Pope Francis has appointed a priest born and ordained in Brazil to serve as the next auxiliary bishop of Boston, the Vatican announced on Saturday. 

Father Cristiano G. Borro Barbosa, 47, will join Cardinal Seán O’Malley and four other auxiliaries as bishops of the archdiocese, a territory that includes nearly 1.8 million Catholics. 

The Boston metropolitan area is also home to a significant Brazilian population — nearly 64,000 people, according to census figures from 2014. Barbosa was chaplain of the archdiocese’s Brazilian-Portuguese community from 2008–2019. 

Currently, Barbosa is the episcopal vicar of the archdiocese’s central region and also serves as the archdiocesan secretary for evangelization and catechesis, roles he will continue in following his episcopal ordination. 

O’Malley cited Barbosa’s experience with the local Brazilian community as well as his theological background and extensive parish experience as factors in the pope’s appointment. 

“I am grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for blessing this archdiocese with the appointment of Bishop-elect Barbosa,” O’Malley said in a Dec. 9 statement provided by the Archdiocese of Boston. “He offers a shepherd’s heart and a wide range of experiences that have prepared him for this new role in the life of the Church.” 

In the same statement, Barbosa said he was “humbled” by the “great confidence” shown by the Holy Father in naming him an auxiliary bishop. He also said that he is “happy if I can serve in love God and his people” and described the role of Church ministers as promoting “unity and peace.” 

“I want to thank Cardinal Seán for his confidence and for his great love for the archdiocese and its people in all its cultural diversity,” Barbosa said. 

Barbosa was born in Adamantina in the Diocese of Maríla, Brazil, on Oct. 11, 1976. He received his education in Brazil, including a master’s degree in psychology, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Bauru on Dec. 22, 2007. 

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The Brazilian native has served at parishes in Cambridge and Lowell. He earned a licentiate and doctorate in theology from Boston College and was a faculty member at the Pope John XIII National Seminary in Weston and St. John Seminary in Brighton from 2020 until earlier this year. Barbosa was incardinated into the archdiocese in 2021. 

According to the archdiocese, Barbosa speaks Spanish in addition to English and Portuguese. Pope Francis has also assigned him to the titular see of Membressa.