Chicagoland

Pope Francis names three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
July 3, 2018

Pope Francis names three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Chicagoland Pope Francis names three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago By Michelle Martin | Staff Writer July 3, 2018 Pope Francis appointed Father Mark Bartosic, Father Robert Casey and Father Ronald Hicks as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago on July 3. At the same time, he accepted the resignations of auxiliary bishops George Rassas and Francis Kane, both of whom are past age 75.
Bishop-elect Ronald Hicks was the main celebrant for a Mass to honor Blessed Oscar Romero at St. Jerome Parish, 1709 W. Lunt Ave. on March 24, 2015, marking the day of Romero’s assassination in San Salvador. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop-elect Mark Bertosic blesses a baby after he celebrated Mass with parishioners at Assumption BVM Parish, 2434 S. California Ave., on July 8, 2018. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop-elect Robert Casey accepts the gifts during Mass at St. Bede the Venerable Parish, 8200 S. Kostner Ave., on July 8, 2018. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parishioners clap after Bishop-elect Casey shares the news that he will become an auxiliary bishop July 8, 2018, at St. Bede the Venerable Parish, 8200 S. Kostner Ave. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Pope Francis appointed Father Mark Bartosic, Father Robert Casey and Father Ronald Hicks as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago on July 3. At the same time, he accepted the resignations of auxiliary bishops George Rassas and Francis Kane, both of whom are past age 75.

The new bishops are expected to be ordained to the episcopacy and installed at a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral on Sept. 17.

All three of the bishops-elect were ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 21, 1994.

“The bishops-elect were seminary classmates and share a fluency and interest in Hispanic language and culture so vital in serving our parishioners,” Cardinal Cupich said in a statement. “Each of them has distinguished himself through dedication, service and a life-long witness to the Gospel. We welcome their ideas and energy as we renew the church.”

Bishop-elect Bartosic

Bishop-elect Bartosic, 57, has served as pastor of Assumption BVM Parish, 2434 S. California Ave., and director of the Kolbe House jail ministry since 2016. Before that, he served as pastor of St. Frances of Rome Parish, Cicero, from 2001 to 2016 and Our Lady of Charity Parish, Cicero, from 2009 to 2016. His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Agnes of Bohemia Parish, 2651 S. Central Park Ave.

Bishop-elect Bartosic said that apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, called him to ask him to become a bishop on June 23, just as Bishop-elect Bartosic was starting a week-long vacation.

“I actually called him back from the airport in Kansas City,” he said. Archbishop Pierre suggested that Bishop-elect Bartosic talk to Cardinal Cupich and trusted advisers before making up his mind, which he did. “It was difficult because here I am on vacation with three of my best friends from the seminary and I can’t say anything about it to them.”

Bishop-elect Bartosic said he was gratified to be told he should consider accepting the offer because he would be able to offer the priests of the archdiocese the support they need.

“That was very meaningful to me, that people would think I would be able to provide that support.”

Bishop-elect Bartosic was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, and grew up in Ohio, where his mother still lives. He called her July 2 to tell her the news, he said.

“She’s thrilled, but she’s also stunned,” he said.

Bishop-elect Casey

Bishop-elect Robert Casey, 50, said his reaction — and that of his father — was about the same.

“Really, just joy and shock,” Bishop-elect Casey said of his reaction. “Cardinal Cupich was kind enough to give me permission to tell my father, and he just looked at me like, ‘Really?’”

Bishop-elect Casey said Archbishop Pierre left him a message while he was celebrating 5 p.m. Mass at his parish, St. Bede the Venerable, 8200 S. Kostner Ave., on June 26. He had an inkling of what it might be about because he had heard that he was being discussed as a possible new bishop.

“I don’t put a lot of faith in the rumor mill,” he said, and he discounted what he heard. But his spiritual director suggested he pray about it, just in case. “As I brought it to prayer, the only thing that was coming to me was ‘Yes.’”

Bishop-elect Casey was born in Evergreen Park and grew up in Alsip. He attended public elementary schools and Marist High School before entering Niles College Seminary. His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Ita Parish, 5500 N. Broadway, where he served until 1999. In 1998, he was named associate director of Casa Jesus, a house of discernment for men from Latin America. In 1999 he became its full-time director. In 2003, he completed a 40-day pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain before becoming pastor of Our Lady of Tepeyac Parish, 3047 W. Cermak Road, and in 2008, he co-founded Taller de José, a ministry sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph that offers accompaniment to people in need.

He served as pastor of St. Barbara Parish in Brookfield from 2009 to 2016, when he was appointed pastor of St. Bede.  In addition to his duties as pastor, he serves on the priests placement board and the priest steering committee for Renew My Church.

Saying yes to becoming a bishop is an act of faith similar to his saying yes to the priesthood, Bishop-elect Casey said.

“This is not something I looked for or went searching for,” he said. “It’s scary and it’s daunting. Our archdiocese is in the midst of Renew My Church. I’m somebody who sees this as a great moment for us. As scary as it is, it’s an awesome moment to say yes — to being a bishop, or to the priesthood, or to being a committed lay Catholic.”

Bishop-elect Hicks

Bishop-elect Ronald Hicks, 50, was born in Harvey and grew up in South Holland, where he attended St. Jude the Apostle parish and school. He went to Quigley South and Niles College Seminary before University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

He served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 4432 N. Troy St., from 1994 to 1996 and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Orland Hills, from 1996 to 1999. He was dean of formation at St. Joseph College Seminary from 1999 to 2005, when he received permission to move to El Salvador to begin his five-year term as regional director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a ministry that cares for more than 3,400 orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

He was dean of formation at Mundelein Seminary from 2010 to 2014, while assisting at weekend Masses at St. Jerome Parish, 1709 W. Lunt Ave., and he was appointed vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Jan. 1, 2015. Since then, it has been his practice to celebrate Mass in a different parish in the archdiocese each weekend.

Bishop-elect Hicks will retain his duties as vicar general. Bishops-elect Bartosic and Casey will serve as episcopal vicars, in charge of specific geographic areas of the archdiocese. 

Bishop-elect Bartosic said he was told that they would likely find out which vicariates they will serve by the end of August.

Bishop Rassas is the episcopal vicar for Vicariate I, which includes Lake County and northwest suburban Cook County, and Bishop Kane is the episcopal vicar for Vicariate II, which includes much of the North Side of Chicago and the north suburbs in Cook County.

“We are blessed to have had the service of Bishops Rassas and Kane for so many years,” Cardinal Cupich said in his statement. “They have made significant contributions both as priests and as episcopal vicars, and I express my gratitude for their ministry.”

Topics:

  • bishops

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