View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville



View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Volume 5, Issue 6
elect new
Serving More Than A Million Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville
Approve liturgical
texts, discuss
relief aid during
general assembly
The Valley Catholic
CNS/Bridgeman Art Library
Mary and the Christ
child are depicted in
the painting “Madonna
of the Fir Tree” by
Marianne Stokes.
In this holy season, as we celebrate
the Incarnation of the Son of God, I pray
that the nearness of the Christ child enkindle
in you the joy of his Good News!
The Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores
Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville
» Please see Leaders, p.19
(“The WORD is sent
breathing love.”)
New church
dream 23
years in the
Parish first in the
world named for
Oblates founder
Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE — The U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly in
Baltimore elected new leaders, discussed taking a second collection
in their dioceses for typhoon relief
in the Philippines, reviewed efforts
to defend traditional marriage and
religious liberty, and approved development of
a statement
on the dangers of pornography.
T h e y
also passed
Archbishop Kurtz
including the
use of a Mexican translation of the Roman Missal, and OK’d a budget for 2014 and
a 3 percent increase in the diocesan
assessment for 2015.
The actions came
during the
days of their
Nov. 11-14
meeting. The
bishops were
to meet beCardinal DiNardo
hind closed
doors in executive session Nov. 13 and 14.
On Nov. 12, the bishops by a
wide margin elected Archbishop
Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.,
to succeed New York Cardinal
Timothy M. Dolan as president of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops. The archbishop had been
USCCB vice president. Cardinal
Daniel N. DiNardo of GalvestonHouston was elected vice president.
The bishops Nov. 12 approved
the development of a pastoral statement on the dangers pornography
December 2013
Daniel E. Flores will bless and dedicate a new sanctuary for St. Eugene
de Mazenod Parish at 10 a.m. on
Saturday, Dec. 7.
The new church, which is located in an area known as Portway
Acres, is a dream more than 23 years
in the making. St. Eugene de Mazenod Church
was established as a
May 21, 1996
and the community
faith dates
further than St. Eugene de Mazenod
Prior to the establishment of
St. Eugene de Mazenod as a parish, the community was known as
Our Lady of Peace and was a mission of Christ the King Parish in
Brownsville. A metal building was
constructed in 1990, where Masses
have been celebrated since.
“The metal building was always
intended to be the parish hall so the
community almost immediately
started saving money for a church
building,” said Father Timothy
Paulsen, pastor of St. Eugene de
Mazenod Parish and a priest of the
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. “People have been saving
money for a very long time.”
The new, 8,854-square-foot,
Spanish colonial-style church, will
seat about 550. The cost of the new
church is $1.69 million, of which
one million was raised by the
working-class community. Catholic Extension and the Diocese of
Brownsville also assisted with funding for the project. The church was
designed by architect Eduardo Vela
of Hidalgo.
St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish
is a largely immigrant community
» Please see New Church, p.18
Artículos sobre la Solemnidad
de la Inmaculada
Concepción, nuevo santuario
en Brownsville, y consejos
para ensenarles a los niños
sobre la Navidad.
Feast days honor the Blessed
Virgin Mary
Page 3
Deacon Julio Castilleja
Page 8
2013 highlights year of
growth, blessings
Pages 9-12
Paginas 14-17
The Valley Catholic - December 2013
La luz de
ti, Señor, levanto mi
alma,… pues los que
esperan en ti, no quedan
defraudados. (Salmo 24, 1, 3)
Con estas palabras tomadas
del Salmo 24, la Iglesia canta la
entrada a la Santa Misa para el
primer domingo de Adviento. En
cierta manera el texto señala el
tema principal para todo el año
litúrgico. Y, en modo particular,
estas palabras nos dirigen al tema
principal de todo Adviento. Se
trata de la esperanza viva que Dios
desea inculcar dentro de nuestros
Tema para todo el año: Caminamos las sendas de esta vida, y
las preguntas decisivas de la vida
surgen de esta realidad. ¿Cómo
debemos caminar, y a donde
vamos? A veces el camino se
muestra oscuro, y faltan señas para
guiarnos. A veces se pone difícil el
camino. Encontramos obstáculos.
No faltan obstáculos hoy en día. La
crisis económica afecta nuestros
mejores deseos para nuestros
hijos; la agresividad de los males
que afligen nuestras comunidades,
como por ejemplo, la violencia y
las drogas siguen amenazando por
todos lados; la falta de respeto para
los derechos humanos afecta cruelmente a los más inocentes. A veces
hasta los Cristianos experimentan
un desanimo profundo, como
que si estuviéramos en peligro de
perder la esperanza.
La Liturgia de la Santa Iglesia
nos ofrece la luz de Adviento
para todo el año, y para toda una
vida. A ti, Señor, levanto mi alma.
Dios no se olvida de su pueblo; El
Poderoso y Misericordioso nos invita a levantar nuestras almas hacia
Él. Esto quiere decir que debemos
caminar las alegrías y las penas de
esta vida en comunión con Dios.
No tenemos que estribarnos solamente en nuestras propias fuerzas.
Dios oye. Pero ¿verdaderamente
buscamos el apoyo en Él?
Dios mismo inspira al salmista,
y a nosotros, con el deseo de levantar el alma. El alma se dispone
a recibir el apoyo en el mismo
hecho de pedirle a Dios el apoyo.
The light of Advent
To you, o Lord, I lift up my soul... no one
who hopes in you is put to shame.” (Psalm
25: 1, 3)
With these words taken from Psalm 25,
the Church sings the entrance song for the
Holy Eucharist the first Sunday of Advent. In
some sense, the text states the main theme for
the entire liturgical year. In particular, these
words direct us to the main theme of the
Advent season. It all has to do with the lively
hope that God desires to instill within our
The theme for the whole year: We travel
the paths of life, and the key questions of life
arise from this reality. How should we walk,
and where are we going? Sometimes the path
is dark and there are no signs to guide us.
Sometimes the path gets difficult and we find
obstacles. There is no lack of such obstacles in
our days. The economic crisis affects our best
hopes for our children; the aggressiveness of
the evils that afflict our communities, such as
for example, drugs and violence, continue to
threaten us on all sides; the lack of respect for
human rights cruelly affects the most innocent. Sometimes even Christians experience
a profound discouragement, as if we were in
danger of losing our hope.
The liturgy of the Holy Church offers us
the light of Advent for the whole year, and for
our entire lifetimes. To you, Lord, I lift my soul.
God does not forget his people; the almighty
and merciful God invites us to lift our souls
to Him. This means that we should walk the
joys and the sorrows of life in communion
with Him. We must not rely just on our own
strength. God hears us. But, do we truly seek
for his support?
God Himself inspires the psalmist, and
us, with the desire to lift up our souls. The
soul is made capable of receiving this support
in the very act of asking God for it. How, then,
should we walk the path of life? We walk in
life with our eyes fixed on the God who made
Brenda Nettles Riojas
Rose Ybarra
¿Cómo debemos de caminar en
esta vida? Con ojos fijos en el que
hizo el cielo y la tierra. Dios inspira
buenas obras, y dirige el curso del
tiempo. Él desea animarnos con
un espíritu de fortaleza y generosidad para el camino.
Tema para todo Adviento:
Precisamente al contemplar como
Dios se ha acercado a su pueblo
nos damos cuenta de que no caminamos a solas en esta vida. Las
lecturas de la Santa Misa durante
Adviento levantan nuestras espe-
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heaven and earth. It is the Lord who inspires
the good deeds we seek to do, and He directs
the course of time. He encourages us with
spirit of fortitude and generosity to walk our
life’s path.
Message for the entire Advent season:
Contemplating how God has drawn near to
his people, we realize that we do not walk
alone in life. The readings of the Mass during
Advent lift our hopes in the God who responds to our needs. The prophets announced
in advance that God would come soon to save
us. Every part of the spiritual atmosphere of
Advent serves this purpose: to focus on the
answer that God gives to our petitions. Jesus
Christ our Lord, the Son of God who became
man to live among us, is the answer God gives
to the prayers we offer to Him as we walk our
path of life. All that is needed by every person,
every family and every community, for us to
make straight our steps towards peace and
justice is present in the admirable person of
the Son of God.
Do we want our children to achieve a better life? Then, they need to get to know Christ
personally, so that the light of his Gospel
smoothes their hearts with virtues of justice,
generosity, and zeal to live honestly, so that
they do not conform themselves to the greed,
self-importance and envy that dominate the
world. Do we want to live in a world where
the rights of the unborn, the immigrants, and
» The following Advent reflection was first published December 2011.
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd., San Juan, TX 78589-3042
Bishop Daniel E. Flores
the elderly are respected? Then we must seek
the spirit of Christ. He himself tells us: “what
you did for one of these least ones, you did it for
me” (cf. Mt 25: 31-46). If we respond to the
grace that invites us to contemplate Christ,
(that is to say, if we lift up our souls) we will
obtain a still deeper grace of courage and
strength for the path of life.
St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans
5: 5 “hope does not disappoint, because the love
of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to
us.” What is expressed by Saint Paul’s teachings is the same truth expressed by the psalmist when he says: no one who hopes in you is
put to shame. Hope breathes in an atmosphere
of love. We do not lose hope because we know,
with the certainty of faith, that God loves us.
The hope we have in Christ, who came for the
first time through the mystery of his Incarnation, continues to grow with the coming of
Christ through the grace of the Gospel and
the sacraments; and this hope directs our
steps as pilgrims walking to meet the Christ
who will come at the end of time.
During these days, we have the treasured
custom of hanging colorful lights on the trees
in our yards, and on the sides of our houses.
These are like external signs of welcoming
the Child Jesus. At the same time may these
lights be living signs of faith, hope, and love,
(the brilliant lights of the soul), announcing
the Christmas feasts which are drawing near.
May you and all your loved ones have a lively
love in your hearts in order that you never
lose hope in the God who loves us so much.
My deep desire is that Advent be for everyone
a time of grace to prepare for our Lord Jesus
Christ the welcoming that He desires and that
He deserves.
The Valley Catholic,
a publication of the
Diocese of Brownsville,
is published monthly
Member of
the Catholic Press Assocition
ranzas en el Dios que responde a
nuestras necesidades. Los profetas
anunciaron de antemano que Dios
mismo pronto llegará para salvarnos. Todo el ambiente espiritual
de Adviento tiene este propósito:
de enfocarnos en la respuesta que
Dios da a nuestras peticiones.
Jesucristo Nuestro Señor, el Hijo
de Dios que se hizo hombre para
habitar entre nosotros, es la respuesta de Dios a nuestras oraciones
ofrecidas en camino. Todo lo
que necesita cada persona, cada
familia, y cada comunidad para
enderezar los pasos hacia la paz y
la justicia está presente en la persona admirable del Hijo de Dios.
¿Queremos que nuestros hijos
alcancen obtener una vida mejor?
Pues, que conozcan personalmente
a Cristo, para que la luz de su
evangelio suavice sus corazones
con virtudes de justicia, generosidad de alma, y celo para vivir
honestamente, para que no se
conformen a la codicia, la soberbia y la envidia que dominan en
el mundo. ¿Queremos vivir en
un mundo donde se respetan los
derechos del no-nacido, de los
inmigrantes, de los ancianos? Pues,
busquen el Espíritu de Cristo. Él
mismo nos dice: Lo que hiciste al
menos preciado en este mundo, lo
hiciste a mí (vea, Mt. 25, 31-46).
Si respondemos a la gracia que
nos invita a contemplar a Cristo,
(lo que significa la frase levantar
el alma) obtendremos una gracia
todavía más profunda de ánimo y
fuerza para el camino de la vida.
La esperanza no falla, dice San
Pablo en su carta a los Romanos
(5,5), porque el amor de Dios
ha sido derramado en nuestros
corazones por el Espíritu Santo que
nos ha sido dado. Lo que enseña
San Pablo expresa el mismo sentimiento formulado por el salmista
cuando dice: pues los que esperan
en ti, Señor, no quedan defraudados. La esperanza respire en un
ambiente de amor. No perdemos la
esperanza porque sabemos con la
certeza de la fe que Dios nos ama.
Esta esperanza que tenemos en el
Cristo que vino por primera vez
Bishop Flores’ Schedule
Dec. 6
6 p.m.
Bishop’s Annual Dinner
Dec. 7
10 a.m.
St. Eugene de Mazenod Mass & Dedication of new church
Dec. 7
5 p.m.
Los Ebanos
Mass at St. Michael Church
Mass at San Juan Diego Church
Dec. 12
San Juan
Dec. 12
9:30 a.m.
Dec. 12
7 p.m.
en el misterio de su Encarnación,
sigue aumentándose con la venida
de Cristo en la gracia del Evangelio
y los sacramentos; y esta esperanza dirige nuestros pasos como
peregrinos saliendo al encuentro
del Cristo que ha de venir al final
de los tiempos.
Preciosa es la costumbre durante estos días de colgar luces de
color en los arboles de nuestros solares, y en las paredes de nuestras
casas. Son como señas exteriores
de la bienvenida que le ofrecemos
al niño Dios. Que sean a la vez
señas vivas de la fe, esperanza y
amor, (luces brillantes del alma),
que anuncian las fiestas navideñas
que ya se aproximan. Que tengan
ustedes y todos sus seres queridos
un amor vivo en sus corazones,
para que nunca falle su esperanza
en el Dios que tanto nos ama. Y
que el Adviento sea para todos, un
respiro de gracia para prepararle al
Señor Jesucristo la bienvenida que
Él desea y merece.
December 2013
Dec. 14
3:15 p.m.
San Juan
Mass – “Advent day of Reflection Retreat” with Religious
Dec. 17
6 p.m.
Mass for Seminarians at St. Cecilia Church
Dec. 24
4 p.m.
San Juan
Christmas Mass at San Juan Nursing Home
Dec. 25
San Juan
Midnight Christmas Mass at Basilica
Dec. 25
12:30 p.m.
Christmas Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral
December 2013- The Valley Catholic
Feast of
Our Lady
of Guadalupe
The Valley Catholic
For several decades and
in growing numbers, lay men
and women have been called
to a variety of roles in Church
ministries, for example, as extraordinary ministers of Holy
Communion, lectors, youth
ministers, in ministry with the
poor and marginalized and
much more.
“This is a sign of the Holy
Spirit’s movement in the lives
of our sisters and brothers,”
states Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for
Guiding the Development of Lay
Ecclesial Ministry, a statement
released by the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops in 2005.
“We are very grateful for all
who undertake various roles in
Church ministry.”
These roles in Church ministry presume a significant degree of preparation, formation,
and professional competence.
Founded in 2002, the San
Juan Diego Ministry Institute
primes the faithful of the Rio
Grande Valley to play an active
role in the Church.
“The main goal of the
Institute is to form faithful and
effective ministerial leaders,”
said Deacon Luis Zuniga,
director of the San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute. “We aim to
empower the laity in the spirit
of the Second Vatican Council;
to help the laity understand
their role in the Church, so that
there is a greater participation
of the laity in the Church.”
More than 2,200 have
participated in lay ecclesial
ministry formation programs
through the San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute, which are
rooted in the principles of
Co-Workers in the Vineyard of
the Lord. The Institute offers a
three-year formation program,
in addition to specialized
courses and workshops.
The offices, classrooms and
library of the San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute are located at
the San Juan Pastoral Center.
The updated library, which
features a collection of more
than 5,000 books and other
materials, is open to the public.
Laura Portilla, a volunteer
librarian, catalogued the pieces
for the library.
Although the Institute is
headquartered in San Juan,
programs are also offered in
Brownsville, Harlingen and Rio
Grande City for convenience.
Deacon Zuniga said the
academic and pastoral formation provided through the
institute gives lay men and
women the knowledge and
confidence to serve the Church
and proclaim the Good News
more adequately.
