Belleville’s 104,000 Catholics have a new bishop. Bishop Edward Braxton was installed at St. Peter Cathedral Wednesday, with more than 1,200 people in attendance, including 100 priests and 25 bishops.
"I come before you as your bishop to be the best human being I can be, to be the best Christian I can be, to be the best priest I can be, to be the best bishop I can be," he was quoted as saying in the News-Democrat. "I ask your help. I ask your support. I ask your trust ... As we believe, so let us live.
"He succeeds Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who now serves the Archdiocese of Atlanta."I do not come to you with some detailed plan of what you need to be doing in the days ahead,” Bishop Braxton continued. “My first goal is to understand and build upon the good you have already accomplished ... My first goal, if I am to be the chief leader of this church, is to be the chief listener.
"The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, and Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago conducted the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony.
The new Belleville bishop was born in Chicago and ordained a priest in 1970. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of St. Louis in 1995, and bishop of Lake Charles, La., in 2000. He is one of 14 U.S. bishops of African American descent.