Pope appoints two New York pastors as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of New York

WASHINGTON, DC – Pope Francis has appointed two pastors from the Archdiocese of New York to be auxiliary bishops of their archdiocese, Father John S. Bonnici and Father Joseph A. Espaillat.

Bonnici, 56, is currently pastor of St. Augustine Parish and Sts. John & Paul Parish, both in Larchmont, New York. Espaillat, 45, is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Bronx, New York, and director of Hispanic Charismatic Renewal.

Both are natives of New York and were ordained priests of the Archdiocese of New York. Bonnici was ordained on June 22, 1991 and Espaillat was ordained on May 17, 2003.

The appointments were announced in Washington on January 25 by Bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan thanked Pope Francis for appointing two new auxiliaries for the archdiocese, saying the pope “has selected two outstanding priests, both experienced pastors, to serve the people of God in this archdiocese as auxiliary bishops”.

He said he looked forward to “working even more closely” with them “as they take on this new role in their priesthood.”

Father Joseph A. Espaillat, a priest in the Archdiocese of New York, is seen in a 2009 clergy book. Pope Francis appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York on January 25, 2022. Mass d he episcopal ordination of Espaillat will take place on March 1 at the Saint-Pierre church. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Credit: John Woods/Catholic New York via CNS.)

Bonnici and Espaillat will be ordained bishops on March 1 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

As auxiliaries, they will join three other active auxiliaries in the archdiocese: Bishops Peter Byrne, Gerardo J. Colacicco and Edmund J. Whalen. The archdiocese also has four retired auxiliary bishops.

Born February 17, 1965, in New York City, Bonnici has served as pastor of both Larchmont parishes since 2021. He has also served as pastor of St. Columba Parish in Chester, New York, and St. Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx, and is the former Parish Vicar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Elmsford, New York.

His other assignments include directing the Office of Family Life/Respect for Life for the Archdiocese of New York, 1996-1999. He was also Adjunct Professor of Theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, popularly known as Dunwoodie, in Yonkers, New York.

He earned an undergraduate degree in science in biology and philosophy in 1987 from St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York. He attended Rome Seminary at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University, 1987-1990.

Bonnici attended the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome from 1990 to 1992, earning a bachelor’s degree. In 1995, he obtained a doctorate from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington.

Born on December 27, 1976, Espaillat will be one of the youngest American Catholic bishops when ordained.

A graduate of Cathedral Preparatory School in Manhattan, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Fordham Jesuit University in the Bronx in 1998. He completed a year of propaedeutic spirituality in 1999 and studied for the priesthood at St. -Joseph from Yonkers, where he earned an MA in Church History in 2003.

His first posting after ordination was as parochial curate at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Manhattan. In 2007, he was appointed trustee and then pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Yonkers.

He was also director of youth ministry for the archdiocese. He has held his current positions as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua and leader of the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal since 2015.

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