Catholic Church appoints Earl Fernandes as first Native American bishop


India West Staff Reporter

COLUMBUS, OH — On April 3, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had appointed 49-year-old Indian-American pastor from Cincinnati, Father Earl K. Fernandes, as the next bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, OH.

He will become the first Native American to lead an American Catholic diocese. His episcopal ordination and installation will take place on May 31.

The Catholic News Agency reported on the bishop-elect’s comments at a news conference. He said: “The pope wants a synodal Church, a Church that walks together… The Holy Father says that sometimes the bishop must walk in front of the people, lead them. Sometimes he must walk among them, listen to them (and) their joys, their sorrows. And sometimes he has to walk behind him, so no one is too far behind… I want to walk with the people of God here in the Diocese of Columbus.

Bishop-elect Fernandes is from Toledo, OH, the fourth of five boys. Her late father, Sydney Fernandes, who died in 2019, was a doctor and her mother, Thelma, a teacher in India, who later earned a master’s degree in education and social work and worked at a university.

“I am grateful for the gift of life and faith they passed on to my brothers and me, and for the many hidden sacrifices they made for us boys,” he told the audience. media.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo and moved to Cincinnati to study at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine before discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Bishop-elect Fernandes loves sports, movies and hiking. He is an avid reader and writer with a particular interest in education, culture and languages. Above all, he loves people.


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