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Vatican names 5th Filipino bishop in US

Bishop's Zucchetto

Antonio Gravante | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 04/24/24

"Bishop-elect Rey is mature, well proven, effective and happy in his priestly ministry. He relates easily with people, is friendly, humble, loving and affirming.”

Another Filipino priest will be taking up greater duties in the US, as Pope Francis has named Father Reynaldo Bersabal as an auxiliary bishop of Sacramento, California, serving under Bishop Jaime Soto.

Bishop-elect Bersabal will become the fifth US prelate who is a native of the Philippines, after Auxiliary Bishop Efren Esmilla was installed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in December 2023. 

Born in Magsaysay, in the southern Philippine province of Misamis Oriental, Bishop-elect Bersabal, 59, was ordained in 1991 for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

In his time as a priest there, he served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Snows parish; parish administrator at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish; and parish priest at St. Francis Xavier parish.

In addition, he assessed marriage cases for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro City, as well as holding the positions of chancellor and archdiocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines.

According to CBCP News, in 2004, he was incardinated into the Diocese of Sacramento, where he has held positions as parochial vicar and pastor at various churches, including St. Anthony Parish in Sacramento from 2002 to 2003; St. Paul parish in Sacramento from 2003 to 2008; St. John the Baptist parish in Folsom from 2008 to 2016; and St. James Parish in Davis from 2016 to 2022. Since 2022, he has been pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, in Sacramento.

In that time he has also served as treasurer of the diocesan presbyteral council and the liaison for the Filipino presbyterate. The latter position, which he has held since 2012, he will continue to fill in his capacity as auxiliary bishop.

Of those who will be ordained a priest in the United States in 2024, as many as 23% are foreign born, with the most common countries of origin listed as Mexico (5%), Vietnam (4%), Colombia (3%), and the Philippines (2%).

1M Catholics in Sacramento

Bishop-elect Bersabal’s years of experience in Sacramento will be put to good use, as the newly appointed auxiliary bishop will now serve California’s Northern and Eastern regions, where there are an estimated 1 million Catholics, 102 parishes, 40 missions, 36 elementary schools and six high schools.

Of Bishop-elect Reynaldo Bersabal, Bishop Emeritus William K. Weigand wrote on the diocese website

“With 33 years of experience and leadership as a priest, Bishop-elect Rey is mature, well proven, effective and happy in his priestly ministry. He relates easily with people, is friendly, humble, loving and affirming — yet firm and decisive when appropriate.”

BishopsPhilippinesUnited States
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