Pope Elevates Archbishop Wuerl to College of Cardinals

October 20, 2010

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Pope Benedict XVI today named Washington’s Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, 69, to the College of Cardinals. As a Cardinal, Cardinal-designate Wuerl will serve as an advisor to the Pope and will be eligible to vote in a Papal election until his 80th birthday. A consistory to formally elevate the new Cardinals will be held at the Vatican on November 20. A Mass with the Pope will be held the following day.

Cardinal-designate Wuerl said, “This truly is an honor for the Archdiocese of Washington, the Church in the nation’s capital, and for all of the clergy, religious and parishioners of this local Church who every day live out their faith in commitment and deep love for Christ. I am humbled by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s trust in me as shepherd of this flock and pledge to him my renewed fidelity, affection and loyalty.”

Cardinal-designate Wuerl celebrated the 8:00 a.m. Mass on the morning of the announcement at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, then spoke to the media.

He then traveled to Houston, Texas to deliver the keynote address for the Center for Faith and Culture at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, Texas at 7:30 p.m. The topic is Religious Faith’s Role in Building a Good and Just Society.

Cardinal-designate Wuerl is the fifth Archbishop of Washington since the archdiocese was founded in 1939 to have received this honor. The others were Cardinals Patrick A. O’Boyle, William W. Baum, James A. Hickey and Theodore E. McCarrick.

Cardinal McCarrick welcomed the news, saying, “The announcement will be greeted here and, indeed, throughout our country with a special joy. We have been so blessed to have him as our shepherd for these past four years. He has shown himself to be a devoted pastor, a brilliant scholar and a courageous leader. He has been a great friend, a most considerate counselor to me and his graciousness to me as his predecessor is mirrored in his generous care and concern for all the people in this complex and challenging See.”

Cardinal-designate Wuerl became the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington on June 22, 2006 after 18 years as the Bishop of Pittsburgh. A leader in community, ecumenical and interfaith activities, he regularly works with civic and business leaders on educational and community-service initiatives. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on the Catholic faith and has headed numerous committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Education, Evangelization and Catechesis. He currently is the chair of the Committee on Doctrine and recently was named by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as the Vatican’s delegate for Anglican parishes in the United States who are seeking unification with the Roman Catholic Church.

In April 2008, he hosted Pope Benedict XVI during the Holy Father’s visit to Washington, DC. In September 2010, he released a pastoral letter calling upon Catholics to renew their faith as part of a New Evangelization. Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision is online at www.adw.org. Earlier this week, he announced the Archdiocese will open a new seminary in fall 2011 due to an increase in the number of seminarians in college and pre-theology studies.

Wuerl is chancellor of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, chairman of the board of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and past chairman of the National Catholic Educational Association and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. A native of Pittsburgh, he received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, Gregorian University in Rome, Italy and the University of St. Thomas in Rome, where he received a doctorate in theology in 1974. Ordained to the priesthood in 1966, he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and will celebrate his 25th anniversary as a bishop in January 2011.

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