The following is the introduction of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, given by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB at Assumption University.
His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1966. He received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University while attending the North American College, and a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1986 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington in 2006. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Wuerl is known internationally for his catechetical and teaching ministry and for his efforts on behalf of Catholic education. He serves on numerous national and international bodies, is a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is chancellor of The Catholic University of America, in Washington.
The Cardinal was a Synod Father at 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. Shortly after that gathering, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Relator General for the October 2012 Vatican Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. This means that the Cardinal set the tone for the entire Synod and directed the work of the Synod Fathers and participants.
I had the distinct privilege of working with the Cardinal at the 2008 Synod and most especially at last October’s Synod on the New Evangelization during which Sebastian Gomes, the Salt and Light television producer who will thank the Cardinal at the end of today’s lecture and I served Cardinal Wuerl in his leadership role. Last March, Cardinal Wuerl was once again in Rome for the momentous papal transition that culminated in the conclave which gave us Pope Francis.
In his thought-provoking Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” – “The Joy of the Gospel” released only last week, the Bishop of Rome drew significantly from the propositions and results of the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, and therefore from the meticulous labor of Cardinal Wuerl, to offer to the world a magnificent teaching “On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World.”
In paragraph 259 of Pope Francis’ Exhortation, he writes: “Spirit-filled evangelizers means evangelizers fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit. … The Holy Spirit also grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition. …Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends, it is a distinct honor and privilege to present to you a shepherd who fits that bill very well: spirit-filled, fearlessly open to the Holy Spirit, bold in the face of opposition, one who proclaims and teaches the good news with joy, crystal clarity and exquisite kindness. To address the topic “The Challenges and Joys of the New Evangelization,” please welcome the Archbishop of Washington, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl.