Archbishop Thomas Wenski

Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami

Motto: All Things to All Men (I Corinthians 9:22)

Bishop Wenski, born in West Palm Beach on October 18, 1950 grew up in Lake Worth, Florida where he attended Catholic school at his home parish, Sacred Heart. He studied at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in Miami and later at St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in Boynton Beach and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami on May 15, 1976. He earned a B.A. Degree in Philosophy (1972), and Masters of Divinity (1975), from the Boynton Beach Seminary and in 1993 a MA from the School of Sociology of Fordham University in New York. He has also taken summer courses at the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland).

He served three years as associate pastor of Corpus Christi Church, a mainly Hispanic parish in Miami. In 1979, after briefly ministering in Haiti, he was assigned to the newly established Haitian Apostolate of the Archdiocese. He was associate director and then director of the Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Miami from that time to his appointment as a Bishop in 1997. The Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in addition to providing for the pastoral and spiritual needs of the Haitian communities of South Florida also provided numerous social, educational and legal services to newly arrived Haitian immigrants. He also served concurrently as pastor of three Haitian mission parishes in the Archdiocese—Notre-Dame d’Haiti in Miami, Divine Mercy in Fort Lauderdale, and St. Joseph in Pompano Beach.

Through the 1980’s he also conducted a circuit-riding ministry that led him to help establish Haitian Catholic communities from Homestead in the south to Fort Pierce to the north, Immokalee to the West and Fort Lauderdale to the east. In the early 1980’s his outreach to Haitians also extended to Wachula, Winter Haven, and Ruskin on Florida’s west coast.

He celebrated the weekly Mass in English for shut-ins at the Miami’s local ABC affiliate from 1992-1997.

He directed the Archdiocese of Miami Ministry to Non-Hispanic Ethnic Groups.

In January 1996, the then Father Wenski was appointed the Archdiocese Director of Catholic Charities, one of the largest Catholic social service agencies in the United States. In this capacity he helped forge a collaborative relationship with Caritas Cuba, the social service arm of the Catholic Church in Cuba. Since early 1996 he has traveled to Cuba on many occasions on behalf of the Church.

In late 1996, he spearheaded a relief operation that delivered over 150,000 pounds of food to Caritas Cuba for distribution to people left homeless by hurricane Lily. This was the first time that Cubans in Miami participated in a humanitarian relief effort directed to Cuba. In subsequent years, similar relief efforts were also directed to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the countries of Central America and Colombia.

Appointed auxiliary Bishop of Miami on June 24, 1997, he was ordained to the episcopacy on September 3, 1997 along with Bishop Gilberto Fernandez in the Miami Arena.

Besides his duties in the Archdiocese of Miami, where he served on numerous boards including Catholic Hospice, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities Legal Services, and St. Thomas University, and later as Coadjutor Bishop and Ordinary of Orlando, he also served as chair of CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) (1998-2001), chair of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Committee on Migration (2001-2004); and chair of the conference’s Committee on International Policy (2004-2008) and currently he continues as a consultant to the Committee on Migration, and a member of the Conference’s Secretariat for the Church in Latin America , the committee for International Justice and Peace, and CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.). On behalf of his work on these committees, he has traveled to the Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America as well as to Israel and the West Bank (Palestinian Authority).

He also served on a number of community and civic organizations, including Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Trust, the Coordinating Council of Broward and in 2001, Governor Bush appointed him to the Florida Council on Homelessness as well as the Governor’s Task Force on Haiti in 2004.

He is currently the Episcopal Moderator for Catholic Health Services for the Florida Catholic Conference.
Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Wenski as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on July 1, 2003.

Bishop Wenski assumed the role of the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on November 13, 2004.

In October 2007, Bishop Wenski was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, a non-profit public charity that responds to challenges that confront specialty crop producers and their stakeholders.

In March 2009, Bishop Wenski joined the Catholic Leadership Institute's national advisory board for their “Good Leaders, Good Shepherds” program.

In June 2009, Bishop Wenski was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America.

On April 20th, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the fourth Archbishop of Miami and Metropolitan of the Province of Miami (which includes the seven dioceses of the State of Florida).

He will be installed as Archbishop in Miami on June 1, 2010.

In addition to English, Bishop Wenski speaks Haitian Creole and Spanish fluently and preaches and celebrates Mass regularly in both languages. He learned Spanish while still a seminarian and worked with various Spanish speaking groups including Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans during his seminary training and early years as a priest. He also has a limited knowledge of Polish, the language of his immigrant father and Polish American mother. His parents moved to Florida from Detroit, Michigan shortly after their wedding in 1947. They are both deceased. His sister and niece live in Lake Worth. He is the only Florida native serving as a bishop in the state.


Statement by Archbishop John C. Favalora
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami


It was officially announced today at the Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted my letter of resignation as Archbishop of Miami. I have been privileged and blessed to serve as Metropolitan Archbishop of Miami for almost sixteen years. There is hardly a more exciting and challenging place than South Florida. As I move into retirement years, I bring with me very fond memories of my ministry with our dedicated priests and deacons, the wonderful religious and seminarians, and the faithful hard-working laity of the Archdiocese.

Today the Apostolic succession continues with the naming of Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando as the Fourth Metropolitan Archbishop of Miami. With resounding joy we welcome Archbishop Wenski back home. This native son of ours served us well in the past as pastor, Director of Haitian ministry, Director of Catholic Charities and Auxiliary Bishop. The Archbishop knows us well and he is no stranger to us.

