'May you serve joyfully': Bishop Dell'Oro ordained as Galveston-Houston's eighth auxiliary

July 13, 2021

Bishop Italo Dell'Oro, CRS, displays a Vatican papal bull that marks his appointment as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston during his Mass of Ordination on July 2 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

HOUSTON — Sunshine illuminated the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston when the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomed its eighth auxiliary bishop at the Mass of Ordination of Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, on July 2.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was the celebrant and principal consecrator, with Bishop Michael Sis of San Angelo and Bishop Brendan Cahill of Victoria, who served as co-consecrators. Bishop Cahill served in place of Archbishop Franco Moscone, CRS, of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, who could not attend due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., also concelebrated the Mass, alongside Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza and retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz, and numerous other bishops from Texas other states like Oklahoma and California.

With a recognizable beaming smile, Bishop Dell’Oro walked around the Co-Cathedral’s altar carrying the papal bull, the official apostolic letter from Pope Francis read out loud during the Mass by the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pierre. It declares the appointment of Bishop Dell’Oro as an auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston and bears the official metal seal of the Vatican and Pope Francis.

In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo recognized that Bishop Dell’Oro’s family could not be there due to pandemic restrictions. Cardinal DiNardo thanked them for providing “support and nurture for Father Italo along the way, for accompanying him over here.”

Cardinal DiNardo recognized Bishop Dell’Oro’s long ministry with youth and young adults and his immigrant journey to the U.S.

“You came here as an immigrant and a stranger but were immediately welcomed,” he said. “Houston and this diocese are such a welcoming place. Welcome, all, especially the young people who come here from many different lands.”

Cardinal DiNardo also reflected on the importance of the Ordination Mass and its unique rites.

“The Sacraments are signs that are life-giving for one reason only, because of the greatness of God,” he said. “The Lord is active in His Church today in the sacramental signs of ordination, a bishop’s ordination, which at heart are simple signs, the laying on of hands and prayer. We are joyful and know this celebration is important... Now, in a few moments, we will be activated to make the sacramental Rites of Ordination. We will indeed crease the world in this action.”

Cardinal DiNardo then encouraged Bishop Dell’Oro to walk with the Lord to show the holiness of Christ and the Church.

“From these rites today, Father Italo learned to benefit others rather than lord over them, preach the Word at all times and never lose patience, a virtue that our Holy Father speaks about all the time,” he said. “In that patience, show every person the richness of the holiness of Christ, which is so full and so much wants to be shared with all people, that He wants to go to those near at hand and to those far off. The patient hope will indeed reach the alienated and those at the margins, especially the poor.”

The Mass included several rites, which include the presentation of the bishop-elect, the consent 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 bishop-elect lays down before the altar, with the congregation praying for him and for the Church.

The laying on of hands by Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Dell’Oro’s co-consecrators is a special moment that signifies that the ordination is a collegial act of the Order of Bishops, incorporating a new member into their community for the service of the Church.

Then, with the Book of the Gospels raised over Bishop Dell’Oro’s head, Cardinal DiNardo said the Prayer of Ordination, invoking the Holy Spirit upon the Bishop-Dell’Oro. After, Cardinal DiNardo used sacred chrism to anoint the head of Bishop Dell’Oro, and then presents the Book of the Gospels, saying: “Receive the Gospel and preach the word of God with all patience and sound teaching.”

Finally, Cardinal DiNardo presented Bishop Dell’Oro with his ring, miter and pastoral staff. These indicate his new office as bishop of the Church. After, Bishop Dell’Oro takes his seat as bishop, then was greeted with the kiss of peace from his new brother bishops.

Towards the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Dell’Oro processed throughout the Co-Cathedral, both greeting and imparting a blessing as a newly ordained bishop.
Bishop Dell’Oro also greeted the faithful in a tri-lingual message in Italian, Spanish and English, and perhaps what he called a fourth language: tears.

He thanked those who have accompanied him on his journey during his years of ministry, including his time at parishes, at colleges and other communities of faith. He said Galveston-Houston’s diverse population reflected the Book of Revelation: “The vision of the great multitude of every nation, race, and people and tongue.”

“In a way, I can say that heaven is already here in Houston because of this wonderful diversity,” he said.

Bishop Dell’Oro also shared a special message for the orphaned of the world.

“Children who do not have a family, we have a Father in heaven,” he said. “And we, as a community and society, are tasked with not leaving you orphans here on earth and to welcome you into this world and making sure that you are loved, protected and safe.”

He closed his remarks by imploring the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani, the founder of his Somascan Fathers community, then with a shout that echoed three times in the Co-Cathedral: “Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!”

A reception after the Mass ended a series of events celebrating Bishop Dell’Oro’s ordination, a momentous occasion for Catholics in the Archdiocese.