Northern Michigan’s New Bishop Makes His Way To Traverse City


Catholics in Northern Michigan are finally getting the chance to meet their new bishop.Img 1928 2

Bishop Jeffrey Walsh was newly appointed by the Diocese of Gaylord just last week.

On Saturday, he spent his time talking with spiritual leaders and parishioners over breakfast in Traverse City.

“We just couldn’t be more delighted, first time in Traverse City, it means a lot,” said Father Ray Cotter, Spiritual Director for the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. “This is a very good communicator of a bishop, we can see that, the priests are very excited for who this man is, he spent so much time in parish life and that means a lot to us priests and to the people.”

Serving as a priest for 27 years, Bishop Walsh says he views the move to Michigan like a mission trip.

“I’m looking at coming to Gaylord—from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Gaylord, Michigan—as a mission,” said Bishop Walsh.

He says he was with his family when he received the life-changing phone call from Archbishop Christophe Pierre a few months ago.

“He said Pope Francis has appointed you Bishop of Gaylord, and so my mind went numb and I just—it’s one of those moments where you just realize your life is about to change instantly,” said Bishop Walsh.

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Courtesy of the Diocese of Gaylord

His main priority right now is learning—about both the people and the area.

“My goal really in the first year is to listen and to travel around and to get to know the parish situations, the school situations, learn the history and get a feel for what needs to be done in the continuation of the life of this diocese,” said Bishop Walsh.

Only a week in, many Michiganders have already welcomed him with open arms.

“He is a down-to-earth guy, easy to talk to,” said Peter Zeinhart, President of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.“He’s a great guy, I think we’re very lucky to have him as our bishop.”