The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville has begun a two-year, $24-million campaign to address key issues, including its growth in rural areas and colonias.
Bishop Daniel Flores has titled the campaign “Love Builds Hope,” covering six key areas. The building of new mission churches and community centers is among those priorities. The Diocese is focusing on areas like those north of Donna. Here, it is planning to build a new mission church, a health clinic, a Plaza Amistad community center, and an education and training center.
“We must take care of our sisters and brothers in the growing colonias,” said Flores, who has been the bishop of the Diocese for 10 years. “We want to be able to go into local communities and the towns and the cities so the people know where those (services) are, whether its help for an elderly parent or help with medical needs.”
Addressing the need
The bishop went through a lengthy planning and consultation process in defining the Diocese’s most urgent priorities. The Love Builds Hope campaign began in January and runs through December 2021. The campaign’s other key goals include the development of vocations and scholarships for students in the Diocese’s six schools. It will also improve facilities for retreats and ministry development.
The campaign seeks a 50/50 share of funds raised for Diocese-wide goals across its four counties to keep half of the dollars at the local level.
“The life of the church is most alive in its most local manifestations,” Flores said. “I know many of our communities struggle. We want to help them focus upon what their hopes and dreams are for the future because we want to start thinking about (and) not just reacting to things.”
Serving more than one million
The partnership between the Diocese and local communities was highlighted in 2019. Citrus City, between Mission and La Joya, saw the completion and opening of the new San Juan Diego Church. Parishioners for years had worked through a number of fundraisers to raise the capital to build a new mission church. With added help from the Diocese, the church community was able to build a striking new white structure. It serves as a place of worship for colonia areas in western Hidalgo County.
Flores cites such accomplishments as examples of building new parish missions to serve people where they live. The bishop is a proponent of such efforts in a Diocese. More than one million Catholics live within its boundaries in the Rio Grande Valley.
The bishop also hopes the campaign will create a scholarship fund. It will be specifically for youths who would not otherwise be able to attend Catholic schools in the Diocese. An additional component would be funding to build teams of youth who can travel throughout the Valley to lead new ministry efforts.
The Love Builds Hope campaign is an ambitious one in its scope and fundraising goals. The bishop said it will serve as a time to reflect on the progress made by the Diocese as well as challenges that lay ahead.