JOLIET, Ill. — There has been a change of leadership South of Chicago that impacts more than 600,000 Catholics in Joliet.
Last week, church leaders put a new man in charge. Bishop Ronald Hicks has deep ties to Chicago and its suburbs.
Hicks is the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Joliet.
At the direction of Pope Francis himself, Hicks has been called upon to lead more than half a million Catholics at well over 100 parishes.
“I’m humbled and excited,” he said. “My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude.”
Hicks comes to the diocese as the former Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop at the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Cardinal Cupich wrote, “I will personally miss him as he has served as my vicar general these past six years with competence and distinction. The people of Joliet are getting a leader who is strong, loving and wise.”
Hicks studied at Niles College of Loyola University Chicago and University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.
“I grew up loving God, going to church, praying and putting my faith into action,” Hicks said.
At Quigley South High School in Chicago, where Pope John Paul II visited in 1979, the seeds of vocation were planted.
Catholics in Joliet and in Chicago are celebrating and it is also special for the people who’ve known Hicks and watched his rise.
Hicks and WGN’s Ray Cortopassi were classmates and friends. They two recently caught up and shared words of faith and encouragement as both begin new assignments.