Pope Francis appoints Fernando Prado Ayuso CMF new bishop of San Sebastian

The Holy See has made public in its 12:00 noon Bulletin of today, Monday, October 31, 2022, that Pope Francis has appointed the Claretian religious Fernando Prado Ayuso, CMF, Bishop of San Sebastian. The Apostolic Nunciature has also communicated this to the Spanish Episcopal Conference, and has published it on its web page.

God willing, on December 17, his episcopal ordination will take place in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd of the diocese, thus beginning his ministry as prelate in the See of San Sebastian. Hence, the Claretian Missionaries wish to entrust the new assignment of our brother Fernando into the hands of the Mother and her Immaculate Heart, forge of missionaries, of St. Anthony Mary Claret, missionary founder and bishop, and of our numerous Claretian martyrs, prophets of joy and forgiveness.


Claretian missionary and priest

Fernando Prado Ayuso (Bilbao, 1969) was born into a Christian family, being the middle of three brothers. His pre-university formation was accompanied by the Augustinian Fathers in the Andrés de Urdaneta School (Loiu-Bizkaia). During his adolescence and youth he came to know the Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries in the parish of his town, Las Arenas (Getxo). Together with them he discovered his vocation and matured the faith that his parents, Ramiro (+) and Gloria, had sown in the family. Before beginning the Novitiate, at the age of 22, he obtained a degree in Information Sciences (Journalism) at the University of the Basque Country. He made his first profession in Vitoria on August 27, 1994.

The years of theological, Claretian and priestly formation were carried out in the Claretian Theologate of Bilbao, where he obtained the Licentiate in Ecclesiastical Studies (baccalaureatus) at the University of Deusto, run by the Society of Jesus. During those years he combined his formation with the study of the Basque language, besides collaborating closely in the youth ministry of the Claretian centers, and with a work centered in the development and human promotion among the marginalized.

Having concluded his theological-priestly studies and having made his perpetual profession on September 27, 1998, he was assigned to Donostia-San Sebastián, where he joined the educative-parochial team of Mariaren Bihotza Ikastola-Parrokia. There he was a teacher of Primary and Secondary Education, as well as coadjutor of the parish. He was ordained on May 7, 2000 by Bishop Juan María Uriarte, titular of the diocese, who entrusted him with the coordination of the youth ministry in the Gros neighborhood pastoral unit. After some years of intense teaching and pastoral work, mainly related to children and youth, the then Superior General of the Congregation, Fr. Aquilino Bocos Merino, CMF, now a member of the College of Cardinals, assigned him to Madrid to join the general community of Buen Suceso, dedicated mainly to serving the consecrated life. Being already incorporated into that community, he completed in 2003 a Master’s degree in Publishing (University of Salamanca in collaboration with Grupo Santillana), and then received the assignment to direct the publishing house Publicaciones Claretianas, a task he has been carrying out since then and that he currently combines with teaching, being an ordinary professor of “Theology of the mission” in the Theological Biennium of the Theological Institute of Religious Life of Madrid, since 2012. He also teaches the subjects “Media” and “Theology of the Mission” in the Novitiate and in other formative programs at the Regina Apostolorum School (ITVR-ERA). In 2012 he defended his Licentiate Thesis in Theology of Religious Life under the title “The Ordained Ministry of Religious in the Church”, obtaining the corresponding degree (ITVR-Univ. Pontificia de Salamanca).

On the other hand, for years he has been dedicating his summer time to an intense pastoral ministry in mostly Hispanic parishes in the United States (Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL). During the rest of the year, he collaborates as a volunteer priest in the Church of San Antón in Madrid (Mensajeros de la Paz) and is chaplain of the community of the Religiosas Misioneras Concepcionistas de la Enseñanza, (Princesa).

As a journalist he is a regular contributor to various media, including the program La Linterna de la Iglesia, on Cadena COPE and Trece TV. As an author he has published many specialized articles and several books, among them the book-interview with Pope Francis, La fuerza de la vocación, translated into seventeen languages and published by twenty-two international publishers. His latest book-interview with Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga has been published under the title “Praedicatem Evangelium“, a new curia for a new time.


Information of Ignacio Virgillito | Communications Office – Province of Santiago


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