Pope appoints 'bicycle bishop' to head Archdiocese of Milan

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Vatican City

Pope Francis has named Italian Auxiliary Bishop Mario Delpini of Milan as the new head of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy's largest diocese.

He replaces Cardinal Angelo Scola, who is retiring at the age of 75 after leading the church in Milan since 2011. The cardinal served as patriarch of Venice from 2002 to 2011.

Delpini, who had been serving as vicar general of the archdiocese, is known as a hard-working, humble, but strong pastor who travels around the city on a bicycle and lives in a small apartment in a residence for priests.

He is the author of a book of etiquette for priests aimed at helping "free them from the dead weight of a kind of clericalism, from the 'reverend complex,' and from a bit of clumsy managerial hyper-efficiency," according to the book's description. Written in Italian in 1998, it is titled: "Reverend, Where's Your Manners! Tiny Pastoral (book of) Etiquette. Loving and Laid-Back Notes for Priests Journeying Toward the Third Millennium."       

He also has written a book about parish life and a collection of short allegories for children.


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Born near Milan July 29, 1951, he was the third of six children. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1975. He received degrees in literature, theology, and theological science and patristics.

He taught at the archdiocese's minor seminary for many years and he was named its rector in 1989. In 2000 he was named rector of the major seminaries and taught the writings of the church fathers.

Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of Milan in 2007, and he became a member of the Italian bishops' commissions for clergy and for consecrated life. He became vicar general of the archdiocese in 2012 and, in 2014, he was also appointed episcopal vicar for the permanent formation of clergy.

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