located at 4501
Santa Engracia Rd. The parish was
established by Bishop Raymundo J.
Peña in 2004 to serve the faithful of
the burgeoning South Mission area.
San Cristobal Magallanes &
Companions Parish is under the
pastoral care of Father Ignacio
Tapia, pastor, and Deacon Nicolas
Trujillo. Four Masses are celebrated
in the new sanctuary on Sundays –
a bilingual Mass at 10:30 a.m. and
Spanish Masses at 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
and 7 p.m.
The parish also includes two
mission churches, Our Lady of
Fatima Church in Granjeno and
Our Lady of Lourdes Church in
The parish is named for San
Cristobal Magallanes and his 24
companions who were martyred
between 1915 and 1937, by shooting or hanging, throughout eight
Mexican states, for their involvement in the Cristero movement.
San Cristobal erected a seminary
in Totatiche in the Mexican state of
Jalisco and he and his companions
secretly preached and ministered to
the faithful.
San Cristobal Magallanes and
his companions were canonized by
Pope John Paul II in the year 2000.
The Valley Catholic
The new sanctuary at San Cristobal Magallanes &
Companions Parish was blessed and dedicated by
Bishop Daniel E. Flores on Dec. 20, 2014. The cost
of construction was $1.66 million. Four Masses are
celebrated in the new sanctuary every Sunday.
The Valley Catholic - February
»Women speak for themselves en la Frontera
So many choices: Will “50 Shades” be one of them?
hen my daughter was
15 years old, I had to
explain to her why I
didn’t think the movie “Sex in
the City” was appropriate for her
to watch. Now that she is a young
adult and making her own choices, another movie coming out
on Valentine’s Day prompted a
conversation about our media selections. It made me think about
how careful we are concerning
what our children watch, but are
we mindful as adults of our own
media consumption habits?
How blessed we are that
God loved us into being and
gives us free will to make our
own choices, to shape our own
lives. Our journey is paved with
choices. “God willed that man
should be ‘left in the hand of his
own counsel,’ so that he might of
his own accord seek his Creator
and freely attain his full and
blessed perfection by cleaving to
him.” CC 1730
To make good choices,
we have to exercise prudence.
According to St. Augustine,
“prudence is love making a right
distinction between what helps
it towards God and what might
hinder it.”
We are confronted in making
good choices when it comes to
the books we read, the music
we listen to and the movies and
television programs we watch. I
confess I have not been as discerning and selective as I should
have been at times. After all it
was entertainment I reasoned,
a brief detachment from reality.
When we draw from a relativism
play book based on a catechesis
of a secular culture it’s easy to
justify our choices.
However, as the rational
beings that God created us, we
Nettles Riojas
Editor of The
Valley Catholic
have a responsibility to pay attention to what we feed ourselves,
via our reading and viewing selections. Much has been written
about how messages in the media
can influence the public and the
choices we make. Consider the
millions spent by advertisers on
The flood of messages
streaming from the airwaves,
newsstands and online sites have
distorted how a large segment of
the population view relationships
between men and women and
what constitutes a loving union.
On Valentine’s Day, two
movies open in theaters — “Old
Fashioned” and “Fifty Shades of
Grey.” The movie, “Fifty Shades
of Grey,” is based on a book by
the same name and is the first in
a trilogy by E.L James. The book,
aimed at female readers, has sold
100 million copies. It includes
“explicit scenes and heavy doses
of bondage, dominance and
One only has to review the
countless reviews to gleam the
storyline and content of the book
and now movie that have led
some to refer to it as “Mommy
Porn.” Not only have reviewers
critiqued the quality of the writing, some have raised concerns
about the distorted portrayal of
Nathan Nazario, producer
of “Old Fashioned,” said “It surprises me, honestly — in a cul-
ture claiming to advance female
independence and equality —
that so few powerful voices raise
questions about ‘Fifty Shades’”.
“Behind the rating euphemism
‘unusual’ lies a crippling cultural
fear or unwillingness to say any
act is potentially harmful.”
The producers of “Old
Fashioned” are promoting it as
an alternative to “Fifty Shades”
and playing up the differences
between the two movies in one
of the trailers – exploitation vs.
innocence; “Unusual behavior”
vs. thoughtful behavior. The
Motion Picture Association of
America rated “Fifty Shades” R
for “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual
behavior and graphic nudity,
and for language.” According to
a USA Today article (Jan. 9) The
“unusual behavior” term, which
has not be used before in rating
explanations is likely due to the
film’s sexual theme of “dominance and submission.”
Rik Swartzwelder, “Old Fashioned” writer, director, and lead
actor, questions “Fifty Shades”
long-term effects. “What happens
when ‘harmless fantasy’ plays
out in the real world — in young
lives unsure of what lasting love
looks like, much less how to get
it?” he asks. “Unquestionably, the
stories our culture lifts up influence young audiences.”
Swartzwelder’s script sprang
from conversations with fellow singles, he says, struggling
to pursue “God-honoring” and
long-term love in a world fixed
on short-term pleasure.
St. John Paul II addresses
the themes of marriage, family,
sexuality and love as a gift of self
in “Man and Woman He created
them, a Theology of the Body”
(TOB).There is much to unpack
in this series of 129 talks he gave
during his Wednesday audiences
from 1979 to 1984.
Michael Waldstein in his
introduction on TOB, notes,
“The sexual revolution does not
sufficiently appreciate the value
and beauty of sex. It deprives sex
of its depth by detaching it from
the spousal meaning of the body.
It favors the sexual lie, in which
the language of radical gift is
overlaid by the contrary language
of individual autonomy and the
use of persons for pleasure.”
Genevieve Kineke, in her
book “The Authentic Catholic
Woman,” writes, “Among all
of the challenges of our fallen
world, in this generation the
misunderstanding about the
God-given gift of human sexuality are paramount, and correcting them is the preeminent battle
of our day.”
We have a say in the battle.
We can help correct the misunderstanding by arming ourselves
with information and by being
prudent about our choices.
I remember as a child and
well into my teens, my father was
always cautious about what we
saw on television. Even shows
he deemed “appropriate” he felt
the need to constantly remind us
that what we were watching was
fiction. “You know that’s make
believe,” he’d say.
So why worry about the media we choose, especially those
categorized as fiction?
The “Family Guide for Using
Media” from the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops
Committee for Communication,
notes, “The media are so much
part of us that to recognize their
» Please see Many choices p.14
»Family Life
“The Mission of Love”: World Meeting of Families
he Preparatory Catechesis
for the World Meeting
of Families which will
take place in Philadelphia Sept.
22-25, 2015 contains 10 themes.
Last month I addressed the first
theme: “Created for Joy” and this
article covers the second theme:
“The Mission of Love.”
Peter J. Colosi, PhD, in his
supplementary documents for
the Preparatory Catechism states
that in the Bible, God’s love is
depicted in the images of father,
Shepard, teacher, friend, gardener, king and healer.
Pope Benedict XVI speaks of
marriage as an essential image
for God’s love and states that the
Bible is “above all the expression of a love story.” Genesis 1:27
states “God created man in his
image; in the divine image he
created him; male and female he
created them.” In his encyclical
“God is love” (par 2)
Pope Benedict expressed the
love between man and woman by
saying: “Let us first of all bring to
mind the vast semantic range of
the word “love”: we speak of love
of country, love of one’s profession, love between parents and
children, love between family
members, love of neighbor and
love of God. Amid this multiplicity of meanings, however,
one in particular stands out:
love between man and woman,
Lydia Pesina
Director, Family
Life Office
where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings
glimpse an apparently irresistible
promise of happiness. This would
seem to be the very epitome
of love; all other kinds of love
immediately seem to fade in
I believe that conjugal love
contains four very important elements: (1) promise/commitment
(2) covenant (3) sacrifice (4) selfemptying love. (1) When a man
and a woman marry, they make
a vow, a promise, a commitment
to love, honor and protect one
another in good times and in
bad, in sickness and in health,
in poverty and in wealth until
through death they do part.
In 1999, my husband Mauri
had a heart attack and since he
had just switched jobs, had no
insurance and no sick leave. I was
very cognizant of our marriage
vows as we experienced loss of
health and finances all at the
same time. Love is more about
commitment than it is about
feelings. World Wide Marriage
Encounter has taught our Church
since the 1970’s that love is a
decision, a choice. In good times
and in bad, we choose to do the
loving thing whether or not we
feel like it.
(2) Love in marriage is
covenantal, not contractual. A
contract (like a contract made for
someone to paint our home) can
be broken, but a covenant can
never be broken. It is analogous
to the covenant that God made
to his people, Israel when he
told them “I will be your God,
and you will be my people.” He
did not place a stipulation that
said that if they were unfaithful to him or if they made false
idols as they did with the golden
calf, he would no longer be their
God. Likewise, as spouses, we are
called to be faithful to our spouse
in good times and in bad.
(3) Sacrifice: a beautiful and
often misunderstood word. The
dictionary states that “sacrifice”
is the act of giving up something
that you want to keep especially
in order to get or do something
else or to help someone. When
a man and a woman marry, it is
no longer about “What is best for
me” but “What is best for the two
of us” who are now one. Marriage and sacrifice are analogous.
In marriage, as is also true in
parenthood, we “sacrifice” one’s
time, comfort, or money in order
to help the one we love. When
you prepare coffee for your
spouse even when you are tired
and don’t feel like it, it is a small
but loving sacrifice.
(4) Self-emptying love. Jesus
teaches us self-emptying love
through the suffering, death,
and resurrection of the paschal
mystery. In his book “Happy
Together: The Catholic Blueprint
to a Loving Marriage”, John Bosio
delineates six key attitudes and
behaviors that husbands and
wives learn from Christ which
form the blueprint for a happy
marriage. (1) Welcome your
spouse as Christ welcomes the
Church. (2) Remain present and
attentive to your spouse as Christ
is to the church. (3) Sacrifice
yourself for your spouse as Christ
sacrifices himself for the church.
(4) Forgive your spouse as Christ
forgives the church. (5) Comfort
and help your spouse heal as
Christ comforts and heals the
church. (6) Serve your spouse as
Christ serves the Church.
If you are married, consider
writing on an index card five
specific things you do regularly
to demonstrate to your spouse
that you love them and on the
back side of the card, five things
that you notice your spouse does
regularly to show you that they
love you. A small reminder for us
of our Mission of Love.
»News Briefs
violinist to perform
in concert Feb. 27
St. Anthony Parish in Harlingen invites the community to “A
Classical Concert” on Friday, Feb.
27 at the Harlingen Municipal
Auditorium located at 1204 Fair
Park Blvd at 7 p.m. Tickets may
be purchased through the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium office.
General Admission: $35 to $250.
Ticket proceeds from the concert
will go to St. Anthony Catholic
School and the Church Community Center.
The concert will feature internationally known Susana Ogata,
on violin, joining forces with Ian
Watson, Fortepiano performing
“Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin” by Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Ogata and Watson have performed in the United States and
Europe, but never before in Texas.
Benedictine Sisters
host Open House
Pope Francis has spotlighted
consecrated life from Nov. 30, 2014
to Feb. 2, 2016. The Benedictine
Sisters of the Good Shepherd are
inviting you to their Open House
on Feb. 15 from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Open House will include
tours of the monastery, Fountain
of Life Adoration Chapel and
retreat facilities.
