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Home | Tag Archives: diocese of el paso

Tag Archives: diocese of el paso

Bishop Seitz issues letter to faithful, writes that region’s churches would hold steady at ‘Phase II’

Monday afternoon, Bishop Mark J. Seitz released an open letter to the faithful of the region, letting them know that churches would ‘hold steady’ on Phase II of the diocese’s reopening plan.

The Bishop cited the rise of COVID-19 cases throughout the region as his main reason for the pause.  Below is the Bishop’s letter.

As most of you are aware we are witnessing a steep rise here in El Paso in the spread of COVID 19 in our community. We are currently seeing more daily positive test results and considerably more hospitalizations in El Paso County than in the entire State of New Mexico.

This past Wednesday I decided that we as a Diocese would hold steady at Phase II of our reopening plan. Phase II allows for private visits to the churches, the offering of regular times for Confessions, the celebration of daily Masses, Monday through Saturday at 25% capacity or less. Under this phase arrangements for the celebration of Baptisms, Confirmations, First Communions, Quinceañeras and Funeral Masses at 25% capacity were permitted.

At the end of last week the Governor, concerned about the growth of the presence of the virus in our communities, dialed back protocols for the State. Now, masks are required whenever a person is out in public in the presence of others outside their household. Also, gatherings of more than 10 indoors or outdoors are prohibited.

I recognize that the Church is exempt from these legal restrictions, but at the same time we in the Church know that we have a responsibility to be concerned about doing our part as good Christians and good citizens to contribute to bringing down the dangerous trends we are witnessing, which, if they continue will overwhelm our hospital systems and place our first responders and medical providers at great risk.

Last week, in speaking to our clergy and administrators, I observed that we have in place safe protocols, which, if practiced consistently, should keep those who gather at our churches safe. However, listening to some of our pastors, I am becoming aware that in certain rites safe practices are not prevailing and their guidance is often being ignored. The primary occasions in which this is taking place are at Funeral Masses, at Funeral Homes and at Weddings.

For this reason, I am now finding it necessary to prohibit the celebration of Weddings, Funeral Masses, as well as Word Services or Rosaries led by Church personnel at Funeral Homes. We will continue to permit gatherings at gravesides with 10 people or less, with the use of masks and following social distancing requirements. This directive will come into effect on Thursday, July 9th.

I regret the inconvenience that these restrictions will cause, but our priority must be the wellbeing of all our members. Wedding Masses and Quinceañeras will need to be postponed until such time as the virus is not so prevalent. Memorial Masses for the deceased will also be arranged at that time.

As we have said in the past, I leave it to the good judgement of pastors and administrators if they choose in their individual parish settings be more restrictive than what is permitted in these guidelines. That is their responsibility at the parish level in response to the differing situations of each community. Diocesan protocols necessarily place forward the least restrictive options presently allowed in our diocese.

At this time, I ask all the faithful of the Diocese to continue to build up the Domestic Church of your home. Continue to support one another and show your love by your prayers and your consistently safe practices. Special concern for those who are over 60 or whose health is compromised is particularly important. Please also do your best to be supportive to your pastor or administrator and your entire Catholic Community.

We do know that our God is with us every step of the way through these difficult times. Listen to Jesus inviting you as in this Sunday’s Gospel to, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you.” (Matt. 11: 28) Like everything in this world, “This too will pass away.” This time when the novel corona virus seems to have the upper hand will pass. We must continue this fight for a time and one day we will tell the stories of how we overcame these trials. We will praise God for the way we were guided through and for how much we grew in our Faith during those days.

May God Bless you!

​Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, DD
Bishop of El Paso

Pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Alpine tests Positive for COVID-19; Church returns to Phase 1 Guidelines

The Diocese of El Paso announced on Wednesday afternoon that Rev. Edilberto “Beto” Lopez, Pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Alpine, Texas, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Fr. Lopez and Our Lady of Peace and Fr. Joe Raj, S.J. who serves as his Vicar are currently under a 14-day quarantine.

“Fr. Raj was tested Monday and is awaiting the results of his test. He continues to be without symptoms. Fr. Lopez has only mild symptoms at this time and is in good spirits. He is resting at the parish rectory,” Diocese officials shared.

