EL PASO, Texas (CNS) — The Diocese of El Paso has scrapped plans for a border Mass that would have taken place at the same time as the closing Mass of Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico in February.
However, the Feb. 17 papal Mass at the fairgrounds in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, is still going to take place as scheduled.
Elizabeth O’Hara, a spokeswoman for the El Paso Diocese, said security concerns over the size of the anticipated crowd for a U.S.-based Mass taking place at the same time as the Juarez Mass prompted the change in plans.
“The pope is still considered a head of state,” O’Hara told Catholic News Service Jan. 13. The Juarez fairgrounds where the closing Mass of Pope Francis’ Feb. 12-17 visit will be held is about a quarter-mile from the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It became apparent that we didn’t know how many people we could potentially house on the border, which posed a safety risk to those in attendance,” O’Hara added in a Jan. 13 email.
Bishop Mark J. Seitz had announced plans Dec. 12 for a concurrent Mass at the border. However, the diocese has been allotted 5,000 tickets for the Juarez Mass, O’Hara said.
Plans are underway for some kind of substitute event on the U.S. side of the border to mark the papal trip. O’Hara said Bishop Seitz had polled Catholics in the diocese, and many asked for an event at the 45,000-seat Sun Bowl football stadium.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103