View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville



View - Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Volume 7, Issue 11
Serving More Than A Million Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville
MARCH 2016
The only way to enter into the
Easter mystery, Pope Francis
said, is with humility, “to come
down from the pedestal of
our ‘I’ that is so proud, of our
presumption; the humility not
to take ourselves so seriously,
recognizing who we really are:
creatures with strengths and
weaknesses, sinners in need of
Let Jesus
call your
Celebrate power
of the empty
tomb this Easter
Catholic News Service
It’s a Resurrection scene we’ve
visited over and over, and yet
it still grips us and sometimes
brings us to tears.
The story of the encounter of
Mary of Magdala with the risen
Christ in the garden on Easter
morning, as recorded in the
Gospel of John, is evocative and
powerful. Why is it so personally
Simple and terse words capture our attention: “Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the
morning, while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from
the tomb” (Jn 20:1).
In John’s Gospel, Joseph of
Arimathaea had already seen to
the ritual anointing of Jesus according to Jewish burial custom.
Mary came alone to the burial site
that morning simply to be present, to bear witness as she had
borne witness at the Crucifixion.
She was a long way from
home. The village of Magdala was
near Tiberias on the west side
of the Sea of Galilee. According
to Scripture, Mary, along with
several women of means, followed the disciples and Jesus, and
helped provide for them as they
traveled from village to village.
Mary was perhaps unfamiliar with the big city of Jerusalem.
What was it like to be a woman
walking alone in the darkness of
an urban morning, from wherever she had spent a gloomy, empty
Saturday and a sleepless night, to
visit the tomb of her friend?
» Please see Resurrection p.15
Photos and
moments from
Pope Francis’
apostolic visit to
L’Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis’ prayer before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe after Mass on Feb. 13 serves
as a reflection on the Year of Mercy and on the significance of the Pope’s pilgrimage to Mexico.
Pages 8-9
Bishop Flores
represented U.S.
bishops on journey
The shepherd of the Diocese of
Brownsville, Bishop Daniel E. Flores,
said he brings this message of
encouragement to the people of the
Rio Grande Valley, the same message
the pope was taking all across Mexico.
The Valley Catholic
message of hope resonated
throughout his five-day
apostolic visit to Mexico
Feb. 12-17, and it is a message
Bishop Daniel E. Flores brings
back to the Rio Grande Valley.
Bishop Flores, who accompanied the Holy Father on his journey, said the pope left a “huge impact for the people of Mexico” by
his encouragement that no matter what problems they face “it’s
The Valley Catholic
Bishop Daniel E. Flores and other bishops joined Pope Francis for Mass at the Basilica of
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Feb. 13.
possible for people of great faith
and great hope to overcome these
Bishop Flores and Bishop Os-
car Cantu of the Diocese of Las
Cruces, New Mexico represented
the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops during the pope’s visit to
During his visit, Pope Francis addressed the themes of the
indigenous and the poor in Chiapas, the violence in Michoacán
and migration issues along the
“Maintaining hope and not
giving up was a big part of the
message,” throughout the whole
visit, Bishop Flores said.
» Please see Pope Francis p.3
Artículos sobre el viaje del
papa a México, el Año de
la Misericordia y fotos de la
marcha pro-vida.
(“The WORD is sent
breathing love.”)
Feeding the hungry
Sister Rose Marie Quilter, RSCJ
Page 3
Page 7
Bishop Flores joined the Holy
Father on his journey
Page 8-9
Páginas 11-13
The Valley Catholic -
de Dios
Ante todo, la «Virgen Morenita» nos enseña que la única fuerza
capaz de conquistar el corazón
de los hombres es la ternura de
Dios. Aquello que encanta y atrae,
aquello que doblega y vence,
aquello que abre y desencadena
no es la fuerza de los instrumentos
o la dureza de la ley, sino la debilidad omnipotente del amor divino,
que es la fuerza irresistible de su
dulzura y la promesa irreversible
de su misericordia.
Estas palabras, pronunciadas
por el Papa Francisco al inicio
de su peregrinación pastoral en
México, sirven para encuadrar y
entender mejor el mensaje evangélico que el Santo Padre deseaba
La gracia que me concedió
el Señor de poder participar en
el recorrido del Papa ha dejado
huellas en mi alma que van más
allá de las palabras. Sin embargo,
con la ayuda de esa misma gracia
del Señor, trataré de compartir
un poco de lo que he recibido, ya
que es parte esencial de la vida
cristiana saber que una gracia
dada a uno es para beneficio de
El Papa celebró Misa en la
Basílica de Guadalupe y nos hizo
recordar que la visita de la Virgen
en Tepeyac “en aquel amanecer
de diciembre de 1531”, despertó
la esperanza de Juan Diego,
y por medio de él, la de todo
un pueblo. La gracia viene del
cielo, tiene rostro humilde, y da
esperanza. Podríamos decir que
la gracia de Dios es reconocida
en este mundo precisamente por
esta dinámica de llegar con rostro
humilde y dar esperanza.
La Virgen apareció en
vestidura de los indígenas; se
comunicó en su idioma. Aparece
como madre esperando dar luz
al que es la Luz del mundo. Se
identificó con el pueblo sufriente,
manifestando de tal manera la
MARCH 2016
The tenderness of God conquers
“Above all, «la Virgen Morenita» teaches
us that the only power capable of conquering
the hearts of men and women is the tenderness of God. That which delights and attracts,
that which humbles and overcomes, that
which opens and unleashes, is not the power
of instruments or the harshness of the law,
but rather the omnipotent weakness of divine
love, which is the irresistible force of its gentleness and the irrevocable pledge of its mercy.”
These words, spoken by Pope Francis
at the start of his pastoral pilgrimage in
Mexico, help to frame and better understand the evangelical message that the Holy
Father wanted to share.
The grace that the Lord granted me to be
able to participate in the Pope’s journey has
left an impression on my soul far beyond
words. Nevertheless, with the help of that
same grace from the Lord, I will try to share
a little of what I have received since it is an
essential part of the Christian life to understand that a grace given to one is for the
benefit of all.
The Pope celebrated Mass at the Basílica
de Guadalupe and reminded us that the
visit of the Virgin in Tepeyac “on that early
morning in December 1531,” awakened
Juan Diego’s hope, and through him, the
hope of an entire people. Grace comes from
heaven, it has a face of humility and it gives
hope. We could say that the grace of God is
recognized in this world precisely because
of this dynamic of coming with a face of
humility, and of giving hope.
The Virgin appeared in the native
dress of the indigenous people; she communicated in their language. She appears
as a mother waiting to give birth to the one
inmensa dignidad de aquellos
que se consideraban de poco
valor. Se manifestó no con armas
y palabras grandiosas, sino como
quien quiere consolar y luego
La Virgen pidió a Juan
Diego ser un mensajero de la
ternura que conquista el corazón
humano. Aunque Juan lamentó
su falta de capacidad para tal
misión, Ella, con su mirada lo animó a tomar sobre sus hombros
cansados el destino de un mundo
nuevo. ¿Con qué fuerza pudo la
Virgen convencer al pequeño de
aceptar la misión? Sólo con la
promesa que no sería abandonado en la tarea: “¿Acaso no estoy
yo aquí, yo que tengo el honor
de ser tu Madre?” La gracia de
saberse uno acompañado por
who is the Light of the world. She identified
herself with the suffering people, demonstrating in such a way the immense dignity
of those who were considered to be of little
value. She showed herself not with weapons
and great words, but as wanting to comfort
and then encourage.
The Virgen asked Juan Diego to be a
messenger of that tenderness that conquers
the human heart. Even though Juan lamented his lack of capacity to fulfill such a mission, she, with her gaze encouraged him to
take on his tired shoulders the destiny of a
new world. With what strength was the Virgin able to convince this little one to accept
this mission? Only with the promise that he
would not be abandoned in the task: “Yet
am I not here with you, who have the honor
to be your mother?” The grace of knowing
one is accompanied by a tireless love overcomes any doubt and every obstacle.
The proclamation of the Gospel always
follows this pattern of an unexpected visit,
of an identification with the downtrodden,
and of a mission to the fringes of society.
Every community the Holy Father
visited prepared the altar where Mass was to
be celebrated, and in each place the image of
the crucified Christ dominated right above
un amor infatigable supera toda
duda y cada obstáculo.
El anuncio del Evangelio
siempre sigue este perfil de visita
inesperada, de identificación con
los descartados, y de misión en
las periferias.
Cada comunidad visitada por
el Santo Padre preparó el altar
donde se celebraba la Misa, y en
cada lugar dominaba siempre la
imagen del Crucificado sobre la
silla presidencial del Papa, y una
imagen de la Virgen a un lado.
La Virgen y el Cristo crucificado:
estas son las dos imágenes que
contienen todo el Evangelio.
Nos hablan de una ternura y
una esperanza que baja del cielo
para levantar el espíritu de los
decaídos y capacitarlos para una
misión de esperanza
the papal chair, with an image of the Virgin
to one side. The Virgin and the crucified
Christ: these are the two images that contain
the entire Gospel. They speak to us of a tenderness and a hope that comes down from
heaven to raise the sprits of the downhearted and prepare them for a mission of hope.
A face of humility, a giver of hope: The
Virgin prepares the way of Christ. God has
a face of humility because Mary agreed to
give to him the best of what is ours. Majesty
became little in the womb of the Virgin.
This truth of faith gives us hope. Through
this mystery of humble love, God speaks to
us today. The Lord appeals to us from the
Cross, with humility, without any power
except that of his humble visage.
God can conquer us, that is to say, save
and transform us, because he became our
brother. He took our condition of weakness
to encourage us with his closeness. From
the Cross he asks us: “Yet am I not here
with you, who have the honor of being your
With his gaze he encourages us to
take on our tired shoulders the destiny of
a new world. With what strength can the
Lord convince us to accept the mission?
Only with the promise that we will not be
abandoned in the task: “Yet am I not here
with you, who have the honor to be your
In this way we know that love can conquer. Let us then love the God who accepted
to become our brother. Let us love him in
the Cross, let us love him in each suffering person. Love conquers. Let us then be
conquered. And may we be missionaries of
a world renewed by merciful love of God.
Rostro humilde, dador de
esperanza: La Virgen prepara
el camino de Cristo. Dios tiene
rostro de humilde porque María
aceptó darle lo mejor de lo
nuestro. La Majestad se hizo
pequeño en el seno de la Virgen.
Esta verdad de la fe nos da esperanza. Por medio de este misterio
de amor humilde, Dios nos
habla hoy en día. El Señor apela
desde la Cruz, con humildad, sin
ningún poder mas que el de su
rostro humilde.
Dios nos puede conquistar,
es decir, salvar y transformar,
porque se hizo nuestro hermano.
Tomó nuestra condición de
debilidad para animarnos con su
cercanía. Desde la Cruz nos pregunta: “Acaso no estoy yo aquí,
yo que tengo el honor de ser tu
Con su mirada nos anima a
tomar sobre nuestros hombros
cansados el destino de un mundo
nuevo. ¿Con qué fuerza puede el
Señor convencernos de aceptar la
misión? Sólo con la promesa de
que no seríamos abandonados en
la tarea: “¿Acaso no estoy yo aquí,
yo que tengo el honor de ser tu
De esta manera sabemos que
el amor conquista. Amemos,
pues, al Dios que aceptó hacerse hermano. Amémoslo en la
Cruz, amémoslo en cada persona
sufriente. El amor conquista. Que
seamos, entonces, conquistados.
Y que seamos misioneros de un
mundo renovado por el amor
misericordioso de Dios.
Holy Week is about humility — there is no other way, pope says
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
Imitating the humility of Jesus is what makes Holy Week
“holy,” and encouraged attendees
to mimic his attitude of humiliation as the week unfolds, Pope
Francis said in his Palm Sunday
homily in 2015.
Humility, he said, is “a way
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd., San Juan, TX 78589-3042
Telephone: 956/781-5323 • Fax: 956/784-5082
Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Brenda Nettles Riojas
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which constantly amazes and
disturbs us: we will never get
used to a humble God!”
As the Church sets out on the
path of Holy Week that leads us
to Easter, “we will take this path
of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only
in this way will this week be holy
for us too!” Francis explained.
Despite the shame Jesus
faced, “this is God’s way, the way
of humility. It is the way of Jesus;
there is no other. And there can
be no humility without humiliation,” Francis said.
By taking on the “form of a
slave,” Jesus shows us that true
humility is expressed in service
to others, and consists of stripping and emptying oneself of
worldliness so as to make room
for God, he said.
“This is the greatest humiliation of all,” the Pope noted, and
warned against taking that path
of the world, which tempts us
with “vanity, pride, success,” just
like the devil did with Jesus during his 40 days in the desert.
However, Jesus “immediately rejected” this temptation,
he said, explaining that “with
him, we too can overcome this
temptation, not only at significant moments, but in daily life
as well.”
Bishop Flores’ Schedule - March 2016
Mar. 3
1:15 pm
San Juan
Mass for 5th Grade Vocation Day Basilica
Mar. 5
San Juan
Mass for Lenten Day of Reflection with Religious
Mar. 9
6:30 p.m.
Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Mar. 10
10 a.m.
San Juan
Talk - Diocesan Stewardship Conference
Mar. 12
11:30 a.m.
San Juan
Mass - Diocesan Stewardship Conference Basilica
Mar. 12
4 p.m.
Confirmations at San Cristobal Magallanes
Mar. 18
6 p.m.
Vigil Mass for Feast of St. Joseph at St. Joseph
Mar. 19
5 p.m.
Confirmations at San Martin de Porres
Mar. 20
10:30 a.m.
Mass Cathedral
Mar. 22
6:30 p.m.
Chrism Mass Basilica
Mar. 24
7 p.m.
