CHICAGO NATIVE TO HEAD POWERFUL DICASTERY FOR BISHOPS
Today was a busy news day in the Vatican, filled with events and meetings and a big appointment, as it often is just before a Pope leaves on a foreign apostolic pilgrimage. In fact, Francis departs tomorrow for the DRC, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and for South Sudan, returning to Rome on February 5. Francis today met with the General Chaptrer of the Order of Malta, Bolivia’s foreign minister and entourage, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and members of the Italian Federation of Water Volleyball.
In big news for both the Vatican and the United States, Pope Francis today appointed a Chicago-born Augustinian missionary, Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, to head the powerful Dicastery for Bishops. He succeeds Cardinal Marc Ouellet whose resignation was announced today as having reached the age limit of 75. Ouellet turned 78 in June of 2022. Accused of sexual assault last year, the cardinal has stated his innocence in writing and a video. In addition, a Vatican preliminary investigation found insufficient evidence to start a formal cause.
Bishop Prevost will take office on April 12 with the title of archbishop-elect.
POPE NAMES MISSIONARY BISHOP TO HEAD DICASTERY FOR BISHOPS
Pope Francis has named Robert Francis Prevost, an Augustinian missionary who has been serving as Bishop of Chiclayo in Peru, as the new prefect for the Dicastery of Bishops. Bishop Prevost succeeds Cardinal Marc Ouellet, both as prefect and as president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
By Vatican News
The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the offices of prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, presented, by His Eminence Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., upon reaching the age limit, and has called Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, O.S.A., until now bishop of Chiclayo, Peru, to succeed him in the same offices, at the same time conferring the title of Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Chiclayo. He will assume office on 12 April 2023.
Biography of Robert Francis Prevost
Robert Francis Prevost, 67, was born in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on 14 September 1955. He entered the novitiate of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) in 1977, in the province of Our Lady of Good Counsel in St. Louis, and made his solemn vows on 29 August 1981. He studied at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, graduating with a degree in Theology.
At age 27, he was sent by the Order to Rome to study Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). He received priestly ordination on 19 June 1982. He received his Licentiate in 1984, then was sent to work in the mission in Chulucanas, Piura, Peru (1985-1986).
In 1987 he received his doctorate with the thesis, “The Role of the Local Prior of the Order of St. Augustine.” In the same year he was elected vocations director and missions director of the Augustinian Province of “Mother of Good Counsel.”
In 1988 he was sent to the mission of Trujillo as director of the common formation project for Augustinian aspirants from the Vicariates of Chulucanas, Iquitos, and Apurímac. There he served as community prior (1988-1992), formation director (1988-1998), and teacher of the professed (1992-1998). In the Archdiocese of Trujillo, he was judicial vicar (1989-1998), and professor of Canon Law, Patristics, and Morals in the San Carlos e San Marcelo Major Seminary.
In 1999 he was elected prior provincial of the “Mother of Good Counsel” Province. After two and a half years, the Ordinary General Chapter elected him prior general, a ministry the Order entrusted to him again at the 2007 Ordinary General Chapter.
In October 2013 he returned to his province to be teacher of the professed and vicar provincial; positions he held until Pope Francis appointed him apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Chiclayo, Perun, on 3 November 2014, elevating him to the episcopal dignity of titular bishop of the Diocese of Sufar. He took canonical possession of the diocese on 7 November in the presence of Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop James Patrick Green; he was ordained bishop on 12 December, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Cathedral of his diocese.
He has been bishop of Chiclayo since 26 September 2015. He has served as second vice president of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference since March 2018. Pope Francis appointed him a member of the Congregation for the Clergy in 2019 and a member of the Congregation for Bishops in 2020.