The Monastery of the Good
Shepherd is located in Starr
County. For more information,
please call (956) 486-2680. All are
Conference Feb. 5-7
The Third Annual Diocesan
Stewardship Conference, hosted
by the Diocese of Brownsville,
will convene on Thursday, Feb.
5 through Saturday, Feb. 7 at the
Bishop Marx Conference Center of
the San Juan Pastoral Center.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores will deliver the keynote address. Sessions
in English & Spanish will cover
diverse topics related to stewardship.
For additional information call
the Stewardship and Development
Office at (956) 784-5092.
continued from pg. 1
When we gather together, it is like
you get to see your relatives that
you have not seen in a long time.
We are just one big happy family,
walking alongside Christ.”
In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for those
in religious life — those serving in
Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life.
This celebration is attached to
the Feast of the Presentation of the
Lord on Feb. 2. This feast is also
known as Candlemas Day; the day
on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of
the world. So too, those in religious
life are called to reflect light of Jesus
Christ to all peoples.
Pope Francis also instituted a
Year of Consecrated Life, which focuses on sharing the experiences of
prayer, service and community life
of religious priests, brothers and
sisters. The Year of Consecrated
Life began on Nov. 29, 2014 and
ends on Feb. 2, 2016.
February 2015 - The Valley Catholic
The Word of God in the Life
and Mission of the Church
(Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Reading 1
DT 18:15-20
Responsorial Psalm
PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
Reading 2
1 COR 7:32-35
MT 4:16
MK 1:21-28
(Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Reading 1
JB 7:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm
PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Reading 2
1 COR 9:16-19, 22-23
MT 8:17
MK 1:29-39
(Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Reading 1
LV 13:1-2, 44-46
Responsorial Psalm
PS 32:1-2, 5, 11
Reading 2
1 COR 10:31—11:1
LK 7:16
MK 1:40-45
(First Sunday of Lent)
Reading 1
GN 9:8-15
Responsorial Psalm
PS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Reading 2
1 PT 3:18-22
Verse Before The Gospel
MT 4:4B
MK 1:12-15
The word of the Lord abides for ever.
This word is the Gospel which was
preached to you” (1 Pet 1:25; cf. Is
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 today.
Disciples in Mission: Six Weeks
with the Bible
»Making Sense of Bioethics
Esteeming our elders, fostering
solidarity across generations
ccasionally we hear
disturbing stories in the
media about young people
who perpetrate abuse against the
elderly. In a widely reported 2009
story, for example, caretakers at
the Quadrangle Assisted Living
facility outside Philadelphia were
charged in connection with the
abuse of an elderly patient named
Lois McCallister. Three employees,
aged 19, 21 and 22 were caught on a
surveillance camera as they taunted,
mocked and assaulted the partially
naked 78 year old woman.
She had begun complaining
to visiting family members several
months prior that someone was
hurting her and hitting her. There
were also initial signs of bruising on
her hand and wrist. After bringing
the bruises to the attention of the
nursing home’s administrators, the
family was informed that the allegations were unfounded, and were
told the accusations were simply
the result of the patient’s advancing dementia. Family members
suspected there was more to it, and
clandestinely installed the video
camera, hidden in a clock in the
victim’s room.
After capturing the assailants on
tape, they concluded that the abuse
suffered by their mother had been
ongoing for some time. One of the
young women charged in the case
told investigators she was working on another floor the night the
clock/camera captured the scene in
the elderly woman’s room. A family
member later told news reporters,
“They called the third girl down
from another floor and said, ‘Come
down, we’re going to start.”
As a consequence of the abuse,
the Department of Public Welfare
eventually revoked the license for
the facility, and the family filed
a civil lawsuit against the parent
Priest of the
Diocese of Fall
A tragic event like this leads
to intense questioning about how
these young people, charged with
the special care of the older generation, could end up becoming so
callous, inhuman, and brutal. What
can be done to prevent this kind
of “inter-generational disconnect”
from occurring in the future? And
what can be done to build up unity
and respect between generations?
A nearly universal point of reference over the years, and a counsel
of incalculable worth, has been
the injunction enshrined in the
Decalogue: Honor your father and
mother. A decision to abide by this
commandment invariably serves to
strengthen the concern of children
for their parents and elders, and
helps forge a bond between the generations. The Book of Sirach offers
similarly sage advice: “My son, take
care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate
of him; revile him not all the days of
his life; kindness to a father will not
be forgotten, firmly planted against
the debt of your sins…”
In a sense, it is precisely the
weakness and vulnerability of the
elderly that beckons us to manifest
a greater respect towards them,
and never to mistreat them in the
strength of youth. As Pope John
Paul II beautifully summed it up in
his 1999 Letter to the Elderly: “…
the signs of human frailty which are
clearly connected with advanced
age become a summons to the mutual dependence and indispensable
solidarity which link the different
generations…” Compassionately
attending to the needs of the elderly
draws the generations together and
builds solidarity.
When the unique gifts of the
elderly are invested and shared with
the younger generation, this, too,
builds up solidarity. Elderly people
help us see human affairs with a
sense of perspective tempered by
experience, reflection and wisdom.
Whenever grandparents contribute
to the raising and formation of the
grandchildren, even by doing something as simple as teaching them
how to pray and think about God,
they strengthen inter-generational
ties, and build family unity.
We can foster intergenerational care and support within our
families and communities in other
simple ways as well, for example,
through conscientious parenting,
including small but important
steps such as insisting on meal time
together as a family (which builds
up mutual respect and concern
for others in the family); teaching compassion by visiting sick or
elderly neighbors together; teaching
children to welcome all human life,
even when weak or handicapped;
praying together as a family; decreasing media time and guarding
against violent computer/video
games, pornography and other
practices that dehumanize people
and make them seem like objects to
be manipulated.
As we seek to build relational
bridges across generations, and
work to construct a society that esteems its elders, we simultaneously
build up homes and communities
that are liberated of the threat of
abuse or neglect — places of safety,
mutual support and love, even as
the hairs on our head turn gray and
our strength wanes.
Repent and believe in the gospel
n Ash Wednesday (Feb.
18) we are marked with
ashes on our foreheads
and we hear the powerful words:
“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel” from the Gospel
of Mark 1:15. It is a message that
calls the faithful to repentance and
conversion; and are also words that
give us hope to believe in the Lord
Jesus the Christ the only one that
can save us from our sins.
The evangelist John reminds
us that when John the Baptist saw
Jesus he said, “Behold, the Lamb of
God, who takes away the sin of the
world!” (John 1:29).
During the season of Lent
(which consists of 40 days), holy
mother Church invites us to the
desert, to go on retreat if you will
and examine our lives. The Church
calls us to conversion, a call to
change one’s life and to repentance.
The Greek word for “repentance” is “metanoia”, which means,
at its root, to “change one’s mind”,
taking on an entirely new way of
thinking and being. For the Christian it is living in intimacy with
a God who loves us and forgives
us and welcomes us back home
like the prodigal son or daughter
always waiting for us.
In the gospels we read that after Jesus was baptized in the River
Jordan and anointed by the Spirit
Luis Zuniga
Director, Office for
Pastoral Planning
& San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute.
he begins his ministry of preaching
the gospel – the good news that the
kingdom of God was now at hand
for all who were ready to receive it.
The word “gospel” literally means
“good news”.
God sent us his Son Jesus not
to establish an earthly kingdom
but to bring us into his heavenly
kingdom, one ruled by truth, justice, peace, and holiness. The call
of every baptized is to live a life of
holiness, this is why we imitate the
saints in our daily living. The kingdom of God is the central theme
of Jesus’ mission. It’s the core of
his gospel message, Jesus calls
everyone he meets to conversion
and repentance and the Church on
earth continues with the same mission entrusted to the apostles, we
call these efforts Evangelization.
Have you ever noticed every
time we begin Holy Mass, the presider invites us to pause and reflect
on our own lives? “As we prepare
to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s
love, let us acknowledge our fail-
ures and ask the Lord for pardon
and strength.” We call to mind our
sins (again a call to conversion and
repentance) in order to ask God
for his love, and for his forgiveness. For in the end we all stand
before God as beggars in need of
his mercy.
The Catechism of the Catholic
Church instructs us that: “Interior
repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a
conversion to God with all our
heart, an end of sin, a turning away
from evil, with repugnance toward
the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the
desire and resolution to change
one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy
and trust in the help of his grace.
This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and
sadness which the Fathers called
animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit)
and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart)”. (CCC #1431).
Lent is a good time to reflect
and to seek reconciliation with
God and with neighbor. The
whole purpose of the Sacrament of
Reconciliation is the forgiveness of
serious sin. Venial sin which is less
serious is forgiven in a variety of
ways such as Holy Mass, other acts
of charity, generosity to the poor,
» Please see Believe p.7
Paul Haring/Catholic News Service
A woman receives a blessing during the
annual blessing of throats in honor of
St. Blaise at the Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in Washington.
»Feast Day
St. Blaise
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
Many Catholics might remember St. Blaise’s feast day,
Feb. 3, because of the Blessing
of the Throats that takes place
on this day. Two candles are
blessed, held slightly open, and
pressed against the throat as the
blessing is said.
Very few facts are known
about St. Blaise. According to
legend, a mother came to him
with her young son who had a
fish bone lodged in his throat.
At Bishop Blaise’s command,
the child coughed up the bone.
Blaise was a hard-working
bishop dedicated to encouraging the spiritual and physical
health of his people in Sebastea,
Although the Edict of Toleration which granted freedom of
worship in the Roman Empire
had been signed five years prior,
religious persecution still raged
in the country. Blaise was forced
to flee to the countryside.
The legend of his life that
sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in
to a rich and noble family who
raised him as a Christian.
After becoming a bishop, a
new persecution of Christians
began. He received a message
from God to go into the hills to
escape persecution.
Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who
were sick. Among them Blaise
walked unafraid, curing them
of their illnesses. Recognizing
Blaise as a bishop, they captured
him to take him back for trial.
On the way back, he talked a
wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman.
When Blaise was sentenced to
be starved to death, the woman,
in gratitude, sneaked into the
prison with food and candles.
Finally, Blaise was beheaded for
not sacrificing to the pagan gods
by the governor.
The Germans and Slavs hold
him in special honor and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual St.
Blaise blessing for their throats.
Blaise is the patron saint of
wild animals because of his
care for them and of those with
throat maladies.
The Valley Catholic - February
Speakers for women’s conference confirmed
The Valley Catholic
Women are invited to share
their talents and join the planning team for the Catholic Women’s Conference, “Living the Joy
of the Gospel & Celebrating the
Feminine Genius,” scheduled
during the Month of Mary on
Saturday, May 2, from 8:30 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m.
The event is being organized
by different ministries of the Diocese of Brownsville, the Catholic
Daughters of the Americas and
other women’s groups. Approximately 500 women are expected
to attend the event.
speakers include
the Most Rev.
Daniel E. Flores,
bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, and Dr.
Carolyn Y. Woo,
Bishop Flores
president and CEO
of Catholic Relief Services.
The conference will also include up to 20 breakout sessions
in English and Spanish.
Sessions will reflect the
theme: “Living the Joy of the
Gospel & Celebrating the Feminine Genius.” The first part of the
theme is inspired by Pope Francis’
What the Church says about ...
