Pope appoints two new auxiliary bishops to Archdiocese of Washington 


Pope Francis on Dec. 19, 2022, appointed Monsignor Juan Esposito-Garcia and Father Evelio Menjivar-Ayala as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington. / Archdiocese of Washington

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 19, 2022 / 11:45 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Juan Esposito-Garcia and Father Evelio Menjivar-Ayala as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, announced today.

As auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington, Esposito and Menjivar will assist Cardinal Wilton Gregory in the episcopal duties of the archdiocese while holding the full rank of bishops themselves.

At a press conference, Gregory said the appointment of Esposito and Menjivar, who are priests of the Archdiocese of Washington, was in response to his request for help.

“To provide for the increasing pastoral needs, the challenges and the opportunities, of our parishes, schools, and communities, I petitioned the Holy Father for two auxiliary bishops. This morning, Pope Francis granted my request by appointing Bishops-elect Juan Esposito-Garcia and Evelio Menjivar-Ayala,” Gregory, 75, said.

“Ours is a spiritually enthusiastic and zealous presbyterate, from which these two outstanding men have distinguished themselves. Both their brother priests, who have served with them, and the faithful, whom they have cared for, are already blessed to know them as pastors and leaders. I am confident that our entire archdiocesan family will come to do so very soon as well,” he added.

“I give thanks to God for his goodness and mercy to me,” Menjivar, 52, said in response to his appointment. Originally from Chalatenango, El Salvador, Menjivar came to the U.S. as a teenager to flee violence. He attended St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and the Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained to the diocesan priesthood in 2004. He has served as the pastor at St. Mary’s parish in Landover Hills, Maryland, since 2017. He is fluent in three languages: Spanish, English, and Italian.

Esposito, 48, was ordained a diocesan priest in 2008 and has served in the Dicastery for Bishops in Vatican City since 2018. Born in San Luis, Argentina, Esposito is also fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian. He attended seminary and earned an undergraduate degree in Argentina. After immigrating to the U.S., Esposito earned a master’s of divinity and a master’s of arts degree in moral theology from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, and a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America. As a canon lawyer, Esposito’s previous assignments include being a judge on the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal as well as the judicial vicar for the archdiocese.

According to the archdiocese, Esposito and Menjiver will be ordained bishops Feb. 21, 2023.

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