Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell'Oro, C.R.S.

Most Reverend Italo Dell'Oro, C.R.S.
Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston                                   

Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, C.R.S. was born June 20, 1953, in Malgrate, near Lecco, Italy. He entered the Somascan Novitiate and Theologate in Rome and made his first religious profession with the Congregation of Somascan Fathers in 1978; he made his final profession in 1981.

Somasca, the place where St. Jerome Emiliani organized the first community of followers of the Somascan Order, is located approximately six miles from Bishop Dell’Oro’s hometown.

He was ordained a priest in Como, Italy, on Sept. 11, 1982.

He earned a bachelor of sacred theology in 1982 from Pontifical University of Sant’Anselmo in Rome. 

Bishop Dell'Oro came to the United States in 1985 to work in New Hampshire at a school run by his religious congregation.

In 1988, he received a master of arts degree in counseling and psychotherapy from Catholic-run Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire.

In 1992, he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He served as pastor of Assumption Church in Houston.

In 2001, he served as director of vocations for the Somascan Fathers in Houston before being named the congregation’s formation director in 2014.

From 2005 to 2012, he also worked as director of ministry to priests for the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

Since 2015, he has served as Vicar for Clergy and the Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services. He was named Vicar General in 2021.

On May 18, 2021, Pope Francis appointed him as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The bishop speaks English, Italian and Spanish.

Born
June 20, 1953 in Malgrate, Italy

Parents
 Giuseppe and Silene Dell'Oro

Date of Ordination
September 11, 1982 - Lake Como, Italy

Education

  • STB, Pontifical University of Sant’Anselmo
  • M.A. in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Rivier University

Assignments/Appointments

  • 1985 - Priest Assistant, Pine Haven Boys Center, Allenstown, NH
  • 1992 - Pastor, Assumption Catholic Church, Houston
  • 2000 - Dean of Norwest Deanery
  • 2001 - Vocations Director, Somascan Fathers House of Formation, Houston
  • 2005 - Director, Ministry to Priests
  • 2014 - Formation Director, Somascan Fathers
  • 2015 - Vicar for Clergy and the Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services
  • 2021 - Vicar General
  • 2021 - Named Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston

Blazon

Argent above a terrace in base wavy Azure and Or, a mountain Vert and Argent, before it a cross Or endwise sinister inverted, and on a chief embattled Gules a crown Or between two rosa mystica Argent, Or, Gules and Azure.

Significance

Bishop Dell’Oro envisioned his personal coat of arms as a statement of faith and heritage, both of which have their beginnings in his hometown of Valmadrera. Situated along Lake Como, Valmadrera is nestled at the foot of the Grigna Mountains, part of the Bergamo Alps, near the province of Lecco, in the region of Lombardy, northern Italy. The Grignetta, the queen mountain of Lecco, is the southern peak of the Grigna massif and is the dominant element of this coat of arms. It is the Grignetta and the waters of Lake Como that have nurtured and fortified the life and spirituality of the Dell‘Oro family for generations.

In the teachings of the mystics and in Sacred Scripture, the mountain represents the point of contact between heaven and earth. This is visually portrayed by the use of the colors silver (white), one of the two Heavenly Attributes, and green, a color associated with faith, loyalty, and eternity (“ever green”).

For a young Italo Dell’Oro, an avid rock climber and mountaineer, the Grignetta was an early meeting place between heaven and earth. The mountain is also a symbol of the steadfast love of God that nurtured Italo in his formative years and continues to sustain him in his priestly ministry. Similarly, it is a reminder of the ministry of Peter (Petros), the rock (petra) upon which Jesus built his Church and to whom Jesus entrusted the keys to the kingdom and the governance of the Church (cf. Matthew 16: 16-19). Born and raised in the shadow of the Grignetta, the symbol of the mountain is central to the personal life of Bishop Dell’Oro, and to his faith and his vocation to the Church.

Surmounting the Grignetta is a gold “Cross of Calvary.” Gold is the other symbolic Heavenly Attribute and is the most precious of metals. The diagonal position suggests that the cross is being carried by Jesus on his way to Calvary. This is the emblem of the “Company of the Servants of the Poor” or the Somascan Fathers, founded by Saint Jerome Emiliani, whose greatest desire it was to follow the way of the Crucified and to imitate the Christ. Bishop Dell’Oro is a professed member of this community. Like Saint Jerome, he endeavors to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, embracing those who are suffering, showing mercy to those who are orphaned or abandoned.

At the top of the shield (chief) is an embattled red band. Red signifies the region of Lombardy and the embattlement refers to the perimeter wall of the Castello dell’Innominato (Castle of the Unnamed), which dates back to the Carolingian period. In the sixteenth century, the Somascan founder Jerome Emiliani converted part of this fortress into a home for orphans.

In the center of the red band is a jeweled gold crown of Lombardy. It is a symbol for the crowned 15th century painting of the Madonna del Latte (Nursing Madonna), a much-venerated image housed in the Shrine of San Martino in Valmadrera, known well to the Dell’Oro family. The Lombardy crown is flanked by two rosa mystica. The “mystical rose,” the perfect flower of God’s spiritual creation, represents Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. These two roses represent the patroness of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and of the cathedral in Galveston. It is worth noting that the thorns or leaves of the rose form a five-point star, similar to the star of Texas.

At the base of the shield, below the mountain is the wavy blue water of Lake Como, the source of life in the mountains. It also represents the waters of baptism, the source of life in the Church. Atop the blue water rippling from the foot of the cross and of the mountain is a current of gold. Like the play on the name of Peter/petra in the Gospel of Matthew, this ripple is a play on the family name “Dell’Oro,” which, in Italian means “of the gold.” This ripple represents the life of Bishop Dell’Oro that began with the saving act of Christ on the cross and the waters of baptism. During its course, it flows from his home and family, to his life with the Somascan Fathers, and crossing the waters of the Atlantic to the United States, and coming to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Above the shield is the episcopal cross of a bishop; it has one transverse arm. Bishop Dell’Oro chose a plain gold cross bottonnée, which has three lobes, like the trefoil leaf, at the end of each arm. This is in deference to a gold cross given by Pope Benedict XVI to Cardinal DiNardo who donated it then to Father Dell’Oro.

Surmounting the entire achievement is the galero or “hat of the pilgrim.” It is an emblem used in heraldry for prelates and priests of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. The distinction of rank is defined by the color of the hat and the number of tassels. The galero of a bishop is shown in green with twelve tassels or fiocchi pendent, six suspended on each side

The motto of Bishop Italo Dell’Oro is taken from Psalm 42: 8, “Abyssus Abyssum Vocat” or “Deep calls to Deep.” The psalmist, who may have lived near the Jordan River, is speaking of the strength and depth of one wave “calling” to another; as if one part of the “deep” is speaking to the other. This is a conversation of faith and fidelity that is known to those who have lived near “deep water” since birth.

This explanation was contributed by Geraldine M. Rohling, PhD, MAEd, who was the original designer of Bishop Dell’Oro’s Coat of Arms.