Bishop Kicanas reflects on time in Southern Arizona

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Catholic Diocese of Tucson will install its 7th Bishop this week.

It's the end of an era following the retirement of Bishop Gerald Kicanas.

KOLD News 13's Angelica Carrillo sat down with him as he reflects back on his 16 years here.

"I think for me, the greatest joy has been to meet people from all around our diocese, 43,000 square miles, I visited every parish, I've been in every school, in every catholic institution and to see the commitment and the dedication of the people who serve the church and this local church has been truly an inspiration," said Kicanas.

From masses along the Mexican border, a visit from Pope Francis, to being a voice for refugees and migr ants in Washington.

Bishop Kicanas has been seen as a turning point for the Diocese of Tucson. Faced with challenges of sexual abuse, bankruptcy and a loss of trust in the church.

"When trust is broken it's very hard to restore trust and that's been one of my major efforts really in the course of these years, is try and help rebuild trust and it can be done only slowly and assuring people that the church is doing whatever it can to make sure that doesn't happen again," said Kicanas.

Bishop Kicanas has prayed very hard for Pope Francis to choose a Bishop that will love and care for the people of Southern Arizona and feels confident the Bishop Weisenburger is the person for the job.

Since the announcement in early October, Bishop Kicanas has been serving as what's called an Apostolic Administer, running the diocese and preparing the transfer to the new bishop this week.

And as Bishop Kicanas gets ready to officially transfer the diocese to Bishop Weisenburger on Wednesday, he has a message for his successor.

"My advice is to be present, to accompany people, to listen and to have a pastoral heart. That's really what's most important," said Kicanas.

But Bishop Kicanas's work will be far from over after his retirement.

He will continue to be involved with some of the relief organizations around the world and work on some of the local issues here at home.

He plans to stay in Tucson. "All the Chicagoans are moving here anyhow so I might as well stay and I love the community of course, so I hope to help Bishop Weisenburger in any way he finds helpful."

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