El Paso Mass scrapped, but not papal Mass across border


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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