Luis R. Zarama

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Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto
Bishop of Raleigh
Bishop Luis R. Zarama.png
Zarama after a Christmas midnight mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral
AppointedJuly 5, 2017
InstalledAugust 29, 2017
PredecessorMichael Francis Burbidge
OrdinationNovember 27, 1993
ConsecrationJuly 27, 2009
by Wilton Daniel Gregory, Eusebius J. Beltran, and John Francis Donoghue
Personal details
Born (1958-11-28) November 28, 1958 (age 60)
Pasto, Colombia
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ResidenceRaleigh, North Carolina
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Atlanta
Titular Bishop of Bararus
MottoDeus caritas est
Styles of
Luis Rafael Zarama
Coat of arms of Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto (Raleigh).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto[1] (born November 28, 1958) is a Colombian-American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as Bishop of Raleigh. He is the first Hispanic and Latino bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, the first Bishop of Raleigh to have been born outside the United States, and the first Colombian to lead a Catholic diocese in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto was born in Pasto, Nariño, Colombia, the oldest of the six children of Rafael Zarama and Maria Pasqualetto de Zarama.[2]

Zarama attended the seminary of Pasto and the Universidad Mariana, where he studied philosophy and theology from 1982 to 1987.[3] He began his studies in canon law at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotá in 1987, and earned his licentiate in 1991.

In the mid-1980s and while he attended seminary, Zarama also taught at high schools.[2]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Emigrating to the United States in 1989[4], he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on November 27, 1993.[5]

Zarama then served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Atlanta until 1996.[3] From 1996 to 2006, he was administrator of St. Helena Mission in Clayton and the first Hispanic pastor of St. Mark Parish in Clarkesville.[6] He became an American citizen on July 4, 2000 and said: "I'm happy here, I choose to be here, and I feel like I'm part of the system as a citizen."[7]

Within the Court of Appeals of the Ecclesiastical Province of Atlanta, he has been advocate (1993–1997) and defender of the bond (1997–present).[3]

Zarama was named assistant director of the Vocations Office in 2000 and vicar general in 2006.[3] He also has been a member of both the Committee for Continuing Education of Priests since 1996 and the Priest Personnel Board since 2004. In 2007, he was raised to the rank of Chaplain of His Holiness.[3]

In addition to his duties as vicar general, he became judicial vicar in 2008[8] and serves as the Archbishop's delegate to North Georgia's Hispanic community.[9]

Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta[edit]

On July 27, 2009, Zarama was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta and Titular Bishop of Bararus by Pope Benedict XVI.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on September 29, 2009, from Archbishop Wilton Gregory at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Bishop Zarama remained the Vicar General and Vicar Judaical for the Archdiocese.[10]

Zarama presided over the Sunday mass and gave the homily at the Steubenville Atlanta Youth Conference in 2016.[11][12]

Bishop of Raleigh[edit]

On July 5, 2017, Pope Francis appointed Zarama Bishop of the diocese of Raleigh. He was installed as Bishop of Raleigh on August 29, 2017, at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh.[13][13] He is the first Hispanic and Latino bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, the first Bishop of Raleigh to have been born outside the United States, and the first Colombian-born bishop to lead a Catholic diocese in the United States.[14][15]

On August 13, 2017 Zarama responded to the resignation of Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, who allegedly sexually abused minors. Zarama stated that he would be praying for the Church, for Church leadership to be renewed and transformed, and for courage to take the necessary steps to end clerical abuse.[16] He also shared a statement made by Wilton D. Gregory, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Atlanta.[17] Zarama made another statement on August 17, 2018 regarding the sexual abuse scandal in Pennsylvania, calling the revelations "sad" and "shameful". He voiced his support for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' goals to investigate, report, and resolve recent accounts of sexual abuse and for the Church to do so with higher level involvement of the laity. He asked for Catholics to continue to pray for all victims of abuse, stating that they are the Church's priority.[18]

On September 5, 2017 Zarama issued a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, calling for comprehensive immigration reform.[19]

Coat of arms[edit]

On a blue field is displayed an extra wide chevron of Gold (yellow). This device gives the illusion of two mountains; a gold one and a blue one. The gold mountain (the chevron) is charged with a scattering (semé) of red crosses to represent the bishop's home city of Pasto, in southwestern Colombia, which is known as "The Theological City." The lower mountain (part of the blue field) has a golden lion's head to represent the evangelist Saint Mark, who is the titular patron of the parish in Clarkesville, Georgia, on a mountain, where Bishop Zarama served as pastor. Above the chevron are a gold rose for Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, also known as "The Little Flower," and a silver (white) lily for Saint Joseph, the Foster Father of Jesus, who have served as Bishop Zarama's particular patrons throughout his life as a priest and now as a bishop. Zarama has selected for his motto the Latin phrase Deus Caritas Est (God is love), the title of an encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, and it sums up in a succinct statement all that the Church and Christianity are to be all about sharing the love of God.

The achievement is completed with the external ornaments which are a gold episcopal processional cross, that is placed in back of and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a "galero," with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of The Holy See of March 31, 1969.


  1. ^ Cheney, David M. "Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  2. ^ a b "Father Luis Zarama Named Second Vicar General; Msgr. Paul Reynolds To Pastor St. Brigid Church". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Atlanta Vicar General Named Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. July 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Patrick, Jessica (10 June 2018). "Latino leader of the week: Luis Rafael Zarama". WRAL News. Capitol Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Bishop Luis R. Zarama".[self-published source]
  6. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (5 July 2017). "Colombian-born bishop to head Raleigh diocese". Catholic News Agency. EWTN. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  7. ^ Rakoczy, Rebecca. "Priests reflect on becoming citizens". Catholic Online.
  8. ^ Nelson, Andrew (September 4, 2008). "Msgr. Zarama Named Judicial Vicar". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
  9. ^ Palmo, Rocco. "Joy in Hotlanta". Whispers in the Loggia.
  10. ^ "Monsignor Luis R. Zarama Named Auxiliary Bishop For Archdiocese of Atlanta". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
  11. ^ "Watch Bishop Luis Zarama deliver the homily at Atlanta Youth Conference". The News Tribune. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Watch Bishop Luis Zarama deliver the homily at Atlanta Youth Conference". Idaho Statesman. Rebecca Poynter. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Pope Francis chooses next bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh". WNCN. July 5, 2017.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Shimron, Yonat (15 August 2017). "The next bishop of Raleigh is from Latin America — like many in his flock". Religion News Service. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Response to the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick". Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  18. ^ Zarama, Luis (17 August 2018). "Statement from Bishop Zarama in response to the extensive report of clergy abuse". Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Bishop Zarama responds to administration's decision to end DACA". Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Francis Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta
Succeeded by