Pope Francis has appointed Father Reynaldo Bersabal, a priest of the Diocese of Sacramento, California, as auxiliary bishop of Sacramento.

"I am humbled to be chosen to serve God's people in this capacity. I vow to uphold the responsibility to demonstrate Christ's holiness to the people of the Diocese of Sacramento," said Bishop-designate Bersabal in an April 20 press release from the diocese.

Bishop-designate Bersabal, 59, grew up in Mindanao, Philippines. According to the Sacramento Diocese, "his vocation to the priesthood began with the lived Faith of his parents and family" and he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro on April 29, 1991. He came to the Diocese of Sacramento in 1999, at the invitation of Bishop Emeritus William Weigand, and was incardinated into the diocese in 2004. He currently serves as pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi parish in Sacramento.

The appointment was publicized in Washington April 20 by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Saying he was grateful to the Holy Father for appointing "a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus as an able co-worker in this favored part of His vineyard," Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto described Bishop-designate Bersabal as "a joyful pastor whose cheerful manner brings others to communion with Christ, the chief shepherd of our souls."

"Bishop-elect Rey came as an immigrant priest bringing the rich cultural heritage of the Filipino people. He became part of a presbyterate and people that is a global Catholic kaleidoscope of faith and charity radiating the historic credal customs from Portugal, Italy, Ireland, China, Poland, Africa and more," Bishop Soto added.

According to an April 20 press release by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, some of Bishop-designate Bersabal's diocesan positions in his 25 years in the Diocese of Sacramento included being dean of the southern suburbs/city deanery (2004-2008), member and treasurer of the diocesan presbyteral council (2007-2010), dean of the Gold Country deanery (2011-2014), and dean of the Yolo Deanery (2020-2022). He has been liaison for the Filipino presbyterate since 2012. Previous assignments also include chaplain of the Davis Newman Center and pastor assignments at St. Paul Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, and St. James Parish.

In an April 20 statement, Bishop Soto said Bishop-designate Bersabal's pastoral experience will be one of the strengths he brings to his new ministry. "His understanding of Catholic faith and mercy springs from lived experiences of families striving to follow the Lord Jesus in our turbulent times," Bishop Soto said.

In addition to being pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi, Bishop-designate Bersabal is a member of the diocesan priests' personnel board and the diocese's independent review board. He speaks English, Tagalog, Visayan and Spanish.

The Diocese of Sacramento covers 46,597 square miles in California and has a Catholic population of over 1 million out of a total population of about 3.78 million.

On April 1, the diocese announced it had filed for bankruptcy, citing the costs of settling more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy and staff. In a statement, Bishop Soto asked for prayers for the healing of victim-survivors and described the reorganization as a "journey of atonement" and a "penitential exercise," adding that it was "the sickening sin of sexual abuse -- and the failure of church leadership to address it appropriately -- that brought us to this place."

Bishop-designate Bersabal will take up his appointment on May 31, following his ordination as bishop in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the diocese said. He will continue to serve as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi and will be vicar general for the diocese.