HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Mark Zwick, who co-founded Casa Juan Diego on Washington Avenue in 1986, has died at the age of 88 after battling Parkinson’s Disease. He died at his home on Friday.
Mark and his wife Louise founded Casa Juan Diego, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, a shelter for thousands of refugees who escaped from civil wars in Central America and migrated to Houston as a safe harbor.
From one building in its inception, Casa Juan Diego would expand to ten buildings. The organization offers food, shelter, clothing and medical care to affected migrants.
Throughout its existence, more than 100,000 undocumented men, women and children spent at least one night at Casa Juan Diego. The center continues to offer a place to stay, medical care and free food to almost 500 families each week.
Mark also served as editor for the Houston Catholic Worker bi-monthly publication.
St. Pope John Paul II bestowed the papal medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice upon Mark in 1997.
Born in 1927, Mark was born in Canton, Ohio, and had eleven siblings. He studied at St. Mary's College in Kentucky and St. Mary's Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mark was ordained a Catholic priest on February 28, 1953. He earned a master's degree in social work at the University of Chicago and studied at the Center for Training in Community Psychiatry in Berkeley, Calif.
Mark is survived by his wife, Louise, daughter, Jennifer and son, Joachim, in addition to two grandchildren, a great-grandson, sisters and brothers.
A vigil service is scheduled to take place on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on 2140 Westheimer Road in the Upper Kirby district. Funeral services will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m., also at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.
Donations to continue supporting Mark’s work may be made by mail or online to Casa Juan Diego, the Houston Catholic Worker:
Casa Juan Diego
P.O. Box 70113
Houston, Texas 77270