.- This morning the Vatican announced that Fr. Fernando Isern from the Archdiocese of Miami has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to head the Diocese of Pueblo in southern Colorado. Bishop-elect Isern, 51, was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in southern Florida. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1993 and has since worked at both pastoral and educational posts.
His appointment as the fourth Bishop of Pueblo, succeeding Bishop Arthur Tafoya, will be officially announced to the faithful in Miami at an 11 a.m. press conference by Archbishop of Miami John C. Favalora. Bishop-elect Isern will then make a statement in both English and Spanish, the archdiocese announced on its website.
In a statement provided to CNA, Bishop-elect Isern thanked Archbishop Favalora and all the clergy “for their example and fraternity” during his years at the Archdiocese of Miami.
“I am especially grateful for having been entrusted as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish. I have been able to experience the wonderful vibrancy and love of this Archdiocese in the commitment of its laity,” he said.
Bishop-elect Isern also touched on his time as President of Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School and Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, which he said showed him “the wonderful contribution that Catholic education makes to the Church.”
Besides these experiences, the bilingual bishop-elect has also been involved in Hispanic and prison ministries, all of which, he explained, have led him to adopt “Caritas Christi Urget Nos” or “The Love of Christ Urges Us” as his episcopal motto.
Looking ahead to shepherding the Diocese of Pueblo, the newly appointed Isern said, “As Bishop of the Diocese Pueblo, it is a father’s love that unites me to its laity, priests and religious. The diocese encompasses Southern Colorado, an area with great natural beauty and diversity. Its people are rightfully proud of their history and cultural contributions.
“It is the love of Christ that urges us to now embrace each one as our own and to entrust ourselves to the generosity and hospitality of its people, as we recite the beautiful prayer of St. Theresa of Avila, whose feast we celebrate today, 'Let nothing disturb thee; nothing frighten thee. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.'”
Bishop-elect Isern will be ordained on Thursday, December 10 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo, Colo., the Archdiocese of Miami reported.
As head of the Diocese of Pueblo, a community with a large Spanish-speaking population, Bishop-elect Isern will serve 121,000 lay people, 90 priests, 33 permanent deacons and 94 religious.