Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Philadelphia

Pope Francis has appointed Father Keith J. Chylinski, left, Father Christopher R. Cooke, right, and Father Efren V. Esmilla, center, to serve as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Pope Francis has appointed Father Keith J. Chylinski, left, Father Christopher R. Cooke, right, and Father Efren V. Esmilla, center, to serve as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Pope Francis has appointed Father Keith J. Chylinski, Father Christopher R. Cooke, and Father Efren V. Esmilla as auxiliary bishops of Philadelphia. The appointments were publicized in Washington, D.C. on December 8, 2023, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect Chylinski is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and currently rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Bishop-elect Cooke is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and currently dean of men for the theology seminary at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Bishop-elect Esmilla is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, currently serving pastor of Saint James the Great parish in Elkins Park, and Saint Martin of Tours in Philadelphia.

On the occasion of the appointments, Bishop Timothy Senior, Bishop of Harrisburg and former Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, released the following statement:

“I offer my congratulations and prayerful best wishes to Fathers Keith J. Chylinski, Christopher R. Cooke, and Efren V. Esmilla on the occasion of their appointments today as Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by his Holiness, Pope Francis. This is indeed a joyous day for the Archdiocese and for the entire Province of Pennsylvania.

“I am blessed to have known all three bishops-elect for many years during my time as a priest and Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese. In particular, I worked very closely with Bishop-elect Chylinski and Bishop-elect Cooke at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary as Rector. All three new bishops will serve the Archdiocese and the Catholic faithful well as shepherds and in support of Archbishop Nelson Pérez.

“On behalf of the clergy, consecrated religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Harrisburg, I extend my prayers and fraternal support to the bishops-elect as they prepare for their Ordination to the Episcopacy, and their ministry as bishops.”

Bishop-elect Chylinski was born July 23, 1971, in Schenectady, New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from Temple University in Philadelphia in 2000. He received master’s degrees from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and earned a master’s degree from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia (now Divine Mercy University in Sterling, Virginia) in 2014. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 2007.

Bishop-elect Chylinski’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saint Anselm Parish in Philadelphia (2007-2011) and Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish in North Wales (2011-2012); student priest at the Institute for Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virgina (2012-2014); weekend ministry at Saint Joseph Parish in Downingtown (2014-2017); member of the seminary’s faculty and the director of counseling services at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (2014-2022). Other assignments include serving as a member of the archdiocesan council of priests (2009-2011), spiritual director of the Padre Pio Prayer Group in Collegeville (2018-2021), and as a member of the archdiocesan commission on racial healing (2021-2023). He has been a member of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association since 2013 and served as their national chaplain from 2018 to 2022. He has served as rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary since 2022

Bishop-elect Cooke was born November 8, 1973, in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in Newark in 1996. He began his priestly formation at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and earned master’s degrees in 2005 and 2006. Father Cooke was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 2006.

Bishop-elect Cooke’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saint Eleanor Parish in Collegeville (2006-2008), Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia (2008-2012); parochial administrator at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Norristown (2012-2013); and director of the spiritual year at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (2013-2021). He has served on the archdiocesan council of priests (2009-2011; and present). Since 2021, he has served as dean of men for the theology seminary at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Bishop-elect Cooke speaks English and Spanish.

Bishop-elect Esmilla was born June 18, 1962, in Nagcarlan, Laguna, in the Philippines. He has a bachelor’s degree from San Beda College in San Miguel, Manila, Philippines (1984) and a master of divinity from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (1992). Father Esmilla was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1993.

Bishop-elect Esmilla’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saint John Chrysostom Parish in Wallingford (1993-2001), Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Philadelphia (2001-2003), Saint Martha Parish in Philadelphia (2005-2006); pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Philadelphia (2006-2020); assistant director for pastoral formation (2003-2004) and director of the spirituality year (2004-2005) at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Other diocesan assignments include serving as chaplain for the Filipino diocesan apostolate (2005 to present); spiritual director of the Legion of Mary (2001 to present); and membership in the archdiocesan continuing formation committee for priests (2001-2004, and 2005-2008), council of priests (2005-2008, and 2017-2020), college of consultors (2006-2011), priest personnel board (2017-2022), and president of the presbyteral council (2021). Since 2020, he has served as pastor of Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia, while also serving since 2021 as pastor of Saint James Parish in Elkins Park. Bishop-elect Esmilla speaks English, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Latin, and Portuguese.

In reflecting on the appointments Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Pérez said, “This moment is one of great joy and thanksgiving for Philadelphia! We have been blessed by Pope Francis with three rich gifts today. The Holy Father’s appointment of Bishops-elect Chylinski, Cooke, and Esmilla continues a long tradition of priests from our Archdiocese being recognized for their ability to serve as bishops. It also demonstrates his confidence in these faithful and holy priests to serve God’s people right here at home in the Philadelphia region.”

“Our newest bishops are men of deep faith, great humility, broad pastoral as well as administrative experience, and zealous hearts that are on fire to serve as Missionary Disciples for Jesus Christ,” he said. I’ve known all of them for many years and have witnessed the transformational impact of their priestly ministry on a diverse array of people everywhere they have served. As the new bishops prepare to begin their episcopal ministry, I pledge them my support and extend my heartfelt congratulations.”

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is comprised of 2,202 square miles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has a total population of 4,195,425 of which 1,546,350 are Catholic.

The news conference was streamed live to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Vimeo Channel at https://vimeo.com/event/2470138.

(Photo by Sarah Webb/Archdiocese of Philadelphia.)

- Advertisement -spot_img

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.

Other News