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Home | Tag Archives: diocese of el paso

Tag Archives: diocese of el paso

All Texas Catholic Dioceses Announce Plan to Release Names of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors

On Wednesday, the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas and the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter announced their decision to release names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, going back at least to 1950.

“The Diocese of El Paso supports making available the names of all those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in an effort to promote the healing of victims. Publication of these lists enables other victims to come forward to seek healing. The care for victims and their families is where our focus must be in order to transform and heal the Church,” added Bishop Mark J. Seitz.

The initial decision was made by the groups on on September 30.  All dioceses will publish their lists by Jan. 31, 2019.

“This is an action in response to the faithful’s call for greater accountability and transparency,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston. “Every bishop in our state has made a statement expressing his concern for all who have been hurt and I want to express my personal sorrow at such fundamental violations of trust that have happened. We are completely committed to eradicating the evil of sexual abuse in the church and promoting healing among the faithful and those injured by this crime.”

The bishops’ decision was made in the context of their ongoing work to protect children from sexual abuse, and their efforts to promote healing and a restoration of trust in the Catholic Church.

With 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, the endeavor to compile a comprehensive list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor represents a major project.

“It will take some time for files to be reviewed, and there may be people who come forward with new information following this announcement. My brother bishops in Texas and I agree that transparency in this painful matter of sexual abuse can assist with healing for survivors and transformation for our Church,” explained Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, archbishop of San Antonio.

The release of names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is part of an ongoing effort by the dioceses to provide an even safer environment for children. These lists will be updated as new information becomes available.

Each bishop will be releasing his own statement and list. The full statement of the bishops of Texas includes information on this work, and follows.

PREVENTING THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS

We are deeply sorry that some Church leaders have, at times, failed in their responsibility to protect minors. The Catholic Church throughout the United States has worked to improve protection, especially over the last fifteen years. We will remain vigilant to provide an even safer environment for every child we serve.
The Catholic Church in Texas is committed to the prevention of sexual abuse of minors by those who are in ministry in the Church and to promote healing for survivors of abuse. Each diocese has comprehensive policies in place both to respond to complaints and to prevent the sexual abuse of minors. These safety policies and practices are regularly verified by an external audit of each diocese.

PREVENTION OF ABUSE

⦁ Safe Environment: All Texas dioceses have implemented comprehensive “safe environment” education programs and have together trained many of the 8.5 million Catholics in the state — adults, minors, employees, clergy, and volunteers — on how to identify, report, and help prevent abuse. Prior to his anticipated ministry, every priest seeking to minister in a diocese is to present a written attestation of suitability supplied by his bishop/religious superior.
⦁ Background Checks: The dioceses conduct background evaluations for all bishops, priests, deacons, and religious, as well as other diocesan, parish, and school personnel who have regular contact with minors. Since 2002, criminal background checks have been completed regularly on volunteers, employees, and clergy who are involved in ministry in the Church.

RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE

⦁ Reporting to Civil Authorities: All of the Texas Catholic dioceses have policies to report to civil authorities whenever there is cause to believe that a minor has been sexually abused.
⦁ Removal from Ministry: Diocesan policies provide that a bishop, priest, deacon, or religious who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor will be removed from ministry.

HEALING OF SURVIVORS

⦁ Therapeutic and Pastoral Response: Each diocese has a Victim Assistance Coordinator who facilitates the provision of counseling and other professional assistance to help those who report they were sexually abused as a minor. In addition, all victims of childhood sexual abuse by a minister of the Church have the opportunity to meet with the bishop in order to facilitate healing.

Publication of Names
⦁ Dioceses to Publish Local Lists: Texas dioceses are actively reviewing files of bishops, priests, and deacons. By January 31, 2019, each bishop will publish a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor in his diocese dating back to at least 1950.

⦁ How to Report: Visit this website for information on reporting abuse

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is the association of the Roman Catholic bishops of Texas. Through the TCCB, the bishops provide a moral and social public policy voice, accredit the state’s Catholic schools, and maintain archives that reflect the work and the history of the Catholic Church in Texas.

