Bishop Olson appoints Very Rev. Karl Schilken as diocese’s new Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia

By Tony Gutiérrez

Associate Editor

March 26, 2014

The Very Rev. Karl Schilken was appointed as the new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for Diocese of Fort Worth by Bishop Michael Olson March 26. (Photo by Chris Kastner / NTC file photo)

Bishop Michael Olson appointed The Very Rev. Karl Schilken as the new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Fort Worth on March 26 for a period of six years. Fr. Schilken will also remain pastoral administrator of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in River Oaks.

Fr. Schilken was born Aug. 28, 1954 in Dallas to Joseph and Margaret (Minor) Schilken. He entered the Church on May 5, 1973 at St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel at the University of Dallas, where he was working on a bachelor’s degree in history. He entered Holy Trinity Seminary in 1975, and graduated with a BA in history in 1976. He then attended St. Meinrad Seminary, in St. Meinrad, Indiana, from 1976 to 1980, where he earned a Master of Divinity.

Fr. Schilken was ordained to the diaconate on March 31, 1979 in St. Meinrad by the late Bishop Francis Shea of Evansville, Indiana. He was ordained to the priesthood March 29, 1980, at St. William Parish in Montague by the late Bishop John Cassata, the first bishop of Fort Worth.

As a deacon, he assisted at St. Mary Parish in Henrietta in the summer of 1979 and spring of 1980. After ordination, he served at Espíritu Santo Parish in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in May and June of 1980. When he returned to the diocese, he served as associate pastor at St. Rita Parish in Fort Worth (1980-81), St. Bartholomew Parish in southwest Fort Worth (1981-82), and Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton (1982-84).

In 1984, Fr. Schilken was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Wichita Falls. He then served as pastor of Immaculate Conception (1988-92), St. Joseph Parish in Cleburne (1992-1997), and St. Jude Parish in Mansfield (1997-2003). He then took a sabbatical for two years.

Returning from sabbatical in 2005, he worked in the diocesan Tribunal while serving as a sacramental minister for parishes in Ranger, Eastland, Strawn, and Cisco. He served as pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in North Richland Hills from 2007 to 2012, when he went to Washington, D.C., to obtain a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America. After graduating, he returned to the diocese in 2013 to serve at St. Paul.

“I am looking forward to serving the diocese in this capacity and assisting Bishop Olson in his ministry,” Fr. Schilken said in a statement to the North Texas Catholic.

According to the Code of Canon Law, the Vicar General of a diocese must be at least 30 years old and hold a licentiate or doctorate in canon law or sacred theology, and has “the executive power over the whole diocese … to place all administrative acts except those, however, which the bishop has reserved to himself or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law” (canon 479). As Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Schilken will also be responsible to “coordinate those things which pertain to the treatment of administrative affairs and to take care that the other members of the curia properly fulfill the office entrusted to them” (canon 473).

Fr. Schilken replaces Bishop Stephen Berg, who had served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia under Bishop Vann, and as Diocesan Administrator before Bishop Olson’s ordination and his own appointment as Bishop of Pueblo, Colorado. Bishop Olson also appointed The Very Rev. Daniel Kelley and Monsignor Juan Rivero to continue in their roles as diocesan Chancellor and Vicar for Priests, respectively.

Bishop Michael Olson appointed The Very Rev. Karl Schilken as the new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Fort Worth on March 26 for a period of six years. Fr. Schilken will also remain pastoral administrator of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in River Oaks.

Published (until 3/26/2114)
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