The Most Rev. Michael O. Jackels, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita has been appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. He will be installed May 30.
Archbishop-elect Jackels said in a statement: “It has been a great experience for me to pray and work with the priests, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Wichita, to yoke ourselves together, sharing responsibility to continue the mission of Jesus in his Church here. Thanks be to God! I am confident that I will be able to say the same about the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.”
He continued, “It is with no little sadness that I prepare to leave the Diocese of Wichita. But in light of Mary’s response to God’s call to be the mother of the Savior, or of the example of Pope Francis who cheerfully took up a new and demanding ministry, how could I not say ‘yes.’ Let us pray for one another in this time of transition.”
Monsignor Robert Hemberger, the diocesan moderator of the curia, stated that the diocese is sad Bishop Jackels is leaving us. “During his eight years here, he has worked so hard to get to know the people and customs of this place. He tried to reach out to people of all ages, locations, ethnic groups, and ways of life,” he said.
Msgr. Hemberger added that when Bishop Jackels arrived in the diocese he said his primary goal was to help people know Jesus better. “Religious education and formation was his highest priority. He wanted even more for the young people of today than he received as a young person. He felt that way also when teaching adults about Jesus in ways they could relate to and remember.
“When Bishop Jackels first came here, I mentioned that the people of Wichita had been praying for a bishop who is a good shepherd,” he said. “The shepherd knows his own, gathers and protects, nourishes and lays down his life. Our prayers were answered. Bishop Jackels did all those things. We wish him well and the church of Dubuque the blessings of what he learned here.”
Bishop Jackels was appointed the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Wichita on Jan. 28, 2005, and was ordained on April 4, 2005. Bishop Jackels had been working in Rome for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when it was decided he would succeed Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted who had been transferred to Phoenix.
Archbishop-elect Jackels will continue to lead the Diocese of Wichita as its administrator until he is installed in Dubuque. After that time, a diocesan administrator will be selected for Wichita.
The Archdiocese of Dubuque covers 17,403 square miles and consists of 168 parishes and 202,601 Catholics. It has 216 priests and 91 permanent deacons.
Bishop Jackels is also a member of the Subcommittee on the Catechism in the U.S. Conference of Bishops. He succeeds Archbishop Jerome George Hanus, a Benedictine.