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Lenten Guidelines 2017 Here you will find Lenten guidelines from the Office of the Bishop. Listed first is the English version of the guidelines for fasting, followed by the Spanish version and finally, the Lenten guidelines for liturgy planners and Church staff.  Read the Full Story
Prayer warriors needed The 40 Days for Life campaign is an international effort to end abortion through prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach.  Read the Full Story
Faith in Action 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. Read the Full Story
YouthBLAST 2017 All high school students from the diocese are invited to attend the YouthBLAST conference “Restless.” St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless, until it rests in you.” Read the Full Story
Diocese preparing for V Encuentro BALTIMORE — The Catholic Church in the United States is gearing up for the fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, to be held in September 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. 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

March 14, 2017


Our condolences
Msgr. Agostinho S. Pacheco, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brownsville, passed away on March 14, 2017 at the age of 83.

He retired from active service on Sept. 11, 2007, but remained involved in the diocese until just weeks before his death. Msgr. Pacheco most recently served as a hospital chaplain at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg.

Msgr. Pacheco arrived in our diocese in 1969 from the Diocese of Fall River, Mass. His first assignment was at St. Anthony Parish in Harlingen. He also served at Christ the King Parish in Brownsville; St. Joseph Parish in Alamo; Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen; St. Joseph the Worker Parish in McAllen and Our Lady Queen of the Universe in San Benito.

His last assignment was as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen, where he served for 14 years.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

• A viewing will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 1108 W. Hackberry Ave. in McAllen with a Rosary Service at 7:00 p.m.

• The funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. - Friday, March 17, 2017 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen.

Interment will take place in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Spring Concert: An Evening of Christian Music
Holy Family Church is presenting a free outdoor concert from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at 1302 E. Champion St. in Edinburg, featuring Spirit and Fire (Brothers in Christ), JesTus Brothers, and All for God (AFG).

All are invited to come and enjoy an evening of great Christian music. It will be a night of family and friends growing in faith, hope and love through songs.

Bring your lawn chairs and join us for some great Christian music. There will be food vendors and concert T-shirt sales.

For more information, call the parish office at (956) 383-5472.

Prayer Warriors Needed for 40 Days for Life Campaign
The 40 Days for Life campaign runs through Sunday, April 9. Vigils will be held daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. outside of the McAllen abortion facility. More prayer warriors are needed to ensure that the sidewalk is covered throughout the campaign.

A Mid-Point Rally will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 19 at Dr. Juan Campos’ parking lot south of W. Houston Ave., between Main & 15th Street, McAllen

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.

For more information, please contact Edwin and Rosita Rodriguez at (956) 279-1349 or (956) 250-1740 or visit

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. Event participants will address a broad range of diverse issues to their state senators and representatives.

The Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville and his brother bishops from around the state will also lead a gathering on the Capitol steps.

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. A training session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, March 17 at the Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center in San Juan where Michael Barba of the Texas Catholic Conference will present the issues and the Church’s goals for the 85th Legislative Session.

For additional information, call Simon Casas at (956) 702-4088. To learn more about the Texas Catholic Conference, visit

Los Católicos de Texas Se Reunirán Para El Día de Abogar 2017
Acompaña al Reverendo Obispo Daniel E. Flores, de la Diócesis de Brownsville, y hermanos católicos de Texas en la Capital en Austin para promover la vida, la dignidad y el bien común, el 4 de Abril de 2017. Este evento bienal es organizado por los Obispos de Texas para promover los valores de la iglesia a los miembros de la Legislatura número 85 de Texas. Los participantes del evento discutieran una variedad de diversos temas a sus senadores y representantes estatales.

Una sesión de entrenamiento para todos los interesados en participar en Día de Abogar 2017 está programada para el 24 de Marzo 2017 en el Centro de Conferencia Obispo Adolfo Marx (700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd.-San Juan, TX 78589) de 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Un
presentación en los temas y el objetivo de la sesión Legislativa número 85 presentado por Michael Barba de TCC. Para más información, comunicarse con la Hermana Norma Pimentel o Simon Casas al (956) 702-4088.

Brownsville’s Mary, Mother of the Church Parish Marks Half a Century
Mary, Mother of the Church Parish celebrates 50 years of being a community of faith in Brownsville. Two major events will mark the occasion. The first, a dinner fundraiser, is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23. Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased at the church office. Then on Saturday, March 25, parishioners will gather for Mass at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow immediately afterwards. We would be honored by your presence at these events and, more importantly, humbled by your prayers on our behalf.

‘Restless’ One-Day High School Conference Set for April 8
All high school students from the diocese are invited to attend the YouthBLAST conference “Restless.” St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless, until it rests in you.” The conference will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Weslaco East High School, 810 S. Pleasantview Dr. in Weslaco.

Please contact your parish youth coordinator or your parish DRE / CRE to register. The cost to attend is $20. For more information or download forms, visit or call the Office of Youth Ministry at (956) 784-5007.

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

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.  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

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 additional information call (956) 383-8630 or email

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
Grants writer - Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, San Juan Office. Interested qualified candidates may email résumés to Edna Garcia at

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

• 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
March 1-April 9 – 40 Days for Life Campaign, McAllen
March 18 – Spring Concert at Holy Family Church, Edinburg
March 19 – 40 Days for Life Mid-Point Rally

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.