Weekly Update Archive

January 3, 2017


The Feast of the Epiphany is Sunday, Jan. 8
Families practice Epiphany tradition - The Chalking of the Door
For centuries, it has been the practice of Christians to have their homes blessed either before or just after moving in to protect the home and its inhabitants.

Many families have also adopted the tradition of blessing the home annually on the Epiphany or Three Kings Day by “chalking the door.” It’s another opportunity for families to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home.

A traditional way of doing this (adapted for 2017) is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 17. The letters C, M, B are significant for two reasons: they are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in his first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat,

“May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2017 is the year.

Father Gregory T. Labus, pastor of St. Joseph Church and School in Edinburg, promotes the custom of the chalking of the door among his parishioners.

“Since the Second Vatican Council, we’ve kind of gotten away from some of these traditions,” Father Labus said. “It’s an opportunity for the family to come together and pray. We often remind families to pray together because everybody is so busy. They have five million things going and sometimes, prayer gets pushed to the side.

“And how many times do we tell kids, ‘don’t write on the wall.’ On this occasion, they can. Kids love this kind of thing.”

The practice of chalking the door can also be extended to workplaces, dorm rooms, rooms at long-term care facilities, businesses and even schools. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily presence in our dwellings, to impart his blessings on our relationships and conversations as well as our work, play and rest.

Juan Diego Academy Plans Homecoming Mass
Juan Diego Academy in Mission invites all alumni and parents of alumni to its Homecoming Mass and Reception at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at the school. For more information, call (956) 583-2752.

Filipino Community Plans Mass for Feast of Santo Niño
Bishop Daniel E. Flores will celebrate Mass for the Filipino community on the feast of Santo Niño at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15 at St. Anne Parish in Peñitas.

A Sinulog procession with the image of the Santo Niño around the outside perimeter of the church will kick off the festivities, followed by the Mass and an outdoor celebration with food and entertainment.

The feast of Santo Niño marks the arrival of the Christian faith into the Philippines in 1521, when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan offered the gift of a statue of the Child Jesus to Lady Humamay after her conversion to the Christian faith. Lady Humamay was the principal wife of Rajah Humabon, the chieftain of Cebu, Philippines.

Appeal Update and Refresher Course Scheduled for January
The Office of Stewardship & Development is hosting an Annual Diocesan Appeal Update and Refresher Course. The sessions will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Bishop Marx Auditorium of the San Juan Pastoral Center and Saturday, Jan. 21 at Christ the King Parish Hall in Brownsville. Refreshment will be provided. Please RSVP for planning purposes.

The Annual Diocesan Appeal runs through Dec. 31, 2017. For more information, call (956) 784-5095.

Hospital Pastoral Care Volunteer Training Set for Jan. 21
The Office of Health Ministry will be holding a training for anyone interested in becoming a Volunteer Chaplain at one of our local hospitals. It will be offered in English and Spanish. This training will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in the Madonna Room of the Catholic Pastoral Center in San Juan. The English session will be from 8 a.m. to noon and the Spanish session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This training is free but you must RSVP by calling (956) 784-5007.

Entrenamiento para Capellán Voluntario de Hospital Programada
La Oficina del Ministerio de la Salud ofrecerá un entrenamiento para todo aquel que tenga interés en ayudar como Capellán Voluntario en alguno de nuestros hospitales locales. Se ofrecerá en inglés y español. El entrenamiento se llevará a cabo el sábado, 21 de enero, 2017 en el Salón Madonna dentro del Centro Pastoral Católico en San Juan. La sesión en ingles será de 8:00 am – 12: 00 mediodía y la sesión en español será de 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. El entrenamiento es gratis pero se requiere que avise de antemano su participación llamando al 784-5007.

