George Joseph Lucas

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
George Joseph Lucas
Archbishop of Omaha
Archbishop George Lucas.jpg
George Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha
Archdiocese Omaha
Appointed June 3, 2009
Installed July 22, 2009
Predecessor Elden Francis Curtiss
Orders
Ordination May 24, 1975
by John Carberry
Consecration December 14, 1999
by Francis George, Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, and Daniel L. Ryan
Personal details
Born (1949-06-12) June 12, 1949 (age 68)
St. Louis, Missouri
Previous post Bishop of Springfield
Motto GRACE AND MERCY

George Joseph Lucas (born June 12, 1949) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fifth and current Archbishop of Omaha, having previously served as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois from 1999 to 2009.

Styles of
George Joseph Lucas
Coat of arms of George Joseph Lucas.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

George Lucas was born in St. Louis, Missouri, as the eldest of the four children of George and Mary (née Kelly) Lucas; he has one sister, Catherine, and two brothers, James and John. He attended St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South from 1963 to 1967, and then Cardinal Glennon College until 1971, where he obtained his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy. Lucas studied theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary from 1971 to 1975.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Lucas was ordained to the priesthood by John Cardinal Carberry on May 24, 1975. He then served as associate pastor of St. Justin Martyr Church in Sunset Hills until 1980, and of St. Dismas Church in Florissant until 1981. Whilst part-time associate pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in St. Louis (1981-1984) and of Ascension Church in Normandy (1984-1986), Lucas furthered his studies at St. Louis University from 1982 to 1986, there earning his Master's degree in History. He was a professor (1981-1987) and vice-principal (1982-1987) at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary North as well.

Lucas was also part-time associate pastor at St. Ann Church in Normandy (1986-1989) and St. Peter Church in Kirkwood (1989-1990). In 1987, he began teaching at the newly merged St. Louis Preparatory Seminary, becoming its Dean of Students that same year.

From 1990 to 1994, he served as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and private secretary to Archbishop John May. Lucas was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on September 5, 1994, and was vicar general of St. Louis for a year before becoming rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in 1995. He was a member of the Priests' Personnel Board of St. Louis from 1987 to 1990, being named its Secretary in 1988. He also sat on the editorial board of the archdiocesan newspaper The St. Louis Review (1988-1999), the Board of Directors (1990-1995) and Board of Trustees (1990-1999) of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, and the Council of Priests of St. Louis (1994-1999).

Bishop of Springfield, Illinois[edit]

On October 19, 1999, Lucas was appointed the eighth Bishop of Springfield by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 14 from Francis Cardinal George, OMI, with Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera and Bishop Daniel L. Ryan serving as co-consecrators.[citation needed]

In 2001, Lucas announced the establishment of a diaconate formation program for the diocese. Men prepared for the diaconate by going through a five-year formation program through the diocesan Office for the Diaconate, in cooperation with Quincy University in Quincy. On June 24, 2007, Lucas ordained the first class of eighteen men to the Order of Deacons. Since 2007 permanent deacons have been serving at parishes throughout the diocese by assisting at liturgies, where they proclaim the Gospel and preach at some Masses. They are also baptizing, witnessing marriages and presiding at wakes and graveside services. [1]

In January 2002, Bishop Lucas launched an endowment/capital campaign called Harvest of Thanks, Springtime of Hope, the first campaign of its kind in the history of the diocese. The program raised over $22.1 million which was used to establishment endowments to promote Catholic education through tuition assistance and continuing education for Catholic school educators. The endowment was also used to support the work of Catholic Charities, to assist in the formation of seminarians and deacon candidates and for the care of retired priests of the diocese. [2]

Jubilee 2003, the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, officially began on December 9, 2002. The highlight of the year-long Jubilee was the day-long celebration at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. On Saturday, June 28 an estimated 20,000 Catholics from all over the diocese enjoyed the day's activities, which included exhibits, rides on a living rosary, Eucharistic adoration, food, concerts and fireworks. The highlight of the day was a Mass attended by 15,000 people. Lucas welcomed seventeen bishops from all over the country to celebrate with him. Participants in a procession carried banners representing each of the parishes up close to the altar, which was situated on a stage in front of the grandstand. The Jubilee closed with a Mass celebrated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. [3]

Lucas also spearheaded the Built in Faith campaign to raise the $11 million dollars needed to restore the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. For 80 years the Cathedral served as the mother church of the diocese, but it was beginning to show its age. Lucas was promoted to the Archbishop of Omaha before the renovation was completed, but he was able to return for the Cathedral dedication, December 2, 2009. [4]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lucas sits on the Subcommittee on the Catechism and Sapientia Christiana Committee.[citation needed]

Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska[edit]

On June 3, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named Lucas the fifth Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska. He succeeded Elden Francis Curtiss, and was installed at St. Cecilia Cathedral on July 22, 2009, by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States. In attendance was Archbishop Emeritus Curtiss (his predecessor in Omaha), and Their Eminences, Cardinals Francis Eugene George, OMI (of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the metropolitan see of Illinois, where Archbishop Lucas's previous post was) and Justin Francis Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (he had been Archbishop Lucas's superior when Lucas was a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis). As Archbishop, Lucas serves as the spiritual leader of 220,000 Catholics in Nebraska.[5]

He received the pallium, a vestment worn by metropolitan bishops, from Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009, in a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica.[citation needed]

Archbishop Lucas suppressed the Association of the Faithful titled "Intercessors of the Lamb" in October 2010 after the civil board "Intercessors, Inc." opposed his request for reforms.[citation needed] This came after the initial report of a canonical visitation conducted by Father James Conn, a noted Canon Lawyer. The visit was a necessary step after a request by the founder, Nadine Brown, to have the group made a full religious institute. Many discrepancies and issues were uncovered during the visitation, which led to Brown's resignation. Currently, 56 of the 68 members are residing together under the protection and guidance of the Archbishop, known as Intercessor Relief. They are currently discerning their future and the possibility of beginning a new order/association with the guidance of Archbishop Lucas. Ten members continue to reside at their community of "Bellwether".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Elden Francis Curtiss
Archbishop of Omaha
2009–present
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
Daniel L. Ryan
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
1999–2009
Succeeded by
Thomas Paprocki