(WKOW) – The Catholic community in Southwestern Wisconsin is mourning the loss of its leader Sunday.
Bishop Robert Morlino, the head of the Diocese of Madison, died Saturday night.
Church officials say he suffered a cardiac event Wednesday night during planned medical tests and his condition grew worse Saturday. He ultimately passed around 9 p.m.
Heavy hearts filled the pews for mass all around the diocese Sunday.
“I think it’s a really sad day to lose Bishop Morlino,” Justin Hineline, a church-goer said. “He was sort of like a grandfather figure to me.”
The bishop’s passing made for a difficult morning for Augustine Yallaly, a young altar server at the Holy Name Heights facility Sunday.
“I just kept asking questions to my mom and dad like why did he have to die,” Yallaly said. “The answer was a simple answer that I knew already, but just wanted to ask.”
For Father Scott Emerson, Sunday’s mass was a time for healing.
“Certainly last night’s event led to this mass having a much heavier note and certainly allowed an opportunity for everyone within this diocese to come together and pray,” Emerson said.
Even though there was much sadness during mass, what helped carry people through were the memories that Bishop Morlino left them in his more than 15 years of service in Madison.
“He was a great storyteller and I think you could learn a lot by hearing him tell stories about his days in the dorms at Notre Dame and his days just being a priest,” Hineline said. “I think there are a lot of lessons in all his stories.”
But their faith keeps the mourners optimistic about what may come next.
“This time comes of the bishops death, it’s God’s will,” Emerson said. “It’s not our will and God will certainly lead us and our diocese in the future.”
MADISON (WKOW) — The Catholic community came together Sunday morning to mourn the death the Bishop Robert Morlino.
People gathered at Holy Name Heights Church to pray for Morlino, his friends, co-workers and Catholic community.
A spokesperson said Morlino passed around 9:15 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Hospital after suffering from a cardiac event last week. He was 71 years old.
Morlino has been the bishop of Madison since 2003. He said his three priorities were to increase the quantity and quality of men ordained as priests, instill greater reverence and to challenge catholic institutions to live out their faith.
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