Pope Francis Appoints Brazilian Native as Boston’s New Auxiliary Bishop

Father Cristiano Borro Barbosa , 47, will join Cardinal Seán O’Malley and four other auxiliary bishops.

Father Cristiano Borro Barbosa , 47, has been appointed by Pope Francis as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston.
Father Cristiano Borro Barbosa , 47, has been appointed by Pope Francis as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston. (photo: Archdiocese of Boston)

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 Borro Barbosa , 47, will join Cardinal Seán O’Malley and four other auxiliary 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. Bishop-elect Barbosa was chaplain of the archdiocesan Brazilian-Portuguese community from 2008 to 2019. 

Currently, Bishop-elect 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. 

Cardinal O’Malley cited Bishop-elect 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,” Cardinal 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, Bishop-elect 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 he 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,” said Bishop-elect Barbosa. 

Bishop-elect 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. 

The Brazilian native has served at parishes in Cambridge and Lowell, Massachusetts. 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. Bishop-elect Barbosa was incardinated into the archdiocese in 2021. 

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

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