Diocese of Gaylord Installs New Bishop to Lead Northern Michigan

The Diocese of Gaylord has officially installed a new Bishop for the region.

Last Dec., Pope Francis selected Jeffrey Walsh to serve in the position.

Walsh replaces Steven Raica, who left the Diocese in 2020 and is now Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.

Bishop Walsh is now responsible for 21 counties in the lower peninsula.

“It is one of the highest honors to be asked to be a Bishop,” said Rev. Duane Wachowiak. “It’s also one of the highest and most responsibility-wise assignment that a priest could get because you are the shepherd, you make decisions for the people of God in your diocese.”

Bishop Walsh is originally from Scranton, PA, but is glad to be serving his faith in northern Michigan.

“My goals are really to just try to be present, to be prayerful, to encourage the life of faith, to teach, to sanctify and to govern. That’s what a bishop will do,” said Bishop Walsh.

The decision to appoint a Bishop isn’t made lightly, and Walsh plans to serve his new Diocese to the best of his ability.

“When something like this comes unexpectedly there’s a bit of a learning curve,” he said. “So I’m going to ask people’s patience as I learn the ropes and get to know people and understand the role of the bishop. I’m going to have to grow into that.”

Bishop Walsh says he’s still getting used to living in northern Michigan, but is excited to check out what the state has to offer.