View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville



View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Volume 6, Issue 2
Texas bishops
urge Congress
to prompt
Special to The Valley Catholic
AUSTIN — The Texas Catholic
Conference issued a letter July 22
to all members of the Texas Congressional delegation urging them
to reach a policy consensus that
compassionately and effectively
addresses the humanitarian crisis
along the southern border.
The letter was signed by bishops from each of the 15 dioceses in
Texas, and appealed for prompt actions in securing emergency funding as well as upholding the due
process rights of refugees seeking
asylum from the suffering, abuse,
and death in their home countries.
“[A] just and reasonable society works to protect and defend the
vulnerable and defenseless from
harm,” the bishops asserted. “As
Catholics, we feel keenly this responsibility, since our faith calls us
to serve the least of these our brothers and sisters. Hence, we lend a
vigorous voice to all men and women of good will who recognize that
all people should be treated with
dignity, compassion, and justice.”
Accompanying the letter the
bishops included a Statement of
Principles to guide policymakers
in this crisis. These principles include:
agencies and law enforcement
personnel should treat all refugees
seeking asylum with dignity, fairness, compassion, and in full accordance with their due process rights
in seeking asylum. Expedited
processing risks diminishing due
process and mistakes on legitimate
asylum claims.
• Allocate emergency funding
to provide humanitarian aid for
refugees, to ensure resources for
governmental workers to efficiently
perform their jobs, and to allow
existing refugee programs to continue.
• Preserve the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to protect
refugee children fleeing violence,
exploitation, and possible death in
their home countries.
• Reaffirm the nation’s right and
responsibility to maintain secure
» Please see Texas Bishops p.14
Serving More Than A Million Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville
Why they flee from their homelands
Catholic leaders
speak out about
policy toward
Catholic News Service
America expert for Catholic Relief Services, the head of the bishops’ migration committee and the
president of a Catholic college in
Michigan were among those urging the government toward humanitarian responses to a surge of
children and families crossing the
U.S. border from Central America.
Among their recommendations were: fully funding a requested federal appropriation for
services to deal with the influx of
people; investigating and working
to address the root causes of emigration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala; and creating
a program so people may seek
permission to come to the United
States without having to make the
treacherous and illegal journey.
Such programs have been successful in Iraq, Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.
In testimony to the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security
and Government Affairs July 16,
Richard Jones, the CRS deputy regional director for Latin America
and the Caribbean, said his agency
has seen the numbers of unaccompanied youth fleeing Central
America double yearly since 2011.
“We have seen the homicide
rates grow, forced displacement
increase and Mexican and Colombian drug cartels battle over
who controls the routes through
Central America,” he said in written testimony. “In El Salvador and
Honduras, there are more gang
members than police.
He gave the example of four
boys who were killed and dismembered in San Pedro Sula, Hondu-
(“The WORD is sent
breathing love.”)
Photos by Cesar Riojas/
The Valley Catholic
Catholic Charities
of the Rio Grande
Valley in collaboration
with volunteers from
the community have
served more than
5,200 individuals
since June 10 at
assistance centers
at Sacred Heart
Parish in McAllen and
at the Immaculate
Conception Cathedral
in Brownsville.
Above: Sister Leticia
Benavides of the
Missionaries of Jesus
greets a refugee child
from Guatemala.
ras, last month because they refused to be drug couriers.
“Two of the four were brothers,
one age 10, the other age 6,” Jones
Violence in El Salvador also
has increased since March 2013,
when a truce negotiated between
gangs unraveled, Jones said. And
since the election of President
Salvador Sanchez Ceren earlier
this year, he said, “violent deaths
have risen to 13 per day or over
70 homicides (per) 100,000 people
-- nearly double what they were at
the same time the previous year.”
In Guatemala City, that nation’s capital, the homicide rate is
116 per 100,000 people, he said,
noting that, according to the Pew
Hispanic Center, in just the past
six months, more than 600 unaccompanied children from that city
were apprehended in the United
He went on to discuss the various social factors complicating the
raw violence, and to describe some
of the programs CRS and other
organizations are providing to try
to address the problems at the core
and keep families intact in their
home countries, with education,
skills and ways of improving their
He mentioned various ways
the governments of El Salvador,
Honduras and Guatemala are
trying to address their problems,
including how to protect people
who are returned there after being
deported by the United States and
Mexico. The efforts are inadequate,
he said.
Jones gave several specific recommendations for ways the U.S.
» Please see ‘Refugees’, p.15
Artículos sobre una voluntaria
que ayuda a los inmigrantes
en McAllen, promoviendo
una cultura pro-matrimonio
y la columna de Mons. Juan
Community responds to
humanitarian crisis
Page 6
New superintendent
Deacon R. C. Salinas
Page 7
Page 9
Paginas 11-13
Los no-nacidos,
el inmigrante, el
Católico y la política:
luchemos para buscar
un mejor camino
n Cristiano Católico busca
cómo vivir su vida de una
manera fiel, adivinando
por medio de un tipo de presentimiento connatural un camino
para poner en práctica el orden
de lealtades que Cristo mismo
ha puesto en su corazón. Para
la Católica, y para incontables
miembros de otras comunidades
cristianas, la lealtad para con el
Señor tiene el primer puesto, y su
dicho indicando que “lo que haces
al más mínimo me lo haces a mí”,
provee la luz por la cual tratamos
de vivir nuestro compromiso
diario hacia Cristo nuestro Señor y
hacia nuestros hermanos y hermanas en el mundo.
La Católica se dirige a los bienes comunes de la sociedad civil:
la vida, comida suficiente, salud,
educación y el empleo justo, una
comunidad con seguridad para
vivir, y para criar a sus hijos. Ella
desea esto, hace sacrificios para
lograrlo, y batalla para alcanzarlo,
no sólo para ella misma, cómo si
fuera motivada por un individualismo exagerado, sino cómo bienes
que todos merecen. Dios mismo
desea estos bienes para todos.
Ella sabe que muchos carecen de
la más mínima esperanza para
obtener tales bienes. Y, porque Él
nos mandó “amar al prójimo cómo
nos amamos a nosotros mismos”,
ella no puede hacer otra cosa que
buscar cómo hacer lo que pueda
como miembro de la sociedad,
para mejorar las condiciones no
sólo para algunos pocos sino para
Es una vergüenza, entonces,
que cuando la Católica trata de
entrar al campo de la política, con
mucha frecuencia encuentra una
esfera peligrosa. Ella descubre que
las opciones que se presentan en
el mundo de los partidos políticos y del discurso civil le ofrecen
poco espacio para hablar con la
plenitud de su voz. Un partido le
da la bienvenida al inmigrante,
pero promueve la idea que las hijas
no-nacidas de los ciudadanos y de
los inmigrantes no tienen derecho
de vivir. El otro partido piensa que
es bueno que una sociedad de la
The Valley Catholic -
The unborn and the immigrant, Catholics
and politics: Let us work for better way
Catholic Christian looks to live her
life in a faithful manner, seeking by a
kind of connatural presentiment a way
to put into practice the order of loyalties that
Christ the Lord has placed in her heart. For a
Catholic, and for countless men and women of
other Christian communities, it is allegiance
to the Lord first, and to his saying “Whatsoever you do to the least, you do to me,” that
provides the light by which we seek to live our
daily commitment to Christ the Lord and to
our brothers and sisters in the world.
A Catholic aims for the common goods
in civil society: life and food, health, education and just employment, a safe community
to live and raise her children. And she wants
this, sacrifices for this and fights for this not
for herself alone, out of some exaggerated individualism, but rather as goods for all to have.
For God wills these goods for all. She knows
many do not have even a slight hope to attain
them. And since He said “love your neighbor
as yourself,” she can do no other than to look
to do what lies in her power as a member of
society to make things better not just for the
few, but for the many.
It is a shame, then, that when a Catholic
enters the political realm, it too often presents
itself as perilous. She finds that the options
open to her in the world of political party and
discourse leave little room for her to speak her
full voice. One party welcomes an immigrant,
but promotes that the unborn daughters of
citizen and immigrant alike have no right to
be born. The other party thinks it is good for
a society to welcome life, but not here, if the
country you come from lies somewhere south
of Brownsville, Texas.
Yes, I speak in generalities, and there are
noble and heroic exceptions to what I say here
about the two major parties. But the exceptions tend to render more striking the rule.
And yes, there are other goods to be taken
into consideration when choosing how to
participate in the political process: justice in
bienvenida a la vida, pero sólo si
uno no viene de un país que queda
al sur de Brownsville, Texas.
Sí, hablo en términos generales, y sin duda vemos ejemplos
nobles y heroicos que corren
contra la corriente de los dos partidos. Pero las excepciones tienden
a destacar aún más la dureza de
la regla. Y, sí, existen otros bienes
de considerar cuando tratamos
de decidir cómo participar en el
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd., San Juan, TX 78589-3042
Telephone: 956/781-5323 • Fax: 956/784-5082
Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Brenda Nettles Riojas
Rose Ybarra
The Valley Catholic email:
[email protected]
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the workplace, the economy, education and
healthcare. We must fight on all fronts for a
more compassionate way, but there is a real
sense within which we instinctively know that
if we as a people do not get it right on what to
do for the unborn child and the immigrant,
then we are failing as a people to live up to
the most basic call of a good conscience, and
our concerns about the other issues turn into
disfigured caricatures of themselves.
Children are dying on the way from a
womb in Honduras to air in the United States.
Children are dying in the womb here in the
United States, never allowed to breathe the air
of this country. Why is it so difficult for our
political leaders to coalesce around a reasoned
sense that the first order of business in life is
to protect the vulnerable from harm? Why is
it that one party extends the principle in one
direction and not the other, while the other
party extends it in the opposite direction but
without daring to touch the borders of the
other party’s thought? The compassion of
each party cuts in opposite arcs, including and
excluding as they go.
Both the unborn child and the immigrant
are denied a chance because they are not recognized. They both lack a document that has
scribbled words saying: I have a right to stay
alive. But documents are written by governments that too often presume that by writing
them, they grant the status there written. Not
so. Governments cannot grant what God has
proceso político: justicia en el trato
de los trabajadores, la economía, la
educación, y la salud pública. Ciertamente debe la Católica luchar
en todos los frentes de la batalla
a favor de un camino civil más
compasivo, pero existe un sentido
profundo dentro del cual sabemos
por instinto que si nosotros en
este país no juzgamos justamente
lo que debemos hacer para el nonacido y para el inmigrante, fracasamos como pueblo delante de
la llamada más básica que nos hace
la buena consciencia, y nuestras
preocupaciones sobre los otros
asuntos se convierten en caricaturas desfiguradas de sí mismas.
Criaturas mueren en el camino
que sale de un vientre en Honduras buscando aire en los Estados
Unidos. Criaturas mueren en el
vientre aquí en los Estados Unidos,
prohibidos de respirar el aire de su
país. ¿Porqué se les hace tan difícil
a nuestros líderes juntarse alrededor de un sentido razonable que
la primera obligación de la sociedad es proteger a la vida de los más
vulnerables? ¿Porqué sucede que
un partido extiende el principio
de protección en una dirección,
pero no en la otra, mientras el otro
partido lo extiende en la dirección
opuesta, sin atrever de colindarse
already given, they can only acknowledge the
dignity there, and then work to uphold it. The
problem lies in the selective acknowledgment
of the dignity people already possess.
The reign of sin and death goes by many
names and more than many disguises. It is the
game the world has played since Cain despised
his brother Abel. It is the game that says some
lives are more important than others, and that
some people are more worthy of being set
aside. It is the game that says power belongs to
those who know how to take it, and use it to
control—by levers behind curtains— who may
be allowed to live and who may be allowed to
disappear. This is the game that decided the
Prince of Peace had to be disposed of on a
cross, and it is the game He defeated by rising
from the dead.
Yes we have to make decisions about how
to vote and how to participate in the political process. For absenting ourselves from the
public discourse and process hurts only the
ones we are bound to care the most about. But
we do not have to accept the well-packaged
choices the parties determine are in the best
interest of those that matter more. We kid
ourselves with cruel self-delusion if we quickly
join ourselves to political sides and march to
political bands without first challenging the
premises that govern the way the parties deal
out the hand that determines our options.
There is an important place for political
participation and even loyalty in a Catholic
soul. Such loyalties, though, fall well below the
allegiance we owe to Christ our King and Savior. These lesser loyalties serve only insofar as
they promote the mission to remake creation
according to that grace tinged with glory that
the Savior— by his dying and rising— came
to bring.
Let Catholics first tell the friends and
power-brokers that we may know in both
parties that the space they leave us is too nar-
con lo que dice el otro partido?
La compasión de cada partido
taja por arcos opuestos, cada uno
excluyendo e incluyendo a muchos
en el proceso.
A la no-nacida igual que al inmigrante se les niega una oportunidad porque no son reconocidos. A
ambos les falta un documento que
tenga escrito: tengo un derecho a
mantenerme vivo. Pero los documentos son escritos por gobiernos
que con demasiado frecuencia
presumen que al escribir, confieren
el estatus ahí escrito. Pero no es así.
