Here’s a terrific testimony Father Earl Fernandes gave nearly a decade ago, telling his vocation story. With today’s appointment, he becomes the first Indian-American bishop in the United States.

At the press conference today introducing him to his new flock, he spoke about his upbringing: 

Fernandes said his mother made sure he and brothers started their day with a morning offering and carried rosaries wherever they went. When the boys would go visit their father at the hospital where he worked, he recalled, they invariably would find him either reading in the library or praying in the chapel.

“I think maybe I learned more about life and faith from my parents when I was 5 years old, watching them pray, and praying the rosary every day,” he said, “than I ever did in all my seminary (studies and) doing my doctoral work.”

… The bishop-elect also spoke about instances when he has experienced racial discrimination himself, without going into detail. You can watch the full press conference here.

“And you kind of get this — I don’t know how to describe it, exactly — kind of this warm feeling between embarrassment and rage, and it takes a lot of spiritual and emotional energy to get over that,” Fernandes said.

“It’s not always as easy as saying, you know, ‘Pick yourself up by the boot straps,’” he added.

Fernandes said watching news coverage of the white nationalists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 helped put his own experiences in clearer perspective.

“Look, I experience this at certain points in my life, but other people have to face this every single day,” he said he thought at the time.

The Cincinnati Archdiocese congratulated Fernandes for his appointment and wished him well on its website Saturday.

“Bishop-elect Fernandes enjoys sports, movies and hiking. He is an avid reader and writer and has particularly strong interest in education, culture and languages,” the statement reads. “Most of all, he enjoys people.”