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WICHITA, Kansas – New leadership will soon be on hand for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita less than a month after a new pope was selected in Rome.
Bishop Michael Jackels is leaving his post in Wichita for Dubuque, Iowa.
Pope Francis appointed Jackels to become archbishop for the Dubuque Catholic Archdiocese.
News that Bishop Jackels is heading to Iowa didn’t come as a surprise for many Catholics who attended mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Monday afternoon.
“He has a calling to go there and he’s willing to do God’s work,” said Les Depperschmidt, Catholic. “It’s just been a blessing for us to have him here for 8 years.”
Jackels is replacing Archbishop Jerome Hanus who is retiring from his post due to declining health.
“It’s a recognition. He’s done a great job here and the people here and it’s a healthy church,” said Rev. Msgr. Robert Hemberger. “We all lifted him up and brought him to the notice of others so yeah it’s a promotion.”
Under his leadership, the Diocese of Wichita has undergone a number of changes including the renovations of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
That renovation cost nearly $17 million.
“The renovations of our cathedral has to be one of the top items,” said Les Depperschmidt. “His willingness and desire to get across the diocese and visit with some of the outlining parishes.”]
Jackels had a vision for the Diocese of Wichita when he was first appointed as bishop in 2005.
“He had a wonderful way to recognize that the 90 parishes of our diocese are one and family,” said Rev. John P. Lanzrath.
Leaders of the Diocese of Wichita are hoping that the new replacement will take off where Bishop Jackels left off.
“My hopes would be someone who would listen and learns first,” said Rev. Msgr. Robert Hemberger. “I don’t know where that would take us. I don’t want to write his agenda for him, but you know good leaders listen and learn first.”
Pope Francis will have to appoint a replacement bishop for the Diocese of Wichita and that could take months.
Archbishop Elect Jackels will be installed to his new post on May 30th.