Los gobiernos no pueden conferir
lo que antes Dios había dado, sólo
pueden reconocer una dignidad
ya presente, y luego trabajar para
respetarla. El problema es que
los gobiernos son selectivos para
reconocer la dignidad que las
personas ya poseen.
El reino del pecado y de la
muerte se presenta usando varios
nombres, y con aún más disfraces.
Es el juego que ha jugado el mundo desde que Cain despreció a su
hermano Abel. Es el juego que dice
que algunas vidas valen más que
otras, y que algunas personas más
merecen ser relegados a un lado.
Es el juego que dice que el poder
les pertenece a los que saben agarrarlo, y utilizarlo para controlar—
» Please see Let us work p.15
por medio de palancas movidas
detrás de las cortinas— las decisiones sobre quienes merecen vivir, y
sobre quienes pueden desaparecer.
Es el juego que decidió deshacerse
del Príncipe de la Paz por medio
de una cruz, y es el juego que Él
mismo derrotó resucitando.
Sí, tenemos que tomar decisiones sobre cómo votar y cómo
participar en el proceso político.
Si nos ausentamos del discurso
y proceso político, sólo dañamos
a los que más merecen nuestra
preocupación. Pero no debemos
de aceptar sin discusión las bien
empaquetadas opciones que los
partidos han determinado son
las mejores para los que importan más. Nos engañamos con un
autoengaño cruel si rápidamente nos acoplamos con un lado
político para marchar al sonido de
sus trompetas sin haber primero
desafiado las premisas gobernando
la manera en que los partidos
reparten los naipes determinando
nuestras opciones.
Existe un papel importante
para la lucha política, y aún hay
espacio para la lealtad política
dentro del alma Católica. Sin
embargo, estas lealtades jamás
» Por favor lea Mejor camino p.15
Bishop Flores’ Schedule — August 2014
Aug. 2
10:30 a.m.
Jubilee Mass at St. Mary’s for IWBS Sisters
Aug. 3
5:30 p.m.
Mass at Sacred Heart Install Fr. Manoj Kumar Nayak,
Aug. 22
7 p.m.
La Feria
Mass at St. Francis Xavier for Feast of Queenship of Mary
Aug. 29
9 a.m.
Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows for Diocesan Teacher In-Service
Aug. 30
9 a.m.
Mass & Talk with Deacon Candidates
Aug. 30
2 p.m.
San Juan
Mass for Beginning of Lay Ministry Formation Program
Aug. 31
5 p.m.
Mass for Conferencia Manda El Fuego
- The Valley Catholic
Assumption of Mary
»What’s your testimony?
Jesus calls you
throughout your life
Special to The Valley Catholic
Catholic News Service
The reception of Mary into heaven is depicted in the center section of a rose window at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in
Providence, R.I. The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Aug. 15, celebrates the belief that Mary was taken body
and soul into heaven at the end of her life.
Church celebrates
solemnity August 15
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — ’See the beauty
of the daughter of Jerusalem, who
ascended to heaven like the rising
sun at dawn.’
-- Antiphon before the Benedictus from the Liturgy of the
There is something unique
about the Assumption of Mary. The
Catholic Church firmly teaches
that, at the end of her earthly pilgrimage, the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, was assumed body
and soul into heaven to live eternally by the power of God.
This mystery of the Blessed Vir-
gin Mary is fundamental to the tradition of our faith.
The venerable Pope Pius XII
confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as being part of the teaching of the Church when he defined
it formally as a dogma of Catholic
faith in 1950.
Although the Assumption of
Mary isn’t directly stated in Scripture, our Catholic Tradition recognizes her as the “woman clothed
with the stars on the sun” in the
Book of Revelation, chapter 12.
“Without the truth revealed
by Jesus Christ, we are not able to
understand our own dignity. This
truth is fully preserved in the Catholic faith and shown forth most
clearly in Mary of the Assumption.
Contemplating the beauty of the
grace given to Mary, she leads us
to a deep appreciation of who we
are, or better still, who we are un-
der God’s eyes.”- Bishop Daniel E.
The feast of the Assumption
was declared as a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in the United
States on December 13, 1991. Catholics are obliged to attend Mass or
Divine Liturgy, unless the holy day
of the Assumption of Mary falls on
Saturday or Monday.
A prayer to Mary of the Assumption by Bishop Daniel E.
O Mary, Mother of God, be our
light in the midst of current darkness
that seeks to subject human dignity
to the whims of the powerful! Be the
defender of the weak, the marginalized, the frail in mind and body. Stir
in us to fight for the protection of all
as human dignity deserves, given
that we are so loved by your Son,
and destined, body and soul, for the
glory of God. Amen.
Name: Chely Leal Martinez
Age: 46
Status: Married, with three
children; lifelong Catholic
Attends Mass at: St. Eugene
de Mazenod Church, Brownsville
I was raised in a tepid Catholic household. We would go to
Mass every once in a while. If my
parents didn’t feel like going, we
just didn’t go.
On my own, I asked my mother if I could go attend religious education classes at our church and
she said, “yes,” but another time, a
neighbor asked if she could take
me to a Baptist church and my
mother said, “sure.”
Our faith wasn’t a priority in
our home, but in my heart, I knew
I was Catholic. I’ve always had a
strong devotion to Mary. Because
of Mary, I knew I could never be
anything but Catholic.
When I got married, we attended Mass regularly, especially
after my children were born. They
attended Catholic schools and I
made sure they knew their faith
– but I still didn’t have a personal
relationship with Jesus. I didn’t
have that fire for Christ.
At Mass, every time the choir
would sing the hymn, “Lord
When You Came to the Seashore,”
I would have a very vivid image of
myself on the beach and of Jesus
inviting me to become a fisher of
men and women and I would always start to cry. I used to think,
“Why is this happening to me?
Why do I feel this in my heart?”
I finally got the answer to
those questions after attending a
Spanish-language retreat hosted
by Conquistando Las Naciones
Para Cristo (Conquering Nations
for Christ) in Houston in 2010.
The mission of the retreats is to
heal your soul from the inside
out, to heal from all the hurts we
have experienced throughout our
Once I had that personal encounter with Christ, I could finally recognize all the times that
He was calling me. He calls you
throughout your life, he has a
plan for your life but sometimes,
you don’t want to hear it or don’t
understand it.
Courtesy Photo
Chely Leal Martinez of Brownsville
leads retreats for Conquistando Las
Naciones Para Cristo, a ministry that
promotes spiritual healing, prayer and
“... We cannot forget
that evangelization is
first and foremost about
preaching the Gospel to
those who do not know
Jesus Christ or who
have always rejected
him. Many of them are
quietly seeking God, led
by a yearning to see his
face, even in countries of
ancient Christian
–Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
For me, the call to serve and
share the joy I was feeling was
very strong. It was something very
beautiful. The call is so strong,
you feel compelled to give your
life to God in gratitude for all that
He has given you. I realized God
has been blessing me my whole
life and I felt so unworthy.
Before I would go to Mass out
of obligation, now I can’t wait to
go. My mind no longer wanders
during the Gospel or during the
homily. I am not only present, but
I am present with devotion and
faith and it comes naturally.
The Conquistando Las Naciones Para Cristo ministry offers
retreats monthly. The next retreat
is scheduled for Aug. 8-10 in
Bayview. Call (956) 517-4271 for
more information.
»Family Life
Lydia Pesina
Director, Family
Life Office
Feeding our
family with
food, faith
amily life can be messy:
sacred but messy. St. John
Paul II reminds us in the
apostolic exhortation “Familiaris
Consortio” that the family is the
domestic church and that what
happens in the family is “sacred;”
that the sacredness of life lies in
the ordinary events of our daily
It is a wonder to consider
that in doing the ordinary everyday things in our family life like
feeding our family we are serving
God. God created us to know
him, to love him, and to serve
him and we do so by serving our
family; our domestic church, by
serving our larger local church,
and by serving the poor and
We feed our family with
food and faith as we plan and
prepare daily meals and as we
reflectively administer the goods
God provides for us. I am not a
great cook but I very much enjoy
following recipes. I plan a menu
weekly for our dinner meals and
then make my grocery list from
the menu prepared to save on
money and to diminish food
waste. We use cloth napkins with
every meal whether we are four
around the table or 20. It saves
paper, it is just another load of
laundry, and it makes our meal
special; a time to prepare, to pray,
to talk, to disagree, to reconcile,
to support, and to bond. Dinner
time is not always nice and neat
The Valley Catholic and without struggles, but it is
always sacred.
We feed our family with faith
as we strive to clothe the naked,
visit the sick and welcome the
stranger. We have the opportunity to clothe the naked when
we change our grandson Elian’s
diaper and visit the sick as we
visit elderly friends and family. Presently, we certainly have
many opportunities to welcome
and clothe the stranger as we see
the hundreds of people traveling
through this Valley coming from
Central and South America.
Mauri and I have only been to
the welcoming station at Sacred
Heart a few times to volunteer
for a few hours; but there are
hundreds of volunteers from
many different churches who are
working tirelessly to welcome,
feed, clothe, and renew their
In the Gospel of Matthew we
hear, “Lord, when did we see you
hungry and feed you, or thirsty
and give you drink? When did
we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe
you? When did we see you ill or
in prison, and visit you? And the
king will say to them in reply,
Amen, I say to you, whatever you
did for these least brothers of
mine, you did for me.”
Jesus left us the blueprint
to a joy-filled life: serve, serve,
and serve. He washed the feet
of his apostles so that we would
likewise wash one another’s.
This summer, our parish of St.
Joseph’s in Edinburg hosted
a group of youth doing mission work in the Valley. All the
parish ministries took turns
feeding these young people and
Mauri and I joined our Sponsor
Couple Team one night and we
witnessed the joy in their tired
faces. It is heartwarming to see
many parishes and the Diocesan
Youth Ministry Office hosting
and/ or participating in youth
projects for house restorations
and other service programs. True
joy comes from following Jesus’
example of self-emptying love.
We feed our family with food
and faith by serving the family,
the Church and the poor.
»Women speak for themselves en la Frontera
Women of courage, the risks
they take for family
ur summer of 2014 has
been marked by the
stories of unaccompanied
minors from Central America who
are in the United States, an influx
of unprecedented numbers. As of
June 30 more than 57,000 have
crossed the border; it is estimated
the number will reach 90,000 by
the end of the year. But it’s not just
children crossing.
Alongside this story are the
mothers who come with their
children, refugees escaping from
the violence of their homeland in
Central America’s northern triangle. They travel 10, 15, 20 days,
some up to a month or more, to
find their way to the United States.
They come looking for a safe place
to raise their children.
In a Time Magazine opinion
piece, Joe Klein compared the
countries they are leaving as the
“Latino equivalent of Syria or
Iraq.” “But in Central America,”
he adds, “its anarchy, not religious
fanaticism, they are fleeing, the
rampaging of militant gangs.”
What would you do if your son
was forced to join a gang or face
death? If your daughter could be
kidnapped at any moment?
The countries they flee – Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador,
are the most dangerous in the
world. They rank in the top 10
countries with the highest murder
rates. Honduras ranks at the top,
where the chances of getting murdered are 1 in 14.
“What we are seeing unfold in
front of our eyes is a humanitarian
and refugee reality, not an immigration problem,” writes Bishop
Daniel E. Flores in his blog.
Embedded in this unfolding are the stories of courageous
women of faith, mothers, aunts,
even grandmothers who are
speaking up against the violence
in their homelands and speaking
through their actions, fleeing what
Nettles Riojas
Editor, The Valley
they know in a desperate attempt
to protect their families, even if it
means facing danger.
From Honduras, Maxelina,
Rosa Evilinda, Marta; from Guatemala, Maria Luisa, Griselda,
Hermosinda; from El Salvador,
Yenny Lezeth, Maria, and thousands more are risking everything,
taking desperate measures, selling
their homes, asking for loans,
crossing into unknown territory
with their children in their arms.
“Vienen para poder vivir,” said
Sister Juliana Garcia, a Missionary
of Jesus, who visited the assistance
center established by Catholic
Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
in McAllen. They come so that
they may live. They arrive here on
hope and prayers.
More than 55,000 have crossed
into the United States from Oct.
1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, apprehended, detained and released by
U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement with instructions to
appear in court at a specified date.
The refugee women we meet at
the parish who share their stories
bless us with their determination
to persevere, with their resolve to
journey ahead even as their future
remains uncertain. I admire their
courage. They are navigating in a
foreign land and facing deportation. Many of them don’t even
know what they are signing when
they are processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It broke my heart when a
woman with two children from
El Salvador asked me to explain
to her what she had signed. “Por
favor expliqueme lo que firme.”
What she signed were her deportation papers.
Her only crime, crossing into
the United States illegally. She did
not leave her birth city of San Salvador on a whim, seeking riches.
She came as a refugee. She, like the
thousands who are crossing, took
this desperate measure to save her
children’s lives, to find a safe place
to live.
There are some in our country
who want the U.S. government to
return the women and children
to their homelands. While “we
are a nation of laws,” as Texas
Governor Rick Perry said before
a U.S. House field hearing in July,
we must remember we are also a
nation who cares.
