The Valley Catholic
A rich and deep tradition of the Catholic faith has endured in the Rio Grande Valley for almost 500 years.
The first seeds of the Catholic faith were planted in 1519 in the time of the Spanish Conquistadores. An expedition under the command of a Spanish captain named Alonso Alvarez de Pineda brought the first Catholics to the Gulf Coast Area.
The teachings, rituals and customs of the Catholic Church have been handed down continuously from generation to generation, fulfilling the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles and to us.
Today, the Diocese of Brownsville includes more than a million Catholics, who worship in 71 parishes and 44 missions.
The Catholic faith may be deeply rooted in the Valley’s history and culture, but its diocese is young. While the area was part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsville from 1874 to 1912, the Diocese of Brownsville was established on July 10, 1965 by Pope Paul VI. The ninth diocese in Texas was formed by detaching four counties – Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr – from the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
The Golden Anniversary of the diocese will be celebrated with several events throughout 2015.
The Family Life Office and Young Adult Ministry Office of the diocese are co-sponsoring one-day pilgrimages of historical sites on Feb. 28, June 13, Aug. 1 and Oct. 24.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores is scheduled to celebrate an open air Mass at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 in front of the mosaic at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine. The event is open to the public and will serve as the principal event of the Jubilee Year.
Vespers for clergy and religious will be prayed at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville.First Bishop: Most Rev. Adolph Marx
Second Bishop: Most Rev. Humberto Medeiros
Third Bishop: Most Rev. John Joseph Fitzpatrick
Fourth Bishop: Most Rev. Enrique San Pedro
Fifth Bishop: Most Rev. Raymundo J. Peña
The first parish
Island named for local missionary
Cavalry of Christ
The Valley Catholic 50th Anniversary Special Issue
Adolph Marx, who had formerly served as auxiliary bishop to Bishop Mariano S. Garriga of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, was the first bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville.
He was the bishop of our diocese for only two months when he died unexpectedly at the age of 50.
Shortly after his installation at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville on Sept. 2, 1965, Bishop Marx left for Rome to attend the meetings of the Second Vatican Council. During a break, he traveled to Germany to visit relatives. He died of a heart attack on Nov. 1, 1965 in his parents’ home in Cologne, Germany.
“His death was a great shock,” said Msgr. Patrick Doherty, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brownsville who served as a pallbearer at Bishop Marx’s funeral. “He seemed to be in good shape.”
Msgr. Doherty first met Bishop Marx in 1955 when he moved to Texas from his native Ireland. At that time, the Rio Grande Valley was part of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
“Bishop Marx was serving as auxiliary bishop of Corpus Christi and had an office at the cathedral,” Msgr. Doherty said. “We would see him around the diocese. He would do some of the confirmations.”
Msgr. Doherty continued, “Bishop Marx was strict, but kind, friendly and fair. He lived by the rules. Whenever an issue came up that had to be solved, he went by the book.”
Bishop Marx was born on Feb. 2, 1915 in Cologne, Germany. Bishop Emmanuel Boleslaus Ledvina, who was the bishop of Corpus Christi from 1921 to 1949, was celebrating Mass at a church in Cologne when he met the young Bishop Marx.
“Bishop Marx was working as an altar server or a sacristan when he met Bishop Ledvina,” Msgr. Doherty recalled. “Bishop Ledvina brought Bishop Marx to the Diocese of Corpus Christi as a seminarian.”
Bishop Marx moved to Texas from Germany sight unseen and was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Corpus Christi on May 2, 1940.
Before he was appointed auxiliary bishop, Bishop Marx was mostly assigned to parishes in Laredo, which was also part of the Diocese of Corpus Christi at the time.
Bishop Marx's motto: "Love is the fulfilling of the law."
Story by The Valley Catholic
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville 50th Anniversary 1910 University Blvd. Brownsville, TX 78520 Phone: (956) 542-2501
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