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On Friday, January 19th, 2024, Mario Eduardo Dorsonville, beloved shepherd and priest, passed away at age sixty-three. Bishop Dorsonville was born on October 31, 1960, in Bogota, Colombia, the only child of Leonor M. Rodriguez and Carlos J. Dorsonville.

He began his formation for a life in service to the Church at the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bogota, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and sacred theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on November 23, 1985, in Bogota, and subsequently served in various pastoral and academic roles in Bogota and Arlington, Virginia.

Bishop Dorsonville’s commitment to academic excellence led him to receive a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogota in 1991 and a Doctorate in Ministry from the Catholic University of America in 1996. Throughout his studies, he continued to serve communities both in Colombia and the United States.

In 1997, Bishop Dorsonville began his service within the Archdiocese of Washington as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Bethesda, Maryland, followed by roles at St. Mark the Evangelist parish in Hyattsville, Maryland, and on the Board of Directors for Carroll Publishing Company. His dedication to social services and community welfare was evident in his role as the Vice President of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and Director of the Spanish Catholic Center from 2005 to 2015.

On March 20, 2015, Bishop Dorsonville was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington by Pope Francis and ordained to the episcopate on April 20, 2015. He served as Vicar General for the Archdiocese from 2015 to 2023 and played key roles in various boards, committees, and councils, including the Maryland Catholic Conference, and Catholic Charities.

Bishop Dorsonville chaired the Migration and Refugee Services Committee for the USCCB from 2019 to 2022 and served on several other committees dedicated to the Church’s social teachings. His tireless efforts in advocating for justice, human development, migration, and refugees reflected his deep commitment to the Gospel’s teachings.

On February 1, 2023, Bishop Dorsonville was announced as bishop for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in South Louisiana. In his brief yet impactful tenure there, he demonstrated a commitment to be with his people. Over the span of 10 months, he touched countless lives through heartfelt Masses, engaging students through school visits, and active participation in community events. His infectious smile and genuine care for everyone resonated deeply with the people of his new diocese. He hoped for a future where children, college students, and young adults would experience a conversion of heart and a commitment to a life dedicated to the Gospel message. Bishop Dorsonville’s passion was for all people, and in a particular way for those in underserved communities. His profound desire for the spiritual well-being of the community reflected a profound hope, and his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he touched during his time as their shepherd.

As we mourn the loss of Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, we remember a loving shepherd, a passionate leader, and a man of unwavering faith. His legacy of service and dedication to social justice will continue to inspire and guide us. May he rest in eternal peace, and may his soul find solace in the loving embrace of our Lord.

In loving memory of Bishop Dorsonville, a visitation and memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales. The visitation will take place from 9:00am to 5:30pm, followed by Evening Prayer at 5:30pm, and a Memorial Mass for the Dead at 7:00pm. On Thursday, February 1, 2024, the Funeral Rites continue at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral with a visitation starting at 8:00am and concluding at 2:00pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at 2:00pm with a burial to follow on the grounds of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral. Afterwards, a reception will be hosted at the Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center.

Bishop Dorsonville had a special love and commitment to the priesthood and the formation of priests. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville Seminarian Scholarship Endowment through the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana.

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