The AP broke the story, and local media is now confirming, that Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane will succeed Cardinal Francis George as archbishop of Chicago.
The Archdiocese of Chicago is expected to make the official announcement tomorrow morning at a press conference.
Cardinal George, who has served as archbishop of Chicago since 1997, recently began an experimental treatment for his third bout of cancer, and last spring asked the papal nuncio for the United States to begin the process of naming his successor.
Bishop Cupich, 65, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975 and has served as bishop of Spokane, in Eastern Washington, since 2010. He was formerly bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, and has served in numerous leadership positions for the US bishops’ conference, including as chair of the conference’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. He was one of the nominees for the conference’s presidency at its general assembly last year.
The naming of Bishop Cupich is the most significant US episcopal appointment of Pope Francis’ pontificate to date, and, given the historic influence of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cupich’s age, is one that will likely have long-lasting ramifications for the American Church. The Archdiocese of Chicago is home to more than two million Catholics and is the third-largest diocese in the US. Cupich will serve as the archdiocese’s ninth archbishop; the last six archbishops of Chicago were named cardinals.
UPDATE: It’s official.
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