Las Cruces, New Mexico: Bishop Cantú, Bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces will hold a press conference at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM. Bishop Cantu will announce that he has issued a canonical decree to establish a new Catholic parish in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The new Catholic parish will be named in honor of Saint John Paul II.
Bishop Cantú said that the Catholic population continues to grow in the bi-national area of Santa Teresa. It is important that we, in the diocese, do all that we can to serve the ever increasing number of Catholics by providing a parish home for the faithful to grow in their faith as members of the Church. It is important for the future that the new parish be a strong supporter of the community.
Bishop Cantú announced the appointment of Reverend Enrique Lopez-Escalera as the founding pastor of the new parish, Saint John Paul II Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was canonized on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in an unprecedented dual canonization with Pope John XXIII.
Father Enrique was ordained to the priesthood in 1993. He studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the Angelicum). He earned a Licentiate in Canon Law in 1994. He was assigned as Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross Parish. He returned to Rome in 1997 where he earned a Licentiate degree in Spiritual Theology. Father Enrique has been the Vocation Director for the diocese. He served as Pastor at St. Genevieve (Las Cruces), Our Lord of Mercy (Hatch), Holy Family Parish and Saint Ann Parish (Deming). In October 2013, Bishop Cantu appointed Father Enrique as the Vicar of the New Evangelization, spearheading projects and programs that evangelize within our diocese. Fr. Enrique will continue to lead this office as well as pastor the new parish.
Bishop Cantú established this new parish to serve the people in Santa Teresa. He chose Fr. Enrique because like the parish namesake, he is a man of deep faith and strong leadership.
Father Enrique said that while he is sad to leave his parishioners in Deming, at the same time he is humbled and enthused to work with the faithful in Santa Teresa to establish the St. John Paul II Parish.