May 29, 2020
Stewardship is alive and in action while public celebrations of the Eucharist are suspended and parishes continue to offer spiritual and pastoral services to the community. Learn more about what parishes are doing during COVID-19 and how you can help.
Churches in the Diocese of El Paso are still closed due to COVID-19 and parishes are limited to ten people when they facilitate the live streaming of the celebration of Mass, Rosaries, and virtual gatherings. Funerals, weddings, baptisms, and similar liturgies have been postponed. Clergy have been providing graveside services for small numbers of people; in some cases, a family member will live stream the service so loved ones can participate virtually. Aside from the ministries that have been born of the pandemic, and all of the inspiring stories about coming together as one, the great news is that if COVID-19 numbers continue to go down, Bishop Seitz hopes to be able to begin implementing the Diocese's phased plan for reopening. Phase 1 would include allowing individuals controlled access to the church for prayer and priests would resume a regular Confession schedule. So what are some of the wonderful things our parishes are doing while public celebrations are suspended?
St. Ignatius Parish, located in El Segundo Barrio, is a historic Hispanic neighborhood in El Paso. The church is served by Friar Tobias Macias, OSM, a parish priest of 7 years. As a result of COVID-19, Friar Tobias established what he calls a ministry of listening at the parish. He and the parish secretary, Nora, are calling all registered parishioners and asking them what their current needs are. A group of volunteers then delivers them food or cleaning supplies to those who are unable to purchase them in stores.
At Our Lady of Sorrows in the lower valley, Friar Rogelio M. Rayas, OSM, is offering the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick by appointment and taking all necessary precautions to clean the parish every time it's used to live stream Masses. Our Lady of Sorrows serves an elderly population and Friar Rogelio knows that the church is their lifeline.
In Central El Paso at Santo Niño de Atocha Parish where Fr. Frank Hernandez serves as pastor, the church receives collections through regular mail and live streams Mass every Sunday. Fr. Frank has a strong social media presence and connects in any way possible with his parishioners and the community.
If you are interested in supporting the parishes, here are some ways to practice Stewardship while they are closed. To support the St. Ignatius Ministry of Listening, please call Friar Tobias at the parish at 915-532-9534. Our Lady of Sorrows Parish is in need of cleaning supplies. You can deliver items to the church at 7712 Rosedale Street or call the parish at 915-433-8694 for a needs list. Fr. Frank Hernandez asks that the Catholic community in the Diocese of El Paso continue to pray for him and for all priests during this very challenging time while churches are closed. If you have questions or would like to learn more about a Stewardship way of life, contact Stewardship Coordinator Karina Sandoval at firstname.lastname@example.org.