New Krakow archbishop named to replace former top papal aide

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Roman Catholic Church authorities in Poland on Thursday announced the successor to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the retiring archbishop of Krakow who served as personal secretary to the late Pope St. John Paul II, a native of Poland.

Church authorities said Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski, from the central city of Lodz, to succeed Dziwisz, 77, as the head of the church in the Krakow region.

Jedraszewski, 67, said in a statement that he understood Krakow’s significance to the history of both Poland and its Catholics and received the appointment “with obedience and great gratitude.

St. John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla, was Krakow’s archbishop when he was chosen as pope in October 1978. He took Dziwisz, his secretary in Poland, with him to the Vatican and made him his closest aide, and finally the executor of his will.

After John Paul’s death in 2005, Dziwisz was named as Krakow archbishop. He offered to step aside when he reached retirement age two years ago, but Francis encouraged him to stay on and preside over a world youth meeting with the pope that was held in Krakow in July.

Dziwisz was a driving force behind John Paul’s canonization in 2014, and behind the fast pace of the process.