Our Lady of Peace in Alpine will return to Phase One in the Diocesan Protocol for Church Gatherings. Bishop Seitz will be sending Fr. Victorino Lorezca currently assigned to St. Raphael Catholic Church to Alpine to meet the pastoral needs of the people of Alpine and the
communities of Fort Davis and Marathon.

Bishop Seitz expressed his wishes for a speedy recovery of Fr. Lopez.

“I am praying for the speedy recovery of Fr. Lopez. I also pray that everyone with this illness will have a quick recovery,” Bishop Seitz said. “I urge all Catholics in the Diocese to continue to socially distance and continue using masks when in public out of Christian love for one another.”

The Diocese of El Paso will continue to remain in Phase 2 of the Diocesan Protocol for church gatherings as the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Bishop Seitz gives churches authority to begin Phase One; Includes private visitation to churches

Wednesday afternoon, Bishop Mark J. Seitz announced that beginning Thursday June 11, Churches within El Paso County may begin Phase One of the Diocesan Protocols for Church gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diocese officials point out that the approved in church gatherings will adhere to the Social Distancing guidelines they set out at the start of the pandemic.

Via their news release, Phase One states:

Church gatherings remain limited to less than 10 people. But churches where disinfection and Social Distancing norms are strictly followed may be open for a time during the day for personal prayer by individuals.

Scheduled times for Confession may also be offered, provided the Social Distancing norms below are strictly followed.

Churches in the Diocese will continue to stream masses online with no more than 10 people in attendance.

Social Distancing Norms for Churches

    ● Throughout each phase of the plan to resume church gatherings, churches will ensure that the faithful keep at least 6 feet of separation between parties at all times everywhere on church property. When seated, 6 feet of separation must be maintained between parties, except when two or more members of the same household sit adjacent to one another, with 6 feet of separation on either side.

    ● These Social Distancing norms apply to all areas of the church and its property. If Mass or another prayer service occurs outdoors or is simulcast in a second space, for example, the following Social Distancing norms still apply.

    ● It is recommended that there be only one entrance used to enter the church. However, multiple exits should continue to be used.

    ● Every other pew in the church should be blocked off with rope or tape (not “Caution” tape) and remain empty. Hospitality ministers should guide families to seats so that social distancing is maintained. Clear signs should indicate which seats are available and which are closed.

    ● Lines 6 feet apart should be marked in the aisles to facilitate social distancing during the Communion Procession. The Communion Procession itself should be limited to one line only.

    ● Smaller spaces in which it would be difficult to maintain social distancing, such as cry rooms, should be closed.

    ● Once the church reaches 25% or 50% capacity (depending on the phase), it may be necessary for hospitality ministers to close the doors of the church and turn people away. This must be done with the greatest sense of hospitality and sensitivity. Hospitality ministers should guide people unable to enter the church to Masses at other times, on other days, on television, or online.

    ● After Mass concludes, families and groups from the same household should be dismissed by hospitality ministers in an orderly fashion to avoid crowding at the exits.

    ● All in the church age 2 or above — parishioners, ministers, volunteers, and clergy — must wear masks or fabric face coverings and avoid physical contact. Pastors should endeavor to provide masks or fabric face coverings to those who arrive without one.

    ● During Mass, clergy should not wear a mask or face covering except when distributing Communion. Lectors should remove their mask or face covering when proclaiming the Word at the ambo. Cantors and other music ministers may remove masks or face coverings while singing, so long as social distancing is strictly observed.

For more information regarding the guidelines being followed by the diocese, click here.

Relics of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina to visit the Diocese of El Paso

Relics of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina – better known as Padre Pio – will be visiting the El Paso area on Saturday and Sunday.

The first stop will be St. Patrick’s Cathedral of the Diocese of El Paso, on Saturday, November 16, 2019 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.  A mass will be celebrated by The Most Reverend Bishop Mark J. Seitz at 5:00pm.

The relics will also be at Christ the King/Cristo Rey Monastery at 145 North Cotton, on Sunday, November 17, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

St. Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed his desire for priesthood at age 10. In order to pay for the preparatory education, his  father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated in the United States on 1899, where he worked for several years.

The future saint entered the Capuchin order at age 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at the age of 23. During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge, who bore the stigmata. Stigmata is the term the Catholic Church uses to speak about the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists, and feet.

His stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the conflict. Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side.

A few weeks later, on September 20, 1918, Jesus again appeared to him, and he received the full stigmata. It remained with him until his death on September 23, 1968.

Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.

In the Catholic Church, relics are physical objects associated with a saint or candidate for sainthood – part of the person’s body or something with which he or she was in contact. Relics are not worshiped but treated with religious respect.

Touching or praying in the presence of such an object helps a faithful individual focus on the saint’s life and virtues, so that through the saint’s prayer or intercession before God, the individual will be drawn closer to God.

The relics of Saint Pio available for public veneration will be the following:

Saint Pio’s glove

Saint Pio’s crusts of the wounds

Cotton-gauze with Saint Pio’s blood stains

A lock of Saint Pio’s hair

Saint Pio’s mantle

Saint Pio’s handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.

The Saint Pio Foundation is a premier national charitable organization that promotes awareness of Saint Pio and his mission by working with institutions and individuals who share the same vision to serve “those in need of relief of suffering.”

Funds raised by the Saint Pio Foundation are used to provide grants to American Catholic healthcare, educational, social, religious, and
cultural partner organizations. More information about Saint Pio Foundation can be found online

Diocese to hold Commemoration Mass marking one month since August 3rd shooting

On Wednesday, the Diocese of El Paso announced that Bishop Mark Seitz would hold a special mass on September 3, marking one month since the deadly Cielo Vista Walmart shooting that killed 22 people, and injured more than two dozen more.

“As we approach the one month mark since the tragedy on August 3rd,” Diocese officials shared via email. “Bishop Mark Seitz and the Diocese continue pray for everyone in our extended El Paso Strong Family.”

Officials added, “We continue to ask for prayer during this time of need for those affected by this serious and grave tragedy.”

The Commemoration Mass will be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 9:00 am at St. Patrick Cathedral, located at 1118 North Mesa.

Diocese of El Paso consolidates two parishes, establishes St. John Paul II Catholic Church

On Monday, the Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D., Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, along with the Diocese of El Paso  announced the naming of a new parish that will be established on August 1st in the Mission Valley of El Paso.

According to the Diocese,  after prayer and reflection, Bishop Seitz settled on the name of St. John Paul II.

“I am elated that a parish in the diocese will take the name St. John Paul II,” Bishop Seitz said. “I pray that this new established community will grow in same boundless faith and joy that characterized the life and service of St. John Paul II, to our Lord God.”

The consolidated parishes of Santa Lucia Catholic Church and San Jose Catholic Church will be merged together and named St. John Paul II Catholic Church.

Parishioners from both parishes had the opportunity to share suggestions for the name of the parish over several weekend Masses.

A 10 member committee with representatives from both parishes passed on to the bishop two of the names that received the most votes for his consideration.

The official site of St. John Paul II Parish will have its primary facilities at the former Santa Lucia Catholic Church located at 518 Gallagher Street in the Mission Valley.

“Should the active members of the new parish who live within the neighborhood of the former parish of San Jose wish to continue a presence of church facilities in their part of the new parish territory they will be able to pursue this goal with the pastor and pastoral council of the newly created parish,” the Diocese shared via a news release.

The official decree establishing St. John Paul II Catholic Church states, “the patrimony of San Jose Parish that had been set up as a building fund can be used to maintain, update or build edifices at 8100 San Jose Road, not excluding the creation of a small space suitable for liturgical devotion and prayer.”

Furthermore, the decree states, “all parish registers containing records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage, and death that are currently preserved at both Santa Lucia and San Jose shall be transferred to the Saint John Paul II Parish office where they will be faithfully preserved in accordance with Canon Law.”

Diocese officials add that the parish boundaries will be made available via the diocesan website.

El Paso, Juarez religious leaders to lead ‘Faith Action’ at International Bridge Thursday

Officials with both the Diocese of El Paso and the Diocese of Ciudad Juarez announced Wednesday that religious leaders from both sides of the border would be carrying out a ‘Faith Action’ on Thursday to highlight the issues on the US-Mexico border.

Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso and clergy of the Diocese of Ciudad Juárez be participating in the binational event.

