Pope Francis names Peru native as auxiliary bishop in Miami Archdiocese

Father Enrique Delgado of the Archdiocese of Miami is seen Oct. 12. Pope Francis appointed him to be an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese that same day. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Miami)Father Enrique Delgado of the Archdiocese of Miami is seen Oct. 12. Pope Francis appointed him to be an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese that same day. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Miami)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Enrique Delgado, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami, to be an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese.

The appointment was announced in Washington Oct. 12 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States.

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Born in Lima, Peru, Bishop-designate Delgado, 61, is pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Weston, Florida. He was ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1996 in his home country.

He worked in private business managing a company before immigrating to the United States. Bishop-designate Delgado began studying for the priesthood in 1991.

He served in parish ministry in the archdiocese for virtually all his priesthood, first as parochial vicar of St. Agnes Church in Key Biscayne, and then at Nativity Church in Hollywood. He was pastor of St. Justin Martyr Church in Key Largo before being assigned to St. Katharine Drexel Church.

The newly named bishop's episcopal ordination Mass will be Dec. 7 at Miami's St. Mary Cathedral, and Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski will be the main celebrant. He will be the first U.S. bishop born in Peru.

Miami Archbishop is "grateful that Pope Francis has thought of Miami to send us a second auxiliary bishop."

In introducing Bishop-designate Delgado at a Miami news conference, Archbishop Wenski said the archdiocese was "grateful that Pope Francis has thought of Miami to send us a second auxiliary bishop." And that he chose "one of our own" for the position, he added.

"His brothers in our presbyterate describe him as 'very kindly, devout, fraternal ... a good man, well liked, very competent,'" Archbishop Wenski said. "I look forward to his working along with (Auxiliary) Bishop (Peter) Baldacchino at my side in assisting me in the care of souls of this dynamic, diverse and vibrant local Church, the Archdiocese of Miami."

The fact that the newly named auxiliary is Peruvian by birth "reflects the growing presence of Hispanics in the Catholic Church here in the United States -- something that here in South Florida has been obvious for a long time," the archbishop added.

In his remarks, delivered in English and Spanish, Bishop-designate Delgado said he received the appointment "with great humbleness and a great deal of gratitude to the Lord." He pledged his "total support" to Archbishop Wenski in the archdiocese's pastoral work.

Bishop-designate Delgado's Peruvian background "reflects the growing presence of Hispanics in the Catholic Church here in the United States."

"Being a new bishop, I respectfully ask the people of the Archdiocese of Miami to pray for me, that I would be guided always by the Holy Spirit in all the work that I do, to be transformed by the grace of God, so I can serve well, as an auxiliary bishop," he said.

He said he'd known of his appointment for two weeks, since receiving the news from Archbishop Pierre, and prayed God would send me "the Holy Spirit to be worthy of this new call for the order of bishop"

When he told the nuncio he accepted, the new bishop said he "speechless trying to order my thoughts. It also comes to my mind a great gratitude to my parents, to my mother that is in heaven and to my father who is in his old age. They have always supported me in my priesthood."

New auxiliary bishop: "Gratitude to my parents, to my mother that is in heaven and to my father who is in his old age."

He also is empowered, he said, by St. Paul's words to the Philippians: "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."

Born Dec. 26, 1955, Bishop-designate Delgado is one of 11 siblings. He studied at the University of Lima, where he earned a master's degree in economics in 1982, with a concentration on finance and accounting. He managed a company with 150 employees, but after several years of working, he discerned a vocation to the priesthood.

He immigrated to the United States and applied to the Archdiocese of Miami and was accepted into its seminary programs in Miami and Boynton Beach, Florida. He graduated with honors, receiving master's degrees in theology and divinity. When he was ordained a priest in Lima, then-Miami Auxiliary Bishop Agustin Roman was the ordaining bishop.

After being assigned as parochial vicar at St. Agnes in Key Biscayne from June 1996 to June 1999 and Nativity in Hollywood from June 1999 to April 2003, he was appointed pastor of St. Justin Martyr Church in Key Largo, Florida in April of 2003.

In August 2010, he was appointed pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, where he recently completed construction of the parish's first church building.

In December 2015, after completing his doctoral dissertation on "Building Our Parish Together: An Exploration in Participatory Leadership," he was awarded a doctorate in practical theology from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.

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