Bishop Edward K. Braxton hosted a luncheon Sept. 12 at his residence for Father Evaristus Okaa Onwuogu, Personal Secretary to His Excellency, the Most Rev. Valerian M. Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria. Father Onwuogu was a guest of the bishop while visiting fidei donum missionaries from Onitsha, who are serving in Belleville.
Guests at the luncheon included Fr. Vincent Obi, Father Charles Anyaoku, Father Felix Chukwuma, and Father Abraham Adejoh. The purpose of the luncheon was to express appreciation to the Archbishop of Onitsha for his generosity in providing dedicated priests to serve in the Diocese of Belleville.
On Monday evening, August 8, 2016 Bishop Edward K. Braxton spoke about the need for moral leadership in action in order to bridge the racial divide in the United States.
Addressing a large audience at the Cardinal Rigali Center in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the bishop pointed out that his academic training is in systematic theology and not in political science. He said that he had been Bishop of Belleville for more than ten years before he uttered a word in public about the racial divide.
People came from near and far throughout the diocese to meet Bishop Edward K. Braxton at his residence Dec. 20 at his annual Christmas reception.
The people were invited so the bishop could greet them and thank them for the work they do in their parishes and their communities.
From St. Bruno in Pinckneyville, Catherine Dawson and Shirley Bigham came. Dawson said: “It’s quite a thrill” to meet the bishop and see all of the art work at his residence. “I just marvel at the art.”
The Relic of St. Maria Goretti and Our Vocation to be Saints
The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D.
Bishop of Belleville
November 1, 2015
I. A Time of Grace for the Diocese
The Diocese of Belleville was privileged to have the relic of the heroic St. Maria Goretti in our Cathedral of St. Peter all day on October 19. This was a time of grace for all of us. It was a call to prayer for a renewed awareness of the dignity of our bodies and the true meaning of the gift of human sexuality. It was a reminder of our common vocations to be saints ourselves. Eleven-year-old Maria’s courage in accepting death rather than yielding to the sexual desires of Alessandro Serenelli eventually led to his conversion. Her fidelity to Christ has been an inspiration to countless young people, moving them to respect their bodies and the gift of sexuality in our secular age which shows very little support for the value of the family and faithfulness in marriage.
Bishop Edward K. Braxton invites everyone to a special liturgy at 9 a.m. Nov. 2 in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the cathedral in Belleville.
The All Souls Day Mass is being celebrated for all of the “priests, deacons and bishops of the Diocese of Belleville,” Bishop Braxton said, including any who have died during the past 10 years, and those priests and deacons who have died in the last year.
A Week of Moving Experiences
Bishop Edward K. Braxton served as the Chaplain of the historic Chautauqua Institution the week of July 4-10, 2015. He was invited to serve in this capacity by Reverend Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr., the Director of Religion at the Institution and the Bishop’s former student at Harvard Divinity School. This invitation was prompted by the Institution’s interest in the Bishop’s World Day of Peace Pastoral Letter, “The Racial Divide in the United States.” During the week, the Bishop celebrated the Saturday evening Mass in the Hall of Philosophy and preached on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’” on the Care of our Common Home, at the Sunday morning worship service to 4,500 people in the Chautauqua Amphitheater. He also gave a presentation in the Hall of Philosophy on the challenges involved in the journey of faith in a secular culture in which belief in God and Christianity are all but excluded from the public square. He focused on what he termed “the riddle of human existence” and told his listeners that as we make progress in the journey of faith we are compelled to let go of images from childhood of God as a very large human being above the clouds who fixes the world and come to terms with the existential fact that God is not God the way we would be God, if we were God.”
Bishop Edward K. Braxton recently welcomed Father Vincent Mukasa, a fidei donum missionary from the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda to the Diocese. He has been released by his Bishop, His Excellency, The Most Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala, to serve for a period of three years. Commenting on the appointment, the Bishop said, “I am very appreciative of Father Mukasa’s generosity in coming to serve the People of God in our Diocese. I am confident that he will be well received by the clergy, religious, and the Christian faithful. I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Lwanga for making this possible.” Father is already acquainted with the Catholic Church in southern Illinois, since he has been coming to the Diocese during the summer to provide pastoral ministry, on and off, since 1998. Father Mukasa will be joining two other fidei donum priests from Uganda currently serving here: Father Christopher Mujule from the Diocese of Hoima and Father Bernardine Nganzi from the Diocese of Fort Portal.