Catholic News Agency
Q: Do Catholics worship
A: No.
Adoration is the worship
and homage that is due to God
alone. The Saints are human
like you and I. They are not divine. Adoration of the saints has
never been nor will ever be part
of Catholic teaching or prayer.
We venerate the saints.
Veneration is the honor due
to the excellence or achievement of a created person.
The Olympics give us an example of veneration. An Olympic gold medal for excellence in
athletics is a form of veneration.
Honor given for the achievement of an athlete takes nothing
away from the glory of God. We
pay many honors to Olympic
Champions; like putting their
picture on a box of Wheaties
and giving them many apparel
We are not scandalized by
this because no one thinks we
worship them as a god.
We venerate the Saints in
heaven because of the excellence
they attained in living a life in imitation of Christ.
The Saints are like God’s
champion athletes. It is pleasing
to God and gives Him glory when
we honor those who excelled in
love for Him.
It is necessary to remember
that the love and honor a person
gives to God’s Saints does not end
with the Saints themselves but
rather it reaches ultimately to God
through the Saints.
In honoring a beautiful work
of art we are truly honoring the
Special to the Valley Catholic
An image of St. Paul, who wrote some
of the most beautiful and important
passages of the Bible.
It is only by God’s grace that
the Saints reached the heights of
holiness. In a very real sense they
are His works of art.
Therefore, nothing is taken
away from the glory and honor
of God through veneration of the
Saints, in fact we truly honor God
when we venerate those who excelled in love for Him.
first Apostolic
The second
from St. John
Paul II’s writWoo
ings on women,
including his apostolic letter
“Mulieris Dignitatem: On the
Dignity and Vocation of Women.”
For additional information
call (956) 536-4866 or to register to be an exhibitor or vendor
at the conference, contact Maria
Luisa Guerra at (956) 648-0233.
To reserve
a space on
one of the
tours call
or email:
[email protected] or
[email protected]
February 2015 - The Valley Catholic
A feast for a fast
Youth JAM
Catholic Relief
Services offers Lent
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services’
(CRS) Rice Bowl provides a feast
of resources for the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Catholics in the Diocese of
Brownsville and throughout the
U.S. live a vibrant Lent experience through CRS Rice Bowl.
The cardboard box is familiar
and the Lenten calendar tucked
inside is the primary resource
for families and individuals. Its
weekly family stories and recipes
help stretch awareness of others and there are daily suggestions that help turn that growing
awareness into response.
Parishes have additional resources in English and Spanish
for helping the whole community celebrate Lent richly. There
are prayer services, intentions
for Prayers of the Faithful, bulletin notices, a letter to families,
weekly 10-minute enrichment
resources for religious education,
and activities.
Catholic schools have weekly
lesson plans, prayer services and
activities for various age groups.
For both parishes and
schools, there are prayer services
for the beginning and end of Lent
that integrate CRS Rice Bowl
into the community’s Lenten life.
And this year, for the first time,
CRS is making available a video
series on Lenten practices; this is
Courtesy photo
Forty years ago, Catholics in the United States wanted to respond to famine in Africa.
Could we feed the hungry through Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving? The answer
was yes—and it came in the form of a small cardboard box. Forty years later, CRS Rice
Bowl is one way to help our brothers and sisters in need each Lent.
a formational series that does not
focus on CRS Rice Bowl itself.
For teens, special resources
for prayer, learning, and action
are provided for both parish and
school settings.
Young adult groups and universities have community reflection resources designed for them.
CRS Rice Bowl has a phone
app to supply daily reflections
and to provide access to Rice
Bowl information. Facebook
and Twitter pages (@CRSRiceBowl and #4Lent4Life) connect
Catholics with one another as
they use Rice Bowl throughout
At everyone can access prayer services and reflections to help live
Lent more profoundly with both
traditional and new resources:
Stations of the Cross, Our Lady
of Sorrows and a “Saint of the
There are videos and photo
caches on four of the countries
featured in Lent 2015, videos
featuring the recipes for simple
meals presented in this year’s
materials, and “how to” videos to
help use of Rice Bowl go smoothly in a parish or school setting.
For people in ministry, webinars provide information and
best practices from around the
So this Lent Catholics can
feast on resources for fasting,
praying, almsgiving, and learning for a full Lent and an Easter
of hope.
For more information or for
CRS Rice Bowl resources, please
see or contact Miguel Santos at [email protected] or (956) 784-5093.
Courtesy photo
The Office of Youth Ministry is hosting the annual Youth JAM retreat on Saturday, April 18.
All middle school youth are invited to a day to celebrate the Catholic faith. This event will
be at B. Garza Middle School, 1111 W. Sugar Cane Dr. in Weslaco. The cost for this event
is $20 and scholarships are available. For more information, visit
Courtesy photo
In 2015, St. Joseph Academy will celebrate 150 years of Catholic educational services to
the youth of South Texas.
“The brave spirit of these early Catholic founders challenges us to continue the tradition
of service to God and making Jesus known and loved through our students and community,” said Lori Trott, principal of St. Joseph Academy. “We take up the proud mantle of the
enduring and endearing spirit of SJA over the past 150 years and carry it into the future to
ensure the stability of our school and the important role it has and will play in the lives of
the children in our community.”
Founded in 1865 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, St. Joseph Academy
opened and closed several times in its earliest years.
In 1906, Marist Brothers from Mexico arrived and reopened the school that has remained
open continuously since. It initially operated as an elementary school for boys.
Photos by Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
All the groups gathered on stage for the grand finale at a mariachi concert in 2014 at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine. This year’s concerts are scheduled for Feb. 13 and Feb. 20.
Basilica to host mariachi concerts
Fourth annual
event to highlight
traditional art form
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — The Basilica
of Our Lady of San Juan del
Valle-National Shrine is hosting its fourth annual Mariachi
Concerts, featuring their professional house mariachi, mariachi
bands from local middle school
and high schools along with local
professional groups.
The first concert is set for 7
p.m. on Friday, Feb. 13 and will
include performances from Ma-
riachi Juvenil de America from
Rio Grande City Veterans Middle
School, Mariachi Cascabel from
Rio Grande City High School
and Los Coyotes de La Joya.
The second concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20
and will feature Mariachi Nuevas
Raíces of Hidalgo High School,
Mariachi Siete Leguas, Escandón de Santander Mariachi from
Roma Middle School, Roma
High School Nuevo Santander
and professional mariachi Rey
Azteca from Pharr.
Tickets for each concert are
available at a cost of $7. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Basilica at (956)
787-0033 or visit their website
Today, St. Joseph Academy’s enrollment is 620 and serves young men and women in
grades 7-12.The school has achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate. For more
information, call (956) 542-3581.
continued from pg. 5
and by prayer, fasting and acts of
This is the reason for the three
traditional (elements) pillars of
Lenten observance: prayer, fasting
and almsgiving. The three practices help us to become stronger
in our faith as we get ready to
renounce sin and renew our own
baptismal promises at Easter.
“The interior penance of the
Christian can be expressed in
many and various ways. Scripture
and the Fathers insist above all on
three forms, fasting, prayer, and
almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God,
and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by
Baptism or martyrdom they cite as
means of obtaining forgiveness of
sins: efforts at reconciliation with
one’s neighbor, tears of repentance,
concern for the salvation of one’s
neighbor, the intercession of the
saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of
sins.” (Catechism of the Catholic
Church, #1434).
The first reading for Ash
Wednesday from the Prophet Joel
reminds us that: “Yet even now,”
says the Lord, “return to me with
all your heart, with fasting, with
weeping, and with mourning; and
rend your hearts and not your
garments” (Joel 2:12). This is precisely what Lent is about, to return
to the Lord with all our heart.
Even if our hearts are broken only
the Lord can make us whole again.
The Valley Catholic - February
Humanitarian Outreach
Responding to the call
Why do you volunteer at the
immigrant respite center?
“When you see them as people and not
just numbers in a news story, it makes
all the difference in the world,” Martinez
said. “It is great to interact with the
families and help them and love them.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear about the
atrocities some of them have gone
through in just traveling here and it’s
even harder to hear that what they
have experienced is worth it in order to
escape where they are coming from. It’s
hard for me to imagine something being
that bad daily that they are willing to risk their lives to get here.”
- Andrea Martinez, 31, recently moved to Houston from Minnesota and decided to
come down to McAllen to volunteer for a few days.
“Immigration is the essential American
story,” he said. “The story of the
Mayflower … that was underclass
people taking an incredibly deadly
journey across the Atlantic Ocean to
come here for a better life.
Year of Consecrated Life
Religious communities serving in our diocese
Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Founded by: In 1897 in Mulagumoodu, India. Mother
Marie Louise was a Belgian Canoness of St. Augustine
who went to India to help a Carmelite priest run an
How long has your community served our diocese?
Since 1985.
Charism: Following Jesus, our preferential option is
for the poor. We are ready to go to peoples of other
nationalities, races, cultures, religions, and ideologies to
be witnesses to the unity to which humankind is called in
Jesus Christ and so to participate in the local Church’s
Apostolate: We are an international missionary
congregation with members from many countries and
ministering in many countries. We engage in education,
social work, medical work, pastoral work, and many
varied apostolates according to needs. We are currently
ministering at Proyecto Desarrollo Humano in Penitas.
Contact information: ICM Missionary Sisters;
[email protected], 956-5855488; 580-9726; website:
Courtesy photo
The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary serving in
Peñitas, from left, Sister Emily Jocson, Sister Fatima Santiago and
Sister Carolyn Kosub.
Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
“This is the same story. It’s not an
easy trip. It’s a dangerous trip. You’re
risking your life. You’re not doing that
on a whim, you’re not doing that for
any petty reason, you’re doing that for
the essential survival of your family.
Only the strongest people are willing to
take on that risk. These are not weak people. These are incredibly strong people to
take on this dangerous journey and that’s what makes this country what it is.”
- Andrew Kennedy, 51, Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston made his
second trip to McAllen to volunteer at the center in January.
Meet some of the volunteers who help refugees from Central America
at the respite center at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen. The center
opened June 10 and hundreds of volunteers have served more than
10,000 people. To volunteer call (956) 292-5852.
Courtesy photo
From left, Father Juan Ortiz, Father Leo Francis Daniels, Father Mario
Avilés and Father José Encarnación Losoya.
Founded by: St. Philip Neri, (1515-1595), Rome, Italy 1575
How long has your community served our diocese?
Since 1967
Charism(s): Lay oratory, education, parish work
Apostolate(s): Education: Oratory Academy PK-8,
established 1983; Oratory Athenaeum, grades 9-12,
established 1998. Newman Institute, PK-6, Reynosa,
Parish work: St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, Pharr
and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Hidalgo.
Other: Father Mario Avilés is the procurator general of the
worldwide Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri
Contact information: [email protected]
Phone (956) 843-8217,
We will feature religious communities serving
in our diocese every month throughout the Year of Consecrated Life.
February 2015 - The Valley Catholic
Those Who Serve:
Deacon David Espinoza
‘God gives us miracles once in a while’
Deacon celebrates
recovery from lifethreatening illness
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — “God hears our
prayers,” said Deacon David Espinoza of Holy Spirit Church in
McAllen. “He gives us miracles
once in a while just to remind us
that he listens to us, that he does
hear our prayers.”