Diocese of El Paso Announces New Priest Assignments, New Far East Catholic Community

On Friday, Bishop Mark J. Seitz and the Diocese of El Paso announced new assignments for seven priests in the area.

Via a news release, diocese official shared, “The primary goal of assigning a priest to a parish community is to best match the priest’s gifts to the needs of the parish.  The Diocese of El Paso has many beloved priests throughout the diocese and wishes to extend its profound gratitude to all who serve so faithfully.”

A priest is ordained to the Church and not to a particular parish so the needs of the entire community and the diocese are considered first when making new priest assignments.

“Inspired by the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples, “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them disciples: baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit “(Matthew 28:19), the Diocese of El Paso is heading out further East.”

The diocese is taking the first steps towards establishing a Far East El Paso Catholic Community. The newly formed community will be a Mission of St. Mark Parish and will work in conjunction with other surrounding parishes.

Ultimately, the diocese plans to establish a future parish to serve the faithful in this rapidly growing area East of Joe Battle/Loop 375 between Montana and Vista Del Sol.  The diocese has set up initial offices at 3000 Tim Foster.

Diocese officials added, “The Diocese of El Paso wishes to express its deepest gratitude to Father James W. “Buzz” Hall who after many years of service throughout the diocese will be retiring in June 2018.”

“We ask the faithful to pray for our priests who have received new assignments as they prepare to move to new places of ministry.  We ask that they continue to be inspired, strengthened and guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Assignments are effective June 22, 2017.

The following are the new priest assignments:

Rev. Saul Pacheco                  St. Mark, Administrator of new Far East El Paso Mission – St. Mark, Parochial Vicar

Rev. Mark Salas                      Pastor, Our Lady of Assumption

Rev. Gleen Carpe                   Administrator, St. Thomas-St. Joseph Kermit, Texas

Rev. Frank Hernandez           Parochial Vicar, St. Mark

Rev. Cong Vo                          Parochial Vicar, St. Pius

Deacon Victorino Lorezca     After June 28 Ordination will be Parochial Vicar, St. Raphael

Deacon German Alzate          After June 28 Ordination Alzate will return to Mundelein Seminary in Chicago to complete his studies

Rev. James W. “Buzz” Hall     Retired

Video+Story: Knowledge, Faith Lead St. Pius X Educator to Teacher of the Year Honor

“I think she’s really nice,” says Riley, speaking of her teacher. “She’s really funny, and I like her because of that. Sometimes she can be strict, but I like her.”

Our world is full of people who, day after day, strive to make a difference in the lives of those around them. There are police officers who willingly put their lives on the line, every single day, to keep us safe. The firemen who willingly race into burning buildings to save lives and property. EMS techs who work their hardest to save lives call after call. These are just some of the unsung heroes in our lives.

Then there are teachers. Teachers rate up there on the list of unsung heroes. To me, teachers are just as important as police officers, doctors, and maybe more important than most politicians up in Washington D.C.

Can you name another profession where someone, out of their pocket, spends to make sure kids have school supplies? Where one works, off the clock, grading papers, tutoring failing students, or guiding a group of kids, after hours and off the clock, in chess club? I can’t.

Can you think of anyone who touched your life in such a way that it continues to guide you decades later? I can, three out of four are teachers.

The first one for me is Ms. Williams, an English teacher I had in middle school. She had encouraged me to follow my dreams of writing poetry, and not to listen to those who say poetry is a dying form of writing.

Next, Mr. Capps, he was my physics teacher in Middle School. Mr. Capps went out of his way to make learning physics not only fun but easy as well. I can still recall his teaching style and everything I learned.

Then, there was Paul Strelzin, who was principal when I was in Middle School. Strelzin – like Steve Crosno – helped me to find my voice, and get that first radio gig.

Each of these educators touched my life in such a way that I can contribute my success in life to them. They made so much happen for me, internally. They gave me knowledge, strength, and helped to unlock a potential that otherwise would have remained dormant. I’m thankful for every one of them.