The action is in response to what the groups say are “…recent events and actions taken to criminalize migration at the US-Mexico border, including the expansion of the Remain in Mexico policy, the deployment of security forces of both countries to the border, the ongoing deaths of migrant families in the Rio Grande and grave conditions in migrant processing centers.”

According to officials, at 1:30pm on Thursday 27 June, Bishop Seitz will cross the Lerdo International Bridge (Stanton Street Bridge) on foot to accompany migrants returned from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez as part of the Remain in Mexico program.

The Bishop will be received by leadership of the Diocese of Ciudad Juárez, including Rev. Javier Calvillo, the director of Casa del Migrante, the diocesan migrant shelter.

Bishop Seitz and Father Calvillo will pray with migrants impacted by Remain in Mexico.

Following the encounter with migrants, Bishop Seitz and Father Calvillo will make a statement regarding the current situation of migrants at the border, scheduled for 2:15pm.

“As part of the recently expanded Remain in Mexico program, hundreds of migrants are returned daily to Ciudad Juárez from El Paso, including families, women and children,” officials added.  “These migrants often experience distressing conditions in immigrant detention for several days before being returned, where there is a critical lack of access to shelter, food, legal aid and basic services.”

Thousands of migrants have already been returned to Ciudad Juárez as a result of Remain in Mexico policy.

Video+Info: Diocese of El Paso calls for Volunteers, Donations to Migrant Center

On Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese sent out a call for volunteers and donations for the Diocesan Migrant Center located at the Diocese of El Paso’s Catholic Pastoral Center.

The migrant center is currently seeing between 80-100 migrant refugees daily. Once refugees arrive at the facility, they are given a change of clothes, the ability to shower, 3 meals a day, and a care package of snacks and necessary needs for travel to their destination.

Volunteers assist in the caring for the migrant refugees on site and with rides to the airport or the bus station. The diocese is also looking for volunteers to assist in providing meals to refugees.

Volunteers can send name, number and times available to volunteer to plopez@elpasodiocese.org or call the Office of the Chancery at 915-872-8407.

In addition to the need for on site volunteers, the diocese is also in need of donations.

Goods Needed for Donation

FOOD ITEMS Bottled Water Drinks (that are easy to distribute)-Capri Sun, Juice box Granola Bar Fruit Cereal and Milk Small packaged snacks (Cookies, crackers, trail mix, chips) Sliced bread Peanut Butter and Jelly Instant Tea or Lemonade Mix

KITCHEN ITEMS 8 oz. cups Forks Knives Spoons 9 inch plates Small bowls Napkins Large roll aluminum Foil Sandwich size Ziploc bags Quarter gallon Ziploc bags One gallon Ziploc bags

TOILETRY SUPPLIES Travel Size Toiletries (Shampoo, Soap, Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Moisturizing Cream, Disposable razors, Combs and hair brush)  Toilet paper Feminine Hygiene Baby diapers (all sizes)

MISCELLANEOUS Car Seats Linen (Twin sheets, pillows, pillow cases and blankets) Towels

CLOTHING Brand new Underwear, for Men, Women and Children (Mostly small and medium size needed) Brand New pairs of socks, for Men, Women and Children Tennis Shoes (from 2-year-old to adults) Jeans (Denim) for Men, Women and Children Blouses Shirts for Men Coats Sweaters Gloves Beanies

Cleaning Supplies Clorox Wipes Clorox Pinesol Dish Soap Laundry Detergent Fabuloso or floor cleaner Lyson Spray Gloves for Handling Food

Video+Statement+List: Diocese of El Paso Publishes List of Priests, Brothers Who Have Been Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors

On Thursday afternoon, officials with the Diocese of El Paso sent out their compiled list of those Priests and Priest/Brothers who have been – as they state – “Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors.”

Included with the list and documents, was a statement from Bishop Mark Seitz on the entire situation.  That statement (and supporting documents) follows in their entirety.

Bishop Mark Seitz’s reflections on the list of members of the clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Diocese of El Paso and his pledge promising healing and hope

January 31, 2019

The Diocese of El Paso publishes this list of priests of the Diocese and priests/brothers belonging to religious orders who ministered in our Diocese since 1950 and who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

This is a day which is painful for many, including myself. It is also a day of hope, because I believe this difficult public acknowledgement of the pain suffered by victims will promote healing for victims of abuse, their families, our communities and our Church.