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Cathedral
Mar. 25
Stations of the Cross at Basilica
Mar. 25
7 p.m.
Liturgical Service at Cathedral
Mar. 26
9 p.m.
Easter Vigil Mass at Cathedral
Mar. 27
11 a.m.
Easter Sunday Mass at Basilica
San Juan
San Juan
San Juan
MARCH 2016
- The Valley Catholic
“For I was hungry and you gave me food”
San Juan
parishioners serve
meals to needy
Editor’s note: Join us as we
witness mercy in action at
different parishes each month.
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — Whether they
are homeless; alone or part of a
large family; young or old; working or unemployed, all are welcome to a free hot meal, no questions asked, every Thursday from
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. John the
Baptist Parish in San Juan.
The Society of St. Vincent de
Paul serves 250-300 plates to the
hungry in the community every
week. Dozens of volunteers, who
begin arriving at the parish early
in the morning, offer their time
and talent to make the meal possible. Many of the volunteers are
Confirmation students and retirees. Winter Texans are among the
most active helpers.
Cindy Dabrowski, who splits
her time between Pharr and Muskegon, Mich., helps behind the
scenes washing dishes while the
meals are being served.
“There are so many volunteers, you just don’t see all of
them,” said Dabrowski, who has
been a Winter Texan since 2006.
“I can tell this community is in
tune with the poor and I’m not
even a member of this church.”
When asked why she volunteers, Dabrowski replied, “I’ve
been blessed, so I’m giving back.”
Oralia Alaniz, 76, who has
been a parishioner of St. John
the Baptist Church for 48 years,
volunteers week after week. After
retiring from the workforce, she
wanted to stay busy serving the
Pope Francis
continued from pg. 1
Bishop Flores said he brings
this message of encouragement
back to the people of the Rio
Grande Valley, the same message
the pope took all across Mexico,
to every sector of society, “It’s an
effort, but we can’t lose heart in
trying to build up a community
of solidarity where we help each
other, and especially to make the
effort and not to lose the courage
to do it, to offer our young people
real opportunities and a real sense
of hopefulness in terms of what
they can contribute for themselves and for their families.”
Bishop Flores said the message focused on the hope young
people offer a community applies
here in the Rio Grande Valley,
referring to the pope’s statement
that “where there are young people there is always hope for a community to renew itself.”
In Ciudad Juarez, the final
stop on the Holy Father’s visit to
Mexico, Bishop Flores recalled the
pope’s remarks after Communion.
“He said, ‘quise llorar, I wanted to
cry seeing people with so much
The corporal
works of mercy:
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbour the harbourless;
To visit the sick;
To ransom the captive;
To bury the dead.
“There is a lot of need in our
community and we see it firsthand every week,” said Alaniz, as
she helped serve plates of chicken
with asiago cheese, rice pilaf and
seasoned black beans and corn.
“I am so grateful for what I
have and God calls us to share our
blessings. I am happy to be able to
do this. As long as God gives me
strength, I will be here.”
Studies show hunger is an issue in our community.
One-in-2 children in the Rio
Grande Valley go to bed hungry,
according to statistics from the
Food Bank of the Rio Grande
Valley, which partners with the
Society of St. Vincent de Paul to
provide supplies at a reduced cost
for the weekly meal as well as groceries for the food pantry.
As a whole, 1-in-4 people in
the Valley are food insecure. This
means they are challenged with
either paying bills or skipping
meals and/or buying less expensive, less nutritional foods to eat.
“Está muy bien,” said Aracely
Hernandez of San Juan, who
comes to eat at the parish every
week with her mother and her
children. She also received a bag
of groceries, which on this occasion, included chicken thighs,
canned goods and bell peppers.
“Me ayuda bastante la verdad.”
The food program at St. John
the Baptist Parish began about 35
hope and yet so long suffering.’ I
think that’s the mystery of grace,
that’s what he was saying.”
He (the pope) said he was
deeply moved by that mystery of
grace, by how it continues to give
courage and strength despite the
long suffering. “There’s a lot of
ways the Valley can identify with
that, though not exactly in the
same way,” Bishop Flores said.
“Because every community is different, even throughout Mexico,
but there’s a way by which we recognize that despite the sufferings
and the obstacles and the difficulties there are many signs of hope,
and we have hope in our young
Tears was a subject mentioned
throughout the trip. Bishop Flores
recalled the Holy Father referring
to “the gift of tears,” and that “if
we could just begin to weep for
all the wounds, then perhaps our
hearts would be changed.”
“It was a call to everybody,”
said Bishop Flores, “obviously to
perpetrators of violence there was
a call, but also there was a call to
all people not to be indifferent to
what is going on around them.
There is the temptation to say that
does not affect me, and I don’t
The Valley Catholic
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. John the Baptist Parish in San Juan served 10,820
meals in 2015 during its weekly dinner on Thursday evenings. The program is successful
because of volunteers like Cindy Dabrowski, a Winter Texan from Muskegon, Mich., shown
washing dishes on Feb. 18.
years ago.
People were regularly coming
into the parish office asking for
food. The church secretary kept a
few staples in the office for these
occasions, but couldn’t keep up
with the demand.
“Some of us would donate
what little we could in the way of
food for the office, but it wasn’t
enough,” said Lucinda Mesquitic,
a longtime parishioner of St. John
the Baptist Church. “We knew we
had to do more to help our com-
Mesquitic and several other
parishioners, including Manuelita Villescas and Guadalupe
Garcia, started the Society of St.
Vincent de Paul organization at
St. John the Baptist Parish. They
began by collecting canned goods
and other staples from parishioners and creating food baskets.
Later, the ladies began doing
outreach in the colonias and discovered the need was greater than
they ever imagined.
want it to affect me so I can’t get
too involved; I can’t let it move
me, I can’t let it touch me.”
“And I think that resonated
across the river onto the other
side. That we cannot not let it
affect us, and that maybe if we
open our hearts up to see that, we
can do something about it. That
changes our perspective.”
Bishop Flores shared some
of his journey via Twitter posting photos and brief reflections
in English and Spanish. In one
post he said, “The Church in the
Americas, north and south, is living a great moment of blessing
with the Pope’s visit.”
Bishop Flores said one of the
most moving moments during
the papal visit came after the Mass
at the Basilica of Our Lady of
Guadalupe in Mexico City, when
the Holy Father went up to sit in
private and see the image. “I was
struck silent by that. It is something that will stay with me a long
“Because in the context of
the simple way he (the pope) described what he wanted to happen. He wanted to gaze at the eyes
of the Virgin and he wanted her to
gaze at him, I think representing
the whole prayer of the Church,
asking God, really on his part as
representing the whole Church,
begging God to the Virgin for the
grace we need to live up to this
“I think that is the image he
wants the whole world to appreciate, of the tenderness of God
that is expressed through the love
of the Virgin for her people,” said
Bishop Flores.
When speaking to the bishops, the Holy Father “talked about
the special need to attend to the
migrant who passes in our midst.”
“Pope Francis mentioned at
one point, ‘When we look at the
immigrant, we don’t see numbers
and statistics, we see faces.’ That
resonates with the Church in the
charitable work of the Church in
the United States,” said Bishop
Pope Francis, in his address
to the bishops of Mexico, encouraged them to strengthen cooperation with Church in the United
States. Bishop Flores said this will
be something the Tex-Mex Border
Bishops, which meet twice a year,
will be talking about at their next
meeting scheduled in San Angelo.
He noted the Tex-Mex Border
“We were poor ourselves but
knew they were even worse off
than we were,” Garcia said. “We
didn’t have much to give them but
we kept working at it.
“We were essentially on call to
make a home visit at a moment’s
notice or to go to the parish to
give out food if someone needed
it. It is a commitment you have to
keep because they are counting on
The ladies eventually began
handing out day-old bread and
pastries to the poor in the colonias after securing donations
from several stores and bakeries.
“The kids would shout, ‘las
panaderas,’ and come running
to us,” Mesquitic said with tears
welling in her eyes. “Something
as simple as a loaf of bread brings
them so much joy.”
The hot meal program started
about five-and-a-half years ago.
Bags of food are also given out
each week to families and individuals who pre-register for the service. Funds for the food programs
are raised through a second collection held during the weekend
Masses once a month.
The volunteers have noticed
that the food programs feed more
than just the belly.
“For many, especially for
those who live alone, this is the
highlight of their week,” said volunteer Jan Rigsby of Mission. “It
is fun just talking to them and
greeting them and trying to make
them feel part of the family here.
We see the same people coming
back week after week and it’s not
just for the food. They’ll come in
and talk to us and each other.”
“We have grown in hospitality, making them feel comfortable
and welcome,” said Alva Peña, a
full-time volunteer for the Society
of St. Vincent de Paul. “Like Pope
Francis said, we need to practice
la escuchó terapia (listening ministry). We want this to be a place
where they will be heard.”
Bishops meetings are an expression of the cooperation already in
progress, adding that they will see
they can make this effort stronger.
“In a practical sense we need to
see how that can be improved because the Church has to offer the
wider vision of the human race as
not limited, but rather it’s a universal vision and that we have to
lay that vision out in terms of human dignity, even if people have
to move.”
Bishop Flores said it will take
some time to think about and
process his five-day journey in
“I will be thinking of this for
a long time, of the images, the
people, the youth, and the Holy
Father himself. There is much for
us to think about and to meditate
on,” he said, adding that “You have
to live the experience and give
yourself a little time to let it penetrate more deeply into your heart.”
He encouraged people to view
the videos and read the texts available online, pointing out the extensive media coverage makes the
pope’s visit and his words accessible to everyone, not just those
who attended.
»Women en la Frontera
The Valley Catholic - MARCH
»St. Joseph
On the other side of the fence
rowing up on the border
in Brownsville with family on the other side of
the Rio Grande River in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, I was
accustomed to life on both sides.
We traveled back and forth
without worry.
I say “without worry”
because as a child I did not
realize the barriers some of my
aunts and uncles faced when
crossing to the U.S. side. One of
my uncles drowned in his last
Where we stand, where
we are at any given moment
informs our perspective. Two
experiences in February during
the Holy Father’s visit to Mexico,
both pure gift, enriched my
perspective in new ways. One,
the Mass in Mexico City on
Feb. 13 at the Basilica of Our
Lady of Guadalupe, helped me
reflect on the gift of waiting. The
other, with a view of the Mass in
Ciudad Juarez from across the
border in El Paso, Texas on Feb.
17, gave me a new perspective
on the immigrant experience.
In Mexico City, Sister Norma
Pimentel and I waited 11 hours
before for the Mass with Pope
Francis. Entry began at 6 a.m.
for the 5 p.m. Mass, so we woke
before sunrise, gobbled a portion of a prepacked lunch before
going through security and
then finding our seats inside the
basilica dedicated to Our Lady
of Guadalupe.
As we sat there, we knew
it was Nuestra Virgencita who
brought us to this point. Arriving early gave us time to gaze at
Nettles Riojas
Editor of The
Valley Catholic
her image on San Juan Diego’s
tilma framed behind the altar,
just as the Holy Father would do
later after the Mass. Naturally,
he had a private viewing, but we
were content to sit before her in
the pews.
I discovered as I sat there
the gift of waiting. Sometimes
waiting can feel like a burden,
but in the light of the Basilica, I
saw it as an opportunity. Waiting
forced me to pause from my tendency to rush from one project
to the next; it gave me time to
pray, especially for the intentions of family and friends. One
senses the responsibility of being
entrusted with such personal
prayer requests, and I did not
want to fail in this responsibility. Waiting also gave me time to
thank God for the blessings of
the moment.
Our days are not built
around waiting. So much is
designed to rush us through
from one experience to the next.
But what a gift when we remain
stationary in readiness or expectation. What a gift to have 11
hours to prepare for Mass.
Four days later, we were in
El Paso on the levee across from
Ciudad Juarez along with two of
our sisters who work with immigrants in the colonia of Peñitas,
Sister Carolyn Kosub and Sister
Fatima Santiago, Missionary
Sisters of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary.
In Mexico City, we sat
inside the basilica with a clear
view to the altar and to the
Holy Father. The story changed
in El Paso. While more than
200,000 attended the Mass
with Pope Francis in Juarez, we
were among some 400 guests
hosted by the Diocese of El Paso
and Catholic Extension on the
levee. Among the guests were
the pope’s “VIPs,” immigrants,
refugees and people who assist
Hours before the Mass, the
experience started to shift my
view. The immigrant experience came into focus during our
half-mile walk up to the levee
as Homeland Security checked
our green wristbands to make
sure we belonged in the group.
We walked without water on a
dirt path along the fence with
signs indicating the international boundary and “DO NOT
TRESPASS.” Ours was a short
walk and water was waiting for
us at the end. What must the
journey feel like for those who
walk countless miles and face an
uncertain path in their quest for
a better life? Will we be there to
offer them water?
On the border between
Mexico and the United States,
two nations joined in prayer, but
on this day we were the outsiders looking toward what lay
beyond our reach. We could see
the Mass about 100 yards away,
but our view was blocked. However, it was just as moving to see
the pope through the fence and
participate in the Mass.
Crowds on both sides of the
river welcomed the pope’s arrival
before the Mass with chants of
enthusiasm and watched as he
walked up the partial bridge
leading from Mexico into the
United States. Organizers said
the Holy Father originally
wanted to cross the border, but
the logistics dictated otherwise.
Near the edge of the bridge
that stopped midpoint, the
pope placed flowers near a giant memorial cross and prayed
for those who have died along
the Mexican-U.S. border. Tears
flowed from many who had
been waiting hours to witness
the Holy Father come to the
Throughout the event,
Homeland Security and Border Patrol agents maintained a
visible presence along the fence.
Some made reference to a “militarized zone” we were in at the
levee, but that did not deter our
focus on the historical moment.
