Pope Francis, in his surprise appointment, chose a Franciscan as archbishop of Genoa, Italy | Instant News

In another shocking appointment, Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Marco Tasca, 62, a member of the Friars Minor Conventual Franciscan Order and a former minister-general of the order for 12 years, as the new archbishop of Genoa, in northwest Italy.

The Vatican announced the appointment on May 8. He replaces Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 77, former president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (2007-2017), whose resignation was accepted by the pope today. Cardinal has been president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conference since 2016 and will continue that role.


Ps. Marco Tasca, 62, a member of the Franciscan Order of the Minor Conventual monk, was the general minister of the order for 12 years.

“I am a monk and I am still a monk,” the new archbishop told his fellow Franciscans when his appointment was announced at the monastery in Padova yesterday. His Franciscan colleagues responded with prolonged applause. He was the second Franciscan to become the archbishop of Genoa; the first was 700 years ago when Porchetto Spinola served as head of the diocese of 1299-1321.

The elected archbishop welcomed his new diocese, which includes 674,000 faithful and 278 priests, with the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “May God give you peace.” He promised to be “father and brother” to the Genoese, and said that he came to his new diocese “with an open heart to listen and welcome everyone who knocked on my door, including – and I want to say, especially – those who , for whatever reason, have found themselves or felt far from our ecclesial community. “

Born in Sant’Angelo in Piove di Sacco, a commune in the Province of Padua in the Italian region of Veneto, on June 6, 1957, Father Tasca entered the order of small monks at the age of 11, and after completing his studies and novitiate, he took his final oath in The Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua in 1981. After studying philosophy and theology, he was ordained a priest in 1983, and then went on to study and obtain a degree in psychology and pastoral care in the Papacy. Salesian University in Rome in 1988.

“I am a monk and I am still a monk,” the newly elected archbishop told fellow Franciscans.

In the following years he worked in a parish and later served as underage Franciscan chancellor and junior seminaries in Padua, where he also taught. After serving as provincial minister of the province of St. Anthony of Padua from 2005-2007, he was elected as the general minister of the order and the 119th successor of Saint Francis of Assisi in May 2007 and re-elected for a second six-year term in January 2013.

He was chosen as one of ten members of the Union of Superiors General to participate in three different synods of bishops: on the new Evangelization (2012), on family (2015) and on youth (2018)

Pope Francis knew him during the last two synods, and also as minister general at his command, but his decision to appoint him to the important throne of Genoa surprised many in the Italian church. “No one will imagine this choice,” an observer near the Italian church, who welcomed the nomination but asked for anonymity because of the role he held, told America.

At the same time, it is worth remembering that the first Latin American pope had a personal attachment to Genoa and knew the archdiocese. He visited the city in May 2017 and, speaking to workers, recalled “with emotion” that his father had left this port to Buenos Aires in the early 1900s.

Genoa is one of more than 220 dioceses in Italy, and since his election as pope in 2013, Francis has appointed more than half the bishops for this visit. In the case of Bologna, Palermo, Rome, Milan, and now Genoa, he has gone to great lengths to choose people who pray, people who dialogue and openness to people, not princes, cultural heroes or ideologists.

Significantly, the pope has violated the tradition that the appointment of someone to be bishop in several dioceses (including Genoa and Venice, for example) automatically means he will become a cardinal. This is no longer valid. Indeed, he had tried to reduce the number of Italian cardinals because they were over-represented at old meetings.

So it is by no means automatic that the newly elected archbishop will be made a cardinal. If Francis gave a red hat to the archbishop, it was because he considered the man very worthy, and not because of the vision he led, as was the case with the last consistory when he made Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna a cardinal.

Correction, May 9: Rev. Marco Tasca is the general minister of the Franciscan Order of the Minor Conventual, not the master general.

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