Our Lady of Peace receives new pastor, bids farewell to Father Lopez in diocesan shakeup

ALPINE — Parishioners of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Alpine are expressing thanks and well wishes this week to Father Edilberto “Beto” Lopez. Each year, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso announces reassignments for pastors and clergy throughout Far West Texas who serve in the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, and this year, Lopez is part of the dozens of clergy moved around within the diocese.

Lopez has been appointed as pastor of St. Pius X and San Juan Bautista parishes in East Central El Paso. The priest has served as pastor in various parishes around the diocese over the last 15 years, most recently in Alpine.

Alpine resident and parishioner Angie Bermudez said she was “very disappointed” that Lopez is leaving, but reassignments within the diocese of El Paso are frequent, happening “every year” according to Fernie Ceniceros, the director of communications for the El Paso Diocese.

Pastors and clergy serve in parishes for three- or six-year terms, depending on their assignments. Those assigned within El Paso County work six years before the option of reassignment, but in parishes across Far West Texas, it’s a mere three years before pastors face relocation – though they can be given the option to remain at their current parish.

Ceniceros confirmed that pastors and priests in Marfa and Presidio either were not up for reassignment or had chosen to remain in the area.

Alpine Parishioners will soon meet their new leadership: Father Pablo Matta. A native of Pecos, Matta comes to Alpine having served in various ministries throughout the Diocese of El Paso, most recently as pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in the Mission Valley of El Paso. As pastor, Matta will be tasked with serving the parishioners in Alpine, as well as those at the St. Joseph Mission in Fort Davis and the St. Mary Mission in Marathon.