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KUCERA, Daniel. (Chicago, IL, May 7, 1923--Dubuque, IA, May 31, 2017). Pope John Paul II named Daniel Kucera of Salina, Kansas as the new archbishop of Dubuque on December 20, 1983. In his new role, he became the spiritual leader of 246,000 Catholics and served as Metropolitan of Iowa, making him the highest-ranking Catholic in the state. Church law required that he begin his new post within two months. (1)
Archbishop Kucera was installed as the tenth bishop of Dubuque and the eighth archbishop on February 23, 1984, after the retirement of Archbishop James J. BYRNE. Born William Kucera, the future archbishop adopted a new and religious name when he took his vows as a monk in the Order of St. Benedic tat St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Illinois in 1944. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in education from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. Ordained a priest in 1949, he became at the age of thirty-six, the youngest president of the Illinois Benedictine College. His background in education led Vatican officials, including the pope, to seek his advice. He was the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Joliet, Illinois and the bishop of Salina, Kansas before coming to Dubuque. (2)
Within the first three years of his administration, Kucera reorganized and established archdiocesan boards and established the Archbishop's Cabinet to coordinate the work of the central offices of the archdiocese. He also reorganized the deanery boundaries to reduce the number of deaneries from sixteen to fourteen. The guidelines for the Sacrament of Confirmation were revised and published at the end of 1986. He approved major renovation of ST. RAPHAEL'S CATHEDRAL and sold the STOUT HOUSE which had served as the residence of the archbishops of Dubuque and the offices of the archdiocese since 1911.
One of the appointments made by Kucera had lasting impact on America's farmers. In 1983, Rev. Norman WHITE was appointed the director of the Rural Life Conference. The following year, he was chosen by Archbishop Daniel Kucera to be the director of the Rural Life Center for the archdiocese. (3)
As an advocate for farmers, White challenged Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz's statement that farmers must "get big or get out." He stayed with families about to suffer foreclosure, delivered food to the needy, and collected donations to help farm families pay utility bills.
On November 30, 1986, Kucera proclaimed the 150th anniversary of the founding of the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE with the challenge to "Remember, Rejoice and Proclaim." Local celebrations throughout the archdiocese culminated on July 28, 1987, in a final public celebration at the FIVE FLAGS CIVIC CENTER.
On February 8, 1987, Kucera announced a plan to create three regions in the Archdiocese of Dubuque with a resident bishop in each area. The regions were designated Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Waterloo. Bishop Francis J. Dunn served the Cedar Rapids area. Bishop William E. Franklin lived in Waterloo. The Dubuque region was served by retired Archbishop James J. Byrne and Archbishop Kucera. The bishops, representatives of the archbishop, also provided a consistent presence of the Catholic church in the western regions of the archdiocese.
Under Kucera, the archdiocese hired a financial officer in 1986 and instituted regular audits and financial reviews. (4)
On the tenth anniversary in Dubuque, Kucera was remembered for placing women in top positions in the church and creating offices of health ministry and youth formation. (5)
Archbishop Kucera was succeeded by Jerome G. HANUS.
1. Fryxell, David, "Kansas Prelate Named Archbishop of Dubuque," Telegraph Herald, December 20, 1083, p. 1A
2. Jacobson, Ben. "Friends Remember Archbishop Kucera as an 'Overall Good Guy,'" Telegraph Herald, June 1, 2017, p. 1A
3. Jerde, Lyn. "White on News Show," Telegraph Herald, May 15, 1994, p. 3
4. Jacobson, p. 2A
5. Jerde, Lyn. "Archbishop Celebrates Decade at Helm," Telegraph Herald, February 28, 1994, p. 2A