On May 6, 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis named Auxiliary Bishop Mark J. Seitz, D.D. of Dallas as the sixth Bishop of El Paso to succeed Bishop Armando X. Ochoa who was installed as the Bishop of Fresno in February 2012. Bishop Seitz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 10, 1954, the oldest of 10 children. Wanting to be a priest from early childhood, Bishop Seitz remembers that when he was eight years old, “I woke up in a thoughtful mood and began to reflect about what I wanted to be.” Like many little boys, he thought about being a fireman, a doctor or… a priest, or perhaps all three. “But then I thought if I were a fireman or doctor, I could save people but they were still going to die. If I were a priest I could save people so they could live forever,” he says.
Bishop Seitz began his priestly formation in 1972 at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas on May 17, 1980. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy, a Master’s Degree in Divinity and a Master of Arts Degree in Theology from the University of Dallas. In 1985, Bishop Seitz received a Master’s Degree in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. In 2004, Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor. On March 11, 2010, Bishop Seitz was named Auxiliary Bishop of Dallas and took as his motto, “Paratum cor meum” – My heart is ready.
Bishop Seitz served as Parochial Vicar at Good Shepherd Parish from 1980-1984, Adjunct Professor at the University of Dallas from 1985-1994, Spiritual Director at Holy Trinity Seminary in 1986 and 1987, Vice-Rector at Holy Trinity Seminary from 1987 to 1993, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Waxahachie from 1993 to 2003, Pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dallas from 2003 to 2010, and Pastor of All Saints Parish in Dallas from 2010 to 2013. In 2009, Monsignor Seitz gave a gift of life by donating a kidney to one of his parishioners at St. Rita Parish. “We follow the model of one who literally gave his life for us. If he can lay down his life, I can give away a kidney,” explains Bishop Seitz.
In the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Seitz served on the diocesan Liturgical Commission, the Committee for the Continuing Education of Priests, the Presbyteral Council, and the College of Consultors. He also served as the Spiritual Director of the White Rose Women’s Center and on the Board of Directors of the BirthChoice Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Center in Dallas. He was the Spiritual Advisor to DFW Courage, a ministry to those who struggle with same-sex attractions, from 1998 until 2010. At the national level, Bishop Seitz serves on the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Reflecting on his appointment as the new Bishop of El Paso, Bishop Seitz stated, “I accept this call as a new opportunity to follow the Good Shepherd and, with His help, to be one.”