Vicar general of Chicago Catholic archdiocese appointed new bishop of Joliet diocese

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The vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has been appointed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, it was announced Friday.

The Rev. Ronald Hicks replaces Bishop Daniel Conlon, who resigned in May after four months of medical leave. Bishop Richard Pates will step down as the apostolic administrator of the diocese, a position he has held since Conlon was granted the leave in December.

Hicks, 52, will be installed on Sept. 29 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet.

“I will personally miss him as he has served as my vicar general these past six years with competence and distinction,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a statement. “The people of Joliet are getting a leader who is strong, loving and wise.”

Hicks is inheriting a diocese embroiled in sexual abuse scandals. The Joliet Diocese was sued in October 2019 over a priest accused of sexually assaulting a man with a disability at a residential center.

In 2015, the diocese paid over $4 million in settlements to men who said their childhood priests had assaulted them.

Hicks was appointed vicar general of the Chicago archdiocese in 2015 and ordained an auxiliary bishop in 2018. He has previously served as the dean of formation at Mundelein Seminary and St. Joseph College Seminary.

From 2005 to 2010, Hicks lived in El Salvador and was the regional director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, an orphanage for children from nine Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Hicks received his doctor of ministry degree in 2003 and his master of divinity degree in 1994, both from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago in 1989.

Born in Harvey and raised in South Holland, Hicks was a member of the St. Jude the Apostle Parish and attended Quigley Seminary South.


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