image image image image image
Red Mass 2014 BROWNSVILLE — The 21st Annual Red Mass celebration was held on Oct. 30 in Brownsville. Read the Full Story
All Souls Day Catholics have always believed in the importance of praying for those who have died. We call this a spiritual work of mercy. Read the Full Story
Fall Festivals 2014 Please support these upcoming fundraising events. For most parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations, these events are more than just fun and games — they are also a main source of income for the entire year. Read the Full Story
ICM Sisters win 2014 Lumen Christi Award PEÑITAS — Sister Carolyn Kosub, Sister Emily Jocson and Sister Fatima Santiago of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were awarded the national 2014 Lumen Christi Award, which in Latin means, “Light of Christ.” Read the Full Story
Volunteers needed Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley continues to assist refugees from Central America at an assistance center at Sacred Heart Parish in McAllen. Read the Full Story



Year of Faith - Renovados en el regalo de la fe

Weekly Update

November 20, 2014


Shining the Light of Christ
Lumen Christi Award Presented for First Time in the Diocese
PEÑITAS — Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension Service, presented Sister Carolyn Kosub, Sister Emily Jocson and Sister Fatima Santiago of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the national 2014 Lumen Christi Award on Nov. 16. This is the first time the national honor has been awarded in the Diocese of Brownsville.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores and Bishop Emritus Raymundo J. Peña celebrated the Mass at St. Anne Church in Peñitas prior to the presentation of the award.

In 2004, the Sisters created Proyecto Desarrollo Humano (The Project for Human Development), an outreach center dedicated to health, social services, education and evangelization.
Catholic Extension is a national organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the Catholic Church in the poorest regions of the United States.

As the 2014 recipients, the sisters received a grant of $25,000 in support of their ministry; in addition, the Diocese of Brownsville, which nominated the sisters, also received a grant of $25,000. Bishop Flores donated the dioceses grant to the sisters, who in turn donated it to the parish. To see photos from the event visit the Diocese of Brownsville Facebook page.

Our condolences
Sister Juliana García, founder of the Missionaries of Jesus, a religious community dedicated to serving the people of the Rio Grande Valley and Matamoros, died on Nov. 17. She was 81.
A native of Toledo, Spain, Sister García celebrated 60 years of religious life on Oct. 12, 2011 and was honored with Masses of Thanksgiving by both the Diocese of Brownsville and the Diocese of Matamoros.
Sister García served the Diocese of Brownsville for more than 44 years. She was the director of Casa Oscar Romero in the 1980s, a shelter that housed thousands of Central American refugees seeking political asylum in the United States. She also initiated the jail ministry in detention centers across the Rio Grande Valley, bringing the Gospel message of faith and hope to adults and children.
Sister García performed parish ministry at more than a dozen churches in the Valley, including most of the parishes in Brownsville and at parishes and missions in Donna, Alamo, San Juan, La Grulla and San Isidro. She also traveled to Minnesota with migrant farm workers for 10 years.
She spent her final 10 years serving as the director of the Santa Rosa de Lima Center in Matamoros, a social-religious center that hosts Bible study, provides bags of food for the needy, teaches the women of the neighborhood valuable work and life skills and much more.
In 2011, when asked what the highlight of her 60 years in religious life had been, Sister García replied, “I can’t say any one ministry was better than another. In all of my apostolates, I have felt happy and accomplished. In everything that I have done in the last 60 years, I did what I could and what I thought was right. I have given it my best.”
Visitation and viewing were held at the Missionaries of Jesus Convent in San Juan on Nov. 18 and throughout the day on Nov. 19. A Rosary was prayed on the evening of Nov. 19 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Brownsville.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Nov. 20 at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine, followed by interment at Buena Vista Burial Park in Brownsville.
In keeping with Sister García’s wishes, memorial donations may be made for the Santa Rosa de Lima Center in Matamoros. Send contributions to: Missionaries of Jesus, 700 N. Oblate Dr., San Juan, TX 78589.

Deacon John Schwarz of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish died on Nov. 17 at McAllen Medical Center. He was 88. Deacon Schwarz was born in Austria, moved to Chicago and was ordained to the permanent diaconate on Dec. 9, 1978 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
He moved to the Diocese of Brownsville in 1983 and was assigned to Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, where he worked in marriage preparation and developed the healing ministry in addition to his other responsibilities. Deacon Schwarz was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Caroline, three sons and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be held throughout the day on Nov. 21 and a Rosary will be prayed in the evening at Kreidler Funeral Home in McAllen. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Nov. 22 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church followed by burial at Valley Memorial Gardens in McAllen.

