Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letter to Bishop Peña


June 18, 2010

Dear Bishop Peña,

Do you remember what day today is?

It just so happens that today is the 7th Anniversary of your hostile take-over of Holy Spirit parish in McAllen. A lot of very sad things happened because of that take-over, the worst of which should always remain heavily on your conscience.

As you may remember, your actions caused a great number of our parish families to leave Holy Spirit parish for other Catholic parishes, thereby destroying one of the most vibrant Catholic parishes in the Valley (your words).

Many of our parish families left the Catholic Church entirely and have became active members of other local Protestant religious entities. Many have quit attending church altogether, due to the hurt and disgust that they experienced from your actions, depriving them of the salvation of Christ's Eucharist.

We just wanted to remind you that your actions while acting as the spiritual leader of our church have not been forgotten. They never will.

May God have mercy on you.

Holy Spirit Parishioners (in Exile).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stations of the Cross


The Holy Spirit Peace and Justice Community will again sponsor their annual Stations of the Cross through downtown McAllen - Good Friday - April 2, 2010, from noon until about 2:30, beginning and ending at Archer Park, in McAllen, Texas.

This prayer emphasizes how the sufferings of Jesus Christ continues today in the lives of the poor and oppressed, in sickness, unemployment, AIDS, addictions, violence, and war.

Participants will take turns carrying a large cross as the group winds its way through downtown McAllen, stopping at fourteen different places relating to the fourteen stations of the cross, depicting the sufferings of Jesus Christ from his trial to his burial. This year, there will be added emphasis on immigration and justice for immigrants.

The first station in Catholic tradition is “Jesus is condemned to death.” The first station, therefor, will take place at the Federal Court Building where participants will pray about the death penalty.

The third station remembers Jesus falling. Here, participants will stop in front of a local bar establishment in downtown McAllen to pray for those who have fallen under the cross of addictions.

One of the stations will be at the "food pantry" at Sacred Heart Catholic parish, also located in downtown McAllen. Participants are asked to bring canned goods, rice and beans to donate to the needy of the parish at the food pantry.

This is an excellent way for the whole family to pray together on this holy day. This very rewarding event is usually blessed by our wonderful McAllen spring weather. You are reminded to wear comfortable shoes and to bring your own water.

Please join us in praise and love of our Savior...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


10:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
South Texas College, Weslaco,
Student Services F-Building
Keynote Speaker: Sarwat Husain
President, San Antonio Council of American-Islamic Relations"
The War, Islamophobia, and the Aftermathof the Fort Hood Shootings"

Dear Peace and Justice Friends,

The Fifth Annual Peace and Justice Gathering is shaping up pretty well. There is some real interest in hearing Sarwat Husain’s speech, “The War, Islamophobia, and the Aftermath of the Fort Hood Shootings.” Although I am finding that students I speak to do not spontaneously understand the importance of the topic, with a bit of explanation, they do get it. I am really glad she is the keynote. We had a little scare last week that she was going to cancel, but she got the schedule worked out well.

More news: Jay Johnson Castro from the Border Ambassadors will be here. Scott Nicol is coming and will have a table set up…he has just joined an important committee on the Sierra Club and has some very interesting things on the Border Wall he told me about. David Anshen of Pan Am is coordinating a two-person panel on U.S. Imperialism -- I’m hoping there will be questions on Honduras and Haiti as well as Iraq and Afghanistan -- for one of the breakout sessions. Georgiana Duarte of UT Brownsville Education Department, besides coordinating the Children’s Play Day for Promoting Peace, will be doing a breakout session on the National Convention on the Rights of the Child.

And another bit of news, Sylvia Garza of the local Texas Coalition Against the Death penalty has a speaker coming down from Houston. Gloria Rubac from a sister organization, Abolition Movement, will be giving a workshop session in Spanish and another one in English. (Jay will also be giving one in Spanish and one in English and I think Georgiana Duarte will do one session in each language on the Rights of the Children.)

I hope to see everybody there Saturday, January 30, 2010.

Nick Braune
Associate Professor, Philosophy
South Texas College/Mid-Valley Campus

Friday, December 11, 2009

Out to Media - Brownsville Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

We wish Brownsville's new bishop well, and hope that a breath of fresh air in this diocese will help heal the still fresh wounds of both clergy sex abuse victims who are suffering and Catholics who are feeling betrayed because of the church's on going child sex abuse and cover up scandal.

It's ironic that Brownsville's new bishop was named today. It was five year ago today that media reports surfaced suggesting that Brownsville's former bishop may have helped a predator priest flee the US and escape justice. (see below)

There's a tendency among Catholics, however, to assume that almost any new bishop will be better than the old one. However, wishful thinking and naive assumptions don't protect kids. Only vigilance protects kids. So we urge Brownsville Catholics to remember that children are safe when abuse suspicions and reports go to law enforcement officials, not to Catholic church officials.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers.

Our website is Contacts: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003)
Brownsville Bishop Says He Never Advised Priest to Flee

Associated Press - December 9, 2004
Brownsville Catholic Bishop Raymundo Pena has denied that he ever advised a priest wanted on sexual assault and abuse charges to flee the country.

The Rev. Basil Onyia fled to his native Nigeria in 2001, days before a warrant could be issued for his arrest stemming from allegations that he sexually abused a mentally retarded girl. Onyia claimed in a story in Monday's editions of The Dallas Morning News that the Brownsville bishop advised him to leave the country.

The bishop, who earlier would not confirm or deny Onyia's claim, has since responded on the diocese's Web site.

"Bishop Pena never advised Father Onyia to go back to Nigeria, and we are surprised that Father Onyia is working as a priest there," the statement said.

"It is unfortunate that he did not remain in this country to address the allegations made against him," Pena is quoted saying in the statement.

The Morning News tracked Onyia to Nigeria, where he has worked in parish ministry since disappearing from South Texas in 2001.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra charged Onyia but has not tried to extradite him for trial.

Onyia has said he never attacked his teenage accuser — a mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed incest victim. A witness told the newspaper that she saw the priest apologize to the accuser's family and blamed his actions on the devil.

Barbara Dorris
National Outreach Director

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bishop Daniel Flores

Pope Benedict XVI names new Bishop of Brownsville

BROWNSVILLE, Dec. 9 - Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Daniel Flores, of the Archdiocese of Detroit, as the new bishop for the Diocese of Brownsville.

Flores will be installed as the sixth bishop of the diocese on February 2, 2010. He replaces the Most Rev. Raymundo J. Peña, who is retiring as bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville.

Peña will introduce Flores today at 9:30 a.m. at a news conference at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville (1218 E. Jefferson St.) and at 3 p.m. at the Bishop Adolph Marx Conference Center in the Diocesan Pastoral Center in San Juan (700 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd. - near the Basilica grounds.)

Flores currently serves as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was ordained a bishop on November 29, 2006 at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. He was born in Palacios, Texas, in 1961 and baptized in Zapata, Texas, where both of his parents, Fernando Javier Flores and Lydia Dilley Flores, were born. He grew up in Corpus Christi.

Flores was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in January 1988. As a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, he served in a number of capacities, including Parochial Vicar at Corpus Christi Cathedral, Secretary to the Bishop, Diocesan Master of Ceremonies, Assistant Chancellor, Rector of the Saint John Vianney House of Studies, and Episcopal Vicar for Vocations.

Flores also served in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, on the formation faculty and as vice-rector of St. Mary’s Seminary and on the teaching faculty at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology.