The Very Rev. Felipe Pulido, 53, pastor of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Kennewick, has been named by Pope Francis to be an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, Calif. The appointment was announced in Rome at noon. Cardinal Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, will be introducing Bishop-Elect Pulido and a second priest also named an auxiliary bishop, the Very Rev. Michael Pham of San Diego, to the diocesan community there today.
The tentative date for the consecration of the new bishops is September 28, 2023 in San Diego.
“Father Pulido is the first priest of the Yakima Diocese named to be a bishop since its founding in 1951,” said the Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima. “We are all very proud of him.”
Fr. Pulido has served for many years as Vicar for Clergy and Vicar for Vocations. In the latter assignment he has worked closely with Bishop Tyson in recruiting, training and supervising seminarians In working with them, Fr. Pulido has often uplifted the holiness of the people they are called to serve, Bishop Tyson noted. While serving as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Yakima, which had been rebuilt after a catastrophic fire years earlier, the priest would see parishioners stopping by the church after hours on their way home from work. Undeterred by the locked doors, they would kneel in prayer on the sidewalks outside, in places opposite from where the tabernacle or the image of a favorite saint was situated inside the church.
The son of Jose M. Pulido and Cristina Lopez, Pulido was born January 13, 1970 in a small town west of Mexico City called Dos Aguas in the state of Michoacán. He is the oldest of seven children. At the age of 12, he joined the seminary in Uruapan, Michoacán. There he attended middle school and high school. He came to the Yakima Valley with his parents in the summer of 1988. As a teenager, Fr. Felipe worked in the fields picking pears, apples, asparagus and cherries and packing fruit. However, during the fall and winter he went to Naches High School and then to Highland High School in Cowiche, Wash. where he earned his high school diploma.
After graduating, he worked as a teacher assistant for three years at Epic Migrant Head Start program in Yakima. At the same time, he helped to take care of a sick priest, Fr. Gerald Corrigan, who died in 1993. Fr. Pulido felt a strong desire to become a priest for the Diocese of Yakima and in 1994 he entered Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1998 and the same year became a United States citizen.
His theological studies began in the fall of 1998 in Italy. After studying Italian for several weeks, he entered the Pontifical North American College in Rome and in 2001 was awarded an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) degree from the Angelicum University there. He studied one year at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family for an STL (License in Sacred Theology) degree. Due to a pressing need for priests in the Yakima Diocese he did not finish the STL but returned home. He was ordained a priest on June 28, 2002 at St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima by then-Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J.
Fr. Pulido’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish in Yakima. In 2003, he was sent to be parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Moses Lake and Queen of All Saints Parish in Warden. Then he became pastor at Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Leavenworth and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Cashmere. After two and half years, Fr. Pulido returned to the Moses Lake and Warden parishes as pastor in March 2007, serving there until being named pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Yakima on August 1, 2011, following the formal departure of the Jesuit Order from the parish after 100 years. After helping oversee that transition as well as the further growth of the parish’s school, he moved to his present assignment in October 2020.