San Jose parishioners protest after church is demolished

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The back and forth continues between the Diocese of El Paso and the San Jose congregation.

Today dozens of parishioners showed up to protest, demanding to know if they are getting a new church to replace the one that was demolished on Monday. The protesters say they’ve been collecting money for the parish for 15 years, and they just want to know if the money will be spent on a new church for their community.

“It feels more like politics, than it does religion, I wonder what Pope Francis would say about all this,” says parishioner Bertha Pedregon. “We have the money, but I mean what about a definitely yes or a definite no? Rather than an in between of a no response.”

Both the diocese and the parishioners have confirmed that the 1.5 million dollars is there, but it’s still unsure what’s going to happen to the money. The congregation wants a church, but Bishop Seitz says it’s not that easy. Seitz showed up today during the gathering.

“What I told is that is what we need to study. about how best to serve their community, and that region in the future. I can’t give them an immediate answer because I have to figure out how we’re going to provide priest service to that community,” says Bishop Seitz.   

The bishop says the current priest is set to retire in the coming months, which also makes building a new church a challenge.

“He is listening…that’s the good thing. He’s listening and he knows we’re not going to stop because that’s what we told him we’re not going to another church,” parishioner Miguel Moreno says.

The parishioners say they will continue fighting until they get a definite answer. As for the bishop, he says they are looking at other options, but it’s still too far out to make a decision.

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