Catholic Diocese of Brownsville prepares for 50th anniversary at Basilica of San Juan

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“Well today, September 2, is the 50th anniversary of the first bishop of Brownsville being installed in the cathedral in Brownsville, Immaculate Conception Cathedral. So for us, we are now 50 years old as a local church,” said St. Joseph’s Church in Edinburg Father Greg Labus.

“And so we’re celebrating that moment in history when it was a new page in the history of this area when an actual bishop took up resident in the whole city of Brownsville for the entire RGV,” said Diocese of Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores.

Up until 50 years ago, the Valley was still a part of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. So this day serves as a commemoration of the Diocese of Brownsville really coming into its own.

“We’re very excited about today,” said Diocesan Relations Director Brenda Nettles Riojas. “We’ve been planning this for over a year. When you come together to celebrate your history, you recall all the different people who have contributed in one way or another of planting that seed and helping it grow. So it’s a way of coming together and celebrating.”

About 85 percent of the Rio Grande Valley is Catholic and the Diocese does cover Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Starr Counties. So the turnout for tonight’s celebration is expected to be quite large.

“Well it’s going to be a festive mass, the whole diocese has been invited, whoever wants to come,” said Fr. Greg Labus. “That’s why it’s going to be outdoors.”

“If you’re coming to tonight’s celebratory event here at the Basilica of San Juan, it’s advised that you bring your own lawn chair because nearly 2,000 people are expected to show up, and as you can see, the seating is very limited.”

All the bishops in Texas were invited to this event, and among them, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal DiNado will be here.

“And really it’s just a time to kind of invite people from the diocese all over if they can to help us give thanks to God for the good work that his grace has been able to accomplish here in the Valley,” said Bishop Flores.

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