WASHINGTON (January 18, 1998) -- Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, congratulated Cardinals-designate Francis George of Chicago and J. Francis Stafford, former Archbishop of Denver and now President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, saying they "had made great contributions as leaders in the Conference and within the Church worldwide, as well as being devoted shepherds in their local Churches."
Bishop Pilla said that their dedicated efforts on behalf of the Holy See and their pastoral concern for the whole Church make them outstanding additions to the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal-designate Francis Eugene George was born in Chicago January 16, 1937. He entered the Novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957, studied theology at the University of Ottawa, and was ordained a priest on December 21, 1963.
He was Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Creighton University, Omaha, and in 1973 was elected Provincial of the Central United States Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Cardinal-designate George was named Bishop of Yakima, Washington, in 1990, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, in 1996, and Archbishop of Chicago on April 8, 1997.
James Francis Stafford was born in Baltimore, July 26, 1932. He was ordained at the North American College in Rome on December 15, 1957.
He did post-ordination studies at the Catholic University of America and at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Cardinal-designate Stafford was named Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore in 1976, Bishop of Memphis in 1982, and Archbishop of Denver in 1986.
He was appointed President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity on August 20, 1996.