Pope Francis names Filipino priest an auxiliary bishop of Sacramento

Father Reynaldo Bersabal Pope Francis on April 20, 2024, named Father Reynaldo Bersabal as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, California.  | Credit: Steve German/Diocese of Sacramento

Pope Francis has named Father Reynaldo Bersabal as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, California. 

The Vatican announced on Saturday that the priest ordained in the Philippines and incardinated into the Sacramento Diocese in 2004 will be consecrated as a bishop.

“I am grateful to His Holiness and honored to have my brother, Bishop-elect Rey Bersabal, as a co-worker for the Episcopal ministry in this favored part of the Lord’s vineyard,” Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento said in a Saturday statement on the diocese’s website.

“Bishop-elect Rey came as an immigrant priest bringing the rich cultural heritage of the Filipino people,” Soto continued. “He became part of a presbyterate and people that is a global Catholic kaleidoscope of faith and charity radiating the historic credal customs from Portugal, Italy, Ireland, China, Poland, Africa, and more. Bishop-elect Rey has learned a lot and given much during his 25 years as a priest in Sacramento.”

Bersabal was born in Magsaysay in the province of Misamis Oriental in the Philippines on Oct. 15, 1964.

He was ordained a priest April 29, 1991, for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines was incardinated in the Diocese of Sacramento 13 years later.

In Sacramento, he served as the parish vicar of St. James Church in Davis and St. Anthony Church in Sacramento before being named the parish priest of St. Paul Church in 2003.

Bersabal was also the parish priest of St. John the Baptist in Folsom from 2008 to 2016 and St. James in Davis from 2016 to 2022.

The 59-year-old priest has served the parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Sacramento since 2022.

“The years of pastoral experience working in the parishes of the geographical and demographically large Diocese of Sacramento will be one of the strengths he brings to his new ministry,” Soto said. “His understanding of Catholic faith and mercy springs from lived experiences of families striving to follow the Lord Jesus in our turbulent times.”

“I am grateful to Bishop-elect Rey for saying ‘yes’ to the Holy Father’s invitation to the college of bishops,” Soto continued. “I ask all the clergy and faithful of the diocese to join me in praying for our brother, Bishop-elect Rey Bersabal, so that he may always walk first as a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus and be co-worker and companion cultivating the verdant Sacramento Valley for a lasting harvest of mercy and joy.”

The Diocese of Sacramento serves more than 1 million Catholics in 20 counties covering 42,000 square miles of Northern California from San Francisco Bay to Sacramento and the Oregon border, according to a diocesan media release. The diocese includes more than 100 parishes, 42 elementary and secondary schools, and various social service and family support organizations throughout the region.

This story was updated at 1:38 p.m. ET on April 20, 2024, with comments from Bishop Jaime Soto.

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