Not too long ago, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso recognized many of their teachers during the SEED awards. At that awards dinner, Patricia R. Martinez, of St. Pius X Catholic School was named teacher of the year. The other day I was able to catch up with her and talk a bit about what it means to be a teacher, and teacher of the year.

Ms. Martinez is one of those rare teachers. She gets to follow the academic careers of the students she encounters at St. Pious X.

“What excites me, about my job as a teacher,” she said, “is that I get to see the progression of learning.”

Ms. Martinez teaches computer literacy and has been for the past twenty-nine years. From basic typing to coding, she is working to instill the skill set needed for her kids to succeed now, and in the future.

“I am a teacher because I really want to make a difference,” she says.

Before being a teacher, she was in retail.  “I didn’t feel like I was making a difference to anyone,” she says. “It was all about the dollar.”

“The best thing,” she says, about being a teacher, “is being around children who want to learn. Who you can enlighten about G-d, about their faith. Sharing my knowledge about computers with them and hoping that I have something to give them besides just knowledge.”

Ms. Martinez does say that she wants to be able to give them something beyond just knowledge. She hopes that she can impart a piece of herself, what makes her, her. Then ineffable something that drives her to be the best she can be.

After hearing her speech at the SEED awards, after meeting her, I think that “something” is her faith.

Being a teacher is hard. You have students who come to you with many of their daily problems, their struggles, and at times it can be very heard helping them work through that. But to have faith, to know G-d, and to use that relationship as an example is what makes Ms. Martinez – like all parochial school teachers – stand out.

It’s an amazing thing when a child comes to you for help, and you know you can assist them. When you can also teach them life lessons that focus on G-d, how much better does it become?

Still, there are the hardships of being a teacher, like carving out time for yourself.

“The hardest thing about being a teacher is to manage time,” she says. “To prepare for lessons. I think that would be the hardest part, time management and preparing for lessons.” Ms. Martinez is a product of Catholic education and St. Pius X Catholic School is her alma mater.

After graduation, after her time working retail, it was the school she chose to return to as a teacher.

“To me,” she says, “a Catholic education is a true gift. My parents sacrificed a lot to provide that to me and my siblings. I know that what we do in Catholic Schools makes a difference to the child, to the family.”

It’s a win-win situation for all her students- for all students in a Catholic School. Not only do the kids gain a full education that they can build on, they also gain a firm spiritual foundation as well.

“I do feel that G-d called me here,” she says.

I think G-d calls all teachers. It’s a vocation that is divine in that it takes a strength beyond oneself to teach, to care for so many kids year after year.

That drive, that passion, it comes from G-d, and I am glad the Catholic Diocese of El Paso not only recognizes that in their teachers but encourages it as well.

Diocese Honors Catholic Schools Teachers, Support Staff During Annual Dinner

The Diocese of El Paso Catholic Schools held their SEED Awards Banquet on Thursday night. The annual banquet honors the achievement of the teachers in the area’s Catholic schools.

Each school’s Teacher of the Year is recognized and a Diocesan Teacher of the Year is chosen from among them. The SEED Awards also recognizes the contributions made to Catholic education by school’s support staff, volunteers, alumni, and benefactors.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies was The Bridge’s (1150am) On Air Personality and Radio Program Director, Joe Garcia. Guest speakers included Interim Superintendent Steve Sanchez and Majors Gifts Officer from the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso Sofia Larkin.

While attending the event I was able to catch up with Sister Maria of Fr. Yermo Schools and Fr. Frank Lopez, the rector of St. Matthews. 

The dinner was an elaborate affair. The tables absolutely gorgeous. At the SEED awards, everyone was a star.

This year’s winners include:

Support Staff Awards:

Juan Carlos Perez, Margarita Ponon, Adriana Chavarria, Lauren Rodriguez, Rosa Simental, Angelica Botello, Brenda Burrola, Laura Truhill, Ruben Dominguez, Terry Yanez.

Volunteer Awards:

David Carrejo, Ph.D., Ana Jimenez, Scott and Liz Espinoza, Yvonne Salazar, Marisela Scott, Michelle Shuman, Martha Nevarez, Sister Mary Ljumgdahl and Delia Vega.

