VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appointed Spanish-speaking Bishop Mark Seitz to lead the El Paso Diocese in western Texas, placing him just across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
“Since I entered the seminary here in Dallas as a young 18-year-old boy, I have loved Dallas and the Church of Dallas,” Bishop Seitz said in a May 6 statement.
“But when I presented myself for ordination as a deacon, I gave my life to God’s service, and I promised to be at the disposal of the Church. I accept this call as a new opportunity to follow the Good Shepherd and, with his help, to be one,” he added.
He was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Dallas Diocese in April 2010, and he has been serving there under Bishop Kevin Farrell.
“I happily congratulate Bishop Mark Seitz and applaud the decision of our Holy Father to appoint him to lead the Catholic faithful in this important border diocese,” Bishop Farrell said.
Bishop Seitz’s ability to speak Spanish “will be a tremendous asset, but he also possesses a prayerful, pastoral manner, keen theological insight and deep devotion to our Church,” the Dallas bishop remarked.
Bishop Seitz was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 10, 1954.
He was ordained a priest on May 17, 1980, and holds master’s degrees in liturgical studies, divinity and theology.
The move from Dallas to El Paso will bring Bishop Seitz across almost the entire state and place him on the border with Mexico.
The diocese was established in 1914 and consists of 10 counties spread over 26,686 square miles. The diocese serves 656,035 Catholics out of a population of 811,739 and is made up of 55 parishes, 20 missions and has 17 ministries that serve the multicultural, multilingual community.