Pope Francis names 2nd Filipino bishop in U.S.

Paterno Esmaquel II
Monsignor Alejandro Aclan of Pasay City is appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

HOLY FATHER. Pope Francis names Monsignor Alejandro Aclan as the newest auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. File photo from AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis on Tuesday, March 5, named Monsignor Alejandro Aclan of Pasay City as the newest auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, making him the second Filipino-American bishop in the United States.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles confirmed Aclan’s appointment on Tuesday. Aclan, 68, has served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the past 25 years, according to the Catholic news website Angelus News.

Aclan left the Philippines for Southern California in 1982 “as an immigrant seeking a better future,” Angelus News reported.

A medical technology graduate, he first worked in electronic data processing and got employed in San Miguel and Citibank, until he migrated to the United States when he was 31. There, he worked for Union Bank in Los Angeles, according to Angelus News.

At 35, Aclan started discerning whether to enter the priesthood, then entered the seminary in 1988. He was ordained a priest 5 years later.

The bishop-elect was born on February 9, 1951, in Pasay City, and is the third of 8 children.

“Aclan’s nomination makes him the second Filipino-American priest to be named bishop in the US. The first was Bishop Oscar Solis, who served as an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles from 2004 until 2017, before Pope Francis named him Bishop of Salt Lake City. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest Filipino immigrant community in the United States,” Angelus News said. 

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez hailed Aclan’s appointment as auxiliary bishop.

“Bishop-elect Aclan is a man of prayer and he has a true heart for Jesus – and a deep concern for the people he is called to serve. And I know he will be a voice for Filipino Catholics, who are a beautiful sign of growth and renewal in our Church here in Los Angeles and throughout the country,” Gomez said. –

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at