On September 28, 2017, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, named former Oblate Assistant General, Fr. Ryszard SZMYDKI, to the role of Under-secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Since 2014, he has been serving as the General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Works of the Propagation of the Faith.

Born in Poland in 1951, he professed his first vows as an Oblate in 1970 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. He holds a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a Doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublin where he taught for a few years. He also spent two years as a missionary in Cameroon.

He was elected to the General Administration in 1992 and served two terms as Assistant General in charge of the mission portfolio.

After his twelve years in the General Administration, in 2005, he returned to his native Poland where he served as Vicar Provincial for the missions. Named provincial of the Province of Poland in 2010, he served in that capacity until being called back to Rome to serve in the Holy See.

After his appointment, Fr. Szmydki expressed his views: “I accepted this responsibility in obedience to the Holy Mother Church, with a clear mind that my work is a part of the Church’s mission of Evangelization. I always feel I am at the service of the people in the peripheries and the missionaries who serve them. I never forget to think of them while working in this office”.


Another Oblate has been named temporary (“pro tempore”) General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Works. Fr. Ted NOWAK, originally from the Assumption Province in Canada, who has been working at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for several years, will take on these duties until a permanent General Secretary is named.