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‘A parish priest’

Miami’s new auxiliary bishop is the first Peruvian to be named a bishop in the U.S.

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MIAMI | Father Enrique Delgado, a native of Peru who describes himself as “a parish priest,” has been named auxiliary bishop of Miami by the Holy See.

Father Delgado is the first native of Peru to be named a bishop in the U.S. and the11th auxiliary bishop to serve the South Florida community.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski made the announcement at a press conference Oct. 12 in the archdiocesan Pastoral Center. Father Delgado is currently pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Weston.

“I am grateful that Pope Francis has thought of Miami to send us a second auxiliary bishop. And in selecting a suitable priest for bishop, he chose from one of our own,” Archbishop Wenski said at the start of the presentation.

“I never expected this, because I always see myself as a parish priest. A priest who relates to the people in their everyday lives,” said the new bishop-elect. He added, “Now I think the call is more extensive, to shepherd the people of God, helping Archbishop Wenski here in the Archdiocese of Miami.”

Father Delgado said he found out about his appointment two weeks ago, when he received a call from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S. “I said, yes, even though I was speechless trying to order my thoughts.” In his Spanish-language remarks he also added that his “knees were shaking.”

But he could not share the news with anyone until the announcement was made public. He spent those two weeks praying and reflecting on how the Lord has guided his priestly ministry during 21 years of service at different parishes of the archdiocese.

While praying and reflecting, he said, he came across a verse from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:13: “I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.” So he asked the Lord “to be transformed by the grace of God, so I can serve well, as an auxiliary bishop.”

Father Delgado said his vocation came at an early age, in his native Peru, but he did not heed the call until the age of 35, when he lived in Miami. That’s when he entered St. John Vianney College Seminary here. Then he studied four years at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He was ordained June 29, 1996 by Miami’s late Auxiliary Bishop Agustín Román, the first native of Cuba to be appointed bishop in the U.S.

“Bishop Román came to Peru to ordain me for the Archdiocese of Miami,” Bishop-elect Delgado said, because his whole family lived there at the time. Since then, seven of his 11 siblings have come to live in the United States, while four remain in Peru with his father. His mother died some time ago.

Father Delgado was born in Lima on Dec. 26, 1955. He studied at the University of Lima and obtained a master’s degree in economics with a specialization in finance and accounting in 1982. He managed a company in Peru before emigrating to the U.S.

He also has a doctorate in practical theology from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.

After ordination, he served as parochial vicar at St. Agnes, Key Biscayne, from 1996 to 1999; and Nativity, Hollywood, from 1999 to 2003. He served as pastor of St. Justin Martyr in Key Largo from 2003 to 2010 and has been at St. Katharine Drexel since 2010.

The naming of a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Miami “is a great help to me, and I think it’s a recognition by the Holy See, by the pope, of the growth of this Church and of our pastoral needs. Now I have another hand, I have two auxiliary bishops to help me,” Archbishop Wenski said after the press conference.

Although he does not know yet what the new bishop will be assigned to do, the archbishop said Bishop-elect Delgado would remain a few more months at St. Katharine Drexel, so they can celebrate his appointment as a community.

“It’s a great celebration for Miami, the Holy Father is looking after Miami once again,” said Auxiliary Bishop Peter Baldacchino, who was named to the archdiocese in February 2014, when he was a priest of the Newark Archdiocese working in the Turks and Caicos.

“It’s a gift because (the new bishop) has many talents. I hope to work together with him and help Archbishop Wenski with his pastoral duties,” added Bishop Baldacchino.

The ordination of Bishop-elect Delgado has been scheduled for Dec. 7 at St. Mary Cathedral, with Archbishop Wenski presiding.

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