Msgr. Guido Marini sees God’s providence in his ‘new call’ as bishop

Bishop-elect Guido Marini of Tortona, Italy, speaks during an interview. Bishop-elect Guido Marini of Tortona, Italy, speaks during an interview. | Screenshot from RadioPNR Tortona YouTube channel.

The longtime papal master of ceremonies Msgr. Guido Marini said this week that he sees his appointment to lead the Italian diocese of Tortona as part of God’s providence.

In an Aug. 29 video interview with Il Popolo, the newspaper of the Italian Diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, Marini said: “I see it as something entering in the providence of God…”

Pope Francis named Marini bishop of Tortona, northern Italy, on Aug. 29. The 56-year-old monsignor had been head of papal liturgies at the Vatican since 2007.

“And now, there is this new call, this turning of the page, let’s say, that the story of God in my life continues in a new way,” he said in the interview.

The bishop-elect said: “When I went to Rome I had a lot of fear, but I also trusted in the fact that the years I would spend in Rome would be beautiful, grace-filled years -- both because I was called to live close to the pope, and because I was called to live close to the pope in the heart of the Church, the liturgy.”

“And I should say at the distance of 14 years that it was like that: Beautiful and very grace-filled years.”

Marini grew up in the city of Genoa, where he was ordained a priest in 1989. He recalled that before the start of his final year of seminary studies, before he was ordained a transitional deacon, the city’s new bishop, Cardinal Giovanni Canestri, asked him to be his personal secretary.

Two years later, at the age of 24, Marini was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Genoa-Bobbio, where he also later served as chief liturgist and chancellor.

In the interview, he described his family life as filled with “great joy, great unity, serenity.”

His father died in 1998 in and his mother in 2006, he said, noting that they went to “paradise” at somewhat young ages due to health problems. He also has one sister who is married with two sons.

“With my parents, my grandma, my sister, I grew up in the faith,” he noted, describing his family life as a gift.

Marini also said that as a boy and teenager he liked to play sports, especially tennis. Today, he enjoys taking mountain hikes and reading.

“I really like to read in general and I like literature a lot. Among literature, my favorite is Russian literature,” he explained.

As the Vatican’s lead master of ceremonies for 14 years, Marini worked under both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

He said: “I knew the popes very well and this, for me, was a great gift for my life and for my ministry, also because I worked with two great popes, who are different but complementary.”

“I always admired Benedict for the greatness of his thought and the greatness and depth of his reflections, and at the same time, his extraordinary humility,” Marini explained. “This always made a big impression on me.”

The bishop-elect added: “Regarding Pope Francis, I admire his great strength and the great eagerness he carries in his heart. He wants to reach everyone with God’s goodness. He doesn’t want to leave anyone behind.”

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Marini was interviewed close to his childhood home in Genoa, outside the Church of the Most Holy Conception, also known as the Church of the Capuchins of the Holy Father.

“And here is where my vocation was born, where I lived some beautiful and trying moments, when I was a child, adolescent, young adult. I made my First Communion here. Here there is much of my life,” he reminisced about the church.

He said he did not yet have any plans for how he would carry out his new ministry as a bishop. But he thought it was important to first enter into the life of the local Church, listen to the Holy Spirit, and then lead with docility.

“Otherwise I think there are two important elements,” he commented, “that of profound communion and that of a great eagerness of the heart.”

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