WASHINGTON (October 20, 2004) — Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop George K. Fitzsimons of Salina, Kansas, and appointed as his successor Father Paul S. Coakley, Director of the Spiritual Life Center and pastor, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita.
Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, made the announcement.
Paul Stagg Coakley was born June 3, 1955, in Norfolk, Virginia. His family moved to Kansas City, Kansas while he was still a child.
He attended Shawnee Mission High School in the Kansas City area, and the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, from 1973 to 1977, where he earned a degree in Classical Antiquities and English literature.
Bishop-designate Coakley entered St. Pius X Seminary, Erlanger, Kentucky, in 1978. From 1979 until 1983 he studied theology at Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a Master of Theology in Scripture.
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, May 21, 1983, he held numerous parish and other assignments. He was Director, Spiritual Formation, Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, from 1998 to 2002, when he was named to his present assignments.
George Fitzsimons was born September 4, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was ordained a priest of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, March 18, 1961, appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph May 27, 1975, and named Bishop of Salina on March 22, 1984.
The Diocese of Salina was established as the Diocese of Concordia on August 2, 1887. The see was transferred to Salina on December 23, 1944. It has a Catholic population of approximately 46,737 in a total population of about 318,000.