St. Pius Catholic Church says goodbye to their priest


POSTED: Sunday, June 8, 2014 - 9:40pm

UPDATED: Sunday, June 8, 2014 - 9:47pm

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso has reassigned more than 20 priests and deacons. Sunday night - one of the largest Catholic churches in El Paso said goodbye to their Monsignor.

Arturo Banuelas spent his final day at St. Pius with the people he calls family - his parishioners.

Instead of being sad about having to say goodbye to their priest, the church community celebrated Banuelas' time at the church with food and music.

"Being at St. Pius for the last 26 years has been some of the most beautiful and memorable moments of my life," said Banuelas.

To say goodbye and thank you to Monsignor Banuelas, the parishioners of St. Pius wanted to end their time on a good note. They wanted to celebrate 26 years of having Banuelas at the church.

"This is an amazing community of faith,” he said. “We have shared a lot of painful moments in the journey of their lives and we have shared a lot of joyful moments. Sometimes you have to come together and celebrate all of that."

The church community was rattled when it was announced that Banuelas, along with 20 other priests and deacons in the El Paso Diocese were going to be reassigned.

"It has caused me to reflect a little deeper,” Banuelas said. “The ministry is not about me, it is about the people we serve."

People like Arturo Saenz

"He has been very close to us, very dear to us. He has always been around for our big life events, family events," said Saenz.

Queta Fierro has known Banuelas since he was in the seminary.

"It's been the best 26 years for our parish," she said.

Fierro said she is sad to see him go, but knows it is part of a bigger plan.

"St. Marks, we are sending you the best, the best, person ever from our parish,” Fierro said. “Take care of him and love him."

Banuelas said it makes him happy seeing his parish come together like this, something he will miss dearly.

"By being with them here at St. Pius, I miss them, I love them, and I am grateful for them and all the wonderful moments we have had together," said Banuelas.

He starts at his new parish, St. Marks, in a few weeks. The reassignments will last for 6 years, and then the priests and deacons may be moved again.

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