Peace reigned on in El Paso and
throughout Juarez.
As Sister Norma said after
Mass, the pope’s presence leaves
us with love and joy and we
must continue doing the right
One thing was clear. While
we strained to hear Pope Francis’
homily from where we sat, his
message of helping those in need
and ensuring everyone’s human
dignity reached us on the other
side of the frontera. Faith has no
borders. We were two nations
joined in prayer.
»Family Life
Practicing mercy in the family
uring this sacred season
of Lent this year, we
Catholics also have a
special “task” to remember;
which is to reflect on and strive
to live “mercy” in a special way
during this Holy Year of Mercy
which began on December
8, 2015 and will conclude on
November 20, 2016, the Feast of
Christ the King.
Last year, Pope Francis
announced this Year of Mercy
stating “I have often thought
about how the Church might
make clear its mission of being a
witness to mercy. It is a journey
that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have
decided to call an extraordinary
Jubilee that is to have the mercy
of God at its center. It shall be a
Holy Year of Mercy. We want to
live this Year in the light of the
Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just
as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk
But what is “mercy”. A priest
who spoke about the definition of mercy broke down the
Latin word for mercy, which is
misericordia, derived from the
two words miserere (“pity” or
“misery”) and cor (“heart”). He
said that when we ask for God’s
Lydia Pesina
Director, Family
Life Office
mercy, we are essentially asking
him to relieve us of a heart that
is in misery. And our hearts can
be in a state of misery not just
from sin, but from the deep hurt
caused by a broken relationship
with a family member, from the
suffering of infertility, from the
pain of a physical or mental illness, from losing a job, from being betrayed or abandoned, from
spiritual or physical poverty, and
so on.”
I purposely named this
article “Practicing” Mercy in the
Family because I believe that as
human beings we need to “practice” mercy often to keep growing in our ability to be merciful.
In a homily on March 17, 2013,
Pope Francis stated “I think
we too are the people who, on
the one hand, want to listen to
Jesus, but on the other hand, at
times, like to find a stick to beat
others with, to condemn others.
And Jesus has this message for
us: mercy. I think — and I say it
with humility — that this is the
Lord’s most powerful message:
It is probably in the family
more than any other place where
we have many opportunities
to provide mercy. In our daily
living and loving in our homes
is where we are most likely to
have an accumulation of small
hurts, many without thought,
that require reflection, forgiveness and mercy. Recently, I said
something to my daughter that
hurt her feelings. I am blessed
that she is a person that will
tell me immediately how she
feels. I followed her to the next
room and hugged her and asked
her to forgive me. She did not
reciprocate right away but after
a few minutes hugged me back.
She was being merciful to me in
accepting my apology knowing
it was I who erred.
Perhaps one of our “spiritual
tasks” is to be aware of how we
can extend mercy to our loved
ones at each stage of the Family
Life Cycle. At the “School Age
Family Stage” parents sometimes
need to show mercy to one
another as they struggle to keep
food on the table while keeping
up with their children’s school
and activity responsibilities. At
the “Adolescence and Family Stage”, teens are in need of
patience and mercy as they encounter a culture that pulls them
in many directions. The “Letting
Go” family, sometimes described
as the “Boomerang Stage,” who
have children leave and return,
and sometimes come back with
new additions, often are in need
of mercy as they struggle as the
“sandwich generation,” often caring for aging parents and grandchildren both. And “Empty
nesters” and “Aging Families”
often need support, visiting,
someone to take them to doctor’s
appointments, etc. Mercy is best
“practiced” through the Spiritual
and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Perhaps a question we can
each ask ourselves this Lent is
“How can I best practice mercy
to my family members in the
everyday nitty gritty events of
our Family Life?” May the Lord
extend His mercy upon each of
us as we strive to allow the Holy
Spirit to grant us the grace to in
turn be merciful to others.
For more photos and video, follow us on social media
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
A statue at St. Joseph Parish in
Brownsville captures a tender moment
between Jesus and his earthly father.
Like Mary,
Joseph also
said ‘yes’ to
the Lord
The Valley Catholic
EDINBURG — On Friday,
March 18, Bishop Daniel E.
Flores will celebrate a Vigil Mass
for the Solemnity of St. Joseph
at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph Church in
St. Joseph is honored on the
liturgical calendar twice. The
first is March 19—Joseph, the
Husband of Mary. The second is
May 1—Joseph, the Worker.
Everything that is known
about St. Joseph, the husband of
Mary and foster father of Jesus
comes from scripture. We can
see from his actions that Joseph
was a caring and compassionate
man, and obedient to the will of
God. He also loved Mary and
Jesus and wanted to protect and
provide for them.
When Joseph discovered
Mary was pregnant after they
had been betrothed, he knew
the baby was not his and at this
point, was unaware that she was
carrying the son of God.
“The Gospel records that he
was going to divorce Mary quietly and he had all right to publicly
expose Mary because the normal
course of these things … that
would have meant she would
had to have been with another
person to be pregnant,” said Father Greg Labus, director of liturgy and worship for the diocese
and pastor of St. Joseph Church
in Edinburg. “He had the right
under the law to expose Mary
and shame her, and ultimately,
he could have had her stoned to
“Joseph was hesitant to proceed, but an angel of the Lord
came to him in a dream and said
to him, ‘do not be afraid, she is
with child by the Holy Spirit.’
The angel explained the situation
and Joseph trusted in that Word
and that takes a lot of trust.
‘Would we have that kind of
trust to say, ‘I understand now?’”
Father Labus continued,
“Just as Mary trusted in the
Word of the Lord, so did Joseph. He didn’t have to follow
through, but he trusted in the
Word of Lord and he took Mary
to himself. He’s a model for us to
» Please see St. Joseph p.16
MARCH 2016
- The Valley Catholic
The Word of God in the Life
and Mission of the Church
(Fourth Sunday of Lent)
Reading 1
JOS 5:9A, 10-12
Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Reading 2
2 COR 5:17-21
Verse Before The Gospel
LK 15:18
LK 15:1-3, 11-32
Reading 1
IS 43:16-21
Responsorial Psalm
PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Reading 2
PHIL 3:8-14
Verse Before The Gospel
JL 2:12-13
JN 8:1-11
(Palm Sunday of the
Lord’s Passion)
At The Procession With Palms –
Gospel LK 19:28-40
Reading 1- At The Mass
IS 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm
PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Reading 2
PHIL 2:6-11
Verse Before The Gospel
CF. MT 17:5
LK 22:14—23:56
(The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day)
Reading 1
ACTS 10:34A, 37-43
Responsorial Psalm
PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Reading 2
COL 3:1-4
1 COR 5:6B-8
Sequence - Victimae Paschali
CF. 1 COR 5:7B-8A
JN 20:1-9
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 day.
Foster parents
If interested
please call
»Making Sense of Bioethics
Human organs from pigs
Human beings can have a
visceral reaction to the thought
of growing human kidneys or
livers inside the bodies of pigs or
cows. A participant in a recent
online forum on human/animal
chimeras described it this way:
“Unbelievable!!! …If there was
anything that was more antiGod it is the genetic formation
of chimeras which is nothing
more than Frankenstein monster
Although the idea of a chimeric animal is indeed unusual,
several factors need to be considered in evaluating the practice of
growing human organs within
animals. Despite our initial hesitations, certain kinds of human/
animal chimeras are likely to be
justifiable and reasonable. This
comes into focus when we recognize, for example, how thousands
of patients who have received replacement heart valves made out
of pig or cow tissues are already
themselves a type of human/
animal chimera. For many years,
moreover, scientists have worked
with chimeric mice that possess a
human immune system, enabling
them to study the way that HIV
and other viruses are able to
infect cells.
We routinely use animals
to address important human
needs. We eat them and make
clothing out of them. We keep
them in zoos. Utilizing them
for legitimate and important
medical purposes like organ
generation and transplantation
should not, broadly speaking,
be a cause for alarm. As another
online participant noted, only
half in jest: “Think of it — a pig
provides a human heart, lungs,
and liver then the rest is eaten for
dinner! ….Plus the pig will likely
be chemical free, well-fed, and
Priest of the
Diocese of Fall
River, Mass.
humanely treated.”
If a pig were in fact able to
grow a human kidney in place of
its own kidney, and if it could be
used for transplantation, it could
provide a major new source of
organs in the face of the critical
shortage that currently exists.
Many patients today are on
waiting lists for a kidney, and a
significant percentage die before
an organ ever becomes available.
Yet significant technical and
ethical hurdles remain before
growing organs in pigs is likely to
be feasible. The science is still in
its infancy, and researchers have
yet to figure out how to make human cells co-exist in a stable fashion with animal tissues. There
are abundant concerns about the
possibility of transmitting animal
viruses to humans, especially
considering how readily other viruses like avian flu have been able
to jump from birds to humans.
Even assuming these kinds
of risks are able to be minimized,
and pig/human chimeras could
be safely produced, there would
still be several ethical issues to
consider. One concern involves
using stem cells from human
embryos as part of the process
of making pig/human chimeras.
Typically scientists try to generate chimeras by adding human
embryonic stem cells to animal
embryos, which then grow up
and develop into chimeric animals. Destroying young humans
in their embryonic stages for
their stem cells is gravely objectionable, so creating chimeras
could be ethical only if alternative, non-embryonic sources of
stem cells (like adult stem cells or
induced pluripotent stem cells)
were utilized for the procedure.
The technology might also
lend itself to other unethical
practices, like trying to create a
pig that could produce human
sperm or eggs in its genitalia. Similarly, if human nerve
cells were incorporated into a
developing pig brain in such a
way that the animal developed
what appeared to be human brain
structures, some have noted
there could be questions about
the occurrence of intelligence or
self-consciousness or other facets
of human identity in the animal.
Although such concerns seem
farfetched, given the dearth of
knowledge about the “scaffolding of consciousness,” it seems
reasonable to limit this kind of
experimentation. Some scientific
agencies like the National Institutes of Health have restricted
the availability of research funds
for the study of human/animal
chimeras because of these and
other considerations, seeking to
levy pressure so that the needed
ethical discernment and discussion occurs before researchers
proceed further.
We tend to view modern
scientific progress as a powerful
“engine of good” for the well-being of mankind, and therefore we
view most scientific research with
hope. This is proper and fitting,
and to reinforce and reinvigorate
that hope, we should continue to
insist that cutting edge biomedical research remains in active
» Please see Bioethics p.15
Seeking the living among the dead
“Why do you seek the living
among the dead? He is not here,
but has risen.” These are the
words from the Gospel of Luke
(24:5-6) that the angels ask the
women who go to the tomb of
Jesus on the first Easter morning,
only to find it empty.
He is risen! Alleluia! Thank
God the tomb is empty. This is
the good news that abides and
resonates in the hearts of all believers for the past two thousand
years and today. In the empty
tomb God the Father reminds us
that love is more powerful than
The Resurrection of the Lord
Jesus is both the reason for our
faith and the heart of our faith.
As Catholics we believe that the
Resurrection (one of the most
wonderful tenets of Catholicism)
is a historical event; not a rumor
but a singular unique and life
changing event in which Christ
reveals himself to us as the Risen
Lord and the Christ of faith.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not
here, but has risen.” The first
element we encounter in the
framework of the Easter events
is the empty tomb. In itself it
is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s
body from the tomb could be
explained otherwise. Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an
essential sign for all. Its discovery
of the Church. The term “Pascha” is borrowed from the Jewish
word for “Passover,” and Easter
Director, Office for is calculated based on the lunar
Pastoral Planning calendar. Easter, like Passover,
& San Juan Diego is a moveable feast. That is, the
Ministry Institute. date of Easter (and Passover) is
not fixed but is determined by
a system that was based on the
lunar calendar from a formula
by the disciples was the first step
decided by the Council of Nicaea
toward recognizing the very fact
of the Resurrection. This was the in A.D. 325. Easter, is celebrated
on the first Sunday following the
case, first with the holy women,
and then with Peter. The disciple first full moon after the Spring
“whom Jesus loved” affirmed
According to catholicculthat when he entered the empty
it describes the Easter
tomb and discovered “the linen
we will celebrate on
cloths lying there”, “he saw and
as the most beautibelieved”. This suggests that he
the Roman Catholic
realized from the empty tomb’s
condition that the absence of
Jesus’ body could not have been
of human doing and that Jesus
had not simply returned to
it is celebrated on Holy Saturday
earthly life as had been the case
evening, it is the dramatic Easter
with Lazarus.” (Catechism of the
Vigil liturgy that marks the beCatholic Church, #640).
ginning of Easter. The evangelist
The Catholic Church
Saint Luke (12:35) reminds us
celebrates Easter this year on
“We are awaiting our master’s
March 27th (a solemnity) as the
return with our lamps full and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus
from the dead. The Easter season burning, so that he will find us
awake and seat us at his table”.
is a fifty-day season referred to
The Easter vigil includes four
as “Eastertide” which ends on
the service of light (which
the lighting of the
Easter (called “Pascha”
[Lumen Christimeaning Christian Passover)
and the [Excelebrates the resurrection of
of Easter)
Jesus from the dead, and it is the
greatest and the oldest of feasts
Luis Zuniga
» Please see Risen, p.15
Courtesy photo
A prayer card of St. John Joseph of the
»Feast Day
March 5
on St. John
Joseph of
the Cross
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
Self-denial is never an end
in itself but is only a help toward
greater charity—as the life of St.
John Joseph shows.
John Joseph (August 15,
1654 – March 5, 1739) was very
ascetic even as a young man. At
a tender age, he manifested his
attachment to the Cross. He devoted himself even at his youngest years to a life of poverty and
John Joseph chose to live
in the smallest, most secluded
room in the house where he set
up a little altar to Our Blessed
Mother. He was born on the
Feast of the Assumption, which
spurred a filial devotion to Mary.