Deacon Espinoza, 60, believes
that he received a miracle healing
from God in 2004.
“In the Spring of 2004, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure,” he said. “I was told my heart
was only functioning at 10 percent
capacity and the prognosis was that
I was terminal.”
Doctors at the DeBakey Heart
Institute in Houston told him his
only hope for survival was a heart
transplant, but that the wait list was
very long.
“They said I might not make it
to the top of the list in time,” Deacon Espinoza said.
For nine months, Deacon Espinoza and his wife of 40 years, Toni,
who works as the office manager at
Holy Spirit Church, rode a roller
coaster of hope.
“We struggled with the ups and
downs,” he said. “I went through a
little bit of a depression.”
The Valley Catholic
Above: A screen shot of Toni and Deacon David Espinoza from the Today show. The couple
was featured on the Dec. 23, 2014 program. Right: Bishop Daniel E. Flores ordains Deacon Espinoza to the permanent diaconate on Dec. 18, 2010 at the Basilica of Our Lady of
San Juan del Valle-National Shrine.
Toni Espinoza prayed fervently
and enlisted her friends and family
to join her. Along the way, however,
Toni Espinoza was conflicted.
“It didn’t seem right for her to
pray for someone to die so I could
live,” Deacon Espinoza said. “So she
started praying for my healing.”
She also asked God for a sign
that her prayer was going to be
answered: snow on Christmas in
It snowed on Christmas for the
first time in more than 100 years.
Three weeks later, Deacon Espinoza returned to Houston for a
“The doctor looked at my chart
and his eyes just bugged out and
his jaw dropped,” Deacon Espinoza
said. “He said, ‘you’re not sick anymore. You’re going to be around for
a long, long time.’”
Today, his heart functions at
70 percent capacity, which is in the
normal range.
Deacon Espinoza’s story was
featured on the national Today
show in December in the monthly “Godwink” segment. Author
SQuire Rushnell, a former television executive, featured Deacon Espinoza in his book series which tell
the stories of regular people who
were touched by divine intervention. The books have appeared on
the New York Times bestseller list.
The part of Deacon Espinoza’s
story that hasn’t been told is that
he had just undergone a religious
conversion when he was struck by
this medical crisis. After a lifetime
of being what he describes as a
“Christer” — one who only attends
Mass on Christmas and Easter —
he finally had a personal relationship with Jesus.
“God had a time and place for
everything,” he said. “I totally fell in
love with Jesus, but it didn’t happen
until I was 48.”
After his conversion, Deacon
Espinoza read Catholic books and
attended every Mass and church
service he could. He was motivated
to serve God and his Church and
to learn more about his faith, but
didn’t know what to do.
He finally sat down with Father
Eduardo Ortega, who currently
serves as pastor of Sacred Heart
Church in Mercedes, and asked for
“He asked if I had ever thought
about the diaconate,” Deacon Espinoza recalled. “I was like, ‘no,’ and
he said, ‘pray about it.’ I mentioned
it to my wife and she also suggested
we put it before prayer.”
In the midst of his spiritual
awakening, he received the news
about his heart.
“I got sick at a point when I was
searching for direction,” Deacon
Espinoza said. “I wanted to serve
our Lord better. I began questioning God. ‘How can I just have fallen
in love with you – and I know there
is more for me – but now I’m dying?’”
After he was healed, Deacon
Espinoza was more determined
than ever to serve the Lord.
“He gave me this miracle and
the call (to service) was even stronger,” he said. “My wife and I had
a conversation about it and after
some tears, we determined that
God was calling me to be a deacon,
but we didn’t have a formation program in the Valley at that time.”
Not knowing where to go, Deacon Espinoza showed up at a parish
in Laredo and inquired about the
» Please see Deacon Espinoza, p.14
The Valley Catholic - February 2015
Pope draws record-breaking crowd Bringing hope to Iraq
6 to 7 million people
attended Mass in the
Paul Harring/Catholic News
Pope Francis comforts
Glyzelle Palomar, 12, after
the former street child
spoke during a meeting
with young people at the
University of Santo Tomas
in Manila, Philippines, Jan.
18. Also pictured is Jun
Chura, 14, who also spoke.
Catholic News Service
MANILA, Philippines — Pope
Francis told a crowd of an estimated 6 million gathered in a Manila
park to protect the family “against
insidious attacks and programs
contrary to all that we hold true
and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.”
The pope’s homily at the Jan.
18 Mass also reprised several other themes he had sounded during
the four-day visit, including environmental problems, poverty and
Despite continuous rain, the
congregation in Rizal Park began
to assemble the night before the
afternoon celebration. Cardinal
Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila canceled other Masses throughout the
archdiocese to enhance turnout.
The crowd was so dense in spots
that people passed hosts to fellow worshippers unable to reach
priests distributing Communion.
The government estimated
total crowd size at 6 million-7
million people. According to the
Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father
Federico Lombardi, that would be
the largest number of people ever
to gather to see a pope. A Mass
with St. John Paul II in the same
place 20 years earlier is believed
to have drawn 4 million-5 million people, often described as the
largest live crowd in history.
The Mass was celebrated on
Santo Niño Day, or the feast of the
Holy Child Jesus, one of the most
popular feast days in the Philippines. Many of those who walked
great distances down closed roads
to get to Rizal Park held statues of
Santo Nino.
For his final scheduled public
talk in the country, Pope Francis
stuck to his prepared English text
and did not improvise in Spanish,
as he had done at several emotional points during the visit. Yet his
voice rose with emphasis during
the passage about protecting the
Those words echoed his warning, during a Jan. 16 meeting with
Filipino families, against “ideological colonization that tries to
destroy the family” through such
practices as same-sex marriage
and contraception.
In his homily, Pope Francis
said Christians “need to see each
child as a gift to be welcomed,
cherished and protected. And we
need to care for our young people,
not allowing them to be robbed of
hope and condemned to life on
the streets.”
The pope praised the Philippines, whose population is more
than 80 percent Catholic, as the
“foremost Catholic country in
Asia,” and said its people, millions
of whom work abroad, are “called
to be outstanding missionaries of
the faith in Asia.”
Yet he warned the developing
nation, one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, against temptations of materialism, saying the
devil “hides his snares behind the
appearance of sophistication, the
allure of being modern, like everyone else.
“He distracts us with the
promise of ephemeral pleasures,
superficial pastimes. And so we
squander our God-given gifts by
tinkering with gadgets; we squander our money on gambling and
Pope Francis, who had urged
a group of young people earlier in
the day to address the challenge
of climate change through dedication to the environment, told
Mass-goers human sinfulness had
“disfigured (the) natural beauty”
of creation.
Other consequences of sin, the
pope said, were “social structures
which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruptiom,” problems
he had emphasized in his Jan. 16
speech at Manila’s presidential
Cursillo or ACTS?
just finished reading most
of Pope Francis’ Evangelii
Gaudium. I am looking out
the window admiring the slopes
at Casa San Jose Retreat Center
in Valle de Bravo, in the state
of Mexico. I am here with a
brother priest and a group of our
parishioners attending a weeklong course on Evangelization. As
many of us have come to admire
the Holy Father’s stance on the
Church we ponder on his words
as we read, “When the Church
does not go out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential, she grows ill (like the stooped
woman in the Gospel). The evils
which appear throughout history
in Church institutions are rooted
in this self-referentiality—a kind
of theological narcissism.”
Hence, Evangelization has
always looked at movements and
sodalities in the Church to carry
this ardent task of bringing us
closer to our faith which ought
to be rooted in the Resurrected
Christ. I write this article as
many individuals who hunger
for a deep relationship with God
approach me and ask me: Father
Carlos should I attend a Cursillo
or an ACTS retreat? I tell them
that they’re both good movements that should be explored.
The question prompted me to
delve into the need to look at the
importance of apostolic movements. I am reminded what
theologians have opined about
lay ecclesial movements in the
Church. We note that whenever
there is a decadence of faith we
Father Carlos
Pastor of St. Pius
X Church in
Weslaco, founder
of 956 Cattholic
have witnessed the surge of
movements such as Cursillos
de Cristiandad (1940s) and the
ACTS movement that started in
San Antonio.
I am reminded of what Pope
Benedict noted about Christianity. He reminded us that Catholic
Christianity is not a mere set of
ethical norms, or memorization
of doctrines but a relationship
and an encounter with our Lord
Jesus Christ. We all want a deeper
relationship with the Lord and
hence, apostolic movements often
lead us to this encounter. Pope
Francis and some cardinals have
urged us to re-think the way we
live our faith and thus the axiom,
“the age of casual Catholicism is
over and the age of heroic Catholicism has begun” has become
Lay ecclesial (meaning “relating to the church”) movements
received notable support from
Saint John Paul II who saw them
as part of the “new evangelization” in the second millennium.
Such movements date back to the
founding of the Church and were
promoted by the Second Vatican
Council’s “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity” that gave clear
support for laypeople to organize
around different charisms (gifts
from the Holy Spirit) and take a
more direct role in manifesting
the kingdom of God on earth.
In simple terms, lay movements
bring together Catholics of various walks of life who feel called
to a certain type of ministry or
The Cursillo movement is an
instrument of renewal by which
Christianity can permeate, live
and grow in today’s world. It
proposes no new type of spirituality but a method through which
one’s spirituality can be strengthened, lived and shared in all areas
of one’s environment. The teachings of Christ are presented in an
atmosphere of warmth, joy and
fellowship. A Cursillo is made
only once in a lifetime, therefore
it is not considered a substitute
for a retreat. What is unique of
about Cursillos is the sense of
follow-up and formation. There
are weekly Ultreyas (reunion of
group) and a school of leadership
that meets weekly before an individual gives a talk at a retreat.
The ACTS movement came to
birth from the Cursillo Movement through the inspiration
of the Holy Spirit, in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. ACTS
retreats have been offered in our
diocese for more than 15 years.
ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Community, Theology, and
Service. It is these four themes
that are the focus of activities for
the three-day weekend lay retreats, patterned after the descrip» Please see Cursillo/ACTS? p.15
Ordinations a symbol
of ‘renewed life’ for
troubled region
Catholic News Service
AINKAWA, Iraq — Despite
the pain of recent loss of family
and ancestral homes at the hands
of Islamist extremists, Iraqi Catholics welcomed four seminarians
— three as deacons, one as a subdeacon — in a ceremony meant
to encourage renewed hope for the
“Of course, we are so pleased for
the ordination of these young men
who will be priests. It’s a symbol of
renewed life for us and the church.
Jesus Christ is present among us,”
said Sister Marcelle Senat, who was
forced to escape Mosul last June
when Islamic State militants overran the seat of the Christians’ historic heartland in Iraq.
“This ordination is wonderful. It’s a true sign to the world of
the perseverance of our faith in Jesus Christ,” said Sister Marcelle, a
member of the Sisters of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus who now works with
displaced Iraqi children.
About 1,500 Catholic clergy,
religious and laity packed St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Cathedral
Jan. 16 at the ordination service
led by Archbishop Bashar Warda
of Irbil; Baghdad Auxiliary Bishop
Shlemon Warduni, president of
Caritas Iraq; and Duhok Bishop
Rabban Al-Qas.
