By Christian George
The Catholic head, Pope Francis, has appointed an American missionary, Robert Francis Prevost, as the prefect of the dicastery for bishops.
This is part of his continued generational turnover in the Roman Curia.
The new prefect for bishops, an Augustinian friar and bishop of Chiclayo, will take the place of Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
His new role includes the selection of bishops around the world and at the presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, except for the one in Propaganda Fide territory.
Bishop Prevost is to fully assume office on April 12, 2023.
In his lifetime as a priest, he has served as bishop of the Diocese of Chiclayo in Peru since 2015 even as he is a native of Chicago.
Aside his appointment as prefect, he was appointed by Pope Francis as a member of both the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Clergy, a sign of the pope’s particular fondness for his work, according to ewtnvatican.com.
Born in 1955, an Augustinian novice since 1977, and a priest since 1982, he was a missionary in Peru from 1985 to 1999, when he returned to Chicago as a provincial of the local Augustinian province.
Between 2001 to 2013, he was the prior general of the Order of St. Augustine for two six-year terms. From 2013 to 2014, before he was appointed apostolic administrator and then bishop of Chiclayo, he was director of the formation at St. Augustine’s Convent in Chicago, first counselor and vicar provincial of the province of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
The Augustinian is to take the place of Cardinal Marc Ouellet who had led the dicastery since 2010.
Quellet, nearly 79 years old, is bowing out three and a half years before retirement.