At 16, he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the
first Italian to follow the reform
movement of St. Peter Alcantara, who sought to make the
Order more devoted to penance
and austerity. John’s reputation
for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of
establishing a new friary even
before he was ordained.
Obedience moved John to
accept appointments as novice
master, guardian and, finally,
provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars
with great charity. As guardian,
he saw himself with no higher
privilege and insisted on working in the kitchen or carrying
the wood and water needed by
the friars.
When his term as provincial
expired, John Joseph dedicated
himself to hearing confessions
and practicing mortification,
two concerns contrary to the
spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment.
St. John Joseph of the Cross,
best known by his Italian name
San Giovan Giuseppe della
Croce, had the gifts of prophecy
and healing, and would swoon
into ecstasies. He was also
known to levitate and bilocate.
John Joseph was canonized
in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI
and he is the patron saint of Ischilia, Italy, the place where he
was born.
The Valley Catholic - MARCH 2016
Catholic Charities Gala to honor mayor
City of McAllen
key partner in
humanitarian aid
The Valley Catholic
The Valley Catholic
McALLEN — In the spring
and summer of 2014, immigrants, mostly from Guatemala,
Honduras and El Salvador, began arriving at the bus station
in McAllen by the dozen every
single day.
The immigrants are dropped
off there by U.S. Immigration
and Customs (ICE) agents after
being detained and processed.
They are given permission to
travel to their final destination
with instructions to appear at an
immigration hearing at a later
For several weeks, the droves
of immigrants, mostly women
and children, were stuck waiting
for their buses in the bus station
– sometimes for more than 24
hours – with only the clothes on
their back and no way to bathe
properly. They were sleeping on
the floor of the bus station. Many
of them had no food or drink.
Some of them were sick and dehydrated.
Jim Darling, the mayor of
McAllen, was informed of the
situation and he asked Sister
Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus and executive
director of Catholic Charities of
the Rio Grande Valley to help.
Sister Pimentel opened a respite center for the traveling immigrants a few blocks from the
bus station at Sacred Heart Parish in McAllen.
The City of McAllen provides the immigrants transportation from the bus station to the
respite center as well as the showers and more.
She credits Darling for the
city’s outstanding collaboration
and support to this humanitarian effort.
Courtesy photo
McAllen mayor Jim Darling will be honored with the 2016 Hope Award by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley at the Sixth
Annual Gala “Hope is in Bloom” on Saturday, April 2. The Hope Award recognizes those who serve the most vulnerable members
of society.
To date, more than 32,000
immigrants have received assistance.
“I’m not here to debate the
immigration process,” Darling
said in an interview with National Public Radio. “We’re just
here to make sure that if there’s
a humanitarian need, we’re going
to try to meet it.”
Darling will be honored with
the 2016 Hope Award by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande
Valley at the Sixth Annual Gala
“Hope is in Bloom” on Saturday,
April 2.
The Hope Award recognizes
those who serve the most vulnerable members of society.
The gala begins at 6:30 p.m.
at Valencia Events Center, 3012
S. Jackson Rd. in McAllen.
Responding to the humanitarian crisis is just one of the
many ways Catholic Charities of
the Rio Grande Valley serves the
Each year, more than 100,000
Valley residents receive assis-
tance from Catholic Charities
of the Rio Grande Valley, which
serves people of all faiths. Founded in 1965, Catholic Charities of
the Rio Grande Valley offers a
wide variety of programs and
services to the community.
Programs sponsored by
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley include emergency assistance, which provides
rental, utility and financial assistance for the infirmed, unemployed, and the homeless as well
as assistance with medical transportation, fire loss and funeral
Catholic Charities of the
Rio Grande Valley also provides
counseling for individuals, families and married couples, counseling for women and couples
facing a crisis pregnancy for up
to year after birth to prevent
abortion, abuse and neglect.
The Food Program provides
healthy meals and snacks for
children at after school activities year round and in the sum-
mer months, when breakfast and
lunch are served to school-age
children at more than xx sites
throughout the Valley. In Summer 2015, more than 90,000
meals were provided to Valley
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley is also prepared to
respond in the case of a natural
disaster. The disaster response
program meets the immediate
and long term needs of families
affected by hurricanes and other
weather emergencies.
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley is offering an opportunity to be a program sponsor for the gala at the platinum,
gold, silver or bronze level. Individual tickets are available for
$100. Silent and live auction
items are also needed to help
make the event a success.
For more information, please
contact the San Juan office of
Catholic Charities of the Rio
Grande Valley at (956)702-4088.
Conference promotes stewardship as a way of life
Empowering the
faithful to give time,
talent and treasure
“As each one has received a
gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied
grace” (1 Pt 4:10).
The Valley Catholic
What identifies a steward?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops (USCCB) said one who
safeguards material and human
resources and uses them responsibly is one answer; so is generous giving of time, talent, and
But being a Christian steward means more, states the U.S.
Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship. As Christian stewards,
we receive God’s gifts gratefully,
cultivate them responsibly, share
them lovingly in justice with
others and return them with increase to the Lord.
These values and more will
be explored at the Fourth Annual Diocesan Stewardship Conference, set for Thursday, March
10 through Saturday, March 12
Mass set for
March 22
at the San Juan Pastoral Center.
Parishes, schools and ministries gather each year for fellowship and presentations on Christian stewardship at this annual
event, which is sponsored by the
diocesan Office of Stewardship
& Development.
Clergy presenters will include Bishop Daniel E. Flores
and Father Alfonso Guevara,
vicar general. Special guests
from other dioceses and nonprofit agencies were also invited
to share their experience and
For the first time, a Faith and
Fundraising Seminar will be offered by special guest Jimmy
Larose of the National Development Institute, an expert on
philanthropy and the nonprofit
“We’re calling people to a
more conscious awareness of
stewardship as a way of life, so
that impacts any type of ministry,” said Jesse Salinas, proposal
writer for the Office of Stewardship & Development. “When
you are grateful for God’s gifts
and you realize that you have
been given these gifts for a purpose, to serve one another, it
doesn’t matter whether you are
Courtesy photo
Bishop Daniel E. Flores is among the presenters scheduled to speak at the Fourth
Annual Diocean Stewardship Conference March 10-12 in San Juan.
working at a food pantry to feed
those who are hungry or serving
as a catechist or an usher, everything that we are called to do in
service to our neighbor has dignity.
“We can learn from the
shared experience of these presenters how to do what we are
already doing at a higher level of
Director Rosie Rodriguez
hopes to create a greater awareness about the Office of Stewardship & Development, which not
only locates funding opportunities for the ministries, schools
and parishes of the diocese but
also offers programs, training
and services to guide the faithful on how to best administer the
gifts that God has given them.
“The message that I really
want for our parishes to understand is that we are the development office for the Diocese of
Brownsville, which means that
we help our parishes, we help
our schools,” Rodriguez said.
“A lot of our diocesan schools
don’t have a development office.
We are their development office.
They should lean on us more.”
The Stewardship Conference
is free to attend but space is limited. To register, please call Jesse
Salinas at (956) 784-5092.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores will
celebrate the Annual Chrism
Mass at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
March 22 at the Basilica of Our
Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine.
During this Mass, the priests,
deacons and representatives of
the diocesan community gather
with the bishop, who blesses the
holy oils — the oil of the sick,
the oil of catechumens and the
sacred Chrism — for use in the
coming year.
Of all the events held in the
diocese each year, the Chrism
Mass draws the largest gathering
of priests and deacons. The faithful are invited to be a part of this
special liturgy. By participating
in the Chrism Mass, the faithful
show support for their priests
and deacons, encourage them
and pray for them.
The Chrism Mass is also a
time for the priests of the diocese to renew their commitment
to priestly service. During the
liturgy, the priests stand and renew their “dedication to Christ as
priests of his new covenant.”
open for
Oblate Trail
The Valley Catholic
The 12th Annual Oblate Trail
Ride, a bicycle ride that raises
funds to combat poverty, is set
for Saturday, April 2.
The ride, which features 25
or 62.5-mile routes that run primarily along the Rio Grande,
honors the Missionary Oblates
of Mary Immaculate, who were
the among the first Catholic missionaries in the area. The priests
traveled from ranch to ranch on
horseback, spreading the Good
News of Jesus Christ.
There will be two ride starts
beginning at 7 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
in Brownsville where Bishop
Daniel E. Flores will offer a blessing. A second start will begin at 8
a.m. at the Basilica of Our Lady
of San Juan del Valle-National
An end-of-ride celebration
featuring food and live music by
Rodeo Texas Band will be held at
La Lomita Park in Mission from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A $5 donation is
requested for all non-riders joining the festivities for lunch.
The cost of the ride is $30 for
those who pre-register by March
27 and $35 thereafter. On-site
registration will be available.
Proceeds from the Oblate
Trail Ride will benefit local communities in need.
Riders may register online at; in person at the San Juan Pastoral Center or by mail.
For more information, please
call Jesse Salinas at (956) 7845092.
MARCH 2016
- The Valley Catholic
Those Who Serve:
Sister Rose Marie Quilter, RSCJ
Healing through alternative therapy
Relaxation helps
in coping with
stress, Sister says
The Valley Catholic
ALAMO — “I’ve had a healing ministry in massage for more
than 20 years, including 10 years
with our elder nuns whose average age was 94,” said Sister Rose
Marie Quilter of the Religious of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who
became a licensed massage therapist in 1993. “I felt called to a quiet kind of ministry where I could
help people heal and actually that
happened … emotional healing,
sometimes spiritual healing and
certainly much deeper relaxation
and letting go of stress which can
help physically.
“Jesus is the healer, so I don’t
take any credit for any of that but
I love doing that ministry.”
Sister Quilter, 79, was recognized by Bishop Daniel E. Flores
on Feb. 7 during the Mass for
World Day of Consecrated Life
for the 50th anniversary of her
final vows.
She took her final vows with
the Religious of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus, also known as Society
of the Sacred Heart, on July 20,
1966 at her community’s motherhouse in Rome. The community includes more than 3,000
religious sisters who serve in 42
Sister Quilter has been with
the Religious of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus for a total of 58 years,
serving in a variety of ministries
all over the United States.
“I have moved more than 30
times in 58 years!” said Sister
Quilter, who was born in Elmira,
N.Y. and raised in Syracuse, N.Y.
She spent the first 10 years of
her ministry teaching in academies for girls and then began
serving in pastoral ministry and
houses of prayer from 19701993, including several years doing Hispanic outreach in Detroit
and Houston.
Sister Quilter has utilized
her skills as a licensed massage
therapist to work with pregnant
“Massage therapy during
pregnancy is a healthy way to reduce stress and it promotes overall wellness,” she said.
Prenatal massage relieves
many of the normal discomforts
experienced during pregnancy
such as leg cramps, swelling and
Sister Quilter also taught parents tips and techniques on how
to massage their babies, which
calms fussy newborns and helps
them sleep better. Massage also
reduces colic and constipation
among many other benefits.
Sister Quilter additionally
worked with the terminally ill.
“Many different forms of
healing happened in that beautiful ministry,” she said. “I loved it.”
About five years ago, Sister
Quilter felt a tug to serve the Hispanic community as she had in
Detroit and Houston years prior.
“I felt a call to return and I
didn’t understand if it was real
or not,” she said. “I asked Jesus to
show me if he really did want me
to come back and minister with
Mexican Americans. I love the
culture, I love the people.
“Six weeks after I began
thinking about it, I met one of
our sisters from Mexico who’s
had a 30-year ministry in holistic
health and she said, ‘we should
work as a team on your side of
the border,’ and I said, ‘really?’”
»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.
Rev. Eduardo Ortega
Rev.Timothy Paulsen,OMI
Rev. Salvador Ramirez
Rev. Manuel Alfredo Razo
Rev. Rodolfo Franco
Rev. Jose Garza
Rev. Vicente Azcoiti - retired
Msgr. Patrick Doherty- retired
Rev. Gerald Frank
Rev. Jaime Torres
Rev. Carlos Zuniga
Rev. Arturo Cardenas
Rev. Michael Montoya, MJ
Rev. Samuel Arizpe
2 Deacon Gerardo J. Rosa
9 Deacon Jose G. Garza
9 Deacon Manuel Sanchez
16 Deacon Salvador Rojas
17 Deacon Martin Jaques
21 Deacon Daniel Zamora
27 Deacon Hector Garcia
Deacon Benito Flores
Deacon Javier A. Garcia
Deacon Julio Castilleja
Deacon Luis Zuñiga
Deacon Louis Oden
Deacon Jose A. Solis
Deacon Jose Guerra
Deacon Alejandro Gamboa
6 Sister Dorothy Carey, SHSp
17 Sister Patricia DeBlieck, CSJ
23 Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP
30 Sister Therese Corkery, PBVM
4 Sister Tuila Giraldo, OP
5 Sister Irma Gonzalez, IWBS
8 Sister Francisca Okwara, DDL
» Anniversaries
5 Rev. Francisco Castillo
14 Rev. Simon Brzozowski, MSF
19 Rev. Jose E. Losoya, CO
Rev. Francois Tsanga, SCJ
Rev. Patrick Wells -retired
Rev. Manoj Kumar Nayak, SS.CC
» Anniversaries
Rev. Roche Thiruchiluvai, SS.CC
Rev. George Kerketta
Rev. Jose R. Torres III, OMI
Rev. Lee Dacosta - retired
Rev. Jaime Torres
12 Deacon Inocencio Diaz
27 Deacon Antonio Osorio
Eric Sánchez/The Valley Catholic
Left photo: Bishop Daniel E. Flores congratulates Sister Rose Marie Quilter of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the
50th Anniversary of her final vows. Right photo: Bishop Flores with the religious sisters celebrating milestone anniversaries in
2016 , from left, Sister Quilter; Sister Mary Ann Potts of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Sister Margaret Palmer of the
Daughters of Charity.
