On Sunday, November 22, 2020, Friar Mauro GAMBETTI was consecrated a bishop in preparation for his being made a cardinal at the next consistory (Saturday, November 28, 2020). The consecration took place in the Upper Basilica of St. Francis, in Assisi. Many friars of the Order, family and friends attended the ceremony.

His Eminence, Agostino Cardinal VALLINI, Papal Legate for the Papal Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, presided over the celebration. Those co-consecrating included the Most Reverend Domenico SORRENTINO Archbishop of Assisi – Nocera Umbra – Gualdo Tadino, Italy, and Giovanni MOSCIATTI, Bishop of Imola, Italy. The Most Reverend Domenico CANCIAN, Bishop of Città di Castello, Italy and Giuseppe PIEMONTESE, OFM Conv., Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, also attended.
Those present representing the Order included the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI and the Vicar General Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI, along with several friars who came from Rome. Friars from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy) attended along with their Vicar Provincial, Friar Roberto BRANDINELLI. Additional friars attended from various Jurisdictions in Italy and, of course, the friars of the Sacred Convent and the Assisi friaries were there as well. In a significant and fraternal gesture, the Minister General of the Friars Minor, Friar Michael Anthony PERRY attended along with other Ministers of the Franciscan family. The celebration, which took place in the splendid Basilica of our Seraphic Father, was very organized and well animated.
Cardinal Agostino spoke about the significance of what the Holy Father and the Church now asks of our brother Mauro: that like Jesus, he is called to be a friend, a servant, and a merciful father while giving witness to the fraternal spirit of the children of St. Francis.
Friar Mauro spoke movingly at the end of this beautiful celebration, recalling the surprise he felt (“Pope Francis must have been joking”). He mentioned he felt inadequate and small, but was heartened by the fact that God himself was calling him and giving him strength to enter a new frontier of service: “The Lord, giving me confidence, is now calling me to do a triple pike dive into the open sea.” He was referring to Cardinal VALLINI’s homily, in which the Cardinal spoke of the open sea as the world, the Church and the universal dimension.
The best viaticum from this event came from the friars of the Sacred Convent who expressed their gratitude to the new bishop and urged him to continue being that “maternal pelican of God” who feeds her little ones by giving her own life. It is precisely that image which appears on the new bishop’s coat of arms along with the Franciscan motto: “Be Subject to All in Charity” (Earlier Rule XVI, 6).
The Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVERELLI, recently wrote to Friar Mauro expressing the fraternal esteem and affection of the entire Order: “Pope Francis has promoted you, one of our confreres, to be his collaborator—a man born among Italy’s entrepreneurial class and formed in Assisi; a man of relationships and expertise in the service of authority, authority you have always exercised with prudence, foresight and a fraternal smile […]; In a world diminished by fears and self-referentiality, your ability to dare and look beyond is an incentive for us all to live our vocation as Franciscans today with more enthusiasm […]; Pope Francis calls you today, as Francis of Assisi was once called, to ‘repair’ his Church, by stepping inside of it to fix it from within, knowing that behind you there is an Order, a family, always ready to support and welcome you […]” (Letter from the Minister General to Friar Mauro).

Best wishes, dear Friar Mauro, have a good journey!

Friar Giovanni VOLTAN