Thomas Wenski

Last updated

Thomas Gerard Wenski
Archbishop of Miami
Abp Thomas Wenski.jpg
Archdiocese Miami
AppointedApril 20, 2010
InstalledJune 1, 2010
Predecessor John Clement Favalora
OrdinationMay 15, 1976
by  Coleman Carroll
ConsecrationSeptember 3, 1997
by  John Favalora, Edward A. McCarthy, and Agustin Roman
Personal details
Birth nameThomas Gerard Wenski
Born (1950-10-18) October 18, 1950 (age 68)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Previous post Bishop of Orlando (2004–10)
Coadjutor Bishop of Orlando (2003–04)
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami (1997–2003)
Styles of
Thomas Gerard Wenski
Coat of arms of Thomas Gerard Wenski.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop
Ordination history of
Thomas Wenski
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated by John Favalora (Miami)
DateSeptember 3, 1997
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Thomas Wenski as principal consecrator
Gregory Parkes June 5, 2012
Peter Baldacchino March 19, 2014

Thomas Gerard Wenski (born October 18, 1950) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was appointed Archbishop of Miami by Pope Benedict XVI on April 20, 2010 and was installed on June 1, 2010. [1] [2] [3] He previously served as Bishop of Orlando (2004–2010), coadjutor bishop of Orlando (2003–2004), and auxiliary bishop of Miami (1997–2003). [4]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Prelate High-ranking member of the clergy

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami Roman Catholic archdiocese at Miami, Florida, United States

The Archdiocese of Miami is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America. Its ecclesiastic territory includes Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties in the U.S. state of Florida. The archdiocese is the metropolitan see for the Ecclesiastical Province of Miami, which covers Florida. The archbishop is Thomas Wenski. As archbishop, he also serves as pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the mother church of the archdiocese. Also serving are 428 priests, 160 permanent deacons, 50 religious brothers and 300 religious sisters who are members of various religious institutes. These priests, deacons and persons religious serve a Catholic population in South Florida of 1,300,000 in 118 parishes and missions.


Early life and education

Wenski was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, to Chester and Louise (née Zawacki) Wenski. [5] His father was born in Poland with the last name "Wiśniewski", and came to the United States with his parents in 1910 at age 2. [6] The family eventually adopted the Anglicized version, "Wenski". [6] Both Chester and Louise were raised in the Polish neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Florida after their marriage. [6] Together they ran a business spray-painting stucco houses. [5]

West Palm Beach, Florida City in Florida

West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is located immediately to the west of the adjacent Palm Beach, which is situated on a barrier island across the Lake Worth Lagoon. The population was 99,919 at the 2010 census. West Palm Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,158,824 people in 2017.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Wiśniewski is the third most common surname in Poland. The name roughly translates to "from the town of the cherry tree". The English transliterated equivalent Vishnevski is common among other Slavic people: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and others. In non-slavic Romania, the name took the Latin derived suffix –escu, as Vișinescu, and in Lithuania is Vyšniauskas.

Wenski was raised in Lake Worth, where he attended Sacred Heart School. [7] He decided to become a priest in the third grade, later recalling, "I never imagined myself as anything else; it was what God wanted me to do, although I sometimes vacillated on whether I wanted to do it." [8] At age 13, he entered St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami. [5] [9] During his twelve years at the seminary, he was a self-described "very liberal seminarian," questioning Catholic teaching on clerical celibacy and the ordination of women. [5] His views eventually became more conservative through his experience working with Cuban immigrants and reading about communism in Poland and Cuba. [5] He graduated from St. John Vianney, in 1970 with an associate's degree. [10]

Miami City in Florida, United States

Miami, officially the City of Miami, is an American city that is the seat of Miami-Dade County, and is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. The city covers an area of about 56 square miles (150 km2) between the Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east. Miami is the sixth most densely populated major city in the United States with an estimated 2018 population of 470,914. The Miami metropolitan area is home to 6.1 million people, the second-most populous in the southeastern United States and the seventh-largest in the nation. The city has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises, 55 of which exceed 490 ft (149 m).

Ordination of women discussion of womens possibilities for priesthood

The ordination of women to ministerial or priestly office is an increasingly common practice among some major religious groups of the present time. It remains a controversial issue in certain Christian denominations where "ordination" has for almost 2,000 years been limited only to men.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Wenski then began his studies in philosophy and theology at St. Vincent de Paul Minor Seminary in Boynton Beach. [7] [11] He there earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy (1972) and a Master of Divinity degree (1975). [7] He later received a Master of Arts degree from the School of Sociology of Fordham University in 1993, [12] and took summer courses at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. [7]

Philosophy The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Boynton Beach, Florida City in Florida

Boynton Beach is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population was 68,217 at the 2010 census. In 2017, the city had an estimated population of 73,992 according to the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Boynton Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.


