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Pope Francis starts assigning bishops to vacant dioceses in the U.S.

Published On: Apr 09 2013 06:54:54 PM CDT   Updated On: Jan 08 2015 08:33:49 PM CST

Pope Francis has started to assign bishops to vacant dioceses in the United States.

On Monday, April 8, he accepted the resignation of Archbishop Jerome George Hanus, OSB, 72, from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. Hanus had submitted his resignationed due to health issues. The pope named Bishop Michael Owen Jackels of Wichita, Kansas, 58, to succeed him.

Pope Francis also named Msgr. John Folda, 51, a seminary rector in Nebraska, as bishop of Fargo, North Dakota.

The vacancy of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa had not been publicized until April 8, while the Fargo diocese had been vacant since last summer.

El Paso's diocese has been without a bishop since December 2011 when Bishop Armando X. Ochoa was reassigned to the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

There are currently 10 vacant dioceses in the U.S.


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