Several times, the congregation
was encouraged to look to the future and follow Jesus in the midst
of violence and destruction. Those
in attendance also were urged to
celebrate the young men for their
dedication to the Lord.
Several women broke out in a
wavering, high-pitched ululation,
normally used at weddings in the
Arab world; on this day, they celebrated the future priests.
“Jesus Christ gives us the power
to overcome,” Archbishop Warda
told those assembled. “He helps
those in need, those fleeing violence and turmoil, and gives us a
“Jesus is close to the poor and
those poor in spirit,” he said. “It’s
important to understand this in the
trials we face.”
A delegation of U.S. Catholics — led by Bishop Oscar Cantu,
chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in conjunction with Catholic
Relief Services — attended the ceremony. Caritas and CRS have been
active in provided badly needed
assistance to Iraq’s internally displaced Christians and other religious minorities.
“Today is a great event for the
people of Iraq, especially those
Christians who have suffered displacement from their homes and
their cultural roots, Georgina Betnam, a teacher and writer originally from Mosul, told Catholic News
“This is our hope: to have such
people and priests living and serving here in the Middle East, where
Christianity and our heritage have
their foundation,” Betnam said.
The United Nations estimates
more than 2 million people are
displaced within Iraq. Most are
Christians and other religious minorities, such as the Yezidis, forced
to escape the onslaught of Islamic
State fighters who demanded they
leave, convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or face death.
»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.
» Birthdays
2 Rev. Mishael Koday
2 Rev. Roche Thiruchiluvai, SS.CC
3 Rev. Thomas Pincelli
3 Rev. Alejandro Fajardo, SS.CC
11 Rev. Gustavo Obando
11 Msgr. Robert Davola
19 Bishop Emeritus Raymundo
J. Pena
26 Rev. Juan Victor Heredia
26 Rev. Thomas G. Kulleck
2 Sister Mary N. Vincelli, CSJ
2 Sister Esther Rodriguez, O.P.
3 Sister Anita Jennissen, OSF
14 Brother David Concannon, CFC
20 Sister Rosalia Fink, OSB
20 Sister Frances Salinas, OSB
20 Sister Denise Sausville, RSM
8 Deacon Amando Peña Jr.
11 Deacon Gilberto Perez
13 Deacon Hugo De la Cruz
15 Deacon Jose R. Castro
15 Deacon George M. Terrazas
17 Deacon Hector Perez
18 Deacon Pedro Sanchez
22 Deacon Alvino Olvera
» Anniversaries
2 Rev. Juan Victor Heredia
8 Rev. Gnanaraj Michael
11 Msgr. Robert Davola
15 Rev. Patrick Seitz
25 Rev. Marco Antonio Reynoso
» Birthdays
2 Rev. Eduardo Ortega
6 Rev. Timothy Paulsen, OMI
7 Rev. Salvador Ramirez
9 Rev. Manuel Alfredo Razo
10 Rev. Rodolfo Franco
11 Rev. Jose Garza
24 Rev. Vicente Azcoiti
25 Rev. Msgr. Patrick Doherty
29 Rev. Gerald Frank
2 Deacon Gerardo J. Rosa
9 Deacon Jose G. Garza
9 Deacon Manuel Sanchez
16 Deacon Salvador Rojas
17 Deacon Martin Jaques
21 Deacon Daniel Zamora
27 Deacon Hector Garcia
Sister Dorothy Carey, SHSp
Sister Patricia DeBlieck, CSJ
Sister Mary Sardinha, SSD
Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP
Sister Therese Corkery, PBVM
» Anniversaries
5 Rev. Francisco Castillo
14 Rev. Simon Brzozowski, MSF
19 Rev. Jose E. Losoya, CO
Febrero 2015 - The Valley Catholic
Papa Francisco se despide de Filipinas
Entre 6 y 7 millones de
personas se reunieron
para la misa
ACI Prensa
ACI Prensa
MANILA — Portando su habitual maletín negro y acompañado del Arzobispo de Manila,
Cardenal Luis Antonio Tagle, el
Papa Francisco se despidió hoy
de las autoridades y del pueblo de
Filipinas. Ahora se encuentra en el
vuelo de regreso a Roma adonde
llegará a las 5:40 p.m. (hora local)
del lunes 19 de enero.
De manera similar a la ceremonia de bienvenida, miles de
niños y jóvenes lo despidieron en
medio de un ambiente de alegría
en el aeropuerto internacional
de Manila adonde llegó luego de
recorrer las calles de la ciudad bendiciendo a los fieles que salieron
masivamente para verlo.
“¡Viva el Santo Papa!” y “Pope
Francis, we love you (Papa Francisco te amamos)” eran las frases
que se escucharon durante la despedida en el aeropuerto.
Los obispos de Filipinas, como
en la bienvenida, también estuvieron presentes para acompañar al
“Yo le quiero agradecer señor
presidente, la cálida acogida” de
los filipinos y por el esfuerzo de la
organización para esta visita para
la que “usted tuvo que trabajar
horas extras (...) Muchas gracias”,
dijo Francisco al mandatario filipino que caminó con el Santo Padre
hasta la escalinata del avión.
Detalles del
posible itinerario
del Papa en EEUU
Alan holdren/ ACI Presnsa
El Papa Francisco ya está de regreso a Roma. Aquí se le ve en el emocionante encuentro con los jóvenes de Filipinas.
Los presentes en el aeropuerto
despidieron al Santo Padre con
una oración a la Virgen María por
su buen retorno.
Así, el Santo Padre concluye su
segundo viaje a Asia –el primero
fue a Corea del Sur, entre el 14 y 18
de agosto de 2013–. En este viaje
visitó Sri Lanka y Filipinas entre el
12 y el 19 de enero.
En la primera etapa de su viaje,
en Sri Lanka, Francisco canonizó
al P. José Vaz, el primer santo de Sri
Lanka, ante alrededor de 600 mil
fieles congregados en el Galle Face
Green de Colombo.
El Papa también visitó el Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Rosa-
rio en Madhu, donde permanece
la imagen de la Virgen María desde hace cinco siglos, sobreviviente
a la intensa persecución contra
católicos que vivió el país.
En Filipinas, el Santo Padre
se encontró con las familias, y las
advirtió contra “la nueva colonización ideológica” que las amenaza.
“La familia se ve también
amenazada por el creciente intento, por parte de algunos, de
redefinir la institución misma del
matrimonio, guiados por el relativismo, la cultura de lo efímero,
la falta de apertura a la vida”, denunció.
Más adelante, en la multitudinaria Misa con los sobrevivientes
del tifón Yolanda en Tacloban, el
Papa Francisco, en un discurso
improvisado en español, en el que
recordó que “tantos de ustedes han
perdido todo. Yo no sé qué decirles,
Él sí sabe qué decirles. Tantos de
ustedes han perdido parte de la familia. Solamente guardo silencio y
los acompaño con mi corazón en
En su última Misa en Filipinas,
el Papa Francisco superó el record
de asistentes a un evento presidido
alguna vez por un Pontífice. En
esta ocasión, se reunieron entre 6
y 7 millones de personas.
MANILA — El Arzobispo filipino Bernardito Auza, Observador
Permanente de la Santa Sede en las
Naciones Unidas en Nueva York,
dio a conocer algunos de los detalles de lo que sería el programa de
la visita del Papa Francisco a Estados Unidos en septiembre, que incluye tres ciudades.
En declaraciones a ACI Prensa
este 18 de enero en la ciudad de Manila (Filipinas) adonde llegó para
participar de la histórica visita del
Santo Padre a esta nación asiática,
el Arzobispo dijo que el Papa “llegaría (a Estados Unidos) el día 22 y
volvería en la noche del 27. Serían 6
días y si le sumamos un día más de
viaje entonces tenemos que es una
Mons. Auza explicó así los detalles conversados en una reunión el
lunes pasado del comité organizador de la visita del Pontífice a Estados Unidos.
Luego de su llegada a Washington D.C. en la noche del 22 de
septiembre, la idea es que el Santo
Padre visite la Casa Blanca la mañana siguiente, en donde se realizaría
la ceremonia oficial de bienvenida.
Luego iría a celebrar Misa en la
Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción. A esta Misa asistirían obispos,
religiosos, seminaristas y representantes de las organizaciones de caridad católicas.
En sus declaraciones finales a
ACI Prensa, el Prelado filipino dijo
que “ese es más o menos el plan.
Ahora veremos cómo se ejecuta”.
The Valley Catholic - Febrero 2015
»Mujeres en la frontera
Tantas opciones: ¿“50
Sombras” será una de ellas?
uando mi hija tenía 15
años, le tuve que explicar
por qué pensaba que la
película “Sex in the City” no era
apropiada para ella. Ahora, ella es
una adulta joven y hace sus propias decisiones, otra película que
se estrena el día de San Valentín
incitó una conversación sobre
nuestra selección de medios.
Me hizo pensar sobre qué tan
cuidadosos somos con lo que ven
nuestros hijos, pero ¿nosotros
como adultos somos conscientes
de nuestros propios hábitos de
consumo mediático?
Qué tan bendecidos somos de
que Dios nos ama como somos y
nos da el libre albedrío para hacer
nuestras decisiones, moldear
nuestras vidas. Nuestro viaje
está repleto de decisiones. “Dios
quiso que los hombres fueran
‘dejados en manos de su propio
consejo’ para que por sus propios
medios busquen a su Creador y
libremente obtengan su entera y
bendita perfección al escindirse a
Él.” CC 1730
Para hacer buenas decisiones,
debemos de tener prudencia. De
acuerdo con San Agustín, “la prudencia es el amor haciendo una
distinción adecuada entre lo que
ayuda hacia Dios y lo que puede
Nos confronta el hacer buenas
decisiones cuando se trata de
los libros que leemos, la música
que escuchamos y las películas y
televisión que vemos. Confieso
que no he sido muy perspicaz y
selectiva como debería algunas
veces. Después de todo razonaba
que era sólo entretenimiento, una
corta separación de la realidad. Es
fácil justificar nuestras elecciones
cuando sacamos las reglas de un
juego relativo, basadas en la catequesis de una cultura secular.
Sin embargo, como los seres
racionales que Dios creó, tenemos
la responsabilidad de poner atención a lo que ingerimos, vía lo
que leemos y nuestra selección visual. Mucho ha sido escrito sobre
cómo los mensajes en los medios
pueden influenciar al público en
las elecciones que hacemos. Consideren los millones invertidos en
anuncios y comerciales.
La marejada de mensajes
transmitidos por ondas, quioscos
y sitios en línea que han distorsionado la manera en la que una
gran porción de la población ve
las relaciones entre hombre y mujer y lo que significa una unión
El día de San Valentín se
estrenan dos películas – “Old
Fashion” y “50 sombras de Gris”.
La película, “50 Sombras de Gris,”
se basa en el libro del mismo
nombre y es la primera en la
trilogía de E.L. James. El libro,
dirigido a lectoras, ha vendido
100 millones de copias. Incluye,
“escenas explicitas y fuertes
dosis de bondage, dominación y
Uno sólo necesita revisar las
incontables reseñas para echar un
vistazo al contenido del libro y
ahora a la película que ha guiado
a algunos a llamarla “Porno
para Mamás.” No solamente los
Nettles Riojas
Editora, The Valley
críticos han tachado la calidad
de la escritura, algunos se han
preocupado por la representación
distorsionada de las relaciones.
