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JACKELS, Michael

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JACKELS, Michael. (Rapid City, SD, Apr. 13, 1954-- ). Jackels frequently moved as a child of a military family from Wyoming to Spain to California before settling in Nebraska to complete his secondary studies. While working as dishwasher in a country club, a sincere Protestant gave him a copy of the New Testament, the reading of which is said to have brought him back to the Catholic faith. Prior to joining Kentucky's St. Pius X Seminary in 1975, Jackels attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jackels earned his B.A. in philosophy from St. Pius X in 1977. In 1981, he completed his Master's in Theology at Mt. Saint Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

In 1981 after completing his master's degree, Jackels was ordained a priest for the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. His first assignment was serving as the associate pastor of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. He also served as a teacher at Pius X High School in Lincoln. From 1982 to 1985, Jackels was assigned to be the associate pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on the campus of the University of Nebraska. In addition to his teaching duties at Pius X High School, he served as the assistant vocations director for the diocese during this period.

In 1985, Jackels began doctoral studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He received his doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1989. His dissertation was a study of St. Catherine of Siena.

Jackels returned to Lincoln and for the next eight years served as the Diocesan Director of Religious Education, the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies, the Co-Vicar for Religious, and the Chaplain for the School Sisters of Christ the King. In 1994, Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor. This earned Jackels the title of Monsignor.

Image courtesy: Catholic Diocese of Wichita. The image of St. Michael the Archangel is taken from the crest for the city of Kiev in Ukraine. In addition to being the patron saint of Bishop Jackels, the image represents his mother’s family, the Mettlers, who are Volga Germans. The unicorn is taken from the coat of arms for the Jaeckel family in Nuremberg, Germany, and was chosen to represent his father’s family. When read from left to right Bishop Jackels’ coat of arms declares “ecce adsum” – here I am, Michael Jackels – announcing his name to the people God has called him to serve. The motto “ecce adsum” also recalls the right and true answer given by so many to the manifest will of the Father: by Samuel when called to serve as his prophet, “Here I am, for you called me” (1 Samuel 3:5); by the Virgin Mary’s to the call to be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord: let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38); and by Jesus in Gethsemane, at the beginning of his Passion, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

In 1997 Monsignor Jackels returned to Rome to work for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He remained in Rome until Cardinal Ratzinger informed him of his appointment to become the bishop of Wichita in January, 2005. His service there included a cathedral renovation and an emphasis on unity. He was known for visits to every parish and enjoying ethnic festivals.

Bishop Jackels joined the other three Kansas bishops in approving a pastoral letter opposing embryonic stem cell research. He has spoken against same-sex marriage, abortion, and the death penalty. He has written in favor of what he views as more just immigration laws and has voted to approve language changes in the Mass to bring the English translation into a better accord with the original Latin.

In areas outside of doctrine, Bishop Jackels was active in promoting Catholic education, and helped to establish the Drexel Fund which called for donations to help financially strapped Catholic schools within the diocese.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Jackels the Archbishop of Dubuque on April 8, 2013. He succeeded Archbishop Jerome G. HANUS.

In April, 2023 Archbishop Jackels announced that he had requested the Pope to accept his resignation citing health reasons. He had been hospitalized for a heart attack in early May, 2019. (1)



1. Hogstrom, Erik, "Archbishop Announced Immediate Retirement," Telegraph Herald, April 5, 2023, p. 1A

Archbishop Michael Owen Jackels. http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bjack.html

Catholic Diocese of Wichita. http://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/office-of-the-bishop/bishop-michael-o-jackels

Catholic Diocese of Wichita. http://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/office-of-the-bishop/office-of-the-bishop-home

Nevans-Pederson, Mary. "Doing God's Will,' " Telegraph Herald, April 9, 2013, p. 1