The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick was elected on November 1, 2017 to serve as the new Bishop Protector for SSF in the Province of the Americas, succeeding the Right Reverend Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, following his retirement. Bishop Robert is the Diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii, and a Companion of the Society of St. Francis. A native of Indiana, he has been Bishop Hawaii since 2007, prior to which he served parishes in Hawaii and Illinois. He is a man of prayer, tremendous pastoral presence, and a great deal of wisdom and skill in matters spiritual and organizational. We are privileged that he has agreed to serve with us.
During our Chapter meeting of May 14-18, 2018, at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles, Bishop Robert joined us to offer guidance and input. During our Mass of Francis and Clare (at which he presided) we officially blessed his new ministry with us. His investment in our planning and decision-making has already been clear. Also of great value was the morning of reflection he led for us to being our meetings. He invited us to reflect on Romans 7 and 8 in light of the Hawaiian cultural concepts of "pono" (right relationship), "malama" (taking care), and "mana" (spiritual power, the power of the sacred).
A Bishop Protector is elected by the Province to serve in a pastoral and advisory role, and as the official liaison between the Province and the Episcopal Church USA. As Protector, his role is both to protect the order from the institutional church and the institutional church from the order. The Bishop Protector generally receives the vows of Brothers making Life Profession, and must ratify decisions of the Chapter to release a Life Vowed Brother from his vows. The term of a Bishop Protector is 6 years, and the Bishop Protector may be re-elected for unlimited terms.
We welcome Bishop Robert to this new role and look forward to his input and friendship for many years to come.
Originally published 6/1/2018