Sacred Heart alum, Flint-area priest appointed bishop of Kansas diocese

Bishop-elect Gerald Vincke, currently pastor of Holy Family Parish in Grand Blanc, will become the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, Pope Francis announced June 13. (Courtesy photo)
GRAND BLANC — For the thirty-third time in its history, a graduate of Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary has been appointed a bishop of the Catholic Church.

On June 13, Pope Francis announced that Msgr. Gerald Vincke, a priest of the Diocese of Lansing and pastor of Holy Family Parish in Grand Blanc, would succeed Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Salina, Kansas.

Bishop-elect Vincke, 53, earned his Master of Divinity degree from Sacred Heart in 1999. He is the 33rd Sacred Heart alumnus to be named a bishop and the 21st since the seminary’s refounding in 1988 as a major seminary.

"Bishop-elect Vincke is an exceptional priest who radiates joy, a love for the Lord, and a deep desire to serve,” Msgr. Todd J. Lajiness, rector and president of Sacred Heart, said in a statement. “Sacred Heart Major Seminary is proud that he is among our alumni and we assure him of our prayerful support as he accepts this new responsibility entrusted to him by Pope Francis."

Born in Saginaw as the ninth of 10 children, Bishop-elect Vincke earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from Ferris State University before going on to study philosophy and theology at St. Thomas More College in Crestview, Ky., and Athaneaum Seminary in Cincinnati, respectively. He later enrolled at Sacred Heart, where he studied under now-Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who was rector at the time.

In a statement, Archbishop Vigneron expressed joy at the Holy Spirit’s selection of another of Michigan priest to serve the Church.

Bishop-designate Jerry Vincke shares a laugh with chancery staff in Salina, Kan., June 13. His appointment was announced in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, that same day. (CNS photo/Karen Bonar, The Register)

“I welcomed with heartfelt gladness the news that Pope Francis has chosen Bishop-Elect Vincke to lead the Diocese of Salina. His joy, love and passion for Christ, and for His people, have been evident to me from the time I was the Bishop’s rector at Sacred Heart Major Seminary over 30 years ago,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “The people of Salina are blessed indeed to have Bishop Vincke as their shepherd – one formed ‘after the priestly Heart of Christ.’”

During an introductory news conference in Salina, Bishop-elect Vincke expressed gratitude to God for the appointment, saying he was looking forward to serving the needs of his new flock.

“It’s a big difference — a big, big difference — so it is going to be a challenge,” he said. “I love to pray and I love to work and I’m looking forward to getting started as soon as possible here,” he said.

“The Church exists to be a missionary Church, to make disciples of the people and to be disciples, and those are really things I have a heart for,” Bishop-elect Vincke added.

After being ordained a priest by Bishop Carl F. Mengeling on June 12, 1999, Bishop-elect Vincke served in a number of roles in the Lansing diocese. These included serving as associate pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor; director of Bethany House, a retreat house for youth; and director of seminarians and vocations.

From 2010-15, Bishop-elect Vincke served as spiritual director at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, before returning to Lansing as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Grand Blanc, a suburb of Flint. He also currently serves on the diocesan Presbyteral Council, Priest Assignment Committee and College of Consultors. He was named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

While in Rome, Bishop-elect Vincke earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical North American College, where he wrote his thesis on spiritual insights into the New Evangelization gleaned from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” as well as from St. John Vianney.

An ordination date for Bishop-elect Vincke has been set for Aug. 22, according to the Salina diocese.

The Diocese of Salina covers 26,685 square miles in northwest Kansas. The diocese currently has approximately 44,369 Catholics.