Houston immigrant advocate Mark Zwick honored in vigil

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A vigil is set for Monday evening to honor Mark Zwick, the founder of Casa Juan Diego and an advocate for immigrants and refugees.

Zwick died Friday at his home in Houston after a battle with Parkinson's Disease, according to a family statement. He founded Casa Juan Diego in 1980 to help care for immigrants in the area with food, housing and medical care.

Dawn McCarty is a social scientist and Catholic worker helping those in need at the facility. She said Zwick's work will continue though he will be deeply missed.

"He believed it is our duty to love and to serve and to help each other," McCarty said.

Staff estimate at least 100,000 immigrants in need have stayed at Casa Juan Diego since its founding and many more have been cared for through a variety of services. It continues to help feed about 500 families each week, the organization said.

"It's a bit overwhelming to not have him here. But right now he would want you to know the work will go on," McCarty said.

After Monday's vigil at 7pm at Saint Anne Catholic Church, a funeral will be held Tuesday at the same location at 1pm. Casa Juan Diego's scheduled biweekly food distribution set for Tuesday will continue as planned. Staff said Zwick wouldn't want services to be interrupted.

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