|Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber served as the 8th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita from February 9, 1983 until his retirement on October 4, 2001. Bishop Gerber remains active and committed to various organizations and ministries within the Church.|
Bishop Eugene J. Gerber, son of Cornelius and Lena Gerber, is a native of St. Louis parish, Kingman County, Kansas where he was born on April 30, 1931. Bishop Gerber was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas on May 19, 1959. He was appointed Bishop of Dodge City October 16, 1976, ordained December 14, 1976; installed December 15, 1976; appointed Bishop of Wichita November 23, 1982; installed February 9, 1983; retired October 4, 2001. He received his elementary education at St. Louis School in Waterloo and pursued his secondary education at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri and at Kingman High School.
His college studies were completed at Wichita State University and Conception Seminary. Philosophical and Theological courses were completed at St. Thomas Seminary (Denver, Colorado) where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts in Religious Education, and earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology through affiliation of the seminary with Catholic University in Washington D.C. After ordination to the priesthood on May 19, 1959, Bishop Gerber was assigned to further studies at Wichita State University to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in education, which he received in June, 1963. In 1975, Bishop Gerber pursued studies at the Angelicum, (St. Thomas Pontifical University) in Rome where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.). He served as Assistant Pastor in the Wichita parishes of St. Anne and Church of the Magdalen until May 31, 1963. During that time, he did his student teaching at Kapaun Memorial High School; served on the faculty of Mt. Carmel Academy; was appointed to the first faculty of Notre Dame (now Carroll High School) as guidance director and instructor in religion and mathematics.
In 1963, Bishop Gerber was appointed Assistant Chancellor. The following year, he was named as secretary to Bishop Leo C. Byrne. He was named Vice Chancellor in 1965 and became business manager of The Catholic Advance in 1967. In 1969, he was named to the Governing Board of the Holy Family Center for the mentally disabled. Four years later in 1973, Bishop Gerber was appointed Chancellor of the diocese. During these diocesan assignments, he was Associate Pastor in residence at Holy Savior, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Mary Cathedral, all of Wichita. Continuing as Chancellor, on August 16, 1973, he was named Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church (Wichita) where he served until August 1975. In 1976 he was appointed as Chaplain to the Sisters of St. Joseph at Mt. St. Mary’s Motherhouse and as Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Wichita. Bishop Gerber received Coadjutor Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in April 1999. On October 4, 2001, Bishop Gerber resigned as Bishop of Wichita. Since his resignation he serves as Chaplain to the Discalced Carmelite Sisters and as Spiritual Director, especially for priests.
During his time as Bishop, he served on the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Ad Hoc Committee for Parish Renewal; the NCCB Committee on the Permanent Diaconate; two terms on the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, representing Region IX; on the NCCB Liaison Committee with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR); the Communications Committee; the Pastoral Research and Practices Committee; the Liaison Committee with NC News; the NCCB Pro-Life Committee; Committee for Women in Society and the Church; and the Ad Hoc Committee on Stewardship. Locally, Bishop Gerber served on the Board of Directors for the Wichita Urban League, the Board of Via Christi Health Systems, HopeNet, Kansas Foodbank Warehouse, Inc., and Wichita Grand Opera.