“When you take the time to
know the faith and appreciate
it, then you are able to share
the faith with others and bring
others to the faith,” he said.
Office: San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute
Director: Deacon Luis Zuniga
Phone: (956) 784-5059
The Valley Catholic
on horseback, matachines dancing in the streets, the voices of
the faithful, thousands, joined
in prayer and song, as processions from several Brownsville
Catholic churches converge on
Lincoln Street for a Mass commemorating the feast of Our
Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of
the Americas.
On Thursday, Dec. 12, Bishop Daniel E. Flores will celebrate
an outdoor Mass at 7 p.m. at
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish,
located at 1200 E. Lincoln St. in
The celebration is a decadesold tradition in Brownsville, said
Marbelia Barrientos, secretary of
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in
“I’ve been here 30 years and
it’s been going on for way longer
than that,” she said. “It’s an event
that the people of Brownsville
look forward to every year.”
The feast day commemorates the apparition of the Virgin
Mary to the Indian Juan Diego,
at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of
Mexico City in December, 1531,
10 years after the conquest of
Mexico by Spain.
»Immaculate Mary
Observance transferred to Dec. 9 this year
The Valley Catholic
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
In this year of 2013, Dec.
8—normally the Solemnity of
the Immaculate Conception—
falls on the Second Sunday of
Advent. In accordance with no.
5 of the Universal Norms on the
Liturgical Year and the Calendar,
the observance of the Solemnity is
transferred to Monday, Dec. 9.
Such a transfer is seen as a
pastoral concession to the desire
of the faithful to observe a beloved
Feast even though it is impeded
liturgically by a higher observance.
The obligation of the faithful to
attend Mass remains attached to
the day itself (Dec. 8), however,
and so it does not transfer with the
liturgical observance, according
the U.S. Conference of Catholic
The Immaculate Conception,
a solemnity usually celebrated on
Dec. 8, is the patronal feast of the
United States.
In 1854, Pope Pius IX’s solemn
declaration, Ineffabilis Deus,
clarified with finality the longheld belief of the Church that
Mary was conceived free from
original sin. In proclaiming the
Immaculate Conception of Mary
as a dogma of the Church, the
pope expressed precisely and
clearly that Mary was conceived
free from the stain of original sin.
This privilege of Mary derives
from God’s having chosen her as
Mother of the Savior; thus she
received the benefits of salvation
in Christ from the very moment
of her conception.
This great gift to Mary, an
ordinary human being just like
us, was fitting because she was
destined to be Mother of God. The
purity and holiness of the Blessed
A mural of Our Blessed
Mother at Immaculate
Conception Church in McCook. Mary, under the title
of the Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the
United States.
Virgin Mary is a model for all
“The fact of the matter is that
we are called to that same state as
the Virgin was gifted with, namely
to be immaculate, or completely
free of sin and of course, that is
kind of the prerequisite of being
with her son in the Kingdom,”
said Basilian Father Thomas W.
Sepulveda, pastor of Immaculate
Conception Church in Rio
Grande City.
Father Sepulveda said that
there is still some confusion about
the Immaculate Conception, even
among Catholics.
“People believe that is has to
do with the Virgin birth and it’s
not that at all,” he said. “It’s her
state and it was a state that was
given to her through the merits of
her son.”
The Catechism of the Catholic
Church says of the Immaculate
Conception of Mary:
490. To become the mother of
the Savior, Mary “was enriched
by God with gifts appropriate to
such a role”. The angel Gabriel at
the moment of the annunciation
salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact,
in order for Mary to be able to give
the free assent of her faith to the
announcement of her vocation, it
was necessary that she be wholly
borne by God’s grace.
491. Through the centuries
the Church has become ever
more aware that Mary, “full
of grace” through God, was
redeemed from the moment of
her conception. That is what
the dogma of the Immaculate
Conception confesses, as Pope
Pius IX proclaimed in 1844: “The
most Blessed Virgin Mary was,
from the first moment of her
conception, by a singular grace
and privilege of almighty God and
by virtue of the merits of Jesus
Christ, Savior of the human race,
preserved immune from all stain
of original sin.” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis
Deus, 1854.)
492. The “splendor of an
entirely unique holiness” by
which Mary is “enriched from the
first instant of her conception”
comes wholly from Christ: she
is “redeemed, in a more exalted
fashion, by reason of the merits
of her Son.” The Father blessed
Mary more than any other created
person “in Christ with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places” and chose her “in Christ
before the foundation of the
world, to be holy and blameless
before him in love.”
493. The Fathers of the Eastern
tradition call the Mother of God
“the All-Holy” (Panagia) and
celebrate her as “free from any
stain of sin, as though fashioned
by the Holy Spirit and formed as
a new creature”. By the grace of
God Mary remained free of every
personal sin her whole life long.
The National Shrine in the U.S.
Mary is honored at the Basilica
of the National Shrine of the
Immaculate Conception as the
Patroness of the United States of
America. In May 1846, 21 bishops
and one archbishop attended
the Sixth Provincial Council
of Baltimore, along with their
theologians. It was at this Council
that the American Hierarchy
named for the first time, the
Blessed Virgin Mary under the title
of the Immaculate Conception as
the Patroness of the United States.
Pope Pius IX ratified this action
of the American hierarchy in
February 1847.
With information from The
Valley Catholic
»Family Life
Lydia Pesina
Director, Family
Life Office
dvent and Christmas are
such wonderful opportunities to teach children about
Jesus! I personally do not like
seeing so many Christmas ornaments and items in stores in late
October; my soul is just not ready
for Advent much less Christmas;
but the reality is that those items
are all around us so we may as well
use them as opportunities to teach
about the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
As parents, grandparents, and
godparents, we have a special obligation to teach about the important things in life: We read in Deuteronomy 4:9 “However, take care
and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your
own eyes have seen, nor let them
slip from your memory as long as
you live, but teach them to your
children and to your children’s
The following are ten suggestions for teaching children about
1) Teach about the miracle
of Jesus’ birth through children’s
books, coloring books, and Christmas songs. Many of the local dollar
stores carry books and coloring
books and they make great Christmas gifts for all children. Remember to sing Christmas songs at
home because some schools have
restrictions on songs that have
religious words and meanings and
many children have not learned
Silent Night or Away in a Manger.
2) Say the name Jesus often
even to babies and toddlers. Use
short phrases that speak about
Jesus such as: Jesus was born
in Bethlehem. Mary was Jesus’
mother. Joseph took care of Mary
and baby Jesus. Jesus’s birth is the
reason for Christmas.
3) Use manger scenes to teach
the nativity story. As Christians
we believe that Jesus is the greatest
of all of God’s miracles because
through His birth God took on
human flesh and entered into this
world in the flesh of a baby( fully
divine and yet fully a human baby)
in order to become Emmanuel –
God with us. Using unbreakable
nativity sets with little ones which
they can touch and hold is a good
way to tell the Christmas story.
4) Commercialism vs. giving
with grace. All of us are surrounded by the commercialism of
the season; however, perhaps we
can use it as a teachable moment
to teach about “giving with grace”.
Giving with grace means giving
from the heart, with no strings
attached, no “making a list and
checking it twice” to see if you’ve
been naughty or nice. Giving with
grace means that whatever the gift
is, it is not about how much it costs
but rather about giving it from the
heart and also receiving whatever
is given with grace.
» Please see Christmas, p.19
The Valley Catholic - December 2013
Giving happiness
Catholic Charities
collecting gift cards
for families dealing
with cancer
Priest of the
Diocese of Fall
Sex, truth and
the illumination
of our guilt
The Valley Catholic
Katrina Rose Salas of Weslaco,
was just six-years-old when she
was diagnosed with T-cell acute
lymphoblastic leukemia.
“The diagnosis changed our
lives overnight,” said Katrina’s
mother, Rosa Tamez. “All we
could think about was taking
care of Katrina. We even left our
home and moved into the Ronald
McDonald house so we could
be right there with her as she
received treatment.”
After a long course of
chemotherapy, radiation and
ultimately a cord blood stem cell
transplant, Katrina is now cancerfree but not completely in the
clear. Her immune system has
been severely compromised.
Like many others with a
serious illness, Katrina and her
family have to travel a long way for
medical appointments. Katrina
currently has weekly medical
appointments in San Antonio
and transportation costs are often
too high for the family, especially
since Katrina’s mom had to quit
her job in order to take care of her
daughter and keep up with the all
the appointments.
Catholic Charities of the
Rio Grande Valley is asking the
faithful to donate gift cards to
HEB and Walmart in order to
assist families dealing with cancer
with transportation and other
“We hear from people who
are battling cancer almost daily,”
said Yesenia Guzman, caseworker
for Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley. “Many of them
do have Medicaid but it doesn’t
cover transportation costs such
Courtesy photos
Katrina Salas, 8, was
diagnosed with leukemia
two years ago. The illness
has taken an emotional
family. Catholic Charities
of the Rio Grande Valley
is asking the faithful to
donate gift cards to HEB
or Walmart to assist
families dealing with
as gas, the wear and tear on their
vehicles or meals.”
Not only does she struggle to
pay for gas and the maintenance
on her car, but also simple
household items such as laundry
detergent, shampoo and toilet
paper, Tamez said.
“I pray the people of the
Valley will open up their hearts
and help families like mine,” said
Tamez, a parishioner at St. Joan of
Arc Church in Weslaco.
Please mail gift cards to
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley, Attn: Yesenia
Guzman, 700 N. Virgen de San
Juan Blvd., San Juan, TX 78589.
For more information, call (956)
»Women speak for themselves en el Valle
Let’s set the world on fire
St. Catherine of Siena said,
“Be who God meant you to be
and you will set the world on
It seems women have
struggled over the years trying to
determine our place in society,
fighting for the right to vote, for
equal pay, for a place at the table,
and at times veering off course
from what God wants for us.
Twenty-five years ago Blessed
Pope John Paul II wanted to
remind us of our unique calling,
one entrusted by God to every
woman. He highlighted the
importance of women and talked
about the “feminine genius”
in his apostolic letter Mulieris
Dignitatem: On the Dignity and
Vocation of Women. He continued his reflection with a Letter to
Women in 1995.
He wanted women to reflect
on “what it means to speak of
the “genius of women”, not only
in order to be able to see in this
»Making Sense
out of Bioethics
Nettles Riojas
Editor of The
Valley Catholic
phrase a specific part of God’s
plan which needs to be accepted
and appreciated, but also in order
to let this genius be more fully
expressed in the life of society as
a whole, as well as in the life of
the Church.”
In October, the Pontifical
Council for the Laity sponsored
a seminar “God entrusts the
human being to the woman”
to mark the 25th anniversary
of Mulieris Dignitatem and to
prompt a renewed reflection
on what Pope Francis called “a
historic document, the first Papal
Magisterium entirely dedicated
to the subject of woman.”
What is the feminine genius?
It is tied to our innate capacity
for self-giving love. Blessed John
Paul II points to the Blessed Virgin Mary as “the highest expression of the ‘feminine genius’” and
“a source of constant inspiration.”
“Putting herself at God’s service,
she also put herself at the service
of others: a service of love.” (Letter to Women)
Blessed Pope Johan Paul II
also writes in his Letter, “emphasis should be placed on the
“genius of women”, not only by
considering great and famous
women of the past or present, but
also those ordinary women who
reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at
the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to others each day women
fulfill their deepest vocation.”
We don’t have to look far for
examples. I am inspired by so
» Please see World on Fire, p.18
uilt has gotten a lot of bad
press recently. We live
in an age where guilt is
practically always something bad,
something to get past with the
help of a shrink. Particularly when
discussing sex, people will declare
that religion and morality do
nothing more than make people
feel guilty. Andrew Aaron, a sex
and marriage therapist in New
Bedford, Massachusetts seems to
subscribe to this view: “Through
centuries,” he writes, “religious
education has associated sex with
what is wrong and sinful rather
than what is sacred. Instead of an
expression of the divine, sex is
suspiciously regarded as weakness
of the flesh. The result of this influence is that sexuality, a natural part
of being human, is tainted with
shame, guilt, and ambivalence.”
Every instance of erotic satisfaction, sexual activity or orgasm,
however, cannot be automatically
branded as sacred or as a divine
manifestation. We all recognize
how easily the unbridled pursuit
of sexual gratification can become
an exploitative, self-centered and
demeaning enterprise. “Context”
matters critically when it comes to
getting sex right, and it is too easy
in the sexually permissive environment of today’s society to miss the
core truth that the unique context
for human sexual activity is a very
specific one, namely, the beautiful
setting of marriage, with its mutual
commitment and openness to
Father Thomas O’Donnell, S.J.
in his “Medicine and Christian
Morality” distills the matter to its
essence in this way: “In the moral
order, all deliberately induced
venereal pleasure is restricted to
marriage and related in some way,
either immediately or remotely,
to a proper marital act.” From this
perspective, the real harms we
bring upon ourselves and others
when seeking to satisfy the sexual
impulse outside of its specific context should, in fact, elicit feelings of
guilt on our part.
To put it simply, there is such
a thing as “good guilt,” which
manifests our own inner awareness of how we have acted against
what is good for us, and violated
the objective moral order.
I recall a story of a woman
who committed adultery, and over
time she struggled with feelings of
guilt. What she ended up doing,
in this situation, was to rationalize her guilt away with the help
of her therapist. He managed
to convince her that she was a
“genius of friendship.” The woman
became “spiritually thinner” in her
relationships with men, and ceased
to grow humanly and personally.
Simply put, she entered into the
worst possible state of spiritual
The potential that she had
for any deep relationships with
» Please see Guilt, p.7
December 2013 - The Valley Catholic
The Word of God in the Life
and Mission of the Church
( First Sunday of Advent )
Reading I IS 2:1-5
Responsorial Psalm
PS 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Reading II ROM 13:11-14
Gospel MT 24:37-44
(Second Sunday of Advent )
Reading I IS 11:1-10
Responsorial Psalm
PS 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
Reading II ROM 15:4-9
MT 3:1-12
(Third Sunday of Advent )
Reading I IS 35:1-6A, 10
Responsorial Psalm
PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Reading II
JAS 5:7-10
MT 11:2-11
(Fourth Sunday of Advent )
Reading I
IS 7:10-14
Responsorial Psalm
PS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Reading II ROM 1:1-7
MT 1:18-24
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
Seminarian to be ordained
to transitional diaconate
The Valley Catholic
Daniel E. Flores will ordain Jose
Garza to the
t r ans it i on a l
diaconate at 6
p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at
Holy Family
Church, 2308
E. Tyler St. in
who is at Assumption Seminary,
is in his 4th year of theology at
Oblate School of Theology in
San Antonio. He earned of bachelor of arts in May 2009 from the
Pontifical College Josephinum in
Columbus, Ohio.
A native of Matamoros, Garza is the son of Maria Elena Hernandez and the late Jose Garza.
He has two sisters, Ana Rosa and
A prayer filled with self-pride
e all use our bodies to
pray because we are a
single unity of body and
soul, or in Thomistic language, a
spiritualized bodies or embodied
spirits. We all have the need to
worship because God put that desire in our hearts. The truth is that
we cannot pray without our bodies
simply because “the body, in fact,
and only the body, is capable of
making visible what is invisible:
the spiritual and the divine. It has
been created to transfer into the
visible reality of the world the
mystery hidden from eternity in
God, and thus to be a sign of it”
(TOB 19:4).
Two men went up to the
temple to pray, one was a Pharisee
and the other a tax collector. In
the Gospel of Luke 18:9-14, both
men used their bodies, thoughts
and actions to reveal what was in
their hearts. The Pharisee said a
prayer to himself, a prayer filled
with self-pride. He spoke of all
the good things he had done and
accomplished, but never recognized that God is the author of
all good works. He even went as
far as thanking God for not being like the rest of humanity and
enumerating the sins of others
and mentioning the tax collector
who was with him in front of the
same God, the God who created
them both with equal dignity was
separating himself from his fellow
humans. It must have been very
difficult for the Pharisee’s wife and
children to live with him because
he considered himself different
from the rest of humanity and that
included his own family. Someone
who thinks they are perfect is not
only blind to their own faults; they
are quite conscious of the faults of
Father Jorge
for the Diocese
of Brownsville
others and feel it is their duty to
constantly point them out.
