BALTIMORE — Meeting in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting, the U.S. bishops selected their choices for delegates to next year’s synod on the family, sources confirmed to CNA.
The delegates, in order of election, are: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. bishops’ conference; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who is hosting the 2015 World Meeting of Families; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the bishops’ conference vice president; and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the country, who leads the nation’s largest diocese.
The two alternates elected are Archbishop-designate Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who heads the U.S. bishops’ defense and promotion of marriage subcommittee.
After being elected, the delegates’ names will be sent to the Vatican for approval.
If confirmed, the delegates will participate in the 2015 synod on the family, a global meeting of bishops to be held next October in Rome. That synod will follow one that was previously completed this year, discussing a wide variety of matters related to marriage and family across the globe.
Archbishops Kurtz and Chaput
Archbishop Kurtz was born in Mahanoy City, Pa. in 1946. He studied divinity and social work, and he was ordained a priest in 1972. After serving as a diocesan priest with a focus on social services, diocesan administration and parish ministry, he served as Bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., from 1999-2007.
Since 2007, he has led the Archdiocese of Louisville. He was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2013, after completing three years as the conference vice president. He had earlier served as chair of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage and Family Life.
The archbishop is also a member of the board of directors for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, on the advisory board to the cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification, and he was appointed earlier this year to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Archbishop Kurtz recently co-authored a booklet on the vocation of Christian parenthood and Christian parents’ relationship with their parish. The booklet focuses on a prayer called “The Blessing of the Child in the Womb,” which was drafted by the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Born in 1944 in Concordia, Kansas, Archbishop Chaput was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He was ordained bishop of Rapid City, S.D., in 1988 and was appointed archbishop of Denver by Pope John Paul II in 1997. While in Denver, Archbishop Chaput launched the local St. John Vianney Seminary, which boasts one of the highest seminary enrollment rates in the country.
He was also influential in the success of several Colorado-based organizations, including the nationwide missionary group Fellowship of Catholic University Students, the international women’s group Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women and the Augustine Institute, a lay Catholic graduate school.
As a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the first American-Indian archbishop. He has served on several U.S. bishops’ committees involving marriage and family, pro-life activities, immigration and religious freedom. Earlier this year, Pope Francis appointed him to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The archbishop was chosen to lead Philadelphia in 2011. He is currently leading efforts to organize the highly anticipated 2015 World Meeting of Families, which will take place next September in Philadelphia. The event is expected to draw 1 million participants from around the globe and is widely expected to bring Pope Francis to the United States.
Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez
Cardinal DiNardo was born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1949. He studied philosophy and theology, and he was ordained a priest in 1977. He became coadjutor bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, in 1997 and was named coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston in January 2004.
He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in November 2007. The cardinal was chosen vice president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference in 2013. He previously served as the head of the bishops’ pro-life committee. In addition, he is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and the Pontifical Council for the Economy.
Appointed in 2010 to shepherd the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop Gomez heads the largest U.S. diocese, with more than 4 million Catholics. He is the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the United States.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1951, he holds degrees in accounting, philosophy and theology and was ordained an Opus Dei priest in 1978. In 2001, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Denver, and in 2005, he was appointed archbishop of San Antonio. Archbishop Gomez has worked extensively in Hispanic ministry and played a key role in creating the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders.
In 2005, he was named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and in 2007, he was on CNN’s list of “Notable Hispanics” in a Web special celebrating “Hispanic Heritage Month.” In 2008, Archbishop Gomez was appointed as a consultant to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He has served in various roles for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in areas including cultural diversity, doctrine, Hispanics and the liturgy.