His many pastoral gifts suit him exceptionally well to be our Chief Shepherd. His extensive understanding of and experience with Central and South America and the Caribbean Island nations will enhance the international relationships we already enjoy. His linguistic skills enable him to communicate well with our neighboring nations and Churches.

With great pleasure I present now Archbishop Thomas Wenski.


Statement by Archbishop-Designate Thomas Wenski
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami

This morning, upon the acceptance of Archbishop Favalora’s request to retire, Pope Benedict XVI appointed me as the fourth Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Miami.

Jesus once bid Peter “Duc in altum” (Put out into the deep). Now Peter’s successor has asked me to do the same in entrusting to me this new responsibility. I am being called back to this local Church where I was ordained a priest and where I served as a parish priest and auxiliary bishop. Humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me and aware of my own limitations and shortcomings, I once again ask the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, that I may worthily fulfill my new duties as the fourth Archbishop of Miami upon my installation on June 1, 2010.

While I am “coming home to Miami”, I am leaving the Diocese of Orlando where I have served almost seven years. I am deeply grateful to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Orlando. They welcomed me and always made me feel at home in Central Florida. As I return to South Florida, I know you will welcome me and also make me feel at home again as I reacquaint myself with priests, deacons and faithful of the Archdiocese of Miami.

I am grateful to Archbishop Favalora who shortly after he arrived here to the Archdiocese appointed me as the Archdiocese Director of Catholic Charities. I had big shoes to fill – replacing Msgr. Bryan O. Walsh. And, I have big shoes to fill now. Archbishop, I was privileged to serve as your auxiliary bishop for six years. You were always a good mentor and you taught me not to be anxious for “God will provide”. I hope that I can turn to you to seek your advice and counsel from time to time. Hopefully, retirement will afford you the opportunity to be as occupied as you wish – without being preoccupied.

Those preoccupations fall on my shoulders come June 1st when I will be installed as your new Archbishop. I am told that Miami has its challenges but what else is new? The Lord tells us: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28: 5). But the fundamental challenge that we face together is: “to show the Church’s capacity to promote and form disciples and missionaries who respond to the calling received and communicate everywhere, in an overflow of gratitude and joy, the gift of encounter with Jesus Christ. We have no other treasure but that. We have no other happiness, no other priority but being instruments of the Spirit of God, in the Church, so that Jesus Christ may be known, followed, loved, adored, and communicated to all, despite difficulties and resistances.” (Documento Conclusivo de Aparecida –V conferencia de CELAM).

When I was in Orlando, I used to tell the priests that I would not ask them to work harder than I did. To the priests of Miami, I say the same. And priests do work hard – and our people do appreciate that; and, they have every right to expect that: not that we burn ourselves out but that we burn ourselves up with love for them and for the Lord.

As I prepare to become your Archbishop, I ask all of you, auxiliary bishops, priests, deacons, religious and members of Christ’s faithful, for your prayers and for your support. I ask the same from the other faith communities of South Florida and I look forward to collaborating with them and with our civic and political leaders to promote the common good and the dignity of the human person made in the “image and likeness of God.”

John Paul II reminded us: we must remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm and look to the future with confidence. And so, with a mixture of gratitude, enthusiasm and confidence, I would like to conclude my statement this morning with these words from Pope Benedict XVI:

“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14). Deus Caritas Est, #31


Words by John C. Favalora, Apostolic Administrator
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami

Dear Monsignor/Father:

The Archdiocese of Miami has received good news today that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed as our fourth Metropolitan Archbishop one of our own, well-known, native sons. On behalf of all of us, I congratulate Archbishop Thomas Wenski and assure him of our joy, prayers and support.

At the same time, I express my gratitude to His Holiness for having had the blessing and privilege of serving as your Chief Shepherd for almost sixteen years. In the fall of 2008 I began the process of preparing for my successor. It was becoming more and more evident to me that the complexity of the Archdiocese warranted consideration for a coadjutor. Our diverse cultural mix, our many international relations and interactions because of our immigrant component as well as our many pastoral and financial challenges would seem to indicate that time
to understudy would be very helpful to the next Archbishop. It would be good for him to be involved with the decisions that will affect his tenure.

I received permission to seek a coadjutor at the end of 2008 and the official process began in late spring 2009. By March of 2010, I learned of the Holy Father’s selection. Immediately, it became evident to me that our new Archbishop did not need the time to understudy; he already had many more years of active ministry here than I do. There was no practical reason to delay his appointment until December.
It was my judgment that the needs and well-being of the Archdiocese would be better served by an earlier transition. Upon my request, I was permitted to tender my resignation and I receive the Holy Father’s blessing in accord with canon 401, §

2. While I reiterate that I still enjoy good health, I also recognize that I no longer have the stamina and spirit of earlier years. Moreover, I recognize that the current challenges facing the Archdiocese now could benefit from new eyes and fresh insights and energies. Archbishop Wenski, I believe, will bring these and so many more gifts to this Office. He will lead us very well. Shortly, I will move to Villa McCarthy and begin my retirement years. I do so with much peace. I thank each and all of you for your dedicated service to our people. I
thank you for your support and prayers during my years as Chief Shepherd. We have weathered many serious storms together; we have enjoyed much sunshine together. I thank you for your many kindnesses to me in so many ways.

I hope, with God’s grace, to enjoy more much-needed time for reading, praying and doing work among the poor. I look forward to this.
Finally, I want you to know of my continuing fraternal prayers for you. I beg from you a daily commendation of me before our Eucharistic Lord.

May the Lord continue to bless you and your priestly ministry abundantly. With personal good wishes, I am sincerely in the Lord,
John C. Favalora
Apostolic Administrator


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