Acting upon the Archdiocesan Synod’s call for the church to “renew its focus on social justice,” Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki has named Fr. Tim Kitzke as vicar general, with special emphasis on urban ministry, effective Wednesday, July 1, 2015.
The archbishop announced the appointment to the priests during their spring assembly last month, and to recipients of his weekly communiqué, Love One Another, Tuesday, June 2.
In representing the archbishop, Fr. Kitzke, who will remain as co-pastor of SS. Peter and Paul; Three Holy Women; Old St. Mary; and Our Lady of Divine Providence parishes in Milwaukee, will help execute at least three synod priorities:
– establish priorities for the church to address in the urban community,
– direct formation on social justice issues, and
– identify ministerial concerns and gaps in services and support within neighborhoods.
Fr. Kitzke, 55, welcomed the opportunity to serve the church and the community in this position.
“Whenever there is a crisis or a problem, the church should be on the front line addressing it,” he said.
In Love One Another, Archbishop Listecki wrote, “Historically, it has been the Catholic Church’s presence which has contributed to the building of the city. We have done so through our parishes, schools, hospitals and charitable organizations. We have been a source of renewal especially in times of crisis. It’s time for such a renewal today.”
He added, “The appointment of Fr. Kitzke reaffirms my own personal commitment to social issues in the central city of Milwaukee and throughout the metro area.”
WHAT IS A VICAR GENERAL?
A vicar general is a priest at least 30 years old who has the general power to act in place of the bishop throughout the diocese except in areas reserved for the (arch)bishop alone as outlined in the Code of Canon Law.
According to the job description provided by the archdiocese, Fr. Kitzke will, among other duties, “provide leadership as the voice and face of urban ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, addressing spiritual, social, economic, cultural and community issues affecting the urban population.”
The appointment comes as the archdiocese is undertaking an initiative focusing on Catholic schools in the Milwaukee metro area.
According to Jerry Topczewski, Archbishop Listecki’s chief of staff, a task force comprised of educators, and business, civic and religious leaders, including Fr. Kitzke, is in the early stages of developing a plan for the city’s Catholic schools that emphasizes effectiveness, efficiency and evangelization.
Archbishop Listecki wrote in Love One Another, “Using what we learn, we will create a new, more efficient operating system that better supports our Catholic urban schools, provides the necessary resources, tools and infrastructure to drive even greater impact, and enhances our students’ journey toward healthy mind, body and spirit.”
Implementation of the task force’s work could come as early as the start of the 2016-2017 school year, according to Topczewski.
Editor’s note: A detailed explanation of the archdiocese’s urban ministry is scheduled to appear in the July 9 issue of the Catholic Herald.