Pope Francis appointed an Indian origin priest, who also serves as an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in the US, as the new bishop of the diocese of Columbus.
The appointment of Father Earl K Fernandes, a fourth-degree Knights of Columbus, was announced on April 2 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the United States.
He will be consecrated and installed as the 13th bishop of Columbus on May 31.
Born on September 21, 1972, in Toledo in Ohio to Sydney Oswald and Thelma Fernandes, who hails from the western Indian metropolis of Mumbai, Earl obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Toledo in 1994 and went on to study physiology at the University of Salford.
It was in his second year of medical studies at the University of Cincinnati that he felt the call of the Lord to serve Him.
The bishop-elect, who has four siblings, did his priestly formation at Mount Saint Mary’s of the West in Cincinnati and bagged a master’s in Theology in 2002.
He attributes his deep faith and vocation to the exemplary prayer life of his mother, a teacher, and his father, who is a physician.
He was ordained on May 18, 2002, for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and two years later he went to Rome to earn a licentiate and doctoral degree in moral theology from the Alphonsian Academy.
Father Earl served as vicar of Holy Angels parish and was a religious teacher at Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney from 2002 to 2004.
He was the dean and assistant professor of moral theology at Mount Saint Mary’s of the West seminary from 2008 to 2016. He served as a member of the executive committee for the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools and was appointed a Missionary of Mercy during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy from 2015 to 2016.
He served on the staff of the nunciature for three and a half years.
A board of trustees member of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Father Earl is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French apart from having a reading knowledge of Latin.
Spread across 11,310 square miles in the state of Ohio, the diocese has 207,041 Catholics out of a population of 2,828,514.
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