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Diocese plans celebration for 50th Anniversary of Charismatic Movement This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement. Read the Full Story
Month of Mary SAN JUAN – Once a year each May, young Catholic students across the United States honor Mary the Mother of Jesus with reverence, prayer and joyful celebration. Read the Full Story
Four-year 'encuentro' process begins in U.S. WASHINGTON — In Spanish, the word "encuentro" means encounter and in the modern church in the U.S., it refers to a series of meetings that will take place over the next four years aimed at getting to know Latinos and producing more involvement in the church of its second largest and fastest growing community. Read the Full Story

An Evening of Grace

EWTN host to speak at Women's Conference

The Valley Catholic

The Real Men Pray the Rosary apostolate is sponsoring, “An Evening of Grace,” featuring Johnnette S. Benkovic, host and executive producer of, “Women of Grace,” a daily television program on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

The event is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo del Prado in Edinburg. Admission is $10 and the proceeds will benefit the Real Men Pray the Rosary apostolate, which promotes the praying of the Holy Rosary, other forms of prayer, family and community.

Benkovic is also the founder and president of the Women of Grace Catholic apostolate for women, which features a number of outreaches, including a study program, conferences and media.

Benkovic has also authored several books and is the host of a live, call-in radio talk show, which airs on Sirius radio and on select radio stations across the country.

Benkovic said that she is very encouraged by what she has seen in her interactions with women all over the world.

“I believe that our Blessed Lady is raising up an army of holy women who will form her Immaculate Heart in the world today,” Benkovic said in a telephone interview with The Valley Catholic.

“I want to talk about how women are being called to be a part of this holy army; what it takes to be a member of this holy army and how it is that Our Lady forms us to be a member of this holy army and the impact on the culture of the day through this holy army if we move in the footsteps of Our Lady. And that’s the work that I’m really about. That’s the heart and soul of what we’re about.”

Benkovic has experienced many successes in her professional life but on the personal side, her family has endured great challenges. Benkovic’s son, Simon, died in an auto accident in 2004, just days after returning from a deployment in Iraq with the Army. Soon after, her husband of 33 years, Anthony, died of brain cancer.

Through these tragedies, Benkovic says she was strengthened by her faith, family, friends and many prayers.

The Valley Catholic: What is one main issue on the minds of Catholic women?

Benkovic: So many Catholic women are really searching to find what is their specific gift or charism through their femininity that can bring a message of hope, a message of healing, that they themselves can be an instrument for both of those in the world today.

TVC: Women wear so many hats today – wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, friend …

Benkovic: Throughout the number of years that I have been in ministry to women, I have discovered that so many of the women have found themselves wanting in so many areas. So many of them have felt that they have lost their identities somewhere in the midst of the voices of the day that seek to convince them that woman can find fulfillment only through the cultural mindset. This cultural mindset works against women in that it doesn’t promote the  most  central  aspect  of  their being — and  that  central  aspect of their being is to bring life into the  world,  life  biologically  and physically. The world has convinced woman that she has got to close off the most important part of her being if she wants to succeed. And for the past 40 years at least, women have listened to that voice and they have found themselves in the end, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, often times in a state of depression, many times feeling quite beside themselves and not knowing what the problem is.

TVC:  Tell us about how the Lord called you to Catholic media. Were you in the secular media?

Benkovic:  I was not  in  the secular media. I have worked as a high school English teacher and as an insurance agent. In 1987, I was asked to host a radio program on our local diocesan station. When I said, “yes” to that, the Lord began to open up the doors and within a  year, I was doing   television programming   for EWTN.     My motto and method of discernment has always been, “Lord, I will walk through every door that you open for me but I’m not going to bang on the door because I don’t want it to be about my will, I want it to be about you. So if you open the door, I know I should walk through it.”

Weekly Update

May 23, 2017


Save the date
Diocese plans celebration for 50th Anniversary of Charismatic Movement
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, the largest approved ecclesial movement of the Catholic Church. Estimated to have reached at least 120 million Catholics throughout the world, the movement is fully Catholic and also fully charismatic. The movement emphasizes a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and the charismas and gifts of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, including the gift of tongues, healing and prophecy.

A diocesan celebration on Pentecost Sunday will bring all parish charismatic groups from throughout the diocese together, ending with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel E. Flores at 5:30 p.m. June 4. The diocesan event begins at 1 p.m. and continues through 7 p.m. at Weslaco East High School.

All priests and deacons are invited to concelebrate; please bring red stole.

Martin Valverde in Concert July 18 in McAllen
International Catholic musician Martin Valverde will perform at 6:15 p.m. July 18 at the McAllen Convention Center. Valverde has been involved in the Charismatic Renewal movement since 1979. Tickets for “The Concert of Mercy,” sponsored by Holy Rosary Church in Mission, are $10-$25 at Ticketmaster, or call (956) 617-0444 or (956) 581-2183.

Bulletin announcement
Help the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville Reach 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook
Did you know the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville has a Facebook page?

Our goal is to reach 10,000 “likes” on Facebook by the end of the summer. If you are a Facebook user and have not “liked” us yet, please do so at

Liking us on Facebook is a great way to stay connected to the bishop and be informed about diocesan news, events and services through updates, photos, live broadcasts and videos.

For more information about our social media presence, email Rose Ybarra at or call (956) 784-5009.

