A Conversation Between Friends: Fr. Sal Gonzalez, OMI and Bishop Michael McGovern, Diocese of Belleville

Belleville, IL

By Fr. Sal Gonzalez, OMI

Fr. Sal Gonzalez interviewed Bishop McGovern online

 Bishop Michael McGovern was ordained and installed as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Belleville on July 22, 2020, at St. Peter’s Cathedral.  His ordination happened during the COVID-19 virus, which limited the number of people who could attend the event.  At his ordination, Bishop McGovern expressed thanks for the friendship of those who could participate in person and through the live-streamed Mass.  The US Province of the Missionary Oblates was well represented in the person of Fr. Louis Studer, OMI Provincial. The Oblates arrived in Belleville in 1918 and have continually served the people of the Diocese.  

Fr. Sal Gonzalez, OMI from the office of Communications for the province, had the opportunity to speak to Bishop Michael on Thursday, August 13, 2020. The Bishop shared his experience of having Cardinal Francis George as Archbishop, the importance of Marian devotions, and how we as Oblates and the Mazenodian family can be cooperators with him as he begins his ministry as Bishop in the Diocese. Bishop Michael and the Oblates share a concern for the poor and abandoned with their many faces and he invites the oblates to become cooperators and collaborators in his welcome and evangelization ministry. Of pastoral concern for the Bishop are youth and addiction, ministry to the incarcerated, and extending a welcome to groups on the margins; historically these same groups have been a priority for the Oblates and their mission.  

Finally, in this interview, Bishop Michael extends his friendship to the Oblate community. In his opening remarks on the day of his ordination and installation, Bishop Michael invited everyone to a renewed friendship with Christ and the Bishop. His words of encouragement to the Oblates are words from a Bishop who wants to be a friend. 

(Click on the image below to view the 27-minute interview)