FORMER ARCHDIOCESAN PRIEST NAMED BISHOP OF BELLVILLE
Pope John Paul II has named Bishop Edward K. Braxton, a Chicago native and former priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, to be the new bishop of Bellville, Illinois. Since 2001, Bishop Braxton has led the diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana. He previously served as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis where he was ordained a bishop in 1995.
Bishop Braxton takes over the reins of Bellville from Bishop Wilton Gregory, who was installed as Archbishop of Atlanta in January of this year.
Bishop Braxton grew up on Chicago’s west side. He was baptized at St. Agatha Church and graduated from Blessed Sacrament grade school. He is a graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. Bishop Braxton said his first Mass at St Philip Neri Parish on the south side following his ordination 1970.
He served for one year in 1970 as associate pastor at Holy Name Cathedral. From 1971 to 1973, he was associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka.
Bishop Braxton completed doctoral studies in Theology at The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium in 1975 and was a post doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago Divinity School that year, while serving as campus minister at Chicago State University and as associate pastor at St. Felicitas Parish on Chicago’s south side.
Bishop Braxton served outside the Archdiocese of Chicago in the years 1976 to 1983, first as William A. Coolidge Professor of Theology at Harvard Divinity School (1976-1977), then as visiting professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (1977 to 1978), as Special Assistant for Theological Affairs for James Cardinal Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., (1978-82), and as adjunct professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America (1980-82). He was a Scholar in Residence at the North American College in Rome from 1982 to 1983.
He returned to Chicago as Director of Calvert House, The Catholic Student Center at the University of Chicago, where he served from 1983 to 1991. In that year, he was named pastor of St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy Parish, where he served until his appointment as auxiliary bishop of St. Louis in 1995.
Bishop Braxton will be the eighth bishop of Bellville, a diocese that encompasses six counties in Southern Illinois.