My heart goes out to you who have been victimized by clergy who turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing. I ache for both the victim-survivors who have courageously come forward and those of you who have never shared your pain. I am hoping those of you who have never reported what happened will now feel assured you can come forward and tell your story without fear.

I pray that this will help relieve you of a burden that you have carried for many years. Please hear this: you are not guilty for things that were done to you. You were a child and a person you trusted abused your trust. You are safe now to share your story. Sharing your story will help you find healing and will encourage others to do the same.

The publication of the list is not the end of a process but rather is a step along the way to what I hope will be a full and complete accounting of all those members of the clergy who served in the Diocese and who sexually abused minors. There are other allegations against members of the clergy whose names are not on this list. These cases are being investigated and, if any of the allegations are determined to be credible, the list will be updated with a supplement. I am driven not only to publish the names of the credibly accused diocesan clergy, but also not to commit an equally unjust act of publishing the name of a cleric against whom a credible allegation has not been made. Please note none of the cases being investigated involve men who are still priests.

I was saddened to see the El Paso list. It contains names of 14 priests who were incardinated to the Diocese, 5 priests who served in the diocese but were incardinated in another, 8 priests who belonged to religious orders serving in the Diocese and 3 names of brothers belonging to religious orders serving in the Diocese. The number of names has been significantly affected by several factors that have to be considered in order to keep the list in its proper perspective:

 While one case of the sexual abuse of a minor is too many, bear in mind that the list covers nearly 70 years. During that time, we have calculated that over 1,000 diocesan priests and priests/brothers belonging to religious orders served in the Diocese of El
Paso. This means that the number of those credibly accused represent between 2% to 3% of the priests and religious who served in El Paso. This percentage is less than what has been estimated in national studies.

 Until August 17, 1982, the Diocese was much larger geographically than it is today because, in addition to including a substantial part of West Texas, it also included most of southern New Mexico, Prior to 1982, the Diocese had many more priests than it does today.

 The Diocese was created in 1914 and consistently suffered from a chronic shortage of vocations. Prior bishops accepted priests from other dioceses who had not been subjected to the careful vetting process now in place. Further, some priests were accepted from the treatment center operated by the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, NM with documentation asserting they were fit to return to ministry. Today, the Diocese benefits from research and experience that has changed the approach to sexual predators of minors. A member of the clergy who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is permanently removed from ministry.

The Diocese has not received any report of sexual abuse of a minor that took place since 1999. While the abuse may have happened decades ago, however, I recognize that the pain and suffering from that abuse is felt every day by the victims, their families, our communities and our Church.

Much has been done to improve the response of the Church of El Paso to the sexual abuse of minors. Since 1993 a Pastoral Response Committee, a group of lay mental health professionals, has carefully investigated all allegations of abuse and provided counseling for the victims. The Pastoral Response Committee later became a committee of the Diocesan Review Board, a group of primarily lay people called for by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was approved by the US bishops in 2002.

The Charter also mandated safe environment training of all clergy and all those, both professional and volunteers, in service of the Church. All children in Catholic schools and those in our religious education programs are receiving training to help them recognize and report inappropriate behavior. In 2014 the Diocese instituted the VIRTUS Safe Environment Program in our Diocese because it is the best resource in the country. Also, the Diocese hired a full time Safe Environment Coordinator.

The publication of names of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors is a significant and progressive step toward the goal of healing the wounds suffered by victims. Soon, the focus will expand from holding clergy accountable to developing processes to hold bishops accountable for not reporting clergy abuse and failing to remove clergy from ministry when this action should have been taken. I am confident that those structures will soon be in place.

The list you see before you today has been carefully compiled by Diocesan staff and the Diocesan attorney. Further, I engaged a retired El Paso police detective with broad experience, including the investigation of crimes against minors, to review cases involving alleged sexual abuse of minors by diocesan clergy. He has had access to all Diocesan files. I am confident the list contains the names of diocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

In the name of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of El Paso I express my deep sorrow for the harm that has been caused to victims and their families. There is nothing I will ever be able to do to take away your pain.

As I have been doing since my arrival as your bishop, I promise and pledge that:

 I can and will provide psychological therapy whenever appropriate.

