Ten prelates nominated for US bishops' conference president

USCCB 2012 Fall General Assembly Credit Michelle Bauman CNA 4 CNA US Catholic News 11 12 12 USCCB 2012 Fall General Assembly. | Michelle Bauman/CNA.

Ten bishops are nominees to become the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the group's general assembly to be held in Baltimore Nov. 11-14.

The nominees come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The conference president plays a significant role in coordinating and leading charitable and social work and education, while providing a public face for the Catholic Church in the U.S.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond is the first New Orleans native to head the city's archdiocese, where he had served as an auxiliary bishop from 1997-2000. He is former Bishop of Austin, and has been archbishop of New Orleans since 2009.

The archbishop recently made news for asking Catholic schools in his archdiocese to stop holding Sunday events in order to reduce temptations to neglect faith and family life.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., has headed the Philadelphia archdiocese since 2011, where he has been working to help the Church recover from a severe sex abuse scandal, financial deficits, and declining church attendance. Previously, he headed the Denver archdiocese since 1997. He was Bishop of Rapid City from 1988-1997.

He is known for his media engagement, his openness to discuss political issues and other cultural topics, and his efforts to engage Catholics in public life. The Kansas native made his solemn profession with the Capuchin Franciscans in 1968. He served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2003-2006.

Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane formerly headed the Diocese of Rapid City from 1998-2010. He served as a priest in Omaha, and was rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio from 1989-1996.

Bishop Cupich received a doctorate of sacred theology in sacramental theology from the Catholic University of America.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He was Bishop of Sioux City from 1998-2004.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1977; before becoming a bishop he served in the Congregation for Bishops and was an adjunct professor at the Pontifical North American College. He holds degrees in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Patristic Institute Augustianum. He previously headed the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles is the leading Hispanic Catholic bishop in the U.S. Heading the largest archdiocese in the country, he previously served as Archbishop of San Antonio from 2005-2010 and was an auxiliary bishop of Denver from 2001-2005.

He has been involved with the National Association of Hispanic Priests and is a co-founder of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders. The archbishop is also known for his work supporting vocations, Hispanic ministry and pro-life efforts. He currently chairs the bishops' Committee on Migration and is a board member of ENDOW: Educating on the Nature and dignity of Women.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville is the current vice-president of the U.S. bishops' conference. He served as Bishop of Knoxville from 1999-2007 after serving as a priest of the Diocese of Allenstown for 27 years, in social services, diocesan administration, and parish ministry.

He is the vice chancellor of the board of the Catholic Extension Society and an advisor to the Catholic Social Workers National Association, the Archdiocese of Louisville website says. He is on the board of directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and on the advisory board to the cause for the canonization of Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore served on the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse in 2002, at the height of the sexual abuse scandals, and played a key role in drafting the bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

He was named Bishop of Bridgeport, in March 2001 after serving as auxiliary bishop of Washington from 1995-2001. While there, he successfully led a religious liberty fight against a radical state legislative proposal that would have remade the legal structure of the Catholic Church. He now heads the bishops' ad hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr has headed the Cincinnati archdiocese since 2009, and was Bishop of Duluth from 2001-2008.

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He served as a priest in the Diocese of Sioux City before working at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C. from 1985-1989. He served as national executive director for World Youth Day 1993, held in Denver, Colo.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit was an auxiliary bishop of Detroit from 1996-2003 before becoming Bishop of Oakland in 2003. He served in the Vatican Secretariat of State in the early 1990s and also served as an adjunct instructor at the Gregorian.

He is a member of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine and its Subcommittee on the Catechism.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami has chaired the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Miami in 1997 and later served as Bishop of Orlando before returning to head the Miami archdiocese.

He has ministered to Haitians and Cubans living in the U.S. and speaks both Haitian Creole and Spanish. As director of Miami's Catholic Charities affiliate, he helped lead a major relief operation for victims of a 1996 hurricane in Cuba and then led similar efforts elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The U.S. bishops' conference's current president is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose three-year term is coming to a close.

In the 2010 leadership election, the U.S. bishops chose then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York over Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, the conference vice-president. The move was unprecedented, as the bishops have customarily chosen the previous conference vice-president to serve as president.

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