Salina, Kan., Jul 29, 2013 / 02:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Salina, Kansas, is mourning the death of its former leader, Bishop Emeritus George K. Fitzsimons, who died Sunday July 28, a bout a month short of his 85th birthday.
“Bishop Fitzsimons was loved by all. In his 20 years of devoted ministry to the people of the Salina Diocese he established many lasting friendships,” Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of Salina said July 28.
“I believe, however, that he would be the first to teach us that the most lasting relationship is the one we establish with Jesus. His greatest concern, and greatest joy, was leading others in the ways of Gospel hope, mercy, and love.”
Bishop Fitzsimons was born in Kansas City, Mo. In 1928. Before entering the seminary, he worked at a bank and as a real estate salesman, and served as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1954.
He attended Conception Seminary College in Missouri, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph on March 18, 1961. He served there as associate pastor, and then as chancellor and vicar general of the diocese. He was then consecrated as auxiliary bishop of the diocese in 1975.
Bishop Fitzsimons was then installed as bishop of Salina, a diocese covering nearly 27,000 square miles of north-western Kansas, in 1984. He served as head of the diocese for 20 years, until his retirement at the age of 76.
After retirement, Bishop Fitzsimons settled in Ogden, about 60 miles east of Salina, and continued to minister until his death.
His wake will be celebrated Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. Bishop Fitzsimon's funeral Mass will be said by Bishop Weisenburger the following day, also at the cathedral, at 11 a.m.
Bishop Fitzsimons is survived by his sister Margaret Muckenthaler, as well as his brother-in-law and several nieces and nephews.