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Montevideo, October 1st 2023 - 06:42 UTC



Pope Francis picks Río Gallegos Bishop as new head of Church in Argentina

Saturday, May 27th 2023 - 08:00 UTC
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The 55-year-old García Cuerva was appointed Bishop of Río Gallegos in 2019 The 55-year-old García Cuerva was appointed Bishop of Río Gallegos in 2019

Pope Francis has picked the 55-year-old Bishop of Río Gallegos Jorge García Cuerva to become the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires after Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli submitted his resignation due to his age. Poli succeeded Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he became Pope in 2013.

García Cuerva, a so-called “slum priest,” is to take office next Saturday, July 15 in the archbishopric of Buenos Aires. He is considered a great scholar with a deep pastoral insertion, especially in the prison area, and with an important social trajectory in the popular neighborhoods of the Buenos Aires suburbs.

The Vatican accepted Poli's resignation after reaching the age of 75 on Nov. 29, 2022, and appointed him Apostolic Administrator of Buenos Aires, with Archdiocesan Archbishop powers pending the canonical inauguration of his successor.

Born on April 12, 1968, García Cuerva had been appointed auxiliary bishop of Lomas de Zamora on Nov. 20, 2017, and then bishop of Río Gallegos on Jan. 3, 2019. The new archbishop has been a member of the Dicastery for Bishops since July 20, 2021, and Pontifical Commissioner of the Institute of Diocesan Law Miles Christi since Nov. 2022.

García Cuerva entered law school at the University of Buenos Aires in 1986, at the same time he began his missionary work in the poor neighborhoods of El Palito and El Garrote, in the town of Tigre in the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires.

On March 14, 1989, García Cuerva entered the seminary of the Diocese of San Isidro. He was ordained a priest on October 24, 1997, in the Cathedral of San Isidro by then Bishop Jorge Casaretto.

As part of his priestly formation, he studied Philosophy and Theology at the Institute of St. Augustine and, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Theology, and the following postgraduate degrees: Bachelor of Theology (2003), with a specialization in Church history - Thesis: ”The Church in Buenos Aires during the yellow fever epidemic of 1871″; and Bachelor of Canon Law (2016) - Thesis: “Ecclesiastical funerals and cemeteries in canon law”. From the Catholic University of Salta, Argentina, he obtained his law degree (2009).

After his priestly ordination in 1997, he was incardinated in the Diocese of San Isidro, where he began his ministry in the popular neighborhoods of the suburbs and was parochial vicar of the Nuestra Señora de la Cava Church, in the middle of the La Cava slum.

In 2006 he became parish priest of the Santa Clara de Asís Church in the El Talar, Tigre, in the popular neighborhoods of San Pablo and Almirante Brown; and in 2014 he returned to La Cava as parish priest.

He was a member of the National Commission on Drug Addiction of the Argentine Episcopal Conference until 2013.

He also played a key role as a prison chaplain in the province of Buenos Aires and was a representative of Latin America and the Caribbean to the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care (ICCPPC) in 2010 and 2017.

García Cuerva has all the credentials to be a true successor of Bergoglio, who in addition to his own career as a slum priest as depicted in the movie The Two Popes, is known for being a fan of football team San Lorenzo de Almagro, whose supporters are known as “cuervos” (vultures).

Categories: Argentina, International.

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