I have witnessed this caring
and the outpouring of help at
Sacred Heart Church in McAllen
and at Immaculate Conception
Cathedral in Brownsville where
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley is providing newly
arrived immigrants with some
basics needs – food, clothing, a
shower, a place to rest and medical
attention prior to their continued
Caring volunteers have assisted
more than 5,200 people since
the centers opened on June 10 in
McAllen and June 13 in Brownsville.
We applaud as our immigrant
brothers and sisters come through
the doors of Sacred Heart Church
parish hall. We welcome them, the
women and children who braved
an often dangerous trek from their
homelands in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. We cry with
them, and we stand in solidarity
with their desire for asylum.
These women of faith are taking bold moves in their struggle to
live. We pray partisan politics will
not stand in the way.
What the Church says about ... teens attending Mass
The Valley Catholic
Question: My teenager refuses to attend Mass. What can
I do?
Answer: Being a teenager has
never been easy. Those years between childhood and adulthood
frequently can be a time of insecurity. Teenage bodies are still
developing and these stresses can
contribute to conflict between the
teenager and parents. Because
of these changes, teenagers often
rebel against their parents on
many levels. Going to Mass on
Sunday is oftentimes one reason
for rebellion by teenagers and can
lead to friction in the family.
Parents facing this situation
should first of all not give in to
the temptation to argue with their
teens. Arguing and getting into
a shouting match usually does
not do any good for either side.
When parents argue and try to
force the issue, the more teens get
entrenched in their rebelliousness
and are less likely to listen to reason. A couple of generations ago
the authoritarian approach may
have worked to some degree but
in this age of instant communications, youth are largely conflicted
by negative influences that are
leading them away from faith.
Communication between
parents and their teens is very
important. Too often, parents are
afraid to sit with their teenagers
and speak candidly about the life
of faith. If a parent cannot articulate why they believe and why it
is important, then it will be very
difficult to convince this generation of the need to attend Mass
regularly on Sunday.
Those parents who are willing
to share their own experiences of
faith are more likely to succeed in
helping teens to come to know Jesus Christ and help them develop
that important relationship with
Catholic News Service
A New York teen prays after receiving Communion during Mass at a youth conference
in Indiana.
This relationship is fostered
when we come to know how
much God loves us in his Son
Jesus Christ. That love was
expressed when God, in his Son,
gave his life away on the cross so
that we could know the forgiveness of our sins. That love was
expressed when he rose from
the dead so that we could enjoy
eternal life. Parents usually teach
their children at an early age to
say “thank you” when someone
gives them something or does
something for them. If we truly
know Jesus Christ and his love
for us, it is only natural that we
would want to thank God for his
love. Indeed, the word Eucharist
means “thanksgiving.”
The reason for going to Mass
then should never be because
we have to, but because we want
to thank God for his love for us.
When this is our disposition, we
freely offer ourselves with Jesus
Christ to the Father as a sacrifice
of praise and God, in return,
feeds us with the Body and Blood
of his Son. This spiritual nourishment gives us the strength to live
the life of love and strengthen our
relationship with God.
Father Labus is the director of
liturgy and worship for the diocese
and pastor of St. Joseph Parish and
School in Edinburg
Visit the Diocese of Brownsville’s website at and “like” us on Facebook
- The Valley Catholic
»Making Sense of Bioethics
The Word of God in the Life
and Mission of the Church
( Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary
Is 55:1-3
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18
Reading 2
Rom 8:35, 37-39
mt 14:13-21
(Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary
Reading 1
Is 55:10-11
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Reading 2
Rom 9:1-5
Mt 14:22-33
(Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Reading 1
Is 56:1, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Reading 2
Rom 11:13-15, 29-32
Mt 15:21-28
(Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary
Reading 1
Is 22:19-23
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
Reading 2
Rom 11:33-36
Mt 16:13-20
(Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary
Reading 1
Jer 20:7-9
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Reading 2
Rom 12:1-2
Mt 16:21-27
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.
Renegade researchers and the
future of biomedical research
roducing human embryos in
the laboratory for research
purposes makes most people
uneasy. Even those who tolerate
the creation of embryos in test
tubes so that infertile couples
might have children will often have
reservations about the creation of
embryos to serve as experimental
research material or to destroy
them for their cellular parts.
Twenty years ago, when
a deeply divided government
panel recommended allowing such
research experiments on human
embryos for the first time, even Bill
Clinton summarily rejected the
idea. Two years later, Representative Nancy Pelosi concurred in the
Congressional Record: “We should
not be involved in the creation of
embryos for research. I completely
agree with my colleagues on that
score.” The proposal to engender
human embryos by cloning has
similarly drawn strong opposition
from Americans for many years.
Yet society’s views are shifting.
Clinton, Pelosi and many others
have reversed their views in recent
years. Scientists and politicians
now seem ready to draw ethical
lines — and then erase them — as
expediency demands.
Last week, with little fanfare,
the journal Nature published
a paper from a major research
laboratory describing a study that
would have been largely unthinkable when the embryo research
debates first began in the early
1990’s. Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov
and his colleagues at Oregon
Priest of the
Diocese of Fall
Health and Science University
described the creation of multiple
human embryos in the laboratory
for research purposes. Two of the
embryos were produced by in vitro
fertilization (IVF), and four more
were generated by nuclear transfer
or cloning, the same technique
used to produce Dolly the sheep.
All six of the human embryos
were engendered for the purpose
of “disaggregating” them for their
embryonic stem cells to enable further study and detailed comparisons of their genetic and epigenetic
patterns. If those human embryos
derived by IVF or by cloning had
not been destroyed but instead
implanted into their mothers,
pregnancies could reasonably have
been expected to ensue.
Human embryos, our own
progeny, surely deserve better
than being reduced to a kind of
raw material, a commodity to
be used for research and commercial purposes. Embryos, of
course, are strikingly unfamiliar to
us. They lack hands and feet and
voices. Even their brains have not
yet developed. They look nothing like what we expect when we
imagine a human being. But they
are as human as you and I; they’re
simply younger, smaller and more
vulnerable. Embryos may not
register with us on first glance;
we may need to make a concerted
effort to avoid disconnecting them
from what we once were ourselves,
given that each of us is precisely an
embryo who has grown up.
Human embryos ought to be
accorded the same respect that
every human being deserves, as a
matter of basic human rights. Human dignity demands nothing less.
Respect for our own progeny, then,
will have the obvious consequence
that human embryos should not be
generated in the laboratory for premeditated destruction, nor for cellular cannibalization by scientists.
Dr. Mitalipov’s laboratory,
of course, is not the first to carry
out human embryo-destructive
research. But if he and his 25
co-authors on the paper are able
routinely to create human life
merely to extinguish it for research
ends — and are able to chronicle
their exploits in professional
journals without engendering so
much as an ethical hiccup from the
scientific community — perhaps
it really is time to ask whether our
corporate practice of science is
returning to its pre-Nuremberg
days, when weak and vulnerable
human subjects did not need to be
accorded unconditional protections, particularly if expedient and
important research agendas happened to be at stake.
On the other hand, one might
» Please see Bioethics, p.15
Lay ministry formation a priority
t the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus called
forth the apostles (those
chosen) and disciples (followers)
to lead others to live out the message of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation. As a people
marked by mission, the apostles
went out and brought the Good
News of Jesus to the world.
We see in the Gospels when
Jesus calls them, “Come after
me, and I will make you fishers
of men.” They abandoned their
nets, gave up everything even
themselves and followed him. (Mk
1:17,18). He reminds them of the
conditions of discipleship and the
cost. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up
his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for my
sake will find it.” (Mt 16:24). He
sends them out into the vineyard
of the Lord to labor for the coming
of the kingdom. Reminding them
that “the harvest is plenty but the
laborers are few”. (Mt 20:1-2).
In the aposotolic exhortation
Christifideles Laici (Christ’s Faithful People – On the Vocation and
the Mission of the Lay Faithful
in the Church and in the World
twenty years after the Second Vatican Council) the Christian faithful
are reminded they “form that part
of the People of God which might
be likened to the labourers in the
vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s
‘The gospel parable sets before
our eyes the Lord’s vast vineyard
and the multitude of persons, both
women and men, who are called
and sent forth by him to labour
Luis Zuniga
Director, Office for
Pastoral Planning
& San Juan Diego
Ministry Institute.
in it. The vineyard is the whole
world (cf. Mt 13:38), which is to be
transformed according to the plan
of God in view of the final coming
of the Kingdom of God.’
“The call is a concern not
only of pastors, clergy, and men
and women religious. The call is
addressed to everyone: lay people
as well are personally called by the
Lord, from whom they receive a
mission on behalf of the Church
and the world.”
The United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
published Co-Workers in the
Vineyard of the Lord, in 2005. The
document is often referred to as
a blueprint for the formation of
committed laity who wish to offer
their gifts and charisms to the
service of the Church working side
by side with the ordained as well as
religious brothers and sisters.
The term lay ecclesial ministry
reflects key realities. Lay ecclesial
ministry is lay because it is service
done by lay persons. The sacramental basis is the Sacraments
of Initiation, not the Sacrament
of Ordination; ecclesial because
it has a place within the community of the Church, whose
communion and mission it serves,
and because it is submitted to the
discernment, authorization, and
supervision of the hierarchy; and
ministry because it is the work by
which Christians participate in the
threefold ministry of Christ, who
is priest, prophet, and king and
continue his mission and ministry
in the world. (Co-Workers in the
Vineyard of the Lord, 10-11).
The Code of Canon Law,
231 states that “Lay persons who
devote themselves permanently or
temporarily to some special service
of the Church are obliged to
acquire the appropriate formation
which is required to fulfill their
function properly and to carry it
out conscientiously, zealously, and
In the Diocese of Brownsville,
Bishop Flores is inviting our laity
to a greater participation in the life
of the Church by committing to
the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program this fall. During
the eight parish deanery listening
sessions held throughout the diocese “lay ministry formation” was
identified as one of the pastoral
priorities most mentioned. After
consulting with the Diocesan
Pastoral Council and the Presbyteral Council the diocese will
implement the bilingual formation
program for laity in four different
locations in the Rio Grande Valley.
In his letter to the presbyterate,
Bishop Flores said, “Lay ecclesial
ministers do not replace priests
or diminish them in any way, but
assist them in serving the people
of the parish, in collaboration with
deacons, religious and lay employees and volunteers. Indeed, our
clergy and religious cannot and
» Please see Lay Ministry, p.14
CNS file photo
St. Pius X is the only pope who served
after the modern saint-making process
began in the late 1500s to have been
declared a saint. He died in 1914, was
beatified in 1951 and canonized in
»Feast Day
- August 21
Spotlight on
St. Pius X
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
Perhaps nowhere in the history of the Church is there a
better example of a man possessed of so many of the saintly
virtues—piety, charity, deep humility, pastoral zeal, and simplicity—than in St. Pius X. Yet the
parish priest of Tombolo, who
remained a country priest at
heart throughout his life, faced
the problems and evils of a strifetorn world with the spiritual fervor of a crusader. The inscription on his tomb in the crypt of
the basilica of St. Peter’s gives the
most eloquent testimony to a life
spent in the service of God:
“Born poor and
humble of heart,
Undaunted champion
of the Catholic faith,
Zealous to restore all
things in Christ,
Crowned a holy life
with a holy death.”
Pope Pius X, born Giuseppe
Melchiorre Sarto, was the first
Pope elected in the 20th century.
He came to the papal office in
1903 and died 11 years later in
1914, just as World War I was
He was born on June 2, 1835
in the small town of Riese, near
Venice, and was one of eight
children. His family was poor.
He felt a calling to be a priest at
a young age and was ordained
in 1858. After 26 years, he was
named bishop of Mantua, Italy,
and in 1893, he became patriarch of Venice.
As Pope, he issued decrees
making the age of First Holy
Communion earlier (at the age
of 7) and advocated frequent
and even daily reception of the
Eucharist. He promoted the
reading of the Bible among laypeople, reformed the liturgy,
promoted clear and simple
homilies, and brought back
Gregorian chant. He revised the
Breviary, reorganized the curia,
and initiated the codification of
canon law.
He died in 1914 of natural
causes reportedly aggravated by
worries over the beginning of
World War I.
Pope Pius X was canonized
by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
Serving love, nourishment
Courtesy of Save the Children
unites, responds
to humanitarian
crisis with heart
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — In response to
the influx of immigrants arriving in our area from Honduras, El
Salvador, Guatemala and other areas of Central America, Catholic
Charities of the Rio Grande Valley opened two assistance centers.
The first center opened June 10 at
Sacred Heart Church in McAllen
and the second opened June 13 at
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
in Brownsville.
To date, more than 5,200 individuals have received assistance
and many organizations are lending a hand to assist with the humanitarian crisis, including:
• Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery. Members of the interfaith organization, which formed
in 2003, are working together to
address the current humanitarian
• Save the Children, which
started providing volunteers at the
Sacred Heart Church center in
McAllen on June 21. Since then,
the organization has provided
more than 600 children a safe space
to play under the supervision of
trained staff.
