|Most Reverend Vincent M. Rizzotto
Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston
Born the youngest of nine children, Vincent M. Rizzotto grew up in a tight-knit family that was close to each other and to the Church. That spiritual closeness may very well have been the bed seed for his vocation to the priesthood, which has included most recently his service as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese.
Bishop Rizzotto was raised in Houston, attending Holy Name Grammar School and graduating from St. Thomas High School in 1949, prior to entering St. Mary Seminary (when it was located in La Porte). Ordained a diocesan priest on May 26, 1956, he furthered his studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He obtained a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1963. He served as an official of the diocesan marriage Tribunal from 1967 to 1972 and was pastor of All Saints Church from 1969 to 1972.
He was pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church from 1972 to 1982, and was raised to the rank of Monsignor on Sept. 14, 1978. He served as pastor of St. Cecilia Church from 1982 to 2002. He has served in multiple Archdiocesan roles, including: Vicar General; Chair of the Priests Personnel Board; Vicar for African American Catholics; and Secretariat Director for Chaplaincy Services and Clergy Formation.
On June 22, 2001, Bishop Rizzotto was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston and Titular Bishop of Lamasba by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on July 31, 2001 from Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, with then-San Antonio Archbishop Patrick Flores and then-Austin Bishop John McCarthy as co-consecrators. Bishop Rizzotto selected as his episcopal motto, "Make Us One in Christ."
Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Bishop Rizzotto retired as auxiliary bishop on Nov. 6, 2006.
As a priest and pastor at numerous parishes in the Archdiocese, Bishop Rizzotto was renowned for making liturgy the center of parish life. "I have a passion for the Church's liturgy and its grace filled possibilities," he said.
Also a lover of golf, Bishop Rizzotto hosts an annual spring golf tournament to benefit St. Dominic Village, the only Catholic retirement facility in the Archdiocese.
|For his personal coat of arms, Auxiliary Bishop Rizzotto adopted a design that reflects his heritage and his life as a priest and as a bishop. Throughout the majority of Bishop Rizzotto's priestly ministry, he has been deeply involved in matters of justice and social ministry. As a pastor, having walked in Selma for the causes of the poor and disadvantaged, Bishop Rizzotto realizes that in the care of God's less fortunate children, before anything else can be done to provide the tools of self-help, those in need must first be fed: fed physically, emotionally and spiritually in order to achieve and advance. On a red field of the Bishop's heraldic device are two arms extending a golden bowl of white rice to those in need. This graphic representation becomes more symbolically significant when one realizes that Bishop Rizzotto's name is a variant of the Italian word for a seasoned rice dish which is risotto, thus representing that by his acceptance to receive the fullness of Christ's priesthood, as a bishop, Bishop Rizzotto is willing to be given so completely that he is giving himself to those in need … feeding them with rice … feeding them with himself … and feeding them, as a priest and bishop, with the greatest gift to humankind, the nourishment of Christ in the most holy Eucharist.
On an upper portion of the design, know as a chief, is a blue field which has displayed on a gold cross, a silver (white) rose. These devices and colors are taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston which Bishop Rizzotto has served for his entire priestly ministry.
For his motto, Bishop Rizzotto has adopted the phrase "Make Us One in Christ." By the use of this phrase, His Excellency expresses the underlying reality of the Eucharist: that we all become the one body of Christ in Christ, and that as one who is now called to shepherd God's people, it is the work of the bishop to bridge all that divides one from another, to bring all to one in the Christ who is the Savior of the world.
The device is completed with the external ornaments, which are a gold processional cross, which is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a gallero, 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.
- Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Providence