Gaylord, Mich. – On the eve of his Episcopal Ordination and Installation as the Sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Bishop-elect Jeffrey J. Walsh professed his Catholic faith and swore an oath of fidelity to the pope and the Church.
Bishop-elect Walsh, along with several bishops from Michigan, participated in Solemn Vespers at Saint Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Gaylord on March 3, 2022.
During the ceremony, Bishop-elect Walsh stood before the altar, faced a crowd of family, friends and new parishioners, and publicly professed his fidelity to the Catholic Church and all of its teachings and his fidelity and loyalty to the Holy Father. The oath that is taken is canonically and morally binding on the Bishop.
The presider at the Solemn Vespers was the Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Gaylord. The Most Reverend Steven J. Raica, Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala., served as homilist. Prior to his installation in Birmingham, Bishop Raica served as the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord.
“Today, we are honored to join together in prayer for you my dear brother, and we pray for an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your episcopal ministry,” Bishop Raica said during his homily.
In the coming months and years, Bishop Raica told Bishop-elect Walsh that he would face times of joy, anxiousness, difficulty and joy. Through it all, he emphasized, “You are not alone. Christ is with you. He promised he would be.”
Having served the Diocese of Gaylord from 2014 to 2020, Bishop Raica also spoke of the “spectacular beauty” of Michigan’s upper-lower peninsula, calling it a “glimpse of paradise.”
Bishop Raica ended his homily by thanking Bishop-elect Walsh for saying “yes” to God’s calling.
“Tonight and tomorrow and in the next months, you will meet many new friends of Christ, companions on the journey with you and you will be enriched in ways you never imagined through God’s providential grace. You will not be alone.”
Following the Concluding Prayer, Bishop-elect Walsh made brief remarks, expressing his gratitude for all those attending the Solemn Vespers.
“I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I feel with the sense of gratitude,” Bishop-elect Walsh said, referring to the many text messages, emails, phone calls and letters he has received since his appointment was announced in December 2021.
Reflecting on his Episcopal Motto, “Divine Providence,” Bishop-elect Walsh reminded those participating in the service in-person and via livestream that, “We are created to do the Father’s will.”
The bishop-elect added that he hopes the Grace of God will bless everyone who participates in his Installation and Ordination Mass.
“Everyone, I pray, will have their heart touched with the Holy Spirit, for whatever is important in your life, whatever you are struggling with or might need help with, I pray that this time together will be something that leads you closer to the mystery of God’s love and to what is the true nature of our celebration,” Bishop-elect Walsh said.