Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Ivan Dias, has been appointed Prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of the Peoples at the Vatican. He will continue as administrator of the archdiocese of Bombay until he leaves to take over his responsibilities at the Vatican.
Born in Bandra, Cardinal Dias, 70, was ordained a priest in 1958 and has held several senior diplomatic positions for the Vatican over the last 33 years, the first being the secretary of the Apostolic Nunciatures in Scandinavian and Nordic countries, Indonesia and Madagascar.
He also worked as chief of desk in the Vatican for many countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia and was a papal representative in Ghana, Togo, Benin, South Korea and Albania. He was appointed archbishop of Bombay in 1996 and made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, founded in 1622, is the Vatican's department entrusted with the coordination of programs aimed at spreading the gospel in territories where Christianity is still young.
Cardinal Dias will lead one of the most important ministries in the Roman curia, and for this is popularly known as the "red father". He is in charge of Asia, Africa and Oceania. This means 1,047 bishoprics (171 archdiocese and 744 diocese, as well a deputy bishoprics, the apostolic administrations and apostolic prefectures).
Cardinal Dias speaks 18 languages and is a very brave man, capable of challenging, as he has done, organized crime in Albania, where John Paul II sent him in 1991 to reorganize the Catholic church.
Cardinal Dias replaces Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who has been appointed archbishop of Naples, himself succeeding Cardinal Michele Giordano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.