Benefactor Awards:

Ed and Yvonne Davis, Dr. Teresa Cortez, The Mary L. Peyton Foundation, Wanda Michaud, Javier Villava, Pamela Duarte, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Porras, Alex Aguirre, Dr. and Mrs. Miguel Velasquez, Pablo Ornelas.

Alumni Awards:

Mario Vasquez, Jeausita De La Cruz, The Honorable Judge Kathleen Olivares, Gerardo Sanchez, Larry Villalobos, Mike Dipp, Eeica Puertas, Desirae Gallegos.

The Teacher of the Year for each school:

Cathedral High School: Marco Ortigoza

Father Yermo Elementary: Yvonne Pina

Father Yermo High School: Dr. Carolyn Marie Leforreta

Loretto Elementary School: Cecilia Diaz

Loretto Middle and High School: Nicole Cobb

Most Holy Trinity: Esperanza Renovation

Our Lady of the Valley School: Michael Garcia

St. Joseph School: Teresa Perez

St. Matthew Catholic School: Amanda Murillo

St. Patrick Cathedral School: Julian Salcido

St. Pius X School: Patricia Martinez

Overall Teacher of the Year: Patricia Martinez

Each of these recipients works hard to preserve Catholic education in El Paso. With schools closing, like Our Lady of Assumption and Our Lady of the Valley who will be closing, it seems almost a losing battle.

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso is working to maintain the schools and their current and future enrollment. Maybe you can help? If you would like to help support Catholic education in El Paso, donate to your Parish school, of they have one.

Of not, contact any Catholic school and see what they need. You just may make a difference in someone’s future.

Diocese of El Paso’s Pastoral Center Community Garden Opens

Planting season is here and the gate to the Diocese of El Paso’s Pastoral Center Community Garden is now open.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, the Diocese of El Paso organized an environmental committee appropriately named Laudato Si Committee to help identify ways in which the Diocese could live out the true essence of the Pope’s encyclical.

The encyclical encourages the Church and all human beings to care for the common home with programs of sustainability, renewable energy and other eco-friendly programs.

The Diocese took its cue to create a garden accessible to its local community and to work to encourage neighbors, both near and far, to join the cause.

“We Master Gardeners love to come out to the community and teach how to garden. We are happy to help the Diocese give life to this garden. I tell everyone there is no such thing as a green thumb or black thumb. All you need to know is how to plant and what to plant that is best for the El Paso climate,” said Master Gardener, Janet Petrzelka.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Denise S. Rodriguez, County Extension Agent-Horticulture, says, “It is so great to see the Diocese venturing into the community garden arena. This garden can help promote sustainable gardening for the local neighborhood, for the Pastoral Center employees and ultimately for all the parishes and ministries in the Diocese of El Paso.”

The community garden is located at  8330 Park Haven, behind the Diocese of El Paso Pastoral Center grounds.

Bishop Seitz to Celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast on Tuesday

Bishop Mark J. Seitz will be celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe twice on Tuesday, December 12th.

Bishop Seitz will celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fabens at 6 a.m., then at Our Lady of Guadalupe- El Paso at 6 p.m.  Bishop Seitz released the following statement about the celebration and its meaning.

“This year on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we will not only honor our Blessed Mother, the mother of Jesus, as the Patroness of the Americas, since she appeared in this new world soon after Christianity arrived here, and Patroness of the Unborn, since she is shown as a woman who is expecting a child, but we will also honor her as the Patroness of our Families, particularly our migrant families.  

At a time when national borders are depicted as places of conflict and division Our Lady of Guadalupe stands as a reminder of God’s special care for all the people of this hemisphere, but especially for the native peoples who were here long before national borders were drawn.

This year’s celebration to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe is a time to renew the commitment of our border Church to accompany families that come to the United States seeking refuge and a new opportunity to live in peace and security. This year we will be praying in a special way for Mary’s maternal care toward those families that are separated from one another because of harsh outdated immigration laws.

In a special way we will be praying for our young Dreamer community in El Paso and elsewhere.  We know they have a special place in Mary’s heart.”