Sister Quilter is going on
three years serving at Project
ARISE where she gives meditation and relaxation workshops in
four different communities. She
also teaches English classes and
personal development courses.
“Relaxation is essential because 90 percent of illness comes
from stress,” she said. “It has been
scientifically validated. We get ill
when we have too much stress
and learning to meditate and
learning simple forms of exercise
that are very relaxing and learning techniques like acupressure
can immensely help relaxation.
“The simplest way to relax is
to learn to breathe properly so
we start with that and we go onto
many other forms of relaxation.”
Her classes have received
positive reviews from the community, said Lourdes Flores,
president of the ARISE Support
Center in Alamo.
“The women learn more
about the spiritual part of relaxation and have a deeper connection with God,” Flores said.
“They feel an inner peace. They
are also able to help their chil-
dren to learn to relax, to meditate and pray and reduce stress in
their homes.”
“Some of the women in the
colonias have told me they no
longer have migraine headaches,”
Sister Quilter said. “They can
deal with stresses from the family
or from other situations because
now they have tools to relax….
And they help one another and
that’s the point. We are teaching
teachers who we hope will continue to share these techniques.”
The Val
Pope Franc
prays for immigran
at U.S. - Mexico bord
Pope Francis arrives to pray at a cross on the border with El Paso, Texas, before celebrating Mass at the fairgrounds in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb. 17.
Evana A. Zamora/The Valley Catholic
Paul Haring/CNS photo
Pope Francis accepts a gift during a meeting with workers and employers at
the Colegio de Bachilleres n Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Young Adults from the Diocese of Brownsville waiting to see
Pope Francis pass by in EJE Central in Mexico City.
celebrates Mass nearby in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Brenda Riojas/ The Valley Catholic
Sister Norma Pimentel of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley poses with Monsignor
ley Catholic - March 2016
Juan Diego Academy students attend Papal Mass in Mexico
Special to The Valley Catholic
CIUDAD JUAREZ – Pope Francis
celebrated Mass in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua for more than 200,000 people
on Feb. 17. Juan Diego Academy senior
Matthew Mercado, juniors Kayla Hickle
and Nathaniel Dyer and freshman Kayla
Gonzalez were among those in attendance
In what was described by Mercado
as a “long, strenuous but well worth it
day,” the student’s expedition began with
a two-hour journey across from El Paso,
Texas over to Ciudad Juarez. “We got up
at 5 a.m. and headed right to our spots,”
said Mercado. “We stuffed our bags with
food and water and just waited for his
Holiness to grace us with his presence.”
At the Holy Father’s Mass, the message was broad enough to address local, state and national issues on crime,
social injustice, immigration matters
and other topics, but he was also able
to preach the universal Gospel of love,
and the importance of adopting merciful approaches to the poor, elderly and
the young.
Hickle described her journey as a
“life-changing experience” and a memory she will treasure for the rest of her life.
“Being able to see the Pope in Juarez was
truly a blessing,” she said. “Pope Francis
was five feet away from us and the feeling of being so close to him was lifechanging … I am so blessed.”
Our own Bishop Daniel E. Flores,
traveling with Pope Francis during his
Courtesy of Juan Diego Academy
Kayla Hickle, Matthew Mercado, and Nathanial Dyer, students at Juan Diego Academy in Mission,
pray during Mass with Pope Francis in Juarez, Mexico, across the bridge from El Paso, Texas.
five-day trip in Mexico, said that, pertaining to the Holy Father’s sermon re-
garding moral and spiritual ministry,
“no one is exempt from this; it is ad-
dressed to everyone: government leaders, politicians, bishops, clergy, young
people, families, prisoners, business
Pope Francis also talked about God’s
abundant mercy and how everyone is
called to live out that mercy with others in our everyday lives. “Pope Francis’
homily was very touching,” Dyer said.
“Growing up so close with the Hispanic
culture and having our Pope be from
Latin America celebrating Mass for us in
Juarez is just an experience I will never
Three religious sisters who work
with immigrants from the Rio Grande
Valley watched the Mass from the levee in El Paso. Sister Norma Pimentel,
executive director of Catholic Charities
of the Rio Grande Valley, and two Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary (ICM), Sister Carolyn Kosub
and Sister Fatima Santiago who run
Proyecto Desarollo Humano in Peñitas, were among more than 400 guests
who organizers referred to as the “Pope’s
VIPs” – the immigrants, unaccompanied minors and the people who assist
The Juan Diego Academy students
managed to be within six feet of the
Holy Father as he navigated to celebrate
Mass. Mercado managed to shoot some
pictures as he “fought back tears” while
he witnessed the Holy Father pass by.
The students said Pope Francis left an
impactful footprint on their lives.
CNS photo/ Paul Haring
Courtesy of Juan Diego Academy
Students from Juan Diego Academy wait for Pope Francis in Cuidad Juarez on Feb.17.
ancy Wiechec / CNS photo
The Valley Catholic
ICM Sister Fatima Santiago receives communion from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of
Mass on the levee in El Paso Feb. 17.
The Valley Catholic
For more photos on Pope Francis’ Papal
pilgrimage to Mexico, visit
For local coverage,
visit our Facebook page.
Courtesy of Gladys Ajero
Pope Francis waves to the crowd on Feb. 17 at the U.S.-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez.
The Valley Catholic - MARCH 2016
St. Joseph Academy
celebrates sesquicentennial
New St. Anthony community
building blessed in Harlingen
School opened
after the Civil War
on Nov. 2, 1865
The Valley Catholic
BROWNSVILLE — St. Joseph Academy celebrated its
150th Anniversary of providing
Catholic and college preparatory education in Brownsville
on Feb. 9, with a special Mass
celebrated by Bishop Daniel E.
In his homily, Bishop Flores
noted that as he goes around the
Valley, he has met many graduates of St. Joseph Academy in
different walks of life, all who
seem to share a ‘caring heart’
when it comes to helping others,
involved in community service
or helping the poor.
“You get to know people
who think about others, in the
political, the economic, the educational areas … and more often
than not, they say ‘oh yes, and I
went to St. Joe’. I hear it a lot,”
Bishop Flores added.
Co-celebrants of the Mass
Amesse, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, rector of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville,
Msgr. Heberto Diaz, vicar general for the diocese and pastor
of Mary, Mother of the Church
Parish in Brownsville, and Fa-
The Valley Catholic
Bishop Daniel E. Flores celebrates Mass with students, faculty, staff and alumni of
St. Joseph Academy on Feb. 9 to commemorate the school’s 150th anniversary of
providing Catholic education in Brownsville.
ther Amador Garza, rector of
the Basilica of Our Lady of San
Juan del Valle-National Shrine.
St. Joseph Academy students
led the music and responsorial psalm, including a beautiful
rendition of the song Sanctuary.
“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary … Pure and holy, tried
and true … With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for
You,” the students sang.
Brother Patrick McNamara,
provincial of the Marist Brothers of the Schools, noted that he
was representing many Marist
Brothers in different parts of the
country who have at one time or
the other taught or worked at St.
Joseph Academy – all of whom
he said loved being “at St. Joe,
with all their hearts.”
Michael Motyl, Interim
President of St. Joseph Academy, said over the past 150
years the school has educated
“thousands upon thousands of
students and greatly influenced
and shaped the Brownsville
community and beyond.”
Lori Trott, principal of St.
Joseph Academy, described
the special Mass as “absolutely
St. Joseph Academy serves
students in grades 7 through 12.
The school traces its roots back
to end of the Civil War, to 1865,
when it was founded by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In
1906, the Marist Brothers of the
Schools assumed operation of
the school. For more information, please visit
Info: (956) 702-4088 or [email protected]
Michael Swartz/The Valley Catholic
A statue of St. Anthony holding the child Jesus graces the outside of a new Community
Building /gym at St. Anthony Catholic Church and School in Harlingen. Bishop Daniel
E. Flores blessed the 13,000-square-foot building on Feb. 6. The project represents the
largest expansion since St. Anthony Catholic School opened in 1946 – and the biggest
addition to the parish since a new church was built in 2003. The new building also
includes a community room where parish groups can meet, a kitchen and offices, with the
school’s first gym doubling as a cafeteria.
Bishop Flores thanked St. Anthony parishioners for their work, generosity and prayer
which made the new building possible for the benefit of others and for the education of
children. “By the Lord’s grace, extraordinary things are possible … and this building is a
sign that that is true,” he added. The new St. Anthony Community Building is located at
1015 E. Harrison in Harlingen. A video and photos of the blessing are available on the
Diocese of Brownsville Facebook page.
MARZO 2016
- The Valley Catholic
Mensajero de la Esperanza
CNS Photo/L’Osservatore
Romano via EPA
El Obispo Daniel E.
Flores acompaño al
Papa en su trayecto
“Ustedes son la riqueza
de México, ustedes son
la riqueza de la Iglesia;
no los estoy adulando”,
dijo Francisco el 16 de
febrero en el encuentro
con más de 35.000
jóvenes en el Estadio José
María Morelos Pavón
de Morelia. Durante el
evento, el Papa Francisco
salió al encuentro de
dos muchachas con
Síndrome de Down a
quienes abrazó y con
quienes compartió unos
breves momentos. El
Papa Francisco visitó
México del 12 al 17 de
febrero y según las cifras
dadas a conocer hoy
por la Conferencia del
Episcopado Mexicano
(CEM), en total más de
10 millones 500 mil
personas participaron en
las actividades del Santo
Padre, siendo la Misa en
Ecatepec el evento más
numeroso, con 301,200
fieles congregados.
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — El mensaje
de esperanza del Papa Francisco
resonó a lo largo de su visita apostólica de cinco días a México del
12 al 17 de febrero.
El Obispo Daniel E. Flores,
quien acompañó al Santo Padre
en su trayecto, dijo que el Papa
dejó un “fuerte impacto para las
personas de México” por alentarlos a que, sin importar los problemas que enfrenten, “es posible
para las personas de gran fe y
gran esperanza sobrepasar estas
El Obispo Flores y el Obispo
Oscar Cantú de la Diócesis de las
Cruces, Nuevo México, representaron a la Conferencia de Obispos
Católicos de EEUU durante la
visita del Papa a México.
Durante su visita, el Papa
Francisco abordó los temas de
los indígenas y los pobres en Chiapas, la violencia en Michoacán y
las situaciones migratorias en la
“Mantener la esperanza y no
darse por vencido fue gran parte
de su mensaje,” a través de toda su
visita, dijo el Obispo Flores.
El Obispo Flores dijo que el
Papa Francisco trae su mensaje de
ánimo y de prioridades a las personas del Valle del Río Grande, el
mismo mensaje que el Papa llevó
a lo largo de México, a cada sector de la sociedad, “Es un esfuerzo, pero no podemos perder el
corazón cuando tratamos de construir una comunidad de solidaridad donde nos ayudemos mutuamente, y especialmente hacer
el esfuerzo de no perder el valor
de hacerlo, de ofrecer a nuestros
jóvenes verdaderas oportunidades y un verdadero sentido de
ayuda en términos de lo que pueden contribuir para ellos y para
sus familias.”
El Obispo Flores dijo que el
mensaje enfocado en la esper-
anza que los jóvenes ofrecen a su
comunidad se aplica al Valle del
Río Grande, refiriéndose a la declaración del Papa que “donde hay
jóvenes siempre hay oportunidad
de que la comunidad se renueve,
una renovación que puede venir
si no reprimimos la esperanza y
sueños de nuestros jóvenes.”
En Ciudad Juárez, la última
parada de la visita del Santo Padre a México, el Obispo Flores
recordó los comentarios del Papa
después de la Comunión. “El dijo,
‘quise llorar, quise llorar al ver
gente con tanta esperanza pero
sufriendo tanto.’ Yo creo que ese
es el misterio de la gracia, eso es lo
que él estaba diciendo.”
Él (el Papa) dijo que estaba
conmovido por el misterio de la
gracias, de cómo continúa dando
valor y fuerza a pesar de nuestro
largo sufrimiento. “El Valle se
puede identificar de muchas formas con eso, aunque no exacta-
mente de la misma forma,” dijo el
Obispo Flores. “Porque cada comunidad es diferente, incluso en
México, pero hay una forma en la
que reconocemos que a pesar del
sufrimiento y de los obstáculos y
dificultades hay muchos signos de
esperanza, y nosotros tenemos esperanza en nuestros jóvenes.”
Las lágrimas fueron un tema
mencionado a través de su viaje.
El Obispo Flores recordó al Santo
Padre refiriéndose al “regalo de las
lágrimas,” y que “si pudiéramos
empezar a sollozar por todas las
heridas, entonces quizá nuestros
corazones serian cambiados.”
“Fue una llamada para todos,”
dijo el Obispo Flores, “obviamente
a los perpetradores de la violencia,
pero también había un llamado a
todas las personas a que no sean
indiferentes a lo que está pasando
a su alrededor. Hay una tentación
de decir que eso no me afecta, y
no quiero que me afecte así que no
voy a involucrarme; no puedo dejar que me mueva, no puedo dejar
que me toque.”
“Y yo pienso que resuena a
través del río y hacia el otro lado.
Que no podemos no dejar que
nos afecte, y que talvez si abrimos
nuestros corazones para ver eso,
podemos hacer algo al respecto.
Eso cambia nuestra perspectiva.”
El Obispo Flores dijo que uno
de los momentos más conmovedores durante la visita papal vino
después de la Misa en la Basílica
de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
en la Ciudad de México, cuando
el Santo Padre subió a sentarse en
privado y ver la imagen.