Wenski was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami by Archbishop Coleman Carroll on May 15, 1976. [4] His first assignment was as an associate pastor at Corpus Christi Church in Miami, [13] where he remained for three years. [7] At Corpus Christi, he took an interest in the Haitian parishioners who attended Mass in Creole, and was sent to Haiti to study Creole and Haitian culture. [5] When he returned to Miami in 1979, he was appointed to a Haitian apostolate operating out of the Cathedral of Saint Mary. [5] Wenski then served as associate director and later director of the Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Miami until 1997. [7] He also served concurrently as pastor of three Haitian parishes in the archdiocese: Notre-Dame d'Haiti Church in Miami, [14] Divine Mercy Church in Fort Lauderdale, and St. Joseph in Pompano Beach. [5] His outreach to the Haitian Catholic community in Miami was met with staunch opposition by Haitian priest and activist Gérard Jean-Juste, who later came to regard Wenski as an ally. [5] He also befriended Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a now laicized priest who later became the first democratically elected President of Haiti, [5] declaring voodoo to be a recognized religion in 2003. [15]

Coleman Francis Carroll was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Miami from 1958 until his death in 1977.

Curate person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish

A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.

Haiti Unitary republic in the Caribbean

Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small island of Navassa Island, which is administered by the United States but claimed by Haiti as part of its territory. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated population of 10.8 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba.

Wenski celebrated the weekly Mass in English for shut-ins at WPLG, the local ABC affiliate, from 1992 to 1997, and directed the Ministry to Non-Hispanic Ethnic Groups. [7] He became an adjunct professor at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in 1994. [16] In January 1996, he was named director of the archdiocesan Catholic Charities. [7] In this capacity, he helped form a relationship with Caritas Cuba, the social service arm of the Catholic Church in Cuba. Later that year, he spearheaded a relief operation that delivered over 150,000 pounds (68,000 kg) of food to Caritas Cuba for distribution to people left homeless by Hurricane Lili. [7]

WPLG ABC affiliate in Miami, Florida

WPLG, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Miami, Florida, United States and also serving Fort Lauderdale. The station is owned by the BH Media subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway as its sole broadcast property. WPLG's studios are located on West Hallandale Beach Boulevard in Pembroke Park, and its transmitter is located in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Hurricane Lili (1996) Category 3 Atlantic hurricane in 1996

Hurricane Lili was a relatively long-lived hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season that affected countries from Central America to the United Kingdom. Lili formed on October 14 from a tropical wave, which emerged from the coast of west Africa on October 4. After the storm formed, further strengthening of Lili was gradual, first to tropical storm status on October 16 and then to hurricane status on October 17. The next day, Lili struck Cuba and moved across the central portion of the island, the first hurricane to hit the country since Hurricane Kate in 1985. After emerging into the Atlantic Ocean, the hurricane accelerated northeastward, briefly peaking as a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale near the Bahamas. For almost an entire week, Hurricane Lili oscillated in intensity while fluctuating several times in forward speed. About two weeks passed before Lili transitioned into an extratropical storm north of the Azores on October 27, which subsequently moved across Ireland and Great Britain.


Auxiliary Bishop of Miami

On June 24, 1997, Wenski was appointed auxiliary bishop of Miami and titular bishop of Kearney by Pope John Paul II. [4] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 3 from Archbishop John Favalora, with Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy and Bishop Agustin Roman serving as co-consecrators, at the Miami Arena. [4] He selected as his episcopal motto: "All Things to All Men" (1 Corinthians 9:22). [17] As an auxiliary bishop, he served as episcopal vicar for Broward and Monroe Counties. [8]

In addition to his episcopal duties, Wenski served on numerous boards including Catholic Hospice, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities Legal Services, and St. Thomas University. He served as chair of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (1998–2001), [18] and of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration (2001–2004). [7] [19] He also served on the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and the Coordinating Council of Broward, and was appointed by Florida governor Jeb Bush to the Florida Council on Homelessness, in 2001, and the Task Force on Haiti in 2004. [7]

Bishop of Orlando

Wenski was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on July 1, 2003. [4] His installation took place on August 22 of that year. [4] Following the retirement of Bishop Norbert Dorsey, Wenski succeeded him as the fourth Bishop of Orlando on November 13, 2004. [4] He was the first Florida-born Bishop of Orlando. [20]

Wenski convoked the first synod for the Diocese of Orlando in 2004. [20] He held listening sessions with a diverse group of Catholics to hear about their concerns and hopes for the future for the diocese. [20] He designated 2008 as the "Year of Evangelization," putting a greater emphasis on deepening the faith of all people. [20] At the time of his appointment to Miami in 2010, he was leading the diocese through the early stages of both a $150 million capital campaign and an extensive renovation of St. James Cathedral. [21]