Nathan Nazario, productor
de “Old Fashioned,” dijo “Me sorprende, honestamente – en una
cultura que alega independencia
y equidad femenina – que pocas
voces poderosas cuestionen “50
Sombras.” “Detrás del eufemismo
valorativo “inusual” se encuentra
un miedo cultural o un falta de
voluntad para decir que un acto
es potencialmente peligroso.”
Los productores de “Old
Fashioned” están promoviéndola
como alternativa a “50 Sombras”
y muestran las diferencias entre
las dos películas en uno de los
cortos – explotación vs inocencia;
“comportamiento inusual” vs.
comportamiento considerado. La
Asociación Cinematográfica de
USA clasificó R a “50 Sombras”
por “alto contenido sexual incluyendo dialogo, comportamiento
inusual y desnudo gráfico, y por
lenguaje.” De acuerdo con un
artículo en USA Today (9 enero)
el término “comportamiento
inusual” el cual no ha sido usado
antes en ninguna explicación de
clasificación, se debe probablemente al tema de “dominación y
Rik Swartzwelder, escritor,
director y actor principal de “Old
Fashioned”, cuestiona los efectos
a largo plazo de “50 sombras”.
“¿Qué pasa cuando una “fantasía inofensiva” se muestra en el
mundo real – en vidas jóvenes e
inseguras de cómo se ve el amor
duradero, mucho menos cómo
obtenerlo?” él pregunta. “Incuestionablemente las historias de
nuestra cultura dejan una huella
en la audiencia joven.”
El guion de Swartzwelder surgió de conversaciones con compañeros solteros, dijo él, batallando para encontrar amor que
“Honre a Dios” y sea duradero en
un mundo estancado en placer de
corto plazo.
San Juan Pablo II aborda los
temas del matrimonio, familia,
sexualidad y amor como un
regalo en sí en “Hombre y Mujer
Él los creo, una Teología del Cuerpo” (TOB). Hay mucho que obtener de ésta serie de 129 pláticas
que él dio durante sus audiencias
los miércoles de 1979 a 1984.
Michael Waldstein en su
introducción en TOB, anota,
“La revolución sexual no aprecia suficientemente el valor y la
belleza del sexo. Priva al sexo de
su profundidad al desprenderlo
del significado conyugal con el
cuerpo. Favorece una mentira
sexual, en la cual el radical regalo
del lenguaje es sobrepuesto por el
lenguaje contrario de la au-
tonomía individual y el uso de las
personas para el placer.”
Genevieve Kineke, en su libro
“La Mujer Católica Auténtica,”
escribe, “Entre todos los retos de
nuestro desquebrajado mundo,
en ésta generación la malinterpretación del regalo de Dios de la
sexualidad humana sobresalen, y
el corregirlo es una batalla eminente en nuestro día.”
Tenemos algo que decir en la
batalla. Podemos ayudar a corregir el malentendido al armarnos
con información y al ser prudentes con nuestras elecciones.
Recuerdo que de niña y ya en
mi adolescencia, mi padre siempre fue cuidadoso sobre lo que
veíamos en la televisión. Incluso
con programas que consideraba
“apropiados” él sentía la necesidad de recordarnos constantemente que lo que estábamos
viento era ficción. “Sabes que es
de mentiras,” decía.
Así que, ¿por qué preocuparnos sobre los medios que escogemos, especialmente aquellos
categorizados como ficción?
La “Guía Familiar para el Uso
de Medios” de la Conferencia del
Comité para la Comunicación
de Obispos Católicos en Estados
Unidos, señala, “Los medios son
tan parte de nosotros que para
reconocer su impacto, debemos dar un paso atrás y pensar
conscientemente sobre cómo
moldean nuestras vidas y lo que
están diciendo. Un uso inteligente
de los medios puede prevenir
ser dominados por ellos y en su
lugar, nos permite medirlos con
nuestras normas.”
“De este modo, incluso
muchos mensajes con los cuales
no concordamos, viniendo a
nosotros desde una constelación diversa de medios, no nos
harán daño. Éstos incluso serán
volteados a nuestro beneficio al
despertar nuestro entendimiento
y articulación de lo que nosotros
Así como importa lo que
comemos, así debemos de elegir
lo que leemos y vemos. El Obispo
Daniel E. Flores ha dicho en
varias ocasiones, “Tu eres lo que
piensas. Quieres poner cosas
buenas en tu mente… Eso influye
cómo vemos nuestras prioridades.”
Estos días, mientras nadamos
contra la corriente de la cultura
popular y mientras mi hija hace
sus propias decisiones, rezo para
que cada uno de nosotros pueda
discernir cuidadosamente lo que
seleccionamos y pensar críticamente sobre los mensajes que se
aparecen en el contenido. Debemos también ser conscientes que
hablamos con nuestras decisiones
y cómo gastamos nuestro dinero.
Nuestras decisiones envían un
mensaje sobre lo que valoramos.
“No os amoldéis a las normas del mundo presente, sino
procurad trasformaros por la
renovación de la mente, a fin
de que logréis discernir cual es
la voluntad de Dios: lo que es
bueno, lo agradable, lo perfecto.”
(Romanos 12:2)
Día Mundial del Matrimonio
The Valley Catholic
El Día Mundial del Matrimonio está programado para el sábado 7 de febrero a las 2
p.m. en la Basílica de Nuestra Señora de San Juan del Valle- Santuario Nacional.
El Obispo Daniel E. Flores celebrará Misa y reconocerá a las parejas, quienes celebran
25, 30, 40, 50 y más de 60 años de matrimonio en el 2015. El matrimonio más largo
que participe será reconocido y recibirá una bendición especial del obispo
El Día Mundial del Matrimonio se celebra alrededor del mundo en febrero cada año,
homenajeando y afirmando la vocación de las parejas casadas y realzando el impacto
que un matrimonio fuerte tiene en la sociedad.
Para registrarse para la celebración del Día Mundial del Matrimonio en la Diócesis de
Brownsville, favor de llamar al (956) 784-5012.
Catholic Relief Services
El plato de arroz de CRS.
Recursos para Cuaresma
Catholic Relief Services
Aquí en la Diócesis de Brownsville y en todas partes de los Estados Unidos, Católicos, sus familias
y sus parroquias participan en CRS
Plato de Arroz para darle vida a su
experiencia Cuaresmal. Enfocado
en las tradiciones del Evangelio de
rezar, ayunar y donar, los recursos
de Plato de Arroz guían y cumplen
las prácticas en el hogar y la iglesia.
Todos los recursos son gratis.
El recurso más familiar puede
ser el cartón “plato de arroz”, pero
el recurso más básico es el calendario de papel entre el cartón. En
ese calendario tiene oraciones de
Cuaresma, cada semana tiene la
historia de una familia de otro país
y una receta de ese país, y cada día
tiene una sugerencia de solidaridad con nuestros hermanos y hermanas con necesidades — aquí y a
través del mundo.
hay videos de países, fotos, un
“app” de teléfono, un santo o una
santa de la semana, y servicios de
oración como el Vía Crucis y Los
siete dolores de María. También
hay disponible un video para comprender más profundamente el
significado de la Cuaresma y sus
En familia, hay actividades
para niños y adolecentes.
Para jóvenes, el “app” es un recurso favorito. Allí hay reflexiones
y sugerencias de acciones de caridad en inglés y en español.
Para la parroquia hay muchos
recursos: una guía para coordinadores y videos sobre la implementación en la parroquia, una carta
a las familias, afiches, anuncios
para boletines, oraciones de intercesión, servicios de oración para
comenzar la jornada cuaresmal y
para colectar donativos al final de
la Cuaresma, además de servicios
de oración tradicionales. Se puede
buscar todos estos recursos a www., usando el título “Parroquias” arriba de la página.
Para clases de educación religiosa, hay mini-lecciones de 10
minutos y recursos de actividades
que se puede incluir in sus clases
durante la Cuaresma. Se puede
encontrar todo en, usando el título “Escuelas” arriba de la página.
Para más información, favor
de ver o
contactar a Miguel Santos, [email protected] o (956) 784-5093.
Febrero 2015 - The Valley Catholic
»La Alegría de Vivir
Empecemos de cero
ejar de fumar, no volver
a fallar en el voto de
fidelidad, llevarse mejor
con el conyugue o con la familia
política, tomar menos cerveza o
licor, hacer más ejercicio y por
supuesto perder peso, son los
propósitos que aparecen en casi
todas las listas de propósitos, y el
hecho de que sean los mismos que
no hemos acatado año tras año,
no importa, si están en la lista significa que trataremos de cumplirlos, esta vez sí.
Yo les invito a que en lugar de
volver a hacer una lista de propósitos, simplemente cambiemos
nuestra forma de pensar, ahora
que empieza el año dejemos atrás
el pasado, como algo muerto, que
ya no sirve. Olvidemos de todos
los fracasos que tuvimos y empecemos de cero, con una actitud de
victoria, de triunfo. No importa lo
que haya pasado, ni cuantas veces
se ha intentado ser mejor, este es
un nuevo año, y comenzaremos
por creer en cosas positivas.
Hay que convertirnos en personas positivas y para esto hay que
empezar por saber callar cuando
no tengamos nada bueno que decir
de alguno de nuestros semejantes,
pues uno de los grandes males del
mundo es el daño que podemos
hacer los humanos a través de las
palabras mal intencionadas.
Debemos proponernos el
Msgr. Juan
Sacerdote jubilado
de la Diócesis de
controlar nuestra lengua y saber
cuándo ponerle “candado” para
que guarde silencio y no caiga
en el juego del chismorreo, la
crítica, el murmurar o despellejar
al vecino. En este año nuevo fíjate
en todo lo que piensas, pues tus
pensamientos se convierten en
palabras, y las palabras se convierten en acciones. Mira bien tus
acciones por que tus acciones se
pueden convertir en hábitos.
Observa cuidadosamente tus
hábitos, porque tus hábitos se
pueden convertir en tu carácter, y
tu carácter puede convertirse en tu
destino. Les propongo que este año
no hagan una lista de metas inalcanzables, sino que se concentren
en un solo y sencillo propósito:
procurar a toda costa el vivir pacíficamente, que haya más armonía
en nuestras familias, que vivamos
en paz con nuestros vecinos,
con todos nuestros semejantes y
aunque cada día parece más difícil
encontrar soluciones pacificas a los
conflictos del mundo, no debemos
perder la esperanza de lograr vivir
paz, de alcanzar la paz que desea
Jesús para nosotros.
Entendamos que la paz no
es algo que salgamos a buscar
hasta encontrarla, la paz se genera
dentro de nosotros, hagamos conciencia de nuestros pensamientos,
cuando encontremos que algún
pensamiento nos genera tristeza,
rencor, odio, envidia, coraje, etc.,
desechémoslo en el “basurero”
de pensamientos tóxicos, que se
quede ahí sin que nos contamine
nuestro actuar.
Desarrollemos pensamientos
positivos, entrena tu mente para
relajarse y crear imágenes positivas
que te inspiren a ser mejor, toma
tiempo y un poco de esfuerzo al
principio, pero pronto veras como
la oración y meditación ayudan
a mantenerte en calma en medio
de un mundo de caos, con lo cual
puedes ser un agente pacificador
que pueda solucionar conflictos.
