Pope names Dallas auxiliary bishop to head El Paso Diocese

By Catholic News Service

May 6, 2013

Bishop Mark J. Seitz
Auxiliary Bishop Mark Seitz of Dallas was named the seventh bishop of El Paso May 6.

EL PASO — Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Mark J. Seitz of Dallas as the seventh bishop of El Paso.

The appointment was announced May 6 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Seitz, 59, succeeds Bishop Armando Ochoa, who was named bishop of Fresno, California, in December 2011.

Bishop Seitz was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 10, 1954. He attended the University of Dallas where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1976, and master’s degrees in divinity (1980) and theology (1982). He also earned a master’s degree in liturgical studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1985. He was ordained a priest for the Dallas Diocese on May 17, 1980.

Bishop Seitz’ ssignments after ordination included parochial vicar at Good Shepherd Parish in Garland, 1980-85; adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, 1985-94; spiritual director for Hoy Trinity Seminary, 1986-1987; vice-rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, 1987-93; pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Waxahachie, 1993-2003; and pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dallas, 2003-10.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II named him a prelate of honor, carrying the title “monsignor.” He was ordained  a bishop April 27, 2010 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dallas.

“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,” said Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas in a press release expressing his support. “Bishop Seitz’ 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. His years as a hard-working pastor in the Diocese of Dallas will serve him well as he leads his new diocese, and I wish him many blessings in this new chapter of his ministry. I know he will be a tremendous blessing to the people of the Diocese of El Paso.”

At a gathering May 6 in Martyrs of America Hall at the El Paso Diocese’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Bishop Seitz expressed thanks to Pope Francis for “calling me to serve this special diocese (of El Paso) especially at the time it marks its centennial” as he was introduced to clergy and diocesan staff and members of the local press.

“I know the Lord will supply my defects and God will use me as his instrument” in serving the people of diverse cultures in his new diocese, the bishop said.

Speaking as the new ordinary of a diocese that had been without a bishop for 16 months Bishop Seitz said it is his “intention and desire to serve the entire community with a preferential love for the poor.”

“I will do my best by living simply,” he said.

He made a special point of expressing hope that he could “help bring consolation to anyone who has suffered sexual abuse.”

Bishop Seitz thanked Bishop Ochoa, who had continued as apostolic administrator of the diocese, for his warm welcome and assistance, saying Bishop Ochoa’s leadership is a “model I can build on.”

In response to questions from the local press, he said he would work hard to encourage more vocations to the priesthood in the diocese. Bishop Seitz said he hoped to lead the faithful in serving as examples of Christ-centered life so they could encourage those who have fallen away from the Church in recent years to return to their faith.

He told a student at the diocese’s Cathedral High School that he was looking to youth of the diocese as a great resource of vigor and enthusiasm “to lead the way in showing us how to live in unity and love.”

The Diocese of El Paso, established in 1914 covers 26,686 miles in 10 counties and has a population of 686,037 Catholics.

Bishop Mark J. SeitzEL PASO — Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Mark J. Seitz of Dallas as the seventh bishop of El Paso. The appointment was announced May 6 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Published (until 6/6/2013)