H.E. Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko
Born July 4, 1945 in Andrychow, Poland, he entered the archdiocesan seminary of Krakow in 1963. He was accepted into the seminary by the then Capitular Vicar, Karol Wojtyla, who bestowed minor orders on him, and – as Archbishop – ordained him to the diaconate and later the priesthood on March 30, 1969.
He obtained a licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Krakow in 1971 and during the years 1972-1978 continued his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University where he graduated in social sciences. Appointed vice-rector of the Major Seminary of Krakow from 1978 to 1987 he taught pastoral theology and sociology of religion at the Pontifical Theological Academy. In 1979, he was appointed secretary of the Commission for the Lay Apostolate of the Polish Bishops' Conference, at the time headed by Cardinal Franciszek. Founded and headed for a long time by Wojtyla, the Commission is a living testament to his spiritual heritage. In 1987 he was called to serve the Holy See as head of the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, a position he held for five years during which, he was charged with organizing the World Youth Days in Santiago de Compostela, Czestochowa and Denver. His move to the Polish section of the Secretary of State marks the beginning of his direct cooperation with John Paul II.
Appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, 20 December 1995, he was ordained bishop January 6, 1996 assuming the titular of Novica. As secretary he collaborated with Cardinals Eduardo F. Pironio and James Francis Stafford. By the decree of October 4, 2003 he was appointed archbishop and president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The mandate conferred on him by Pope John Paul II, was confirmed by Benedict XVI, who created him Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in the Ordinary public consistory of November 24, 2007.