On the other hand, the tax
collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes,
but beat his breast imploring God
and asking for his mercy. The tax
collector recognized his sinful condition and asked God for mercy.
He is the one who really prayed an
honest prayer. He really connected
with God in recognizing his own
sinfulness and asking forgiveness.
In honesty, connecting with God
he was justified, he was forgiven.
Jesus rejects the Pharisee’s
prayer, for this kind of prayer is
not a dialogue with the God who
is love, his prayer was more of a
self affirmation of his own ego and
therefore, it is a prayer viciously
damaged on the root. Thus, it is a
prayer that creates division; it is a
self deceiving narcissistic prayer. It
is a prayer that does not begin with
the fundamental: the recognition
of his poverty and the condition
of being a creature in front of the
Creator. In his prayer the Pharisee was not talking to God but
to himself. His prayer was filled
with self-pride, not giving God the
credit for his virtuous life, and with
contempt of others who were not
as good as he thought he was. If
he had really thanked God for the
help and grace he had received that
helped him to be the person he
was, if he had said a prayer for the
tax-collector who may not have received the same opportunities and
blessings in life that the Pharisee
had received, then that would have
been a good prayer.
Prayer must be an honest act
of gratitude for who we are and for
what we have, even for the good
works we can do. God is the author
of everything we do. Prayer should
bring us closer to the reality of the
other person who is sitting beside
you in church and thank God for
his presence because “next to the
Blessed Sacrament Himself, your
neighbor is the holiest object present to your senses” (C.S. Lewis).
A real prayer must bring us closer
to God and to our neighbor and
to recognize and to give thanks to
God not for making us different
from the rest of humanity, but for
making us all in his image and
likeness. It is in the human bodies
of the fellow human beings that
we can experience the presence
of God in our lives because “the
body in fact, and only the body, is
capable of making visible what is
invisible and in this way the body
enters into the definition of sacrament, which is ‘a visible sign of
an invisible reality’ namely, of the
spiritual, transcendent, and divine
reality. In this sign- and through
this sign- God gives himself to
man in his transcendent truth and
in his love” (TOB 87:5).
I invite you to feel that presence of God each Sunday in the
person that is sitting beside you
and give thanks to God for the
presence of another being that has
the same dignity that you have
and for making present with his
» Please see Self-Pride, p.19
keeping door of our hearts open
s we come to a close on the
Year of Faith it gives us an
opportunity to reflect on
“how’s your faith doing?” and what
difference has the Year of Faith
made in your life?
The Year of Faith was an effort
of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “to
a renewed conversion to the Lord
Jesus and to rediscover our Catholic faith, so that as members of the
Church we will be credible and joy
filled witnesses of the Risen Lord,
capable of leading others who are
seeking the door of faith” (Acts
14:27), (Apostolic letter, Porta
The Holy Father intended the
Year of Faith for Catholics to appreciate and to know the Creed,
to study the four pillars of the
Catechism of the Catholic Church,
to witness the faith and to perform
acts of charity in order for our faith
to take deep roots.
What should give us hope as
we conclude this year of faith are
the many Catechumens who were
received into full initiation into the
Church at the Easter Vigil celebrated this past year in every Catholic
church in our diocese and all over
the world; the many children
baptized every Sunday we have
baptisms, the many children who
receive the grace of God’s pardon
and forgiveness in the Sacrament
of Penance for the first time, the
many who receive the Eucharist as
they approach the table of the Lord
for the first time; and the many
who receive the Sacrament of Holy
Matrimony by becoming one in
Christ. It is up to us as the Mystical
Luis Zuniga
Director, Office for
Pastoral Planning
& San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute.
Body of Christ, the Church, to sustain them in the faith by praying
for them to keep the faith until the
Lord comes.
As you may have heard Bishop
Daniel E. Flores consecrated our
diocese to Our Lord Jesus Christ
through the Immaculate Heart
of Mary on Nov. 24, the closing
day of the year of faith at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
The word “consecration” means
a total giving of ourselves. Because
God does not do anything in us or
to us without our consent, our free
will. Our Blessed Mother, Mary is
our model of faith, of a life that is
totally consecrated to God, a total
surrender. Her heart is pure and
sinless; a heart completely directed
toward God, always willing to do
God’s will with her life and to follow God’s plan as the New Eve.
Our Blessed Mother was
always faithful, from the womb
to the tomb. By consecrating
ourselves to the Lord Jesus we offer
ourselves totally to Him and by
following our Blessed Mother’s example we imitate her and join ourselves with her immaculate heart.
Because her response is itself God’s
gift of grace. “She shines forth on
earth until the day of the Lord shall
come, a sign of certain hope and
comfort to the pilgrim People of
God” (Lumen Gentium 68).
We follow her example as she
did at the Annunciation, when she
told the angel, “Let it be done to
me according to your word” (Luke
1:38) in other words by pledging
ourselves to follow God’s will for us
as she did. We recall her unfailing
faith in her Son even when it was
not his hour yet at the Wedding
at Cana. “Do whatever he tells
you.” (John 2:5) She models once
again her trust in her Son Jesus
and invites us to do the same. At
the foot of the cross our Blessed
Mother Mary becomes the Mother
of all disciples “When Jesus saw
his mother, and the disciple whom
he loved standing near, he said to
his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your
son!’ Then he said to the disciple,
‘Behold, your mother!’” (John
19:26-27); therefore we trust and
commend ourselves to her maternal love.
May this Year of Faith which
concluded Nov. 24 continue to
motivate and encourage us on
our journey of faith, of prayer and
constant reflection as we keep the
door of faith open to the will of
God. Even though the Year of Faith
came to an end, what continues is
our commitment to respond daily
to the Lord Jesus, who calls us to
be his faithful disciples, sent into
the world to announce the Gospel
“the good news of salvation” and
to bear witness to the joy of a life
lived in faith.
» Please see Year of Faith, p.7
Courtesy photo
An image of St. John of the Cross at
the Carmel of Mary and Joseph, a
Discalced Carmelite Monastery in
Varroville, Australia.
»Feast Day
- December 14
Spotlight on
St. John of
the Cross
Catholic News Agency
Dec. 14 is the liturgical memorial of St. John of the Cross,
a 16th century Carmelite priest
best known for reforming his
order together with St. Teresa of
Avila, and for writing the classic spiritual treatise “The Dark
Night of the Soul.”
Honored as a Doctor of the
Church since 1926, he is sometimes called the “Mystical Doctor,” as a tribute to the depth of
his teaching on the soul’s union
with God.
Born in Spain in 1542, John
learned the importance of selfsacrificing love from his parents.
His father gave up wealth, status,
and comfort when he married a
weaver’s daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After
his father died, his mother kept
the destitute family together
as they wandered homeless in
search of work. These were the
examples of sacrifice that John
followed with his own great love
— God.
After John joined the Carmelite order, St. Teresa of Avila
asked him to help her reform
movement. John supported
her belief that the order should
return to its life of prayer. But
many Carmelites felt threatened
by this reform, and some members of John’s own order kidnapped him.
He was locked in a small cell
and beaten three times a week
by the monks. There was only
one tiny window high up near
the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation,
his love and faith were like fire
and light. He had nothing left
but God — and God brought
John his greatest joys in that tiny
After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock
on his door and creeping past
the guard. He resumed the work
of founding and directing Discalced Carmelite communities.
But intrigue within the order
eventually cost him his leadership position, and his last years
were marked by illness along
with further mistreatment.
St. John of the Cross died in
the early hours of Dec. 14, 1591.
He was beatified in 1675, canonized in 1726.
The Valley Catholic - December 2013
Danza de los
Photos by Brenda Nettles Riojas/
The Valley Catholic
PHARR — They danced in the
street, they danced for Christ, they
danced to share the Good News.
In their costumes – gold, silver,
bright reds, greens, yellow and hot
pink, Matachines from different
parishes in the diocese colored
the streets and the drum beats led
the dancers as they made their
way south to St. Frances Cabrini
Church in Las Milpas in Pharr.
Matachines Festival on Nov. 16 to
unite groups from the Valley and
to promote the art form.
To see more photos visit and our Facebook page.
December 2013 - The Valley Catholic
»Hope in Action: A Spotlight on Youth
“Save Me” Video
Always ready to volunteer
Special to the Valley Catholic
SAN BENITO — St. Benedict
Church recently celebrated its
100th Anniversary of serving the
faithful of San Benito. Countless
volunteers contribute to the
success of the parish. Araceli
Castillo is among those who have
volunteered their time and talents
to the parish.
Castillo said her commitment
to God was imparted to her
example. She said she looks up to
her grandmother, Bea Garcia, and
admires all that she does for the
Castillo is the outgoing
president of the St. Benedict
Church Youth Group. Through
her leadership, the youth of St.
Benedict Church not only served
the parish but the community at
large. The group organized food
drives for the local food pantry,
and hosted events for the residents
of nearby nursing homes on
Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
They also organized and hosted
chalupa games to raise funds for
the youth group.
Castillo participated as one
of two drummers in the play,
“The Little Drummer Boy,” at the
Midnight Mass on Christmas.
After her Confirmation this past
April, she is more determined to
continue serving God.
Name: Araceli Castillo
School/Grade: San Benito
High School, 11th Grade
Year of Faith
continued from pg. 5
May the Blessed Virgin
Mary, the Star of the New
Evangelization who always
intercedes for us be our inspiration.
Prayer to Mary,
Mother of the Church
and Mother of our faith
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s
word and to recognize his voice
and call.
Awaken in us a desire to
follow in his footsteps, to go
forth from our own land and
to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his
love, that we may touch him
in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves
fully to him and to believe in
his love, especially at times of
trial, beneath the shadow of
the cross, where our faith is
called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the
Risen One. Remind us that
those who believe are never
Teach us to see all things with
the eyes of Jesus, that he may
be light for our path. And
may this light of faith always
increase in us, until the dawn
of that undying day which is
Christ himself, your Son, our
Lord! Amen.
by Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei
(The Light of Faith, First
Encyclical of his pontificate)
The Valley Catholic
Araceli Castillo, a junior at San Benito High School, says her grandmother inspires her
to have faith and serve others.
Activities at school: Band,
drill team, and track
What do you do at your
parish? Altar Server for eight
years; past president of the Youth
Group 2012-13; currently shares
the title of parliamentarian/
historian of the Youth Group;
participant in the Christmas
play; participant in the Stations of
the Cross on Good Friday; sang
and played with choir with her
singing, drummer in band, track
and volleyball
Your favorite movie: The
Pursuit of Happyness
continued from pg. 4
members of the opposite sex was
dashed by the way she resolved
her guilt: men became objects
for her crafty genius, and her
relationships were reduced to
power plays and manipulation.
She gradually became an empty
shell of a woman, with little left
that was genuine inside of her.
She had encountered real guilt in
her life, but had failed to engage
it in a way that could lead to
growth, conversion and fulfillment, and her therapist likewise
failed her, because he was not
sensitive to the value of true guilt
and the deepest human needs
reflected in that guilt — the need
to forgive and to be forgiven.
A few years back, Naomi Wolf
wrote about a friend of hers who
was a “Cornell-educated, urban,
Democratic-voting 40-year-old
cardiologist.” This friend had
once had an abortion, and afterwards she said something Wolf
found very interesting: “You
know how in the Greek myths
when you kill a relative you are
pursued by Furies? For months
it was as if baby Furies were
pursuing me.”
No matter what our education or background, no matter
Your favorite music: Any
music is fine.
TV show you never miss:
There’s two, Dance Moms and
America’s Got Talent
Book you would read again:
The Outsiders
Person who has had a great
influence in your life: “My
grandmother. She has taught me
about our Catholic religion. She
has great knowledge about the
Bible, she has taught me to be
a giving person. She has set the
example for me for serving our
Lord and my church. She has also
taught me to, “always have faith.”
what our level of sophistication
may be, we have all received the
gift of conscience, and the gift
of “good guilt” that is ordered
to helping us confront ourselves
and turn away from wrongdoing. Pushing away our good
guilt or hiding it under the rug
only makes our situation worse.
We are the only creatures in
the animal kingdom capable of
illuminating our guilt, of asking
why we feel guilty.
Guilt is like a pain of the soul,
and pain often indicates that
something is wrong and we
should see a doctor. Our guilty
feelings about wrongs or evils
we have committed should lead
us to seek the Divine Physician,
in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where God’s healing
touch is personally experienced.
Forgiveness from God and
neighbor leads us to healing and
wholeness. In this sense, “good
guilt” points to possibilities of
inner renewal and freedom. By
becoming attuned to our guilt,
and addressing it honestly, we
discover a real cause for hope.
Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his
doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and
did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is
a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA,
and serves as the Director of Education at
The National Catholic Bioethics Center in
prize for her video entitled “Save Me” in the Annual Valley Environmental Summit
Art & Video Contest on Oct. 24. In the photo, Hinojosa is shown with her mother,
Marcela and Texas State Representative Eddie Lucio III, who presented the award.
The Valley Environmental Summit actively engages communities in working together
to improve their environment and quality of life. For more information on the Valley
Environmental Summit, go to .
30th Anniversary
The Oratory Schools in Pharr culminated their year-long 30th Anniversary
celebration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14. The event was sponsored
by the City of Pharr. In 1983, with the help of a handful of lay faithful, the religious
Oratory Academy with grades Pre-K and Kindergarten and a student population of
15 and a staff of three. Today, the Pharr Oratory of the St. Philip Neri School System
has more than 700 students on three campuses in two countries and 75 employees.
Libreria Católica J. C. Enterprise
[email protected]
Evangelización, Catequesis para adultos y niños, Bíblico, Litúrgico,
Teología, Filosofía, Moral, Biblias Temáticas, Vida de Santos en DVD’S
Libros sobre Matrimonio, Familia, Educación a los hijos, Dinámicas,
Primera Comunión, Pro-Vida y Juegos Didácticos
Algunos títulos Bilingues, Inglés, Español y Portugués
VENTAS: Brownsville, Texas
Enrique de la Cruz (956) 371-3923 Mary 465-9830 Nancy 459-3360
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
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Call (956) 785-5055 or email us at [email protected]
The Valley Catholic -December 2013
Those Who Serve:
Deacon Julio Castilleja
Basilica honors
of the Year
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — “Era muy chiquitillo cuando empeze a piscar,” (I was
very young when I started working in the fields), said Deacon Julio
Castilleja, who serves at the Basilica
of Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine. “I didn’t know any
other kind of life.”
Deacon Castilleja, 83, was born
and raised in the El Tule neighborhood on the east side of Edinburg.
The neighborhood earned its name
because the roofs of the humble
homes were fashioned out of cattails or tule plant. Most of the people in the neighborhood worked as
migrant workers.
Year after year, Deacon Castilleja and his family picked cotton
in the Rio Grande Valley and then
traveled to Robstown, to Taylor
and finally to West Texas to harvest
even more cotton. Some years, they
trekked all the way to Washington
state to pick sugar beets or to Idaho
to pick potatoes. All told, they traveled all over the country for work,
working from sunrise to sunset
harvesting crops.
Deacon Castilleja, his siblings,
along with other families, traveled
Photos by The Valley
Above: Deacon Julio
and Mrs. Enedina Castilleja are presented
with the Migrant
Family of the Year
Award by the priests
of the Basilica of Our
Lady of San Juan del
Valle-National Shrine.
Left: Deacon Castilleja
proclaims the Gospel
at the basilica.
hundreds and hundreds of miles
in truck beds, which were covered
with tarps to keep out the elements.
