Cardinal from Galveston-Houston archdiocese to lead U.S. bishops
— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 15 elected Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who leads the large Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas, to be its new president.
The conference also elected another cardinal from a heavily Hispanic archdiocese, Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, to be its vice president.
The election came just days after Gomez made an impassioned plea for immigrants, many of whom lack legal status and face deportation or family separations if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on the most draconian of his campaign statements.
“Tonight in America — children are afraid; men and women are worried and anxious, thinking about where they can run and hide,” Gomez said at a service called last week after the presidential election. “This should not be happening in America. ... We are better than this.”
DiNardo, elected to a threeyear term, succeeds the outgoing president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.
DiNardo himself just wrapped up a three-year term as vice president, and bishops usually elevate their vice president to the presidency as a matter of formality.
So in some ways the greater suspense was on who would
become vice president this year, and what message it might send about the bishops' responses to the agendas of both Pope Francis and Trump.
Gomez's visibility on the immigration issue, which harmonizes with Pope Francis's stance and is a challenge to Trump's campaign rhetoric, is an early indication of the bishops endorsing that priority.
Some of the other candidates on the slate for vice president included archbishops known for a conservative social agenda and who, despite presiding over historic seats of Catholic power, were not promoted by Pope Francis to the rank of cardinal during the pontiff's recent series of red-hat appointments.
DiNardo was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and grew up attending St. Anne Church in Castle Shannon in Pittsburgh's South Hills.
He graduated from Duquesne University and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1977. He served as a seminary professor and administrator both in Pittsburgh and in Rome, and his work as pastor included the 1994 founding of SS. John and Paul Church in Franklin Park in the growing North Hills.
He became a bishop in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1997 and later moved to Galveston-Houston, an archdiocese of 1.3 million Catholics, becoming archbishop in 2006 and a cardinal in 2007.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo takes part in the procession prior to a 125th anniversary Mass at St. Anne Parish in Castle Shannon in 2014. The cardinal grew up in Castle Shannon and attended St. Anne School.