The name of Father Oliviero Svanera was chosen by the Holy Father himself out of a roster of three names which the Minister General of the Conventual Franciscan Order, Fr. Marco Tasca, had submitted to him in accordance with the procedure set down by the Apostolic Constitution Memorias Sanctorum (V.3), which regulates the conduction of the Pontifical Basilica. The Holy Father acted in accord with the Pontifical Delegate and the Minister Provincial of Provincia Italiana di S. Antonio di Padova, Fr. Giovanni Voltan.
Fr. Svanera takes over from Fr. Enzo Poiana, who died unexpectedly this August, and will remain in charge of the Basilica until the 2021 Chapter.
The Franciscan friars of the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua have expressed their joy in learning of the nomination: “We would like to express our gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for this gift. We are sure that, in collaboration with the Pontifical Delegate, Fr. Oliviero will continue in Fr. Enzo’s footsteps to serve all the pilgrims who flock daily to the Basilica.”
Fr. Oliviero was born in Lumezzane, near Brescia in Northern Italy, on 12 April 1959, and currently holds the position of Vicar Provincial of Provincia Italiana di S. Antonio di Padova. Fr Oliviero will remain in charge as Vicar Provincial until the March 2017 Chapter.
After his Solemn Profession on 4 October 1984, Fr. Oliviero was ordained as a priest on 28 June 1986 in Brescia by Msgr. Antonio Vitale Bommarco. Fr Oliviero obtained a Doctorate in Moral Theology at the Accademia Alfonsiana of Rome in 1989. During his studies in the Eternal City he also worked as a parish cooperator for the Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Rome from 1986 to 1988.
On his return to his own Province in Padua, Fr. Oliviero taught Moral Theology at the Instituto Teologico S. Antonio Dottore in Padua; in the Facoltà Teologica of Northern Italy, and finally in the Facoltà Teologica of the Triveneto (1988 – 2016).
He was Vice Rector of the Seminario Teologico S. Antonio Dottore in Padua (1988-1996), subsequently Rector of the Seminario Teologico OFM Conv. at Camposampiero near Padua (1996-1997); then President of the Instituto Teologico S. Antonio Dottore and Vice Director of the Corso Istituzionale ‘S. Antonio Dottore’ of the Padua Section of the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy (1997-2005).
Fr. Oliviero has also held important tasks within his own Province: Provincial Definitor and President of the Provincial Commission for the Pastoral of Young People and of Vocations (1997-2005), Superior of the Convento dei Santuari Antoniani of Camposampiero (2005-2013) and finally, as mentioned above, Vicar Provincial (2013-2016).
For the last fifteen years Fr. Oliviero, on account of his studies in Moral Theology, has worked intensively in spiritual counseling of engaged couples, families, the separated and those in difficult marriage relationships. He has also promoted various Franciscan initiatives at the Santuari Antoniani at Camposampiero.
Fr. Oliviero is in the Editorial Board of the theological magazine Credereoggi. He has published numerous books, among which are: Sposarsi? Una scelta di libertà e grazia, EMP, Padova 2011; Tu sei amore. Una prospettiva francescana sulla coppia, EMP, Padova 2013; Amori feriti. La chiesa in cammino con separati e divorziati, EMP, Padova 2013.