Bishop Morlino had deep sense of gratitude Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Dec. 06, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

In the past 15 years that I’ve known Bishop Robert C. Morlino, one of the strongest memories of him is the deep sense of gratitude he showed to me and many others with whom he worked.

One of my last one-on-one conversations with him was marked by that gratitude. He thanked me for all I do as editor of the Catholic Herald and praised our paper as “one of the best” in the country. (He often told his staff at our monthly catechesis sessions that we were the best staff in the country.)

He then concluded our conversation by saying, “God love you.”

Generous and compassionate

While Bishop Morlino’s public persona seemed to be the bishop who spoke forcefully about Church teaching from respect for life to opposition to gay marriage and other issues, privately he was generous and compassionate.

Many of the comments in the special section in this week’s Catholic Herald bear that out. He did many nice things quietly, visiting the sick and those in nursing homes, for example. He was especially friendly to my mother-in-law Ruth, who died last year at age 91. He told me she reminded him of his beloved Granny, Mary Morlino.

When Bishop Morlino visited the All Saints Neighborhood in Madison where Ruth lived, he always made a bee-line to her, shaking her hand and greeting her warmly.

A Eucharistic person

In thinking about Bishop Morlino’s sense of gratitude, I think it fits with his being a Eucharistic person. The word Eucharist means “thanksgiving,” and this comes from Jesus’ words at the Last Supper when the Gospels tell us He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My Body, which is given for you.’”

Shane Kapler explains this on the Catholic Exchange website (, “By calling what we Christians ‘do’ Eucharist (the Greek word for ‘thanksgiving’), we make a profound statement. We have been made sons and daughters in the only Son, and we enter into His Gift of Self to the Father. Like Him, we who have received all we are from the Father, give ourselves back to Him in a movement of thanksgiving/love — the Holy Spirit pouring forth from Jesus, and carrying us into the arms of the Father. It only makes sense that the Eucharist, what the Church calls ‘the source and summit of the Christian life,’ should be a manifestation of its central Mystery — God’s own Trinitarian Life.”

Bishop Morlino emphasized the importance of the Eucharist, especially calling us to receive it reverently. Perhaps I understand his emphasis on this more as I think about the thanksgiving aspect of the Eucharist.

Gave his life to the Church

Just as Christ gave his life for us, Bishop Morlino gave his life in service to the Church. When his father Charles died at a fairly young age, Bishop Morlino recalled that he could have been angry with God. But he decided that his father wouldn’t appreciate that attitude. So instead, young Bob Morlino vowed to enter the seminary and become a priest, giving his life to God.

I think more of us will appreciate Bishop Morlino after his death. We will pray for him — since he always said he would be doing time in purgatory before God would admit him to heaven.

Although I have a feeling that God might say, “Thank you, Bishop Morlino, for your life of service to my Church. Enter into the Kingdom of God.”