SCJ named as bishop

On March 19 Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Fr. Vilson Basso, SCJ, as bishop of the Diocese of Caxias, Maranhao (Brazil). He will succeed Bishop Luis D’Andrea, OFM Conv, who is 76.

Bishop-elect Vilsom Basso, SCJ, when he was an ESL student at SHST
Bishop-election Vilsom Basso, SCJ, during his days as an ESL student at SHST

Fr. Vilsom Basso was born in Tuparendi, in the diocese of San Angelo, Brazil; he grew up in an SCJ parish.  After studying philosophy, he earned a licentiate in social sciences at Fundação Educacional in Brusque, Brazil, and a bachelor’s degree  in theology from the PUC of Rio de Janeiro. He also did theological studies at the Instituto Teologico of Taubaté. In 1991 he studied pastoral programming at the Javeriana University of Bogota, Colombia

The bishop-elect is also an alumnus of Sacred Heart School of Theology’s ESL program (Hales Corners, Wis.).  He was a student in the program in 2006 as preparation for his current work in the Philippines.

Fr.  Vilson was ordained in 1985. As a priest in the Diocese of Viana, Maranhao, he was associate pastor at St. Agnes and Alto Alegre, and parish priest of Santa Luzia Tide. He also served as pastor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Conception, and in Sao Paulo, was parochial vicar of St. Jude Thaddeus Shrine.

Fr.  Vilson also directed the youth ministry program of the Brazilian Bishops Conference from 1994 to 1997.

After ESL studies at Sacred Heart,  he went to the Philippines, where has been involved in parish ministry and formation. In 2008 he coordinated the international SCJ gathering in Manila titled, “Pastors With a Compassionate Heart.”

“The congregation congratulates Fr. Vilsom  and wishes him serenity and peace in the new mission which the Church has entrusted to him,” wrote the general council in its release about the bishop-elect.   “We look forward to him being a pastor with a merciful heart according to the model of the heart of Christ.”

The Diocese of Caxias do Maranhão was created on July 22, 1939, and has a population of 640,000.