“Fui impactado por eso. Es
algo que se quedará conmigo por
mucho tiempo,” dijo el Obispo
Flores. “El momento,” añadió,
“trajo lágrimas a varios de los
obispos.” Porque en el contexto
de la forma simple en la que él (el
Papa) describió lo que quería que
pasara. Él quería mirar los ojos
de la Virgen y quería que ella lo
viera a él, creo yo, representando
la oración completa de la Iglesia,
pidiéndole a Dios, verdaderamente de su parte representando
toda la Iglesia, rogándole a Dios
a la Virgen por la gracia que
necesitamos para vivir a la altura
de este momento.”
“Yo creo que esa es la imagen
que quiere que todo el mundo
aprecie, de la ternura de Dios que
es expresada a través del amor de
la Virgen para su gente,” dijo el
Obispo Flores.
Cuando hablaba con los obispos, el Santo Padre “habló sobre
la necesidad especial de asistir al
migrante que pasa por nuestro
camino. La Iglesia debe de asistir
al Cristo que pasa por nuestro
camino como el Buen Samaritano y estar dispuesto a dar todo
para proveerle con la ayuda que
necesita en su camino.”
El Papa Francisco mencionó
en una ocasión, ‘Cuando vemos
al inmigrante, no vemos números
o estadísticas, vemos rostros.’ Eso
resuena con la Iglesia y el trabajo
caritativo de la Iglesia en los Estados Unidos, dijo el Obispo Flores.
El Papa Francisco, en su discurso a los obispos de México, los
animó a fortalecer la cooperación
con la Iglesia en los Estados Unidos. El Obispo Flores dijo que
esto será algo que los Obispos en
la Frontera, quienes se reúnen dos
veces al año, estarán hablando en
su próxima junta programada en
San Ángelo.
El Obispo Flores dijo que tomaría algún tiempo para pensar y
procesar el viaje de cinco días en
México. “Estaré pensando en esto
por mucho tiempo, las imágenes,
las personas, los jóvenes y el mismo Santo Padre. Hay mucho para
que nosotros pensemos y meditemos,” dijo él, añadiendo que
“Tienes que vivir la experiencia
y darte un poco de tiempo para
permitir que penetre más adentro
de tu corazón.”
Él señaló que la extensa cobertura mediática hace que la visita
del Papa y sus palabras sean accesibles para todos. También invita a las personas a ver videos y
leer los textos disponibles en línea.
Conoce la historia de Manuelito, el apóstol que cautivó al Papa
ACI Prensa
Manuel Morales Montoya
es un joven de 14 años que en
noviembre del año pasado viajó
hasta la Ciudad de México para
hacerle a la Virgen de Guadalupe
un pedido muy especial, y que
creía imposible: conocer al Papa
Esta oración fue escuchada
y el 15 de febrero durante el Encuentro del Papa Francisco con
las Familias en Tuxtla Gutiérrez,
estado de Chiapas (México) conmovió con su testimonio al Santo
Padre y a los más de 42 mil asistentes.
A Manuel le detectaron distrofia muscular a los cinco años y
hace dos años tuvo que dejar de ir
al colegio porque ya no se puede
mover y desde entonces está en
una silla de ruedas.
La distrofia muscular es una
enfermedad degenerativa en la
que los músculos se van debilitando hasta que la persona ya no
se puede mover. También afecta
al corazón (que es un músculo) y
las facultades respiratorias.
Esta enfermedad no ha sido
impedimento para que Manuelito
siga “echándole ganas”, como le
dijo el Papa esa tarde. Se unió al
grupo de adolescentes de la parroquia Concepción Inmaculada
de Tuxtla Gutiérrez y sale a evangelizar en su silla de ruedas.
“Tengo mucha fe, ha crecido
mi esperanza, sé que Dios me ha
bendecido con esta capacidad
especial, mis papás me apoyan
mis planes sintiéndome sin límite
como toda persona normal y
le echo ganas. Ahora salgo en
silla de ruedas a evangelizar y lo
hago con mucha alegría a invitar
a muchos adolescentes que no
conocen el amor de Dios, también con mi familia misionamos
y visitamos enfermos”, expresó
Manuel en esa ocasión.
Manuel comentó a Televisa
que “echarle ganas” es una frase
de motivación que “así siempre la
digo yo y me gusta decirla. Me da
ACI Prensa
Manuel Morales
Montoya, de14 años, dio
su testimonio al Papa
Francisco el 15 de febrero
como joven que, pese a
estar en silla de ruedas, no
ha perdido la esperanza
y busca evangelizar a
otros muchachos como él
que viven desanimados o
alejados del Señor.
Esta frase conmovió al Papa
Francisco hasta el punto que
cambió su discurso y reflexionó a
partir de esta.
“A vos Manuel gracias por tu
testimonio y gracias por tu ejemplo. Me gustó esa expresión que
usaste ‘echarle ganas’, como la
actitud que tomaste después de
hablar con tus padres. Comen-
zaste a echarle ganas a la vida, a
echarle ganas a tu familia, echar
ganas entre tus amigos y nos has
echado ganas a nosotros aquí reunidos”.
Sobre su encuentro con el
Papa Francisco, el muchacho comentó que se sintió “muy emocionado, contento de que a él le
gustó y cambió su discurso con lo
que dije… no iba yo a saber que a
él le había gustado”.
Manuel es el segundo de cinco
hermanos y es uno de los miembros más queridos de la familia.
Su madre, María de Jesús Montoya Sarmiento, comentó que
su hijo es una “bendición” y que
en los momentos difíciles “Dios
siempre ha estado con nosotros”.
The Valley Catholic - MARZO 2016
»Vida Familiar
Practicando Misericordia
en la familia
Este año, durante este tiempo
sagrado de Cuaresma , los Católicos tenemos que recordar adicionalmente una “tarea” especial:
reflexionar y esforzarnos en vivir
la “Misericordia” de una manera
unica durante este Año Santo de
la Misericordia que inició el 8 de
Diciembre del 2015 y concluirá el
20 de Noviembre del 2016, Fiesta
de Cristo Rey. El Papa Francisco
anunció el año pasado este Jubileo de la Misericordia declarando: “A menudo he pensado
como la Iglesia podría mostrar
más claramente su misión de ser
testimonio de Misericordia. Es
un camino que comienza con
una conversión espiritual. Por
esta razón, he decidido anunciar
un Jubileo extraordinario que
esté centrado en la Misericordia
de Dios. Este será el Año Santo
de la Misericordia. Queremos vivir este Año a la Luz de la Palabra
del Señor: “Sean compasivos,
como es compasivo el Padre de
ustedes. No juzguen y no serán
juzgados. (Lc. 6:36)”
Pero, ¿qué es la “misericordia”? Un sacerdote, hablando
sobre el significado de misericordia, desglosó esta palabra en
sus dos raíces latinas que son
miserere (“lastima”, “miseria” o
“compasión”) y cor (“corazón”).
El explicó que cuando pedimos
la Misericordia de Dios, en
esencia le estamos pidiendo que
nos libere de un corazón que está
en miseria, en sufrimiento. Y
nuestros corazones pueden estar
en miseria no solo por el pecado,
sino también por el profundo
dolor causado por una relación
familiar rota, por el sufrimiento
de la infertilidad, por el dolor de
una enfermedad física o mental,
por la pérdida de un trabajo, por
haber sido traicionados o abandonados, por la pobreza física o
espiritual, y mucho más.”
He titulado a propósito este
artículo “Practicando” Misericordia en la familia porque creo que
como seres humanos necesitamos “practicar” la misericordia
con frecuencia para seguir desarrollando nuestra habilidad de ser
misericordiosos. En su homilía
del 17 de Marzo del 2013, el Papa
Francisco expresó: “Pienso que
somos personas que, por un lado,
queremos escuchar a Jesús, pero
por el otro lado, a veces también
queremos encontrar formas para
herir y condenar a los demás.
Y Jesús tiene este mensaje para
nosotros: Misericordia. Pienso
— y lo digo con humildad — que
este es el mensaje más poderoso
del Señor: Misericordia.”
Probablemente es en la familia, más que en ningún otro lugar,
donde tenemos más oportunidades de proveer Misericordia.
En la vida y el amor compartidos
diariamente en nuestros hogares
es donde se pueden acumular
más fácilmente pequeñas heri-
los más vulnerables
Lydia Pesina
Directora, Oficina
de Vida Familiar
das, muchas sin mala intención,
que requieren reflexión, perdón
y misericordia. Recientemente
le dije algo a mi hija que hirió
sus sentimientos. Soy bendecida
porque ella es una persona que
me dice inmediatamente como se
siente. La seguí hasta su cuarto,
la abracé y le pedí perdón. No me
correspondió inmediatamente
pero después de unos minutos
me regreso el abrazo. Ella fue misericordiosa conmigo al aceptar
mis disculpas aun sabiendo que
era yo la que había fallado.
Quizás una de nuestras
“tareas espirituales” es tomar
conciencia de cómo podemos
extender misericordia a nuestros
seres queridos en cada etapa del
Ciclo de Vida familiar en la que
se encuentren. En la etapa llamada “Familia de edad escolar”,
algunas veces los padres necesitan mostrarse misericordia uno
al otro en su esfuerzo continuo
de proveer para la familia y a
la vez mantenerse al día con la
escuela de los niños y demás
responsabilidades. En la etapa
de “Adolescencia y Familia”, los
adolescentes necesitan paciencia
y Misericordia mientras se encuentran con una cultura que los
empuja en muchas direcciones.
La familia en etapa de
“Desprendimiento”, descrita
muchas veces como la “Etapa
Bumerán”, con hijos que van y
vienen y que a veces regresan
con nuevas adiciones a la familia
(nietos), muchas veces necesitan
misericordia en su lucha como
generación intermedia que se
esfuerza en cuidar a sus padres
envejecientes al mismo tiempo
que a sus nietos. Y por último,
las etapas llamadas “Nido vacío”
y “Familias envejecientes” a
menudo necesitan apoyo, ser
visitados, alguien que los lleve
al medico, etc. La mejor forma
de “practicar” Misericordia es a
través de las Obras Espirituales y
Corporales de Misericordia que
nos enseña nuestra Iglesia.
Tal vez una pregunta que nos
podemos hacer a nosotros mismos en esta Cuaresma es: “¿Cuál
es la mejor manera de practicar
Misericordia a los miembros
de mi familia en los momentos
difíciles de nuestra vida cotidiana?”. Que el Señor extienda Su
Misericordia sobre cada uno de
nosotros mientras nos esforzamos en permitir que el Espíritu
Santo nos conceda la Gracia de
ser igualmente misericordiosos
con los demás.
The Valley Catholic
El Apostolado de Provida de la diócesis llevo a
cabo una marcha pacífica y de mucha oración
el 30 de enero en McAllen para difundir el
mensaje de vida en nuestra comunidad.
Cientos de defensores provida participaron
en el evento, que inicio con la apertura de
oraciones y palabras del Obispo Daniel E. Flores
en la Parroquia de San José Obrero. Después
del servicio de oración, la procesión partió de la
iglesia y marcharon hacia el centro de la ciudad.
A lo largo de la procesión, se rezó el Rosario
y se cantaron himnos. La procesión pasó
por el centro de abortos local y terminó en
la Parroquia del Sagrado Corazón con unas
palabras y oraciones finales.
Destacando la educación católica
The Valley Catholic
El banquete anual para la 19ª edición de los Spirit Awards se llevó acabo el 29 de enero en el Salón Msgr. Ralph en la Parroquia
de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores en McAllen.
Patrocinado por la Oficina de Escuelas Católicas de la diócesis, el evento da reconocimiento a varios individuos cuya
dedicación, generosidad y servicio han tenido un gran impacto en las 13 escuelas católicas en el Valle del Rio Grande.
Un homenajeado u homenajeados de cada una de las escuelas fue reconocido en el evento. El Obispo Daniel E. Flores fue
reconocido como el homenajeado diocesano. Para mas fotos y video de esta celebración, visite nuestro sitio en redes sociales.
MARZO 2016
- The Valley Catholic
‘Porque estuve hambriento y me diste de comer’
Parroquia sirve más
de 1,000 platos a la
comunidad cada mes
Las obras corporals
de misericordia:
Alimentar al
Nota del editor: acompáñennos
a presenciar la misericordia en
acción en diferentes parroquias
cada mes.
Dar agua al sediento;
Vestir al desnudo;
Albergar a quien no tiene
The Valley Catholic
Así estén sin hogar; solos o
con mucha familia; jóvenes o
mayores; trabajando o sin empleo, todos son invitados a una
comida gratis, sin preguntas,
cada jueves de 4 p.m. a 6 p.m. en
la Parroquia San Juan Bautista
en San Juan.
La Sociedad de San Vinente
de Paul sirve 250-300 platos a los
hambrientos en la comunidad
cada semana. Decenas de voluntarios, que empiezan a llegar a la
parroquia cada mañana, ofrecen
su tiempo y talento para hacer
las comidas posibles. Muchos de
los voluntarios son estudiantes
de Confirmación y retirados.
Winter Texans son algunos de
los ayudantes más activos.
Cindy Dabrowski, quien
divide su tiempo entre Pharr y
Muskegon, Mich., ayuda detrás
de escena, lavando platos mientras las comidas son servidas.
“Hay tantos voluntarios que
no los ves a todos,” dijo Dabrowski, quien ha sido una Winter Texan desde el 2006. “Me doy
cuenta de que esta comunidad
está en sintonía con los pobres y
ni siquiera soy miembro de esta
Cuando se le preguntó por
qué era voluntaria, Dabrowski
respondió, “He sido bendecida,
estoy correspondiendo.”
Ofelia Alaniz, 76, quien ha
sido feligrés de la Iglesia San
Juan Bautista por 48 años, es
voluntaria semana tras semana.
