Only hours after a formal announcement from the Vatican, Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus helped introduce his successor to the public.
The former bishop of Wichita, Kan., Michael Jackels, was appointed by Pope Francis as the 12th head of the Dubuque Catholic Archdiocese, which includes 30 counties in northeast Iowa.
Hanus tendered his resignation last year, citing declining health especially since a traffic accident a year ago. Jackels' appointment is one of the first batch of assignments the new pope has made.
Both men and former Archbishop Daniel Kucera, who was in attendance in his wheelchair, were applauded by staff.
"They love you already," Kucera quipped, as an enthusiastic audience in the archdiocesan pastoral center clapped loudly.
Jackels said he is "ready to follow God's will" in his new role as archbishop in Dubuque. Jackels will be installed as archbishop on May 30. Archbishop Jerome Hanus will serve as apostolic administrator until the installation. More details about the installation, an elaborate ceremony in the Catholic Church, will be forthcoming, officials noted at the press conference.
Hanus said he will resume life as a monk in Missouri after he leaves Dubuque.
Jackels comes from an environment of thriving Catholic schools in Wichita, Kan. The Catholic school system there survives not on tuition but community stewardship. While Catholic school enrollment is declining in other parts of the country, Wichita has opened new Catholic schools.
Jerome Hanus, archbishop of Dubuque, will retire, and his successor will be the bishop of Wichita, Kan.
The Dubuque Archdiocese says Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita, Kan., has been appointed by Pope Francis to be the new archbishop of Dubuque. Jackels replaces Archbishop Jerome Hanus.
The Wichita diocesan website says Jackels was named the Wichita bishop in January 2005 by Pope John Paul II. Before being named to the post, Jackels worked for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for eight years.
Hanus will introduce Jackels at a news conference this morning at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Dubuque. Hanus also will announce his plans for the future.