History of the Parish

St. John Paul II Parish Initial Plans

Prepared by Fr. Enrique Lopez-Escalera, Pastor

May all our efforts be for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of souls. Bishop Oscar Cantú, in consultation with the Presbyteral Council and others, decided to establish a new parish under the heavenly patronage of St. John Paul II. He named me as the pastor effective on July 1, 2014. I undertake this new pastoral assignment with gratitude in my heart and with the humble supplication to Almighty God, to the holy Mother of God, to St. John Paul II, to St. Michael the Archangel, and the entire heavenly host of Angels and Saints that they bless and accompany this work.

Brief History

For the last several years local parishioners with the assistance and encouragement of priests assigned to San Martin de Porres parish in Sunland Park have desired and worked for the establishment of a new parish in the Santa Teresa area. Santa Teresa has experienced tremendous growth and all demographic indicators show that it will continue to grow. At different times parishioners had gathered for the celebration of holy Mass on Sundays and have engaged in various forms of fundraising. These efforts resulted in the accruement of a fund held in the diocesan PIP account for the amount of $150,000.00. I have not disposed of any monies from that fund. I want to establish the various committees for the parish, especially a Finance Council, in order to seek their advice in the administration of the parish and particularly in regard to said savings. My disposition is to be respectful for what has been accomplished and to move forward with renewed vigor and clear vision. The fact that the diocesan bishop has established a parish – with the stability provided by law – and has provided for the pastoral care of souls and the administration of temporal goods through the appointment of a pastor is a clear sign of the commitment and support for this new parish.


The long-term vision is to establish a parish with full services in the Santa Teresa area. The boundary of the parish is specified in the canonical Decree of Erection. The plan is to procure a 20-acre site that will include the following structures: parish church, parish hall, rectory, and parish school. These various buildings represent stages in the development of the parish with priority given to the building of the parish church.


The various phases are:

• Acquisition of a house that can serve as a temporary residence for the pastor.*

• Seeking a temporary place for the celebration of holy Mass.**

• Seeking temporary office space.***

• Seeking temporary classroom spaces.****

• Seeking and acquiring land for the parish site. This requires the establishment of various parish committees with their respective areas of responsibility: pastoral council, finance council, fund-raising committee, planning committee (this group will directly assist the pastor in identifying the parish site), etc.

• Building of metal structure so that we can host the various parish activities on our own site, i.e., Masses, CCD classes, parish office, etc. This building will then become the parish hall upon the construction of the parish church.

• Building of parish church.

• Building of rectory so that the pastor will reside on site.

• Building of a parochial school

*A house has been purchased at 123 Feather Moon in Santa Teresa. The home was bought for $146,000.00 with a loan assured by the Diocese of Las Cruces. The down-payment and repairs and remodeling costs will be covered by donations sought from benefactors. The total amount of donations that have come in for this project as of July 30, 2014 is $56,000.00. It is important for me to emphasize that the savings from PIP have not been touched. The purchase of the house has been done prior to the actual beginning of parish activities. It is my hope that parishioners will perceive this as an extraordinary demonstration of support from outside the community and will also see it as an incentive to redouble our efforts and commitment to this new venture.

**The YMCA has given us permission to use their facilities on Sunday morning for the celebration of Masses. I am very grateful for their generosity and hospitality. The first Masses will be on Sunday, August 17.

***Finding office space has been challenging. I will approach Steinborn Realty to seek assistance in this matter.

****I will approach the Health and Sciences Charter School to pursue the possibility of using their facilities in the evenings for religious education classes.

A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday August 7 at 11:00 a.m. at IHM Cathedral with Bishop Oscar Cantú. This will be the official announcement of the establishment of the new parish. I will also call a meeting with known parishioners to plan the various aspects for our parish, especially the celebration of Mass on Sundays.