Después de retirarse de la fuerza
laboral, quiso mantenerse ocupada sirviendo al Señor.
“Hay mucha necesidad en
nuestra comunidad y lo vemos
de primera mano cada semana,”
dijo Alaniz, ya que ha ayudado a
servir platos de pollo con queso
aciago, arroz y frijoles negros sazonados y elote.
“Estoy tan agradecida por
lo que tengo y Dios nos llama
Visitar el enfermo;
Rescatar al cautivo;
Sepultar a los difuntos.
The Valley Catholic
“Hay mucha necesidad en
nuestra comunidad y lo
vemos de primera mano cada
semana,” dijo Ofelia Alaniz,
feligrés de la Iglesia San
Juan Bautista. La Sociedad
de San Vicente de Paul sirve
platos a los hambrientos en
la comunidad cada jueves
por la tarde.
a compartir nuestras bendiciones. Estoy feliz de poder hacerlo.
Mientras Dios me de fuerzas, estaré aquí.”
Estudios muestran que el
hambre es un problema en nuestra comunidad.
Uno de cada dos niños en
el Valle del Río Grande se va a
dormir con hambre, de acuerdo
con las estadísticas del Banco
de Comida del Valle del Río
Grande que en asociación con la
Sociedad de San Vicente de Paul
proveen suministros a costo reducido para las comidas semanales así como víveres para la
alacena alimenticia.
En conjunto, 1 de 4 personas
en el Valle tienen inseguridad
alimenticia. Esto significa que
son desafiados ya sea para pagar
las cuentas o dejar de comer y/o
comprar comidas más baratas y
menos nutritivas.
“Está muy bien,” dijo Aracely
Hernández de San Juan, quien
» La Alegría de Vivir
El tiempo es algo que no se
ve pero se siente, ligero como
el viento que se escapa y no
podemos detenerlo.
Cuando algo oportuno
ocurre se dice que fue justo a
tiempo. Triunfador es quien
logra el triunfo a tiempo, fracasado el que tuvo la desgracia
de ser inoportuno y todo lo hizo
fuera de tiempo.
Los sabios le llaman “divino
tesoro”, los santos lloran su perdida, y los insensatos desconocen su valor.
Desperdiciar el tiempo es
delito grave, y no aprovecharlo
es una falta irreparable. El
tiempo no se compra ni se
vende, no podemos alargarlo ni
Somos prisioneros de su
marcha, pues nacemos, crec-
viene a comer a la parroquia
cada semana con su madre y sus
niños. Ella también recibe una
bolsa de víveres, que en esta ocasión incluye muslos de pollo, víveres enlatados y pimientos. “Me
ayuda bastante la verdad.”
El programa de comida de la
Parroquia San Juan Bautista empezó hace 35 años.
Las personas venían regularmente a la oficina parroquial pidiendo comida. La secretaria de
la iglesia mantenía algunos alimentos básicos en la oficina para
estas ocasiones, pero no pudo
seguir con las peticiones.
donábamos lo poco que podíamos a manera de comida para la
oficina, pero no era suficiente,”
dijo Lucinda Mesquitic, una feligrés de mucho tiempo en la Iglesia San Juan Bautista. “Sabíamos
que teníamos que hacer más
para ayudar a nuestra comunidad.”
Mesquitic y varias otras feligreses, incluyendo Manuelita
Villescas y Guadalupe García
empezaron la Sociedad de San
Vicente de Paul en la parroquia
San Juan Bautista. Empezaron
a recolectar víveres enlatados y
otros tipos de alimentos básicos
de feligreses y creando canastas
de comida.
Después, las damas empezaron a ir a las colonias y
descubrieron que la necesidad
era mayor de lo que ellas jamás
“Nosotras éramos pobres
pero sabíamos que habían personas más necesitadas que nosotras,” dijo García. “No teníamos
mucho que darles pero seguimos
trabajando para eso.”
en guardia para hacer visitas a
hogares de un momento a otro o
para ir a la parroquia y dar comida si alguien lo necesitaba. Es
un compromiso que tienes que
mantener porque ellos cuentan
con nosotros.”
Las damas eventualmente
empezaron a dar pan y pan
dulce a los pobres en las colonias
después de asegurar donativos
de varias tiendas y panaderías.
“Los niños gritaban, ‘las
panaderas,’ y salían corriendo,”
dijo Mesquitic con lágrimas
saliendo de sus ojos. “Algo tan
simple como una barra de pan
les trae tanta dicha.”
El programa de comida empezó hace cinco años y medio.
También se reparten bolsas de
comida cada semana a familias e
individuos pre-registrados para
el servicio. Fondos para el servicio son recaudados a través de
una segunda colecta durante las
Misas de fin de semana una vez
al mes.
Los voluntarios han notado
que el programa llena más que
sus estómagos.
“Para muchos, especialmente para aquellos que viven
solos, esto es lo más destacado
de su semana,” dijo el voluntario
Jan Rigsby de Mission. “Es divertido hablar con ellos y saludarlos
y tratar de hacerlos sentir parte
de la familia. Vemos a las mismas personas regresar semana
tras semana y no solamente por
la comida. Ellos vienen y hablan
con nosotros y entre ellos.”
“Hemos crecido en hospitalidad, haciéndolos sentir agusto
y bienvenidos,” dijo Alva Peña,
voluntaria de tiempo completo
para la Sociedad San Vicente de
Paul. “Como dijo el Papa Francisco, necesitamos practicar la
escuchoterapia. Queremos que
este sea un lugar en donde se
sientan escuchados.”
¡El tiempo se nos va!
emos y morimos en el tiempo.
Somos niños por un tiempo,
jóvenes en otro, maduros, y
algunos pocos, los viejos que
alcanzan la plenitud a tiempo.
El reloj es nuestro verdugo,
con su tic-tac, tic-tac, nos recuerda siempre lo fugaz y veloz de
nuestro tiempo. En la infancia
el tiempo corre lento, luego en
la juventud, pareciera que corre
desenfrenadamente y es muchas
veces desperdiciado.
Y conforme pasa el tiempo,
¡que de prisa se va nuestra vida!
Amar en plenitud es conocer
el amor a tiempo. Ser madre, o
padre, es engendrar a tiempo.
Se llega a ser alguien cuando se
empieza a trabajar a tiempo.
Y tú, ¿te has puesto a pensar
que has hecho con tu tiempo?
¿Cómo lo has empleado? Esto
Msgr. Juan
Sacerdote jubilado
de la Diócesis de
debes meditarlo ahora, cuando
aun estas a tiempo; no te vaya a
pasar lo que aquel joven insensato que no hizo nada con su
tiempo y temblando vio llegar
la muerte, y no sintió miedo de
morir, pues es algo natural que
pasa en la vida, sino de no haber
hecho nada con su tiempo.
El libro de su vida estaba en
blanco, nada escrito, completamente vacío porque había
dejado correr el tiempo. Lleno
de angustia suplico por tan solo
un minuto para poder hacer
algo, pues no podía decir que
había vivido si no había utilizado plenamente aunque fuera
un minuto de su tiempo, y solo
entonces podría morir. Inútil
fue la suplica, la muerte siguió
avanzando lentamente cubriéndolo de frio y diciéndole:
lo siento, de veras lo siento,
muchos otros me han pedido lo
mismo; pero aun yo, con todo
mi poder, no tengo el poder de
detener el tiempo, y a ti se ha
Si en este momento llegara la muerte por ti, ¿tú qué
harías?, ¿temblarías de miedo y
suplicarías como ese joven?, o
por el contrario te enfrentarías
valientemente a ella diciéndole:
“estoy listo, no te tengo miedo,
porque dentro de mis muchas
fallas, algo hice de mi tiempo.
Dejo muchas cosas por
hacer, planes por realizar, pero
no me importa, se que hice muchas cosas a tiempo”. Si es así, te
felicito, pero si por el contrario
sientes que no has aprovechado
tu tiempo lo suficiente, piensa
que aun lo tienes, que tu tiempo
aun no termina y que mucho
puedes hacer en unos minutos
de tu tiempo.
Aprovecha el tiempo que
tienes porque tal vez es lo
último que te queda por vivir.
Recuerda que humanamente
eres polvo, tierra, humo, nada.
Pero espiritualmente eres vida, y
si crees en Jesucristo, esta vida
es eterna.
The Valley Catholic - MARCH 2016
Dear Friends of the Sacred Hearts,
We’d like to thank you for your help
and share with you some of the ways
the Brothers of the Congregation of
the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
(SS.CC.) in the U. S. Province are
bringing Christ to people and people
to Christ.
temporarily professed Brothers who
are preparing for their ordination to
priesthood in our House of Studies in
Suva, Fiji. These Brothers attend the
Pacific Regional Seminary of Saint Peter Chanel and live in community with
their formators.
Our SS.CC., U. S. Province now include 98 Brothers who serve God’s
people in Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, Rome, Fiji England, Belgium, the Kingdom of Tonga, and
here in the Diocese of Brownsville.
Our Brothers of the SS.CC., U. S.
Province administer parishes, schools,
soup kitchens, retreat centers, and in
each ministry we work trying to heal
the broken and bring hope to those in
consider increasing your efforts. The
people we serve need you – our Brothers need you.
We invite you to be a part of this venture either through your direct help
with the missions or the solid formation of Brothers and Priests who
will do the work in the field, which is
to build God’s Kingdom and proclaim
His redeeming Love to the world…in
the footsteps of St. Damien of Molokai,….
Congregation of the Sacred Hearts
United States of America (US) Province
We have 23 men in formation in India
and four men in the Novitiate Program preparing to profess their initial
vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to the Congregation.
Serving God’s People
in the Diocese of Brownsville since 1965
Sacred Hearts Catholic Church in Edinburg
Pastor: Manoj Nayak,
Associate Pastors:
Fr. Christopher Santangelo,
and Fr. Richard Lifrak,
Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Harlingen
Pastor: Fr. William Penderghest,
Associate Pastor: Fr. Brian Guerrini,
In-residence: Fr. Gerry Shanley,
In India, we run tribal schools, clinics
and provide social work where there
would otherwise be little or no educational, medical or community services
available for the weak and the poor.
In Tonga, we build and repair homes
for the poor and those living in the
swamp areas of the low-lying islands.
We also help to educate a population
of young people in this developing
country that struggles desperately to
meet its own needs.
Our mission is to commit ourselves to
contemplate, live, and proclaim the
Love of God to the world through the
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
This we do through the formation of
men for religious life, serving the poor
and the marginalized in the missions
in India and Tonga; building and
strengthening the youth and young
adults of the U. S. Province in their
faith and commitment to the Church
and the Lord; and serving the spiritual
needs of the people entrusted to our
care, especially in parishes, schools,
retreats and chaplaincies.
Because of your prayers, involvement
and financial support, we are asking
you to continue to help and prayerfully
to ADVANCE Our Mission
Fund the Formation of Our Future
Sacred Hearts’ Brothers
Saint Damien of Molokai, pray for us!
St. Damien DeVeuster,
P O BOX 1365
Thanks to your prayers and support,
and the work of the Holy Spirit, a 20year hiatus of having no vocations has
come to an end. We now have seven
PHONE: 808.247.5035
EMAIL: [email protected]
MARCH 2016 -
The Valley Catholic
» Calendar
of Events
Recommended by SISTER
Coordinator of the Media Resource
Center - Diocese of Brownsville
»From the
Courtesy photo
Young Adult Conference set for April 9
Make Room
The Valley Catholic
Format: book Length: 32 pp
Audience: Children 4-9 years
Author: Laura Alary
Illustrated by Ann Boyajian
Additional copies for sale at Media
Resource Center, reg. price $15.99, sale
price $12.00.
A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter - An
invitation for children to wonder about the
Lenten story. This unique book teaches
children to experience Lent with all their
senses and to see it as a special time for
creating a welcoming space for God.
The Lenten
Format: Paperback Length: 126 pp
Audience: Adults
Author: Edward Hayes
PublicationAve Maria Press (February
1, 2006)
Daily Healing Therapies – Experience
Lent in a whole new way with a daily
trip to The Lenten Pharmacy. In
this imaginative collection of Lenten
reflections, Edward Hays invites us to
focus on Jesus the Healer.
»Worth Watching
Ashes to
The Office of Campus &
Young Adult Ministry (CYAM)
is hosting its first Catholic Young
Adult Conference, titled, “One
Love,” from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
on Saturday, April 9 at Holy
Spirit Parish in McAllen.
This one-day conference will
gather young adults from across
the diocese and the region to
celebrate their gifts as one larger
community united in faith, fellowship, and jubilation. Young
adults will have an opportunity
to catch up with old friends and
continued from pg. 1
To reach the burial site, she
needed to go outside the city
walls and pass by Golgotha, the
scene of Jesus’ brutal execution.
Was she afraid? What sadness
and weariness accompanied her
on that journey, and what shock
wracked her body when she saw
that the stone had been moved
from the tomb?
Mary immediately raced to
find Peter. And after he and another disciple inspected the linen
cloths left behind in the tomb,
they went back home, but Mary
This is where the scene becomes most powerful and most
personal to those of us who
have read the passage so many
times in our lives. St. Ignatius of
Loyola, the founder of the Jesu-
continued from pg. 5
Format: DVD Length: 130 mins
Audience: Adults
Publisher: Christian Multimedia
Production Year: 2008
47 Short Meditations, One For Each
Day of Lent. An Easter Devotional on
DVD takes viewers on a devotional
journey from the remembrance of
Ash Wednesday to the celebration
of Resurrection Sunday, Each day
contains a brief devotion (2-3 minutes)
that reflects on a treasured song,
poem, tradition, Scripture, character
of the Passion sort, or work of art that
enhances the meaning of the season.
