overseas Filipinos

Pope Francis appoints third Filipino bishop in US

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Pope Francis appoints third Filipino bishop in US

NEW BISHOP. Anthony Celino, 50, is the new auxiliary bishop-elect of El Paso, Texas.

Saint Raphael Parish, El Paso, Texas

Monsignor Anthony Celino, who hails from the Ilocos Region, is the first auxiliary bishop of El Paso, Texas

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis named Monsignor Anthony Celino, a priest born in northern Philippines, as the first auxiliary bishop of El Paso, Texas – and the third Filipino bishop in the United States.

The Pope announced Celino’s appointment on Wednesday, February 8.

Celino, 50, is the first auxiliary bishop of El Paso since the diocese was established in 1914. As auxiliary bishop, Celino is tasked to assist the bishop who heads the Diocese of El Paso, Mark Seitz.

He is set to be ordained as bishop on March 31. He is currently parish priest of Saint Raphael Parish and judicial vicar of the El Paso diocese. 

“He brings a unique experience as a Filipino immigrant serving our border community as a priest for the past 25 years, a steadfast dedication to pastoral ministry, and fidelity to the Gospel,” Seitz said in a news release, noting that Celino previously served as his vicar general or right-hand man. 

The bishop-elect was born on April 29, 1972, the youngest of seven children of Mines and Teodolo Celino, according to his profile on the Diocese of El Paso. He attended the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary and Mary Help of Christians Seminary in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. 

Celino obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1993, and in the same year, immigrated directly to El Paso. 

He continued his studies in the United States, finishing master of divinity and bachelor of sacred theology degrees at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, in 1997. He earned his licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in 2003, according to his diocese.

Celino has been a priest of El Paso since he was ordained in the same diocese in 1997.

Aside from Celino, the two other Filipino bishops in the United States are Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City and Auxiliary Bishop Alejandro Aclan of Los Angeles, according to the news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com