N.Y. auxiliary appointed by Pope Francis will be one of world’s youngest bishops
Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed two new auxiliaries for the Archdiocese of New York, one of whom will be one of the world’s youngest bishops.
The Vatican announced on Jan. 25 that Father Joseph A. Espaillat and Father John S. Bonnici will be ordained as bishops.
Born on Dec. 27, 1976, Espaillat will be the youngest bishop in the United States once he is consecrated.
The 45-year-old is the director of the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal for New York archdiocese.
Espaillat launched a podcast and YouTube series called “Sainthood in the City” in 2021.
In a video promoting the launch, Espaillat, who also goes by Father J, said that the podcast would include discussions on faith, music, sports, fashion, and pop culture.
“We’re going to talk about Pop Smoke. We’re going to talk about Kanye. We’re going to talk about Kim Kardashian. We’re going to talk about everything under the sun, and Cardi B,” Espaillat said, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
He was ordained in 2003 and has served as the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in the South Bronx since 2015.
Espaillat attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Manhattan before studying at Fordham University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1998.
While in St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, Espaillat earned a Master of Divinity degree in Theology and a Master of Arts degree in Theology, specializing in Church history.
He has served as a director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of New York, a pastor at St. Peter’s parish in Yonkers, and as a parochial vicar at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Manhattan.
Bonnici, 56, has served as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York for 30 years.
He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington (1995) and a licentiate degree from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute (1992) in Rome, where he also studied at the Pontifical North American College and the Gregorian University (1987-1990) before his ordination.
Bonnici previously served as director of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Office for six years and as the pastor of St. Columba in Chester from 2008 to 2021.
He was born in New York on Feb. 17, 1965, and earned a Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and philosophy from St. John’s University in Queens, New York in 1987.
Bonnici’s most recent assignment was as pastor of St. Augustine parish and Saints John and Paul parish in Larchmont.
Bonnici and Espaillat’s episcopal ordinations will take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 1.
The Archdiocese of New York has a total population of 6.2 million, 2.81 million of whom are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has served as the archbishop of New York since 2009.
“Pope Francis has selected two outstanding priests, both experienced pastors, to serve the people of God of this archdiocese as auxiliary bishops,” Dolan said in a statement on the archdiocese’s website.
“I look forward to working even more closely with Bishop-elect Bonnici and Bishop-elect Espaillat, as they undertake this new role in their priesthood.”
With the addition of Bonnici and Espaillat, there will be a total of five active auxiliary bishops serving the Archdiocese of New York.
The youngest bishop in the world is 40-year-old Bishop Cristian Dumitru Crişan, an auxiliary in Romania, according to Catholic-hierarchy.org.
Bishop Andriy Rabiy, an auxiliary bishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, is the current youngest bishop in the United States at the age of 46.