The Vicar General, Brother Isauro Covili Linfati, elected Bishop of Iquique

On 23 April 2022, Pope Francis elected as Bishop of Iquique, Chile, Br Isauro Covili Linfati OFM, until now Vicar General of the Order.

Br Isauro Covili Linfati was born on 22nd March 1961 in Lumaco, diocese of Temuco in Chile. He took the Franciscan habit on 16th July 1981 and professed simple vows on 16th January 1983 and solemn vows on 20th March 1987. His priestly ordination took place on 23rd November 1990.

Br Isauro lived his first years of pastoral service in insertion fraternities in marginal areas of Santiago, devoting himself to evangelisation, including indigenous evangelisation and the animation of justice and peace and the integrity of creation. He has also been a parish priest. In 2010 he published the book Memoria de una Iglesia orante y peregrina.

Since 1997 he has worked in the formation of the temporarily professed, novices and postulants, Moderator of Ongoing Formation and Secretary for Formation and Studies. He was then General Visitator in Peru (2006), Definitor of the Holy Trinity Province(2011-2015), Vicar (2015-2017) and Minister Provincial (2017-21). The General Chapter in Rome in 2021 elected him Vicar General of the Order.

Gathered in the Duns Scotus Hall, after the Angelus prayer on April 23, 2022, the friars of the General Curia in Rome received from the Minister General the announcement of the election of Br. Isauro Covili Linfati as Bishop of Iquique. On that occasion, the following speeches were made.

The words of the Minister General Br Massimo Fusarelli

“I wish to greet our brother Isauro, also in the name of the entire General Definitory, with whom we have shared these nine months of service, very important for the work in favour of the Order. The service shared with Brother Isauro has been very good and fraternal; he has so far had very delicate delegations for the government of the Order, especially in South and Central America, the Holy Land and Morocco. His presence in the General Definitory is positive and constructive. We will feel his absence.

At the same time, as Minister the General Definitory we wish Br Isauro a fruitful episcopal ministry in the style of fraternity and minority of St Francis and the Order. We accept in a spirit of ecclesial co-responsibility this call to serve the Church in Chile at the hour when a new response to the service of the Kingdom of God is required of her.

We are well aware that the Church in Chile is going through a time of great conversion and not an easy one. 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”.

The speech of thanks of Br. Isauro Covili Linfati

To my Brothers of the Order of Friars Minor

May the Lord give you peace!

 

I begin these words of thanksgiving with the joyful announcement of the Easter Vigil, “Alleluia, Alleluia, The Lord is risen, Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia”. It is the best and most beautiful expression of joy, jubilation and eternal future that the Church has – to express life and to celebrate the Eucharist, the permanent sacrament of the Kenosis of Jesus Christ that permeates all humanity with hope and a new vision.

I would like to share with you the news that – just as my brothers in the last General Chapter have elected me to serve the Fraternity as Vicar General – now Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and of the Universal Church, is sending me back me to Chile to be Pastor-Bishop for the Diocese of Iquique.

Since the beginnings of my vocation, it has been clear to me that I came among Franciscans to be a friar and that is how I was formed in my Province. I have served with generosity and joy in many offices entrusted to me without seeking them.

I am a Franciscan friar who believes in Jesus Christ, poor and crucified, and a member of the community and fraternity that expresses and announces him in the same way. I have always tried to be attentive to the circumstances of the poorest and to learn to read with others life’s reality with all its lights and shadow

I’ve indeed spent a good ten months in the Curia, I have collaborated with many and learned a lot. I can tell you that the friars who form this international Fraternity indeed cultivate a good fraternal climate of respect, prayer, joy, responsibility and work. We have cultivated good relations and collaboration among us, the Definitors and for me especially it has been very gratifying to work with Friar Massimo, Minister General, in the animation of the Order. With simplicity I have given the best of myself in all that has been entrusted to me.

Having discussed it with the Minister general and prayed over it, I accepted the nomination of Pope Francis. What has helped me is following:

  1. In recent weeks I have prayed before the Icon of the Christ of San Damiano who, as we all know, spoke to our father St. Francis and to us today “Go and repair my Church for it is falling into ruins ” (2Cel 10; LM 2,1; TC 13).
  2. The reality of the Church in Chile with its lights and shadows, especially the issue of abuses that needs to be taken care of while making the path of evangelical life, that of reparation, simplicity and synodality.
  3. Personally, I do not cling to any offices, I accept them and live them in freedom as a gift received to serve. The friars of the General Definitory will know how to provide a new friar to serve the Order as Vicar General.

 

I can tell you that, from my pastoral experience, and now after this nomination as Bishop, I am encouraged to be a Pastor in the midst of the People of God, walking with all, crossing shores, borders and being a Community called to be configured 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.

I trust that Mary, Virgin made Church, St. Francis, St. Clare and thousands of brothers and sisters of from the past, but also those from the present – faithful disciples of Jesus – will help me to be a shepherd in the style of Jesus.

With eternal gratitude, fraternally yours,

 

Isauro Covili Linfati, ofm