It is expected that Pope Benedict XVI will nominate Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap., 66, of Denver, a Native American Indian (Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe), as the 13th Bishop and 9th Archbishop of Philadelphia. He replaces His Eminence, Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali, 76, who has served the Archdiocese since 2003. The Cardinal has been a priest for 50 years, a bishop for 26 years and a cardinal for nearly 8 years.
Charles Joseph Chaput was born in Concordia, Kansas. He entered
the Saint Augustine Province of the Capuchin Franciscans in 1965, professing vows at 21 in 1967.
Chaput earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Saint Fidelis College Seminary in Herman, Pennsylvania, in 1967, and completed Studies in Psychology at Catholic University in Washington DC, in 1969. A year later he earned a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Capuchin College in Washington DC and was ordained to the priesthood on August 29, 1970. By 1971, Father Charles Chaput earned a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of San Francisco.
For several years Father Chaput served the Capuchin mission as a teacher, spiritual director, pastor, and in the administration of his Capuchin province. In 1988, Pope John Paul II nominated Father Charles Chaput as the Bishop of Rapid City, SD. The same Pope appointed him Archbishop of Denver on February 18, 1997.
The new Philadelphia archbishop has been a priest for 41 years and a bishop for 23 years. Archbishop Chaput is one of two Capuchin archbishops and he’ll be the second American Capuchin, on the east coast, –the other being Boston’s Archbishop, Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, OFM Cap.– and the first Native American to be a cardinal; Philadelphia is not expected to forego its cardinalatial status as St Louis and Detroit have done. It is unlikely, however, that Chaput would be given the cardinal’s title for 4 years.
According to the 2010 stats, there are 1.46 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
According to the 2006 stats, there are 400 thousand Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver.
Get to know Archbishop Chaput’s thinking by reading his addresses found here.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Francis and Saint Clare, Saint John Neumann, pray for Archbishop Chaput and the faithful of Philadelphia.