Bishop Morlino has provided strong, compassionate leadership in diocese Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jul. 26, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

When Bishop Robert C. Morlino came to the Diocese of Madison as our fourth bishop in 2003, I had the opportunity to spend some time with him both in Madison and in Helena, Mont., his previous diocese.

Many people asked me then, “What do you think of our new bishop?” My first impressions of Bishop Morlino have continued throughout the past 15 years.

First impressions continue

My first impression was that I could see Bishop Morlino’s faith in Jesus Christ shining forth in both his words and actions.

Prayer for a Bishop or Priest

Heavenly Father, in (name . . . ) you send us a shepherd in the model of your own Son.

Hear our prayer for (name . . . ), as he asks your grace in this time of need.

Purify him, Lord.
Make him strong, loving, and wise.
Remake his shepherd’s heart once again conformed to the Sacred Heart of your Son, who knows his sheep, whose sheep know him, and who alone can lead us through the valley of death.

Fill (name . . . ) with your heavenly gifts.
May he show Christ’s compassion to all who are in pain.
May he be the sure path to God for all who are lost.
May he preach the unwavering Gospel to the victims of lies and sin.

May he show patience and sound teaching to those confused  and afraid.
May he show Christ the teacher to those who know no hope.
May he show Christ’s healing to those caught up in sin’s deceit.
May he be the gentle good shepherd to the victims of violence and abuse.

Make him a good shepherd, Lord.
May he repent of his sins and accept your mercy.
May he consecrate himself to the truth with the strength of your grace.
May he worthily celebrate the sacred mysteries and wisely govern and protect your Holy Church.
May he know the peace of those who do your will and the fortitude entrusted to him by Holy Orders.

May he know his sheep; and knowing him, may they be led to you through Christ Jesus your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.


This prayer was published by Bishop Victor Balke in Our Northland Diocese, newspaper of the Diocese of Crookston, Minn.

On a personal level, I described him as a warm, friendly person genuinely interested in people. He greeted each of the employees at the Bishop O’Connor Center at an impromptu welcoming ceremony in 2003.

Over the years, he has held regular catechesis sessions for diocesan staff, sharing his thoughts and encouraging staff members to ask questions or give comments.

To this day, he always has kind words for people with whom he works and meets. He starts almost every conversation or talk with gratitude, thanking people for what they do.

Right away, we could see that he is bright and articulate. At his first press conference, he spoke “off the cuff” without notes. He answered questions from the media adroitly, giving clear Catholic teaching coupled with a pastoral approach. With a doctorate in moral theology specializing in bioethics, Bishop Morlino is highly qualified to deal with the many complex bioethical issues.

Bishop Morlino is also known for his self-deprecating sense of humor.

Appreciates young people

Through the past 15 years, Bishop Morlino has shown his clear appreciation for children and youth. He often greets babies warmly at his Masses.

As a former college and seminary teacher, he is especially interested in reaching out to young men to encourage them to become priests. It has been one of his priorities, and he is proud of the 39 priests he has ordained here.

He noted that the key to promoting vocations is “competent, joyful, and enthusiastic priests.” Bishop Morlino exemplifies those qualities himself.

Strong leadership

Bishop Morlino has shown strong leadership, speaking out clearly on pro-life issues and Church teaching on marriage. He has emphasized reverence in the liturgy. He has also helped the diocese get on sound financial footing, especially with the leasing of the diocesan center to a developer.

In all he does with his priests and people, he shows compassion and mercy on a personal level.

Pray for the bishop

In a recent conversation, I told Bishop Morlino that I pray for him regularly at Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel at our diocesan center. He said that he appreciates those prayers.

So I encourage everyone in our diocese to pray for Bishop Morlino (here is a suggested prayer) on his 15th anniversary and into the future as he continues as our shepherd.