Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured with Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the same congregation, as they pray with U.S. bishops at the start of a meeting at the Vatican in this Jan. 14, 2020, file photo. The Vatican announced May 27 that Pope Francis has appointed the English archbishop to lead the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, succeeding Cardinal Sarah. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis names English archbishop to lead worship congregation

By  Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
  • May 27, 2021

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis named English Archbishop Arthur Roche to lead the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Vatican said.

The 71-year-old archbishop succeeds Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, 75, who led the congregation from 2014 until his Feb. 20 resignation.

The Vatican announced the appointment May 27.

The congregation is charged with promoting the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments and fostering their correct celebration, including by overseeing the approval of the translations of liturgical books and texts.

Born in Yorkshire in 1950, the new prefect led the Diocese of Leeds until his appointment as secretary of the congregation in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. While head of the Leeds Diocese, then-Bishop Roche also served as chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, which was responsible for the current English translation of the Roman Missal, the book of prayers recited at Mass.

After Cardinal Sarah retired, Pope Francis asked Bishop Claudio Maniago of Castellaneta, president of the Italian bishops' conference's liturgical commission and a member of the congregation, to consult with the office staff and review its procedures.

Responding to questions from Catholic News Service through an assistant in March, Archbishop Roche said the visitation was "more in the nature of the consultations a diocesan bishop would have with his vicar general and others when he is appointing a new parish priest. In such an instance, the idea is to get to know the needs of the parish, the actual situation, as well as having an eye to its future direction."

The Vatican also announced that Italian Bishop Vittorio Francesco Viola of Tortona will succeed Archbishop Roche as the congregation's secretary. The pope also granted the Italian prelate the title of archbishop.

Archbishop Viola, a Franciscan, had led the Diocese of Tortona -- located in the northern Italian region of Piedmont -- since 2014.

According to the diocesan website, Archbishop Viola also serves on the Italian bishops' conference liturgical commission and taught at Rome's Pontifical Institute of Liturgy. He is also a member of the theology faculty at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University.

Lastly, Pope Francis named Msgr. Aurelio García Macías, already an official at the congregation, as its undersecretary and named him titular bishop of Rotdan. Born in Pollos, a small town in Spain's Valladolid province, Bishop-elect Macías has served as a congregation official since 2015.

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