WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis has appointed Father Ramon Bejarano, a priest of the Diocese of Stockton, California, to be an auxiliary bishop of San Diego.
He also has named three New Jersey priests — Msgr. Gregory J. Studerus, Benedictine Father Elias R. Lorenzo and Father Michael A. Saporito — to be auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey.
The appointments were announced in Washington Feb. 27 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bejarano, 50, has been pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto, California, since 2008. Fluent in English and Spanish, he was ordained a priest for the Stockton Diocese Aug. 15, 1998.
In New Jersey, Studerus, 71, and Saporito, 57, are priests of the Newark Archdiocese. Lorenzo, 59, is a monk of St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey, in the Paterson Diocese. He also is abbot president of the American Cassinese Benedictine Congregation, an association of Benedictine monasteries in the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan.
Bejarano was born July 17, 1969, in Laredo, Texas. His family is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and he lived there from 1972 until 1987 when he moved with his family to Tracy, California, in the Stockton Diocese. He entered priestly formation for the diocese in 1989.
He has a master’s degree in philosophy from the diocesan seminary of Tijuana, Mexico, and a master’s of divinity from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. After his ordination in 1998, Bejarano was parochial vicar at St. George Parish in Stockton from 1998 to 2003. For next two years, he was parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Turlock, California. In 2006, he was founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Modesto, California and two years later was named pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish.
In the Diocese of San Diego, Bejarano will join Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan in working with San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy. Dolan was ordained an auxiliary for the diocese June 8, 2017.
The Southern California diocese covers 8,852 square miles, and out of a total population of about 3.5 million, close to 1.4 million people are Catholic.
In New Jersey, shortly after the announcement of Pope Francis’s appointment of three new auxiliaries for the Newark Archdiocese, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin introduced them at the archdiocesan center.
“Pope Francis has shown his special concern for the life and the mission of Archdiocese of Newark,” the cardinal said. “In selecting Msgr. Studerus, Abbot Lorenzo and Father Saporito for service as bishops, the Holy Father gives new impetus to this local church as we continue to walk forward in faith. I am delighted to share my responsibilities with these three dedicated missionary disciples.”
The three newly named auxiliaries will join Auxiliary Bishops Manuel A. Cruz and John W. Flesey in serving the Newark Archdiocese.
Studerus is currently pastor of St. Joseph of the Palisades Parish in West New York, New Jersey. He was born March 31, 1948, in West Orange, New Jersey.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree in education from Montclair State College. He received his master’s of divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York, and was ordained a priest for the Newark Archdiocese May 31, 1980.
Lorenzo was born Oct. 6, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York. In 1983, he entered St. Mary’s Abbey; the Benedictine monastery belongs to the American Cassinese Congregation. He made his first profession of vows in 1985 and his solemn profession in 1988, both at St. Mary’s Abbey. He was ordained a priest June 24, 1989, by Bishop Frank J. Rodimer of Paterson, New Jersey.
He holds a master’s degree in liturgical theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, and a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington.
In the monastery, Lorenzo served as director of liturgy, prior of the abbey and rector of church. He also served as chairman of the Paterson Diocesan Liturgical Commission and vicar for religious in the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.
He was canonical counsel for Praesidium Inc. in the development of national standards to respond to the sex abuse cases, and currently serves on its advisory board.
For the global Benedictine Confederation, Lorenzo served at Sant’Anselmo in Rome as prior of the monastic community. He is a founding member of the International Commission for Benedictine Education.
Since 2011, Saporito has been serving as a pastor at St. Helen Parish in Westfield, New Jersey. Born May 3, 1962, in Newark, he was raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Graduating from Rutgers University Newark in 1984 with a bachelor of arts in accounting, he was employed in public accounting for three years after graduation. He entered Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in September 1987 and was ordained a priest May 30, 1992. Since his ordination, he has served in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Newark throughout his years in ministry.
In the 513 square miles that comprise the Newark Archdiocese, there are just over 1.2 million Catholics out of a total population close to 3 million.
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