Seventh Annual Divine Mercy Conference Scheduled for Jan. 28
Fountain of Mercy Ministries invites the faithful to its annual conference on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Weslaco Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6:45 a.m. for the all-day event. Speakers include Bishop Daniel E. Flores; Father Michael Gaitley of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, director of evangelization at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.; and Dr. Gregory Popcak, author of numerous books and programs that integrate Catholic theology and counseling psychology. Early registration is $25. For more information or to register, visit www.fomm.us

Mother/Daughter Program Set for Jan. 28
Registration is underway for the Mother/Daughter Program scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28. The purpose of the Mother/Daughter Program is to provide an atmosphere of love and learning to discuss the important topic of growing up. This program is provided to help Mothers and their daughters (ages 10-12) establish a foundation for continued communication between each other, while emphasizing the values of respect, understanding, and appreciation for God’s gifts. The program is presented by the Diocese of Brownsville Family Life Office in two sessions: a morning session in English and an afternoon session in Spanish.

The Mother/Daughter Program explores God’s special gift of human fertility and the beauty and wonder of God’s plan for growing up and becoming a woman. Some of the topics presented during this session discuss the changes in a girl’s body as it prepares for motherhood; the onset of ovulation and subsequent menstrual periods; the functions of the female reproductive system; the sacredness of human life; the virtue of chastity; reverence for our sexuality, and a confidential question and answer segment.

Location: Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center
700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd, San Juan, TX 78589 (on Raul Longoria across from Stripes)
Time: 9 a.m. to noon (English); 2 to 5 p.m. (Español)

Call the Family Life Office at (956) 784-5012 for more information.


Registration Open for World Marriage Day Celebration on Feb. 11
World Marriage Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 in honor of the couples who are celebrating a wedding anniversary of 10, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 or more than 60 years during 2017. All couples are cordially invited to attend a special bilingual Mass on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine. Bishop Daniel E. Flores is scheduled to celebrate the Mass of Thanksgiving for couples who bear witness to God’s love through their love and commitment to each other through the Sacrament of Matrimony.

To register for this event, the couples who are interested in attending need to call the Family Life Office at (956) 784-5012 or 542-2501 ext. 412 as soon as possible.

Protecting God’s Children
Train the Trainers Course to be Offered
Walter Lukaszek will offer a “Train the Trainers for Protecting God’s Children,” for those interested in becoming facilitators in your parish from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 11 or Feb. 14 at the Bishop Fitzpatrick building, Madonna Room in San Juan. There is no charge. Reservations are required so that appropriate handouts are available. Please register by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Walter Lukaszek (956) 457-0010 (cell).

Save the date
Fifth Annual Diocesan Stewardship Conference Slated for March
The Office of Stewardship & Development has announced the Fifth Annual Stewardship Conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3 at the Bishop Marx Auditorium of the San Juan Pastoral Center. For more information, call (956) 784-5095.

Join Us for TVC Live Every Tuesday at Noon
The communications team for the Diocese of Brownsville is bringing you the latest news from around the diocese during TVC Live, a 15-minute program featured on the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville Facebook page, @CatholicRGV, every Tuesday at noon. The show features stories, interviews and highlights. We also invite you to send us your photos for use in a Photos of the Week segment. They may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Protecting God’s Children Announcement
The diocesan plan is for all people who work with children to have viewed the safety awareness DVD: “Protecting God’s Children,” to submit to a DPS background check, and sign the code of ethics. This now needs to be refreshed/redone every five years. Second, religious education leaders are to plan and present a “Touching Safety” lesson during both the fall and spring to all children from kindergarten to 12th grade. Finally, parishes will present safety awareness material to all parents who have their children in either the First Communion or Confirmation classes. If you have questions or need material, please contact Walter Lukaszek at (956) 457-0010 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Protecting God’s Children 3.0 is now available in both DVD and a flash drive. The price for either is $35. It has both the English and Spanish programs. If you need the teaching notes, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Keeping the Promise Alive has an updated DVD that reinforces PGC 3.0. Using the original DVD still has the important information that we wish to share with parents and is used as an annual refresher for Religious Education teachers and volunteers. It has both the English and Spanish programs. The price is $15.00. If you need the teaching notes, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Touching Safety is still in the original DVD format, five minute “ice breakers” for lessons 1 to 8. It has both the English and Spanish programs. The price is $15.00. If you need complete copies of the lesson plans from K-12, email Walter ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Programming Note: Diocese Insight Airs on Sunday Mornings
Diocese Insight, a half-hour interview program hosted by Brenda Nettles Riojas, Diocesan Relations Director and editor of The Valley Catholic, airs at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays on Channel 38.1 or Cable Channel 10. For more information on Diocese Insight, call (956) 784-5008.

