Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Monday, August 31, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Service Learning Project- Gardening with Children

In January PJD incorporated an after-school program started by Proyecto Digna of San Felipe de Jesus Church. The after school partners with many organizations and individuals including: St. Joseph’s High School, Daughters of the American Revolution, Gladys Porter Zoo and the University of Brownsville, TX. These partnerships give the children many opportunities to participate in enrichment activities such as art, native dance, reading, etc. Most recently, UTB students from Dr. Kathy Webb’s Service Learning Education Class have worked with 30 children to plant gardens around the church parking lot (The parking lot also functions as a neighborhood walking track.) The parking used to be framed with weeds but the past 3 years Dr. Webb and her students have worked with the children in the after school program to plant native plants and gardens in the area. Each year the lot becomes more beautiful as plants grow and new ones are planted. What you and I see as a parking lot the children call a park…it is their park. They take great pride in what they have helped to create.

News of our Friend Andrea

Thanks to all of you who have held Andrea in your prayers these past months. After countless conversations and meetingswith the social workers of our local hospital, Andrea finally was able to qualify for Medicaid. She began chemotherapy last week and will soon begin radiation treatments. Please continue to pray for Andrea and her family. They have a long and hard road ahead.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pray for a Miracle


It isn’t often that I pray for a miracle. Praying for a miracle is not just about hope but it is about necessity. I am inviting you to pray for a miracle for a friend and Board Member of Proyecto Juan Diego, Andrea Gallegos.

Andrea and her four children live is a small home two blocks from Proyecto Juan Diego. She and her family have made it through many trials with hope. Two years ago Sister Phylis befriended the family when they were in need of help. Joe, Andrea’s husband, had stomach cancer and his insurance was no longer covering his chemotherapy treatments. Sadly, he became an example of what has happened to so many hard working people whose health insurance is inadequate. Sister Phylis walked with Joe, Andrea and the children to his death in 2007. Andrea took over Joe’s job at a trucking company and worked tirelessly to support her family: Vanessa a Senior in high school, Jose Luis and Jose Guadalupe also in high school and the youngest, Victoria in 5th grade.

This past weekend Andrea called Sister Phylis saying that she had a fracture in her spine and also a tumor on it. We haveThe doctors are not giving Andrea hopeful news…they think it may be cancer. Please pray that Andrea is not diagnosed with cancer. Her children need her; they are desperately worried that they will lose their mother to the same disease that so recently took their father from them.

We believe in the power of prayer…let’s put that to action.

Watch “Who would Jesus deny?” to learn more about the trials the family has already been through. It will play on MSN Video the left hand side of the screen after the commercial.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

" We must strive to soften our hearts and make them sensitive to the sufferings and worries of the neighbour, and beg of God to grant us a genuine spirit of mercy which is the spirit characteristic of God" -St. Vincent de Paul

A week ago today the VOYA volunteers arrived at Proyecto Juan Diego to work in Cameron Park and Matamoros, MX. The 12 volunteers (from various parts of the US) came with 'softened hearts'...ready to serve with the people living along the border.

One group built raised garden beds for 3 families living in Cameron Park. Maria, Elvira, Naiomi, Armando were able to plant tomatoes, chiles, onions, cilantro, squash, and green beans. They were looking forward to growing their own vegtables to prepare and were very grateful for the raised beds filled with rich top soil. (Right: Matt, Elise, Elvira, Stepanie, Rob and Elvira's grandaughter stand in front of her home (the trailer) after completing her garden beds.)

The other two groups worked Matamoros constructing a small wooden frame house for a family of 7 and painting 2 other newly constructed homes for those in need. The family was living in a shack pieced together with old ply wood and a dirt floor. Their new home would give them a bright, dry, and safe place to sleep. We were all surprise to see how eager the children were to help with their new home...all the children helped to paint the house. (Below,Right:One of the children stands in a nearby tree to paint about the window while Matt holds the paint and a branch steady for her.)

The VOYA group also took the time to travel to Reyenosa to meet the Daughters and Vincentians who served there. We attended mass at San Pio and then went to the immigrants shelter run by the Daughters of Charity. At the shelter we listened to the stories of the immigrants. They shared with us their reasons for wanting to come to the U.S. and the stories of the long and dangerous journey that they had made from Honduras and El Salvador. Our hearts were deeply touched by their honesty, their struggles, and the hope they hold.

We are grateful for the opportunity we had to meet and work with these young adults. They are proof that the Vincentian Charism continues to grow in our world today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The past month Proyecto Juan Diego has grown! Fr. Michael Seifert, our collaborator and friend moved from Cameron Park. Before leaving, he and Br. Albert entrusted the work of Proyecto Digna to PJD. Proyecto Digna had varied ministries including a large after-school program, a social worker/counselor, and a strong get-out-the-vote campaign.

Along with those programs we have two new staff members Alicia Gomez and Delma Sanchez, who bring their many years of experience working with the people of Cameron Park.

Luis, Mandy, and Nielli all attend the after-school program at Casa Sofia (just 2 blocks from PJD). They come to do their homework and get some special attention in subjects they need help with. Volunteers from UT-Brownsville, St. Joseph’s Academy and Winter Texans sit with the children and giving the help wherever they need it. Once they are finished with their studies you can often find Luis, Mandy, Nielli out playing a game of kickball on the parking lot. The children also participate in folkloric dance class, art classes, and get to work on special projects like gardening and learning photography.

Kids Gardening