MANILA - (UPDATE) Pope Francis has appointed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as the new head of one of the Vatican’s top congregations.
On Sunday, the Vatican announced that Tagle is the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican department responsible for the spread of the Catholic faith throughout the world through its missionary works and related activities.
Also called the “Red Pope”, the position is equivalent to that of the Cabinet secretary to the Roman Pontiff.
There are only nine congregations in the Vatican and those who head these departments are usually based in Rome.
Tagle succeeds Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who was appointed as the Grand Master of the order of the Holy Sepulcher.
For the past 4 years, Tagle has also been chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Pontificio Collegio Filippino (of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines).
The Collegio Filippino--a college for diocesan priests from the Philippines studying at pontifical universities in Rome-- and the Friends of the Collegio worldwide, thanked Pope Francis for the appointment of Tagle.
"In this Advent Season, as we await the coming of Baby Jesus, we pray through the intercession of Mama Mary and St. Joseph that God continue to shower our dear Pope Francis and Card. Tagle with his heavenly blessings in this appointment and transfer to the Vatican," the groups said in a statement.
The Filipino cardinal will be the second Asian prelate to lead the powerful congregation after Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias, who served from 2006 to 2011.
Tagle was created cardinal in 2012 by then Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to being appointed to the Archdiocese of Manila in 2011, he served as the bishop of the Diocese of Imus in Cavite for 10 years.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 and completed his bachelor’s degree from Ateneo. He finished his master's degree in theology at the Loyola School of Theology and earned his doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America.
Currently, Tagle is also the president of Caritas International, a confederation of global Catholic charities.