Pope Names Cardinal Wuerl to Vatican Congregation for Bishops

December 16, 2013

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Pope Francis today named Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. The responsibilities of the congregation include moderating all aspects of episcopal appointments, assisting bishops in the correct exercise of their pastoral functions, handling ad limina visits (regular visits to Rome by bishops every five years) and establishing episcopal conferences and reviewing their decrees as required by canon law. The congregation is headed by its prefect, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S.

Cardinal Wuerl was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis. He serves on numerous national and international bodies and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, chancellor of The Catholic University of America and chairman of the board of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation and of The Papal Foundation. He serves on the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Clergy, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Culture and is former chairman of numerous committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Committee on Doctrine, and is a member of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis and the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Cardinal Wuerl is known for his teaching ministry and is involved nationally and internationally in education, health care and social service organizations. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including the best-selling catechisms, The Teaching of Christ and The Catholic Way. His recent books include, The Mass(2011), Seek First the Kingdom (2012), Faith That Transforms Us: Reflections on the Creed (January 2013), New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today (January 2013) and The Church (March 2013).

Cardinal Wuerl hosted Pope Benedict XVI in Washington in April 2008 on the Holy Father’s historic journey to the United States. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the Relator General for the October 2012 Vatican Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.

The Cardinal was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University while attending the Pontifical North American College and a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 17, 1966, and ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 6, 1986, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. He served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington. His titular church in Rome is Saint Peter in Chains.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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