Diocese of Brownsville Bishop Flores urging togetherness during Easter weekend

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While it’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life, many tend to forget about what’s really important.

And Easter is a reminder of just that.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Brownsville Diocese said that it is important to uphold and observe the traditions associated with Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter, but also to focus on loved ones.

“You know, people especially here in the Valley have kind of a strong sense that there’s a bigger picture to our lives than just kind of what we read about in the news, the politics of it all, the economics, the worries about the pandemic and a number of other illnesses that are kind of around,” Flores said. “There’s people that kind of want to be together. I mean, it’s kind of a communal thing.”

A scene during a Passion Play at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on Friday, March 29, 2024, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Flores used Good Friday, a day in which Christians observe the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as an example of the community coming together to participate in “something bigger.” Many parishes throughout the Valley and the rest of the world celebrate Good Friday with the Stations of the Cross, or the 14 different moments that depict Jesus’ death.

“That kind of puts some perspective on life, that not everything is necessarily under our control, but that there is a God who loves us, who looks after us,” Flores said. “I think (Good Friday) is a powerful day for people because it’s just admitting that God accepted our difficult condition when he became one of us and actually suffered the cross, and that’s very consoling to people.”

“It kind of puts a bigger perspective,” he continued. “There’s a spirituality to that that’s very deep for people and kind of comes out spontaneously in the community.”

Catholics in the Valley mark the end of Holy Week, as well as the end of Lent, with a series of special services known as the Triduum, or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

A scene during a Passion Play at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on Friday, March 29, 2024, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Flores said that while many Catholics in the Rio Grande Valley observe the traditions associated with Easter Sunday, including Easter Mass, he acknowledged the activities following church services that have become an integral part of the Easter weekend.

“After people sort of go to church in some way to acknowledge Christ risen from the dead, it’s a family day,” Flores said. “I mean, people have their customs at home, certain foods that they eat, and certain ways that they celebrate with their children.”

The bishop said that there is a shared culture in the ways that Easter is celebrated throughout the Rio Grande Valley, whether it’s an Easter egg hunt, the carne asada, or in some cases, fireworks.

“There’s a sense of wanting to celebrate together as a family,” he said. “Often times people will travel distances to be with their family on Sunday and go to mass. You know, the barbecue with family, the carne asada, is an important thing because you take time to be together and celebrate a common hope and a common joy of being together, and that God is closer to us than we realize.

“I think those kinds of customs kind of continue and they kind of deepen over time,” he continued. “I think we get closer to each other the more we feel that we’re in a world that’s really very difficult for us sometimes.”

He said that he hopes that people are able to find comfort in their communities and families by spending time together during the Easter holiday.

“​​I would hope that people, whether they’re Christians or not, during this weekend get to spend some time with their families, the people they love,” Flores said. “It’s the people we love that we need to take the time to be with. Sometimes you can get so busy that we just kind of let those things go. It’s important to appreciate who we have in our lives. I think that’s part of the message of Easter, that the love of God has to be translated into our love for one another.”