Mourning +Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Gardin, OFM Conv.

On the afternoon of Friday, June 21, 2024, news arrived from the Diocese of Treviso, Italy, that at the Clergy House in Treviso, after weeks of rapidly declining health, the Lord called to Himself Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Garden, age 80, former Minister Provincial of the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy) and former Minister General of the Conventual Franciscan Order.

Born in San Polo di Piave, Italy, on March 15, 1944, during the war, he returned with his family to live in the Parish of Frari in Venice, where he met and often visited with the friars of the historic basilica there. At age 14, he asked to join the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.

After graduating high school in Brescia and completing his novitiate year in Padua, he made his temporary profession on September 20, 1961, and his solemn profession on October 4, 1965, each time in the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua.

He completed his high school studies in Brescia (1961-1964) and his philosophy and theology studies in Padua (1965-1970). After his priestly ordination on March 21, 1970, he earned a degree in moral theology from the Pontifical Lateran University-Alphonsian Academy in Rome.

He served as a formator in our seminaries, sharing his talents as a member of the formation team of the Theological Seminary (1973-1976) and as a professor of moral theology at the St. Anthony, Doctor Theological Institute affiliated with the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure in Rome (1973-1988).
He was a collaborator on the St. Anthony’s Messenger Magazine, starting in 1978. In 1981, he created the magazine Credere Oggi [Belief Today], a tool for orientation and theological learning, which immediately established itself in the field of theological study for its informative, monographic and systematic approach. He remained the director if Credere Oggi until 1988, the year he was elected Minister Provincial of the Province of Padua. He was re-elected Minister Provincial at the Provincial Chapters of 1991 and 1994.

In fulfillment of the plans that the Province made for itself during the years of his provincialate, Friar Gianfranco Agostino encouraged and promoted the path of fraternal life in the communities and gave impetus to missionary activity. During his provincialate, the mission in Ghana completed it development and became a Provincial Custody. Moreover, a plan to open a mission in Chile was given a concrete start.

On June 3, 1995, Friar Gianfranco Agostino was elected the 117th Minister General. During his mandate (1995-2001) he was committed to guiding the Order, making frequent visits to the various Provinces and paying particular attention to the Conventual presences in the countries of Eastern Europe which were recovering after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was attentive to all the mission presences and launched the Province of Zambia.
After returning to his home Province, on July 10, 2006, the Pope appointed him as titular Archbishop of Cissa (Croatia) and Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He served as the titular Bishop of Torcello (Italy) from November 1, 2007, to December 18, 2009; the Bishop of Treviso from December 18, 2009, to July 6, 2019. As Bishop Emeritus of Treviso, he lived in the Friary of Sant’Antonio, Dottore in Padua from 2020 until June of 2022 and then lived at the Clergy House in Treviso from June of 2022 until June 21, 2024.