NY Auxiliary Appointed by Pope Francis Will be One of World’s Youngest Bishops

Father Espaillat launched a podcast and YouTube series called “Sainthood in the City” in 2021.

Bishop-elect Joseph A. Espaillat.
Bishop-elect Joseph A. Espaillat. (photo: Screenshot from Centro Católico Carismático / YouTube)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed two new auxiliaries for the Archdiocese of New York, one of whom will be one of the world’s youngest bishops.

The Vatican announced on Jan. 25 that Father Joseph A. Espaillat and Father John S. Bonnici  will be ordained as bishops.

Born on Dec. 27, 1976, Father Espaillat will be the youngest bishop in the United States once he is consecrated.

The 45-year-old is the director of the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal for New York archdiocese.

Father Espaillat launched a podcast and YouTube series called “Sainthood in the City” in 2021. 

In a video promoting the launch, Father Espaillat, who also goes by Father J, said that the podcast would include discussions on faith, music, sports, fashion, and pop culture.

“We’re going to talk about Pop Smoke. We’re going to talk about Kanye. We’re going to talk about Kim Kardashian. We’re going to talk about everything under the sun, and Cardi B,” Father Espaillat said.

Bishop-elect Joseph A. Espaillat takes part in the podcast and YouTube series ‘Sainthood in the City.’. Screenshot from Centro Católico Carismático YouTube channel.

Bishop-elect Joseph A. Espaillat takes part in the podcast and YouTube series ‘Sainthood in the City.’. Screenshot from Centro Católico Carismático YouTube channel.

He was ordained in 2003 and has served as the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in the Bronx since 2015.

Father Espaillat attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Manhattan before studying at Fordham University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1998.

While in St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, Father Espaillat earned a Master of Divinity degree in Theology and a Master of Arts degree in Theology, specializing in Church history.

He has served as a director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of New York, a pastor at St. Peter’s parish in Yonkers, and as a parochial vicar at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Manhattan.

Father Bonnici, 56, has served as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York for 30 years. 

He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington (1995) and a licentiate degree from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute (1992) in Rome, where he also studied at the Pontifical North American College and the Gregorian University (1987-1990) before his ordination.

Father Bonnici previously served as director of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Office for six years and as the pastor of St. Columba in Chester from 2008 to 2021.

He was born in New York on Feb. 17, 1965, and earned a Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and philosophy from St. John’s University in Queens, New York in 1987.

Father Bonnici’s most recent assignment was as pastor of St. Augustine parish and Saints John and Paul parish in Larchmont.

The date for Father Bonnici and Father Espaillat’s episcopal ordination has yet to be announced. 

The Archdiocese of New York has a total population of 6.2 million, 2.81 million of whom are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has served as the archbishop of New York since 2009.

The youngest bishop in the world is 40-year-old Bishop Cristian Dumitru Crişan, an auxiliary in Romania, according to Catholic-hierarchy.org.

Bishop Andriy Rabiy, an auxiliary bishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, is the current youngest bishop in the United States at the age of 46.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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