Gerald Frederick Kicanas

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Gerald Frederick Kicanas
Bishop Emeritus of Tucson
Tucson AZ - Bishop Gerald Frederick Kicanas.jpg
Bishop Kicanas in 2013.
ChurchRoman Catholic
AppointedOctober 30, 2001
InstalledMarch 7, 2003
Term endedOctober 3, 2017
PredecessorManuel Moreno
SuccessorEdward Weisenburger
OrdinationApril 27, 1967
ConsecrationMarch 20, 1995
by Joseph Bernardin, Alfred Leo Abramowicz, and Timothy Joseph Lyne
Personal details
Gerald Frederick Kicanas

(1941-08-18) August 18, 1941 (age 81)
Previous post(s)
Styles of
Gerald Frederick Kicanas
Coat of arms of Gerald Frederick Kicanas.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Gerald Frederick Kicanas (born August 18, 1941) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Tucson in Arizona from 2002 to 2017. He served as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces in New Mexico from September 2018 to July 2019.


Early life[edit]

Gerald Kicanas was born in Chicago, Illinois, to parents of Lebanese heritage, Frederick and Eva Kicanas. He attended Immaculate Heart Elementary School and Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago. Kicanas obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.


Kicanas was ordained to the priesthood on April 27, 1967. He then earned a Doctor of Educational Psychology degree and an Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling from Loyola University Chicago.[1]

After working as an associate pastor until 1978, Kicanas held various offices at the archdiocesan seminary for over 25 years. He served as rector, principal, and dean of formation at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, and became rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in 1984. While rector, he also served as a lecturer in community and organization development at Loyola.[2]

Kicanas' other diocesan jobs included acting as director of the Catholic Chaplaincy Program of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, as a caseworker for Catholic Charities, and as chaplain for the Chicago Parental School, a facility for troubled boys.[2]

Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago[edit]

On January 24, 1995, Pope John Paul II named Kicanas as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago and titular bishop of Bela.[1] He received his episcopal consecration on March 20, 1995, from Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, with Bishops Alfred Abramowicz and Timothy Lyne serving as co-consecrators. Kicanas chose to express his episcopal motto in both Spanish and English: "La Justicia Promueve La Paz and "Justice begets peace".[2]

During his tenure as an auxiliary bishop, Kicanas served as episcopal vicar for Vicariate I in the archdiocese, which includes Lake and Cook Counties. He also became involved with vocations, the permanent diaconate, and encouragement of lay ministry.

On January 24, 2012, the archdiocese released extensive records on the handling of sexual abuse allegations. These records showed decisions made by Kicanas in two cases.

  • The first case was that of Daniel McCormack, a student at Mundelein Seminary when Kicanas was its administrator. According to the records, Kicanas knew about sexual abuse allegations against McCormack, but allowed his ordination anyway. In a statement, Kicanas denied knowledge of any accusations at that time.[3]
  • The second Chicago case involving Kicanas was that of Russ Romano, a priest in the archdiocese. The records showed the following statement mentioning Kicanas:

    "I spoke to Jerry Kicanas and he suggested a two-part approach to Russ:  First, express concern for Russ and his personal problems, and second, to make it very clear that the drinking, movies, hugs, and kisses with our students must stop immediately." [3]

    In a 2012 response to the Romano case, Kicanas said that he was unaware at that time of sexual abuse allegations against Romano and would have asked for a much stronger response had he known.[3]

Bishop of Tucson[edit]

Kicanas was named coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Tucson on October 30, 2001 and became bishop after the resignation of Bishop Manuel Moreno on March 7, 2003.[4] Kicanas has been praised for his handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his diocese, which had declared bankruptcy due to settlement costs.

On November 13, 2007, Kicanas was elected vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), receiving 22 more votes than Archbishop Timothy Dolan.[5] On February 28, 2008, the USCCB chose Kicanas as a member of the American delegation to the twelfth World Synod of Bishops in Vatican City in October 2008.[6] In June 2009, Kicanas spoke at the annual meeting of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. His talk addressed the need for effective communications in the Catholic Church.[7][8]

On November 16, 2010, Dolan defeated Kicanas in the vote for USCCB president.[9] It was the first time in USCCB history that a sitting vice president was not elected president.[10] According to an article in America: The Jesuit Review, conservative catholic groups had mounted a strong lobbying campaign against Kicanas within the USCCB.[11] On November 17, 2010, Cardinal Francis George, outgoing USCCB president, appointed Kicanas as chair of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services.

Kicanas served as chair of the board of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) in Washington, D.C. and was a member of the board of directors of the National Pastoral Life Center in New York City.[2]


In 2017, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Kicanas as bishop of the Diocese of Tucson and named as his successor Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, who had served as bishop of the Diocese of Salina since 2012.[12]

Kicanas assumed the duties as chair of the board of directors at The National Catholic Educational Association on January 1, 2018, replacing Bishop George V. Murry.[13] On September 28, 2018, Kicanas was named temporary apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces after Bishop Oscar Cantu was appointed bishop of the Diocese of San Jose.[14] His assignment as administrator in Las Cruces ended on July 23, 2019. In December 2021, Kicanas underwent successful open heart surgery at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson. Kicanas remains in Tucson as Bishop Emeritus helping out Bishop Wisenburger with pastoral duties around the Diocese of Tucson. [15][16]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bishop Emeritus". Diocese of Tucson. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Bishop Emeritus". Diocese of Tucson. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  3. ^ a b c "Documents released: Bishop Kicanas named in priest sex scandal cover up". Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  4. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (March 8, 2003). "Resignation of Bishop in Troubled Tucson Diocese Is Accepted". New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Allen Jr., John L. (November 13, 2007). "USCCB Day Two: Kicanas elected vice-president". Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "U.S. bishop delegates to World Synod appointed". Catholic News Agency. February 27, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Gibson, David. "2009 Annual Meeting: Bishop Kicanas Speaks on Effective Church Communications". National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  8. ^ Gerald Kicanas. "2009 Annual Meeting: Bishop Gerald Kicanas on effective communication". National Ledership Roundtable on Church Management. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Filteau, Jerry (November 16, 2010). "Spurning tradition, Bishops elect Dolan as new president". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Fox, Thomas C. (November 18, 2010). "U.S. bishops' rejection of Bishop Kicanas has got to hurt". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "'Humbled' Dolan Downplays Election Results". America Magazine. 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  12. ^ "Bishop Kicanas of Tucson retires; pope names Kansas bishop his successor".
  13. ^ "NCEA Press Release". 2018-01-01.
  14. ^ "Pope temporarily appoints Bishop Emeritus to the Diocese of las Cruces". 30 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Retired Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., to undergo open heart surgery". Crux. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  16. ^ "Bishop offers gratitude to those involved in his recent heart surgery". Crux. January 20, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  17. ^ "Update: Beaumont bishop retires; pope names Florida priest successor". 10 June 2020.
  18. ^ University of Notre Dame. "Honorary Degree". Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Tucson
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Succeeded by