|Birth Day:||November 1, 1932|
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He studied theology at the Pontifical Urban University from 1955 to 1958.
After ordination, Father Arinze remained in Rome, earning a master's in theology in 1959 and doctorate in 1960. His doctoral thesis on "Ibo Sacrifice as an Introduction to the Catechesis of Holy Mass" was the basis for his much used reference work, "Sacrifice in Ibo Religion", published in 1970. From 1961 to 1962, Arinze was professor of liturgy, logic, and basic philosophy at Bigard Memorial Seminary. From there, he was appointed regional secretary for Catholic education for the eastern part of Nigeria. Eventually, Arinze was transferred to London, where he attended the Institute of Education and graduated in 1964.
Francis Arinze became the youngest Roman Catholic bishop in the world when he was consecrated on 29 August 1965, at the age of 32. He was appointed titular bishop of Fissiana and named Coadjutor to the Archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria. He attended the final session of the Second Vatican Council in that same year. He became Archbishop of Onitsha on 26 June 1967. He was the first native African to head his diocese, succeeding Archbishop Charles Heerey, an Irish missionary.
Francis Arinze was still Archbishop of Onitsha when the Nigeria-Biafra war ended in 1970. As a part of Biafra, Onitsha and its people had suffered greatly in the three-year war. The homes and businesses of the people had been devastated, and the already poor region was sinking deeper into poverty. The end of the war did not mean an end to the challenges facing the young Archbishop.
Impressed by Arinze's many accomplishments as the leader of an archdiocese with few resources and his ability to work side by side with Muslims who represent a strong and not-to-be-ignored minority, Pope John Paul II in 1979 appointed Arinze pro-president of the Vatican's Secretariat for Non-Christians, later renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Arinze continued as the ordinary of his archdiocese, and was elected unanimously as President of the Nigerian Bishops Conference in 1984.
On 8 April 1985, Arinze resigned from his post in Onitsha, and the Pope named him a Cardinal-Deacon of San Giovanni della Pigna in the consistory held on 25 May 1985; he was raised to the rank of cardinal-priest in 1996. Two days following his elevation to cardinal deacon, Arinze was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Arinze was born in Eziowelle, Anambra, Nigeria. A convert from an African traditional religion, he was baptized on his ninth birthday (1 November 1941) by Father Michael Tansi, who was beatified by John Paul II in 1998. His parents later converted to Catholicism. At age 15, he entered All Hallows Seminary of Onitsha from which he graduated and earned a philosophy degree in 1950. His father was initially opposed to his entering the seminary, but after seeing how much Francis enjoyed it, he encouraged him. Arinze stayed at All Hallows until 1953 to teach. In 1955, he went to Rome to study theology at the Pontifical Urban University, where he ultimately earned a doctorate in sacred theology summa cum laude. On 23 November 1958, at the chapel of the university, Arinze was ordained to the priesthood by Gregorio Pietro Agagianian, pro-prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Propaganda Fide).
He served in various related capacities including the president of the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. He also received honours in this capacity: On 24 October 1999 he received a gold medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews for his outstanding achievements in inter-faith relations. He traveled extensively and became a popular speaker in the United States.
Arinze was a member of the Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In that capacity, he worked closely with individual bishops and priests throughout the world in preparation for the rare celebration of the Church. On 1 October 2002, Pope John Paul named him prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
When Pope John Paul II died on 2 April 2005, all major Vatican officials – including Arinze – automatically lost their positions. He was considered papabile, that is, a candidate for election to the papacy, at the papal conclave that followed, in which he was a cardinal elector. He returned to his post as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship when confirmed by the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI on 21 April 2005, and on 25 April Benedict named him Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni.
On 9 December 2008 Benedict accepted Arinze's resignation as prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship.
Arinze remains active and in 2009 gave the commencement address at the Augustine Institute in Denver. He actively catechises via Familyland TV to the Americas, the Philippines, Africa, and Europe. He has produced over 1,700 television programs with the Apostolate for Family Consecration. The programs cover almost all of Pope John Paul II's encyclicals and apostolic letters, Vatican II, and many other topics. In July 2009, he delivered a major speech promoting interreligious dialogue at The City Club of Cleveland. He is also the author of several books along with a complete "Consecration and Truth Catechetical Program" for children and adults.
Francis's parents converted to Catholicism from a traditional African religion.
Currently, Francis Arinze is 90 years, 4 months and 19 days old. Francis Arinze will celebrate 91st birthday on a Wednesday 1st of November 2023. Below we countdown to Francis Arinze upcoming birthday.
Francis Arinze Celebrates His 84th Birthday Today - Religion - Nigeria