Local priest, CT columnist to join Vatican embassy in Washington D.C.
Father Earl Fernandes, presently dean of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Mount Washington, parochial administrator of Sacred Heart Church in Camp Washington and columnist for The Catholic Telegraph, will be leaving the archdiocese to join the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington D.C. effective March 5.
Father Fernandes’ position with the nunciature has not been released. The nunciature is the Vatican’s diplomatic mission to the United States, with the rank of an embassy. The Apostolic Nuncio, currently Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, serves both as the ambassador of the Holy See to the President of the U.S. and as delegate and point-of-contact between the Catholic bishops in America and the Pope.
“This is an honor not only for Father Fernandes, but for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as well,” said Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr, himself a former member of the nunciature staff. “It attests to the caliber of our priests that Father Fernandes is being called to the service of the church nationally and universally. We wish him congratulations and Godspeed in his new ministry.”
Father Fernandes expressed a mixture of excitement and sadness in leaving the archdiocese.
“I am honored to be able to serve the Church and the Holy Father in this way just as Archbishop Schnurr did many years ago,” Father Fernandes told the CT. “I look forward to a new experience and adventure. At the same time, having spent years in study and the last eight as the dean of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, I will miss my colleagues and the seminarians. I take great joy knowing that our future ministers are receiving outstanding formation and education from an exceptional faculty.
“At the same time, I will also miss my flock at Sacred Heart,” he added. “In a short time, a great many things were accomplished — the restoration of the organ and stained glass windows; the capital campaign and the replacement of the stoves for our famous Italian dinner; the relighting of our steeple; and the entrance of a number of men into the seminary. There is a sadness in parting, but God never ceases to bring us joy and hope. I am grateful to God, especially for the many wonderful people of the archdiocese and to Archbishop Schnurr for allowing me to serve the Church in this way.”
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Father Fernandes was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on May 18, 2002. After two years as an associate at Holy Angels Church and teaching at Lehman Catholic High School, both in Sidney, Ohio, he went to Rome for further studies. He returned in July 2008 to become academic dean and a member of the faculty at the seminary. He took on the additional post of parochial administrator at Sacred Heart in July 2014.
Father Fernades is the author of The Catholic Telegraph’s monthly “A Question of Faith” column, answering questions from readers about all things Catholic.