Edinburg Parish Organizes Spring Break Pilgrimage to Mexico City
Holy Family Church in Edinburg is leading a five-day pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and other spiritual and historical sites on March 13-17, 2017. Pilgrims from other parishes are invited to participate. The pilgrimage is being planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Holy Family Church. The cost is $615 per person (double occupancy) and $775 (single) and includes round-trip chartered coach transportation to Reynosa airport; round trip air from Reynosa to Mexico City; bilingual, licensed tour guide; five meals; guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees; charter coach transportation for all land touring and more. For more information, contact Al Flores at (956) 383-5472.

8-Day Lenten Mexico Pilgrimage Set for March 18-25
Sacred Heart Parish in Elsa is organizing an eight-day pilgrimage to Mexico, March 18-25, 2017. The cost per person is $882.00 and includes round-trip airfare (double occupancy). The tour will include stops in Mexico City, Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, Sahuayo, Ocotlan, Tonola, San Juan de los Lagos and Guanajuato. For more information, contact Sacred Heart Church (956) 262-1406.

Holy Land Pilgrimage, “Walk with Jesus” Scheduled for May 29-Jun 7
Join the Holy Land Pilgrimage, “Walk with Jesus”, May 29-Jun 7 (10 days). Price of $3,030 includes taxes and 3 meals daily, 4-Star Hotels, guides, A/C bus. Daily Eucharist and hosted by Spiritual Companions, Sisters Therese Ann Ridge (956-342-8881) and Emma Marie Stillman (956-342-1399). Call or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Church Furniture for Sale in Lyford
St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Sebastian, a mission of Prince of Peace Parish in Lyford is selling 30 solid oak pews. Inquire with Gloria C. Cortez (956) 347-3580.

School Bus for Sale
Juan Diego Academy, a Catholic regional high school in Mission, is selling a used, 20-passenger, 2003 Chevy Bluebird yellow school bus. The bus has a 6.5 liter engine, automatic transmission (recently rebuilt), and no accidents. Odometer reading: 61,614. All licensing and inspections current. Tires, brakes, and shocks in good working order. Interested parties should contact Bob Schmidt at 583-2752.

Job Openings
Full-time maintenance person (housing project) - La Merced Homes, Mercedes. Interested qualified candidates may be referred to Irma Arriaga at (956) 565-2622 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Communications Associate
Location of Position: San Pedro Building, San Juan
Position: Communications Associate
Classification: Part time – Non-exempt (20 hours)
Supervisor: Director of Communications

Job Summary: Reporting to the Director of Communications, the Communications Associate will be responsible for tracking stories in the news media and generating the weekly news clips report for the diocesan distribution list. The Communications Associate will research, fact-check and proof materials created by staff and under the guidance of the director, field media inquiries, draft media advisories and press releases for public dissemination. Additionally, the Communications Associate will assist with advance and on-site event support at diocesan events.

McAllen Pregnancy Center Seeks Part-Time Bookkeeper
The McAllen Pregnancy Center, a Catholic, pro-life facility that serves families experiencing a crisis pregnancy, is currently seeing a part-time bookkeeper. Interested, qualified candidates may email résumés to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Two or more years of bookkeeping experience and overall proficiency in technology
• Payroll skills and use of common bookkeeping software is required. Previous experience in accounting and Quick Books.
• Strong knowledge of booking practices and procedures
• Accuracy and attention to detail is absolutely required, as well as a track record of conscientious work habits
• Make all deposits and pay bills
• Prepare and present financial reports for monthly board meetings
• Make ACH transactions via internet
• Order and maintain supplies necessary for the use of the Center
• Acknowledge all donations with a written thank you
• Keep a current record of all benefactors
• Assist with all fundraising events

Calendar of Events
Jan. 4 – Juan Diego Academy Homecoming Mass
Jan. 8 – Feast of the Epiphany

Submit information to be included in the Weekly Update to Brenda Nettles Riojas, Director of Diocesan Relations by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by fax to (956) 784-5082.

Diocesan Relations
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
700 N. Virgen de San Juan
San Juan, TX 78589

Phone:(956) 784-5008
Director: Brenda Nettles Riojas