In October 2007, he 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. [7] In September 2008, he gave an invocation at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota. [22] In March 2009, he joined the conservative Catholic Leadership Institute's national advisory board for their "Good Leaders, Good Shepherds" program. [7] In May of that year, Wenski held a Mass of reparation for the University of Notre Dame's decision to have President Barack Obama deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree, given Obama's pro-choice views. [23] At the Mass, he denounced Obama for his "rather extremist views on abortion" and said that Notre Dame's "actions suggest that, unlike a Carrie Prejean, it lacks the courage of its convictions." [24]

In June 2009, he was elected to a four-year term on the board of trustees of the Catholic University of America. [7] He chaired of the USCCB Committee on International Policy (2004–2008), and currently serves as a consultant to the Committee on Migration and a member of the Secretariat for the church in Latin America, [25] Committee for International Justice and Peace, [26] and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. [7] He is currently the episcopal moderator for Catholic Health Services for the Florida Catholic Conference. [7] [27]

During his tenure, he created six new parishes and two missions. [28] His capital and endowment campaign raised $100 million. [29] He petitioned and was granted that two diocesan churches be raised to the status of minor basilicas. [30] He started the Spanish language radio station, Buena Nueva FM. along with the Spanish language newspaper, El Clarin. [31]

Archbishop of Miami

On April 20, 2010, Wenski was appointed the fourth Archbishop of Miami by Pope Benedict XVI. [4] Following his appointment, he said he was "humbled by the Holy Father's confidence in me and aware of my own limitations and shortcomings..." [32] He succeeded Archbishop John Favalora. He became the first native of the Archdiocese to become its archbishop. [21]

Wenski was installed at the Cathedral of Saint Mary on June 1, 2010. [2] At the end of June, he received the pallium, a vestment worn by metropolitan bishops, from Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Basilica. [2]

On February 2, 2012, Wenski celebrated a Pontifical High Mass, a solemn form of Tridentine Mass, the first such celebration in the state of Florida in more than 40 years. [33]

See also

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  1. "Pope Names Orlando Bishop As Archbishop Of Miami, Chicago Auxiliary Bishop As Bishop Of Springfield In Illinois". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops . April 20, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Rodriguez-Soto, Ana (April 20, 2010). "'Native son' comes home". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami .
  3. Sedensky, Matt (April 20, 2010). "Miami archbishop resigns, Orlando bishop replaces". Associated Press .
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski". . David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Viglucci, Andres (February 26, 1995). "God's Man in Little Haiti". The Miami Herald .
  6. 1 2 3 St. Pierre, Mary (April 15, 2004). "Coadjutor joins in traditional Polish blessing" (PDF). The Florida Catholic.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "Bishop Wenski Biography". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando . Archived from the original on December 26, 2007.
  8. 1 2 "Call Of Two Shepherds". South Florida Sun-Sentinel . September 3, 1997.
  9. St. John Vianney Minor Seminary
  10. Quaroni, Marlene (October 8, 2009). "Seminarian's mural honors Mary". Florida Catholic. Archived from the original on December 25, 2009.
  11. St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary
  12. School of Sociology
  13. Corpus Christi Church
  14. Notre-Dame d'Haiti Church
  15. BBC article, Haiti makes voodoo official.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Bishop Wenski Coat of Arms". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando . Archived from the original on January 3, 2008.
  18. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
  19. Committee on Migration
  20. 1 2 3 4 "Diocese of Orlando History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando .
  21. 1 2 Palmo, Rocco (April 20, 2010). "Holy Goalie: A Two-Pole Tuesday". Whispers in the Loggia.
  22. "REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION 2008 PRAYER – SEPTEMBER 2008". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando . Archived from the original on October 6, 2008.
  23. "Bishop Wenski leads Mass of Reparation for Obama invite and Catholic 'complacency'". Catholic News Agency . May 5, 2009.
  24. "Mass of Reparation – May 2009". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando . Archived from the original on January 26, 2010.
  25. Secretariat for the Church in Latin America Archived April 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  26. Committee for International Justice and Peace
  27. Florida Catholic Conference
  28. Powers, Jennifer (May 21 – June 3, 2010). "Extended pastoral reach through new parishes, missions". Orlando, Florida: Florida Catholic. pp. A2.
  29. Peterson, Teresa Lantigua (May 21 – June 3, 2010). "Alive in Christ Campaign reaches $100 million". Orlando, Florida: Florida Catholic. pp. A3.
  30. Dobson, Laura (May 21 – June 3, 2010). "Churches elevated to status of minor basilicas under leadership of Archbishop Wenski". Orlando, Florida: Florida Catholic. pp. A14.
  31. Goodman, Tanya (May 21 – June 3, 2010). "Helping Spanish-speaking Catholics feel at home". Orlando, Florida: Florida Catholic. pp. A16.
  32. "Statement from Archbishop- Designate Thomas Wenski". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami . April 20, 2010.

Episcopal succession

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Favalora
Archbishop of Miami
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Norbert Dorsey
Bishop of Orlando
Succeeded by
John Gerard Noonan
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Succeeded by