 I will continue to make myself available to meet with victims and to personally ask forgiveness.

 I will cooperate with law enforcement officials in the prosecution of clergy who abused minors.

 When a substantiated claim is made, I will immediately remove the cleric from ministry. When the Diocesan Review Board finds that an accusation is credible and I have made the appropriate determination, I will permanently remove that cleric from ministry and do all I can to ensure he will not victimize any child in the future.

 I will continue efforts through the VIRTUS Safe Environment Program to build communities that are well trained and therefore safe for minors and vulnerable adults.

 I can assure you that the priests and people of our Diocese will continue to offer prayers and to do penance for victims and their families.

 A Mass of Atonement and Healing will be offered this evening at 7:00 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Victim-survivors of abuse of any kind and coming from any source are encouraged to attend. We also invite Catholics and people of good will throughout the Diocese to join us in prayer for them.

I pray that God will bless these efforts and through them to allow Christ’s Body the Church to be cleansed and renewed and all her wounded members healed.

Bp. Mark J. Seitz

***

DIOCESE OF EL PASO 499 St. Matthews El Paso, Texas 79907

January 31, 2019

To: Parishes and Members of the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of El Paso

From: Bishop Mark J. Seitz

Re: Publication of the names of Roman Catholic clergy against whom credible allegations have been made that they committed sexual abuse of minors within the Diocese between January 1, 1950 and December 31, 2018.

In conformance with my commitment to transparency in the Church, the governance of the Diocese of El Paso (the “Diocese”) and for the spiritual good and assistance of victims of clerical sexual abuse of minors, the Diocese is publishing the names of Roman Catholic clergy against whom credible allegations have been made that they committed sexual abuse of minors within the Diocese between January 1, 1950 and December 31, 2018.

Important Information about the geographical boundaries of the Diocese before and after August 17, 1982

Prior to August 17, 1982, the geographical boundaries of the Diocese included the following West Texas counties: El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Reeves, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Pecos, Brewster, Ward and Winkler, and the following New Mexico counties: Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lea, Lina, Otero and a portion of Sierra.

On August 17, 1982, the Diocese of Las Cruces was created by canonical decree. All of the New Mexico counties named above were removed from the Diocese and became part of the Diocese of Las Cruces. After August 17, 1982, many members of the clergy of the Diocese serving in New Mexico elected to remain there and became subject (incardinated) to the newly appointed bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces.

Identification of Members of the Clergy

Members of clergy who appear on this list include: ordained priests of the Diocese, priests and brothers belonging to religious orders (e.g. Jesuits, Franciscans, Christian Brothers and others) that served in the Diocese, and extern priests. An extern priest is a priest who was incardinated to the bishop of another diocese and was serving in the Diocese with faculties granted by the bishop.

List of priests and religious Document No. 132497 Page 2 of 7

This list includes only clergy who have been determined, based on credible allegations, to have committed sexual abuse of minors in the Texas part of the Diocese between January 1, 1950 and December 31, 2018 and the New Mexico part of the Diocese from January 1, 1950 to August 17, 1982.

Definition of Credible Allegation

A “credible allegation” is one that the bishop determines there is reason to believe is true after review of reasonably available, relevant information in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board or other professionals. Prior to 1993, the bishop may have made the determination alone or in consultation with others, including professionals. (Note: In the Diocese of El Paso, from 1993 to 2002, the investigation and review of claims of sexual abuse submitted directly to the Diocese were conducted by the Pastoral Response Committee (PRC) and then presented to the bishop with recommendations for a determination. Reviews conducted by the PRC are included under the term “other professionals” Beginning in 2002, claims of sexual abuse submitted directly to the Diocese were reviewed by the Review Board mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The recommendations of the Review Board were presented to the Bishop with recommendations for a determination. Beginning in 2002, the PRC continued to investigate claims of sexual abuse but the Review Board made the recommendations to the bishop. A determination that an allegation against a member of the clergy is credible and, therefore, should be published, is not equivalent to a finding by a judge or jury that the cleric is liable for sexual abuse of a minor under civil law or has committed criminal sexual abuse of a minor under the Texas Penal Code unless specifically indicated below. A determination that an allegation against a member of the clergy is credible is a finding by the bishop that the conduct described in a claim constitutes a violation of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Members of the clergy who served in the Diocese against whom allegations of sexual abuse of minors have been made but whose names do not appear on the list

The Diocese has made a diligent effort to include the names of all clergy against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors within the Diocese have been made since 1950. There have been instances where allegations have been made against a member of the clergy but have been determined to not be credible or not to involve a minor or not to have been committed in the Diocese. The names of members of the clergy who fall into this category are not listed.

