By Vatican News
Here are brief biographies of the Church’s most recent cardinals.
Cardinal Mario Grech of Malta is the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops. The 63-year-old former bishop of Gozo was ordained a priest on May 26, 1984. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and the Angelicum, respectively. several positions, including that of teacher, in the Church of Malta. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop in 2011 and Pope Francis called him to Rome as pro-secretary general of the synod of bishops. He was appointed Secretary General on September 15, 2020.
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro from the Italian region of Puglia is the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican. Ordained a priest on September 8, 1971, the 72-year-old cardinal taught dogmatic ecclesiology following his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Appointed Bishop of Oria in 1998, he was transferred to the Diocese of Albano in 2004. In 2013, Pope Francis appointed him secretary of the “Council of Cardinals”, which advises him on the government of the Church and of the Roman Curia. On October 15, 2020, Pope Francis appointed him head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, Archbishop of Kigali (Rwanda), lost his family, except a brother, in the genocidal war of 1994. After his studies in Burundi, Uganda and Kenya, where he also did his philosophical studies, he returned to Rwanda . The 62-year-old cardinal was ordained a priest by Saint John Paul II in Rwanda in 1990, after which he taught at the Minor Seminary of Ndera (Kigali). He has a doctorate in moral theology from Rome and led Caritas Kigali and the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Kibungo in 2013 and transferred him to the Archdiocese of Kigali in 2018.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, USA, is originally from Chicago, Illinois, where he completed his philosophical studies. Ordained a priest in 1973, he obtained a doctorate in liturgy at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint-Anselmo in Rome. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 1983, Bishop of Belleville in 1993, Archbishop of Atlanta in 2004, and Archbishop of Washington in 2019. He served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2001 to 2004.
Cardinal Jose F. Advincula, archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1976. The 68-year-old cardinal was the spiritual director of St. Pius X Seminary, where he also served as a teacher and dean of education. He studied psychology and canon law between Manila and Rome, obtaining a license in canon law. Returning home, he served in the seminaries of Vigan, Nueva Segovia and in the regional seminary of Jaro. In 1995, he was appointed rector of the Saint Pius X Seminary in Capiz and became Defender of the Link, promoter of justice and finally judicial vicar of the archdiocese. He was appointed Bishop of San Carlos in 2001 and transferred to Capiz as Archbishop in 2011.
Cardinal Celestino Aos Brac OFMCap, is the Archbishop of Santiago, Chile. Born in Artaiz, Spain, the 75-year-old cardinal was sent to Chile in 1983, where he worked in a parish and served as treasurer of the country’s Capuchins. Later he also served in the ecclesiastical tribunals of the Diocese of Valparaiso and the Archdiocese of Concepción and served as Treasurer of the Chilean Association of Canon Law. Appointed Bishop of Copiapó in 2014, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Santiago in March 2019 and named Archbishop in December of the same year.
Cardinal Cornelius Sim, is the Vicar Apostolic of Brunei. The 69-year-old electrical engineering graduate was ordained a priest in 1989. In 1997, when Pope John Paul II separated Brunei from the Diocese of Miri-Brunei and established the Apostolic Prefecture of Brunei, he appointed the cardinal prefect. When Brunei was elevated to the rank of Vicariate Apostolic, he was appointed its first Vicar Apostolic. He thus became the country’s first bishop.
Cardinal Augusto Paolo Lojudice, Archbishop of Siena-Colle Val d’Elsa-Montalcino, Italy, was ordained a priest in 1989. He held several responsibilities in the diocese of Rome, such as spiritual father at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and pastor of the parish of San Luca al Prenestino. In 2015 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Rome. In May 2019, Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Siena-Colle Val d’Elsa-Montalcino. Currently, he is secretary of the Commission for Migration of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).
Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Italian priest of the Order of Conventual Minor Friars (OFM Conv), was consecrated bishop on November 22, in view of the consistory. Aged 55, with a degree in mechanics, he also has a degree in theological anthropology. Ordained a priest in 2000, he was elected Superior of the Conventual Franciscans of the province of Saint Anthony of Bologna. In 2013 he was called to serve as Custos (custodian) of the Sacred Convent of Saint Francis in Assisi, until 2017.
Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Escape of Mexico is the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Ordained a priest in 1963, the 80-year-old cardinal has held several responsibilities in his native archdiocese of Toluca. He was appointed Bishop of Tapachula in 1991. He served as Secretary General of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM). In 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi of Italy is a Scalabrinian missionary is a former Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Ordained a priest in 1965, the 80-year-old cardinal served as the bishops’ US pastoral director for migrants, refugees and travelers. From 1989 to 1996 he was Secretary of the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, after which he was appointed Archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 2000, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Djibouti. From 2003 to 2016, he was a permanent observer of the Holy See to the offices of the United Nations and other organizations in Geneva. In 2016, Pope Francis appointed him a member of the former Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, now the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap is the preacher of the papal household. Aged 86, this Italian graduate in theology and classical literature is a former professor at the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. A former member of the International Theological Commission, he left teaching in 1979 to devote himself to the ministry of the Word. Pope John Paul II appointed him preacher of the pontifical household in 1980, a position that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis also confirmed. His many books have been translated into many languages.
Cardinal Enrico Feroci of Italy is the parish priest of the famous Roman Marian shrine of Divino Amore (Divine Love). The 80-year-old cardinal was ordained a priest in 1965 and has held several responsibilities in the diocese of Rome. He was appointed Pope’s Chaplain in 1995. Since 2017 he has been Rector of the Sanctuary of Divino Amore and since 2018 Rector of the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love. In 2019, he was appointed pastor of the sanctuary.