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El Paso Catholic Diocese priest diagnosed with virus, Bishop urges face masks to show ‘Christian love’

Rev. Edilberto "Beto" Lopez
Rev. Edilberto "Beto" Lopez is the pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Alpine, Texas

ALPINE, Texas -- A priest in Alpine has been diagnosed with Covid-19, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso announced Wednesday.

Rev. Edilberto "Beto Lopez, the pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Alpine, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Diocese.

Lopez and Father Joe Raj, who serves as the vicar at the parish, are both under a 14-day quarantine.

Raj was tested Monday and is waiting for test results, but continues to be without symptoms.

Lopez only has mild symptoms at this time and is in good spirits, the Diocese said in a statement.

Alpine is located about 200 miles southeast of El Paso and is home to Sul Ross State University.

As a result of Lopez's positive test, Our Lady of Peace church will return to phase one of the Diocese's protocol for church gatherings. That means church gatherings will be limited to less than 10 people. Personal prayer time for individuals and scheduled times for confession may also be offered.

Father Victorino Lorezca, currently assigned to the St. Raphael Catholic Church in Alpine, will be assigned to serve the people of Alpine and the nearby communities for Fort Davis and Marathon.

"I am praying for the speedy recovery of Fr. Lopez," said El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz. "I also pray that everyone with this illness will have a quick recovery. I urge all Catholics in the Diocese to continue to socially distance and continue using masks when in public out of Christian love for one another."

The rest of the Diocese will continue to remain in Phase 2 of the reopening protocol. In this phase, weekday masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals can be held at 25 percent capacity.

Churches will continue to live stream masses online on Sundays with no more than 10 people in attendance. You can catch Mass on TV on the El Paso-Las Cruces CW at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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