This article originally appeared in the Friday May 10, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
Officials prayed for Peñitas, La Joya ISD, the county and law enforcement alike at the Peñitas Public Library last Thursday morning.
In honor of National Day of Prayer, cities across the Rio Grande Valley gathered in different locations united with one mindset: to pray. The city of Peñitas included residents, city leaders, law enforcement and first responders at their service.
“When we join in great numbers for a great cause, especially when it comes to faith, I think it creates miracles,” Lopez said.
Peñitas had several prayers during the service, including over the city, La Joya Independent School District, Hidalgo County, public safety officers and a final special prayer. City Chaplain and Pastor Juan De La Garza gave the prayer for the city, and said he was grateful to be a citizen in the United States, and thanked God that the city has experienced growth over time.
“In the midst of everything that is happening left and right, I thank you, Father, because I am still free to express my views, my prayers, my gratitude and I’m free to express my spiritual feelings and convictions,” De La Garza said. “I pray for our mayor, for every person that works on his side, and I pray for this beautiful, growing city.”
Armin Garza, a board member for LJISD, gave the prayer for the district. He said that every day people wake up in their beds is a blessing.
“Every day that we get to spend time with our children and our families is a blessing we sometimes take for granted,” Garza said. “This day and age, we desperately need your attention, Lord. We need your guidance and we need your protection.”
Garza asked especially for protection over LJISD students and students across the Valley.
“Our students sometimes feel alone, sometimes they don’t have the guidance or the spirituality that they need to get through the day,” Garza said. “Lord, we ask that you inspire them, that you touch their hearts and they be kind and humble, and know that there is a plan in place for them.”
The prayer over Hidalgo County was given by Pastor Mari Vasquez, and the prayer for law enforcement and first responders was given by Pastor Luis Vasquez, both from Iglesia Del Pueblo. They both gave thanks for the opportunity to pray over people and cities, and said it was necessary for strong community spirit and protection.
De La Garza gave an additional special prayer, and noted that prayer is a very personal thing. He invited those who needed prayer to raise their hands so people could pray over them.
“Every problem that comes into our lives is a daily challenge,” De La Garza said. “I know that some of you might be going through something this morning, and that’s what we need to pray for.”
Peñitas police Chief Roel Bermea gave the closing remarks for the service, and spoke on the importance of the presence of prayer in cities.
“God bless Peñitas, God bless the state of Texas and God bless the United States,” Bermea said.