HOUSTON (CNS) – Sunshine lit the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston as the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomed the eighth auxiliary bishop consecrated for the archdiocese – Bishop Italo Dell’Oro.
Towards the end of his episcopal ordination on July 2, Bishop Dell’Oro walked through the cocathedral, welcomed and blessed as a newly ordained bishop.
Italian-born Bishop Dell’Oro also greeted the faithful in a trilingual message in Italian, Spanish and English and perhaps what he called a fourth language: tears.
He thanked those who have accompanied him throughout his years of service, including his time in parishes, colleges, and other denominations.
He said the diverse population of Galveston-Houston reflected the book of Revelation, “The vision of the great multitude of every nation, race and people and language.”
“In a way, I can say that Heaven is already here in Houston because of this wonderful diversity,” he said.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was the celebrant of the Mass and principal consecrator, with Bishop Michael J. Sis of San Angelo, Texas and Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, Texas as co-consecrators.
Bishop Cahill replaced the Italian Archbishop Franco Moscone of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, who is a member of the Order of Bishop Dell’Oro, the Congregation of the Somascon Fathers. The Archbishop was unable to attend due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, concelebrated Mass with retired Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Joseph A. Fiorenza and retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz. Numerous other bishops from Texas and other states such as Oklahoma and California were also present.
With a noticeably radiant smile, Bishop Dell’Oro walked around the altar of the co-cathedral and carried the papal bull, the official Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis, which was read aloud by Archbishop Pierre during Mass. It declares the appointment of Bishop Dell’Oro as Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston on May 18 and bears the official metal seal of the Vatican and Pope Francis.
In his sermon, Cardinal DiNardo recognized that the family of Bishop Dell’Oro could not be present due to the pandemic restrictions, but thanked them for “supporting and encouraging Father Italo on the way, for accompanying him here”.
Cardinal DiNardo paid tribute to Bishop Dell’Oro’s long service with adolescents and young adults and his immigration trip to the United States.
“They came here as immigrants and foreigners, but were welcomed immediately,” he said. “Houston and this diocese are such a welcoming place. Everyone is welcome, especially the young people who come here from many different countries. “
Cardinal DiNardo also reflected the importance of the ordination mass and its unique rites.
“The sacraments are life-giving signs for one reason only, because of the greatness of God,” he said. “Today the Lord works in his Church in the sacramental signs of consecration, the episcopal ordination, which are basically simple signs, the laying on of hands and prayer. We are happy and know that this celebration is important. “
Cardinal DiNardo encouraged Bishop Dell’Oro to go with the Lord to show the holiness of Christ and the Church.
“From these rites, Father Italo learned today to help others instead of ruling them, to preach the word at all times and never lose patience, a virtue our Holy Father speaks of all the time,” he said .
“In this patience show everyone the riches of the holiness of Christ who is so full and so desires to be shared with all that he wants to go to those near and to those far,” said the cardinal. “Patient hope will indeed reach the alienated and marginalized, especially the poor.”
The mass included several rites, including the presentation of the soon-to-be-ordained bishop; the approval of the people; the promise of the elect; the invitation to prayer as a community; and the litany of supplication, a recognizable moment when the designated bishop lies down in front of the altar and the congregation prays for him and for the Church.
The laying on of hands by Cardinal DiNardo and the co-consecrators meant that ordination was a collegial act of the bishops who incorporated a new member into their community for the service of the Church.
With the gospel book above Bishop Dell’Oro’s head, Cardinal DiNardo said the consecration prayer and invoked the Holy Spirit on the new bishop.
Using sacred chrism to anoint the head of Bishop Dell’Oro, the cardinal then presented the Book of Gospels with the words: “Receive the gospel and preach the word of God with patience and solid teaching.”
Finally, Cardinal DiNardo presented Bishop Dell’Oro with his ring, miter and pastoral staff, all of which indicate his new office as bishop. Bishop Dell’Oro took his seat as bishop and was greeted with a kiss of peace by his new bishops.
In other remarks at the end of Mass, Bishop Dell’Oro shared a special message for the world’s orphans.
“Children who have no families, we have a Heavenly Father,” he said. “And we as a community and society have the task of not leaving you orphans here on earth and welcoming you to this world and ensuring that you are loved, protected and safe.”
He concluded his remarks with a request for the intercession of St. Hieronymus Emiliani, the founder of his Somascan community, then with a cry that echoed three times in the Co-Cathedral: “Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!”
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Ramos is a writer and designer for the Texas Catholic Herald, a Galveston-Houston Archdiocese newspaper.