• The Physician Assistant Department from the University of
Texas-Pan American in Edinburg
has been providing medical attention to the immigrants at the
McAllen center daily. Students,
under the supervision of a licensed
physician, volunteer their time in
three-to four-hour shifts. They are
working under the Federal Volunteer Act of 1997.
• Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid
in conjunction with local immigration attorneys are volunteering
each day to provide information
on legal rights and the immigration
• The City of McAllen is providing logistics and operations support in cooperation with Hidalgo
County Emergency Management.
This includes portable showers,
tents and cots, generators, and
transportation from the bus station
to the church.
• Salvation Army teams. Some
have traveled from Austin, Liberty
and Lubbock to the McAllen center to serve hot meals to the immigrants. They serve more than 100
meals a day.
• Calvary Baptist Church is assisting with laundry.
• RGV Food Bank is assisting
with intake and sorting of donations.
• Material donations are being
accepted at the RGV Food Bank
due to lack of storage at the centers.
The Food Bank is located at 724 N.
Cage Blvd. in Pharr.
• Monetary donations can be
sent to Catholic Charities of the
Rio Grande Valley, PO Box 1306,
San Juan, TX 78589. Please write
“immigrant relief ” on the memo
line. Online donations can be made
Salvation Army
committed to
immigrant families
passing through
the Valley
Photos by Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
Top: Alton Ryan, left, of the Lubbock Salvation Army corps and a local volunteer
serve Pedialyte to families. Bottom: Rudy
Zapata of Lubbock has been a Salvation
Army volunteer for 16 years.
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — “When I hand
them a plate of food and look into
their eyes, I know I’m doing something for Christ,” said Rudy Zapata
of Lubbock, one of the many Salvation Army volunteers who have
helped operate the kitchen at the
immigrant welcoming center in
Salvation Army volunteers
serve more than 100 meals a day
with a welcoming smile. Behind
the scenes, they run the kitchen
with strict health and hygiene
standards. The volunteers have all
undergone a safe food handling
training as well as emotional and
spiritual care training, CPR training and much more.
The center, serves families —
mothers or fathers and their children — primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who
are waiting to catch buses heading
north. The immigrants have been
processed, released and dropped
off at the McAllen bus station by
U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. The center, which is
overseen by Catholic Charities, is
located three blocks from the bus
Several corps from the Salvation Army Texas division have
traveled in teams to serve at the
McAllen center, including corps
from Williamson County, Liberty
and Lubbock.
“We are here because it is
the right thing to do,” said Alton
Ryan, 76, a member of the Lubbock corps advisory board. He
began volunteering in 2005 after
Hurricane Katrina. “The fact that
these are children who are hungry
trumps everything, nothing else
The teams volunteer in McAllen for 10-12 days at a time and
are rotated in and out by Texas
Division leaders, said Philip Burn,
public and media relations director for the Salvation Army Texas
The volunteers work more
than 10 hours a day, depending on
need. They serve most of the immigrants caldo – or Latino-style
soup – by the recommendation
of the doctors on site who provide medical attention to the immigrants. Many of the immigrants
haven’t eaten much or anything in
days and the soup sits well.
Zapata, 55, who has been a
Salvation Army volunteer for
16 years, has traveled to the Rio
Grande Valley in the past.
“I served meals in Weslaco and
Harlingen after Hurricane Dolly,”
he said.
Zapata and the other Salvation
Army volunteers are usually called
to action in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Some of the disasters
he has worked include Hurricane
Ike and the deadly tornadoes in
Moore, Okla.
“Natural disasters and humanitarian crises like this one, they are
equally heartbreaking,” said Zapata, as he made row after row of
ham and cheese sandwiches. The
sandwiches are for the immigrants
who need food on the go. Some of
them don’t have time to sit and eat
as they have a bus to catch.
A single father of two daughters, Zapata is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He got clean
and sober when he turned his life
over to Christ.
“I was on my death bed three
times from drug and alcohol
abuse,” he said. “The last time it
» Please see Salvation Army, p.14
Helping my brothers and sisters in Christ
Young volunteers
spend summer
assisting migrants
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — Blessed Mother
Teresa once said, “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the
My family and I began volunteering with Catholic Charities
at Sacred Heart Church the first
week the center opened. This experience reminded me of Blessed
Mother Teresa.
Of the hundreds of immigrants that have arrived, I have
been able to sponsor seven families. A sponsor volunteer adopts
a family and takes them to eat a
hot meal, finds them some clothes
and needed supplies, then directs
them to the showers, the medical unit, and a place to rest before
they continue their journey.
When the immigrants arrive
from the buses, there are mostly
mothers with their children. Many
children come with little clothes,
torn shoes or no shoes at all. One
of the families I sponsored was a
mother and her daughter who was
six years of age. I gave her a teddy
bear and she gave me a strange
look. She hugged it tight as if she
Noah Ponce, Mobile Journalist/The Valley Catholic
Volunteers of all ages have donated their time to the immigrant center in McAllen.
finally owned something. It broke
my heart to see this scene. I don‘t
speak Spanish very well so it was
difficult communicating. Yet, it
breaks my heart to see all of the
people who are suffering. They are
all seeking a place where they are
safe and where there are people to
care for them. “The biggest disease
today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being
unwanted” Blessed Mother Teresa
I wish I could have been there
more often, but on June 24 I
started to feel extreme pain in my
stomach. I ended up in the emergency room because my appendix
was inflamed and I needed to get
it removed. After my surgery I
had to remain in the hospital for
three days and could not volunteer. Once I got back on my feet,
my family and I returned ready to
I interviewed a few volunteers who ranged from the age of
nine to 17 years. They all shared a
similar motivation for being there.
They were there to help the people
in need and they felt fortunate for
the things they do have.
One of the volunteers, Brian
Del Bosque, 17, tried to entertain
the children by pulling a rabbit out
of a top hat. Del Bosque said being
able to make the children smile
was worth all the work they were
Everybody has different duties
at the volunteer center. Yet all are
working for the same purpose, to
give a hand to their brothers and
sisters in Christ. I hope that these
immigrants have a better life here
in America. Most of the immigrants crossed over here because
their home countries are dangerous places to live.
When talking about what was
happening with the immigrants
and why they were coming, my
dad showed me a poem written on
a plaque of the Statue of Liberty:
With silent lips. “Give me your
tired, your poor, Your huddled
masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift
my lamp beside the golden door!”
The Statue of Liberty represents freedom. For immigrants
freedom is a chance at a new life.
My grandmother and my greatgrandparents were immigrants
and came here for a better life
just like the immigrants that we
are helping at the shelter. I am
happy that Sister Norma Pimentel
and Sister Leticia Benavides with
Catholic Charities and Sacred
Heart Parish opened up this shelter for them.
I learned that charity is helping our brothers and sisters in
Christ by bringing them Jesus
with our love.
- The Valley Catholic
»Letter from the Superintendent
As school bells ring throughout the Rio Grande Valley, we
celebrate the official opening
of the 2014-2015 school year.
Catholic schools in the Diocese
of Brownsville are prepared to
welcome many children into the
classrooms, joining more than two
million students nationwide whose
families have chosen a Catholic
All of our Catholic schools in
the Valley are committed to providing a distinctly Catholic education in an environment with the
highest standards of academic
Academics are only part of the
picture, however. Catholic schools
provide a faith-centered education, forming the minds, hearts,
and spirits of each child so that
they may live lives of peace, joy
and hope and apply their faith
to the many challenges they will
We can learn much about
Catholic education through the
example of Pope Francis. A faith-
filled, holy man who has chosen to
live out his own sense of justice by
modeling his belief that life is not
about material things or titles but
the very simplicity of our lifestyle.
He is an example of everything
that we teach our students — the
true qualities to be a follower of
Christ. Catholic education challenges students to live the Gospel
message and the teachings of the
Church in their mission of service
to others.
May God bless all our Catholic
schools as we welcome new opportunities with much enthusiasm
for a blessed year ahead.
God bless,
Sister Cynthia A. Mello, SSD,
»Hope in Action:
A Spotlight on Youth
Evangelizing through art
Special to The Valley Catholic
“It is a true treasure to
find someone as gifted and so
giving as Maria Lawler,” said
Becky Thompson, director of
communication at St. Joseph
Academy in Brownsville. “She uses
her artistic abilities to communicate
powerful messages for the things
she is most passionate about.
“Her positive outlook and
contagious enthusiasm has been
an indispensable asset in the art
program at SJA.”
Lawler served as a Green Team
leader this past school year at St.
Joseph Academy and worked to
spread awareness of conserving the
world’s natural resources through
her artwork and volunteerism.
Her artwork won first place
at the Recycled Art Competition
at the Brownsville Earthfest
Celebration in Linear Park.
Lawler helped design, paint
and organize banners and artwork
for the Campus Ministry’s Liftoff
to Nairobi Prayer Service, a global
event that brought thousands of
young people together for a day of
prayer and solidarity.
Name: Maria Lawler
School/ Grade: St. Joseph
Academy, going into 12th Grade
What I do at St. Joseph
Academy: I am in National Honor
Society, National Art Honor
Society, Positive Peer Leadership
Team, Green Team Leader,
National Spanish Honor Society
and I also have been on the SJA
Swimming Team since 9th grade.
Special talents/gifts: I am very
independent, love to help others,
am compassionate and caring, have
a positive outlook on life, and am
determined to complete anything I
start to the best of my ability.
Best movie ever and why:
My favorite movie is “Beginners”
because it shows how one can find
happiness even after so much hurt
and pain.
Most listened to song on my
iPod: Yellow by Coldplay
Sister Mello takes the reins
as superintendent
Aims to strengthen
Catholic identity at
diocese’s 13 schools
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — Sister Cynthia
Mello of the Sisters of St. Dorothy
began her service as superintendent of schools for the Diocese of
Brownsville on July 1.
The New Bedford, Mass. native replaces Lisette Allen, who
accepted a position as director of
accreditation for the Texas Catholic Conference in Austin. Allen
served as superintendent for six
Sister Mello was the principal
of Our Lady of Guadalupe School
in Mission from late 2003 until her
appointment as superintendent.
The school, which served the
community from 1914 to 1987,
had been closed for 16 years.
Sister Mello and school and
church pastor, Father Roy Snipes
of the Missionary Oblates of Mary
Immaculate, led the effort to reopen the school and in the fall of
2004, the school opened with two
Montessori classrooms for threefour-and five-year olds.
A grade level was added each
year and the first class of eighthgraders from the revived school
graduated in May 2014.
After meeting her goal of
making Our Lady of Guadalupe School a full-fledged Pre-K3
through eighth grade school, Sister Mello was ready to accept a
new challenge.
“She made our dream of reopening the school come true,”
Father Snipes said. “We couldn’t
have done it without her.
“She is a good administrator.
The Valley Catholic
“As a kid, I’d say, ‘Oh, mom, I wish we could go to that (parochial) school,’ but we
couldn’t afford it,” said Sister Cynthia Mello of the Sisters of St. Dorothy. As superintendent of schools, she will strive to make Catholic education more attainable.
She is very steady and conscientious. We were sorry to see her go
but we are also very happy for her
because this is a wonderful opportunity. She is going to make a fine
Sister Mello aims to build on
the strong foundation of standards, curriculum and policy that
has been established in our diocese. As a religious sister, she plans
to infuse more spirituality in the
Sister Mello also hopes to
visit the 13 schools at least once a
month so she may familiarize herself with the principals and faculty.
One of her goals is to be not only
a supervisor for the principals, but
a mentor, advocate and spiritual
“Being a principal, you know
it’s not an easy day taking on the
whole school – academics, students, staff relations, parents, budgets and many other situations
that make up the daily life of a
principal,” she said. “It can also be
a lonely job because they have nobody to talk to, nobody who can
As a little girl, Sister Mello was
“fascinated” by the Sisters of St.
Dorothy she saw at Mass at her
home parish.
“I used to watch them,” she
said. “I’d be in church and I’d see
groups of them walking in, wearing the full habit and cape. After
Mass, I’d see them walk into the
» Please see Superintendent, p.10
Maria Lawler, “exemplifies the Marist
spirit of service to others,” said Becky
Thompson, director of communication at
St. Joseph Academy.
TV show I never miss and
why: Modern Family, because it
never fails to make me laugh and
be happy.
Book I would read again (and
again) and why: Harry Potter
series because it reminds me of
childhood innocence and how
creative people can be.
Future plans: I plan to
attend college and start a family
afterwards and continue to serve
in my community, it is what I love
doing most.
Meaningful 1uote: “Life is
what happens when you are too
busy making other plans” - John
Who has made an influence
in my life or who I admire most
and why: My brothers, both
younger, have influenced me
greatly. They have made me more
mature, more patient, more giving
and humble. They have made me
more self-reliant as well as more
compassionate. My parents are
my inspiration; they have always
kept an extremely positive and
optimistic outlook on life while
facing some of the most incredible
difficulties. They have devoted
everything to help us become the
people we are today.
