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Biographical notes

[Updated: 25.10.2004]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


HICKEY Card. James Aloysius



Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey, Archbishop emeritus of Washington (U.S.A.), was born on 11 October 1920 in Midland, Diocese of Saginaw. He graduated in 1942 from Sacred Heart Seminary College of Detroit, Michigan, and in 1946 he completed his theological studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

On 15 June 1946 he was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral in Saginaw, and began immediately his pastoral work with Spanish speaking immigrants arriving yearly in Michigan. In 1947, he was sent to Rome to complete a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University and then another in theology at the Pontifical "Angelicum" University. Returning to the United States in 1957, he served as secretary to the Bishop of Saginaw, remaining in this position for nine years. He was the founding rector of St. Paul's Seminary and also participated in the Second Vatican Council as an expert (peritus).

He was elected titular Bishop of Taraqua and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Saginaw on 18 February 1967, receiving episcopal ordination on 14 April of that year. On 31 October 1968 he became president of the committee for priestly formation of the United States National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Consulter to the Congregation for Catholic Education. In March 1969 he was appointed rector of the Pontifical College of North America in Rome. While in Rome he was also president of the Association of Rectors of Roman Seminaries.

Returning to the United States, he was transferred to the Episcopal See of Cleveland on 31 May 1974. He governed this diocese until 1980, when he was appointed Archbishop of Washington on 17 June. He took possession of the Archbishop's chair on 5 August at a solemn ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.

As Archbishop of Washington, he became also chancellor of the Catholic University of America, as well as president of the administrative council of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Besides his responsibilities in the local church, he also took on other serious concerns entrusted to him by the Episcopal Conference. From 1979 to 1981 he was president of the committee on doctrine of the National Conference; from 1974 to 1977, president of the committees for research and for pastoral procedure, of which he had also been a member. From 1977 to 1979 he was NCCB president of the Bishops in the 4th region, from the dioceses within Ohio and Michigan. He was also a member of the four "ad hoc" committees on evangelization, the parish, the North American College and priestly formation.

Within the Roman Curia he was a member of the Central Committee for the Holy Year 1975.

During Lent of 1968 he preached the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia at the Vatican, which were attended by the Holy Father.

Archbishop emeritus of Washington, 21 November 2000.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 28 June 1988. Titular church, St. Mary Mother of the Redeemer at Tor Bella Monaca.

Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey died on 24 October 2004.

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