Pope Francis Appoints Trio of New Auxiliary Bishops for Philadelphia Archdiocese

The Vatican announced Dec. 8 that Fathers ​​Keith Chylinski, Christopher Cooke and Efren Esmilla would be installed to serve the archdiocese’s approximately 1.5 million Catholics.

Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishops-elect Keith Chylinski (left), Efren Esmilla (center) and Christopher Cooke (right)
Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishops-elect Keith Chylinski (left), Efren Esmilla (center) and Christopher Cooke (right) (photo: Sarah Webb / Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

Pope Francis on Friday appointed three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, joining Archbishop Nelson Pérez and current Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre there.

The Vatican announced Dec. 8 that Fathers ​​Keith Chylinski, Christopher Cooke and Efren Esmilla would be installed to serve the archdiocese’s approximately 1.5 million Catholics. The archdiocese lost two auxiliary bishops — Bishop Michael Fitzgerald to retirement and Bishop Timothy Senior to reappointment — during 2023. 


Father ​​Keith Chylinski

Father Keith Chylinski, a native of Schenectady, New York, attended Temple University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; he further received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Divine Mercy University in Sterling, Virginia.

Ordained to the priesthood in the Philadelphia Archdiocese in 2007, he previously served as parochial vicar of St. Anselm’s in the city and since 2022 has served as the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. 

The seminary’s website states that he has taught courses in pastoral psychology while there and was previously the director of counseling services. He has also served as an instructor for the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska.


Father Christopher Cooke

Born in the Philadelphia suburb of Meadowbrook, Father Christopher Cooke received degrees from the University of Delaware and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, the latter from which he earned both a master of divinity and a master of theology degree.

He was ordained a priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese in 2006 and joined the St. Charles Borromeo faculty in 2013, where he currently serves as the dean of men for the theology seminary as well as on the theology formation team.

He previously served as the administrator of St. Francis of Assisi in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and as the parochial vicar at St. Martin of Tours in Philadelphia. Prior to becoming a priest he worked in chemical manufacturing design and support.


Father Efren Esmilla

A native of Nagcarlan, Laguna, Philippines, in the Diocese of San Pablo, Father Efren Esmilla attended San Beda College in Manila before emigrating to the United States. He obtained a master of divinity degree from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in Philadelphia in 1993. 

He previously served as parochial vicar at St. John Chrysostom in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and at the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Philadelphia. He also held the position of assistant director of pastoral formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

Since 2021, he has served as pastor of St. James in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. The parish’s website says that Bishop-elect Esmilla “has also served as chaplain to the Filipino Apostolate” as well as “spiritual director to the Legion of Mary.”

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