Seitz was ordained to the priesthood in 1980 and served in several Catholic
churches in Dallas.
When he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop by Bishop Kevin J. Farrell three years ago, Seitz said Farrell told him he was going to turn "his life upside down."
"Since that time, I have begun to like being upside down because I have found that the Lord is with me," Seitz said.
In his talk at the diocese, Seitz continually conveyed his joy of serving the Lord, often referring to it as a "fulfilling life."
When asked by reporters about the shortage of priests in the El Paso diocese, Seitz first joked that he would be willing to stand on the highways and byways looking for candidates.
But then, seriously, he said more must be done to promote religious vocations and sharing the big secret, which is that a religious life is a joyful one and one full of surprises.
"I couldn't imagine a more fulfilling life to be the one" that people come to in times of need or despair, he said, adding that priests always have had a large extended family in their parishioners.
He said he believes in serving with no bias but then said he had a preference for the poor and that he would do his best to emulate Francis. He said priests should never live beyond the means of the people they serve.
"The new pope is really challenging us, isn't he," Seitz said. "He's showing us that there is a different way that we can live in the church and that we don't have to do everything the way it's always been done. There's a saying in Latin -- the Ecclesia semper reformanda est -- which means the church is always reforming."
Marco Raposo, diocesan director of the Peace and Justice Ministry, said Seitz is a good role model for area Catholics.
"I'm thrilled to be able to work with him. I like that he wants to follow Pope Francis' model and I think it's important in our region," Raposo said.
In his introduction, Ochoa credited Seitz for working closely with those who have been affected by sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
"He is very sensitive to victims and survivors," Ochoa said.
Seitz said he recognizes that the sexual abuse scandal has shaken people's faith and hurt the Catholic Church.
"I'm not afraid to be in difficult situations with people and in their lives at that moment," he said. "There was one particular family that it came out that their daughter had been abused when she was in high school. And so I had the opportunity to walk with them through that .... and it broke my heart. It almost brings me to tears now; they were such a wonderful family. But I feel so privileged that they were able to come to me and talk to me and put their trust in me when they didn't know where to turn."
Seitz took Spanish lessons but most of his education has been through language immersion including working with a sister church in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
While he apologized for his Spanish and encouraged people to correct him, he spoke eloquently en espanol about serving the Hispanic community in Dallas and looking forward to doing it in El Paso.
In order to get a better insight into Catholics in Latin America, Seitz said he lived for two months in Trujillo, Honduras, during a sabbatical in 2002.
"It really gave me a better understanding of why people will pick up and risk their lives to come here. I saw it from the other side -- so many broken families, people who just wanted water and a decent standard of living," he said.
Monsignor Arturo Banuelas of St. Pius X Catholic Church walked out of the room at the pastoral center with a big smile and confidence that the Cath- olic community here is about to get a boost.
"It's a great year for the Catholic diocese in El Paso," he said. "We have a great pope and now we have a great bishop."
About Bishop Mark J. Seitz
-- Name: Mark J. Seitz.
-- Age: 59.
-- Education: He has a bachelor's in philosophy and master's of divinity from the University of Dallas. He also has a master's in theology and a master's in liturgical studies.
-- Ordination: Ordained to priesthood in 1980; ordained auxiliary bishop of Diocese of Dallas in 2010.
-- Past assignments: Pastor of several churches over the years, including St. Rita Catholic Church from 2003-2010.
-- Pastime: Camping and anything outdoors. He would rather camp out in the Big Bend than stay in a five-star hotel in New York City.
(c)2013 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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