.- Pope John Paul II today, has appointed Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Louisiana as the 8th Bishop of Belleville, Illinois. Bishop Braxton was born on June 28, 1944 in Chicago and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 13, 1970 by John Cardinal Cody.
In 1975, he was ordained a bishop in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis by Archbishop (now Cardinal) Justin Rigali on the 25 th anniversary of his First Mass. Prior to his time in St. Louis, the bishop served as Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Oak Park, Ill. for five years.
Bishop Braxton studied for the priesthood at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Niles College Seminary and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Ill., where he earned his BA, MA, S.T.B. and S.T. L. degrees.
From 1971-1973, he was Associate Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka Ill., where he was deeply influenced by his Pastor, the renowned liturgist and pastoral pioneer, Msgr. Reynold Hillenbrand, one of the founders of the Christian Family Movement. The movement urged the Christian faithful to become genuinely involved in the life of the Church.
He earned his Ph.D. at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium from 1973 to 1975 in Religious Studies and an S.T.D. in Systematic Theology summa cum laude.
He has traveled extensively and done ministry in settings ranging from Africa to Harvard University.
The Bishop has said that his spirituality was greatly influenced by the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and such spiritual giants as St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Avila. Reportedly, he also says he has explored centering prayer and Zen relaxation techniques.
Bishop Braxton is noted for his ecumenical work and in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy, wrote an article entitled, “Is God on Our Side?” “We All Worship Allah”, “An Introduction to Islam.”
He expressed today his “profound gratefulness to His Holiness for the confidence he has placed in me by calling me to serve a second time as a Diocesan Bishop.”