Si todos nos esforzamos
podríamos vivir en una sociedad
pacifica, y aun cuando solo seas
tú el que se esfuerce en hacerlo, si
buscas estar en paz podrás apreciar
lo positivo que tiene tu vida y lo
mucho que puedes aportar a los
demás. No importa como haya
sido tu comportamiento el año
pasado, hoy tienes la oportunidad
de comenzar de cero y ser una mejor persona este 2015 que recién
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**Based on A.M. Best written premium.
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State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, State Farm General Insurance Company, Bloomington, IL,
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La misión del amor
a Catequesis preparatoria
para la Reunión Mundial de
Familias, la cual se llevará
a cabo en Philadelphia del 22-25
de septiembre, 2015 contiene 10
temas. El mes pasado abordé el
primer tema: “Creado para la
Dicha” y este artículo cubre el
segundo tema: “La Misión del
Peter J. Colosi, PhD, en sus
documentos suplementarios para
la catequesis preparatoria indica
que en la Biblia, el amor de Dios
es representado en las imágenes
del padre, pastor, maestro, amigo,
jardinero, rey y sanador.
El Papa Emérito Benedicto
XVI habla del matrimonio como
una imagen esencial para el amor
de Dios y señala que la Biblia es
“por sobre todo la expresión de
una historia de amor.” Génesis 1:27
señala “Y creó Dios al hombre a
su imagen. A imagen de Dios lo
creó. Varón y mujer los creó.” en su
encíclica “Dios es amor” (parte 2).
El Papa Emérito Benedicto
XVI se expresó sobre el amor entre
un hombre y una mujer diciendo:
“Permitámonos primeramente
traer a conciencia el amplio
alcance semántico de la palabra
“amor”: hablamos de amor a un
país, amor a nuestra profesión,
amor entre padres e hijos, amor
entre los miembros de la familia,
amor al vecino, amor a Dios. Entre
la multiplicidad de significados,
sin embargo, sobresale uno en particular: el amor entre un hombre
y una mujer, donde cuerpo y alma
estan inseparablemente unidos y
los seres humanos vislumbran una
aparentemente irresistible promesa
de felicidad. Esto parecería ser
el preciso epitoma del amor;
todo otro tipo de amor parece
desvanecer inmediatamente en
Lydia Pesina
Directora, Oficina
de Vida Familiar
Yo creo que el amor conyugal contiene cuatro elementos
importantes: 1) promesa/compromiso 2) convenio 3) sacrificio
4) amor desarraigado. 1) Cuando
un hombre y una mujer se casan,
hacen un juramento, una promesa,
un compromiso de amar, honrar y
protegerse mutuamente en buenos
y malos tiempos, en la enfermedad
y en la salud, en la pobreza y en
la riqueza hasta que la muerte los
En 1999, mi esposo Mauri
tuvo un ataque cardiaco y como
acababa de cambiar de trabajo, no
tenía ni seguro ni vacaciones de
ausencia por enfermedad. Estuve
muy consciente de nuestros votos
matrimoniales mientras vivía la
pérdida de salud y medios financieros a la misma vez. El amor
es más sobre el compromiso que
sobre los sentimientos. El Encuentro Mundial del Matrimonio ha
enseñado a nuestra Iglesia desde
1970 que el amor es una decisión,
una elección. En buenos y en
malos tiempos, escogemos hacer
la acción amorosa ya sea que lo
sintamos o no.
2) El amor en el matrimonio
es un pacto, no un contrato. Un
contrato (como un contrato hecho
para que alguien pinte nuestra
casa) puede romperse, pero un
pacto jamás puede romperse. Es
igual que el pacto que Dios hizo
con su gente, Israel, cuando les
dijo “Yo seré su Dios, y ustedes
serán mi gente.” Él no puso una
estipulación que dijera que si ellos
eran infieles a Él o si hacían falsos
ídolos, como lo hicieron con el
becerro de oro, ya no sería su
Dios. De ese modo, como esposos, somos llamados a ser fieles
a nuestro conyugue en buenos y
malos tiempos.
3) Sacrificio: una palabra
hermosa pero a menudo malentendida. El diccionario indica que
“sacrificio” es el acto de renunciar a algo que quieres mantener
especialmente para poder obtener
o hacer algo más o para ayudar
a alguien. Cuando un hombre y
una mujer se casan, ya no se trata
de “Lo que es mejor para mi” sino
“Qué es lo mejor para los dos”
quienes ahora son uno. Matrimonio y sacrificio son análogos.
En el matrimonio, así como en la
paternidad, “sacrificamos” nuestro
tiempo, conforte, dinero, para
poder ayudar a quien amamos.
Cuando preparas café para tu conyugue a pesar de estar cansado y
no querer hacerlo, es un sacrificio
pequeño pero amoroso.
4) Amor desarraigado. Jesús
nos enseña el amor desarraigado
a través del sufrimiento, muerte y
resurrección del misterio pascual.
En su libro “Felices juntos: El
modelo Católico para un matrimonio amoroso”, John Bosio delinea las seis actitudes y comportamientos claves que los esposos
y las esposas deben de aprender
de Cristo lo cual forma el modelo
para un matrimonio feliz. “Recibe
a tu conyugue como Cristo recibe
a la Iglesia. 2) Mantente presente
y atento a tu conyugue así como
Cristo está con la Iglesia. 3) Sacrifí» Please see La Misión p.15
Rite of Election
Hundreds preparing
to join the Church at
Easter Vigil
Many choices,
continued from pg. 4
impact, we must step back and
consciously think about how they
shape our lives and what they
are saying. An intelligent use
of media can prevent our being
dominated by them and enable us
instead to measure them by our
“In this way, even many messages with which we cannot agree,
inevitably coming to us from a
diverse constellation of media,
will not hurt us. They can even be
turned to our benefit by whetting
our understanding and articulation of what we believe.”
Just as what we eat matters, so
does what we choose to read and
watch. Bishop Daniel E. Flores on
several occasions has said, “You
Deacon Espinoza,
continued from pg. 9
diaconate formation program.
“We were prepared at that
point for me to quit my job, sell
everything we had and move to a
diocese where I could get the formation,” he said.
There was no need for a move.
After a 16-year absence, a diaconate formation program was started
in the Diocese of Brownsville.
“I filled out the application,
but I didn’t feel worthy due to my
lack of formal education with respect to the Church,” said Deacon
Espinoza, who also serves as a facilitator for the San Juan Diego Lay
Ministry Institute. “My wife said,
‘have faith, if it’s meant to be, the
doors will open.’ I just kept walking through the doors until we
Sister Norma Pimentel receives
“Keep the Dream Alive” Award
The Valley Catholic
Bishop Daniel E.
Flores signs the Book
of the Elect at the
Basilica of Our Lady
of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine in this
archive photo.
U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops
Each year on Holy Saturday
during the Easter Vigil, hundreds
of men and women throughout the Diocese of Brownsville
are received into the Catholic
Church. Parishes welcome these
new members through the Rite
of Christian Initiation of Adults
(RCIA) and at a liturgy bringing men and women into full
communion with the Catholic
Before the Easter Vigil, when
a catechumen and the priest and
the parish team working with
him or her believes the person
is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the
request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election.
Even before the catechumens are
baptized, they have a special relationship to the Church.
The Rite of Election includes
the enrollment of names of all
those seeking baptism at the
coming Easter Vigil. Accompanied by their sponsors and families, the catechumens publicly
express their desire for baptism
to the bishop at this special gathering, which typically occurs on
The Valley Catholic - February 2015
or around the first Sunday of
At the Rite of Election, the
names of the catechumens are
recorded in a book and they are
called “the elect.”
The Rite of Election for the
Upper Valley is scheduled for
7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at
the Basilica of Our Lady of San
Juan del Valle-National Shrine.
For the Lower Valley, the Rite of
Election is on Sunday, Feb. 22 at
St. Anthony Church in Harlingen.
The days of Lent are the fi-
are what you think about. You
want to put the good things in
your mind. ...It influences how we
look at our priorities.”
These days as we swim against
the current of popular culture
and as my daughter makes her
own decisions, I pray that each of
us will discern carefully what we
select and think critically about
the messages that come across
in the content. We must also be
cognizant that we speak with our
choices and how we spend our
money. Our choices send a message as to what we value.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind. Then you will be able to
test and approve what God’s will
is – his good, pleasing and perfect
will.” (Romans 12:2)
were ordained in 2010.”
Deacon Espinoza said many
men share a similar story of experiencing a religious conversion as
an adult. His story, he says, is relatable to so many men.
“Before my conversion, I
stayed home while my wife took
care of the spiritual responsibilities,” he said. “While she and our
two daughters were at Mass, I
would get up and mow the lawn,
wash the car, put on the barbecue
grill, wait for the Cowboys to lose
on TV – that was my Sundays.
“When I talk to other men, I
can give them hope,” he added. “A
lot of them are living the life that I
lived and they think they are OK
by providing for their family, coming home every night and not having any vices. Not everybody grew
up in the faith. The reality is more
men are like me – maybe a little
messed up in their faith.”
nal period of purification and
enlightenment leading up to the
Easter Vigil. Lent is a period of
preparation marked by prayer,
study, and spiritual direction for
the elect, and prayers for them by
the parish communities.
The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place
during the Easter Vigil Liturgy
on Holy Saturday when the catechumen receives the sacraments
of Baptism, Confirmation and
Holy Eucharist. Now the person
is fully initiated into the Catholic
Photos by Cesar Riojas Jr./The Valley Catholic
Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus, executive director of Catholic
Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, received the national “Keep the Dream Alive”
Award from Catholic Charities USA on Jan. 9 in Washington D.C. The award is named
for civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and is conferred upon those “who are
creating a society in which every individual is not ‘judged by the color of their skin, but
by the content of their character.’” Sister Pimentel, a longtime social justice advocate
in the Diocese of Brownsville, has led community efforts to respond to the needs of
Central American families seeking refuge in the United States.
February 2015 - The Valley Catholic
World Marriage Day
Couples who are celebrating a wedding
anniversary of 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and
more years in 2015 will be honored during
a Mass for World Marriage Day, sponsored
by the Family Life Office of the Diocese of
Recommended by SISTER
Coordinator of the Media Resource
Center - Diocese of Brownsville
Bishop Daniel E. Flores will celebrate the
Mass at 2 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Basilica
of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National
Shrine in recognition of the couples and
the positive example of their witness to the
Sacrament of Marriage. Couples celebrating
milestone anniversaries can register to be a
part of the celebration by calling the Family
Life Office at (956) 784-5012.
»From the
Angels for
Format: Paperback Length: 74 pgs
Audience: Children, ages 5-10
Author: Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Publication:Paraclete Press 2013
Children should know just how much
they are cared for. Angels are real. We
just can’t see them. But that doesn’t
mean they aren’t all around us.
Melanie and
the Story of
Our Lady of La
Format: Paperback Length: 129 pgs
Audience: Teens/Adults
Author: Mary Alice Dennis
Publication:TAN Books and Publishers
This book tells the remarkable story of
the Apparition and its message, but it
addresses the whole subject of La Salette
from the viewpoint of the life of Melanie
Calvat, the young girl seer, showing her to
have been extraordinarily graced all her
life and most likely a Saint. Melanie was
an unloved and abused child who early
on took refuge in conversation with her
“Little Brother”- who was actually Jesus
appearing to her as a little boy.