Who:

Bishop Mark J. Seitz and The Catholic Diocese of El Paso

What: 

Public Invited and All are Welcome to Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day Masses celebrated by Bishop Mark J. Seitz

Where: 

Our Lady of Guadalupe-Fabens at 127 W. Main Street 79838

Our Lady of Guadalupe-El Paso at 2709 Alabama St. 79930

When: 

Tuesday December 12, 2017

6 am at Our Lady of Guadalupe- Fabens at 127 W. Main Street 79838

6 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe- El Paso at 2709 Alabama St. 79930- Matachines will perform

Scholarship Fund Established for Students, Migrant Children to Attend Local Catholic schools

Earlier this summer, the Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D., Bishop of El Paso, announced the establishment of the Soñador Scholarship Fund, managed by the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso.

Bishop Seitz established the Soñador Scholarship Fund for Dreamers because he believes strongly in educating our children on the border and is committed to their success.

Photo courtesy Diocese of El Paso / Joe Najera Photography

The fund was established with a gift of $20,000.

Officials with the Diocese say the Bishop, “By his example and leadership, fosters a deep appreciation for the diversity that immigrants bring to our cultural experience.”

“Catholic schools are founded on Gospel values. They are places where everyone is welcome, including the most disadvantaged members of our communities,” officials added.

“Catholic education is inclusive, tolerant, challenging academically, faith-filled, and holistic. Students are taught a sense of their own worth as individuals as well as a commitment to serving society.”

Those wishing to donate gifts supporting the Soñador Scholarship Fund will provide opportunities for deserving students and migrant children to attend El Paso’s Catholic schools.

 

Bishop Seitz, Diocese of El Paso Announce New Pastoral Assignments for Region

Bishop Mark Seitz announced  on Monday new pastoral assignments for several parishes around the Diocese of El Paso.  Below is his statement on the changes:

Some 2,000 years ago Jesus brought together a group he called “The 12” as well as many others that were referred to as “disciples”. Everyone who heard and accepted the Good News was informed that they had a responsibility to share that Good News according to their particular calling.

Some, Jesus told to go home to their families and tell them all the good things God had done for them. Others he called to follow in a more radical way. They were to leave family and home and give their lives generously and without reserve in God’s service.

Those who were called in this way over time were designated as bishops, priests and deacons who were set aside for an ordained ministry,and men and women religious, who made vows in religious communities and lived according to different charisms.

Diocesan priests, who have received a vocation to serve a particular designated region in the Church under the guidance of a bishop, understand that they place themselves at the service of the entire Church of that region as designated by the local bishop. The bishop himself looks to the needs of the whole diocese guided by a personnel board, made up of priests who seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they look to the good of priests and people alike.

You will find here assignments for a number of priests in our diocese that will take effect at various times this year. Among these assignments is the naming of a new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of El Paso, Rev. Benjamin Flores.

After many years of dedicated and wise leadership in this role under Bishop Ochoa and myself, Rev. Anthony C. Celino will be able now to focus more on parish ministry at St. Raphael. We will continue to rely upon Fr. Tony Celino in the role of Judicial Vicar because of his Canon Law background.

Fr. Ben Flores is a priest who is well-respected by priests and laity in the Diocese. I look forward to his collaboration and good advice in the role as my closest collaborator.

Rev. James (Buzz) Hall will be retiring after many years of service throughout the Diocese but will continue to assist in the role of “Senior Priest” at Blessed Sacrament, where Fr. Ben Flores will continue as pastor. Fr. Hall will continue his work on marriage retreats and will also follow his dream of being a cruise chaplain.

Rev. Ben Mones, age 85, will be officially retiring after having come out of retirement to serve at Cristo Rey since September 2011. He will continue in residence as Senior Priest at Cristo Rey and will assist there as he is able. The Diocese of El Paso is indebted to Fr. Mones for his amazing spirit of service.

Sr. Margie Silguero, MJMJ will be completing her service at St. Mary’s in Marfa, Texas as Parish Administrator. The Diocese of El Paso is very grateful for her service to this parish community and to all of West Texas.

