Father Fabian Marquez and El Buen Pastor Mission
Diocese of El Paso, Texas
Father Fabian Marquez is pastor of El Buen Pastor Mission Church, in the Sparks Colonia neighborhood of El Paso, one of the poorest areas in the country. Father Fabian has guided the parish since 2015 as a dynamic, energetic and innovative leader. In addition, he is the director of Youth and Young Adult ministries for the diocese.
When the Sparks Colonia was started in 1980, there were no public services such as water and electricity. The small community worked hard organizing fundraisers and petitioning parishioners for donations to build the church, which was finished in 1998. The church serves a growing area with many new residents coming from Mexico. El Buen Pastor has 180 registered families and about 185 children in the religious education program including 110 preparing for First Holy Communion and 75 youth in confirmation. The average Sunday collection is $1,500.
This community is unwavering in their devotion to the faith and they participate regularly in activities to strengthen and build their parish. Since Father Fabian arrived, parishioners have been re-energized to serve the pastoral needs of the community in many capacities and ministries, such as: choir members, lectors, ministers of Communion, evangelizers, catechism teachers, marriage preparation, St. Vincent de Paul outreach, finance council, altar servers, sacristans and family ministries. They are also involved in social justice issues in the wider community, particularly with helping immigrants and refugees.
Bishop Mark Seitz said, “The parishioners have made it their personal intention to directly serve their kindred brothers and sisters in Christ. Volunteers drive nearly 100 miles a week to and from the Catholic Pastoral Center to make meals, donate and sort clothing, and bring cleaning supplies to the immigrants housed in our diocese. Thanks to the efforts of about 40 volunteers, the kitchens, restrooms, showers and sleeping areas are clean and provide a safe refuge to our visitors from Central America.”
Fr. Fabian said: “Being of service at the Migrant and Refugee Center has made me realize that my faith impacts my work. My faith teaches me that we are called to be present with those who have less and need a helping hand. If we see with the eyes of faith, we can discover Christ in those in need. My faith moves me to service. I realize when we serve the poor, we serve God.”
Father Fabian is an educator, gifted public speaker and homilist and a compassionate pastor. Every parish he leads sees an increase in Mass attendance and engagement. He is so inspiring that in Presidio, Texas, one finds the Father Fabian Marquez Hall and in Pecos, the “Father Fabian Plate” is on the menu at one of the Mexican restaurants.
Liliana Esparza, a parishioner of El Buen Pastor, said, “To know Father Fabian is to know compassion, kindness and love. So great is Father’s love for others, that one can’t help but want to live by his example.”