A rendering of the new mutli-purpose facility that St. Anthony Parish plans to construct. It was designed by Megamorphosis
Architecture & Interior Design of Harlingen.
New building for St. Anthony Parish
The Valley Catholic
Anthony Parish in Harlingen is
constructing a new multi-purpose
facility to meet the current and
future needs of its growing church
and school community. The
17,000-square foot building will
feature a gymnasium/banquet
space, kitchen facilities, six full-
size classrooms and three smaller
meeting rooms.
More than $1.4 million has
been raised in support of the
project, which was announced in
November 2012.
The old St. Anthony Church,
located at the corner of 10th St.
and E. Harrison Ave., will be
demolished to make way for the
new facility.
committee discussed numerous
possibilities, including renovating
and repurposing the old church
to meet the needs of the parish,
but an engineering study raised
concerns about the foundation
and other elements.
Construction is scheduled to
begin this fall, with completion in
the fall of 2015.
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
- The Valley Catholic
Those Who Serve:
Deacon R. C. Salinas
‘I am here by the grace of God’
Deacon, educator
recovering from
triple bypass surgery
The Valley Catholic
Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
Deacon R.C. Salinas has been a “permanent fixture” in Starr County. “Our deacon
is a great treasure,” said Father Artemio Jacob Jimenez, parochial vicar of Sacred
Heart Church in Escobares. “We are blessed.”
“He is very well known in
the community,” Father Jacob
said. “People look for him for
a variety of reasons, from help
Latest priest
The Valley Catholic
Effective May 22, 2014
Rev. Francisco J. Solis,
appointed member of the Ad
Hoc Committee for Diocesan
Insurance, retaining all other
Effective June 18, 2014
Rev. Amador Garza, appointed
Bishop’s Liaison to the Retired
Priests retaining all other
Effective July 7, 2014
Rev. Daniel Herve Oyama,
assigned in residence at the rectory
of San Pedro Mission in San Pedro
and will assist with weekend
Masses and help with confessions;
relived of his responsibilities at St.
Joseph Parish in Brownsville.
Effective July 9, 2014
Rev. Jose Gualberto Cruz,
appointed Parochial Vicar of Good
Shepherd Parish in Brownsville
and relieved of his responsibilities
at the Basilica of Our Lady of San
Juan del Valle-National Shrine in
San Juan
Rev. Francois Tsanga, SCJ,
appointed Assistant to the Rector
of the Basilica of Our Lady of San
Juan del Valle-National Shrine
in San Juan and relieved of his
responsibilities as Chaplain at the
McAllen Hospitals and weekend
» Please see Assignments, p.10
Offering PhD, Master’s and Bachelor’s
PhD in Leadership Studies
MBA in Healthcare Management
MBA in Management
MS in Organizational Leadership
BAS in Computer Information
Systems and Security
specific calling to the permanent
diaconate – because there were
no permanent deacons in our
His class, which was ordained
in 1980, was the first in the history
of the Diocese of Brownsville.
“I became a deacon strictly
by accident,” said Deacon
Salinas, a graduate of Texas A&M
University. “My pastor asked if
I would consider entering the
program and I said, ‘I don’t think
so.’ His reply was, ‘Well, I already
turned your name in.’”
The program, he recalled, was
rigorous and required trips to San
Juan twice a week – sometimes
alone and sometimes with his
The wives of married deacon
aspirants and candidates play an
important role in the formation
“The wife of a deacon not
only has to offer her support but
her unconditional support,” said
Sylvia Salinas, his wife of 41 years,
who is also involved in multiple
ministries. “If you’re not prepared
for and accepting of what the
ministry entails, you are going to
have issues and lots of them.
“As the wife of a deacon, we
are called to be caring, patient,
supportive and understanding of
our husband’s vocation.”
Deacon Salinas and his wife
have two children, a daughter,
Dora Sylvia and a son, Juan Carlos
and two granddaughters.
A history buff, Deacon Salinas
is extremely knowledgeable about
Starr County and many other
Over the years, he has also
been assigned to Holy Family
Church in La Grulla and St.
Isidore Church in San Isidro.
Many priests have come and
gone to Starr County in the last
30-plus years, but Deacon Salinas
has been a permanent fixture
in the area and is an invaluable
resource, said Father Artemio
Jacob Jimenez, parochial vicar
of Sacred Heart Church in
ESCOBARES — After Deacon
Rodolfo Carlos “R.C.” Salinas
was ordained to the permanent
diaconate by Bishop John J.
Fitzpatrick in 1980, the first
service he was assigned was a
“I asked the pastor, ‘tell me
about the funeral,’” Deacon
Salinas recalled. “It was a case of a
15-year-old who killed a 16-yearold.
“When the family walked
into the church, I freaked out.
Emotions were very raw because
it was murder. I had been to tragic
funerals before, but it was as a
lay person. Now, it was different.
It was up to me to give them the
Word of the Lord and I felt so
“I want you to know the alb
couldn’t hide the trembling in my
More than 34 years later,
Deacon Salinas tries to officiate
each service with that same
“My attitude is this: approach
the service you’ve been asked to
do as if it was your first one or
your last one,” he said. “I am here
by the grace of God.”
A permanent deacon is an
ordained minister in the Catholic
Church. Permanent deacons
may proclaim the Gospel, deliver
homilies, baptize, officiate at
weddings and funeral services and
much more. Married men can be
ordained permanent deacons and
in the United States, 90 percent of
them are married, according to
statistics from the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops.
Deacon Salinas, who has
served at Sacred Heart Church
in Escobares for the last 10 years,
works as a teacher at the Starr
County Juvenile Justice Center.
It is a second career for Deacon
Salinas, who retired in 1995
after 45 years in public school
education, including posts as a
federal programs administrator,
middle school principal and high
school history teacher.
students from ages 10-16. Most of
the youth are behind bars for drug
use or domestic violence.
“It’s one heartbreak a day,
sometimes two,” he said. “My
work at the detention center goes
in tandem with what I do as a
deacon. The work involves events
that form and transform lives.”
Deacon Salinas, 75, was raised
in a devout Catholic household.
Conception School in Rio Grande
City from kindergarten through
eighth grade and a Benedictine
boarding school in Corpus Christi
for high school.
Deacon Salinas has felt a
calling to Christ’s service his
whole life. As a young boy, he
was an altar server and later a
lector, an Extraordinary Minister
of Holy Communion and many
other ministries.
He, however, didn’t have a
with historical and cultural
information to spiritual guidance.
Our deacon is a great treasure. We
are blessed.”
Father Jimenez added that
Deacon Salinas, who delivers at
least one homily at the weekend
Masses, is a great preacher.
“The people leave Mass
inspired by his message,” Father
Jimenez said.
Even as an ordained minister,
Deacon Salinas admits he has
battled several crises of faith, the
most recent one taking place in
March after he underwent triple
bypass heart surgery in San
“When I came out of surgery,
I was very depressed and very
anxious,” he said. “And all of a
sudden, it’s like God is not there.
The doctors don’t prepare you for
Deacon Salinas credits the
“good chaplains and Eucharistic
ministers” who visited him in
the hospital for his spiritual
recovery. In hindsight, he sees
the experience as a moment of
spiritual growth.
Prayer, he said, has been the
cornerstone of his ministry.
“You have to have a strong
spiritual foundation or you’re
dead on arrival,” he said. “You
can’t do anything unless you have
a strong spiritual base.”
Classes offered every other weekend to
accommodate working adults
CALL 956-277-0146
OR EMAIL [email protected]
w w w. o l l u s a . e d u
Catholic higher education and service,
sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence, since 1895
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
»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
Rev. Alfonso Guevara
Rev. George Kerketta
Rev. Patrick Seitz
Rev. Miguel Angel Ortega
Rev. Aglayde Vega
Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Sister Armida Rangel, MJ
Sister Monica Garza, OP
Sister Jeannine Spain, OSB
Sister Elena Maldonado, RSM
Deacon Jesse E. Aguayo
Deacon Raymond Thomas Jr.
Deacon Gerardo Aguilar
Deacon Silvestre J. Garcia
Deacon Carlos Treviño
Deacon Heriberto Treviño
Deacon Reynaldo Q. Merino
» Anniversaries
Rev. Raymond Nwachukwu
Rev. Alejandro Fajardo,
Rev. Jose Cruz
Rev. Jose J. Ortiz, CO
Rev. Msgr. Heberto Diaz
Rev. Luis Javier Garcia, JCL
15 Deacon Genaro Ibarra
» Birthdays
continued from pg. 7
large convent and I’d wonder what
was going on in there, what their
lives were like.”
Sister Mello felt a pull to religious life as a senior in high school,
but wasn’t sure if it was a childhood
infatuation or a true calling.
After high school graduation, she began working with a
busy trucking company where she
stayed for 10 years. During that
time, the call to religious life was
“stronger and stronger.”
“I didn’t tell anyone, but I started going to Mass every day before
work,” she said. “One day, I opened
the diocesan newspaper and there
was a vocations section about all
the religious communities in our
3 Rev. Msgr. Juan Nicolau, Ph.D
4 Rev. Raymond Nwachukwu
10 Rev. Jose E. Losoya, CO
14 Rev. Porfirio Garcia, OMI
16 Rev. Mario Aviles, CO
17 Rev. Jaime Cabañas- Retired
29 Rev. Thomas Luczak, OFM
22 Rev. George Gonzalez
23 Rev. Jose Rene Angel, JCL
26 Rev. Martin De La Cruz
30 Rev. Juan R. Gutierrez
19 Deacon Ramiro Davila Jr.
20 Deacon Agapito Cantu
29 Deacon Roberto Ledesma
29 Deacon John F. Schwarz
30 Deacon Graciano A. Rodriguez
6 Sister Colette Kraus, SSND
11 Sister Teresita Rodriguez, IWBS
16 Sister Leticia Benavides, MJ
21 Sister Nancy Boushey, OSB
21 Sister Mary Florence Ehileme
27 Sister Mmachimerem
Onyemelikwe, DDL
» Anniversaries
1 Rev. Ignacio Luna
4 Rev. Paul Wilhelm, OMI
8 Rev. Jaime Cabañas- Retired
8 Rev. Richard Philion, OMI
9 Rev. Vicente Azcoiti – Retired
19 Rev. Esteban Hernandez
21 Deacon Larry Hildebrand
area, including the Sisters of St.
Dorothy. I decided to call them.”
Sister Mello met with the Sisters
and discerned her call to religious
life for about a year-and-a-half. In
the meantime, she became more
involved in church activities.
“I spent so much time at the
church, my mother joked that I
should just move in there,” she said.
Sister Mello joined the Sisters
of St. Dorothy on Sept. 8, 1979 and
has served in a variety of ministries,
including education and work with
the elderly and infirmed.
She earned an undergraduate
degree in education from Providence College in Rhode Island and
a master’s degree in administration
from Rhode Island College.
She also spent three years in
Rome working in her community’s
motherhouse in general government.
Hobby Lobby decision
Effects of Supreme
Court ruling to
evolve over time
Catholic News Service
Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell
v. Hobby Lobby was barely out
of the clerk’s box June 30 before
pundits, partisans and parties to
related lawsuits were staking out
claims about what the decision
About 50 cases already before
various federal courts hinge on
how the ruling is applied. Another
50 or so cases raise related
questions about whether nonprofit
organizations must comply with
the provision of the Affordable
Care Act challenged in the Hobby
Lobby case, or with procedures
established for religious groups to
opt out of it.
The 5-4 ruling said Hobby
Lobby and Conestoga Wood
Specialties, the two companies
that sued, need not comply with
a federal mandate to include a
full range of contraceptives in
Catholic News Service
Pro-life demonstrators celebrate June 30 outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington as its decision in the Hobby Lobby case is announced. The high court ruled that
owners of closely held corporations can object on religious grounds to being forced by
the government to provide coverage of contraceptives for their employees.
employee health insurance.
Both companies’ owners are
Christians whose family members
run the businesses and who follow
faith-influenced practices such
as closing on Sundays. They had
objected to having to cover all
the forms of contraception in
the government’s requirement,
because some act as abortifacients.
The court said the federal
government could have chosen
ways to provide uniform access to
contraceptives that were less of an
infringement on religious rights. It
said under the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, known as RFRA,
such “closely held” companies can
assert religious views that protect
them from the mandate.
Youth unemployment a ‘defeat’ for society
Catholic News Service
VATICAN — Job creation,
respect for the environment and
the second chances God grants
to every sinner were recurring
themes as Pope Francis visited the
southern Italian region of Molise
July 5.
“We cannot resign ourselves
to losing a whole generation of
young people who don’t have
the strong dignity of work,” Pope
Francis said during a meeting
with the region’s young people in
the town of Castelpetroso. “Work
gives dignity.”
“A generation without work is
a future defeat for the country and
continued from pg. 9
ministry at Our Lady of Perpetual
Help Parish in McAllen
Effective July 11, 2014
Rev. Jose Garza, appointed
Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph the
Worker Parish in McAllen
Effective July 15, 2014
Rev. Paul Roman, F.S.S.P.,
assigned in residence at Our Lady
of Perpetual Help in McAllen
Effective July 16, 2014
for humanity,” the pope told the
young people gathered under the
hot sun outside the town’s Shrine
of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Italian national statistics
bureau reported in early June that
the Molise region’s unemployment
rate was 16.4 percent, which is
worse than the national average.
