Pope Francis Announces New Leader of Columbus Diocese
The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Earl K. Fernandes, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as the 13th Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
He succeeds the Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan, who was installed as the 8th Bishop of Brooklyn November 30, 2021. Father Fernandes will be ordained a bishop of the Catholic Church and installed as Bishop of Columbus Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
“I look forward to meeting the People of God – the priests, deacons, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Columbus – and to collaborating with them in announcing the joyful Good News and building the Kingdom of God,” said Bishop-elect Fernandes. “I ask for your prayers, not only for me but also for our Diocese, that the Holy Spirit may enkindle in all of us the fire of His Divine Love. May God grant me the grace to serve His people well and to be an ardent yet gentle shepherd, whose heart is formed after the Heart of Jesus.”
Fr. Fernandes, 49, is pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 2016-2019, he was a member of the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. From 2008-2016, he was the Dean of the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati and an associate professor of moral theology. From 2008-2014, he was a weekend assistant at Guardian Angels Church in Cincinnati, and from 2014-2016, he was the administrator of Sacred Heart Church in Cincinnati. Fr. Fernandes served as Parochial Vicar at Holy Angels Church and taught religion at Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney, Ohio from 2002-2004, prior to being sent for further studies in Rome in 2004. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by the Most Reverend Daniel Pilarczyk on May 18, 2002.
Fr. Fernandes is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, as well as the Board of Trustees of the Pregnancy Center East in Cincinnati, where he has served as a member of the Advisory Board since 2008. He is also a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. From 2012-2016, he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools. Since 2012, he has been a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. In 2014, Fr. Fernandes concluded a three-year term on the board of the Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati, which assists disabled persons.
He has given presentations, talks, and retreats around the country and has published articles in three collections of essays published by the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska, which also published a book authored by him in 2014. Father Fernandes’ scholarly essays have also appeared in Seminary Journal, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, the Linacre Quarterly,and Journal of the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry. His articles in the latter two addressed issues of persons with disabilities.
Fr. Fernandes is a native of Toledo, Ohio, the fourth of five boys, and the son of Indian immigrants. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo and came to Cincinnati to study at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine before discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Fernandes holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome, Italy.
He is an avid reader and writer and has a particularly strong interest in education, culture, and languages. Most of all, he enjoys people.