My head is still spinning as I try to take in all the incredible events of last month beginning with my arrival here with all my worldly belongings on the first of July and then the tremendous outpouring of love and support I received in the events surrounding my Installation. Those beautifully planned and executed liturgies were so inspiring to me that I continue to draw upon them. The welcome the Diocese of El Paso has extended to me even before you knew me will certainly remain for me a lasting sign of God’s unconditional love. My family could hardly believe the depth of faith and love they witnessed.
The following weekend I went to Presidio in “West Texas” which recently lost their pastor. Once again I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and love I experienced. On my way I passed by beautiful churches in Marfa and Shafter as well. What a joy it will be to visit all our parishes and missions! But even now I can see that the Catholic Faith is alive and well in our rural areas as well even in the midst of the challenges they face.
Much of my time when I have not been visiting parishes has been spent trying to get moved into my office and home. It is not easy to bring order from the chaos. God is much better at that. Already meetings have begun with organizations and individuals as time permits. A number of priests have met with me and I have gradually been trying to meet members of the staff that serves the Diocese. What would I be able to accomplish without the work of these wonderful women and men who work day by day, often beyond their required hours in the ministry of the Church? I am very impressed with those priests, sisters and lay ministers that I have had the opportunity to meet. You can be proud of them and when you meet them please let them know how much you appreciate their service.
At the end of July I will be at World Youth Day in Brazil. I am excited to attend this, my first experience of this amazing outpouring of young people of Faith. This will be the first major trip for Pope Francis and it will be to his home continent so I think there will be quite a bit of excitement. We have two groups of young people going to the event. We have a group of 49 members from the Neo-catechumenal communities of El Paso. They will begin their trip by stopping in Paraguay to Evangelize people there. We also have a Diocesan group of 31 who will be participating. I will be joining this group.
I had the opportunity to meet both of these groups before their departure and to offer them a pilgrim’s blessing. I can assure you from these brief encounters that your Diocese will be well represented. A full report will be forthcoming soon.
Thanks for your warm welcome! If you wish you can follow me on twitter: @BishopSeitz
+Bishop Mark Seitz