Volunteers and In-Kind Donations Needed
Volunteers continue to be needed at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart Church. The center, open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., especially needs volunteers from the Rio Grande Valley who are willing to share a few hours of their time on a regular basis. Food, showers, clothing, LOVE, and compassion are offered to Central American refugees fleeing the violence in their homeland and seeking asylum in the United States. Volunteers share in God’s work and receive His grace and blessings. For more information on volunteering at the Center, call Deb Boyce at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, (956) 702-4088 (office) or (956) 292-5852 (cell).

An updated list of in-kind donations needed at the Center can be found at Items needed at this time include: Wal-Mart and HEB gift cards; coats/jackets/hoodies for children and adults; backpacks; international calling cards; new men's underwear (S and M); individually-wrapped snacks for travel bags (cheese crackers, cookies); breakfast cereal; napkins/paper towels; adult shoes (men's and women's sizes 7-9); bras/sports bras (size 34-38 A, B, C, D); newborn disposable diapers; girl's clothing (3T-4T); women's pants (size 0, 2, 4, 6, 8); men's pants (size 27, 28, 30, 32); sweatpants/sweatshirts/thermal underwear for children and adults; men's and boy's belts; gallon-size and sandwich-size zip-lock bags.

Thanks to Save The Children, we have an abundance of fleece travel blankets at this time. Because we are moving into winter, we request warm clothes donations only - no short pants or sleeveless blouses or shirts. Thank you so much for your donations of time, talents and treasures! They are greatly appreciated!
For more information on volunteering at the Center, call Deb Boyce at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley – (956) 702-4088 (office) or (956) 292-5852 (cell). The Center is located at 306 S. 15th Street at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall.

Registration Open for Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week
AMARILLO – Dec. 15, 2014, is the early registration deadline for the 53rd annual Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week, sponsored by the Diocese of Amarillo. The theme of the Study Week is “Go and Proclaim: Alive in Christ/Ve y Proclama: Vive en Cristo.”

The event, taking place in the Diocese of Amarillo for the first time since 1976, is scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 21 through Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, at the Amarillo Civic Center. Cost of the four-day event is $135 before Dec. 15 and $150 afterward. On-site registration is $165. Single day registration is $65 per person.

Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces is one of five featured speakers at the Study Week. A native Texan, Bishop Ramirez is a member of the USCCB Committee International Policy, Consultant for the USCCB Committee for Migration, and Member of the Committee on the Catholic Common Ground Initiative.

Other featured speakers include:
• Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, eighth Bishop of Amarillo
• School Sister of Notre Dame Sister Addie Lorraine Walker
• Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Brother Loughlan Sofield
• Paulist priest Father John Hurley.

Registration and additional information can be found online at

Workshop Focused on Engaging Parents in Faith Formation Set for Jan. 22
"Engaging Parents - Forming Family Faith," a national workshop by the Center for Ministry Development, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Juan Pastoral Center. This workshop will share effective ways in which parish communities are engaging parents and helping families grow in faith together.

This workshop will give leaders:
• A better understanding of today’s parents;
• Strategies for reaching out to this new breed of parents;
• Ways to support parents in deepening their own faith;
• Strategies to strengthen family faith at home and in the parish;
• Ways to involve parents in faith formation, sacramental preparation, and youth ministry;
• Strategies for engaging families through technology; and
• Strategies for motivating families to do service and outreach together.
The day begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and is followed by the workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost to attend is $54, which includes lunch and a handout packet rich in practical ideas and resources. For more information, please visit or call (956) 784-5042.

CYAM Upcoming Events

Buscadores Retreat Nov. 21-23
Register today for the upcoming Buscadores Retreat. Buscadores is a retreat in Spanish for young adults ages 25-39 scheduled Nov. 21-23 at Casa de Oracion Rosa Mistica in Brownsville. Don't miss this opportunity to pause and reflect on your faith journey with other people your age. Register before Nov. 7 at and save. Pay only $60, or $80 after the deadline. For more information and questions, please contact Raul Cabrera at or Vania Barrera at or call Campus & Young Adult Ministry at (956) 784-5093.

Read more