Weekly Update Archive

February 14, 2017


Vatican’s Ambassador to the U.S. to Celebrate Mass today at Basilica
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will celebrate Mass at 5:30 p.m. today at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine. The faithful are invited to attend.

Archbishop Pierre is visiting our diocese for the Texas-Mexico Border Bishops conference in San Juan, which began on Feb. 13 and ends on Feb. 15. About 20 bishops from both sides of the border are attending the conference.

A nuncio is a Vatican diplomat with the rank of ambassador. He is responsible for diplomatic relations with other national governments, but also serves as the pope’s representative to the church in a given country, which includes responsibility for coordinating the search for and vetting of candidates to become bishops.

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Pierre to be the apostolic nuncio to the United States on April 12, 2016. He had been the papal representative in Mexico since 2007.

During his visit, the nuncio will also visit the humanitarian respite center in McAllen and the border wall.

“I think Archbishop Pierre will be pleased to see a vibrant Church here in the Rio Grande Valley,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores said.

A native of Rennes, France, Archbishop Pierre, 71, entered diplomatic service for the Vatican in 1977, with his first post in Wellington, New Zealand. He then served in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Brazil and at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva.

In July 1995, St. John Paul II named him an archbishop and appointed him as apostolic nuncio to Haiti. He served there until 1999, and then was named nuncio to Uganda, where he stayed until 2007, when he was named nuncio to Mexico.

For years, the bishops of U.S. and Mexican dioceses along the border have met twice a year to discuss issues of mutual concern, such as immigration matters and border violence.

Training Sessions Scheduled in Preparation of V Encuentro
To prepare for the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, one date remains this month for training parish teams and lay ecclesial movements: Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen. The session is from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is bilingual.

For more information about the training, please call Deacon Luis Zuniga at (956) 784-5059.

The main goal of the V Encuentro is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence, and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the entire Church.

For additional information regarding the V Encuentro process, please follow the link: http://vencuentro.org/

The parish manual (English and Spanish) is available at this link: http://vencuentro.org/v-encuentro-documents/

Weslaco Parishes Sponsor Marian Event
St. Joan of Arc Parish, St. Pius X Parish and San Martin de Porres Parish have joined forces for a Marian Event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 at the St. Joan of Arc Parish Hall, located on the corner of East 2nd Street and South Illinois Avenue in Weslaco. The featured speaker will be theologian and author Dr. Edward Sri, who will speak on the topic, “Mary & the Bible: What Catholics Really Believe.” The event is open to the public. The cost is $5. Register online at www.rgvcmf.org

Mobile Journalism Workshop, Challenge Feb. 18
The Valley Catholic newspaper is partnering up with local media professionals and hosting a Mobile Journalism Workshop and Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Brenda Nettles Riojas, editor of The Valley Catholic and diocesan relations director for the diocese of Brownsville, said the MOJO workshop and challenge in the Rio Grande Valley was inspired by a MoJo Challenge in Budapest, which focused on using the smartphone to tell stories. “Our goal is to help build a team of citizen journalists who can share local stories,” she said.

After attending RTE MoJoCon, an international mobile journalism conference in Dublin, Ireland last year, Riojas said she is inspired to share with others what she learned.

The workshop begins at 9 a.m. in the St. Peter Classroom at the Diocese of Brownsville Pastoral Center in San Juan, 700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd. Participants must have a smart phone or tablet to benefit fully from the workshop.

Workshop sessions include the basics of photography, the art of storytelling, interview skills and an overview of editing apps and mobile journalism tools.

Participants will be challenged to produce a two-to-three-minute news report using only their smart phones or tablets. Registration is $25. For more information, call (956) 536-4866 or (956) 784-5055.

A Biblical Walk-Through the Mass: Understanding what we say and do in the liturgy
Conference Aims to Provide Deeper Understanding of the Holy Mass
Do you ever wish you could get more out of Mass? Discover how all the prayers, symbols, and rituals in the liturgy can come alive for us today once we understand their Biblical roots. From the Sign of the Cross and the Gloria to the Eucharistic prayers and Holy Communion, join us for a one-day Catholic conference for a Biblical tour of the Mass and learn the profound meaning of what we are really saying and doing each week as we participate in these sacred mysteries.

The conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by Mass at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, 1108 W. Hackberry Ave., in McAllen. Featured speakers include Bishop Daniel E. Flores; Father Carlos Zuniga, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Weslaco; Deacon Luis Zuniga, director of the Office for Pastoral Planning & San Juan Diego Ministry Institute for the diocese; and Dr. Edward Sri, a theologian, author and Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN. The conference, which is open to men, women and teenagers, will also feature an exhibit of Eucharistic miracles from around the world.

The cost to attend is $10 and includes lunch. Online registration is required www.rgvcmf.org. Visit the event Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/1137753486339765/ for additional information.

Queen of Peace Parish to Host Mass and Healing Service
Father Michael Barry of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary (ss.cc.) will celebrate a Mass and healing service at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Queen of Peace Church in Harlingen. All are invited to attend.

