Appointment of new Bishop for Prince George

Thursday, January 03 2013

wiesnerJensen_Stephen(CCCB – Ottawa)… His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., as Bishop of Prince George, BC, and named as his successor the Reverend Msgr. Stephen Jensen. At the time of his appointment, the Bishop-elect was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Bishop Wiesner has been responsible for the Diocese of Prince George for the past 19 years, and had offered his resignation when reaching the age of 75, as required by the Code of Canon Law.

Bishop-elect Stephen Jensen was born May 30, 1954, in North Vancouver, B.C. He attended St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario, where he received his BA in Philosophy in 1976 and a Master of Divinity in 1979. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Vancouver on May 24, 1980. From 1984 to 1998 he was a pastor in three parishes: Immaculate Conception in Vancouver, St. Ann’s in Abbotsford, and Corpus Christi, Vancouver. Since 1984 he has served on the Catholic school board of the Archdiocese, overseeing a total of 46 elementary and secondary schools. He was named a Prelate of Honour in 1996 and Vicar for Education in 1997, assisting with elementary and secondary Catholic schools, as well as adult catechesis. In 2001, he earned a doctorate in Education, specializing in Educational Leadership, at the Jesuit University of San Francisco. In 2009, the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., Archbishop of Vancouver, named him Vicar General of the Archdiocese. He has also been Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Evangelization and Education, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, Chair of the Steering Committee of the archdiocesan annual appeal, and a member of archdiocesan advisory boards for Catholic cemeteries, evangelization, stewardship, and vocations.

Bishop-elect Jensen was a trustee of Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate schools – both non-parochial high schools originally run by the Christian Brothers – and a member of the board of the theological school St. Mark’s College and the undergraduate liberal arts program Corpus Christi College – both affiliated with the University of British Columbia.  He was a trustee of Providence Health Care, the largest Catholic health care organization in Canada.

Bishop Wiesner is a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. After being ordained a priest in 1963, he taught theology at St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, Saskatchewan, 1964 to 1972, and at Newman Theological College, Alberta, 1972 to 1984.  In 1984, Bishop Wiesner moved to Saskatoon to serve as Provincial Superior of the Oblates of St. Mary’s Province until 1990. On November 28, 1993, he was appointed Bishop of Prince George. Bishop Wiesner served as President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), from 1999 to 2001, and as member of the Permanent Council, 1995 to 2001.  He was a member of the Commission for Theology from 1993 to 1995, member of the English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments from 1997 to 1998, and its Chairman from 2002 to 2003. He is currently the English Sector episcopal delegate on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) and was its Chairman from 2010 to 2012.  Bishop Wiesner was also a CCCB delegate to the 1997 Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America.  

The Diocese of Prince George has 37 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 49,500, which is served by 17 diocesan priests, seven priests who are members of religious communities, 15 Religious Sisters and Brothers, one permanent deacon and five lay pastoral assistants.