Yesterday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Jerome George Hanus of Dubuque, who resigned due to his declining health in conformity with canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father named Bishop Michael Owen Jackels, from the diocese of Wichita, Kansas, as his successor.
In a press statement released by the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Archbishop Hanus stated that he was “thrilled” upon learning of Archbishop-elect Jackels nomination.
“I am so grateful to Pope Francis accepting my resignation and for appointing Archbishop Jackels,” Archbishop Hanus stated. “I had explained my situation in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI last year. In the months since then, my health has deteriorated further.”
“With the resignation and the election of the Popes,” he continued, “I had feared that a decision might be significantly delayed. So I am grateful to the Holy Father and to those who advise him. They know that the Archdiocese of Dubuque needs an Archbishop who can devote full energy and attention in providing pastoral leadership. Praise God, we shall have that.”
Commenting on his nomination, Archbishop-elect Jackels stated that he was “ready to do God’s will.”
“I am humbled by the trust Pope Francis has in me to do this ministry. It would appear that this is an expression of his affinity for the poorest, weakest, and the least important,” he said.
“And I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the labor done by Archbishop Hanus and Archbishop Kucera; I stand on the shoulders of these hardy laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, including the many priests, religious and lay faithful who worked together with them.”
“I have much to learn about the history and personality of this local Church. I want to take time to watch, listen, ask questions, and become one with you, one of you,” he concluded.
New Bishop for Diocese of Fargo
Pope Francis has named a new bishop for the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, which serves more than 72,000 Catholics. Monsignor John Thomas Folda, rector of the St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska was elevated to the dignity of Bishop by the Holy Father.
Bishop-elect Folda succeeds Bishop Samuel Aquila, who was named Archbishop of Denver in May of last year. Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck has served as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese since Archbishop Aquila’s installation and will continue until Bishop-elect Folda’s episcopal ordination. The ordination is expected to take place in June.