A new President at the Head of COMECE
Cardinal Reinhard Marx has been elected to the Presidency of COMECE for a three year term of office. He will be assisted by four Vice Presidents.
“We are at a decisive moment for the future of Europe”. This is the statement made by Cardinal Reinhard Marx after his election as the new President of COMECE. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising was elected by the Bishop Members on 22 March 2012 for a three-year term of office as the COMECE Chair. Cardinal Marx has been a member of COMECE since 2006, Chair of its Social Affairs Commission and Vice President of COMECE since 2009. He added: “Regarding the economic and financial crisis, which is striking our continent, I strongly believe that the European Union has the powers and the potential to overcome this situation. A global crisis requires a common response. We need to rediscover the sense of responsibility and togetherness. This is a prerequisite for being able to solve our common problems.”
Besides the election of the Presidium, the 23 Bishops who participated in the Spring Plenary Assembly (21-23 March 2012) also discussed the main topic of this session, “Active ageing and intergenerational solidarity” with several experts from the European Commission, from the academic field and from the Catholic lay community Sant’Egidio. The Bishops spelt out their thoughts on ageing and intergenerational Solidarity in a press release issued at the end of their Plenary assembly.
The new COMECE President will be assisted by four Vice-Presidents: Mgr Gianni Ambrosio (Bishop of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy), Mgr Virgil Bercea (Bishop of Oradea Mare, Romania), Mgr Jarecki (Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw, Poland) and Mgr Jean Kockerols (Auxiliary Bishop of Brussels-Malines, Belgium).
The members of the new COMECE Presidium are:
President: Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany)
Cardinal Marx was born on 21 September 1953 in Geseke (Germany). He studied theology and philosophy in Paderborn and Paris and was ordained a priest on 2 June 1979. Following his PhD thesis, he became Director of the “Kommende” in Dortmund and in 1996 Professor of Catholic social teaching at the Faculty of Theology in Paderborn. On 23 July 1996 he was consecrated bishop and became Titular Bishop of Pedena and Auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn. In 2001 he became Bishop of Trier; and since 2008 he has been the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Within the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Marx is Chairman of the Commission for Society and Social Affairs and Vice-Chairman of the Commission ‘The Church in the World’.
Vice President: Bishop Gianni Ambrosio, Bishop of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy
Bishop Ambrosio was born on 23 December 1943 in Santhià (Italy). He studied theology, first at the Minor and then at the Major Seminar of Vercelli. On 7 July 1968 he was ordained a priest; after having finished his licentiate in social science and religious sociology, a doctorate in theology completed his studies. On 16 February 2008 Gianni Ambrosio was consecrated as bishop for the diocese Piacenza-Bobbio. Bishop Ambrosio has been a member of COMECE since February 2009.
Vice President: Bishop Virgil Bercea, Bishop of Oradea Mare (Romania)
Bishop Bercea was born on 9 December 1957 in Habic (Romania). After his studies in agricultural science and working experience in this field he took courses in theology. On 9 December 1982 he was ordained a priest of the Greek-Catholic Church. Virgil Bercea specialised in dogmatic theology in Rome and after having finished his licentiate he was consecrated bishop on 8 September 1994, as the Greek-Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Fagaras and Alba Iulia (Romania) and as Titular Bishop of Pupiana. Since 1996 he has been Coadjutor Bishop of Oradea Mare (Romania). and since 1997 Bishop of the diocese. In 2000 Virgil Bercea was decorated with the national award “Faithful Service”. In 2004 he completed his doctorate at the Papal University Urbaniana in Rome. Bishop Bercea has been a member of COMECE since November 2007.
Vice President: Bishop Piotr Jarecki, Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw (Poland)
Auxiliary Bishop Piotr Jarecki was born on 29 June 1955 in Sierpc (Poland). After his theological studies in Płock, Warsaw and Rome he was ordained a priest on 1 June 1980. On 23 April 1994 he was consecrated bishop, as Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw and Titular Bishop of Avissa. With a doctorate in social sciences, Auxiliary Bishop Jarecki officiates in various fields, as inter alia he is President of the European Union Unit of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, “Justitia et Pax”. Auxiliary Bishop Jarecki has been a member of COMECE since 2004 and, since 2006, its Vice-President in an executive role. The election was affirmed in March 2009.
Vice President: Bishop Jean Kockerols, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels (Belgium)
Bishop Kockerols was born on 13 August 1958 in Brecht (Anvers/Belgium) and was ordained a priest on 13 September 1993. In 1995, he became vicar of the Parish Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Etterbeek. In 2001, he founded and became the Head of the Centre for Pastoral Studies of the Diocese of Malines-Brussels, which is dedicated to the pastoral training of pastoral coordinators and permanent deacons. In 2007, he became the Dean of Brussels South. On 22 February 2011 he was nominated titular Bishop of Ypres and Auxiliary Bishop of Malines-Brussels in charge of the vicariate of Brussels. He was consecrated as a bishop on 3 April 2011. Bishop Kockerols has been a member of COMECE since 2011.