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Pope names two New York pastors as auxiliary bishops of N.Y. Archdiocese

Father John S. Bonnici (left) and Father Joseph A. Espaillat, New York archdiocesan priests, are seen in photos from clergy books from 2009. Pope Francis appointed the priests as auxiliary bishops for the New York Archdiocese Jan. 25, 2022. Their episcopal ordination Mass will be March 1 at St. Patrick's Cathedral. (CNS photo/John Woods, Catholic New York)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has named two pastors in the New York Archdiocese to be auxiliary bishops of their archdiocese, Father John S. Bonnici and Father Joseph A. Espaillat.

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

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

The appointments were announced in Washington on Jan. 25 by Archbishop 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 of this archdiocese as auxiliary bishops.”

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

Bishops-designate Bonnici and Espaillat will be ordained to the episcopacy on March 1 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

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

Born Feb. 17, 1965, in New York, Bishop-designate Bonnici has been pastor of the two Larchmont parishes since 2021. He also has been pastor of St. Columba Parish in Chester, New York, and St. Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx, and is former parochial vicar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Elmsford, New York.

His other assignments include serving as director of the New York archdiocesan Family Life/Respect Life Office, 1996-1999. He also has been an adjunct professor of theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, popularly known as Dunwoodie, in Yonkers, New York.

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

Bishop-designate Bonnici attended the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome 1990-1992, earning a licentiate degree. In 1995, he earned a doctorate from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington.

Born Dec. 27, 1976, Bishop-designate Espaillat will be one of the youngest U.S. Catholic bishops when he is ordained.

A graduate of Cathedral Preparatory School in Manhattan, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Jesuit-run Fordham University in the Bronx in 1998. He completed a year of propaedeutic spirituality in 1999 and studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, where he earned a master’s degree in church history in 2003.

His first assignment after his ordination was as parochial vicar at Our lady Queen of martyrs Parish in Manhattan. In 2007, he was appointed administrator and later pastor of St. Peter Parish in Yonkers.

He also served as director of youth ministry for the archdiocese. He has had his current positions as St. Anthony of Padua’s pastor and head of Hispanic Charismatic Renewal since 2015.

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