Pope Francis has announced the appointment of a new auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of El Paso, Father Anthony C. Celino. Bishop-elect Celino is the current pastor of St. Raphael Parish in East El Paso and judicial vicar for the diocese.
Pope Francis announced the appointment at Roman noon on February 8. The appointment of an auxiliary bishop is the first since the establishment of the diocese in 1914.
The episcopal ordination for Bishop-elect Celino has been scheduled for March 31 at St. Patrick Cathedral. Bishop-elect Celino will be the third person of Filipino descent elected as a bishop in the United States.
“We thank the Holy Father for his attention and care for the Diocese of El Paso,” Bishop Mark Seitz said. “Bishop-elect Celino’s qualities are known in the diocese. He has previously served as my vicar general and made substantive contributions to the local church’s life. He brings a unique experience as a Filipino immigrant serving our border community as a priest for the past twenty-five years, a steadfast dedication to pastoral ministry, and fidelity to the Gospel.”
In the interim, Bishop-elect Celino will remain in his current positions until later in the Spring 2023.
Bishop-elect Celino was born in the Philippines on April 29, 1972, to the late Mines (Cerdan) and Teodolo Celino. He is the youngest of seven children. Bishop-elect Celino attended Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary and Mary Help of Christians College Seminary in the Philippines. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1993. Bishop-elect Celino immigrated directly to the El Paso area from the Philippines in 1993. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., in 1997 with a Master of Divinity and Bachelor of Sacred Theology degrees. He received a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in 2003.
After his ordination to the priesthood in 1997, Bishop-elect Celino was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso and then at Our Lady of Peace in Alpine. He also served as the Pastor of the former Santa Lucia Parish, now St. John Paul II Parish.
Bishop-elect Celino has served the diocese as a vicar general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor and taught at the Tepeyac Institute.
From December 2011 to July 2013, during the sede vacante in the diocese, he served as the delegate of the apostolic ddministrator, Emeritus Bishop Armando X. Ochoa, then bishop of Fresno, Calif.