Phoenix priest resigns, baptisms invalidated over incorrect word during rite
Feb 15, 2022, 9:47 AM | Updated: 9:50 am
PHOENIX – A Catholic priest resigned from his Phoenix parish recently and most of the baptisms he’d performed were invalidated because he’d been speaking an incorrect word while performing the rite.
In a message posted online, Father Andres Arango apologized and said he will dedicate his energy “to remedy this and heal those affected.” His resignation from St. Gregory Parish near 19th Avenue and Osborn Road was effective Feb. 1.
“It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula,” he said.
“I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere.”
Arango had been saying “We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” while performing the rite, but the correct version starts with “I” instead of “We.”
The exact wording must be spoken during the baptism for the sacrament to be valid, according to church doctrine.
“The issue with using ‘We’ is that it is not the community that baptizes a person, rather, it is Christ, and Him alone, who presides at all of the sacraments, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptizes,” Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said in a message posted online.
The Diocese of Phoenix said all baptisms performed by Arango until June 17, 2021, are presumed invalid.
The diocese has been working to contact anybody affected and has posted a web page with frequently asked questions and other information.
“If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized. You will need to be baptized,” the page says.
According to a Catholic News Agency report, Arango served in Brazil in the late 1990s before moving to San Diego and then to the Valley. The story says he was pastor at the St. Jerome Parish in Phoenix from 2005 to 2013 and parochial vicar at St. Anne in Gilbert from 2013 to 2015 prior to joining St. Gregory.
“I do not believe Fr. Andres had any intentions to harm the faithful or deprive them of the grace of baptism and the sacraments,” Olmstead said.
“On behalf of our local Church, I too am sincerely sorry that this error has resulted in disruption to the sacramental lives of a number of the faithful. This is why I pledge to take every step necessary to remedy the situation for everyone impacted.”