Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, was born on 4 July 1945 in Andrychów, Poland. He was ordained a priest on 30 March 1969 and holds a licentiate from the Pontifical Theological Academy and a doctorate in social sciences from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
He was vice-rector of the major seminary of Krakow and then professor of pastoral theology and sociology of religion at the Pontifical Theological Academy. At the same time he was secretary of the Commission for the Apostolate for the Laity, focusing on popular piety and the role of small communities and ecclesial movements.
In 1987 he was called to Rome and made head of the youth section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and served as office head. During this period, he coordinated the organization of the World Youth Days in Santiago de Compostela (1989), Częstochowa (1991) and Denver (1993). In 1992 he was transferred to the Polish section of the Secretariat of State.
On 20 December 1995 he was appointed titular Bishop of Novica and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He was ordained a bishop on 6 January 1996.
On 4 October 2003 he was named an Archbishop and President of the Council for the Laity. Since then, he has organized the World Youth Day held in Cologne (August 2005), the World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia (July 2008) Madrid, Spain (August 2011) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (July 2013).
On September 24, 2013, he was confirmed by Pope Francis as President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, until the end of the current quiquennium.
He participated in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.
On December 28th, 2016, the Holy Father Francis appointed him Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re (Sacred Heart of Christ the King).
- Congregations: for the Causes of Saints; for Bishops;
- Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization;
- Pontifical Commission for Latin America;
- Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.