Today the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archdiocese of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John Manz, who celebrated a half-century of priesthood and a quarter-century as a bishop on May 12.
Bishop Manz, 75, who resides at Good Shepherd Parish in Little Village has served as auxiliary bishop of Vicariate IV, which includes the near-west suburbs of Chicago and portions of the West and Northwest sides. Bishop Kevin Birmingham will become vicar of Vicariate IV.
Bishop Manz advocated for justice and dignity of vulnerable persons, having served as chairman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers and as a member of the Diversity in the Church Committee and the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, thanked Bishop Manz, who through his dedication to Latino parishes has been known affectionately as “Father Juan.”
“We are proud of Bishop John Manz who has served primarily in Latino parishes since his ordination in 1971.” Cardinal Cupich said. “He has won the heart of Latinos and inspired us by his advocacy for justice and dignity as our nation responds to immigrants in our country. I will continue to call on him for his sage advice and good counsel.”
Bishop Manz has said he began working with immigrants and migrant communities before he was ordained a priest. “Once you begin to learn a language, it becomes no longer an abstract thing, and you get to know individuals, not just a social class of people,” he said. “That’s how barriers are broken down. We all have prejudices, but the only way to break them down is by getting to know the person.”
He said the work of a priest has never been easy. “But I feel very fortunate,” he said. “I have had many experiences; I have never been bored and I think it is because I like people. As a priest, I believe I have received more than I have given.”
Bishop Robert Casey, vicar general of the archdiocese, thanked Bishop Manz for helping to form the next generation of priests. “As a seminarian, I was fortunate to work for six months in the parish where he was pastor,” Bishop Casey said. “He has helped so many priests discern and discover the gift of a priestly vocation. With his heart-centered on humble service and his ability to hold onto humor, even on the toughest days, Bishop Manz has been a great shepherd for our local Church.”