»Worth Watching
La Santa de
Format: DVD Length: 200 mins
Audience: Adults
Director: Giacomo Campiotti
Hermosa pelicula que nos relata con
detenimiento la heroic vida de esta santa
sudaneza quien fuera cononizada el
ano 2000 por el Papa Juan Pablo II.
Bakhita conocio a Jesucristo quien se
revelara como su Senor y libertador, no
solo de lavida de esclavitud sino como
quien da un Nuevo snetido al vivir de
cualquier persona.
The First
In the photo, Bishop Flores congratulates
Clemente and Josefina Cuellar of Edinburg,
who have been married for 75 years. Mr.
and Mrs. Cuellar have been the longestmarried couple at the event for the last five
continued from pg. 1
ity, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with
us. Indeed, Jesus “worked with human hands, thought with a human
mind, acted by human choice and
loved with a human heart. Born of
the Virgin Mary, he truly became
one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Gaudium et Spes , 22).
2. Our witness
We might think that this “way”
of poverty was Jesus’ way, whereas
we who come after him can save
the world with the right kind of
human resources. This is not the
case. In every time and place God
continues to save mankind and
the world through the poverty of
continued from pg. 10
tion of the early church in Acts
of the Apostles 2:42-47. Retreat
participants are encouraged to get
involved in an ACTS retreat by
serving on team and bring others
to their own experience of Christ
in their lives.
We can see that both Cursillo and ACTS are good movements in our Catholic tradition.
I argue that on-going formation
is important and needed for
retreatents who have lived a
Cursillo and ACTS. I also argue
that we all should be cautious not
to exclude others who have not
experienced any of these retreats.
Some individuals who have lived
La Misión,
continua de la pág. 13
cate por tu conyugue como Cristo
se sacrificó por la Iglesia. 4) Perdona a tu conyugue como Cristo
Christ, who makes himself poor
in the sacraments, in his word and
in his Church, which is a people of
the poor. God’s wealth passes not
through our wealth, but invariably and exclusively through our
personal and communal poverty,
enlivened by the Spirit of Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, may
this Lenten season find the whole
Church ready to bear witness to all
those who live in material, moral
and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love
of God our Father, who is ready to
embrace everyone in Christ. We
can do this to the extent that we
imitate Christ who became poor
and enriched us by his poverty.
Lent is a fitting time for self-denial;
we would do well to ask ourselves
what we can give up in order to
help and enrich others by our own
poverty. Let us not forget that real
poverty hurts: no self-denial is real
without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs
nothing and does not hurt.
May the Holy Spirit, through
whom we are “as poor, yet making
many rich; as having nothing, and
yet possessing everything” (2 Cor
6:10), sustain us in our resolutions
and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution,
so that we can become merciful
and act with mercy. In expressing
this hope, I likewise pray that each
individual member of the faithful
and every Church community will
undertake a fruitful Lenten journey. I ask all of you to pray for me.
May the Lord bless you and Our
Lady keep you safe.
a Cursillo or an ACTS retreat
make a mistake by portraying
what happens at the retreat as a
secret. I ponder and argue that
there is nothing secret about
what happens at these retreats for
nothing is secret about the gospel
imperative- mainly to invite other
to know the Lord. We should
encourage all to live out a retreat
We should also avoid any
reference to calling each other
“brother or sister in ACTS or
Cursillo.” This creates a sense that
those who have experienced a
retreat belong to a sect or a click.
I adamantly argue that: Is it not
true that we’re all brothers and
sisters in Christ because of our
baptism? Didn’t St. Paul remind
us when he wrote to... that we all
belong to Christ. That is why the
bishop’s initiative (a re-thinking
on the ecclesiology of the ACTS
retreats) is addressing ACTS
leaders to avoid using “ministry
and community” when referring to ACTS for we all belong to
the community of the baptized,
which is the Catholic Church that
Christ founded. Consequently,
a new sense of ecclesiology is
needed in these two movements.
Movements and groups
should help us live better our
baptism and enter into a deeper
encounter with the Lord. I urge
all who feel the need to grow in
their faith to inquire at their parish about the Cursillo or ACTS
retreats and come to a closer
relationship with Christ. Let us
pray that we may make the world
more Christian and more Catholic and live our faith heroically.
perdona a la Iglesia. 5) Consuela
y ayuda a tu conyugue a sanar así
como Cristo consuela y sana a la
Iglesia. 6) Sirve a tu conyugue así
como Cristo sirve a la Iglesia.
Si está casado/a, considere
escribir en una tarjeta cinco cosas
específicas que haga regularmente
para demostrar a su conyugue que
lo/a ama y en la parte posterior,
cinco cosas que usted note que
su conyugue hace regularmente
para mostrarle que lo/a ama. Un
pequeño recordatorio de nuestra
Misión de amor.
Bishop Emeritus Raymundo J. Peña’s Calendar
Format: VHS Length: 25 minutes
Audience: Children 6-12
Actors: Jonathan Farwell, Kaleena Kiff
Production: 1988 Envoy Productions
A modern teenage meets a legendary
saint…and learns a lesson in love. In
this adventure of imagination, young
Tess, a shy girl of 13, discovers a new
meaning for love on Valentine’s Day.
Through a very special book, she meets
the third century martyr Valentine and his
Christian friends. They show her what it
means to love others as Jesus loves us,
and to receive that love in return.
February 2-4
February 7
February 11
February 25
All Day
11 a.m.
7 p.m.
6:30 p.m.
National Catholic Bioethics Conference
La Posada Providencia Hands & Hearts Brunch
Serra Club Vocation Awareness Night at Sacred Heart
Evins Ministry
On going:
8 a.m. Mass Monday - Saturday 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
7 p.m. Holy Hour Weekly every Thursday at 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
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 Vocations
» Calendar of
Mass for children with special
needs and their families
(Holy Family, Brownville)
World Marriage Day
(Family Life Office)
12 Professional Day
(Office of Catechesis)
14 Valentine’s Day
14-15 ReMarriage Retreat
(Family Life Office)
12 CCOS Dinner
(Youth Ministry)
16 Presidents’ Day
18 Ash Wednesday
21-22 Retiro PreMatrimonial
(Family Life Office)
21 Rite of Election
(Office of Catechesis)
22 Rite of Election
(Office of Catechesis)
23 Theology Class
(Office of Catechesis)
24 Clase de Teologia
(Office of Catechesis)
Mass for children with special
needs and their families
(Holy Family, Brownville)
Lenten Retreat
(Office of Catechesis)
6-8 Catholic Engaged
Encounter (FLO)
Convalidation Conference
(Family Life Office)
12 Advisory Team
(Office of Catechesis)
19 Feast of St. Joseph
29 Palm Sunday
31 Chrism Mass
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) 784-5082.
Hands & Hearts
The Valley Catholic
Providencia will host its annual
Hands & Hearts brunch and auction event at 9 a.m. on Saturday,
Feb. 7 at the Cultural Arts Center
of Texas State Technical College,
1902 North Loop 499, in Harlingen.
In addition to brunch, the
event features an auction, door
prizes, live entertainment,
speeches and other popular gala
Advance tickets are $35 per
person and may be purchased by
contacting La Posada Providencia
at (956)399-3826, or [email protected], or in person by visiting the shelter, 30094 Marydale
Road in San Benito. Tickets at the
door are $40.
Since 1989, the emergency
shelter has assisted more than
8,000 people from more than
70 different countries who have
suffered displacement from their
native lands due to war, famine,
natural disaster, poverty or oppressive governments.
Filipino community
gathers for Feast of
Santo Niño
Our Catholic Family
The Valley Catholic - February 2015
Pit Senyor!
Far left (top): A Sinulog/Dinagyang/
Ati-atihan procession kicked off the
festivities at a Santo Niño celebration
on Jan. 18 at St. Anne Parish in
Peñitas. Far left (bottom): An image
of the Santo Niño was displayed by
the altar. Left: The youth recreate the
moment when Portuguese explorer
Ferdinand Magellan offered the gift
of the a statue of the Child Jesus to
Lady Humamay, marking the arrival of
the Christian faith to the Philippines
in 1521.
The Valley Catholic
PEÑITAS — Hundreds of voices chanted, “Pit Senyor!” to the
rhythm of drums on the Feast of
Santo Niño on Jan. 18 at St. Anne
Parish in Peñitas.
“Pit Senyor!” is a phrase that
means, “for you, Lord,” or to call,
ask and plead to our Heavenly Father.
“It’s beyond translation,” said
Bishop Daniel E. Flores, who celebrated Mass for the Filipino community of the Diocese of Brownsville on this significant feast day.
“It is such a beautiful plea. ‘Lord,
we give it to you, our prayers, our
hopes, our joys, our singing, our
laughter, our music ... .”
The feast of Santo Niño marks
the arrival of the Christian faith
into the Philippines in 1521, when
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan offered the gift of a statue of
the Child Jesus to Lady Humamay
after her conversion to the Christian faith. Lady Humamay was the
principal wife of Rajah Humabon,
the chieftain of Cebu, Philippines.
The celebration at St. Anne Parish began with a Sinulog/Dinagyang/Ati-atihan procession of the
Amber Donaldson/Mobile Journalist
for The Valley Catholic
image of Santo Niño around the
outside perimeter of the church
featuring lively music, dancing and
drum beats.
The festivities were led by Father
Michael Montoya of the Missionaries of Jesus, pastor of St. Anne Parish and its missions Our Lady of
Guadalupe Church in Sullivan City,
St. Michael the Archangel Church
in Los Ebanos and San Juan Diego
Church in Citrus City.
“For us Filipinos in a foreign
land, this celebration brings us
closer not only to our historical and
cultural roots but more importantly
to a promise of a faithful God with
us,” said Father Montoya, who concelebrated the Mass with the bish-
op. “This celebration does not only
gather us as a people, but also sends
us forth with the joy of our faith.”
A large choir of adults and children sang songs and some parts of
the Mass in Tagalog, the predominant language spoken in the Philippines, rehearsing for weeks in advance of the celebration. The Mass
readings and the General Intercessions were also read in Tagalog with
an English translation provided.
In his homily, Bishop Flores reminded the faithful of the importance of passing down their history
and traditions through the generations.
“What I ask of the Filipino community — and I say this all over the
diocese — is to teach your children
what you have received,” he said.
“Let them know what it means, because as the years go by in this culture, and every immigrant culture
has learned it, people tend to forget
the deeper things that hold them
together. But you can change that,
it doesn’t have to be that way. Teach
them, be the example. You can encourage and pass on the faith and
as you do that in this beautiful expression as a gift to the Church and
in the name of the Church, I thank
you for that.
“I ask God to continue to bless
your presence in this diocese,
something that is a great blessing …
that your children may always be a
sign of hope, even as they take into
their heart the mystery of the Santo
Niño, so God bless you. Thank you
for this honor and this privilege to
celebrate this Mass with you. Pit
Many in attendance carried images of the Santo Niño, which
Bishop Flores blessed at the end of
the Mass. A barrio celebration with
traditional Filipino food and music
was held after the Mass.
The image of Santo Niño is usually portrayed with the child Jesus
holding a golden sphere (to symbolize the world) in his left hand
and his right hand is raised in benediction.

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