His Excellency, The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Belleville, is pleased to announce the following clergy, religious, and lay appointments, effective Tuesday, July 14, 2015, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, unless otherwise indicated.
Retirement (canon 538§3)
His Excellency, The Most Rev. Stanley G. Schlarman, DD, Bishop-emeritus of Dodge City, Kansas, and generously serving as Vicar for Priests of the Diocese of Belleville for the last ten years, has been granted retirement status from his ministry as Vicar for Priests.
The Diocese of Belleville welcomes Deacon Brett Judkins who was ordained May 23, the eve of Pentecost at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville by Bishop Edward K. Braxton.
During his homily, the bishop spoke directly to Brett Judkins who was seated in front of the bishop in the sanctuary.
Immediately after the homily, the deacon candidate lay prostrate in the sanctuary as the choir sang the Litany of Saints.
Then, laying his hands on the candidate’s head, the bishop prayed the prayer of ordination.
His Excellency, The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton announced today that he has appointed Mr. Michael D. Gibbons as the new Chief Finance Officer of the Diocese, effective May 4, 2015. He succeeds Mr. James V. Mroczkowski, who has completed his five-year contract.
Mr. Gibbons received his BSBA in Accounting from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is a Certified Public Account (CPA) in Illinois and has his Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Certification. Mr. Gibbons has extensive experience in Finance and Management. He began his career at National Steel Corporation and progressed through increasing roles of responsibility, including positions as Vice President and General Manager of the Granite City Division and Chief Financial Officer of National Steel. After leaving National Steel, he joined Champion Laboratories, Inc., as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, and later served as President of the company. Mr. Gibbons’ latest position was Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for FRAM Filtration.
The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton
Bishop of Belleville
On the Death of
His Eminence, Francis Eugene Cardinal George, O.M.I.
(January 16, 1937 – April 17, 2015)
Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Chicago
in which the Diocese of Belleville is a Suffragan See
May 7, 1997- November 18, 2014
I join with my fellow Bishops in Illinois in mourning the death of His Eminence, Cardinal George. He was blessed with a long full life, and I am comforted by the fact that his suffering, which he endured with stoic grace, has ended. I only regret that he did not live to have years of retirement during which he would surely have continued to make valuable contributions to the Church. As it is, he made extraordinary contributions to the Catholic Church in Chicago, in the United States and around the world. He brought his singular gifts as a teacher to his Episcopal ministry, which enriched the world-wide Church.
Bishop Braxton Invites Everyone in the Diocese to Join Him on a Pilgrimage for Life
“I am pleased to share with you the information from our Conference of Bishops concerning the January 22nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion. While we cannot all travel to Washington for the pro-life rally, we can all participate by our prayers, local efforts, and our participation in a digital pilgrimage. The information at this web site www.9daysforlife.com <http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage.cfm> will give you access to daily alerts allowing you to make a nine day novena from January 17-25. Join me in this pilgrimage for life. Please remember that we must never cease in our efforts to protect the dignity and value of every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.”
-Bishop Edward K. Braxton
Every year Bishop Edward K. Braxton devotes a significant amount of time to Pastoral Visitations to the Catholic schools in the Diocese. These visits afford him the opportunity to see each school firsthand and to offer his personal support to the parish pastors, school principals, faculty and staff of our elementary and secondary schools. One of his primary goals is to strengthen the Catholic identity of each school and to make sure that the Catholic faith is being taught faithfully and accurately. During his conversations with the students in their classrooms, he teaches them about different aspects of their faith.
For the second time in two months a personal representative of the Holy Father has been the guest of Bishop Braxton and the Diocese of Belleville. Last month, on September 25, The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, spent a day in the Diocese. His Excellency, The Most Reverend Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua was the guest of the Bishop and the Diocese October 29-31, 2014. Bishop Braxton and Archbishop Nwachukwu have known one another for many years. During his years as Chief of Protocol at the Vatican Secretariat of State, the then Msgr. Fortunatus often assisted the Bishop in making special arrangements for his guests on pilgrimage to Rome. He was especially helpful when the Bishop led a large number of Pilgrims from southern Illinois to Rome and the Holy Land during the 125th anniversary Jubilee year, 2012.