List of priests and religious Document No. 132497 Page 3 of 7

Additionally, it is possible that there are members of the clergy against whom allegations were made that they committed sexual abuse of minors in the Diocese but whose names do not appear on the list. Any such omission is likely due to one or more of the following factors: no written report was submitted to the Diocese; a written report was made but no record of the report was kept; a written report was made but cannot be located; a written report was made to a religious order but was not communicated to the Diocese or a verbal report was made to a diocesan official but no record of such report has been found. Any person with knowledge of a member of diocesan clergy whose name is not on the list and who allegedly committed sexual abuse of a minor within the Diocese should report such allegations to the El Paso Police Department by calling (915) 2124000 and, if the victim is still a minor, to Child Protective Services by calling (915) 759-3947. Additionally, such person should also report the allegations to Ms. Susan Martinez, Victim’s Assistance Coordinator by calling (915) 872-8465. The Diocese will promptly investigate the allegations and present the evidence to the Diocesan Review Board for its opinion whether the allegations constitute a credible accusation. The Review Board will make its recommendation to the Bishop who will make the final determination.

Members of the clergy who served in the Diocese against whom claims have been recently made but have not yet been fully investigated and evaluated by the Review Board

The Diocese has received claims from individuals who have alleged that they were sexually abused within the Diocese by members of the Clergy. Some of these claims have been made through lawsuits and some have been made without the filing of lawsuits. These cases are currently being investigated by the PRC and will be presented to the Review Board when the investigations are completed. If any claim is determined by the bishop to constitute a credible allegation, the name of the member of clergy in question will be added to the list through a supplement to be published at a later date.

Members of the Society of Jesus (“Jesuits”) who served in the Diocese and whose names appear on a list published by the Order

On December 7, 2018, the Society of Jesus U.S. Central and Southern Province published a list of Jesuits against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors have been made. Some of the Jesuits on the list served in the Diocese. The list published by the U.S. Central and Southern

List of priests and religious Document No. 132497 Page 4 of 7

Province is attached to this publication for your reference. The list published by the Diocese includes one of the priests on the Jesuit list (see Attachment No. 3). The Diocese has been informed by the Jesuits that the Order does not have knowledge of any allegation that any other Jesuit priest on the Jesuit list committed sexual abuse of a minor while serving in El Paso. Any person having knowledge of allegations that a Jesuit committed sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the Diocese should contact Ms. Susan Martinez, Victim’s Assistance Coordinator by calling (915) 872-8465. The Diocese will promptly investigate the allegations and present the evidence to the Review Board.

Franciscan Brothers and Christian Brothers who served in the Diocese

The list published by the Diocese includes one Franciscan brother and two Christian Brothers (see Attachment No. 4). The Diocese has been informed by the Franciscan Order and by the Christian Brothers Order that the Orders do not have knowledge of any allegations that any other Franciscan brother or any other Christian Brothers committed sexual abuse of a minor while serving in El Paso. Any person having knowledge of allegations that any other Franciscan brother or Christian Brother committed sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the Diocese should contact Ms. Susan Martinez, Victim’s Assistance Coordinator by calling (915) 872-8465. The Diocese will promptly investigate the allegations and present the evidence to the Review Board.

List of names of members of the clergy against whom credible allegations have been made that they committed sexual abuse of minors within the Diocese

The list is arranged in the following order:

Attachment No. 1: priests incardinated to the bishop of the Diocese.

Attachment No. 2: priests who served in the Diocese with privileges granted by the bishop but who were incardinated to a bishop of another diocese.

Attachment No. 3: religious order priests who served in the Diocese with the consent of the bishop.

Attachment No. 4: religious order brothers who served in the Diocese with the consent of the bishop. Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso

Full Statement & List

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

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.

 

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