HOLY SEEA papal appointment for Fr. General
Pope Francis has appointed the Oblate Superior General, Fr. Louis LOUGEN, to be a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, created in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, is currently composed of 49 members: 27 Cardinals, 16 Bishops and Archbishops, 2 National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies and 4 Superiors General, now including Father General.
At the head of the Congregation is its Prefect, His Eminence Cardinal Fernando Filoni, from Italy, and its Secretary is Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, from Hong Kong. (This position was once occupied by a former Oblate Superior General, the late Archbishop Marcello ZAGO.) Its current under-Secretary is Father Tadeusz Wojda, S.A.C., from Poland and its Adjunct Secretary and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies is Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, from Tanzania.
As a member of the Congregation, Father General will participate in its next (19th) Plenary Assembly in the autumn of next year.
Shortly after Cardinal Francis George became the eighth Archbishop of Chicago, he told some of his Oblate brothers that one of his hopes was to be the first Archbishop of that city to retire and meet his successor. All of his predecessors had died in office. On 20 September 2014, he achieved that hope. On that day, Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the pastoral care of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Chicago (USA), in conformity with the Code of Canon Law. The Cardinal had submitted the obligatory letter of resignation upon his 75th birthday in 2012. The Pope appointed as Cardinal George’s successor Bishop Blase Cupich, currently the Bishop of Spokane, Washington.
Cardinal George, formerly the Vicar General of the Oblates (1974-86), professed his first vows in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1963. He has served in Chicago since 1997. He had previously been the bishop of Yakima, Washington, and archbishop of Portland, Oregon. Pope St. John Paul II created him a Cardinal in 1998. He served as President of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops from 2007-2010.
In 2006, the Cardinal was diagnosed with bladder cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy, he was able to resume his duties, but the cancer returned in 2012 and 2014. Currently, he is undergoing a clinical trial of a new form of chemotherapy.