Bishop Michael O. Jackels received an early birthday present of sorts when Pope Francis named him April 8 to lead the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The Vatican press office made the appointment public just after noon Rome time, saying that the Pope also accepted the resignation of current Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus.
The announcement cited canon law 401, section two as the reason Archbishop Hanus is stepping down. This means that he has become “unsuited” for fulfilling his obligations “because of illness or some other grave reason,” according to the regulation.
A press conference is planned for 10:00 a.m. in Dubuque, where further details will be revealed.
Archbishop-designate Jackels was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, and will celebrate his 59th birthday on April 13.
He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln on May 30, 1981. During his time as a priest he served as the pastor of the University of Nebraska’s Newman Center in Lincoln, assistant director of the diocese’s vocations office and director of Hispanic ministry.
Between 1997 and 2005 he served as an official at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On January 28, 2005 he was appointed Bishop of Wichita, Kansas and was consecrated a bishop on April 4 of the same year.
Archbishop-designate Jackels speaks English, Italian and Spanish. He will be serving 206,843 lay Catholics, 216 priests, 91permanent deacons and 861 religious, all spread out over 17,403 square miles.
In related news, Pope Francis appointed another Lincoln priest, Monsignor John Folda, as the Bishop of Fargo on April 8.