WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis has named Father Luis M. Romero Fernandez, who was recently appointed as vicar of Hispanic ministry and evangelization for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, to be an auxiliary bishop of the diocese.
The appointment was announced March 3 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Romero, 65, also is pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hempstead, New York. A member of the Institute of Christ the Redeemer, he has served his religious congregation in many capacities since his 1981 ordination to the priesthood, including as provincial superior in a number of countries where the congregation’s priests serve. He was last provincial superior for the congregation, whose members also are known as Idente Missionaries, in India from 2011 to 2013.
Born in Palencia, Spain, he is fluent in English and Spanish and has knowledge of French, Portuguese and Italian.
Bishop John O. Barres of Rockville Centre will ordained him a bishop April 16 at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre. Retired Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre and Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Columbus, Ohio, will be co-consecrating bishops. Brennan was an auxiliary for the Rockville Centre Diocese before he was named to Columbus Jan. 31, 2019.
Barres said in a statement the diocese “rejoices” in the announcement of its new auxiliary and called it “an outstanding appointment to help pastor this, the eighth largest diocese in the nation.”
He said with his “humble spirit,” Romero “is a true intellectual with the ‘smell of the sheep.’ He is a global churchman who lives the Idente missionary charism in an inspirational way.”
Barres quoted from St. John Paul II’s 2003 apostolic exhortation on the role of the bishop in the church (“Pastores Gregis”): “The pastoral ministry received in episcopal consecration, which sets the bishop ‘before’ the other faithful, finds expression in his ‘being for’ the other members of the faithful while not detracting from his ‘being with’ them.”
This aptly describes Romero’s “pastoral charity and leadership, and his humble and joyful missionary spirit,” Barres said. “It will be a joy to ordain him a bishop.”
The newly named auxiliary expressed his “deepest gratitude” to the pope, “whose charism I have in the highest esteem.”
Romero also expressed “special thanks and communion to our dear Bishop John Barres, whose ‘dramatic missionary growth’ is for all of us a commitment and a horizon, and for the faithful of the entire diocese, the blessed land in which Christ has put me.”
He thanked Murphy and Brennan for receiving the Idente Missionaries in the diocese.
“To the superiors, sisters and brothers of the Idente community, my communion always and my gratitude in the filial joy of the charism that we have received as a religious family from our founder, Fernando Rielo,” Romero added, adding his “thrilled thanks” to his Hempstead parish “for its humble greatness, and to my family in Spain for its roots of love and joy.”
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