Big Al Live
Fr. Joe Kempf
the liturgy of the Word, the liturgy of baptism (new members
are brought into the Church/
converts and the faithful renew
their baptismal promises and
are blessed with holy water) and
the liturgy of the Eucharist.
As we prepare to celebrate
Easter once again let us be
mindful that the Resurrection is
the guarantee of our own resurrection, our own immortality
make new ones.
“Our goal with the One
Love Conference is to foster a
community of communities –
a gathering of existing young
adult groups in our diocese, but
also with a particular outreach
to their friends and coworkers
who are disconnected from the
faith,” said Miguel Santos, Director of Campus & Young Adult
Ministry. He added, “Ultimately,
we want young adults to deepen
their encounter with Christ: to
come and receive God’s mercy in
a way that compels them to share
it with others.”
The One Love Conference
will include keynote presentations by Bishop Daniel E. Flores
and recording artist Jorge Rivera,
a national voice in the field of
young adult ministry, as well as a
variety of workshops and breakout sessions. The event will
feature exhibitors, live music,
confessions and a closing liturgy
celebrated by the bishop.
For online registration visit and for follow up
or more information, please contact Miguel Santos at [email protected]
its, urged his followers to pray
with their imaginations. It’s a
way of becoming intimate with
the words of Scripture.
So, we come with Mary into
the garden. Most of us don’t
know what the climate or the topography of that Jerusalem garden would have been like on that
Easter morning. However, we
can use our imagination and we
can reflect on the spring mornings of our own lives. The dew
can be moist and cold on our
feet, the brilliant, rising sun just
beginning to cast shadows on the
trees and the rocky tombs. The
daffodils and irises of our memory push up through the dark
soil around us, and around Mary.
As we let ourselves be present there, weeping with Mary in
the confusion of the moment,
imagining that another desecration has befallen Jesus even after
death, we can almost taste her
salty, lonely tears mixed with our
Then there is a man there,
perhaps a gardener. Maybe he
knows where they have taken the
body. Why doesn’t she — why
don’t we — immediately recognize him?
“Mary.” When Jesus speaks
her name, she exclaims, “Rabbouni!” Master.
The earth moves a little with
that word, “Mary.” We know
then that Jesus wants to encounter us personally. We know that
he desires to call us by name and
that in personal encounter we
will recognize him. We realize
that many times we have failed
to recognize him in ourselves
and others.
In your imagination, let Jesus call your name in the garden
and rejoice in his desire to know
you better, to know you as his beloved disciple.
and the promise of the fullness
of life forever (eternal life) won
by the death of Christ on the
St. Paul encourages us to
not doubt but believe in the
resurrection: “For if the dead
are not raised, then Christ has
not been raised. If Christ has
not been raised, your faith is
futile and you are still in your
sins. Then those also who have
fallen asleep in Christ have
perished. If for this life only we
have hoped in Christ, we are of
all men most to be pitied. But in
fact Christ has been raised from
the dead, the first fruits of those
who have fallen asleep. For as
by a man came death, by a man
has come also the resurrection
of the dead. For as in Adam all
die, so also in Christ shall all
be made alive.” (1 Corinthians
May the Risen Lord be the
joy and the hope of our Easter
and may we find the tomb
empty. “May the light of Christ,
rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.
(words from the lighting of paschal candle from the new fire).
All Day
All Day
All Day
4-6 Catholic Engaged
Encounter (Family Life
Mass for children with
special needs and
their families (Holy Family,
10 Advisory Team
(Office of Catechesis)
12 Convalidation Conference
(Family Life Office)
17 Vocation Hour for Family
Life at St Joseph
Chapel, Alamo
(Family Life Office)
19 Solemnity of St. Joseph
22 Chrism Mass
24 Holy Thursday
Bishop Emeritus Raymundo J. Peña’s Calendar
March 1-2
March 22
March 29-31
Lenten Retreat
(Office of Catechesis)
Tex-Mex Border Bishops
Day of Reflection and Chrism Mass
San Angelo
San Juan
25 Good Friday
Diocesan Offices Closed
27 Easter Sunday
28 Easter Monday
Diocesan Offices Closed
2 Continuing Ed Sessions
(Family Life Office)
3 Divine Mercy Sunday
3 Continuing Ed Sessions
(Family Life Office)
Mass for children with
special needs and
their families (Holy Family,
Clase para Cerficado DER
(Office of Catechesis)
9-10 ForBetter Forever
(Family Life Office)
16-17 Sponsor Couple
Training II
(Family Life Office)
19 In-Service Program
Statistics Due
(Office of Catechesis)
21 Vocation Hour for Family
Life at St Joseph
Chapel, Alamo
(Family Life Office)
23 Sponsor Couple Trainng
(Family Life Office)
30 Fully Engaged
Sponsor Couple Training II
(Family Life Office)
Please submit your schedule to be
published in The Valley Catholic by
the first Friday of each month by
email at [email protected] or fax:
(956) 784-5082.
Format: DVD Length: Series
Audience: 2 -102
Publishers: Harcourt Religion 2007
Special - Looking for a way to help
faith come alive? The segments in
Volume 4 focus on special occasions or
seasons, including: Sacrament, Advent,
Christmas, Reconciliation, Why give up
something for Lent? Are you good at
finding Easter Eggs?
Monday - Saturday 8 a.m.
Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
3 p.m.
Mass at St. Joseph Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, 727 Bowie St., Alamo
Every Tuesday:
12:15 p.m.Mass at UT-RGV/Edinburg
2 p.m.
Counseling at UT-RGV/Edinburg
Every Thursday
7-8 p.m. Holy Hour at 727 Bowie St., Alamo
Every Sunday:
6 p.m.
Mass/Confessions at UT-RGV/Edinburg
1st: Intention to the Consecrated Life (active and contemplative) and for the Sisters and Brothers in our diocese and
the success of their mission
2nd: Intention to the Permanent Diaconate the deacons (permanent and transitional) of the diocese and their
3rd : Intention to Married Life: for the welfare and sanctification of all the families in the diocese and for building
up the Kingdom in our domestic churches
4th: Intention to the priesthood and the priests of the diocese for the success of their ministry
5th: Intention to Pope Francis
continued from pg. 5
dialogue and interaction with
sound ethics. The expanding
study of human/animal chimeras
challenges us to reflect carefully
on the morally appropriate use of
these novel and powerful technologies, so that human dignity
will not be harmed, subjugated,
or misappropriated in any way.
The Valley Catholic - February
Our Catholic Family
Deacon candidate puts families first
10-week course,
conference focuses
on values, virtues
The Valley Catholic
“When we go out to dinner,
sometimes my wife and I look
around and count how many
couples and families are on their
phones or tablets,” said Santos
Chapa, who is in the diaconate
formation program for the diocese and serves in family ministry. “Those are missed opportunities to spend quality time with
your partner or your family.”
Being distracted by technology is just one challenge couples
and families face today, Chapa
“But it is a major challenge,”
he said. “We may be physically
present in the same room but we
are not mentally or spiritually
present with our families.”
Chapa and his wife of 28
years, Maria Teresa, have organized a family workshop called
Familias Bajo La Unción del Espíritu Santo to discuss different
values and virtues and learn spiritual exercises that make families
The Spanish-language workshop will be held from 7 p.m. to 9
p.m. every Tuesday from March 8
to May 17 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Hall, 2209 Kendlewood Ave. in McAllen.
The workshop will culminate
with a one-day conference on
Sunday, May 15, Pentecost Sunday, featuring Omar Jesus Maytorena of Quito, Ecuador.
Maytorena, who was raised
in Mexico, overcame a difficult
start in life – a life that was almost
cut short by abortion. His father
died in a plane crash when his
Courtesy photo
The Chapa family, from left, twins Thania and Edwin, 27, Teresa, Santos and Nadia, 25, at their home in Pharr.
mother was pregnant with him.
The young widow traveled to the
United States for an abortion but
had a change of heart while on
the table. As Maytorena shares
in his testimony, his mother saw
an image of the Sacred Heart and
walked out of the abortion clinic.
Other presenters for the oneday conference include Father
Martin De la Cruz, pastor of Our
Lady of Perpetual Help Church,
Father Felix Cazares, assistant to
the rector of the Basilica of Our
Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine and Father Eduardo
Villa, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle in La Puerta.
Father De la Cruz has known
Chapa, his wife and children for
more than 18 years. He said Chapa is always looking for new and
better ways to evangelize the family, whether it’s through music,
retreats or classes.
“There have always been
many resources for adults, couples and the youth – individually,
but very few programs that the
family can partake in together,”
Father De la Cruz said. “Mr. Chapa saw the need for the family to
be nurtured in a Catholic Christian environment. He is promoting family values, which are at the
core of a healthy family. A lot of
those values have been lost and
we need to bring them back.”
Chapa, a native of Valadeces,
Tamaulipas, Mexico, said his call
to ministry was inspired by St.
John Paul II, who promoted families and a culture life. He noted
that St. John Paul II initiated
events such as the World Meeting
of Families and World Youth Day,
clearly signaling the faithful to
the support these initiatives.
“In Familiaris Consortio, St.
John Paul II said the future of humanity passes by way of the family,” Chapa said. “Families are the
basic unit of society and strong,
Christ-centered families make for
better communities.”
The structure of the family is
threatened with challenges such
»Parish Staff Convocation
St. Joseph
‘We are a community of mercy’
The Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN – Mercy and
evangelization were among the
top discussion points Bishop
Daniel E. Flores shared with parish staff during two convocations
on both ends of the Rio Grande
Valley on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
During the Parish Staff Convocations, which served as an
opportunity to mark both the
50th anniversary of the diocese
and focus on the Year of Mercy,
Bishop Flores reaffirmed the importance of what each person
does in the Church.
He said evangelization and
mercy were central to Pope Francis’ pontificate. Mercy, the bishop
said, is the content of evangelization. He emphasized “mercy
is shown in how you respond
to people who need some (mercy)…It’s how we talk to people.
Bishop Flores also shared
with staff some memories of his
journey with the Holy Father as
he traveled Feb. 13-17 from Mexico City to Chiapas to Cuidad
Juarez. Recalling the experience
of witnessing the pope with Our
Lady of Guadalupe. The bishop
reminds staff of the words Our
Lady spoke to San Juan Diegito,
“I want a ‘little’ house built for
me on the top of the hill” (una
The use of the diminutive is
important in the Hispanic culture and so much more in the
Church, said Bishop Flores. “We
have to remember that it is the
“little ones” we have to look out
for, those who seem marginalized.” For catechesis this refers to
those who are not able to participate “fully” in Sunday liturgies
due to physical impediments and
even more so those who have
some form of special need ranging from having a learning disability, Autism or ADHD.
Bishop Flores placed emphasis on the groups that need
evangelization: those who come
on Sunday, those who come on
Ash Wednesday and other feasts,
and those who do not come at
all and yet have faith. Typically
those who have faith and do not
come on a regular basis are usu-
as materialism, parental separation, blended families and substance abuse.
Chapa himself was baptized in the Catholic Church but
was raised without religion. His
mother became a Jehovah’s Witness and took classes in their
“I grew up overhearing the
lessons from the courses my
mother took where she was
taught to hate the Virgin Mary, to
hate the pope,” he said.
When he was in his 20s and
the relationship with his future
wife became serious, Chapa began taking RCIA classes.
“I fell in love with the Catholic
faith,” said Chapa, who in addition to attending Mass regularly,
joined a prayer group and began
going to retreats and Catholic
His complete conversion
came at a retreat in 1993 and
from that day on, he and his wife
have been dedicated to evangelization to the youth and families.
“Father Eddie (Villa) once
told him that his call to serve
families is prophetic,” said his
wife, Maria Teresa Chapa. “It’s the
love he has for the family. It is his
passion to implement the values
and virtues within the families. I
believe it is a gift from God that
he received this call to work with
families, to help unite them.”
Father De la Cruz believes
Chapa will be a great blessing to
the Church as a permanent deacon.
“His approach is always caring and paternal,” Father De la
Cruz said. “His leadership and
dedication to pastoral ministry
with families and his experiences with his own family have
prepared him. He and his family
have great hearts, hearts that are
in the right place, and with that
you can do wonders.”
The Valley Catholic
Bishop Daniel E. Flores addresses diocesan employees at the Parish Staff
Convocation on Feb. 23 at the San Juan Pastoral Center.
ally those who come when it is
time for a sacrament or when a
loved one comes to the end of
their earthly journey. “We should
be welcoming and merciful,” he
said. The first thing out of our
mouths (lips) is, “I am glad you
are here” and not “I don’t see you
at Mass” or something similar.
At each convocation, Bishop
Flores spent time answering
questions from the staff. These
ranged from some questions
about policies and guidelines to
what the Church’s stance is in regard to cremation and funerals.
Bishop also insisted “we must
remind each other that our job is
to help our brothers and sisters
on the journey and allow the
Spirit to work in and through
continued from pg. 4
follow in trusting in the Lord’s
providence and trusting in God’s
Joseph is honored under the
title of St. Joseph the Worker on
May 1.
“He taught Jesus a trade as
a carpenter,” Father Labus said.
“Joseph can be a model for all
those who have employment, to
guide us, to strengthen us, to persevere in the jobs that we have.”
St. Joseph is also patron saint
of the Universal Church, families, fathers, house sellers and
buyers, craftsmen and engineers.
Today, St. Joseph is additionally a role model for stepfathers,
grandfathers, uncles and other
father figures who promote respect and harmony in their families and who make a positive impact on the children in their lives.
“And thanks be to God they
are stepping up to the plate and
being a father for these children
when their biological fathers are
not fulfilling their responsibility,”
Father Labus said. “They are being good role models.
“St. Joseph is a model for fatherhood, for protecting the family and guiding them.”
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