"I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere," said Andres Arango, who resigned from the Diocese of Phoenix
An Arizona priest resigned after the Diocese of Phoenix determined that a single word mix-up during his career’s baptisms ruled them all void.
The Diocese of Phoenix announced in a letter posted on their website that Rev. Andres Arango had used an incorrect word in each Rite of Baptism he performed until the issue was discovered in June of last year.
Instead of saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" during his baptisms, Arango had switched "I" with "We."
While it may appear benign at first, the omission completely changes a crucial line in the “Baptismal Formula,” according to the diocese.
"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," Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, said in a statement
Olmsted added that the decision to revoke Arango’s earlier baptisms came after “careful analysis” by diocesan officials and additional discussions with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.
According to the Diocese’s website, anyone who has been baptized using the incorrect phrases is not baptized and must be re-baptized. They compared it to a priest using milk instead of wine during the Eucharistic Consecration, which would render the Eucharist invalid because the milk would not become the Blood of Jesus Christ.
"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," Olmsted said in his letter. "This is why I pledge to take every step necessary to remedy the situation for everyone impacted."
Olmsted went on to say that he didn’t believe Arango “had any intention of harming the faithful or depriving them of the grace of baptism and the sacraments.”
When contacted by PEOPLE, a diocesan spokeswoman stated that Arango “remains a priest in good standing.” They also stated that Arango voluntarily quit his post as pastor of St. Gregory Parish in order to “focus his full-time ministry aiding and healing the people touched by this mistake.”
Arango had been a priest for almost two decades, according to NBC News. Thousands of baptisms were done by him throughout the course of his career, according to CNN.
Arango apologized for his error in a separate message posted to the diocese’s website.
"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, adding that his resignation went into effect at the start of February. "I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere."
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for having given me the opportunity to serve your community so many years ago," he added. "You have all enriched my life beyond measure. It has been a blessing and an honor to have served and worked alongside people that I consider my dear friends and family."
According to the diocese, the baptism error may cause additional complications for those affected. Because baptism is the “entry point” for other sacraments, a nullified baptism would invalidate any subsequent confirmation, marriage, and holy orders.
Priest Resigns After Catholic Church Voids Thousands of His Baptisms Over 1-Word Mistake|PEOPLE