The Most Rev. Edward Joseph Weisenburger, bishop of the Diocese of Salina, has been named bishop of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona.
The Holy See made the announcement Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Rome. Bishop Weisenburger was notified last week by the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Pierre Christophe, that Pope Francis was moving him to Tucson.
Bishop Weisenburger’s neighbor, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the ordinary of the Diocese of Phoenix, was transferred to Arizona in 2003, after being ordained coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Wichita in 1999.
Bishop Weisenberger succeeds Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, sixth Bishop of Tucson, who submitted his resignation in accord with church law upon reaching his 75th birthday last year. He will serve as the administrator until Weisenburger’s installation.
“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a shepherd who has served graciously and generously for many years,” Bishop Weisenberger said. “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 served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for almost 25 years. On Feb. 6, 2012, he was appointed Bishop of Salina by Pope Benedict XVI. His ordination, which marked the beginning of his ministry, was on May 1, 2012, at Salina’s Sacred Heart Cathedral. His installation as Bishop of Tucson will take place on Nov. 29, 2017.
Weisenburger’s five and one-half year tenure in the Salina diocese was marked by the opening of a new diocesan Catholic Charities headquarters with considerably upgraded ministries and services. He also led the efforts to shine a spotlight on the cruel abuse of the poor at the hands of the “payday” loan industry.
In addition to Catholic social ministries, he also focused on personal visits to the 86 parishes of the Salina diocese, vocation recruitment, higher education for clergy, cooperation with Via Christi-Ascension in their acquisition of Manhattan’s hospital – now Catholic in identity. He also restructured the diocese’s chancery.
The Diocese of Salina serves about 44,000 Catholics. The Diocese of Tucson, which borders Mexico, serves about 450,000 Catholics, many of whom are Spanish-speaking. While not fully fluent, Weisenburger does have a working knowledge of Spanish.