Pope names Daniel DiNardo, ex-Pittsburgher, a cardinal
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Archhbishop Daniel DiNardo, 58, of Galveston-Houston, a former Pittsburgh priest and founding pastor of SS. John and Paul Catholic Church in Marshall, has been named a cardinal.
Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement in Rome shortly before noon, around 6 a.m. in Pittsburgh. The only other American to be named was Archbishop John Foley, a native Philadelphian who has worked for many years in the Vatican. Cardinal-designate Foley is grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, but was for many years the head of the Pontifical Office for Social Communications, which handles electronic media for the Vatican.
Many people had expected another Pittsburgh native and longtime prelate here, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C., to be named. However Archbishop Wuerl had been actively discouraging speculation on the matter, saying it was very unlikely. The reason is believed to be that his predecessor in Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is still very active and is eligible to vote in a conclave until he turns 80 in July 2010. It is virtually unheard of to have two voting cardinals in the same archdiocese.
The Rev. Louis Vallone received a call immediately after the pope's announcement from Cardinal-designate DiNardo, a close friend. They have known each other since 1963, when the future cardinal enrolled two classes behind him at the former Bishop's Latin School in Pittsburgh.
"I have always said frrm the very beginning that he is the best that the American church has to offer," said Father Vallone, pastor of St. John of God in McKees Rocks and administrator of St. Catherine in Crescent.
"He is a man of absolute native brilliance and intelligence. He is a man who is 100 percent a pastor at heart, no matter what job the church gives him. And he is a man of God and a man of the people with no hint of discrepancy between serving those two simultaneously."
Galveston-Houston never has had a cardinal before, and was only made an archdiocese in 2004. Archhbishop DiNardo will be the first cardinal in the American South.
The pope named 18 "cardinal electors," younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote for a new pope. He also named five men who are past their 80th birthday, which is a way of honoring priests and bishops for a history of extraordinary service to the church. All of the appointees will be elevated formally to the rank of cardinal Nov. 24 at a ceremony in Rome. Cardinal is theoretically an honorary title, but those who carry it serve in important advisory roles to the pope and the Vatican bureaucracy. Their most important duty is to elect a new pope, which they are eligible to do until they turn 80.
Cardinal-designate DiNardo was born in Steubenville, Ohio. He was ordained a priest in 1977, and his first assignment was as a parochial vicar at St. Pius in Brookline. He later want to work in the schools office of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Then he was dispatched to Rome, where he staffed the English language desk of the Congregation for Bishops, translating documents pertaining to possible bishop appointees in the U.S., Canada and Australia. In the 1990s, he returned to Pittsburgh at his own request.
"He wanted to come back. He wanted to come back and be a pastor," said Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus of the Duquesne University School of Law, who also attended Bishop's Latin School with him and later had him as a pastor.
Upon his return, he served as co-pastor of Madonna del Castello in Swissvale, along with future auxiliary Bishop Paul Bradley. When SS. John and Paul was founded to serve the growing Catholic population of the North Hills, he was named its first pastor. In 1997 he was named coadjutor of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, meaning he would automatically succeed the bishop there, which happened in 1998. In 2004 he was named coadjutor of Galveston-Houston and became its archbishop in 2006.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published October 17, 2007 7:01 am