“We looked like a wagon train,”
Deacon Castilleja said.
As they traveled from one job
to the next, they would pull the
truck over to the side of the road
and set up camp when night fell.
The men would build a campfire
and the women would cook meals
over the open fire, meals that often
included beans and tortillas. They
slept on the ground in the open air.
“Other people might look at
migrant work and think, ‘what a
hard life,” Deacon Castilleja said.
“It is hard work but I think it was a
great way to be raised. It was a lifestyle for us. We were used to it. I
would not trade those experiences
for anything.
“I have so many great memories, memories of good times with
my family, memories of all of us
banding together and working as a
team, good friends, good food,” he
added. “Sometimes, I can almost
taste the taquitos de frijol that we
used to eat back then – bien padres.
It was our life and we enjoyed it.
Deacon Castilleja, his wife of 57
years, Enedina, 77, and their family were honored as the Migrant
Family of Year for their decades
as migrant workers at the basilica’s
Migrant Welcoming Festival in
October. As a child, Mrs. Castilleja
and her family, who also lived in
the El Tule neighborhood, labored
as migrant workers in Washington,
Arizona, Idaho, Lubbock and many
other places.
Deacon and Mrs. Castilleja
have 10 children, 34 grandchildren
and 21 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Castilleja said she wasn’t
surprised when her husband received the call to the permanent
“Growing up, we were neighbors,” she said. “His family was very
religious and I liked that. I wanted a
good man who liked to go to Mass
like I did. We’ve experienced joys
and sorrows in our marriage, including losing a daughter, but our
faith has kept us strong.”
Deacon Castilleja, who moved
to San Juan as an adult, was ordained to the permanent diaconate
23 years ago. He has served at the
basilica for the last 10 years, ministering to the thousands of pilgrims
who visit each week.
Manuela Villescas, a volunteer
at the basilica and a longtime friend
of the deacon and his wife, said that
Deacon Castilleja is a natural in his
daily pastoral work with the pilgrims.
“He’s very friendly,” Villescas
said. “He asks the pilgrims where
they are from and makes conversation with them. He prays with them
and for them. You can see that he
enjoys interacting with them. He is
also so patient and caring with the
people who come here in crisis.
“He’ll say he’s going to retire
from time to time, but I can’t imagine him actually doing it, even
though he is in his 80s. He is very
hard-working and dedicated to
his ministry. They don’t make too
many like him anymore.”
December 2013 - The Valley Catholic
Mission parish creates
largest rosca in Texas Jan 6
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Mission made the largest rosca
de reyes in Texas on Jan. 6 the Feast
of the Epiphany of Our Lord. The
bread measured more than 1,500 feet.
Newest Catholic Campus
Ministry launched Jan 6
A new Catholic Campus Ministry
was launched in the diocese at South
Texas College-Starr County Campus.
Thousands attend
Pro-Life March in McAllen Jan 19
The Respect Life Apostolate
organized a march in McAllen on Jan.
19. Thousands of pro-life warriors
joined Bishop Daniel E. Flores in the \
procession that began at St. Joseph
the Worker Parish and continued into
downtown where it passed by the
local abortion clinic and concluded at
Sacred Heart Parish. Jan. 22, 2013
marked the 40th anniversary of the
Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling,
which legalized abortion throughout
the U.S.
for more than 10 years, with the Diocesan Spirit Award. The award was
presented at a dinner on Jan. 25 at Msgr. Ralph Hall at Our Lady of Sorrows
Parish in McAllen. At the dinner, each of the 13 Catholic schools in the
diocese also recognized an individual for their dedication and commitment to
Catholic education.
Medical clinic opened at
St. Anthony Parishan 6
Dr. Stephen Robinson started a
medical clinic in Harlingen. He is currently seeing patients at St. Anthony
Catholic Church in the St. Anthony
Annex Building. The clinic runs on donations from patients and those willing
to contribute. Care given is not based
on private or government insurance or
on a fee schedule.
Mother-Daughter Program Jan.27
annual Mother-Daughter Program on
Jan. 27 in San Juan. Designed for
mothers and their daughters, ages
10-12, the program provides an atmosphere of love and learning in which to
discuss the wonder of growing up and
becoming a woman. 2013 marked the
program’s 17th year.
Religious honored
at special Mass
On Feb. 3, Bishop Daniel E.
Flores celebrated a Mass in honor of
World Day for Consecrated Life. at
the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan
del Valle-National Shrine. All religious
priests, brothers and sisters serving
in the Diocese of Brownsville were
invited to attend the Mass. There are
more than 200 in religious life serving
in our diocese.
Diocese recognizes
enduring marriages Feb.9
Couples marking 25, 30, 40, 50
and 60-plus years of marriage in 2013
were recognized at a World Marriage
Day Mass celebrated by Bishop
Daniel E. Flores on Feb. 9 at the
Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del
Valle-National Shrine.
Young Adult
ambassadors commissioned
As part of the Year of Faith
and Young Adult Ministry (CYAM) in
February announced the creation of a
group of 16 young adults who Bishop
Daniel E. Flores commissioned to
serve as his ambassadors throughout
the diocese. The group meets with
the bishop twice a year to discuss the
concerns and issues facing young
adults, ages 18-39, in our diocese.
Listening sessions conclude
Bishop Daniel E. Flores held
several listening sessions, or a town
hall-style meetings, in 2013. The last
session was held on March 19 at Our
Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Mission
for the Mission Deanery. The series
began in the Pharr Deanery in the
Autumn of 2012. The purpose of the
listening sessions was to provide
the faithful with a direct means of
communication with the bishop and to
encourage greater participation in the
life of the Church. The feedback will
also be used for planning purposes.
Bishop Flores gives thanks for Pope Francis
Bishop Daniel E. Flores celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving on March 14 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
Brownsville for the March 13 election of Pope Francis as the 265th successor of St. Peter. “The vocation of us all is to bear
testimony to Christ. The pope is called to this, and so are we,” the bishop said during the Mass.
Catholic Charities
Hosts Gala
April 6
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley hosted their “Providing
Help, Creating Hope Gala Night” on
April 6 at the Cimarron Country Club
in Mission. Dr. Lawrence and Mrs.
Esperanza Gelman were honored with
the Hope Award, which recognized
those who serve the most vulnerable
members of society.
Raymondville students earn
second place in national contest
The Valley Catholic -December 2013
Ralia Cortinas, Rosa Angelica Barrera, Carla
Bocanegra, Jose Trevino and Celyna Vasquez, mobile journalists from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in
Raymondville, were awarded second place in the national
Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)
Multimedia Youth Contest in April. The students wrote a
poem titled, “I Am Raymondville,” which explored poverty
in their hometown.
Experts leads Vatican II workshop April 6
Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz, the Joseph Professor of
Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College, presented a workshop titled, “What happened at the Second
Vatican Council? Keys to Understanding the Council,”
on April 6 at the St. Pius X Parish Conference Center in
Oblate Trail Ride April 6
The Ninth Annual Oblate Trail
Ride, a bicycle tour with 25 and 62.5
routes, was held on April 6. The route
follows the famous Oblate Trail along
Military Highway, an area the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
traveled by horse more than 100 years
ago to celebrate Mass in the remote
communities along the Rio Grande
Funds raised from this event
Human Development to help break the
cycle of poverty in the Valley.
University students invited to
discover, rediscover their faithApril
Catholic Campus Ministry sponVRUHGWKH¿UVW³2FHORW$ZDNHQLQJ´
college retreat in Brownsville on April
Sister Telkamp named
10Sister Zita Telkamp of the Sisters of
Divine Providence, program director for La
Posada Providencia in San Benito, was
Award on April 10. Bishop Daniel E. Flores
nominated Sister Telkamp for the award,
which is presented annually by Catholic
Extension, a national fundraising organization committed to supporting and strengthening poor mission dioceses in the U.S.
Advocacy Day in Austin April 9
Hundreds of Catholics from the Rio Grande Valley joined others from
across the state on April 9 for Catholic Advocacy Day, which was hosted by
the Texas bishops at the State Capitol in Austin to promote the Church’s values of life, justice, charity, and religious freedom to the 83rd Texas Legislature.
Sacred Heart Church in Brownsville
celebrates 100 years of faith
A Centennial Celebration was held on April 13 for the historic
Sacred Heart Church in Brownsville. Bishop Daniel E. Flores
celebrated the Centennial Mass during which he thanked the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate for their service over the years and
spoke about the beauty of the church. “It is one of the most beautiIXOWHPSOHVLQWKHGLRFHVH´KHVDLG³7KHZLQGRZVÀRRUSODQWKH
beauty of the sanctuary, it is really a living sign of the beauty which
God uses…a beauty which is manifested perfectly in Christ Jesus
St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus
Parish receives new church home
More than three years after a blaze
destroyed their sanctuary, St. Theresa
of the Infant Jesus Parish in Edcouch
has a permanent church home.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores blessed and
dedicated the new 7,981-square-foot
sanctuary on April 13 before a standing room only crowd. The new church
seats 430. i
Hike for Life raises funds,
awareness for pro-life causes
Hike for Life, a pro-life walk that
takes place once a year in various locations around Texas to raise money
for area crisis pregnancy centers, was
held in Brownsville on May 18. The
funds raised will be used to start a
pregnancy center in the area.
Bishop ordains two to the priesthood May 25
Bishop Daniel E. Flores ordained Juan Manuel Salazar and Arturo Castillo Jimenez to the priesthood on May 25 at St. Anthony Church in Harlingen.
A native of Edinburg, Father Salazar, 37, is a 10-year veteran of the Marine
Corps and a Second Degree Knight of Columbus. A native of Ciudad Madero
in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Father Castillo, 29, is a graduate of the
University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. He said
his mother, who attends Mass daily and serves as an Extraordinary Minister
Blue Mass celebrated May 25
Bishop Daniel E. Flores celebrated a
safety personnel on May 25 at Our Lady
of Sorrows Church in McAllen. The Mass,
which was sponsored by the Diocese of
Brownsville, was celebrated in thanksgivLQJWR*RGIRUWKHGHGLFDWLRQDQGVDFUL¿FH
made by the women and men serving
families and communities.
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley, St. Joseph Academy students
assist with tornado relief efforts in
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley sent a team to assist with relief efforts in Oklahoma following the destruction
left by tornados that hit the area on May
20. Sister Leticia Benavides of the Missionaries of Jesus headed the team which
left on May 31.
Forty-four students and faculty from
St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville also
went to Moore, Okla., from May 29 to June
6 to help with relief work.
December 2013 - The Valley Catholic
Summer Food Program provides
meals in low-income areas
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley, in conjunction with
the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) provided free, healthy meals
and snacks to children in low-income
areas via the Summer Food Service
Program beginning on June 3. There
were 70 sites throughout Willacy,
Cameron and Hidalgo County, which
provided more than 126,000 meals to
Valley children ages 3-18.
Catholic Youth
Renovation Project June 23-29
partnered with St. Paul Church in Mission to invite parish youth ministries to
participate in the Catholic Youth Renovation Project. This unique week-long
high school service experience gives
young people the opportunity to live
out the Catholic teachings on social
justice. Youth work in teams to help
construct/reconstruct homes for lowincome families.
Diocesan Newspaper – The Valley Catholic Garners National Awards
Press Association’s annual conference on June 21 in Denver. Submissions were considered among Catholic publications from
across the U.S. and Canada.
The Valley Catholic received an honorable mention for General Excellence among diocesan newspapers with a circulation of
17,001 to 40,000. “Joy and vitality seem part of the editorial mix in The Valley Catholic,” the judges noted. “Impressive in design,
editing, and story selection, this paper can teach others how to create joy and energy.”
Rose Ybarra earned second place in the category of Best News Writing Originating with the Paper - National Event for an
article, “Studying in the Shadows” which featured two undocumented college students from Peñitas.
The team of Terry De Leon, Cesar Riojas and Brenda Nettles Riojas garnered an honorable mention in the category of Best
Freestanding Online/Multi-Media Presentation of Photo Gallery or Slide Show for “Three New Priests - Ordination Mass, May
2012” a slide show featuring the ordination of Father Andres Gutierrez, Father Luis Roberto Tinajero and Father Jesus Paredes.
De Leon and Riojas also earned third place in the category of Best Photo Story Originating with a Newspaper for a photo
story titled, “Defendiendo la Vida”, which depicted pro-life warriors in the Rio Grande Valley.
Pro-Life Conference June 29
The Diocese of Brownsville’s
Respect Life Apostolate hosted their
conference on June
29 at Our Lady of
Mercy Parish Hall in
Mercedes. Ramona
Treviño from Dallas
shared her story of
how she went from
working as a clinic
manager for Planned
Parenthood, the number one abortion
provider in America, to being a ProLife activist.
a Father-Son Program for fathers and
their 10, 11, or 12 year old sons on
June 15, the day before Father’s Day
at the Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center in San Juan.
Diocese hosts music conference
More than 300 music ministers from around the United States
gathered on June 20-22 for the Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference
(HPMC), held at Our Lady of Sorrows
Parish in McAllen.
New Priest Ordained July 16
Bishop Daniel E. Flores ordained
Deacon Arturo Cardenas Avalos to the
priesthood for the Diocese of Brownsville on July 16 at the Parroquia de
San Miguel Arcangel in Manzanilla de
La Paz, Jalisco, Mexico.
Cardenas, 34, of Tuxpan, Jalisco,
Mexico is the son of Arturo Cardenas
Sanchez and Maria Mercedes Avalos
and has two siblings, a brother and a
Parishes form teams
for Softball Season
After more than 80 softball games,
the 2013 summer softball tournament
closed out the season on July 27-28.
Retreat reaches out to young adults
The Campus and Young Adult
Ministry hosted Valley Awakening,
a Diocesan Young Adult retreat, for
young adults in their mid twenties to
mid thirties and not currently attending
Diocesan Catholic
Youth Conference July 19-21
The Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference
served as the local World Youth Day 2013 celebration in the diocese. The conference was held
from July 19-21 in San Juan on the grounds of
the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine. In keeping with World Youth Day,
the theme of the conference was, “Go and Make
Disciples of All Nations.”
Marriage Building Program Aug. 3
Fortaleciendo tu Matrimonio
The Diocese of Brownsville FamLO\/LIH2I¿FHRIIHUHGD³)RUWDOHFLHQGR
tu Matrimonio” program on Aug. 3 for l
married couples interested in continuing to build a stronger marriage. The
program included topics such as
“Choosing a High Priority Marriage,”
“Building a Creative Love Life.”
Mass for Vocations Aug. 4
The Serra Clubs of the Catholic
Diocese of Brownsville hosted a
Mass for Vocations to the priestly and
religious life on Aug 4 at the Basilica
of Our Lady of San Juan del ValleNational Shrine in San Juan. Bishop
Daniel E. Flores celebrated the Mass.
Our Heavenly
Father Church in
Olmito becomes parish Sept.15
Our Heavenly Father Church
Mass on Sept. 15 in celebration of
Bishop Daniel E. Flores established
the parish in response to the “growth
and development taking place in
the northwest sector of the City of
Brownsville,” and “to provide more
adequately for the pastoral care of
the people of God,” reads the decree
erecting the new parish.
First Catholic university opens in Rio Grande Valley Aug.18
La Feria during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing on Aug. 18, making it the
New quasi-parish established in Peñitas Sept.8
In response to the growth in western Hidalgo County, Bishop Daniel E.
Flores decreed the establishment of a new quasi-parish in the Pueblo de
Palmas colonia in Peñitas with St. Anne as its patron saint, effective Sept. 8,
the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He named Father Michael
Catechetical Convocation Sept. 28
Catechists in the Diocese of
how they can spread the Good News
more effectively in parishes, missions
and Catholic schools at the annual
Catechetical Convocation on Sept. 28
The Valley Catholic -December 2013
at the McAllen Convention Center.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores served as
the keynote speaker and celebrated a
Saturday Vigil Mass. As is customary
on this occasion, the bishop commissioned the catechists for their ministry.
