Order’s Vicar General Appointed Bishop of Iquique, Chile, by Pope Francis

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HNP Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes Calls Isauro Covili Linfato Embodiment of ‘Minor’ and ‘Brother’

Isauro Covili Linfato, OFM, Vicar General of the Order of Friars Minor, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the bishop of Iquique, Chile. The announcement was made last Saturday, April 23, by Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, the Order’s Minister General, in a live broadcast from Rome, Italy, on the General Curia Facebook page that was viewed by friars worldwide. The recorded announcement can be found on Youtube.

“Our brother Isauro’s presence in the General Definitory [has been] positive and constructive. We will feel his absence. At the same time, we wish [him] a fruitful episcopal ministry in the style of fraternity and minority of St. Francis and the Order,” Massimo said during the broadcast. “We are well aware that the Church in Chile is going through a time of great conversion… [and] we are certain that the human, fraternal and pastoral presence of Brother Isauro will be able to give, with God’s help, a valid aid. We accept in a spirit of ecclesial co-responsibility this call to serve the Church in Chile,” he added.

Lawrence Hayes, OFM, Provincial Vicar of HNP, who met Isauro last summer at the General Chapter in Rome, said, “I was deeply impressed by his clear preferential option for the poor. He analyzes all situations from that optic. A humble man of humble origins, he embodies the spirit of both ‘minor’ and ‘brother.’ The loss of Isauro’s vision and presence on the General Definitorium will be significant. So, too, is the gift of Isauro to the Church as the new bishop of Iquique, Chile. May God bless him and his diocese in his new pastoral role.”

Expressing his gratitude for this new appointment, Isauro said, “Pope Francis is sending me back to Chile. I came among Franciscans to be a friar, [serving] with generosity and joy. I prayed before the icon of the Christ of San Damiano, who spoke to our father St. Francis and to us today [with the words], ‘Go and repair my Church, for it is falling into ruins.’ I am encouraged to be a pastor in the midst of the people of God, walking with all, crossing shores [and] borders and being a community called to be reconfigured with the Risen One who has the footprints of the Cross, so that many crucified can be embraced and lowered from the cross with dignified life.”

Born in Lumaco in 1961 in the Diocese of Temuco, Chile, Isauro professed his simple vows on Jan. 16, 1983, made his solemn profession four years later, and was ordained to the priesthood on Nov. 23, 1990. He has served in pastoral ministry in parishes and marginalized communities of Santiago, Chile, and has worked with novices and postulants as moderator of ongoing formation and secretary for formation and studies. He has also served as Animator of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation; General Visitator in Peru, and Definitor, Vicar and Provincial Minister of Holy Trinity Province before his election last July to the Order’s Vicar General position.