Pope names four new auxiliary bishops for Los Angeles archdiocese

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez and Father Brian Nunes, then the archbishop's priest secretary, are pictured at the dedication of a new gymnasium at Sacred Heart High School in Northeast LA in 2019. Pope Francis named Father Nunes as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles July 18, 2023. (OSV News photo/Victor Alemán, Angelus News)

WASHINGTON (OSV News) -- Pope Francis has named four priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese as auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese: Msgr. Albert M. Bahhuth, Capuchin Franciscan Father Matthew Elshoff, Father Brian Nunes and Father Slawomir S. Szkredka.

Bishop-designate Bahhuth, a priest of the archdiocese, is currently pastor of Holy Family Church in Pasadena, California. Bishop-designate Elshoff, a member of his religious order's Our Lady of Angels Province, is currently pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church in the Watts area of South Los Angeles. Bishop-designate Nunes, a priest of the archdiocese, is currently vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese. Bishop-designate Szkredka, also an LA archdiocesan priest, is currently a professor of biblical studies and coordinator of human formation at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez will ordain the newly named bishops Sept. 26 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

The appointments were publicized in Washington July 18 by Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

"This is a day of joy for the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles," Archbishop Gomez said in a July 18 statement. "We give thanks to God, and we thank the Holy Father for this great blessing of new bishops. Each is a man of prayer who loves Jesus and has a deep desire to share God's love and to serve God's people. We are praying for them, and we entrust them to the tender care of Holy Mary our Blessed Mother."

Since the death of Auxiliary Bishop David G. O'Connell last February, only one of the L.A. Archdiocese's five pastoral regions, San Pedro, was being overseen by an auxiliary, Bishop Marc V. Trudeau. The other four pastoral regions have been under the leadership of interim episcopal vicars.

The LA appointments mark the first time Pope Francis has appointed four auxiliaries at one time for any diocese, according to Angelus, the online news outlet of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Citing data from David Cheney, creator of the website, Catholic-Hierarchy.org, Angelus reported that the last time a pope appointed four auxiliary bishops at once for the same diocese was when St. John Paul II appointed four for the Archdiocese of Bogotá, Colombia, in 1986.

Bishop-designate Bahhuth, 66, was born Oct. 6, 1956, in Beirut, Lebanon. He came to the United States with his family at a young age and is now a U.S. citizen. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri and earned a master's degree and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi in 1983. He attended St. John Seminary in Camarillo and earned a master of divinity degree in theology in 1996.

Ordained to the priesthood June 1, 1996, his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Whittier (1996-2000). His later assignments were as parochial vicar at a Glendale parish, then as pastor at parishes in Burbank and Santa Clarita.

Named a monsignor in 2017, he has been pastor of Holy Family in Pasadena since 2021. Before that he was vicar general of the LA Archdiocese for five years. He speaks English, Arabic and Spanish.

"I am blessed to be called to be a bishop during this transitional time in the life of the Church, where our Holy Father is calling us to a synodal approach to governing and caring for the people of God, to go out to the peripheries and bring home our brothers and sisters who are searching for the truth and for meaning and purpose to their lives," Bishop-designate said in a statement provided to Angelus.

Bishop-designate Elshoff, 67, was born Sept. 24, 1955, in Cincinnati. He began his priestly formation at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland, California (1976-1978) as well as the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California (1978-1982) where he earned a master of divinity degree and a master of theology degree.

Then-Father Elshoff attended the California Family Study Center where he received his master's in marriage and family therapy (1984-1986), and a license in marriage and family therapy (1990). Father Elshoff made his perpetual profession as a Capuchin Sept. 22, 1979, and was ordained to the priesthood June 18, 1982.

As a Capuchin, Bishop-designate Elshoff has served all but seven years ministering in the LA archdiocese, including as president of his alma mater, St. Francis High School, in 1993. His assignments at the school also included serving as campus minister, administrative director, teacher and counselor (1985-1989), and alumni director (1992). He has been assistant novice master/vicar of San Lorenzo (1989); provincial minister at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Burlingame (2008-2014); and pastor of Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang (2015-2018).

He also served as local provincial for the Capuchins from 2008 to 2014. Pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi in Los Angeles since 2018, the bishop-designate speaks English and Spanish.

"This important moment in my life and the Archdiocese speaks to the mysterious ways of the Lord," he said in a statement. "I am very grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for placing his confidence in me by appointing me an auxiliary bishop as well as to Archbishop Gomez for his part in accepting me as one of his auxiliaries. I am humbled to serve the priests, deacons, religious and people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

Born Oct. 26, 1964, in Los Angeles, Bishop-designate Nunes, 58, earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Loyola Marymount University in LA in 1986. He attended St. John's Seminary in Camarillo and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master of divinity degree in 2008.

Ordained to the priesthood May 31, 2008, his first assignment was as associate pastor at Mary Star of the Sea Parish in San Pedro (2008-2012) and then as administrator of that parish (2012-2014). Other assignments include: administrator of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Whittier (2014-2015); priest-secretary to the archbishop (2015-2019); and vice chancellor of the archdiocese (2018-2020).

The bishop-designate has been vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese since 2020. He speaks English, Tagalog and Spanish.

In a statement about his appointment, he expressed gratitude to God, Pope Francis and "in a special way to Archbishop Gomez, for his trust in letting me share and collaborate in his ministry." He added, "I feel excited about being able to serve even more people, a larger segment of the Church, with this new role."

Bishop-designate Szkredka, 49, was born May 12, 1974, in Czechowice, Poland. He attended St. Cyril and Methodious Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master of divinity degree in theology in 2002. He also undertook advanced studies in Rome from 2008-2015 and received a doctorate in sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 2016.

Ordained to the priesthood Jan. 12, 2002, his assignments in the archdiocese include: associate pastor at St. Genevieve Parish in Panorama City (2002-2006); and associate pastor at St. John the Baptist parish in Baldwin Park (2006-2008). He has held his current positions at St. John's Seminary since 2015. Bishop-designate Szkredka speaks English, Polish and Spanish.

He is best known among friends and students by his nickname "Swavek," according to Angelus, and he is set to become one of just a handful of bishops under age 50 in the U.S.

"I entrust myself to the prayers of the people of God in Los Angeles. Your faith and love have sustained and shaped my priestly ministry here in the archdiocese," Bishop-designate Szkredka said in a statement. "I am very much looking forward to working under the leadership of our shepherd, Archbishop José H. Gomez, and in collaboration with many lay and ordained ministers. I know Our Blessed Mother will teach us how to be good servants of the Lord."

The Los Angeles Archdiocese comprises Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in Southern California and covers just over 8,600 square miles. Out of a total population of close to 11.3 million, there are over 4 million Catholics.



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