Additionally, the bishop honored the
catechists who have completed 10,
20, 25, and 30 and 40 years of faith
formation ministry with a special pin.
The festivities focused on the theme
“Open the Door of Faith.”
White Mass for healthcare
professionals celebrated Oct.17
The 10th Annual White Mass
for healthcare professionals was
celebrated on Oct. 17 at Our Lady
of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
Oct. 26
More than 800 high school youth from across
the Diocese of Brownsville gathered on Oct. 26 at
Weslaco East High School to celebrate their faith.
The theme of YouthBLAST 2013, “Go and Make
Disciples of All Nations,” summoned young people
to take a call to mission, living as witnesses of the
Risen Christ.
in McAllen. During the Mass, Bishop
Daniel E. Flores blessed the health
care professionals in attendance. Dr.
John F. Brehany, executive director of
the Catholic Medical Association and
Ethicist, delivered the keynote address
at the reception following the Mass.
Year of Faith ends Nov.24
Bishop Daniel E. Flores closed the
Year of Faith with a Mass on Nov. 24
at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, the Mother Church
of our diocese. During the celebration,
the bishop consecrated the Diocese
of Brownsville to Our Lord Jesus
Christ through the Immaculate Heart
of Mary. The Year of Faith began on
Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of
the opening of The Second Vatican
Council and ended on Nov. 24, the
Solemnity of Christ the King.
Theology on Tap serves
as forum for young adultsNov.26
Theology on Tap, a speaker series
for people in their 20s and 30s, married or single, covered a variety of topics in 2013. Bishop Flores presented
on the topic of “Heaven, Hell, and
Purgatory” and answered questions
from young adults in Edinburg on Nov.
4 and in Brownsville on Nov. 18.
Red Mass celebrated Oct. 24
Bishop Daniel E. Flores celebrated the 20th annual Red Mass on Oct.
24, at St. Joseph Parish in Edinburg.
The Red Mass is celebrated to invoke
God’s blessing upon all protectors and
administrators of the law, including
lawyers, judges and government
support staffs.
The theme of the night’s festivities
Bishop, Rabbi emphasize
importance of dialogue
Bishop Flores and McAllen Rabbi
Claudio J. Kogan modeled the art of
conversation during a public dialogue
on Oct. 14 at the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School gym in McAllen.
called “Hermanos: dialogues for
More than 40,000 receive help
Catholic Charities RGV assisted
approximately to 43,484 individuals
in the Rio Grande Valley through
their Emergency Assistance and
Homeless Prevention Programs.
These services helped families
prevent homelessness and helped
services include rental, utility, food,
loss, funeral, referral, and budget
and career counseling.
Counseling offered
Catholic Charities RGV provided
clinical counseling and pregnancy
counseling to over 1,300 couples,
marriages, individuals, mothers and
Both clinical counseling and pregnancy counseling offer individuals,
couples and families psychotherapy to
they are undergoing. The pregnancy
counseling program also offers material assistance to parents and children,
including but not limited to, diapers,
wipes, food, clothing, furniture, etc.
was based on Matthew 25:40, “…
whatever you did for one of these
least brothers of mine, you did for
me.” The Mass was followed by a
banquet at St. Joseph School. Retired
Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul
A. Gonzalez, a native of Weslaco,
served as the keynote speaker. The
topic of his speech was the Holy
Sacrament of Marriage.
Sister Cecilia Casas, RSM
Oct. 8, 1934 – April 3, 2013
Sister Cecilia Casas of the Sisters of Mercy
died on April
3 at Mercy
Health Center
Convent in
City. She was
A native
Sister Casas
of Edinburg,
Sister Casas
founded the Santa Cecilia Mission church and community center
in Monte Cristo, where Mass is
still celebrated every Sunday at 5
p.m. She also served as vicar for
women religious in the Diocese of
Brownsville from 1979 to 1984. She
served alongside her fellow Sisters
of Mercy at Casa Merced on Ware
Rd. In McAllen, working with Central
American refugees in the 1980s,
among her many other ministries in
the Valley.
Father Jose Mario Galindo, MSF
July 6, 1945 – May 14, 2013
Jose Mario
Galindo, a
priest of the
of the Holy
Family, died
on May 14 in
San Antonio.
Father Galindo
Segovia Prisoners
participate in retreat
Oct. 3-6
The Jail/Prison Ministry coordinated
in the Rio Grande Valley to lead a
retreat for 41 men at the Segovia
Prison in Edinburg Oct. 3-6.
New sanctuary for San Juan parish
Bishop Flores blessed and
dedicated a new church for St. John
the Baptist Parish in San Juan on
Nov. 24. Plans for the new church
included the tower from the original
San Juan Shrine, which was built in
1954. The new sanctuary seats more
than 900.
He was 67.
Father Galindo served his
diaconate at St. Joseph Church in
Donna and later returned to serve
was as Director of Vocations for the
Missionaries of the Holy Family.
Father Armand Mathew, OMI
Oct. 21, 1922 – June 22, 2003
Father Armand Mathew of the
Oblates of
Mary Immaculate died
on June 22 in
He was 90.
Father Mathew
Center for Civic
Engagement at
the University of Texas at Brownsville
in 2001 and was one of the founders of the Kids Voting Brownsville
initiative, which educates children
and young adults on the importance
of voting.
In his more than 36 years of
service in the Rio Grande Valley,
Father Mathew was also the pastor of the Immaculate Conception
Cathedral from 1978-1983 and was
in residence there from 2001 until his
Sharing Basket
project feeds 5,000 families Nov.26
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley teamed up with News
Channel 5 and Peter Piper Pizza to
feed more than 5,000 families in the
Rio Grande Valley through the annual
Sharing Basket project.
Hundreds of volunteers sorted and
assembled the baskets on Nov. 26, the
Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Inaugural Matachines
festival held in Las Milpas Nov.26
St. Frances Cabrini Church in Las
Milpas, a community located in South
Festival on Nov. 16. Organizers said
the goal of the event was to unite
Matachines from all over the Valley
and to promote this art form.
St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish
receives new church home
After 23 years as a community
of faith, parishioners of St. Eugene
de Mazenod Church have a new
church. Bishop Daniel E. Flores
blessed and dedicated the new
8,854-square-foot, Spanish colonialstyle church on Dec. 7.
Funding for Ministries
Generous benefactors of several
Extension, the Kenedy Memorial
Foundation and the Scanlan Foundation, renewed their commitment to the
diocese in the form of annual grants
which facilitated the work of several
ministries and projects.
Consecration Prayer
Holy Mary, Immaculately conceived, Virgin and Mother
of the Word Incarnate, with renewed gratitude
for your maternal presence we join our voice
to that of all the generations who call you blessed.
We celebrate in you the works of God,
who never tires of looking with mercy
Upon us who are wounded and afflicted by sin.
Accept with the benevolence of a Mother
the act of consecration that we perform today with confidence,
before this image of you that is so dear to us.
We are certain that every human life is precious in your eyes
Hold our lives in your immaculate heart,
bless and strengthen every desire for good in us;
revive and nourish faith;
sustain and enlighten hope;
awaken and animate charity;
guide all of us along the path of holiness.
Teach us your own preferential love
for the little and the poor,
for the excluded and the suffering,
for sinners and the downhearted:
We commend to your maternal protection
Our families, our children — those born and those still in the
Victims of violence along the border, both in the United States
and in Mexico;
The undocumented, the elderly and the sick among us;
bring everyone under your protection
and entrust us all to the heart of your beloved Son, Our Lord
Jesus, who by his death on the Cross, and rising from the tomb
has redeemed the world.
By Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Closing Mass for the Year of Faith
Diciembre 2013 - The Valley Catholic
Year of two popes
Leaves indelible
mark on
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — The goal of
the Year of Faith, which concluded
Nov. 24, has been to educate Catholics about basic church teachings,
strengthen their faith and inspire
them to share it with others. If it has
succeeded, as organizers say it has,
the credit ultimately lies less with
its special projects and events than
with the historic papal transition
that occurred in its course.
“The election of Pope Francis
has given new visibility to the core
teachings of Jesus Christ, which
ultimately is what the Year of Faith
sought to achieve,” Msgr. Paul
Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical
Council for Social Communications, told Catholic News Service.
Both Pope Benedict XVI, who
opened the celebration in October
2012, and Pope Francis dedicated
their Year of Faith talks to explaining the creed, looking at modern
cultural challenges to faith, recognizing faith as a gift, and urging
Catholics to proclaim God’s love
and share the Gospel.
But a different pope means a
different personality and a differ-
ent style, even when teaching or
preaching on the same themes. In
addition, a new pope tends to draw
more visitors to the Vatican because many Catholics are eager to
meet their new shepherd.
Eight months after Pope Francis’ March 13 election, the number
of visitors to the Vatican continues
to be higher than usual, which most
observers attribute to his easy rapport with a crowd and his touching
focus on children and the sick.
By Nov. 13, more than 8 million Catholics had come to Rome
and officially registered as Year of
Faith pilgrims at a visitors’ center
just down the street from St. Peter’s Basilica. But Father Francesco
Spinelli, an official at the Pontifical
Council for Promoting New Evangelization, said the real number of
participants in Year of Faith events
at the Vatican is far higher, “because most come without registering at all.”
Pope Francis closed the Year of
Faith with Mass Nov. 24, the feast
of Christ the King. The evening before, he will preside over the Rite
of Acceptance, a brief ceremony in
which adults who had been inquiring about the Catholic faith officially become catechumens preparing
for baptism.
The pope also plans to publish
an apostolic exhortation on the
new evangelization, promoting
what he calls a “culture of encoun-
Catholic News Service
Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI in late March at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Both popes have called on Catholics to swim against the
ter” between Christ and humanity
and among believers themselves.
The document and the ceremony
with future Catholics will underline a key point of Pope Francis’
teaching: Christ not only knocks
on hearts to get inside, he knocks
on the doors of churches asking to
be let out into the world.
At his general audience Oct.
16, the pope asked the crowd: “Are
we missionaries by our words, and
especially by our Christian life, by
our witness? Or are we Christians
closed in our hearts and in our
churches: ‘sacristy Christians’?”
Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz
Arenas, secretary of the new evangelization council, told Catholic
News Service that Pope Benedict
proposed the Year of Faith “to give
a strong push to the new evangelization” and to help Catholics “recognize the joy that comes from the
great gift of faith” and from knowing that God loves them so much
that he sent his son to save them.
Pope Francis’ election during
the Year of Faith can be seen as
“providential,” the archbishop said.
“The personality of Pope Francis,
his closeness, his use of language
that is simple and profound, his desire to go out and meet people, has
captivated people’s hearts.
“The Holy Spirit knew what he
was doing,” Archbishop Ruiz said.
“He wanted to be sure that in the
Year of Faith many people who had
been far from the church would
hear an invitation to respond to
the Lord,” and, from what bishops
and pastors around the world are
reporting, it seems to have worked,
he said.
Both popes have insisted that
being an authentic Christian isn’t
simply about one’s private prayer
life; it must be evident in the way
a person interacts with others and
with the world.
A month before he stepped
down, Pope Benedict said that
believing in God “makes us harbingers of values that often do not
coincide with the fashion and opinion of the moment. It requires us
to adopt criteria and assume forms
of conduct that are not part of the
common mindset.”
“Christians must not be afraid
to go ‘against the current’ in order to live their faith, resisting the
temptation to conform,” he said.
Pope Francis, in a Year of Faith
talk in April, said, “Being Christian
is not just about obeying orders,
but means being in Christ, thinking like him, acting like him, loving
like him; it means letting him take
possession of our life and change
it, transform it and free it from the
darkness of evil and sin.”
Cardinal Dolan urges bishops to
make religious freedom a priority
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Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
called upon his brother bishops
to champion the cause of people
around the world being persecuted
because of their faith even as the
bishops continue to prevent what
he described as infringements
upon religious practice in the
United States.
In his final address as president
of the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops at the opening of their
fall general assembly Nov. 11 in
Baltimore, Cardinal Dolan outlined
a series of steps the bishops can
take to protect religious freedom
around the world.
Calling actions to protect
religious freedom “a central social
and political concern of our time,”
Cardinal Dolan urged the bishops
to make the protection of religious
liberty around the world a priority
in their work.
“We as bishops, as shepherds
of one of the most richly blessed
communities of faith on the planet,
as pastors who have spoken with
enthusiastic unity in defense of
our own religious freedom, must
become advocates and champions
for these Christians whose lives
literally hang in the balance,” the
cardinal said.
Citing recent incidents of
attacks on Christians during Syria’s
civil war and in Egypt, India,
Nigeria and the semiautonomous
island of Zanzibar off the coast
of Tanzania, the USCCB leader
New York Cardinal
Timothy M. Dolan,
outgoing president of
the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops,
addresses the annual
fall meeting of the
bishops Nov. 11 in
encouraged intercessions for
persecuted people, comparing
the action to “prayers for the
conversion of Russia” in the mid20th century.
Muslims, Jews and Buddhists
in some part of the world also are
facing persecution, but not on the
same scale as Christians, he added.
“We are living in what must
be recognized as, in the words of
Blessed John Paul II, ‘as a new age
or martyrs,’” Cardinal Dolan said,
noting that as many as 1 million
Christians have been killed in the
first 13 years of the 21st century
because of their faith.
The cardinal suggested that
bishops can create awareness of
the “great suffering of our brothers
and sisters with all the means at
our disposal” including columns
in diocesan newspaper, blogs,
speeches and pastoral letters. He
said bishops can ask parish priests
to preach on religious persecution
and “to stimulate study sessions or
activist groups in their parishes”
and encourage diocesan newspaper
to report on “today’s new martyrs.”
Just as importantly, the cardinal
explained as the bishops began
applauding, is contacting political
leaders to urge them to make the
protection of “at-risk Christians a
foreign policy priority.”
defending religious freedom here
at home shows that, when we turn
our minds to an issue, we can put it
on the map,” Cardinal Dolan said.
“It’s time to harness that energy
for our fellow members of the
household of faith hounded for
their beliefs around the world.”
Cardinal Dolan cited the words
of Pope Francis, who in a Sept. 25
general audience invited the world
to an examination of conscience to
the plight of Christians around the
world. The pope at the time asked
people to ask themselves if they
were indifferent to the suffering
of Christians and if prayers were
offered for them.
“I am convinced that we have to
answer those questions from Pope
Francis not merely as individual
believers, but collectively as a body
of bishop,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The Valley Catholic - Diciembre 2013
María Inmaculada
transferida al 9 de
diciembre este año
ACI Prensa
En este año del 2013,
8 de diciembre—normalmente la Solemnidad de la
Inmaculada Concepción—
cae en el segundo domingo
de Adviento. En acuerdo
con la Norma Universal
número 5 del año litúrgico y
el calendario, la celebración
de Solemnidad es transferida al Lunes, 9 de diciembre.
Dicha transferencia es
vista como una concesión
pastoral debido al deseo
de los feligreses de celebrar
este querido festejo aun
siendo impedido litúrgicamente por una celebración
mayor. La obligación de los
feligreses de asistir a Misa
sigue atada al mismo día (8
de diciembre), sin embargo,
no es transferida con la celebración litúrgica, según
la Conferencia de Obispos
Católicos de Estados Unidos.
La Inmaculada Concepción, una solemnidad usualmente celebrada el 8 de
diciembre, es la fiesta patronal de los Estados Unidos.