New assignments are always challenging for all of us, priests and laity alike. I look forward with great anticipation to the gifts these priests will bring to new responsibilities as witnesses and messengers of the Good News of Christ.

Before his Ascension Jesus commanded his disciples, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15) I am confident we will all be inspired to see this command fulfilled in our own time and place!

DIOCESE OF EL PASO NEW PASTORAL ASSIGNMENTS

June 5

Rev. Ben Flores Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia (See full release below)

June 15

Rev. Allan Alaka Administrator, St. John the Apostle, Monahans

Rev. James Hall Senior Priest, Blessed Sacrament, El Paso

Dcn. Cong Vo Parochial Vicar, St. Raphael, El Paso

July 1

Rev. Frank Lopez Pastor, St. Matthew, El Paso

Rev. Marcus McFadden Pastor, St. Luke, El Paso

Msgr. David Fiero Pastor, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, El Paso

Rev. Edilberto “Beto” Lopez Pastor, Our Lady of Peace, Alpine & Non Resident Pastor, Marfa

Rev. Hector Chicas, OP Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Peace, Alpine

Rev. Alfonso Bonilla, OP Parochial Vicar, St. Matthew, El Paso

Rev. John Paul Madanu Parochial Vicar, St. Mary, Marfa

Rev. Roberto Alvarado Parochial Vicar, Corpus Cristi, El Paso

Rev. Robert S. Kobe Diocesan Hospital Ministry

Fr. Esteban Sescon Sacramental Minister, Cristo Rey, El Paso

Fr. Ben Mones Senior Priest, Cristo Rey, El Paso

October 1

Rev. Salvador Aguilera St. Stephen, El Paso

Recent New Assignments

Dcn. Roberto Saucedo Administrator, Holy Family, El Paso

Fr. Apolinar Samboni Administrator, Our Lady of Fatima, Van Horn

Fr. Jovino Antonio Maritinez Parochial Vicar, San Judas Tadeo, El Paso

###

new vc

 

VERY REVEREND BENJAMIN FLORES NEWLY APPOINTED VICAR GENERAL AND MODERATOR OF THE CURIA, DIOCESE OF EL PASO

Very Rev. Benjamin Flores Ruiz is originally from El Paso Texas and has served the West Texas area as a Catholic Priest for most of his career.

He is a graduate of Jefferson High School (Class of 1984) and a University of Texas at El Paso graduate (Class of 1989) where he majored in Sociology with a minor in Philosophy.

Fr. Benjamin Flores studied at St. Charles Seminary from 1987 – 1989 and completed his graduate studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary (Class of 1993). He was ordained to the Diaconate on December 26, 1992 and a few months after that he was ordained to the Priesthood on May 29, 1993.

Father Ben, as he is known, has been a priest for the past 24 years and is cherished by many of his parishioners. As a newly ordained priest in 1993 he was assigned to Sta. Rosa de Lima in Pecos, Texas. In 1994 he was assigned to and is current President of the Presbyteral Council & Board of Consultors which advises the Bishop regarding important issues at the parish level and serves as a direct voice to the Bishop for parishioners.

In 1995, he was assigned as Vocation Director for the Diocese of El Paso. In this role, Fr. Ben encouraged many laity to answer the call to priesthood by setting an example in his search for seminarians. As Vocation Director he helped parishes establish a vocations contact at the parish level and he launched the Altar Server Camp for youth altar servers .

Fr. Ben strongly believes in planting the seed for a call to vocations at an early age.

In 1998, he returned to be Pastor at Sta. Rosa de Lima, Pecos, Texas. In 2003 Fr. Ben was assigned as Pastor of San Antonio de Padua in El Paso, Texas where he initiated construction for a new parish center and hall. In 2004, Fr. Ben was assigned to the College of Consultors.

In 2006, he returned to the Vocation Ministry when he was assigned as Interim Vocation Director. Once again Fr. Ben addressed the Diocesan need for seminarians.

Father Ben is currently serving as Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, El Paso, TX since 2011 and Fr. Ben will take his role as Vicar General and Moderator for the Curia on June 5, 2017.

