Bishop Kicanas was born in Chicago on Aug. 18, 1941, the son of Frederick and Eva Kicanas.

He attended Immaculate Heart Elementary School and Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago and the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, the theologate graduate level seminary of the Archdiocese. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 27, 1967.

His more than 25 years of ministry in the Archdiocese’s seminary system included service as Rector, Principal, and Dean of Formation at the former Quigley Seminary South and Rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

Bishop Kicanas was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on Jan. 24, 1995, and was ordained a bishop on March 20, 1995. As Episcopal Vicar for Deanery I in the Archdiocese, he had pastoral responsibility for the Archdiocese’s northern tip, which includes Lake County and northwest suburban Cook County.

Bishop Kicanas has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola University. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Kicanas the coadjutor Bishop of Tucson on Oct. 30, 2001. Upon the retirement of Bishop Manuel D. Moreno, Bishop Kicanas became the sixth Bishop of Tucson on March 7, 2003.

Bishop Kicanas is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services.

He is a member of the Administrative Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He is
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

Bishop Kicanas is a former vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has served as Secretary of the Conference and as chair of the Communications Committee, the Diaconate Committee, and the Subcommittee for Lay Ecclesial Ministry. He has served as a member of the Conference’s Communications, Migration, Laity, Liturgy, Priestly Formation, and Doctrine  Committees. He has been a member of the Conference’s National Advisory Council.

Bishop Kicanas was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Pastoral Life Center. He is a former member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

Bishop Kicanas was the recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award in 2008. He was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Lewis University in 2010.


Upon becoming a bishop, a priest selects a coat of arms that includes symbols of significant inspirations in his life and symbols of his ministry. When a bishop becomes the bishop of a diocese, he incorporates the symbols of his coat of arms into the coat of arms of the diocese.

On Bishop Kicanas’ coat of arms as Bishop of the Diocese of Tucson, the left side of the shield displays the symbols of the diocesan coat of arms.

The red cross symbolizes the early missionaries in Arizona. The black tri-mount symbolizes the Native American origin of the word "Tucson." The stag is from the Territorial Seal of Arizona. When the Diocese was established in 1897, Arizona was still a territory of the United States.

On the right side of the shield are the symbols of Bishop Kicanas' coat of arms.

The field of the shield is blue to honor the Blessed Mother. The blue chevron, in similar form to a carpenter’s square, honors St. Joseph, patron of the Bishop's first pastoral assignment. Below the chevron is a cedar of Lebanon, to honor the heritage received from his parents, Frederick and Eva. The waves beneath the tree symbolize the Colorado River, which forms the western boundary of the Diocese of Tucson, and Lake Michgan. The blue star and the red heart honor the Blessed Mother in her title of "Morning Star" and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Bishop’s home parish in Chicago. On the scroll is Bishop Kicanas’ motto in English and Spanish, "Justice begets peace," which is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (32:17).