En 1854, la declaración
solemne del Papa Pio IX,
The Valley Catholic
Imagen de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes en la gruta de Massabielle en
Ineffabilis Deus, clarificó
con finalidad la larga creencia de la Iglesia que María
fue concebida libre de pecado original. Al proclamar
la Inmaculada Concepción
de María como dogma de
la Iglesia, el papa expresó
precisa y claramente que
María fue concebida libre
de pecado original. Este
privilegio de María se deriva en que Dios la seleccionó
a ella como Madre del salvador; consecuentemente
recibiendo los beneficios de
salvación en Cristo desde el
mismo momento de su concepción.
Este gran regalo a María,
un ser humano ordinario
como nosotros, fue apro-
piado siendo que fue destinada a ser Madre de Dios.
La pureza y santidad de la
Santa Virgen María es modelo para todos los cristianos.
“El hecho de esta
cuestión es que todos somos llamados a este mismo
estado que fue otorgado a la
Virgen, principalmente el
ser inmaculados, o completamente libre de pecado y
por supuesto, este es un tipo
de prerrequisito para estar
con su hijo en el Reino,”
comento el padre brasileño
Thomas W. Sepúlveda, pastor de la Inmaculada Concepción en la Ciudad de Río
El Padre Sepúlveda comento que aún existe confusión sobre la Inmaculada
Concepción, incluso entre
“La gente cree que tiene
que ver con el nacimiento
virgen y no tiene nada que
ver con eso,” explicó. “Es su
estado que le fue otorgado a
trevés de los méritos de su
Lo que el catecismo de
la Iglesia Católica dice sobre la Concepción Inmaculada de María:
490. Para ser la madre
del Salvador, María “fue enriquecida por Dios con regalos apropiados para tal rol”.
El ángel Gabriel en el momento de la anunciación la
saluda diciendo “Llena eres
de gracia”. De hecho, para
que María pudiera ejercer
su libre consentimiento de
fe ante la anunciación de
su vocación, era necesario
haber nacido llena con la
gracia de Dios.
491. A los largo de los
siglos la Iglesia se ha vuelto
cada vez más consiente que
María, “Llena de gracia”
atraves de Dios, fue redimida desde el momento
de su concepción. Esto es
lo que confiesa el dogma de
Inmaculada Concepción,
como proclamó el Papa Pio
IX en 1844: “La más bendita Virgen María, desde el
momento de su concepción,
por un privilegio y gracia
del Dios todopoderoso y
por virtud de los méritos
de Jesucristo, Salvador de la
raza humana, fue resguardada inmune de toda mancha de pecado original.”
(Pio IX, Ineffabilis Deus,
492. El “esplendor de
una santidad completamente única” por la cual
María es “enriquecida desde el primer instante de su
concepción” llega completamente de parte de Cristo:
ella es “redimida, en una
manera más exaltada, por
razón de los méritos de su
Hijo.” El Padre bendijo a
María más que a cualquier
otra persona creada “en
Cristo con toda bendición
espiritual de los cielos” y la
seleccionó “en Cristo antes
de la fundación del mundo,
a ser santa y sin pecado ante
el en amor.”
493. Los Padres de la
tradición Oriental le llaman
a la Madre de Dios “la TodaSanta” (Panagia) y la celebran como “libre de toda
mancha de pecado, como si
fuera formada como creatura nueva por obra del Espíritu Santo”. Por la gracia
de Dios María se mantuvo
libre de todo pecado personal durante toda su vida.
El Santuario Nacional
en Estados Unidos
María es honrada en la
Basílica del Santuario Nacional de la Inmaculada
Concepción como la Patrona de los Estados Unidos de
América. En Mayo de 1846,
21 obispos y un arzobispo
asistieron al Sexto Concilio
Provincial de Baltimore,
junto con sus teólogos. Fue
en este concilio donde la jerarquía americana nombró
por primera vez, a la Santa
Virgen María con el título
de la Inmaculada Concepción como la Patrona de los
Estados Unidos. El Papa Pio
IX afirmó esta acción de la
jerarquía americana en febrero de 1847.
Con información de The
Valley Catholic.
Diciembre 2013 - The Valley Catholic
»Mujeres en el Valle
Vamos a prenderle
fuego al mundo
anta Catarina de Siena dijo, “Se
quien Dios quiere que seas y le
prenderás fuego al mundo.”
Parece que a través de los años
las mujeres hemos luchado por
tratar de determinar nuestro lugar
en la sociedad, peleando por el
derecho a votar, igualdad de salarios,
por un lugar en la mesa, y a desviándonos del camino que Dios quiere
para nosotras.
Hace veinticinco años el Beato
Juan Pablo II quiso recordarnos
nuestro único llamado, uno encomendado por Dios a cada mujer.
Destacó la importancia de la mujer
y habló sobre “el genio femenino” en
su carta apostólica Mulieris Dignitatem: La dignidad y vocación de
la mujer. Continuó su reflexión en
1995 con una Carta a las Mujeres.
Quería que las mujeres reflexionaran sobre el tema del ‘genio de
la mujer’, “no sólo para reconocer
los caracteres que en el mismo hay
de un preciso proyecto de Dios que
ha de ser acogido y respetado, sino
también para darle un mayor espacio en el conjunto de la vida social
así como en la eclesial.”
En Octubre, el Consejo Pontífice
para el Laicado patrocinó un seminario “Dios encomienda al ser humano a la mujer” para marcar el 25º
aniversario de Mulieris Dignitatem.
Mostrando una reflexión renovada
a lo que el Papa Francisco llamó
“un documento histórico, el primer
Ministerio Papal completamente
dedicado al tema de la mujer.”
¿Qué es el genio femenino? Está
enlazado con la capacidad innata del
amor abnegado. El Beato Juan Pablo
II nos dirige a la Santa Virgen María
como “la expresión más alta del
‘genio femenino’” y “una fuente de
inspiración constante.” “Poniéndose
al servicio de Dios, también se puso
al servicio de los demás: un servicio
de amor.” (Carta a las Mujeres)
El Beato Papa Juan Pablo II
también escribe en la Carta, “Es necesario poner énfasis en el ‘genio de
la mujer’, teniendo en cuenta no sólo
a las mujeres importantes y famosas
del pasado o las contemporáneas,
sino también a las sencillas, que
expresan su talento femenino en el
servicio de los demás en lo ordinario
de cada día. En efecto, es dándose
a los otros en la vida diaria como la
mujer descubre la vocación profunda de su vida…”
No tenemos que buscar ejemplos tan lejanos. Yo soy inspirada
por tantas mujeres que conozco aquí
a lo largo de la frontera, religiosas
y mujeres laicas con el fuego para
hacer que cosas sucedan. Cada una
son testigos de un amor abnegado
que fortalece nuestra frontera.
Algunas de estas mujeres las hemos
presentado en nuestras páginas de
The Valley Catholic–la Hermana
Zita Telkamp de las Hermanas
de la Divina Providencia quien
proveen refugio de emergencia a
los inmigrantes y a quienes buscan
asilo en La Posada Providencia en
San Benito; la Hermana Maureen
Crosby de las Hermanas de San
Dorotea quien es ministra a 700
familias en las colonias en Nuevo
Progreso, las Hermanas Carolyn Kosub y Fatima M. Santiago, Hermanas
Misioneras del Inmaculado Corazón
de María quienes construyeron la
Iglesia de Santa Ana y empezaron
Proyecto Desarrollo para proveer los
servicios necesarios a personas de
las colonias en Pueblo de Palmas en
Penitas; las Hermanas Benedictinas
Nettles Riojas
Editora, The Valley
Nancy Boushey, Luella Walsh y Fran
Solum, quienes se mudaron al Valle
del Rio Grande desde Crookston,
Minnesota y construyeron un Monasterio Benedictino del Buen Pastor,
como un oasis para retiros tranquilos, escondido entre los mezquites,
arbustos y cactus en el Condado de
Pienso en mi propia hermana
Leslie quien dejó su profesión como
corredora de bolsa para cuidar de
su familia por tiempo completo. Se
preocupó de que yo me decepcionara por su decisión de abandonar
su carrera. Al contrario, celebro
su decisión y aplaudo su valentía.
Ella es mi héroe. Como quisiera yo
haber sido tan valiente e iluminada
para haber hecho lo mismo cuando
mis hijos estaban pequeños. La
disposición alegre de mi sobrina de
ocho años confirma las bendiciones
de tener el enfoque de su madre.
Se requiere sacrificio para tomar
tal decisión, un sacrificio medido
por realidades económicas. Mi
hermana ha aprendido a ser mejor
administradora de los recursos de
su familia y ha encontrado maneras
creativas de disminuir el impacto de
su presupuesto más ajustado.
Todas tenemos realidades distintas, sacrificios distintos y cargas
que debemos sobre-llevar, y dones
distintos que traemos a la Iglesia. Me
sorprende que tantos de nosotros
estemos empezando a aprender el
significado de nuestra vocación y
misión en relación a nuestra vida
cotidiana, especialmente habiendo
tanta alegría al vivir la voluntad de
Dios y no enredarnos con lo que el
mundo pretende que es importante.
Pero nos resistimos. A nosotras
las mujeres nos gusta estar a cargo,
de tantas cosas que hacemos a Dios
a un lado. Yo fui culpable en mis
años 20s y 30s al pensar que podía
controlar cada detalle de mi vida.
Puse mis metas de educación y
carrera y los tracé en una línea de
tiempo, a veces descuidando a mi familia por estar tan preocupada con
mis propios deseos. Me duele confesar también que en mis prime-ros
años de matrimonio, mi esposo y yo
no nos dimos el tiempo para aprender sobre la Planificación Familiar
Natural y optamos por el uso de la
pastilla anticonceptiva. Nunca me di
el tiempo para discernir lo que Dios
queria para mí y mi familia. Sería
demasiado fácil declararme como
ignorante para excusar mis decisiones. Estoy agradecida de que Dios
es paciente y que me ha empujado y
guiado suavemente a aprender sobre
su voluntad en mi vida. Me siento
especialmente bendecida de que el
Sacramento de Reconciliación nos
ayude a seguir adelante en nuestro
peregrinaje ayudando a sanarnos de
los errores del pasado.
Hace quince años cuando recién
empecé a trabajar con la diócesis
llegue con mis ideas seculares, frustrada a veces porque percibía que
la Iglesia trabajaba lento. Me tomó
tiempo aprender del ministerio y
cómo el Espíritu Santo trabaja para
» Por favor lea Fuego al Mundo, p.18
Nuevo santuario en Brownsville
La iglesia albergará
alrededor de 550
The Valley Catholic
Obispo Daniel E. Flores bendecirá y dedicará un nuevo santuario a la parroquia de San Eugenio de Mazenod a las 10 a.m. el
domingo 7 de diciembre.
La nueva iglesia, la cual está
localizada en el área conocida
como Portway Acres, es un sueño
que se ha podido realizar después
de más de 23 años. La Iglesia de
San Eugenio de Mazenod fue establecida como parroquia el 21
de mayo de 1996, y la comunidad
de fe existe mucho antes que eso.
Antes del establecimiento
de San Eugenio de Mazenod
como parroquia, la comunidad
fue conocida como Nuestra Señora de la Paz y fue una misión
de la Parroquia Cristo el Rey en
Brownsville. Un edificio de metal
fue construido en 1990, donde se
han celebrado misas desde entonces.
“El edificio de metal siempre había sido destinado a ser el
salón parroquial así que la comunidad casi de inmediato empezó
a ahorrar dinero para un edificio de iglesia.” comento el Padre
Timothy Paulsen, pastor de la
parroquia de San Eugenio de Mazenod y sacerdote de los Misionarios Oblatos de María Inmaculada. “Las personas han ahorrado
dinero por mucho tiempo.”
La nueva iglesia de 8,854 pies
cuadrados estilo colonial español, albergará alrededor de 550
personas. El costo de la nueva
iglesia es de $1.69 millones, del
cual un millón fue recaudado
por la clase trabajadora de la comunidad. Catholic Extension y la
Diócesis de Brownsville también
asistieron con el financiamiento
para el proyecto. La iglesia fue
diseñada por el arquitecto Eduardo Vela de Hidalgo.
La parroquia de San Eugenio
es mayormente una comunidad
de inmigrantes de más de 600 familias registradas y sigue creciendo. La Misa de Vigilia en sábado
es celebrada en inglés. El resto de
las misas son en español.
“Es una iglesia muy hermosa
que refleja la cultura y raíces de
la mayoría de nuestros feligreses,”
dijo el Padre Paulsen, quien está
en su noveno año como pastor de
la Iglesia de San Eugenio de Mazenod. “Después de estar felices
en nuestra iglesia de bodega por
tanto tiempo, es muy diferente
tener torres, cielos altos y bonitos
candelabros. Es muy emocionante.”
La parroquia de Brownsville
fue la primera en el mundo de ser
llamada por San Eugenio de Mazenod, quien fundo los Oblatos
Para más
información visité
Foto por Javier Solis/Building and Property Department
La nueva iglesia de la Parroquia de San Eugenio de Mazenod.
Misionarios de María Inmaculada en el sur de Francia en 1816.
San Eugenio de Mazenod fue
canonizado por el Papa Juan Pablo II el 3 de diciembre de 1995.
El mismo San Eugenio de
Mazenod estableció la presencia
Oblata en Texas, una de las primeras misiones ultramar, según
A Journey of Faith. Los Oblatos
llegaron al Puerto Isabel en 1849
y han jugado un rol importantísimo en la vida de la Iglesia en El
Valle del Río Grande desde entonces.
La nueva iglesia contará con
varios símbolos Oblatos, incluyendo una cruz Oblata histórica
que fue construida en el Vaticano. La cruz es de ocho pies de alto
por cuatro pies de ancho. El vitral
en la iglesia mostrará la historia
de los Oblatos en El Valle al igual
que imágenes de San Eugenio de
El Padre Paulsen comentó
que lo más impresionante de la
nueva iglesia es que fue construida con unos cuantos dólares a la
“La mayor parte de ese millón de dólares fue recaudada vendiendo tacos, menudo o rifando
cosas pequeñas,” comentó. “Es
increíble lo que la gente trabajadora con medios limitados puede
hacer cuando se lo proponen.
Esto es lo que se merecen–un
hermoso lugar para rendir culto
que refleje su hermosa fe.”
