Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, S.T.D.
Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl was appointed sixth Archbishop of Washington in May 2006 and installed on June 22. He is spiritual leader for 580,000 Catholics in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties. Archbishop Wuerl is known nationally for his emphasis on education. He is chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and chairman of the board of the National Catholic Educational Association. He was involved in developing the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, published in 2006, and is the author of several books and numerous articles on the Catholic faith.
As public debate has focused on the quality and financing of education, Archbishop Wuerl has been at the forefront of finding new and innovative ways to make Catholic education affordable and accessible to all. He is deeply committed to the Archdiocese of Washington’s Center City Consortium in its effort to work with the wider community to sustain inner city parochial schools and bring a high quality, faithbased education to at-risk children. During his 18 years as Bishop of Pittsburgh, he founded The Extra Mile Education Foundation, in cooperation with the business and foundation community, to endow and sustain parochial schools in Pittsburgh’s inner city. The Crossroads Scholarship Program distributes scholarships to graduates from the Extra Mile schools so they might attend Catholic high schools, while the Bishop’s Education Fund, founded in 1995, has distributed substantial tuition assistance for over 23,000 students.
Archbishop Wuerl serves on numerous national and international bodies and is an elected member of the council for the Vatican office for the Synod. He is the chairman of the board of directors of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, chancellor of The Catholic University of America and former chairman of the directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. The archbishop was born in Pittsburgh on November 12, 1940, and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1974. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1966 and as a bishop in January 1986, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome by Pope John Paul II.