Installation Mass Thursday
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — It's been a little more than a year now since longtime Las Cruces Bishop Ricardo Ramirez announced he would be retiring and on Thursday his successor will officially take over.
An invitation only installation mass for Bishop Oscar Cantu is set for 2pm Thursday afternoon at the Las Cruces Convention Center.
"It's been an honor, a privilege and a labor of love serving the people of the diocese," Ramirez said in January when he announced Cantu would be his successor.
After building the diocese from the ground up and spending more than 30 years as bishop, Ramirez steps down after turning 75 years old.
At that age is when bishops are typically asked to retire by the Vatican.
Ramirez and his successor share similar paths coming from San Antonio and having attended the same schools.
"i look forward with all humility to being the leader of this community," Bishop Oscar Cantu said in January.
As preparations for the incoming bishops were taking place locally, Pope Benedict shocked the Catholic community by announcing he would be retiring.
"It was a surprise at first, but then after thinking it over I said he's making the right decision," Ramirez said of Pope Benedict's retirement.
On his final full day Wednesday as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict addressed about 150,000 followers packed into Saint Peter's Square.
At 85 years old the pope said he lacked the strength and energy to fulfill his duties.
As bishop of a diocese, Ramirez said he can relate to the demands of the job.
"I know how stressing it can be, Ramirez said. "I can just imagine with him being the head of the universal church."
Pope Benedict and Bishop Ramirez share the same retirement day February 28th.
Late Wednesday afternoon the Las Cruces Convention Center was being prepared for the installation mass of the diocese's second ever bishop.
Ramirez has said he is mentally prepared to let Bishop Cantu take over the diocese he so loving built.
"It's time for me to give up the reigns to someone else who will come with new ideas, with his own gifts and will be received enthusiastically."
WHERE: Las Cruces Convention Center - INVITATION ONLY
TIME: 2:00 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time)
DATE: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Las Cruces TV Channel 98 [only for Comcast Cable subscribers]
Internet via this website: http://www.dazzle.net/diocese/ 
Two group-viewing sites in Las Cruces:
-St. Albert the Great Newman Center (2615 S. Solano)
-Holy Cross Parish (1327 N. Miranda)