Pope Francis on Friday, June 11, named Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon, Korea, as the new prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy.
The 69-year-old bishop is the first Korean to lead a Vatican congregation.
Bishop You succeeds Italian Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who led the Vatican dicastery responsible for overseeing the world’s diocesan priests and deacons since 2013.
Bishop You is the second Asian to lead the Congregation for the Clergy, following Filipino Cardinal José Tomás Sánchez, who led the dicastery from 1991 to 1996.
He is also the second Asian now leading one of the Vatican’s nine congregations, alongside Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Bishop You was born in the city of Nonsan on Nov. 17, 1951. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Daejeon on Dec. 9, 1979.
He hosted Pope Francis in his diocese in August 2014 when the pope took part in the Sixth Asian Youth Day by celebrating Mass in Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
Bishop You attended the youth synod in Rome in 2018.
The new prefect was the head of the Korean Bishops’ Conference’s Peace Committee and traveled to North Korea four times.
Pope Francis has made several trips to Asia since his election in 2013 and reportedly told Cardinal Tagle in 2015 that he believed that “the future of the Church is in Asia.”
The pope is said to have ordered an inspection of the Congregation for the Clergy ahead of the transition to Bishop You’s leadership.
He asked for a similar visitation of the Congregation for Divine Worship before he appointed its new prefect, Archbishop Arthur Roche.