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Pope Francis appoints 3rd Filipino bishop in US

Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Anthony Celino as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, making him the third Filipino-American bishop in the Catholic Church in the United States.

The Vatican made the announcement of Celino’s appointment on Wednesday, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The bishop-elect will be the first auxiliary bishop in El Paso, Texas, since its establishment as a diocese in 1914.

"We thank the Holy Father for his attention and care for the Diocese of El Paso," said the diocese’s Bishop Mark Seitz.

"He brings a unique experience as a Filipino immigrant serving our border community as a priest for the past 25 years, a steadfast dedication to pastoral ministry, and fidelity to the Gospel," he added.

Celino’s episcopal ordination will take place on March 31 at St. Patrick Cathedral.

The two other Filipino bishops in the US are Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City and Auxiliary Bishop Alejandro Aclan of Los Angeles.

Celino is the current pastor of St. Raphael Parish on the east side of El Paso and the diocese’s judicial vicar.

He was born in Anda, Pangasinan, and finished his studies in philosophy at the Mary Help of Christians Seminary in Dagupan City in 1993. He immigrated to the El Paso area after his college seminary.

Celino pursued his theology studies at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. He was then assigned as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso and then at Our Lady of Peace in Alpine, Texas, after his priestly ordination in 1997.

He also served as the vice general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor of the Diocese of El Paso. — Richa Noriega/VBL, GMA Integrated News