Catholic Church

Pope Francis names Mindanaoan priest as 5th Filipino bishop in US

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Pope Francis names Mindanaoan priest as 5th Filipino bishop in US

PRAYER. In this file photo, Pope Francis recites the Angelus prayer at the Vatican, December 3, 2023.

Vatican Media/Reuters

Father Reynaldo Bersabal, who started as a priest in Cagayan de Oro, is now auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis named Father Reynaldo Bersabal, a priest from Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, as the new auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento in the United States.

Bersabal, 61, is now the fifth Filipino bishop in America.

The auxiliary bishop-elect was parish priest of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Sacramento, California. 

Born on October 15, 1962, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro on April 29, 1991. 

In Cagayan de Oro, he served in various capacities from 1991 until 1998: as parish vicar of Our Lady of Snows, parish administrator of Our Lady of Guadalupe, parish priest of Saint Francis Xavier, and most importantly as chancellor of the archdiocese.

Four other Filipino bishops in the United States had been appointed before Bersabal: 

  • Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Efren Esmilla of Nagcarlan, Laguna, 61
  • Salt Lake City Bishop Oscar Solis of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, 70
  • Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Alejandro Aclan of Pasay City, 72
  • El Paso Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Celino of Anda, Pangasinan, 51

Bersabal’s appointment is yet another sign of the Philippine Catholic Church’s growing influence across the globe. At the Vatican alone, Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is one of two prefects running the powerful Dicastery for Evangelization.

Key to the Philippine Catholic Church’s global influence is the presence of overseas Filipinos in key areas such as California. 

Pope Francis once described Filipinos as “smugglers of the faith” who spread the Gospel wherever they find themselves in the world. –

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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