Spanish Opus Dei Priest Announced as New Helsinki Bishop
The Helsinki Diocese had been without a bishop since May 20, 2019, when the Pope accepted the early resignation of Bishop Teemu Sippo, who had led the diocese since 2009 and resigned early for health reasons.
Pope Francis on Friday appointed Father Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda, a priest of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, as the new bishop of Helsinki, Finland.
The apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat, announced Father Goyarrola Belda’s appointment at the end of a Sept. 29 Mass he celebrated at St. Henry’s Cathedral in Helsinki.
Finland is home to a small Catholic community, with an estimated 17,000 members as of early 2023, many of whom are immigrants. The vast majority of Finns belong nominally to the Lutheran church, though many Finns are irreligious in practice.
The Helsinki Diocese had been without a bishop since May 20, 2019, when the Pope accepted the early resignation of Bishop Teemu Sippo, who had led the diocese since 2009 and resigned early for health reasons. Bishop Sippo was the first Finnish-born Catholic bishop to be appointed since the 16th century. Father Marco Pasinato had been serving as administrator of the diocese.
Father Goyarrola Belda, 54, most recently served as vicar general for the Helsinki Diocese and has served in Finland since 2006. Catholics in Finland are “very happy” to now have a bishop who is fluent in Finnish, EWTN Norge reported.
He studied medicine and surgery at the Universidad de Navarra and subsequently carried out his philosophical-theological studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, obtaining a doctorate in dogmatic theology.
He was ordained a priest of Opus Dei in September 2002. The date of his episcopal ordination has not yet been announced.