Father Barry was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, and currently resides in San Bernadino, Calif. He is active in retreat work and teaches workshops on healing and charismatic spirituality. Father Barry has a scripture-based radio ministry and is co-founder and president of Mary’s Mercy Center, an outreach feeding program for the poor and homeless, and Veronica’s Home of Mercy, a home for unwed mothers and their children.

For more information, contact Queen of Peace Church at (956) 423-6341.

MetLife Representative Available for Consultation Feb. 22-23
Mike Gonzalez, representative for MetLife/Mass Mutual, will be in the Rio Grande Valley for his quarterly visit. He will be at San Martin de Porres School in Weslaco from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and at St. Anthony School in Harlingen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. If you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss, please stop by to visit with him.

40 Days for Life Campaign Kicks off Feb. 26
The 40 Days for Life campaign is an international effort to end abortion through prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach. Pro-life warriors in the Rio Grande Valley will be uniting with many others from coast to coast – and internationally – for a major simultaneous pro-life mobilization throughout the season of Lent. The campaign runs from Wednesday, March 1 through Sunday, April 9. Vigils will be held daily outside of the McAllen abortion facility from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A kickoff event is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, in front of the McAllen City Hall. For the first time, the 40 Days for Life national tour bus will be stopping in the Rio Grande Valley “to motivate, encourage and strengthen us,” said Edwin Rodriguez, one of the coordinators of the local 40 Days for Life campaign.

For more information, please contact Edwin and Rosita Rodriguez at (956) 279-1349 or (956) 250-1740 or visit https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/mcallen/


Valley Catholics Invited to Travel to Austin for Advocacy Day
Catholics from across the Lone Star State will unite for the Texas Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day on Tuesday, April 4 at the State Capitol in Austin.

The biennial rally, hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference, promotes the Church’s values of life, justice, charity and religious freedom to the Texas Legislature.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley is organizing a bus trip to Austin for the rally. The trip is free and open to anyone who is interested in standing up for the Church’s values.

Those interested in attending the rally are strongly encouraged to attend an information session to discuss the issues and review the logistics of the trip.

The first information session is set for 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center at the San Juan Pastoral Center, 700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd. in San Juan.

To travel to Austin with the Diocese of Brownsville delegation, call Simon (956) 702-4088. To learn more about the Texas Catholic Conference, visit www.txcatholic.org

Family Life Office Offers Marriage Building Program
Initiated in Dallas by doctors Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt, the “Safe Conversations Workshop” helps couples connect with each other and in doing so creates better relationships and better lives for them. They teach people how to have an effective – and safe – conversation in which understanding the nature of difference in our relationships is a key element. The workshop will be presented by Dana Nygaard, a couples therapist and counselor from Plano.

The workshop, which is open to all married couples, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center in San Juan and is sponsored by the Family Life Office of the Diocese of Brownsville.

The fee for this program is $30 per couple to cover the cost of materials and meals. For information and registration, please contact the Family Life Office from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (956) 784-5012 or (956) 542-2501 ext. 412.

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.

Queen of Peace Parish Offers CD of Local Religious Music
The Music Ministry at Queen of Peace Parish in Harlingen would like to invite you to enjoy a CD of original and traditional liturgical music, in English and Spanish, recorded and produced here in the Valley. Many of the selections were composed and written by our music coordinator, Nez Marcelo. Some of the songs can be previewed on YouTube by searching for “Come & Rejoice” and “A Pesar de Todo”. The CD is available by contacting Nez Marcelo at (956) 423-6341.

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. 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. 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.

Holy Land Pilgrimage, “Walk with Jesus” Scheduled for May 29-June 7
Join the Holy Land Pilgrimage, “Walk with Jesus,” May 29-June 7 (10 days). Price of $3,030 includes taxes and three 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 at (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. .

• Multi-Parish Accounting, Parish/School Accounting – Diocese of Brownsville, San Juan Pastoral Center. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Genie Treviño, director of human resources, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Grants writer - Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, San Juan Office. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Edna Garcia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Campus & Young Adult Ministry Assistant – Diocese of Brownsville. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Raul Cabrera, director of the Office of Campus & Young Adult Ministry, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 bookkeeping practices and procedures
• Accuracy and attention to detail is absolutely required, as well as a track record of conscientious work habits
Job duties:
• 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
• Feb. 14 – Mass celebrated by Vatican ambassador to the U.S. at the basilica
• Feb. 14 – Train the Trainers Course, Protecting God’s Children at San Juan Pastoral Center (Madonna Room)
• Feb. 17 – Marian Event sponsored by Weslaco Parishes at St. Joan of Arc Parish
• Feb. 18 – Mobile Journalism Workshop, Challenge at San Juan Pastoral Center (St. Peter Classroom)
• Feb. 18 – Catholic Conference at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, McAllen
• Feb. 18 – Healing Service at Queen of Peace Parish, Harlingen

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) 7

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

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