Giles Bello, OFM
1929 – 2013
Fr. Giles Bello, OFM, was born Feb. 21, 1929 in Long Island City, N.Y. He attended St. Anastasia Elementary School in Douglaston, N.Y., and graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1946. He then enrolled in the pre-med program of Fordham University for one year before discerning a Franciscan vocation and entering St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1947.
He was received into the Order in 1949 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1953 and was ordained in 1955.
After completing his theological education in 1956, his first assignments were in parochial ministry: at Our Lady of the Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J., from 1956 to 1959; St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City from 1959 to 1960; and St. Joseph Parish in East Rutherford, N.J., from 1960 to 1962. He studied spirituality at the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., during the summers of his formation years. Coupled with his solid pastoral sense, this made him a natural for the work of formation.
In 1962, Fr. Giles was named director of the brothers’ training program at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y. He also served as guardian from 1964 to 1967. When the brothers’ program was transferred to St. Francis Friary, Rye Beach, N.H., in 1967, Fr. Giles set up the new arrangements. But that August, he was elected Provincial Secretary and so moved to St. Francis Friary in New York City.
He meticulously organized the tumultuous Extraordinary Chapter of 1968-69 and the canonical chapters of the 1970s, his eagle eyes making sure all legislation was properly drafted. The Order called on him to serve on the committee that prepared the Extraordinary Chapter of Medellin in 1971, and as a peritus at the assembly.
At the chapter of 1973, Fr. Giles was elected Provincial Councilor, serving two terms. That year, he also returned to parochial ministry as pastor and guardian of Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y. Health issues forced him to resign and he became parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Wyckoff, N.J. In 1978, he returned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, this time as a member of the pastoral staff. He also studied pastoral counseling at Iona College, earning a master’s degree in 1981.
One year later, he was named Provincial Spiritual Assistant to the Poor Clares, serving for the next six years. He joined the staff of St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., from 1984 to 1986, when he became associate director of novices at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass. In 1987, he was appointed director of St. Francis Chapel in Colonie, N.Y., with residence at St. Bernardine of Siena Friary in Loudonville, N.Y. He led the ministry for the next nine years.
In 1996, Fr. Giles took a sabbatical year at St. Anthony Shrine and also studied at the Franciscan Institute. While there, he was invited to join the staff as assistant to the director. Fr. Giles was delighted to return to a milieu of Franciscan spirituality and students recall him as a gentle, attentive mentor. He retired in 2000 to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and transferred to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J., in 2001.
He died there on Sept. 2, 2013. Fr. Giles was 84 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years and a priest for 58 years.