Saturday, April 24, 2010

White smoke: Habemus episcopum!

The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Vono, Rector of St. Paul's Within the Walls, Rome, was elected on the third ballot to be the next Bishop of the Rio Grande.

Here are his "who I am" comments on the diocesan website (where you can also see the results of balloting):
I was born in Providence, RI, the second of four children in a close-knit family. I had a clear sense of vocation from an early age, and my sixteen years of seminary formation included Catholic, Protestant and Anglican theological training. I completed my doctoral degree in Congregational Studies in 1986. My spiritual gifts are pastoral care, community building, administration, preaching and evangelism.

As Curate in an inner-city multicultural church, I lived with people in crisis, transition, conflict, and confusion. I learned how to be a shepherd, counselor, and friend, as my parishioners struggled to recognize God in their personal wildernesses. My primary responsibility was to parish and local youth, mostly African and Spanish, as well as to newly married couples and the elderly, visiting hospitals and nursing homes. I came to understand how preaching the Gospel, the sacraments, pastoral care and building community effectively changed lives and inspired hope and faithfulness.

As its Vicar, the ‘bedroom community’ of Christ Church, Leicester taught me the value of living in a spiritually intimate community. I began to concentrate on congregational development, and studied at Hartford Theological Seminary. I learned that I had the pastoral gifts to bring an economic mix of people together, enable pastoral visioning and inspire positive results in conflict management situations. I learned how to be a priest, pastor and teacher at Christ Church. In my twelve years there I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of every relationship and love the complex diversities of the Body of Christ.

Now as Rector of St. Paul’s, Rome, I live and work with people of diverse cultures and religious backgrounds. My church is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, ecumenical and interfaith community. Our ministries include the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, a sizable Latin American community, service to the elderly poor of the city as well as displaced youth. At the center of our mission and witness is a profound ministry of radical hospitality.

My spiritual and physical disciplines include praying and studying Scripture/theology each morning and taking physical exercise each day. I meet with my spiritual director monthly, and make a monastic retreat each year. I love community gatherings, theatre, music, travel and writing, and nothing invigorates me more than a challenge.

I give thanks for his election and look forward to his leading this diocese into a new era of mission and ministry.
To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill, we pray, the heart of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in your Church, with such love of you and of all the people, that he may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise without reproach the high priesthood to which you have called him, serving before you day and night in the ministry of reconciliation, declaring pardon in your Name, offering the holy gifts, and wisely overseeing the life and work of the Church. In all things may he present before you the acceptable offering of a pure, and gentle, and holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and power and glory in the Church, now and for ever.

--From the ordination prayer for a bishop, BCP, 521.

--the BB


susan s. said...


I was wondering about your thoughts on this and almost sent you a FB message. You can email me if you would like!

Jim said...

Perhaps, at long last we are out from under the tentacles of Trinity Seminary and can rejoin the Christian faith sans the hatred that flows from Pittsburgh...

Paul said...

Susan, my thoughts are very positive. He is dedicated to Gospel hospitality.

Jim, from your mouth to God's ear. It's time to be Episcopalians again.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thanks be to God!

Anonymous said...

Paul--we've known Michael for years from Rome. We have friends who were there for 4 years who know him extremely well. You are blessed indeed. He is a force of God-driven nature. And loving and fun and smart and thoughtful and pastoral and mission oriented (the church in Rome is incredible). You will have a great ride.
Buon viaggio (I speak italiano better than espanol!)


Paul said...

Grazie tante, Chrissie. Some members of St Michael and All Angels met him when a group of youth went to Rome two years ago. They were suitably impressed and the impressions of him that people have articulated have been very favorable. i believe it all bodes well for the church in this diocese.

He also likes theatre. We will get along famously.

[Lay all the Italian on me you want to; I can understand a fair amount though I only speak a little.]

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending! and Congratulations!