Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., Archbishop of Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), was born on 9 August 1958 in Differdange, in the archdiocese of Luxembourg. He spent his childhood in Vianden, where his family lived. After his secondary education at the Clairefontaine Apostolic School, founded by Father Léon Dehon, and at the classical Lyceum of Diekirch, in 1978 he moved to Rome to begin his priesthood formation at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he attended two years of philosophy and the first year of theology, residing in the German-Hungarian Pontifical College.
In 1981 he joined the Society of Jesus, in the province of southern Belgium and Luxembourg, and carried out his novitiate in Namur for two years. After two years of pastoral training in the capital of the Grand Duchy, in 1985 he visited Japan for the first time, where in four years he first perfected his knowledge of the local language and culture and then resumed his theological studies at the Sophia University in Tokyo, completing his training in Germany (1989-1990), at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, where he was awarded a licentiate.
He was ordained a priest in Brussels on 21 April 1990, and spent four years studying German language and literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich, which he completed with a licentiate awarded in 1994, with a thesis on Das Konstantinopolitanische Glaubensbekenntnis. Eine Textuntersuchung (“The Constantinopolitan Creed. A textual study”).
In the meantime, on the pastoral front he accompanied the Jeunesse étudiante chrétienne of Luxembourg and groups of the Communauté vie chrétienne (Cvx) – a lay association living Christian faith in accordance with the spiritualità of Saint Ignatius of Loyola – at the same time holding the role of teacher in the French Vauban Lyceum of Luxembourg (1983-1985). During the period spent in Bavaria (1990-1994), he accompanied spiritually the seminarians during their preparatory year at the major seminary of Luxembourg, and served as head of vocational pastoral care.
In 1994 he transferred to the Land of the Rising Sun: as a teacher of German and French, and of European studies at the Sophia University, he remained there until 2011, carrying out his mission in the service of the Athenaeum, of the Catholics of the Japanese capital, of the Society of Jesus and the national Episcopal Conference. Indeed, in 1996 he became chaplain of the German parish in Tokyo and in 1997, member of the archdiocesan council for missionary and pastoral works, holding both roles until 2006, when he reached the end of his period as visiting professor and chaplain of students at the Sophia University, initiated in 1999.
In the meantime, in 2001 he carried out his doctoral studies at the Institut pour les Études de l’Union Européenne, in Bonn, Germany, and on 18 October 2002 he gave his perpetual vows in the Church of Saint Ignatius in Tokyo, passing to the Japanese province of the Society, for which – again until 2006 – he was provincial delegate for the promotion of vocations (from 2002), director of the Catholic Centre of the Sophia University (from 2003) and of a small community of Jesuits in the capital (from 2004).
In 2006 he obtained the chair as ordinary professor of the university, in the same year Hollerich became superior of the Scolastico for a two-year term, and was also delegate of the Japanese Episcopal Conference for the preparation and participation in the World Youth Day held in Cologne in 2005, at which Benedict XVI presided.
In 2008 he was chosen as the rector of the community of 65 Jesuits of the Sophia University and vice rector for general and student affairs in the same institution, entering into direct contact with the many academic communities in Asia, Europe and America. At the same time he was consultor of the Japanese province of the Society of Jesus.
He returned to his home country in 2011, as on 12 July of that year he was appointed by Pope Ratzinger as archbishop of Luxembourg. The following 16 October he received episcopal ordination in the cathedral of Luxembourg, from his predecessor Fernand Franck, co-consecrated by the cardinal of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, and the archbishop of Tokyo, Peter Takeo Okada, selecting Annuntiate as his motto.
An advocate for greater involvement of the laity, and particular the young, in the ecclesial sphere, in 2013 he launched a pastoral project dedicated to the laity in the diocese and in August 2014 he left with 138 students for a trip to northern Thailand, on the border with Myanmar, spending two weeks in a refugee camp.
In 2015 he participated in the fourteenth ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops focused on the vocation and mission of the family; this experience was repeated in 2018, with the fifteenth assembly dedicated to young people.
President of the Conference of the Iustitia et Pax Commissions of Europe (2014-2018), on 29 September 2017 he was elected to lead the Commission for Young People within the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE). On 8 March 2018, he took over the chairmanship of the Commission which brings together the European bishops with the aim of examining the policy and legislation of the European Union (EU) from the point of view of the social doctrine of the Church.
Since 3 April 2019, he has also presided over the Coetus internationalis ministrantium (CIM), the international association of altar servers.
On 8 July 2021 the Holy Father has appointed His Eminence Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., as general rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 5 October 2019, of the Title of San Giovanni Crisostomo a Monte Sacro Alto.
- Dicasteries: for Culture and Education; for Inter-religious Dialogue.