Join Our Communications Team
If you enjoy taking photos and video, we invite you to share your talents. We are looking for a videographer to help us cover different events in the Diocese of Brownsville and provide training for our mobile journalists. Our next big event, which we plan to stream live, is the ordination of two new priests scheduled on Saturday, June 10.

Please email Brenda Nettles Riojas at or call Paul Binz at (956) 784-5055.

Turn in Your Rice Bowl Donations
As you finalize your Lenten alms and collection, please make sure to route all CRS Rice Bowl offerings through Diocesan Accounting with Joel Ruiz at 1910 W. University Blvd., Brownsville, TX 78520. Please send one check per parish payable to Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. Remember that 75 percent of CRS Rice Bowl collections is sent to CRS and 25 percent stays here to help the poor and vulnerable locally through Catholic Charities.

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. For more information, call (956) 784-5009.

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

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

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

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 (

Religious Education staff may now download the touching safety lessons from the CDOB web site:

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.

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

Trip to Fatima and the Holy Land
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s appearance in Fatima, Portugal. Father Artemio Jacob of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in McAllen will be leading a tour group to Fatima and the Holy Land this June. The tour, which leaves from McAllen, runs from June 5-16 and will cost $4,095.

For more information, call Father Artemio at (956) 437-1703.

Marian Sanctuaries Pilgrimage Scheduled July 3-8
Our Lady, Queen of Angels Catholic Church in La Joya, under the spiritual direction of Father Jesse Garza, is organizing a pilgrimage to some of the most important Marian Shrines in Mexico from July 3-8. The pilgrimage includes airfare from Reynosa. We will visit Guadalupe, San Juan de Los Lagos, Cristo Rey, San Miguel Allende, Convento de la Santa Cruz, Schoenstatt, etc. Price is $850. A passport is required.

For more information, call the parish office at (956) 585-5223 or Aida at (956) 227-8192.

Road to Mercy Pilgrimage includes visits to Poland, Czech Republic & Germany
Father Gregory Labus, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Edinburg, is leading a 10-day Road to Mercy pilgrimage from July 10-20 that will include visits to Poland, Czech Republic and Germany. The trip price of $3,795 includes flights from McAllen, four-star hotels, breakfast and dinner included and deluxe motor coach transportation.

For more information, call (956) 383-3728 or email

Getting to Know Peru in October
Father Francisco J. Solis, pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Weslaco, will be leading a pilgrimage to Peru Oct. 8-19. Visit the land of St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres, with Mass every day and stops in Lima, Arequipa, Colca, Cusco, Valle Sagrado and Machu Picchu. Includes airfare from Reynosa to Lima, ground transportation, hotels and all meals except on the days of departure and return, plus train fare and entry to Machu Picchu. Cost is $3,800 per person, double occupancy. For more information, call Ms. Briones at (956) 369-6797.

Job Openings
• Middle School social studies teacher – St. Anthony Catholic School, Harlingen. Must hold valid credentials. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Kathy Stapleton, principal at
• Elementary School self-contained classroom teacher – St. Anthony Catholic School, Harlingen. Must hold valid credentials. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Kathy Stapleton, principal at
• Maintenance Person - El Rosario Homes is accepting employment applications for a full-time maintenance person. Contact Raquel Turrubiates at (956) 585-5051.
• Multi-parish Accountant - Parish/School Accounting, San Juan Office. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Genie Treviño at
• Middle School language arts teacher – Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School, McAllen. Applications may be obtained at the school office, 1100 Gumwood Ave. in McAllen.
• Elementary School self-contained classroom teacher – Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School, McAllen. Applications may be obtained at the school office, 1100 Gumwood Ave. in McAllen.
• Maintenance Person - La Merced housing development is accepting employment applications for a full-time (40-hour) maintenance person for carpentry, electrical, plumbing and general repairs. To apply, contact Irma Arriaga at La Merced Homes by email at or call (956) 565-2622; fax: 956-565-4185.
• Multi-parish Pastoral Associate - The Diocese of Brownsville is accepting employment applications for two full-time multi-parish pastoral associates — one to serve the Upper and another the Lower Valley. Both positions will be based out of the San Juan Pastoral Center. Satellite offices at parishes may also be available. Applications will be accepted until June 15. Positions are available as of July 1. Interested candidates may send in their applications/resumes to
• Middle School social studies teacher – St. Joseph Catholic School, Edinburg. Bilingual endorsement required. Must have 18 hours content in social studies. Turn in résumé and college degree transcript with application, which may be picked up at the school, 119 W. Fay St. in Edinburg.
• Parish Catechetical Leader – Mary, Mother of the Church is seeking a full-time Parish Catechetical Leader with strong knowledge and practice of the Catholic faith. Please come by the parish office for a job description and an application. St. Mary’s office hours at 1914 Barnard Road in Brownsville are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday or call for more information at (956) 546-3800.
• School Secretary – St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Edinburg needs a school secretary. Experience preferred. Applications can be picked up at the school, 119 W. Fay St. in Edinburg.

Calendar of Events
• May 25 – Oratory Athenaeum commencement
• May 26 – Juan Diego Academy commencement
• May 29 – Diocesan offices are closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.
• May 31 – St. Joseph Academy commencement

Submit information to be included in the Weekly Update to Brenda Nettles Riojas, Director of Diocesan Relations, by e-mail at or by fax to (956) 784-5082.