Pope Francis has appointed Spokane, Wash. Bishop Blase Cupich as the new shepherd of the Archdiocese of Chicago, replacing retiring Cardinal Francis George. The 65-year-old prelate was named Chicago's new archbishop on Sept. 20. He sits on numerous committees at the U.S. bishop's conference including the Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Born in Omaha, Neb. In 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and studied at the College of St. Thomas in Minnesota as well as the Pontifical College of North America in Rome. In 1998, he was named bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, and in 2010, he was named bishop of Spokane. He will replace Cardinal George, who submitted his resignation two years ago, when he turned 75, as is required by Canon Law. The 77-year-old cardinal has struggled with his health, facing cancer three times. After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006, he underwent a five-hour operation to remove his bladder, prostate gland and sections of his ureters, the tubes which connect the kidneys to the bladder. In August 2012, cancerous cells were discovered in his kidney and in a nodule that was removed from his liver. He underwent chemotherapy, and the cancer cells in his kidney became dormant. Cardinal George was born in Chicago on Jan. 16, 1937 and is the first native of Chicago to become archbishop of the city. Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of Yakima in Washington State in 1990. After serving for five years, he was appointed archbishop of Portland, Oregon, on April 30, 1996. Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II named him the eighth Archbishop of Chicago after the See had fallen vacant with the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on Nov. 14, 1996.
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