With a background in Hispanic ministry and service at Catholic Charities, the newly announced auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C. hopes to help people turn their faith into action. Fr. Mario Dorsonville, the vice president for Catholic Charities D.C. and now the bishop-designate of the Archdiocese of Washington, stated his commitment to “living the faith in action” after he was tapped by Pope Francis for the episcopacy at Roman noon on Friday. “We cannot, in any moment, allow ourselves to close our doors. Open doors to listen, open doors to refer sometimes, open doors to pray, open doors to walk with the immigrant family,” he said at his introductory press conference. Selflessness is part of the vocation of priest and bishop, he continued. “What a great experience if we can be faithful from what we have been called so many years ago, since the moment of our ordination, to give up our own life and our own face that people might recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in what we say and we do.” Bishop-designate Dorsonville hails from Bogotá, Columbia, where he was ordained for the archdiocese there in 1985. A doctorate in ministry from The Catholic University of America brought him to Washington, D.C. After a brief stint back in Columbia, he returned to D.C. and in 1999 was incardinated as a priest for the archdiocese. Since 2005, he has served as vice president of Catholic Charities in D.C. as well as director of the Spanish Catholic Center for the archdiocese, which has a Hispanic population of nearly 270,000. He has also been a spiritual director for seminarians at the John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C., something he described as one of his “greatest joys” as a priest. The seminary lacks the bureaucracy and “human resources” that one might find in the working world, he said. “It’s just love, dedication, and commitment for young men,” who strive to “follow Jesus Christ with all their heart, with all their strength.” Formation of future priests “is like planting a seed knowing that you will never see the shadows of the tree that you are planting,” he acknowledged. “But I guess that’s what the Catholic Church is about.” Bishop-designate Dorsonville’s boss at Catholic Charities agreed that his best work is when he gets to leave the desk and office for pastoral ministry. “This is a man who is going to say ‘yes’ to people. He’s going to say ‘yes,’ whatever’s best for the Church, whatever’s best for people in need,” Monsignor John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities for the archdiocese, told CNA. “This is a pastor. This is a priest who does ministry,” Msgr. Enzler said. “We don’t want him spending his time behind a desk,” he added, “you want to get him away from that stuff.” Bishop-designate Dorsonville stated that one of his chief missions will be fighting the “globalization of indifference” that Pope Francis has preached against. “The Holy Spirit uses people to awake people from indifference and to make the real transformation, the metanoia, from indifference to transformation, from transformation to reality, from reality to service, from service to love,” he explained. “Life is about sometimes joys, but sometimes crosses. And carrying out the crosses of those who need.”
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