The situation is particularly bad
for job seekers between the ages
of 15 and 24, a full 50 percent of
whom cannot find jobs.
Youth unemployment rates
are also high in the United States,
according to the latest statistics
from the U.S. Department of
Labor. More than 68 percent
of teens, ages 16-19, who are
seeking employment cannot find
work. More than 34 percent of
young adults, ages 20-24, are
“Not having work does not just
mean not having what one needs
to live,” the pope said. People can
survive on charity and assistance,
but “the problem is not being able
to bring bread to the table and this
takes away one’s dignity.”
The pope renewed his appeal
to politicians, business leaders
and investors to work together to
create jobs.
“It is necessary to put the
dignity of the human person
at the center of every plan and
every action. Other interests, even
legitimate ones, are secondary,” he
Rev. Alejandro F. Flores,
appointed Director of Pro-Life,
retaining all other assignments
as Diocesan Promoter of Vocations
and relieved of his responsibilities
at Sacred Heart Parish in Elsa
Rev. Manoj Kumar Nayak,
SS.CC., appointed Pastor of Sacred
Heart Parish in Edinburg and its
mission in Lull
Rev. Christopher Santangelo,
SS.CC., appointed Parochial Vicar
of Sacred Heart Parish in Edinburg
and its mission in Lull
Effective August 1, 2014
Rev. Marco Antonio Reynoso,
appointed Parochial Vicar of
Sacred Heart Parish in Elsa and
its missions and relieved of his
responsibilities at Immaculate
Conception Parish in Rio Grande
City, Chaplain for the Serra Club
No. 812 and Campus Ministry
Chaplain for South Texas College
in Starr County
Rev. Juan Manuel Salazar,
appointed Parochial Vicar of
Immaculate Conception Parish in
Rio Grande City, while continuing
Effective August 7, 2014
Rev. Andres Everardo Gutierrez,
appointed Parochial Vicar of St.
Luke Parish in Brownsville and
relieving him of his responsibilities
at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in
Rev. Manuel Alfredo Razo,
appointed Parochial Vicar of St.
Paul the Apostle Parish in Rio
Grande City and Campus Ministry
Chaplain for South Texas College
in Starr County and relieved of his
responsibilities at St. Luke Parish
and as Spiritual Director for Legion
of Mary – Brownsville Curia
Effective August 15, 2014
appointed Parish Administrator of
St. Margaret Mary Parish in Pharr
and relived of his responsibilities
at Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus
Parish in Edcouch
- The Valley Catholic
Nuestra Familia Católica
Un ministerio de amor y de limpieza
Voluntaria se
dedica a ayudar
en cualquier
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — Cuando el
centro para inmigrantes abrió
en la parroquia del Sagrado
Corazón Mcallen, Mayra
Garza y miembros del grupo
del Rosario decidieron ser
“Vine aquí sin saber que
esperar”, dijo Garza, de 40
años de edad, una feligrés de
la Iglesia del Espíritu Santo
en McAllen. “Pensé que iba a
estar quí por un par de horas.
Terminé quedándome hasta
que las puertas se cerraron
tarde esa noche.
El centro, el cual abrió el
9 de junio, es básicamente
una parada de descanso para
familias migrantes – madres
o padres y sus hijos. Los
inmigrantes, la mayoría de
Guatemala, Honduras y El
Salvador, visitan el centro
mientras esperan tomar los
autobuses que van hacia
el norte. Los inmigrantes
McAllen por la Oficina
de Administración y
Aduanas (ICE, por sus
siglas en inglés). El
centro, el cual es operado
por Caridades Católicas,
está localizado a tres
cuadras de la estación de
Desde ese primer
día en el centro, Garza
se convirtió en una
dedicada voluntaria. Ella
empezó sirviendo como
patrocinadora de las
familias inmigrantes. Ella
los acompañaba mientras
estaban en el centro,
el cual ofrece comida,
médica, artículos y
botanas para el camino,
hospedaje nocturno y
“Te encariñas con
las familias” dijo Garza,
madre de tres hijos.
“Hablas con ellos, ríes
con ellos, lloras con ellos,
les das ánimo”.
Las historias que ha
escuchado de algunas
familias, de algún modo
fueron “conmovedoras”.
The Valley Catholic
La mayoría de ellas son
escapando de la violencia
puestos en libertad y llevados y pobreza extrema en sus países,
a la estación de autobuses de sin mencionar su tormentoso
No puedo hacer
más por las familias
pero por lo menos
me puedo asegurar
de que ellos tengan
un baño limpio y
una regadera.
camino hacia los Estados Unidos.
pueden enfrentarse a tanto
dolor y todavía ser agradecidos
y amables,” dijo Garza. “Me
pregunto cómo algunos de ellos
pueden continuar”.
Antes de que el centro abriera
el hospedaje nocturo, Garza
recibió en su casa a una madre
y a su hijo de 12 años de edad,
quienes se dirigían a los Angeles.
“El joven especificamente
no se quería ir” dijo Garza.
“Cuando los dejé en la estación
de autobuses, todos estabamos
llorando. Las familias se llevan
una parte de nuestro corazón
con ellos y dejan una parte de sus
corazones con nosotros. Nunca
dejaremos de rezar por ellos o
parar de imaginarnos cómo les
está yendo”.
El hacer ministerio directo
con las familias día tras día
causa un estrago emocional.
Ella decidió enfocar la mayoría
de su energía en limpiar el
centro y ahora, ella esta a cargo
de mantenimiento. Ella no
solamente limpia el centro sino
que a coordina a los voluntarios
para que ayuden.
“No puedo hacer más por
las familias pero por lo menos
me puedo asegurar de que ellos
tengan un baño limpio y una
regadera” comentó Garza con
lágrimas en los ojos.
una cultura
ACI Prensa/EWTN Noticias
la asamblea general de la Conferencia
Episcopal de Estados Unidos,
realizada en Nueva Orleans el 7 de
julio, el profesor de sociología de la
Universidad de Virginia, W. Bradford
Wilcox, aseguró que promover una
cultura que favorezca el matrimonio
y la vida familiar puede der el
medio más eficaz para reducir las
desigualdades sociales y económicas
en Estados Unidos.
Wilcox presentó numerosos
estudios sobre el estado de la familia
y los beneficios de un matrimonio
estable. Explicó que una familia
estable en donde los padres están
casados proporciona un “capital
humano” que ayuda a los esposos y a
sus hijos a lograr el éxito. Los hijos de
padres casados tienen más posibilidad
de tener éxito a nivel académico y en
la vida en general. Asimismo, tienen
menos riesgo de caer en la pobreza, el
abuso, la negligencia, encarcelamiento
y embarazo adolescente.
El experto señaló que los cambios
sociales, económicos y culturales
se han “fusionado para socavar
el matrimonio”. En su informe se
indica que el cambio en la estructura
de la familia extra matrimonial es
responsable del 41 por ciento del
aumento en la desigualdad económica
desde 1975. Los hijos de padres
casados en situación de pobreza
económicas en comparación a
quienes crecen sin sus padres o estos
cohabitan sin estar casados.
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
»Vida Familiar
Alimentar nuestra familia con comida y fe
a vida familiar puede ser un
poco incómoda: sagrada,
pero desordenada. San
Juan Pablo II nos recuerda la
exhortación apostólica “Familiaris consortio” que la familia es
la iglesia doméstica, y que lo que
sucede en la familia es “sagrado”;
que el carácter sagrado de la vida
radica en los acontecimientos
ordinarios de nuestra vida diaria. Es una
maravilla tener en cuenta que al hacer
las cosas cotidianas ordinarias de nuestra
vida familiar como alimentar a nuestra
familia estamos sirviendo a Dios. Dios nos
creó para conocerle, amarle y servirle, y lo
hacemos al servir a nuestra familia; nuestra
iglesia doméstica, mediante servir a nuestra
iglesia local más grande, y por servir a los
pobres y necesitados.
Alimentamos nuestra familia con
comida y fe, ya que planeamos y preparamos comidas diarias mientras reflexivamente administramos los bienes que Dios
provee para nosotros. No soy una gran
cocinera, pero me gusta mucho seguir las
recetas. Planeo el menú semanalmente
para comidas de la cena y luego hago mi
lista de compras del menú preparado para
ahorrar dinero y reducir el desperdicio
de alimentos. Usamos servilletas de tela
en cada comida si somos 4 o si somos 20
alrededor de la mesa. Se ahorra papel, es
sólo otra carga de ropa, y eso hace nuestra
comida especial.; un tiempo para preparar,
orar, hablar, discrepar, reconciliar, para
apoyar, y unirse. La hora de la cena no
siempre es agradable, limpia y sin luchas,
pero siempre es sagrada.
Alimentamos nuestra familia de fe en
nuestra lucha por vestir al desnudo, visitar
a los enfermos, y dar la bienvenida al
Tenemos la oportunidad de vestir al
desnudo cuando cambiamos el pañal a
nuestro nieto Elián y visitar al enfermo
cuando visitamos amigos y familia de
edad avanzada. En la actualidad, sin duda
tenemos muchas oportunidades para dar
la bienvenida y
vestir al extranjero
cuando vemos a los
cientos de personas
que viajan a través
Lydia Pesina
Directora, Oficina de este valle provede Vida Familiar nientes de Centro
y Sur América.
Mauri y yo sólo
hemos estado en
la estación de bienvenida en el Sagrado
Corazón un par de veces para ser voluntarios durante unas horas; pero hay cientos
de voluntarios de muchas iglesias distintas
que trabajan incansablemente para acoger,
alimentar, vestir, y renovar sus espíritus.
En el Evangelio de Mateo escuchamos:
“Señor, ¿cuándo te vimos hambriento, y
te dimos de comer, o sediento, y te dimos
de beber? ¿Cuándo te vimos extraño y
te dimos la bienvenida? o desnudo y te
vestimos? Cuando te vimos enfermo o en
la cárcel, y vinimos a ti? Y el rey les dirá en
respuesta, en verdad os digo que en cuanto
lo hicisteis a estos hermanos míos más
pequeños, a mí me lo hicisteis”.
Jesús nos dejó el plan de acción para
una vida llena de alegría: servir, servir, y
servir. Él lavó los pies a sus apóstoles para
que del mismo modo nos lavemos unos
a otros. Este verano, la parroquia de San
José en Edinburg recibió un grupo de
jóvenes haciendo trabajo misionero en el
Valle. Todos los ministerios de la parroquia nos turnamos para alimentar a estos
jóvenes y Mauri y yo nos unimos a nuestro
patrocinador una noche y fuimos testigos
de la alegría en sus rostros cansados. Es
muy alentador ver muchas parroquias y la
Oficina Diocesana del Ministerio Juvenil
recibiendo y / o participando en proyectos
juveniles para restauraciones de casas y
otros programas de servicio. La verdadera
alegría viene de seguir el ejemplo de amor
anonadamiento de Jesús. Alimentamos
nuestra familia con alimentos y la fe mediante servicio a la familia, la Iglesia y a los
Aquellos Que Sirven: Diácono R.C. Salinas
Llamado al servicio de Cristo
Diácono: ‘Estoy aquí
por la gracia de Dios’
The Valley Catholic
ESCOBARES — Después de que el
Diácono Rodolfo Carlos “R.C” Salinas fuera
ordenado para el diaconado permanente
por el Obispo Fitzpatrick en 1980, el primer
servicio al que fue asignado fue un funeral.
“Le pregunté al pastor, ‘dígame sobre el
funeral’ “ recuerda el Diácono Salinas. “Fue
un caso en el que jóven de 15 años de edad
mató a uno de 16 años.
“Cuando la familia entró a la iglesia, me
alteré. Las emociones fueron muy crudas
debido a que fue un asesinato. Yo había
asistido antes a funerales trágicos, pero
era una persona laica. Ahora era diferente.
Dependía de mí que les diera la Palabra del
Señor y me sentí muy inadecuado”.
“Quiero que sepas que el alba no podría
ocultar el temblor en mis rodillas”.
Más de 34 años después, el Diácono
Salinas trata de oficiar cada servicio con la
misma humildad.
“Mi actitud es esta: tomar el servicio el
que se te ha solicidado que hagas y como si
fuera el primero o el último” dijo él. “Estoy
aquí por la gracia de Dios”.
Un diácono permanente es un ministro
ordenado en la Iglesia Católica. Diáconos
permanenetes pueden proclamar el
Evangelio, dar homilías, bautizar, oficiar en
bodas y servicios funerales y mucho más.
Hombres casados pueder ser ordenados
diáconos permanenetes en los Estados
Unidos, el 90 por ciento son casados, de
acuerdo a las estadísticas de la Conferencia
de Obispos Católicos de EE.UU.
