Pope Francis has transferred Bishop Edward Joseph Weisenburger from the Diocese of Salina to the Diocese of Tucson, Ariz. The Holy See made the announcement earlier this month in Rome.
“I congratulate Bishop Weisenburger on his appointment as the next bishop of the Diocese of Tucson. I will be praying for him as he prepares to assume his new responsibilities, and for the Diocese of Salina, who will have to say farewell to their beloved bishop and prepare to welcome a new shepherd,” Archbishop Coakley said.
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, sixth Bishop of Tucson, submitted his resignation in accord with Church law upon reaching his 75th birthday. Weisenburger’s appointment comes more than a year after Kicanas offered his retirement.
“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a shepherd who has served graciously and generously for many years,” Bishop Weisenburger 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.”
Weisenburger served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for nearly 25 years. On Feb. 6, 2012, he was appointed Bishop of Salina by Pope Benedict XVI. His installation as Bishop of Tucson will take place on Nov. 29.
Under Bishop Weisenburger’s leadership, the people of Salina have witnessed significant improvements. Weisenburger’s tenure in Salina was marked by the opening of a new diocesan Catholic Charities headquarters with considerably upgraded ministries and services. He also has led the efforts to shine a spotlight on the cruel abuse of the poor at the hands of the predatory (“payday”) loan industry.
In addition to Catholic social ministries, he focused on personal visits to the 86 parishes of the diocese, vocation recruitment, higher education for clergy and cooperation with “Via Christi-Ascension” in their acquisition of Manhattan’s hospital — now Catholic in identity. He also restructured the diocese’s chancery with an emphasis on professional lay ministers, collaborating with clergy in all areas of administration, which included dedication in promoting women to greater responsibilities and service within the diocesan structure.
The Diocese of Salina serves approximately 44,000 Catholics. The Diocese of Tucson, which borders with Mexico, serves approximately 450,000 Catholics, many of whom are Spanish-speaking. Weisenburger said he looks forward to joining the bishops of Arizona and New Mexico in being an articulate and indispensable voice of compassion for all immigrants.