SALINA – Pope Francis announced that Bishop Edward Joseph Weisenburger from the Diocese of Salina, Kansas will be transferred to the Diocese of Tuscon, Arizona. The announcement came from the Vatican today, although Bishop Weisenburger was informed of the decision last week.
Bishop Weisenburger will replace Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tuscon, who formerly served as the vice president and secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Kicanas headed the Diocese of Tucson since 2003. He currently serves on the USCCB’s Catholic education and communication committees, as well as the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He is also a board member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
Bishop Kicanas submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in accordance with Church law. He will remain in Tuscon, serving an administrative role until Bishop Weisenburger is installed in November.
In 2014, Pope Francis confirmed the Church law regarding the retirement age for diocesan and Curia bishops. Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law states that, upon reaching their 75th birthday, bishops are required to turn in their resignation to the pope.
The bishop’s appointment is a year in the making. Bishop Kicanas submitted his resignation over a year ago, but the Holy See allowed Bishop Weisenburger an additional year to serve the Kansas diocese. He was appointed Bishop of Salina by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
Under the leadership of Bishop Weisenburger, the Salina diocese made many improvements. A new Diocesan Catholic Charities headquarters was opened, and the diocese acquired Manhattan’s hospital, which now bears a Catholic identity. The Salina Diocese serves approximately 44,000 Catholics in 86 parishes.
In a public Facebook statement, Bishop Weisenburger said: “I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a shepherd who has served graciously and generously for many years. Bishop Kicanas has served in many national capacities for the Catholic Church and is highly esteemed. Knowing that he will continue to reside in our Diocese is a great comfort for me and a blessing for our people.”
Bishop Weisenburger will join the bishops of Arizona and New Mexico in serving the needs of the immigrant community. Although he is not fluent in the Spanish language, Bishop Weisenburger has a working knowledge of the language and has experience with Hispanic ministry and community in his current diocese.