The Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis Silva is elected Bishop Coadjutor for the Southwestern Brazil Diocese 

On Sunday, October 25th 2010, an extraordinary diocesan council was held in Santa Maria, RS, the See of the Diocese of Southwestern Brazil. The council was called to elect a Bishop Coadjutor, who will eventually succeed the Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves as the Diocesan. The Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva, currently IEAB’s Provincial Secretary, was elected in the first round.  According to the Rev. Canon Carlos Getúlio Hallberg, the Diocese of Southwestern Brazil is known for electing bishops in the first round, having done the same in the last four episcopal  elections held there.  Here are the results:

Clergy votes Lay votes
Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva 14 34
Rev. Ana Maria Esvael Lopes 06 19
Rev. Canon Carmen Etel Alves Gomes 1 2
Rev. Jorge Guaraci 1 0

The council began with a lively celebration of the Holy Eucharist in a packed cathedral. According to the Primate, The Most Rev. Maurício Andrade, people were seeking  the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and one could feel that it was a very special moment, despite all the pain experienced in the diocese in the months leading up to the election. The diocese has been prayerfully moving forward in the last months, after an unexpected disease forced the Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves  to be hospitalized, just months before he was set to retire.  Thanks be to God, his health has been improving, but sadly, he could not attend the  council.  IEAB renews its prayers for Bishop Jubal’s health, and for his family, and hopes he will be completely recovered soon.

The Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva was not present at the council either. He spent the weekend in Tanzania, where he took part of ACT Alliance‘s Assembly, where he was elected Vice-Moderator.  ACT-Alliance is a network of ecumenical relief and mission agencies throughout the world.

Upon learning of his election to the episcopacy in Santa Maria, he released a public statement, asking God to be his helper, and the Church to be his counselor throughout this new path.  He also expressed thanks for the warm words that he had received from people around the world, and asked everyone to keep him and and his wife, Talita, in their prayers.

According to IEAB’s Canons, this election needs the consents of  a majority of  diocesan bishops and standing committees.  As soon as the consents are given, the consecration of Bishop-Elect Francisco de Assis da Silva will be scheduled.

Francisco, also known as Xico, was born in Olinda, Pernambuco, and studied Theology at the Northern Brazil Baptist Seminary and Anglican Studies at Recife’s Anglican Seminary.  He was ordained a deacon in January 1991, and a priest in December 1991.  Prior to his current position as Provincial Secretary, he was the Rector of St. Mary’s Church in Belém do Pará, now St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Diocese of the Amazon.  He also worked at the Center for Anglican Studies, and was the Rector of All Saints’ Church in Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul.  From 2003 to 2006, he was the President of the House of Clergy and Laity.  He is also a lawyer, and holds a Master’s degree in Political Science.

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Luiz Coelho

Communications WG Member