El Diácono Salinas, quien ha servido en
la Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón en Escobares
Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
“Llegué a ser un diácono estrictamente por
accidente,” dijo el Diácono R.C. Salinas de la
parroquia Sagrado Corazón en Escobares.
durante los últimos 10 años, trabaja como
profesor en el Centro de Justicia Juvenil
del Condado. Es su segunda carrera del
Diácono Salinas, quien se retiró en 1995 tras
45 años en la docencia en escuelas públicas,
incluyendo puestos como administrador
de programas federales, director de escuela
secundaria y profesor de historia de
El Diácono Salinas enseña a estudiantes
entre 10 a 16 años de edad. La mayoría de
los jóvenes están tras las rejas por el uso de
drogas o violencia doméstica.
“Es un desgarro al día, en ocasiones dos”
dijo él. “Mi trabajo en el centro de detención
va en conjunto con lo que yo hago como
diácono. El trabajo incluye eventos que
forman y transforman vidas”.
» Por favor lea Diácono p.13
- The Valley Catholic
»La Alegría de Vivir
¿A dónde vamos a llegar?
Msgr. Juan
os Estados Unidos deben de
tomar la decisión de pasar
la reforma comprensiva de
inmigración, ya por fin liberen
una propuesta bipartidista de
reforma al sistema de inmigración
para que pueda ser votada, solo
eso podrá dar solución a los miles
de casos que ya tienen años en espera dentro del sistema y además
puedan resolver la crisis que están
enfrentando ICE, las autoridades
de inmigración y en forzamiento
de fronteras, con los millares de
jovencitos y niños que se están
presentando solos desde hace unos
meses aquí en la frontera.
En las noticias vemos reportado desde el 22 de mayo de este año
como el comisionado de agricultura de Texas, Todd Staples junto a
un grupo bipartidista de oficiales
que ostentan cargos similares en
los estados de Alabama, Delaware,
Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, Carolina del sur y Wyoming,
recorrieron junto a la patulla
fronteriza los terrenos y el borde
del rio por donde cruzan los inmigrantes indocumentados, para que
ellos puedan entender lo difícil
que es, para las agencias encargadas de proteger la frontera, llevar a
cabo su trabajo. Después vinieron
otros senadores y representantes
de Washington y constataron lo
sobre rebasadas e inadecuadas que
son las instalaciones locales donde
se procesan a los inmigrantes
indocumentados aprendidos.
Dichas visitas arrojaron luz
sobre otro gran problema, el gran
número de menores sin la compañía de un adulto que se entregaban
a las autoridades una vez que
habían cruzado la frontera, a estos
menores no se les puede detener
indefinidamente como a algunos
adultos, sino que hay que traspasarlos, en menos de 72 hrs según la
ley, al cuidado del departamento
de salud y servicios humanos (Department of Health and Human
Services), que a su vez los refiere a
una de sus subdivisiones, el departamento de niños y familias; y si
esto es un poco largo y confuso de
leer, tratemos de imaginar lo difícil
que es tratar de procesar miles de
casos, cada uno involucrando a un
ser humano, adecuadamente.
Nos enteramos por la prensa
que esos menores eran transportados a instalaciones en bases militares que se acondicionarían como
refugios, que algunos menores que
se detenían acompañados de sus
madres, o un familiar, eran transportados hasta Nogales en Arizona
Pastor, Parroquia
de Nuestra Señora
del Perpetuo
Socorro en McAllen
para ser procesados porque simplemente no podían atender tantos
casos como se están presentando
aquí en el sur de Texas.
Desafortunadamente ya hay
casos reportados de abusos contra
algunos de esos menores, allegadamente cometidos por las mismas
autoridades o por otros menores
dentro del mismo grupo donde
están hacinados. Antes de dar
una opinión a la ligera, debemos
entender que muchas de estas personas ya no entran en la categoría
de inmigrantes sino de refugiados, pues buscan un refugio a las
condiciones de inseguridad que
viven en los países centroamericanos.
Una de las consecuencias
de haber deportado a miles de
inmigrantes indocumentados que
tenían antecedentes delictivos,
pertenecientes por muchos años
a las maras, gangas, o pandillas
en Los Ángeles, Chicago, Miami,
Nueva York, etc. y que fueron
deportados al Salvador, Honduras,
Nicaragua y Guatemala donde
supuestamente serian encarcelados, es que al no ser adecuado el
sistema carcelario en esos países,
donde impera la corrupción y
aun desde las cárceles se planean
secuestros y extorciones, ahora las
madres de familia temen que sus
hijos se vean arrastrados a esas
mismas pandillas, o que los maten
si se niegan, así que no encuentran
más salida que huir con ellos, en
el mejor de los casos, o ellos viajan
solos miles de millas a lo largo de
varios países, exponiéndose a innumerables peligros, para llegar a
nuestra frontera.
Los Estados Unidos necesitan
pasar una reforma comprensiva
de inmigración que reconozca la
realidad y que tenga como prioridad el defender la unidad familiar,
que facilite la integración de los
inmigrantes en la comunidad, que
brinde una oportunidad de regularización para quienes trabajan
sin papeles y reforme las políticas
de detención y deportación de
quienes no tienen ningún record
criminal. Debemos dejarles saber
a los políticos en Washington que
si no es ahora, ¡¿A dónde vamos a
Cada año, mas de 200,000 personas de 44
paises y en 12 idiomas, toman un Taller de
Oración y Vida.
El próximo taller comienza en Agosto.
Informes al (956) 800-3088,
(956) 328-6300, (956) 227-8947
y (956) 466-7845
Catholic News Service
Migrantes centroamericanos en el centro de inmigrantes en la parroquia del Sagrado Corazón en McAllen.
Menores en la frontera deben ser
considerados refugiados, dicen expertos
Catholic News Service
jefe de la agencia estadounidense
encargado del bienestar de los
más de 50,000 niños centroamericanos que han sido capturados en
la frontera con México hasta el
cardenal hondureño que dirige la
agencia católica internacional de
socorro, Caritas, el mensaje fue
claro: esos menores de edad son
refugiados tanto como las personas que huyen de la agitación en
Siria o Sudán del Sur.
“¿Cómo son estos niños diferentes a los refugiados de Sudán”
u otros países destazados por
la guerra?, preguntó Eskinder
Negash, director de la Oficina de
Reasentamiento de Refugiados,
conocida como la ORR, en el Departamento de Salud y Servicios
Humanos. “Sin importar si tienen
familia aquí o no, ellos son refugiados”, él dijo el 8 de julio.
En virtud de su puesto, Negash
personalmente es legalmente
responsable por el bienestar de
unos 50,000 menores que están
bajo custodia de la ORR mientras
se buscan arreglos para que ellos
sean ser colocados con parientes o
en hogares sustitutos mientras se
procura la deportación.
Amplias discusiones sobre
continua de la pág. 12
El Diácono Salinas, de 75 años
de edad, fue criado en un hogar
con devoción católica. El asistió
a la Escuela de la Inmaculada
Concepción en Rio Grande
City desde el kindergarten hasta
el octavo grado, y una escuela
Corpus Christi en donde cursó la
El Diácono Salinas sintió el
llamado al servicio deC r i s t o
durante toda su vida. Cuando
él estaba jóven, fue un servidor
del altar y después un lector, un
Ministro Extraordinario de la
Santa Comunión y muchos otros
A pesar de eso, él no tuvo
un llamado específico a un
diaconado permanente – porque
no había diáconos permanentes
en nuestra diócesis.
Su clase fue ordenada en
1980, fue la primera en la historia
de la Diócesis de Brownsville.
Catholic News Service
Dos chicas jóvenes miran un partido de futbol de la Copa Mundial en una televisión
en un zona de espera donde cientos en la mayoría niños centroamericanos inmigrantes son procesados detenidos en las Aduanas de EE. UU. y Centro Protección
Fronteriza de Nogales en Arizona.
asuntos de migración en todo el
mundo inevitablemente llevaron
a la reciente oleada de niños de
Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador que están cruzando la frontera
De un promedio de 6,000 a
7,000 de tales menores anualmente tan recientemente como
hace unos cuantos años, ya para
mediados de junio el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional
había capturado a más de 52,000
de estos niños durante este año fis-
cal. Eso ha creado una crisis para
la patrulla fronteriza, la primera
que se encuentra con ellos, y para
la ORR, que tiene que encontrar
lugares para cuidarlos de manera
Los menores no acompañados
y otros refugiados de quienes su
oficina es responsable vienen con
historias horribles, él dijo.
“Hay violación sexual, contrabando humano, mucho abuso y
muchos de ellos están enfermos”,
dijo Negash.
“Llegué a ser un diácono
estrictamente por accidente”
dijo el Diácono Salinas, un
graduado de la Universidad
de Texas A&M. Mi pastor me
preguntó si consideraba entrar al
programa y yo le dije ‘No lo creo’.
Su respuesta fue, “Bueno, yo ya
envié tu nombre”.
El programa, recuerda, era
riguroso y requería viajes a San
Juan dos veces a la semana – en
ocasiones solo, algunas veces
con su esposa. Las esposas de los
diáconos aspirantes y candidatos
juegan un papel muy importante
en el proceso de formación.
“La esposa del diácono no
solo tiene que ofrecer apoyo sino
su incondicional apoyo” dijo
Sylvia Salinas, su esposa por 41
años, quien también forma parte
de multiples ministerios. “Si no
estas preparado para aceptar lo
que requiere un ministerio, vas
a tener problemas, y muchos de
“Como esposa de un diácono,
estamos llamadas a ser solidarias,
pacientes, entender y apoyar la
vocación del esposo”.
El Diácono Salinas y su
esposa tienen dos hijos, una hija,
Dora Sylvia y un hijo, Juan Carlos
y dos nietas.
Una amante de la historia, el
Diácono Salinas extremadamente
conocedor del Condado Starr
y muchos otros temas. Con los
años, ha sido asignado a la Iglesia
de la Sagrada Familia en la Grulla
y la Iglesia San Isidro en San
Muchos sacerdotes han ido
y se han ido del Condado Starr
durante más de 30 años, pero
el Diácono Salinas ha sido un
elemento permanente en el área
y es un recurso invaluable, dijo
el Padre Artemio Jacob Jimenez,
vicario parroquial de la Iglesia del
Sagrado Corazón en Escobares.
“La comunidad lo conoce
muy bien” dijo el Padre Jimenez.
“La gente lo busca por una
variedad de razones, para ayudar
con información histórica y
cultura y como guía espiritual.
Nuestro diácono es un gran
tesoro. Estamos bendecidos”.
Texas Bishops,
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
continued from pg. 1
borders and to intercept unauthorized migrants by targeted, proportional, and humane measures.
“We appeal to you and other
Lay Ministry,
continued from pg. 5
should not carry out the work of
the Church alone.”
He added, “The Second
Vatican Council Fathers call “The
Apostolate of the laity a sharing in
the salvific mission of the Church
and through their Baptism and
Salvation Army,
continued from pg. 6
happened, my youngest was a yearand-a-half. I finally snapped out of
it, truly realizing that my daughters
needed me. I promised the Lord
then and there that if he guided me
in raising my daughters in a Christian home, I would always serve
One of his daughters is a teacher and the other is in pharmacy
policymakers on both the state and
federal levels to eschew the bitterness of contemporary political rhetoric and instead uphold the best of
American principles and serve the
needs of the most despairing and
vulnerable in our midst,” the Bishops’ letter stated.
Confirmation all are appointed by
the Lord himself ” (Lumen Gentium, 33) therefore, all Catholics
have a certain responsibility and
are called to a greater participation
in the life of the Church. “The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an everclearer discovery of one’s vocation
and the ever-greater willingness to
live so as to fulfill one’s mission.”
(Christifideles Laici, 58).
school. He also has a granddaughter now, who he misses most of all
while he is away volunteering.
“I am told my granddaughter
was praying for me,” Zapata said.
“She said, ‘God bless my abuelo because he’s away serving the people
and God bless the people’s food.’”
There is no timeline for when
this humanitarian crisis will end,
but like Catholic Charities, Burn
said the Salvation Army is committed to the McAllen center for as
long as there is a need.
Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary
Courtesy photo
More than 1,000 Catholics from parishes and groups throughout the Diocese of Brownsville are undertaking or renewing
the 33 Day Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary according to the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. The
journey began July 20 and will end Aug. 22, on the feast of the Queenship of Mary with a Mass of Total Consecration at the
Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan de Valle-National Shrine. Organized by the apostolate Real Men Pray the Rosary, the faithful
of the Rio Grande Valley are praying in solidarity with a global community that includes San Antonio; Lagos, Nigeria; Long
Beach, Calif.; Cebu City, Philippines and Bangalore, India. The Mass, which will be celebrated by Montfort priest Father Hugh
Gillespie of New York, will be available via live video stream at the website and Shalom World
( For further information, please call David or Valerie Calvillo at 855-422-9995.