»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
1 Rev. Rev. A. Oliver Angel, JCL
1 Rev. Andres Gutierrez
9 Rev. Emmanuel Kwofie
11 Rev. Msgr. Gustavo Barrera
15 Rev. Arturo Castillo
25 Rev. Ignacio Luna
30 Rev. Gregory Labus
24 Sister Margarita Ortiz, OP
9 Deacon Jose G. Gonzalez
17 Deacon Gilberto Lopez
22 Deacon Roberto Cano
30 Deacon Larry Hildebrand
31 Deacon Crawford Higgins
» Anniversaries
Rev. Gustavo Obando
Rev. Genaro Hernriquez
Rev. Joel Grissom, SM
Rev. Rodolfo Franco
Rev. Msgr. Juan Nicolau, Ph.D
Rev. Francisco Acosta
Rev. Thomas Pincelli
9 Deacon John F. Schwarz
18 Deacon Gerardo Aguilar
18 Deacon Antonio M. Arteaga
18 Deacon Ramiro Davila Jr.
18 Deacon Paulo Escobar
18 Deacon David Espinoza
18 Deacon Francisco R. Flores
18 Deacon Reynaldo I. Flores
18 Deacon Javier A. Garcia
18 Deacon Oscar Garcia
18 Deacon Silvestre J. Garcia
18 Deacon Jose G. Gonzalez
18 Deacon Gilbert Guardiola Jr.
18 Deacon Crawford Higgins
18 Deacon Amando Peña Jr.
18 Deacon Graciano Rodriguez
18 Deacon Gerardo J. Rosa
18 Deacon Rudy Sepulveda Jr
18 Deacon Ray Thomas Jr.
18 Deacon Nicolas E. Trujillo
18 Deacon Catarino Villanueva
18 Deacon Armandin Villarreal
18 Deacon Luis Zuñiga
» Birthdays
1 Rev. Leo Francis Daniels, CO
3 Rev. Donald Kelley – retired
4 Rev. Rigobert Poulang Mot
6 Rev. Msgr. Louis Brum
9 Rev. Julian Becerril O de M
10 Rev. Eusebio Martinez
13 Rev. Alejandro Flores
22 Rev. Robert Charlton, SS.CC
22 Rev. Horacio Chavarria
22 Rev. James Erving, OMI
22 Rev. Oscar Siordia
24 Rev. Ignacio Tapia
28 Rev. Robert Davola – retired
28 Rev. Bill Penderghest, SS.CC
2 Deacon John P. Kinch
4 Deacon Al Crixell
14 Deacon Paulo Escobar
18 Deacon Ramon G. Leal
19 Deacon Salvador G. Saldivar
23 Deacon Reynaldo I. Flores
23 DeaconRodolfo Sepulveda Jr.
24 Deacon Juan Valenzuela
28 Deacon Alejandro Flores
3 Brother Hoss A. Alvarez, MSC
4 Sister Emily Jocson, ICM
23 Sister Dianne Maresha, OSB
» Anniversaries
4 Rev.Thomas Kulleck
4 Rev. Manoj K. Nayak, SS.CC
16 Rev. Robert Charlton
28 Rev. Cesar Partida
30 Bishop Daniel Flores as priest
30 Msgr. A. S. Pacheco – Retired
25 Deacon Francisco D. Pon
The Valley Catholic - Diciembre 2013
»La Alegría de Vivir
En defensa de la vida
ay ciertos temas que
polarizan la opinión de la
gente con el solo hecho de
mencionarlos, la vida o la muerte
es uno de ellos, específicamente
cuando se habla del derecho a la
vida, ya sea en el tema del aborto
o el de la eutanasia, ¿quién decide
quién vive o muere?
Durante la legislación pasada,
se aprobaron unas restricciones
que limitaban la práctica del
aborto, al poner ciertos requisitos y
requerimientos que las clínicas de
abortos debían cumplir si querían
seguir en funcionamiento.
Ahora un juez de la corte
Msgr. Juan
Pastor, Nuestra
Señora del
Perpetuo Socorro
superior de distrito ha declarado
dichos requerimientos inconstitucionales justo un día antes de la
fecha límite para que se pusieran
en vigor los requisitos aprobados.
Esto les da derecho a esos lugares a
seguir proveyendo sus servicios sin
estar fuera de la ley, por lo menos
por un tiempo, ya que el estado de
Texas piensa apelar el fallo del juez.
Nunca nos pondremos de acuerdo en como proceder en situaciones tan definitivas, hay quien
piensa que la mujer tiene derecho
a decidir que hacer con su cuerpo
y que la ley debe proteger su integridad e incluso facilitar el ejercer
este derecho, pero ¿quién protege
al ser que crece en su vientre?
Las voces de las personas que se
reúnen en las manifestaciones
Próvida , tratan de hablar por esos
seres inocentes, sin embargo, no se
puede obligar a nadie a hacer algo
en contra de su voluntad. El libre
albedrio que nos concedió Dios
se aplica tanto al elegir hacerlo de
todos los países estudiados.
Una mención honorífica en
cuanto a traer hijos al mundo se la
llevan los hispanos en nuestro país
porque es el grupo étnico que reporta más hijos por familia según
los datos del último censo.
También se reporta que hay
países preocupados porque sus
poblaciones tienden a reducirse,
pues nacen muchos menos seres
de aquellos que mueren, lo cual
implica una implosión demográfica que tarde o temprano tendrá
consecuencias económicas; pues
no habrán suficientes personas
productivas pagando impuestos
para sostener los beneficios de
aquellos que se han retirado y
que dependen enteramente de sus
pensiones para subsistir.
Es difícil tener una visión glo-
bal al futuro cuando los problemas
del presente pueden abrumarnos
y nublar nuestro entendimiento,
ya que uno de los argumentos
de los que apoyan el derecho a
terminar la vida es que esos seres
al nacer enfrentarán situaciones
de pobreza al depender de jóvenes
carentes de medios para sacarlos
adelante, o simplemente no son
deseados por quienes los concibieron, y terminarán engrosando
los cientos de miles que están en
manos del estado como adoptables
y que cumplen la mayoría de edad
sin tener una familia a la cual
Si todos aquellos que se
oponen vehemente al aborto y
» Por favor lea Vida, p.18
Diciembre 2013 - The Valley Catholic
Enseñándole a los niños
sobre la Navidad
l Adviento y Navidad son
oportunidades maravillosas para enseñarles a los
niños sobre Jesús. Personalmente,
no me gusta ver tantos adornos
navideños en las tiendas a finales
de Octubre; mi espíritu todavía
no está listo para el Adviento,
mucho menos para Navidad. Pero
la realidad es que esos artículos
nos rodean, de tal modo que deberíamos de usarlos como oportunidades para enseñar sobre el
milagro del nacimiento de Jesús.
Como padres, abuelos y
padrinos, tenemos la obligación
especial de enseñar las cosas
importantes de la vida. Leemos
en Deuteronomio 4:9 “Pero ten
cuidado y fíjate bien. No vayas a
olvidarte de estas cosas que tus
ojos han visto ni dejes nunca que
se aparten de tu corazón. Por el
contrario, enséñalas a tus hijos y a
los hijos de tus hijos.”
Las siguientes son diez sugerencias para enseñarles a los niños
sobre navidad:
1) Enseña sobre el milagro
del nacimiento de Jesús a través
de libros para niños, libros para
colorear, canciones navideñas.
Muchas tiendas locales del dólar
tienen libros y libros para colorear
que hacen un excelente regalo
de navidad para niños. Recuerda
cantar canciones navideñas en el
hogar porque algunas escuelas
tienen restricciones con canciones
que contienen palabras religiosas
y puede ser que muchos niños no
hayan aprendido Noche de Paz u
2) Pronuncia el nombre de
Jesús a menudo incluso a los be-
Lydia Pesina
Directora, Oficina
de Vida Familiar
bés e infantes. Utiliza frases cortas
para hablar de Jesús como: Jesús
nació en Belén. María es la madre
de Jesús. José cuidó de María y el
niño Jesús. El nacimiento de Jesús
es la razón de la Navidad.
3) Utiliza imágenes del
pesebre para enseñar la historia
del nacimiento. Como Cristianos,
creemos que Jesús es el milagro
más grande de Dios porque a
través de su nacimiento Dios
tomó forma humana y entró a
este mundo en la forma de un
bebé (completamente divino y
también totalmente bebe humano) para poder convertirse en
Emanuel – Dios con nosotros.
Usar sets de la historia del
nacimiento resistente, que los
pequeños puedan tocar y sostener
es una buena manera de decir la
historia de la Navidad.
4) Comercialización vs dar
con gracia/amor. Todos nosotros
estamos rodeados de la comercialización de la temporada;
sin embargo, tal vez podríamos
usarlo como un momento para
enseñar a “dar con gracia/amor”.
Dar con gracia/amor significa dar
desde el corazón, sin esperar nada
a cambio, no “hacer una lista y fijarse bien” para ver si hemos sido
malos o buenos. Dar con gracia/
amor significa que cualquiera que
sea el regalo, no se trata de qué
tanto costó pero el dar desde el
corazón y también recibir lo que
nos den con gracia/amor.
5) Usa las decoraciones
navideñas como objetos didácticos. Una historia en el internet
de un escritor anónimo describe
el “significado antiguo de la
Navidad” a través de decoraciones. Enseña a los niños que: el
árbol siempre verde de Navidad
con su color inalterable representa
la esperanza de la vida eterna en
Jesús; que la estrella en la punta
del árbol representa un símbolo
de cumplimiento de la promesa
que Dios hizo de mandar al
Salvador; la vela simboliza que
Cristo es la luz del mundo; la
corona simboliza la verdadera
naturaleza del amor que nunca
cesa, como el amor de Dios el cual
no tiene principio ni fin; Santa
Claus simboliza la generosidad y
bondad que sentimos en el mes
de Diciembre; los regalos bajo el
árbol nos recuerdan que tanto
amó Dios al mundo que dio a su
único hijo y le agrade-cemos a
Dios por este regalo tan especial;
los bastones de caramelo representan el bastón del pastor que
nos ayuda a atraer a las ovejas
perdidas de la manada; y fueron
los ángeles los que anunciaron la
gloriosa noticia del nacimiento
del Salvador; y así como las ovejas
perdidas son encontradas con el
sonido de la campana, así también las campanas deben de sonar
para guiarnos a Dios.
6) Incluyan a los niños al
hacer y cocinar regalos para la
7) Enseñen paciencia y moderación con las compras.
8) Enseñen a los niños que
la verdadera historia de Santa
Claus comienza con San Nicolás,
quien nació en el siglo tres. Sus
padres adinerados quienes lo
criaron como un cristiano devoto, murieron en una epidemia
cuando Nicolás era muy joven.
Obedeciendo las palabras de Jesús
de “vende lo que posees y da el
dinero a los pobres”, San Nicolás
usó todo el dinero de su herencia
para ayudar a los necesitados, los
enfermos y los que sufren. Su historia de generosidad se desarrolló
a lo que hoy en día conocemos
como Santa Claus.
9) Has de tu selección de la
Misa de Navidad algo especial
para la edad de tus niños; así
escojan una Misa de Vísperas de
Navidad o una Misa de Gallo, etc.
10) Encuentra maneras para
celebrar los Doce Días de Navidad, de diciembre 26 a la Fiesta
de Epifanía, algo especial para
la familia, para que a diferencia
del mundo comercial, nuestras
familias Católicas puedan vivir
y disfrutar del Adviento a la
Navidad y de la Navidad hasta la
Epifanía/ La fiesta de los Reyes
Magos. Muchos años atrás,
decidí regalarle a mi hija Liana
un pequeño regalo en su calceta
de navidad para cada uno de los
doce días de Navidad; pequeños artículos como un par de
calcetines para el segundo día, o
tres broches para el pelo para el
tercer día, o doce chicles para el
doceavo día, etc. Planeaba hacer
eso solamente un año pero ella no
ha querido que deje de hacerlo.
Esa ha sido una buena forma de
mantener la temporada navideña
viva en nuestros hogares y
nuestros corazones y no pasar por
alto el día después de Navidad,
como los árboles navideños que
vemos al lado de la carretera el 26
de diciembre.
Soledad y pobreza
Se hermanan en la
Riqueza y despilfarro
Al unísono también van.
Mientras Jesús nace
envuelto en pobres pañales
para salvar a la humanidad,
el mundo goza de felicidad
al envolver en papeles de
oropel a la misma humanidad.
¡Jesús, María y José,
Nos regalan el misterio
De su ser!
Mundo, dinero y poder,
Nos quitan la dignidad
Que el ser humano
Tiene derecho a tener.
¡Oh bendita Navidad!
Que un pedacito de cielo
Nos dás,
Regálanos tu espíritu
De Paz, para vencer
A este mundo tan falaz.
Por Padre Ignacio Luna T.,
pastor de la Parroquia Santo
Benedicto en San Benito
The Valley Catholic - December 2013
20th Annual Red Mass celebrated
Legal community
raises $4,000 for
Catholic causes
The Valley Catholic
EDINBURG — Bishop Daniel E. Flores celebrated the 20th
annual Red Mass on Oct. 24, at
St. Joseph Parish in Edinburg.
The Red Mass is celebrated
to invoke God’s blessing upon
all protectors and administrators
of the law, including lawyers,
judges, government officials and
law enforcement agents, as well
as their families and support
The Mass was followed by
a banquet at St. Joseph School.
Retired Texas Supreme Court
Justice Raul A. Gonzalez, a native
of Weslaco, served as the keynote
speaker. The topic of his speech
was the Holy Sacrament of Marriage.
The theme of the night’s
festivities was based on Matthew 25:40, “…whatever you did
New Church,
continued from pg. 1
of more than 600 registered families and growing. The Saturday
Vigil Mass is celebrated in English. The rest of the Masses are in
“It’s a very beautiful church
that reflects the culture and heritage of most of our parishioners,”
said Father Paulsen, who is in his
ninth year as pastor of St. Eugene
World on Fire
continued from pg. 4
many women I come in contact with here along the border,
religious and lay women with
the fire to make things happen.
They each witness to a selfgiving love that strengthens our
frontera. Some of these women
we have featured on the pages
of The Valley Catholic – Sister
Zita Telkamp of the Sisters of
Divine Providence who provides
emergency refuge to immigrants
and asylum seekers at La Posada
Providenca in San Benito; Sister
Maureen Crosby of the Sisters
of St. Dorothy who ministers to
700 families in the colonias in
Nuevo Progreso, Sisters Carolyn
Kosub and Fatima M. Santiago,
Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who
built Saint Anne Church and
started Proyecto Desarrollo to
provide needed services to the
people in the Pueblo de Palmas
colonia in Peñitas; Benedictine
Sisters Nancy Boushey, Luella
Walsh and Fran Solum, who
moved to the Rio Grande Valley
from Crookston, Minn. and built
a Benedictine Monastery of the
Good Shepherd, as an oasis of
quiet for retreats, hidden among
the mesquites, brush and cacti in
Starr County.
I think of my own sister Leslie
who left her profession as a stock
broker to take care of her family
fulltime. She worried I might
be disappointed with her choice
for one of these least brothers
of mine, you did for me.’” Red
Mass participants collected and
donated $4,000, which was split
equally between four charities:
Marriage Encounter, for youth
activities at St. Anne Parish in
Peñitas, the St. Vincent de Paul
program at St. John the Baptist
Parish in San Juan and the St.
Vincent de Paul program at St.
Joseph Parish in Edinburg.
The Red Mass is a longstanding tradition in the Catholic
Church that dates back to 13th
century Paris.
The celebrant, concelebrants,
deacons and honored guests wear
red vestments or red clothing,
symbolizing the Holy Spirit’s role
in guiding those who seek and
pursue justice in their daily lives.
In the Rio Grande Valley, the
Red Mass is held annually in the
fall, alternating between Hidalgo
and Cameron counties. Planning
has already begun for the 2014
Red Mass in Cameron County.
County Court-at-Law Judge
Laura Betancourt will serve at
the chair of the 2014 Red Mass
de Mazenod Church. “After being happy in our warehouse
church for so long, it’s so different
to have the towers, the high ceilings and the nice chandeliers. It’s
very exciting.”
The Brownsville parish was
the first in the world named for
St. Eugene de Mazenod, who
founded the Missionary Oblates
of Mary Immaculate in southern
France in 1816. St. Eugene de
Mazenod was canonized by Pope
John Paul II on Dec. 3, 1995.
St. Eugene de Mazenod him-
to abandon a career. On the
contrary, I celebrate her decision
and applaud her bravery. She is
my hero. How I wish I had been
brave enough and enlightened to
do the same when my children
were younger. My eight-yearold niece’s cheerful disposition
confirms the blessings of having
her mother’s focus.
It takes sacrifice to make such
a choice, a sacrifice weighed by
economic realities. My sister has
learned to become a better steward of her family’s resources and
found creative ways to lessen the
impact of a tighter budget.
We each have different
realities, different sacrifices and
burdens we must overcome, and
different gifts we bring to the
Church. It amazes me that so
many of us are just now starting
to understand the significance
of our vocation and mission as
it relates to our everyday lives,
especially where there is such joy
living life according to God’s will
and not getting caught up with
what the world pretends to be
But we resist. We women
like to be in charge, sometimes
so much so we push God aside.
