Friday News Briefs: New Las Cruces Bishop; Credibly Accused Priest Dies; Aid for Sri Lanka

Las Cruces, NM. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Pope Francis names Bishop Baldacchino to lead Las Cruces diocese

By Hannah Brockhaus, CNA

Vatican City, May 15, 2019 / 04:03 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Wednesday appointed Bishop Peter Baldacchino to head the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico – making him the first diocesan bishop associated with the Neocatechumenal Way to serve in a mainland U.S. diocese.

Baldacchino, 58, has been an auxiliary bishop of Miami, Florida, since 2014. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1996.

As a seminarian in Newark, Baldacchino studied at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University but lived at the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary.

Bishop Baldacchino. Photo credit: Archdiocese of Miami.

Baldacchino’s formation was in part guided by the Neocatechumenal Way, a post-baptismal itinerary of Christian formation first approved by Pope Paul VI and supported by each of the subsequent popes.

Seminarians who discern their vocation while involved with the Neocatechumenal Way are encouraged to place special emphasis on the universal missionary character of the priesthood and offer themselves, at the discretion of their local bishop, in service to the New Evangelization anywhere in the world.

Baldacchino is the first graduate of a Redemptoris Mater seminary to serve as a diocesan bishop in a mainland U.S. diocese.

He was born on the European island country of Malta, to a family of four children. His family joined the Neocatechumenal Way while he was a child, but he was not initially drawn to the priesthood.

After studying science and chemistry at the University of Malta, he began working as a technical manager at a bottling plant. At age 28 he attended the 1989 World Youth Day in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, after which he became more involved in the Neocatechumenal Way.

Through the movement he was sent on mission, during which he started to feel called to the priesthood, eventually being matched with the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Newark. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark on May 25, 1996.

Baldacchino served for over a decade as a missionary in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, and speaks Maltese, English, Italian, Creole, and Spanish.

The Diocese of Las Cruces was established in 1982. According to 2015 estimates, it has more than 236,600 Catholics, accounting for just over 42% of the area’s population.

Fr. Diego Mazon, OFM, Death Notice

The Diocese of Gallup recently learned that Fr. Diego Mazon, OFM, passed away in Fall of 2018.

Fr. Mazon is named on our list of church workers who have been credibly accused of abuse during assignments outside of the Diocese of Gallup.

In our Diocese, Fr. Mazon served in the following locations:

St. Joseph Church, San Fidel NM (06/1977 – 05/1980)
St. Michael’s Mission, St. Michaels AZ (06/1980 – 06/1981)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Ft. Defiance AZ (06/1990-06/1994)
St. Francis Church, Gallup NM (07/1994-12/2003)
Link to Archdiocese of Santa Fe list of Credibly Accused

If you or someone you know has any allegations of abuse to report, please contact the proper law enforcement authorities, which you can find by using this list.

You may also make a confidential claim by calling Elizabeth Terrill, the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, at 505-906-7357

Notice about Scams

To all parishioners and people in the Diocese: please be aware of a rise in attempted phone and email scams. These often take the guise of a priest or religious – if you receive a text, email, or notification of any kind from a priest or religious asking for any kind of money or gift card directly, this is likely a scam. When in doubt, contact your parish. Often, the scams will ask for the following:

  • money orders
  • wire transfers
  • direct deposits
  • gift cards
  • reusable bank/debit cards
  • google/itunes/amazon cards
  • requesting emergency funding because of a sick family member or person in need
Arizona Catholic Conference Legislative updates

(05/03/19) – Governor Ducey Signs Three ACC Supported Bills!

Legislators are devoting more of their time now to negotiating the budget and related issues.  While these discussions are occurring there has also been positive movement on several matters, including the fact that Governor Ducey has recently signed the following three ACC supported bills into law!

HB 2122 is also known as “Simon’s Law” in recognition of a Missouri boy whose parents found out only after his death that a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order had been secretly placed on the child.  This new law will require parental notification when a hospital places a DNR order on a minor child.

Additionally, HB 2061 is a measure that will now help children who either were in foster care or adopted from foster care at 14 years of age by providing them with college tuition waiver scholarships at public universities and community colleges.

Finally, the ACC is pleased that SB 1314 has now been signed into law and will slightly narrow the scope of the death penalty in Arizona by removing three aggravating factors.  While the ACC is opposed to the death penalty in today’s society, the incremental progress on this issue is applauded.

It should be noted that even in today’s world of partisan politics, all three of these pieces of legislation received significant bipartisan support from legislators, for which we are grateful.

More ACC news:

Knights of Columbus pledge support to Sri Lanka after church bombings

“In response to Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that left over 320 dead, the Knights of Columbus have pledged support to the diocese of Colombo to help rebuild the local Christian community.”

Find out more about how you can help

The Friday news roundup presents a quick overview of Catholic stories and events from around the Diocese of Gallup, United States, and world. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email [email protected], call 505-863-4406 or mail us at PO Box 1338, Gallup NM 87305.


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