Pope Francis Names Vice President of Mission for Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Washington as an Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

March 20, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pope Francis today named Father Mario E. Dorsonville, 54, as auxiliary bishop of Washington, to assist Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the pastoral care of the 620,000-member archdiocese. His ordination as a bishop will be held on April 20, 2015 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

Bishop-elect Dorsonville is Vice President of Missions for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and Director of the Spanish Catholic Center. Catholic Charities is the social ministry outreach arm of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Spanish Catholic Center offers medical and dental care, job training. He is also the Adjunct Spiritual Director at the St. John Paul II Seminary of the Archdiocese of Washington.

In introducing the new bishop, Cardinal Wuerl said, “Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has certainly manifested his great care for the Archdiocese of Washington in naming Father Mario Dorsonville as an auxiliary bishop of this local Church. Father Dorsonville, over many years of pastoral ministry, has demonstrated his priestly dedication, concern for the marginalized and love of the Church. As auxiliary bishop, he will bring all of those gifts to better manifest the kingdom of God here in this archdiocese.”

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Bishop-elect Dorsonville attended Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bogotá where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1981 and in sacred theology in 1985. He was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Bogotá in 1985 and served as an associate pastor, pastor and high school and university chaplain in Bogotá. He received his licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá in 1991, and a doctorate in ministry from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1995. He received a Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University in 2009. While completing his doctorate, Bishop-elect Dorsonville assisted with Hispanic ministry at Good Shepherd and Christ the Redeemer parishes in northern Virginia from 1992-1994. He briefly returned to Bogotá to serve as chaplain for the National University of Colombia from 1995-1996. From 1997-2004, Fr. Dorsonville was associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, MD. In 1999, he was incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, and in 2004 was named parochial vicar of St. Mark in Hyattsville where he served until being named Vice President for Mission for Catholic Charities and Director of the Spanish Catholic Center (Centro Católico Hispano) in 2005.

Catholic Charities is the largest private social service provider in the Washington area – serving more than 120,000 people in need a year through more than 65 programs in 48 locations, with a staff of nearly 900 and thousands of volunteers. The Spanish Catholic Center, established in 1967, provides medical, dental, immigration, legal, education and social services to over 40,000 clients, primarily new Latino immigrants in Mt. Pleasant, Gaithersburg and Wheaton.

“I received the news of my appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Washington with a sense of humility and profound gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis,” Bishop-elect Dorsonville said. “I am very eager and open to collaborate with His Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the efforts he has developed to care for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people of the Archdiocese of Washington, especially those within the Spanish speaking community.”

The Archdiocese of Washington has two other active auxiliary bishops, Bishop Barry C. Knestout; Bishop Martin D. Holley. Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, S.F. is retired.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.