VATICAN CITY — On Thursday, the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision to nominate Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago as a new member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.
The Pope’s appointment of Archbishop Cupich to the Vatican department was announced in a July 7 communiqué from the Vatican.
The Congregation of Bishops, currently headed by Cardinal Marc Oullet, is responsible for what pertains to the “establishment and provision of particular Churches and to the exercise of the episcopal office in the Latin Church” — primarily, overseeing the process of selecting and appointing bishops.
Archbishop Cupich’s nomination to the congregation comes just two years after he was tapped to lead the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was appointed as archbishop of Chicago by Pope Francis on Sept. 20, 2014, replacing Cardinal Francis George.
He was also among the 45 bishops appointed by Pope Francis to participate in the 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Born in Omaha, Neb., in 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and studied at the College of St. Thomas in Minnesota, as well as the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In 1998, he was named bishop of Rapid City, S.D., and in 2010, he was named bishop of Spokane, Wash. He took over for Cardinal George due to the cardinal’s failing health. Archbishop Cupich was installed as the ninth archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18, 2014.
In December 2013, nine months after his election to the papacy, Pope Francis made significant changes in the congregation’s membership, appointing several new members and confirming others in the roles they already held.
Among those appointed at that time was Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who also serves on several pontifical councils, as well as committees of U.S. bishops. He served as relator general for the October 2012 Vatican Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization and was also among those tapped by Francis to participate in the 2015 synod of bishops.
Other members of the congregation appointed by Pope Francis in 2013 include: Cardinals Francisco Robles Ortega, Ruben Salazar Gomez, Kurt Koch and João Braz de Aviz, as well as Archbishops Pietro Parolin, Beniamino Stella, Lorenzo Baldisseri, Vincent Nichols, Paolo Rabitti and Bishop Felix Genn.
Those whose membership he confirmed were: Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, Zenon Grocholewski, George Pell, Agostino Vallini, Antonio Cañizares Llovera, André Vingt-Trois, Jean-Louis Tauran, William Levada (prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), Leonardo Sandri, Giovanni Lajolo, Stanislaw Rylko, Francesco Monterisi, Santos Abril y Castelló, Giuseppe Bertello and Giuseppe Versaldi, as well as Archbishops Claudio Maria Celli, José Octavio Ruiz Arenas and Zygmunt Zimowski.