Father Francis V. Tiso was Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2004 to 2009, where he served as liaison to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Sikhs, and Traditional religions as well as the Reformed confessions.
Before coming to the USCCB, Father Tiso was assigned to the Archdiocese of San Francisco where he served as Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas More Church and Chaplain at San Francisco State University and the University of California Medical School. He was also Visiting Professor in the Archdiocesan School of Pastoral Leadership, where he taught courses in Foundational Theology. He also served as Parochial Vicar in Eureka, CA and in Mill Valley, CA.
A New York native, Father Tiso holds the A.B. in Medieval Studies from Cornell University. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude) at Harvard University and holds a doctorate from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary where his specialization was Buddhist studies. He translated several early biographies of the Tibetan yogi and poet, Milarepa, for his dissertation on sanctity in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. He has led research expeditions in South Asia, Tibet and the Far East, and his teaching interests include Christian theology, history of religions, spirituality, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.
Father Tiso is a priest of the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro, Italy, where he now serves as associate pastor of San Giuseppe Lavoratore parish in Isernia. He is Diocesan Delegate for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs. He was also chaplain of the well-known Hermitage of Saints Cosmas and Damian at Isernia from 1988 to1998.
In 1995 Father Tiso was invited to accompany Cardinal Francis Arinze, then head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to a dialogue with Buddhist leaders in Taiwan. He has traveled extensively in India, Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, Japan, and Bangladesh.
Father Tiso has written and lectured widely. He is the recipient of grants from the American Academy of Religion, the American Philosophical Society, the Palmers Fund in Switzerland, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, CA. He is a musician and paints in acrylics and watercolors.
His research on Milarepa, Liberation in One Lifetime, was published in 2014, and he has recently published an article on Milarepa’s teachings on the intermediate state (the “bardo”). Tiso’s most recent book, Rainbow Body and Resurrection, explores the background to the manifestation of postmortem dissolution of the body in the case of Khenpo A Cho in 1998 in eastern Tibet.
Father Tiso is also an Association Member of Mind & Life Europe.