Father Andrew Liaugminas of the Archdiocese of Chicago has been appointed to serve at the doctrine section of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The 37-year-old priest told the Chicago Catholic newspaper the appointment was a “surprise.”

“After praying over this, I saw that it was the Lord’s will. There was a real sense of the Holy Spirit being in this call to service,” he said.

“The congregation has a special responsibility to serve the Holy Father and the universal Church in helping to clarify questions of the faith and settle questions that arise,” Fr. Liaugminas continued. “In all matters concerning faith and morals, the congregation offers a vital and indispensable service to help Catholics navigate important topics in the light of Christ.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is headed by the Cardinal Luis Ladaria, S.J., and plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of teaching throughout the Church. Its consultors include cardinals, bishops, priests, canon lawyers, and lay theologians. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the congregation under St. John Paul II.

Father John Kartje, rector of Mundelein Seminary, praised the priest’s appointment.

“Father Andrew brings a rare combination of excellent scholarship and a pastoral heart,” Kartje told CNA in a statement. “I know he will be of great service to the universal Church.”

Fr. Liaugminas is expected to serve in his new role for five years. He has some fluency in six languages and will have responsibilities that include the English-speaking world.

During his last four years in Chicago, Fr. Liaugminas has served as chaplain and director at Calvert House, the Catholic chaplaincy for the University of Chicago. He was a theology professor at Mundelein Seminary, with Christology among the subjects he taught.

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“While the roles of university chaplain and seminary professor are different in several ways, in both roles I was serving the encounter with Jesus Christ, and helping people understand the beauty of our faith,” the priest told the Chicago Catholic.

Fr. Liaugminas was ordained in 2010 by Cardinal Francis George, then-Archbishop of Chicago. From 2010 to 2013 was associate pastor at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish in the northwest Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. In 2013, Chicago’s Archdiocese Catholic Committee on Scouting gave the priest its St. George Award for his work mentoring Scouts, the local news site Patch reported.

After four years in Rome, he earned a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

According to the university website, Fr. Liaugminas’ dissertation was titled “We Have Seen His Glory: Uncreated Glory and Human Participation in the Johannine Christology of Thomas Aquinas and Hans Urs von Balthasar.” In 2018, he was a nominee for the Gregorian’s Bellarmine Award, given to the best doctoral dissertation in theology.