June 27, 2016
Amarillo—Personnel changes affecting six priests have been announced by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek.
Monsignor Joe E. Bixenman, pastor at San Jose Church, Hereford, and Dean of the South Deanery, has been granted retirement from active ministry, effective Sunday, July 17.
Father S. Christopher Schwind has been appointed Dean of the South Deanery and temporary Parochial Administrator of San Jose Church.
Father David Contreras and Father Marco Gonzalez are switching parishes. Father Contreras has been appointed Pastor of Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulia and St. Paul the Apostle Church, Kress, while Father Gonzalez has been appointed Parochial Administrator of Holy Angels Church, Childress and Sacred Heart Church, Memphis.
Father Mieczyslaw “Mitch” Przepiora has been appointed Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, Vega, and Chaplain for the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ at Prayer Town Emmanuel.
Father Lurdumarianna Yekkerala has been appointed Parochial Administrator of St. Theresa’s Church, Panhandle and Sacred Heart Church, White Deer.
All five appointments will take effect on Tuesday, July 19.
Monsignor Bixenman, who turns 70 Sunday, July 17, is finishing his second stint at San Jose Church. He previously served at parishes in Lubbock, Lockney and Floydada in what is now the Diocese of Lubbock. Monsignor Bixenman’s assignments in the Diocese of Amarillo include St. Vincent de Paul Church, Pampa; St. Mary Church (now St. Mary’s Cathedral, Amarillo); Immaculate Conception Church, Perryton; and St. Peter’s Church, Booker. He has also served at parishes in Canadian, Dalhart, Texline and Wheeler.
Father Schwind, 48, is currently Parochial Administrator at St. Mary’s Church, Umbarger and Holy Name of Jesus Church, Happy. He also serves as Chaplain and Director of the Catholic Student Center at West Texas A&M University, Canyon. An Amarillo native and 1985 graduate of Alamo Catholic High School (now Holy Cross Catholic Academy), Father Schwind was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Zurek on May 24, 2013 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Amarillo. He is also a Navy veteran.
Father Contreras was ordained to the priesthood May 28, 1993 in Tamazula, Mexico. He previously served at St. John the Evangelist Church, Borger; St. Anthony of Padua Church, Dalhart; St. Joseph’s Church, Stratford; and, San Jose Church, Hereford. He also served at parishes in Stinnett, Texline, Canadian, Wheeler and Bovina. Father Contreras has been pastor of Holy Angels Church, Childress and Sacred Heart Church, Memphis, since Sept. 1, 2011 and is the Spiritual Director of the Cursillo Movement.
A native of Mexico, Father Gonzalez was born on April 11, 1980. He was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 26, 2006. He began his service in the Diocese of Amarillo on Aug. 1, 2008, when he was appointed Parochial Vicar of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Dumas and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Cactus. He was appointed Parochial Administrator of Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulia and St. Paul the Apostle Church, Kress, on June 1, 2010.
Father Przepiora, 54, is a native of Biecz, Poland. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 25, 1990. This will be his second assignment in Vega—he previously served as Parochial Administrator from July 1, 2001 to July 14, 2005. He has been the pastor in Panhandle and White Deer since 2005.
Prior to his arrival in the Diocese of Amarillo, Father Przepiora served on the faculty at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Park, Mich.
Father Yekkerala, 46, was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1999. Prior to his arrival in the United States, he served as a priest for a number of parishes in the Diocese of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, S. India.
Father Yekkerala was appointed chaplain of the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ on June 23, 2013. In his new assignment, he will also tend to the spiritual needs of the School Sisters of St. Francis, located in Panhandle.