Pope reconfirms clergy congregation members, appoints U.S.-born prelate

Vatican City — Pope Francis has reconfirmed most members of the Congregation for Clergy and named three new members.

The new members named Monday were U.S.-born Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania; Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy; and German Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Berlin.

The departing members of the congregation include Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, retired Vatican secretary of state; Joachim Meisner, retired archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid; Dionigi Tettamanzi, retired archbishop of Milan; Paul Cordes, retired president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum; and 69-year-old Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Pope Francis also confirmed 19 current members of the congregation, including U.S. Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston; Donald Wuerl of Washington; and Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

The prefect of the Congregation for Clergy -- the office responsible for the formation, ministry and life of priests and deacons -- is Italian Cardinal Beniamino Stella, whom Pope Francis appointed in September 2013.

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Grusas, 52, was born to Lithuanian parents in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the Los Angeles area.

Before his priestly ordination in 1994, he served as a technical consultant for marketing at IBM. He served as secretary-general of the Lithuanian bishops' conference and was head of Lithuania's military ordinariate before being named archbishop of Vilnius in 2013.

With a degree in mathematics and computer science at the University of California at Los Angeles, the archbishop also studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and at Rome's Pontifical Beda College, the Pontifical Lithuanian College and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.


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