As clergy renewed their ordination vows during the Chrism Eucharist at All Saints Church, Milan, on Tuesday 11 April, for Father Giovanni La Rosa the service was particularly special as Bishop David Hamid received and welcomed him as a priest into the Church of England.
Giovanni is a native of the Province of Catania, Sicily, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2005 for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Acireale. For three years he went on to pursue studies in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he lived at the Irish College. Following his academic work in Rome in 2008 he was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Church in the town of Randazzo.
In 2013 he resigned from his ministry in the Roman Catholic Church and local people gathered around him to become a separate congregation. They rented a worship site and with Father Giovanni sought to be received into the Church of England. On 6 November 2016, authorized by Bishop David, Father Russell Ruffino who is currently serving at Holy Cross Church in Palermo, Sicily, received those 40 members as the first Italian Anglican congregation into the Church of England and the Diocese of Europe.
Father Giovanni has received his formal Permission to Officiate from the Archbishop of Canterbury and with the bonus of his official reception and welcome in Milan this week he will continue to serve the congregation in Randazzo, now known as the Church of Saint Albert of Trapani.
Information from Fr Russell Ruffino.