- The Valley Catholic
»Media Resource Center
» Calendar of Events
Coordinator of the Media Resource Center - Diocese of Brownsville
»Worth Watching
7 Advisory Team
(Office of Catechesis)
»From the Bookshelf
9-10 Retiro-Pre Matrimonial
(Family Life Office)
12 Orientation for New
Catechetical Leaders
(Office of Catechesis)
11-15 Back to School for
Catholic Schools
(Catholic Schools Office)
Length:42 minutes
Audience: Families
Publisher: Holy Cross Family
Ministries, 2014
Format: paperback
Year of production: Kidhouse
Entertainment 2006
Length: 32 pages
Audience: Children
Author: Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM
Publisher: 1st Edition 2006
The facts:La Antigua oracion del
Rosario a través de una experiencia
con material modern. La Mysteria
Luminosa lo lleva en un viaje de un paz
inigualable con Cristo a través de los
Misterios Luminosos. Usted se sentira
parte de cada misterio al reflexionar y
orar. Muy Bueno para el uso personal
y aun mas poderoso para familias y
grupos. Familias – Family and group
The facts: #2 in a series of 9. A
Lesson in Responsibility. The
Adventures of Carlos Caterpillar tells
the growing up of story of Carlos, an
ever-curious little caterpillar who often
finds himself in one predicament or
another. Helped by his Uncle Pedro,
a butterfly with a lifetime of experience
behind him, Carlos learns many lessons
that will help him through his own
journey of life.
Length:25 minutes
Audience: Children
Mejor camino,
continúa de pág. 2
llegan al nivel de la lealtad que le
debemos a Cristo nuestro Rey y
Salvador. Estas lealtades menores
sirven solamente en cuanto promueven la misión de trasformar
la creación según la gracia teñida
con la gloria que el Señor— por
su muerte y resurrección— vino
para traernos.
Que los Católicos les digan a
los amigos que tienen entre los
poderosos de ambos partidos que
los espacios políticos que abarcan
son demasiado limitados, y que
las opciones que nos ofrecen
son sumamente crueles. Que los
Católicos dentro del partido de
los demócratas les hagan saber a
sus poderosos que la carpa donde
se reúnen debe de contener
espacio para los que defienden
la criatura no-nacida, y que el
arco protegiendo los vulnerables
no debe de excluirlas a ellas del
número de los protegidos. Y que
los Católicos dentro del partido
republicano les hagan saber a sus
poderosos que la carpa dentro de
la cual se reúnen debe de tener
espacio para los que defienden al
inmigrante, y que el arco defendi-
endo a los vulnerables no debe de
excluirlos a ellos del número de
los defendidos.
Quizás como el Quijote nos
dirigimos a molinos de viento,
pensando que los partidos nos
escucharán y que crearán un
espacio político más amplio,
pero es el Señor el que nos pide
poner nuestro mayor esfuerzo
para abrir un mejor camino, un
camino que defiende primero
la dignidad humana, y después
procede a discernir los caminos
prácticos y difíciles que la dignidad implica. Pero si no tratamos
de desafiar los arcos de exclusión
que ambos partidos luchan para
mantener, nos encontramos
como cómplices en aquella
actitud que dice que al fin y al
cabo la política es un juego, y sólo
podemos unir nuestras voces a
un canto predeterminado. Quizá
tratar de cambiar la condición
lamentable de la política en este
país sea una lucha de mucho
tiempo, pero no nos dejemos
por vencidos. Luchemos la lucha
noble con fe en el Señor cuyo
gracia nos sostendrá mientras
nos dediquemos a proteger y
defender a los más mínimos de
los suyos.
Bishop Emeritus Raymundo J. Peña’s Calendar
August 2 10:30 a.m.IWBS Jubilees Celebration at St. Mary’s Brownsville
August 2 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Paul’s
August 3 11 a.m.
Mass at Sacred Heart
August 6 6 p.m.
Ministry at Evins Regional Youth Center Edinburg
August 9 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Paul’s
August 10 11 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart
August 11-16
August 17 11 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart
August 24 11 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart
August 31 11 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart
On going:
8 a.m. Mass Monday - Saturday at St.
Joseph 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
3 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of
Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St.,
3rd : Vocation to Married Life: for
the welfare and sanctification of all
the families in the diocese and for
building up the Kingdom in our
domestic churches
7 p.m. Holy Hour Weekly every
Thursday at 727 Bowie St., Alamo
1st: Vocations to the Consecrated
Life (active and contemplative) and
for the Sisters and Brothers in our
diocese and the success of their
4th: Vocations to the priesthood
and the priests of the diocese for the
success of their ministry
5th: Vocations to the Pro-Life
The facts: St. Juan Diego, St. Peter
Claver, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Kateri
Tekakwitha, Bl. Junipero Serra, St.
Frances Xavier Cabrini and many
Let us work,
continued from pg. 2
row and the choices too cruel. Let
Catholics in the Democratic Party
make it known that in their tent
there must be room to defend the
unborn child, and that the arc protecting the vulnerable cannot cut
them off from those we must work
to protect. And let Catholics in the
Republican Party make it known
that in their tent there must be
room to defend the immigrant,
and that the arc defending the vulnerable cannot cut them off from
those we must work to defend.
Maybe we tilt at windmills
thinking the parties will hear and
make space for a wider discourse,
continued from pg. 1
can best direct resources to the
Among them, investing in
community-based programs focused on security, job creation and
violence prevention; including trying to better understand the local
conditions causing people to flee.
In a July 17 letter to members of
Congress, Seattle Auxiliary Bishop
Eusebio L. Elizondo, who heads
the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, said the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops strongly support
supplemental funding requested
by President Barack Obama to take
care of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors and 36,000
families that have come into the
country since October.
He said they also oppose
changes to current laws “that would
roll back protections for these children that were enacted as part of
the Homeland Security Act of 2002
and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.”
Bishop Elizondo said that “this
vulnerable group is fleeing violence
from organized criminal networks.
Many are likely to be eligible for a
variety of forms of immigration
relief, including asylum and various visas. Sending these vulnerable
children back to their persecutors
without a meaningful immigration
hearing would severely decrease
their opportunity for legal protection and possibly lead to their bodily harm or even death. We would
oppose the repeal of key provisions
of these laws in the supplemental
appropriations bill or any other
legislative vehicle.”
Format: Paperback Length: 79 pages
Audience: Adults (moms)
Author: Christine Gibson
Publisher: Liguori Publications 1st
The facts: “I’m overwhelmed. No one
knows what I am going through. How
can I grow spiritually when daily life is
hectic and family life is demanding?”
Topics: When you are exhausted by
mundane tasks…St. Veronica, When
you feel inadequate…St. Margaret of
Castello, When you feel life is not going
as you planned it… St. Rose Phillippine
Duchesne and more…
15 Assumption of Mary
(Diocesan Offices Closed)
19 In-Service
(Office of Catechesis)
29 Service Award Deadline
(Office of Catechesis)
23 Sponsor Couple Training
(Family Life Office)
1 Labor Day
Diocesan Offices Closed
5 Convocation Registration
Deadline (Catechesis)
but we owe it to the Lord to put
all of our energy into calling for a
better way, a way that puts human
dignity first, and then proceeds to
tackle the tough practicalities such
a dignity implies. But if we do not
challenge the arcs of exclusion
both parties currently employ, we
become complicit in the attitude
that says in the end politics is just
a game, and we may only join our
voices to a predetermined song.
It may take time to change this
lamentable state of affairs, but
let us not despair; let us fight the
good fight with faith in the Lord
whose grace will sustain us so long
as we do not neglect to defend and
protect all of his little ones.
5-7 Catholic Engaged Encounter
(Family Life Office)
Bishop Elizondo also asked for
funding to address the reasons why
people flee their homelands and to
support a program for orderly departure in the region.
“Such programs have worked
successfully in Iraq, Vietnam, the
former Soviet Union and other locations around the globe,” he said.
“The United States and countries in
the region could accept a number
of children and youth each year,
consistent with the ‘best interest
of the child’ standard. Such a program would ensure that children
are protected and our international
obligations are met while sparing
children the dangers of a migration
And at Marygrove College in
Detroit, President David J. Fike
called the situation a humanitarian
refugee crisis that warrants a different kind of response than has been
“This shouldn’t be a debate,” he
said July 17. “The fleeing of vulnerable women, children, and young
adults we are witnessing has all of
the classic markings of what the
world has seen in war-torn regions
over and over again, war-torn regions in which unprotected, threatened civilians will take extreme
measures to reach a safe haven.
“The only difference in this instance,” he said, “is that the threat
to vulnerable civilians is not from
standing armiesengaged in traditional combat or even organized
guerrilla warfare. In this instance,
the threat is from brutally violent
gangs, extortionists, and narcotraffickers operating with impunity in widespread areas of extreme
Fike said at a news conference
at the Catholic college that the
situation calls for a charitable and
humanitarian response, yet political leaders and news media debate
whether to do that.
“Our elected leaders are alltoo-frequently characterizing this
situation as being the result of our
broken immigration system, or as
being the result of our lack of comprehensive immigration reform, or
as being the result of some sort of
mass psychosis afflicting mothers
in specific parts of this hemisphere
who are spontaneously deciding to
send their children on extraordinarily life-threatening journeys to
far off lands,” he said. “That doesn’t
make any sense.”
Fike said he is frustrated by the
lack of moral leadership and called
on Obama to recognize the migrants as refugees.
13 Convalidation Conference
(Family Life Office)
14 Catechetical Sunday
18 Advisory Team (Bags)
20-21 For Better Forever
(Family Life Office)
27 Catechetical Convocation
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
argue that the biomedical sciences
have not yet lost their ethical footing, concluding instead that a few
renegade and influential scientists have managed to hold sway
over a silent majority of other
researchers who actually harbor
substantive ethical objections to
human embryo research. In that
case, we can hope that papers like
the one published last week may
trigger the research community to
begin drawing some long overdue
ethical lines, and to reign in some
of their own rogue investigators.
We can hope for a new measure of
courage in taking the important
step of joining science to ethics,
and working to protect the youngest and most voiceless members of
the human family from research
The Valley Catholic - AUGUST 2014
Our Catholic Family
Keeping center clean a labor of love
Volunteer helps
where needed
behind the scenes
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — When the welcoming center for immigrants
opened at the parish hall of Sacred
Heart Church in McAllen, Mayra
Garza and members of her Rosary
group decided to volunteer.
“I came here without knowing
what to expect,” said Garza, 40, a
parishioner at Holy Spirit Church
in McAllen. “I thought I would be
here just a couple of hours. I ended up staying here until the doors
closed late at night.”
The center, which opened on
June 9, is basically a rest stop for
immigrant families – mothers or
fathers and their children. The immigrants, mostly from Guatemala,
Honduras and El Salvador, visit the
center as they wait to catch buses
heading north. The immigrants
have been processed, released and
dropped off at the McAllen bus
station by U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement. The center, which is operated by Catholic
Charities, is located three blocks
The Valley Catholic
Mayra Garza of McAllen is inspired by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who once said,
“There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do
then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough.”
from the bus station.
From that first day at the center, Garza became a dedicated
volunteer. She started out serving
as a sponsor for the immigrant
families. She would accompany
them while they were at the center, which offers meals, clothing,
showers, medical attention, sup-
plies and snacks for the road, overnight accommodations and more.
“You get attached to the families,” said Garza, a mother of three
children. “You talk to them, you
laugh with them, cry with them,
offer them encouragement. You
do everything you can for them.”
The stories she heard from
some of the families, however,
were “heartbreaking.” Most of
them are escaping violence and
extreme poverty in their home
countries, not to mention the often perilous journey to the United
“I wonder how they can endure so much pain and still be so
kind and gracious,” Garza said. “I
wonder how some of them keep
Before the center began offering overnight stays, Garza hosted
a mother and her 12-year-old son
who were heading to Los Angeles
at her home.
“The boy especially did not
want to leave,” Garza said. “When
I dropped them off at the bus station, we were all crying. The families take a piece of our hearts with
them and leave a piece of their
hearts with us. We will never stop
praying for them or stop wondering how they are doing.”
Ministering to the families directly day in and day out took an
emotional toll on Garza. She decided to focus most of her energy
on cleaning the center and today,
she is in charge of maintenance.
She not only cleans the center but
coordinates other volunteers to
“I can’t do much for the fami-
lies but at least I can make sure
they have a clean bathroom and
shower,” Garza said, with tears in
her eyes.
Sister Leticia Benavides of the
Missionaries of Jesus and Catholic
Charities of the Rio Grande Valley said Garza’s contributions have
been vital to the operation of the
“Very few people are willing to volunteer and do this kind
of work,” Sister Benavides said.
“Most volunteers only want to
help the families directly but in
order to help the families, we need
to have a facility that is operating
well, that is clean and smells good.
If it weren’t for Mayra and her
team, it would be a disaster. She
has been a blessing.”
A few weeks ago, Garza took a
couple of days away from the center and went to Mexico for some
rest and relaxation.
“I was physically in Mexico
but my heart was at the center,”
she said. “It’s not much what I do,
but it is one nice thing I can do for
“When they come into the center, they look sad, scared, stressed,
worried. When they leave, they
are different. You can tell they have
a more positive outlook and that is
the best gift they can give us.”
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1400 East Hwy 83
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