CNA Staff, May 18, 2021 / 05:10 am
Pope Francis on Tuesday named an Italian-born Somascan priest as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
The pope appointed Fr. Italo Dell’Oro, C.R.S., on May 18 to the post in the archdiocese that serves more than 1.7 million Catholics in 146 parishes across 10 counties in southeastern Texas.
The 67-year-old bishop-elect was born in 1953 in Malgrate, northern Italy. Growing up in the town of Valmadrera, situated on Lake Como, he was a keen rock climber and mountaineer.
When he arrived in Texas in 1992 to serve as pastor of Assumption Church in Houston, he hoped to continue his high-altitude adventures, unaware of the local geography.
“When I came to Houston I started looking for mountains, excited to have found near Assumption Church the street named ‘W. Mount Houston,’” he told the Texas Catholic Herald in 2015.
“I followed it and found myself in the subdivision Hidden Valley. So I took up jogging, which I still try to do.”
Dell’Oro felt a calling to the priesthood at age 15, which he said “grew to an unbearable level” in his early 20s.
He grew up six miles from Somasca, where in the 16th century St. Jerome Emiliani founded the community that would become known as the Somascan Fathers. A friend who had joined the religious congregation dedicated to the service of the poor, orphans, and abandoned youth persuaded Dell’Oro to follow in his footsteps in 1976.