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Bishop Earl K. Fernandes Joins ICLE Board of Trustees


The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Most Reverend Earl K. Fernandes, Bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, to the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education’s Board of Trustees.

This appointment, effective January 1, 2024, comes at a moment of exciting growth for ICLE, as in 2023 alone, ICLE reached 339 schools, representing ~6% of U.S. Catholic schools through its school services, events, membership, and Catholic Educator Formation and Credential Program. These schools serve 75,000+ students with 8,200+ educators and are spread throughout 108 dioceses within the U.S., representing 63% of all American Catholic dioceses.

“We are exceptionally grateful to Bishop Fernandes for his willingness to serve on our board. His wisdom and guidance have been invaluable to the Catholic schools within the Diocese of Columbus, and we look forward to how his insights can make an impact nationally,” said Michael Van Hecke, President of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.


Most Reverend Earl K. Fernandes was ordained and installed as the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Columbus on May 31, 2022. He was serving as pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2019 until his ordination and installation. From 2016-2019, he was a member of the Staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. From 2008-2016, he was the Dean of the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati and an associate professor of moral theology. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. 

He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He is also on the boards of Cristo Rey Columbus High School, the Diocesan Museum of Catholic Art and History, the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Columbus, Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition, the Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, Cross Catholic Outreach, the Episcopal Board of Courage International, and the Episcopal Advisory Board for Franciscan University. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pregnancy Center Plus in Cincinnati, where he has served as a member of the Advisory Board since 2008. He is a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. From 2012-2016, he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools. Since 2012, he has been a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. 

He has given presentations, talks, and retreats around the country and has published articles in three collections of essays published by the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, which also published a book authored by him in 2014. Bishop Fernandes’ scholarly essays have also appeared in Seminary Journal, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, the Linacre Quarterly, Journal of the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry. His articles in the latter two addressed issues of persons with disabilities.