Today, Pope Benedict named bishop Donald W. Wuerl, bishop of Pittsburgh, as the new Archbishop of Washington. He will be installed on June 22, 2006. He has served as 11th bishop of Pittsburgh since February 12, 1988.
Archbishop Wuerl welcomed this nomination in a statement released this morning. “With humble heart I express my gratitude to our Holy Father for his confidence in assigning me to this important archdiocese which in its own right is a significant Catholic center but is all the more distinguished as the location of the nation’s capital.”
He went on to thank Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, his predecessor “for his gracious welcome, his generous words and his wonderful hospitality.”
“To follow in such large footprints requires an enormous amount of courage and support,” he declared.
Archbishop-designate Wuerl recalled his past experience in the Archdiocese of Washington, where he studied from 1960 through 1963 at Catholic University.
He concluded his statement asking for the support and prayers of the faithful of the Church of Washington.
Cardinal McCarrick described Archbishop-designate Wuerl as “a wonderful friend to me over so many years and I have watched with delight and deep respect – and sometimes with more than a little envy – the great things that the Church of Pittsburgh has accomplished under his leadership. I truly cannot think of a better choice for Washington than Bishop Wuerl.”
The archbishop-designate was born in Pittsburgh on November 12, 1940, and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and his doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1974. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1966, and ordained a bishop on January 6, 1986, in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
Archbishop-designate Wuerl is known from the television program "The Teaching of Christ" broadcast on CBS, the Christian Associates cable channel, and through its national syndication. His best-selling adult catechism of the same name, now in its 30th year of publication, has been translated into more than 10 languages and is used throughout the world.
Archbishop-designate Wuerl has served on numerous national and international bodies, is chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catechesis and is active on a number of boards including The Catholic University of America, the North American College in Rome, the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Pope John Paul II Intercultural Forum. In 2006, he was named chair of the National Catholic Educational Association board of directors.