I was guilty in my 20s and early
30s of thinking I could control
every detail of my life. I set my
education and career goals and
charted them on a timeline,
sometimes neglecting family
because I was so preoccupied
with my own desires. It pains me
to confess as well that in my early
years of marriage, my husband
and I didn’t take time to learn
about Natural Family Planning
continúa de la pág.16
aquellos que opinan que no todos
tienen el mismo derecho a la vida
que ellos tuvieron, pudieran ser
padres temporales o adoptivos de al
menos una creatura que se encuentra
huérfano y necesitado de una familia,
podrían predicar con el ejemplo y
solucionar muchos de los problemas
que existen. Además de hacer el bien
tanto de manera individual a aquel
pequeño que salvaron de la orfandad,
como un bien a un futuro de todos
en la sociedad.
…Y recuerda que Dios te ama y
yo también.
The Valley Catholic
At the Red Mass, which
honors all protectors and
administrators of the law,
the celebrant, concelebrants, deacons and judges
wear red vestments or stoles
symbolizing the Holy Spirit.
Mons. Juan Nicolau, Ph.D. STL,
Pastor de la Iglesia de
Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo
Socorro. Es psicoterapeuta familiar y
consejero profesional
Fuego al Mundo,
continúa de la pág.15
self established the Oblate presence in Texas, one of the Oblates’
earliest overseas missions, according to A Journey of Faith. The
Oblates arrived in Port Isabel in
1849 and have played a vital role
in the life of the Church in the Rio
Grande Valley since that time.
The new church will feature
several Oblate symbols, including
a historic Oblate cross that was
built at the Vatican. The cross is
eight-feet tall and four-feet wide.
The stained glass windows in the
church will depict the history of
and opted to use the birth control
pill. I never took time to discern
what God had planned for me
or for my family. It would be too
easy to claim ignorance to excuse
my choices. I am thankful God
is patient and has gently nudged
and guided me to understanding
his will in my life. I feel especially
blessed that the Sacrament of
Reconciliation helps move us forward on our pilgrimage and helps
us heal from past mistakes.
Fifteen years ago when I first
started working with the diocese
I came with my secular ideas,
frustrated at times at how slowly
I perceived the Church operated.
It took me some time to learn
about ministry and about how
the Holy Spirit works in revealing
God’s will.
A friend shared with me one
day after listening to my frustrations, “Maybe God’s reason for
you being there is different than
your reason.” Her words helped
shift my perspective and guided
me to understanding how God
works in our lives. Working
for the diocese, I realized, was
God’s way of bringing me back
to the Church. I turned to the
Blessed Virgin Mary, and began
to learn more about the faith I
had strayed from after college.
Slowly, during my conversion,
even the words I used started to
change. I began to see my work
as a ministry, not a career path.
I realized that instead of feeling
guilty because I wasn’t out in the
colonias helping the religious
sisters, I could contribute in other
ways, namely by sharing their
the Oblates in the Valley and images of St. Eugene de Mazenod.
Father Paulsen said what is
most impressive about the new
church is that it was built a few
dollars at a time.
“Most of that million dollars
was raised by selling tacos, menudo or by raffling small items,”
he said. “It’s amazing what hard
working people of limited means
can do when they set their minds
to it. This is what they deserve – a
beautiful place of worship that reflects their beautiful faith.”
Genevieve Kineke, author of
The Authentic Catholic Woman,
writes, “This is a critical time for
women and a critical time for the
world.” “The Church has made it
clear,” she adds, “that if women
can discover the richness of our
vocation, then we will have an
impact that we never imagined.
If you are faithful to our femininity, we can do what God asks us
and rebuild a civilization of love
and life.”
We do this in union with
God. We can’t do it alone. Kineke
reminds us, the heart of the vocation and mission of women must
be centered in the Eucharist.
“The Eucharistic heart of Jesus
shows us how to love and then
we receive this love in order to
give it back to the world and to
bear fruit for the greater Kingdom of God.”
Let’s not forget, however, as
Blessed Pope John Paul II noted
in Mulieris Dignitatem, we must
work, “together with men,” as we
assume “a common responsibility
for the destiny of humanity...”
So as we continue to explore
more about the feminine genius
that the soon-to-be-saint talked
about 25 years ago, we must embrace the gift of our femininity
and be women of faith, women
who live the Gospel values. We
need to find silence, to listen and
then to respond, to participate.
I am thankful God has guided
me to this point in my journey;
however, at the same time I am
anxious about the tremendous
responsibility which God has
entrusted to each of us.
revelar la voluntad de Dios.
Un día una amiga compartió
conmigo después de haber escuchado mis frustraciones, “A lo mejor la
razón de Dios para que estés ahí es
distinta a la tuya.” Sus palabras me
ayudaron a cambiar mi perspectiva
y me guió a comprender como es
que Dios trabaja en nuestras vidas.
Trabajando para la diócesis me di
cuenta que esta fue la manera que
Dios me trajo de regreso a la Iglesia.
Dirigí mi atención hacia la Santa
Virgen María, y empecé a aprender
más sobre la fe de la cual me había
desviado después del colegio. Despacio, durante mi conversión, hasta
las palabras que usaba empezaron
a cambiar. Empecé a ver mi trabajo
como un ministerio, no como una
carrera. Me di cuenta que en lugar de
sentirme culpable porque no estaba
en las colonias ayudando a las hermanas religiosas, podía contribuir
de maneras distintas, principalmente
compartiendo sus historias.
Genevieve Kineke, autora de The
Authentic Catholic Woman, escribe,
“Este es un momento crítico para la
mujer y un momento crítico para el
Agrega, “La Iglesia ha dicho
claramente que si las mujeres pueden descubrir las riquezas de su
vocación, entonces tendremos un
impacto nunca antes imaginado. Si
somos fieles a nuestra feminidad,
podremos hacer lo que Dios nos
pide y reconstruir una civilización de
amor y vida.”
Venimos a entender nuestra
vocación y misión en unión con
Dios. No lo podemos hacer solas.
Kineke nos recuerda, que el corazón
de la vocación y misión de la mujer
debe estar centrado en la Eucaristía.
“El corazón Eucarístico de Jesús nos
enseña a amar y entonces recibimos
este amor para dárselo al mundo
y para dar fruto al gran Reino de
Necesitamos encontrar el silencio, escuchar y después responder,
participar. El Beato Papa Juan Pablo
II nos recuerda en Mulieris Dignitatem, debemos trabajar, “junto con
los hombres,” ya que asumimos “una
responsabilidad en común en el
destino de la humanidad…”
Mientras seguimos adelante, estoy agradecida de que Dios me haya
guiado a este punto en mi jornada;
sin embargo, al mismo tiempo estoy
ansiosa por la tremenda responsabilidad que Dios a confiado en cada
una de nosotras.
December 2013 - The Valley Catholic
»Media Resource Center
» Calendar of Events
Coordinator of the Media Resource Center - Diocese of Brownsville
»From the Bookshelf
»Worth Watching
Martin the
Snag - I’m
of a right
Production: Oblate Media, 1993
Producers: Broadman & Holman
Publishers, Taweel-Loos & Company
Length:30 minutes
With everybody stressed out about
Christmas shopping, Drea suggest each
family member get a simple gift “from
the heart” to give to one other person.
As animated mice, Drea, Rebecca
and Matt discover that Christmas is a
matter of quality, not quantity. Or as
Grandpa Thomas says, “You can’t talk
about loving someone. You have to live
it out.”.
continued from pg. 4
5)Use Christmas decorations as teachables. An internet
story from an anonymous writer
describes the “old meaning of
Christmas” through the decorations. Teach the children that: the
evergreen Christmas tree with its
unchanging color represents the
hope of eternal life in Jesus; the
star at the top of the tree represents the sign of fulfillment of
the promise God made to send a
Savior ; the candle symbolizes that
Christ is the light of the world; the
wreath symbolizes the real nature
of love which never ceases like
God’ love which has no beginning
continued from pg. 1
poses to family life that would
serve as a teaching tool for church
leaders. The Committee on Laity,
Marriage, Family Life and Youth
will develop the statement, providing a draft to the bishops in 2015.
spreads, the more violent and debased it becomes and the more it
exploits the men and women who
A Child in
Too Many
First Sunday of
7-8 For Better and Forever
(Family Life)
Feast of Immaculate
Conception (observed)
12 Feast of Our Lady of
Format: VHS
Production: Holy Cross Family
Ministries, 1977
Studio: Billy Budd Films
Directors: Will Vinton
Length:27 minutes
Format: Paperback
Length:144 pages
Author: Caryll Houselander
Publication: Sheed & Ward; 1st
edition (October 1, 2000)
Although Martin the Cobbler is a tale for
all the ordinary times when we forget
to put love in our places and faces, it is
especially appropriate for Advent and
may spend more time looking out your
window and meeting ordinary people
who live around you all the time. That
is the gift given to Martin and all of us
during this season of The Incarnation
when God looks like any guest walking
past our windows/guide.
In winter the frozen earth lies fallow, but
God is pleased to warm us with Christ’s
presence. Every year the rhythm
repeats through the favored seasons of
Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Every
year God’s promise is planted, takes
root, and grows large - renewing our
youth and causing Light to transform the
darkness. In that renewal, Houselander
calls us to be attentive to our mystical
connection to one another.
Length:144 pages
Author: Gary Soto
Illustration: Ed Martinez
Maria was feeling very grown-up on
Christmas Eve as she helped her mother
prepare the tamales for Christmas
dinner. When she slipped her mother’s
meant to wear it for a minute. But
suddenly, the ring was gone, and there
were 24 tamales that just might contain
the missing ring. “A warm family story
that combines glowing art with a wellwritten text to tell of a girl’s dilemma.”-School Library Journal, starred review.
or end; Santa Claus symbolizes the
generosity and kindness we feel
during the month of December;
the gifts under the tree remind us
that God so loved the world that
He gave us His only son and we
thank God for his very special
gift; the candy cane represents the
shepherd’s crook which helps to
bring back the lost sheep of the
flock; and it was the angels that
announced the glorious news of
the Savior’s birth; and just like the
lost sheep are found by the sound
of the bell, so too the bell should
ring to guide us to God.
6)Include children in making
or baking gifts for the family.
7)Teach patience and moderation while shopping.
8)Teach children that the true
story of Santa Claus begins with
St. Nicholas who was born in the
third century. His wealthy parents
who raised him to be a devout
Christian, died in an epidemic
while Nicholas was still young.
Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what
you own and give the money to
the poor”, St. Nick used his whole
inheritance to assist the needy, the
sick and the suffering. His story
of generosity developed into the
present day stories of Santa Claus.
9)Make your Christmas Mass
selection special to the age of your
children; whether you choose
the early Christmas Eve Mass or
Midnight Mass, etc.
10)Find ways make the Twelve
Days of Christmas from December 26th to The Feast of Epiphany
special for the family so that unlike
the commercial world, our Catho-
lic families can live and enjoy the
Advent Season until Christmas
Eve and the Christmas Season
until Epiphany/ The Feast of the
Three Kings. Many years ago, I
decided to give my daughter Liana
a small gift in her stocking for each
day of the Twelve Days of Christmas; small items like two socks
for the second day of Christmas,
or three hair pins for the third
day, or twelve pieces of gum, etc .
I planned to do that just one year,
but she has never wanted me to
stop! But it has been a good way to
keep the Christmas Season alive
in our home and in our hearts and
not throw it away the day after
Christmas like the Christmas trees
we see on the side of the road on
December 26th.
are part of the industry,” explained
Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., incoming chair of the
Also on Day Two, the bishops nearly unanimously approved
several steps toward adapting the
Mexican Misal Romano for use in
the U.S. The Mexican translation of
the missal will have Mass propers
for the U.S. calendar included, with
publication possible as soon as fall
of 2015.
In his final address Nov. 11 as
USCCB president, Cardinal Dolan
stressed the importance of protecting religious freedom around the
world and outlined action steps
the bishops could take on the issue.
He urged the bishops to create
an awareness of “today’s new martyrs” persecuted for their beliefs by
writing and talking about the issue in diocesan newspapers, blogs,
speeches and pastoral letters. He
also said the bishops should contact their political leaders and urge
them to make the protection of
“at-risk Christians a foreign policy
A report on the work of Catholic Relief Services highlighted what
the agency is doing for survivors
of Super Typhoon Haiyan. The
agency has already committed $20
million in emergency aid, with the
funds expected to come from a
second collection the agency asked
U.S. bishops to undertake in their
dioceses before the end of the year.
During the Nov. 11-12 public
sessions of the annual fall general
assembly, the bishops also:
Order of Celebrating Marriage and
OK’d a new translation of the Order of Confirmation for use in U.S.
t )FBSE B SFQPSU PO UIF 64CCB’s efforts to promote and defend traditional marriage, which
stressed that recent laws have
placed the legal defense of marriage “at a critical point in this
t "QQSPWFE B CVEHFU GPS and approved a 3 percent increase
in diocesan assessments starting in
progress” being made in bishops’
priorities for 2013-16 in their efforts to protect the life and dignity
of the human person, to strengthen marriage and family life, to
promote religious liberty, and to
improve faith formation and sacramental practice.
of the sainthood cause of Mother
Mary Teresa Tallon, who founded
the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, an order focused on
contemplation and door-to-door,
personal ministry.
Bishop Emeritus Raymundo J. Peña’s Calendar
December 6
6:30 p.m. Bishop’s Annual Dinner
December 11
6:30 p.m. Mass-Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 18
6 p.m.
Evins Ministry
December 21
10 a.m.
Mass – Sacraments at Evins
December 24
4 p.m.
Mass – Our Lady of Sorrows
December 24
8 p.m.
Christmas Vigil Mass
December 25
10 a.m. Christmas Day Mass
On going:
Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpet1st: Vocations to the Consecrated
Life (active and contemplative) and
ual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
for the Sisters and Brothers in our
8 a.m. & 4 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph
diocese and the success of their
Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727
Bowie St., Alamo
2nd: Vocations to the Permanent
Diaconate the deacons (permanent
and transitional) of the diocese and
their families
Holy Hour will be held Weekly every
3rd : Vocation to Married Life: for
Thursday at 7 p.m., 727 Bowie St.,
the welfare and sanctification of all
the families in the diocese and for
building up the Kingdom in our
Every Sunday: 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.
domestic churches
Confessions/Mass at UTPA-Edinburg
4th: Vocations to the priesthood
and the priests of the diocese for the
success of their ministry
5th: Vocations to the Pro-Life
24 Christmas Eve
25 Christmas Day
26 Christmas Holiday
31 New Year’s Eve
January 2014
1 New Year’s Day
1 Mary, Mother of God
(Holy Day of Obligation)
3-5 Catholic Engaged Encounter
9 Advisory Team
10 Sponsor Couple Training - I
18 Convalidation Conference
14 Professional Day
23 Theology Class
24 Clases de Teologia
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.
continued from pg. 5
body in this visible world the
invisible reality of God. During
the sign of peace feel in the
hands of those around you the
fingerprints of God impressed
in their hands, and finally when
you receive the Most Precious Body of our Lord Jesus
Christ remember that next to
the Blessed Sacrament, your
NEIGHBOR is the holiest
object present to your senses
and Give thanks to God not
for our differences, but for our
similarities because also next
to the Blessed Sacrament YOU
are the holiest object present
to your neighbor’s senses. God
bless you.
Theology on Tap
Heaven, Hell and
Presenter: Bishop Daniel E.
Audio of the presentation
is available on our website
The Valley Catholic - December 2013
Dec. 1
U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops
Beginning the Church’s
liturgical year, Advent (from,
“ad-venire” in Latin or “to
come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays
(and weekdays) leading up to
the celebration of Christmas.
The Advent season is a
time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds
to Christ’s second coming at
the end of time and also to
the anniversary of the Lord’s
birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from
December 17 to December
24, focus particularly on our
preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our
Lord (Christmas).
Advent devotions including the Advent wreath,
remind us of the meaning of
the season. Our Advent calendar is designed to help the
faithful enter in to the season
with daily activity and prayer
suggestions to prepare you
spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ.
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