He is the son of the late Narciso Flores & Crescencia Flores Ruiz and is one of 9 siblings (Arturo, Luis, Raul, Rosa Maria, Graciela, Laura, Raquel and Veronica). The family’s home parish: San Francis Xavier, El Paso Texas.

Diocese: More than 77,000 Attending Catholic Churches

The Diocese of El Paso conducted a Mass Attendance Count in all parishes on the weekend of October 15 and 16, 2016.

This new initiative counted how many parishioners are attending Mass including all Masses held that weekend in English, Spanish, and bilingually.

According to Karina Sandoval, the Stewardship Coordinator for the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, the total number of parishioners attending Mass over the weekend was of 77,096 in 65 churches throughout the 10 counties of the Diocese of El Paso.

A total of 40,386 parishioners attended Mass in Spanish, 27,018 in English, and 9,692 attended bilingual Masses or Masses held in a different language.

The Mass Attendance Count is being coordinated by the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso under the Office of Stewardship. According to Sandoval, the Mass Attendance Count will become an annual practice in the diocese and will help churches and the diocese plan for the future and improve services provided to families.

Diocese of El Paso to Conduct a Mass Attendance Count in all Parishes

The Diocese of El Paso will conduct a Mass Attendance Count in all parishes on the weekend of October 15 & 16, 2016.

This new initiative will ask all parishes to count how many parishioners are attending Mass including all Masses held that weekend in English, Spanish and bilingually.

According to Karina Sandoval, the Stewardship Coordinator for the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, conducting a Mass Attendance Count will help the Diocese and its parishes offer better pastoral services to Catholic families, identify long-term trends in church attendance, and help churches in their short and long-term planning efforts.

The Mass Attendance Count is a standard practice among dioceses in the United States and a practice the Diocese wants to adopt in order to walk together as a faith community.

The Mass Attendance Count is being coordinated by the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso under the Office of Stewardship.

Foundation for Diocese of El Paso Welcomes New Endowment Fund to Support Homeless Women

The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso is pleased to welcome the El Paso Villa Maria Endowment Fund to the Foundation’s Catholic Legacy Fund.

Villa Maria is a residence where women who are homeless and without children can transition from crisis to self-sufficiency while living in a beautiful, safe, supportive and spiritual community.

The fund was established with a gift of $20,000.

This permanent fund helps support Villa Maria’s mission to instill hope and to inspire their guests to overcome the crisis that brought them to their door. Villa Maria does this with guidance and by setting clear expectations, such as:

 Remaining drug and alcohol free

 Staying involved in case management

 Saving income for rent and furnishing permanent housing

 Respecting the safety and comfort of other guests

 Sharing in chores

 Adherence to rules

Endowment funds provide a vehicle through which individuals make outright or planned gifts that will have an everlasting impact on Villa Maria. In time the income generated by the gift will far exceed the original donation. Gifts in any amount are welcome.

Donors can create a Named Fund in honor or in memory of loved ones with a gift or pledge of $10,000 or more over a five-year period.

For more information, visit the Villa Maria Fund Page.

El Paso Diocese: Internet photo of graves ‘run over’ false

The Diocese of El Paso says a photo making the rounds on social media appearing to show graves at a Lower Valley cemetery damaged due to a vehicle ‘running them over’ is false

“The photo, put on a local Facebook page in the last 12 hours and claims to show damage left by someone who allegedly drove over graves at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. It’s false,” read a post placed on the Diocese’s own Facebook page.

According to officials, the ruts left in the cemetery were made from the heavy tractors that are used at the property which dig the graves.

The online post goes on to state, “The recent rains and snow we’ve had made the ground soft and when the tractors went through, they left the dirt like this. As for the headstone and flowers which are in disarray, those were moved to make room for the tractor which was on its way to an established grave site for a new burial. The headstone and flowers were put back in their normal spot soon after the tractor went through.

Officials added that, “At no time has the cemetery suffered damage or have graves been disturbed. Business operates as usual at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. We hope the original post did not worry families unnecessarily.”

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