The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces welcomed a new bishop, Rev. Oscar Cantu Thursday.
“As of this hour, Las Cruces has a new bishop," said Rev. Michael Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe.
The 46-year-old Houston-native becomes only the second bishop of the diocese. He is replacing Bishop Ricardo Ramírez, who retires after serving as bishop of the 46-parish and 45-mission diocese since October 1982.
“I was looking forward to the celebrations but there was so much anxiety building up to it so it’s kind of a relief that we’re done with that phase. I’ve actually been looking forward to settling in, rolling up the sleeves and getting to work, said Rev. Cantu.
He said his first order of business is to hit the road. “… to visit the parishes…pretty much all of the parishes for celebration of confirmation.” Bishop Cantu is only the second man to hold the position in the Las Cruces diocese. For more than 30 years, it was Rev. Ricardo Ramirez. He said faith in the area runs deep. “…not only among Catholics but Christians and people of other faiths. It is a unique place. I think people that have come here, come with faith. There was already faith here with the Native Americans who were here before the Caucasians and the Europeans came. It was already their own kind of faith and then Christianity came and other denominations came and faith just flourishes in this area," said Ramirez. With so much change in the Catholic church, Rev. Cantu told those who came to the installation there are still some things that stay the same. “What hasn’t changed is the human heart. The human heart still longs for love, still seeks the truth and still yearns to experience beauty.”