March 1 Mass of Ordination for New Auxiliary Bishops


Cardinal Dolan will be the principal ordaining bishop and celebrant at the Mass of Ordination of Bishops for Bishop-elect John Bonnici and Bishop-elect Joseph Espaillat at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tuesday, March 1, at 2 p.m.

The principal co-ordaining bishops are Auxiliary Bishops Emeriti Gerald Walsh and John O’Hara.

The bishops-elect were appointed by Pope Francis Jan. 25 to serve as auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese. The appointments were announced by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect Bonnici, 57, has served since last July as pastor of SS. John and Paul and St. Augustine parishes in Larchmont. 

He has also served as pastor of two other parishes: St. Columba’s, Chester, 2008-2021, and St. Philip Neri, the Bronx, 2002-2008. His first parish assignment was as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Elmsford, 1992-1994.     

He was director of the archdiocese’s Family Life/Respect Life Office, 1996-2002, which he also served as assistant director. He was also an adjunct professor of theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. 

A native of Manhattan, Bishop-elect Bonnici is the son of immigrants, who are now deceased. He was ordained in 1991 after studying for the priesthood at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family at Lateran University in Rome. 

Bishop-elect Espaillat, 45, has served since 2015 as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish, the Bronx and as director of the archdiocesan Hispanic Charismatic Renewal and spiritual director of youth ministry for the archdiocese. 

He has also served as pastor of St. Peter’s, Yonkers, 2009-2012, where he earlier was administrator and parochial vicar. He was director of youth ministry for the archdiocese, 2012-2015. His first priestly assignment was as parochial vicar of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Manhattan, 2003-2007. 

A Manhattan native, Bishop-elect Espaillat is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. He was ordained in 2003 after studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie.

Cardinal Dolan, who introduced the new auxiliary bishops at his regular 7 a.m. weekday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral the day of the Jan. 25 announcement, said their ordination to the episcopacy would be “a day of joy” before the penitential season of Lent begins the next day, Ash Wednesday, March 2.  

A special section featuring the new bishops is scheduled to appear at March 4 and in the next issue of Catholic New York March 10. Special coverage will also be posted to