Dec. 31, 1946 – Nov. 24, 2018
Robert Morlino was born December 31, 1946, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. An only child, his father, Charles, died while he was in high school, his mother, Albertina, in 1980. He was raised in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, graduating from the Jesuit-run Scranton Preparatory High School. He entered seminary for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and was ordained to the priesthood for that Jesuit Province on June 1, 1974. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, the Master of Divinity degree from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., and a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.
In 1981, Father Morlino became a priest of the Diocese of Kalamazoo and served there as Vicar for Spiritual Development, Executive Assistant and Theological Consultant to the Bishop, as Moderator of the Curia, and as the Promoter of Justice in the Diocesan Tribunal. He served as administrator of a number of parishes, and as rector of St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo. Father Morlino was scheduled to begin a full-time faculty appointment as professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit when, on July 6, 1999, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed him the Ninth Bishop of Helena. He was ordained and installed as bishop in the Cathedral of Saint Helena on September 21, 1999. Bishop Morlino was appointed the Fourth Bishop of Madison on May 23, 2003 and installed on August 1, 2003. Msgr. Kevin O’Neill, Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Helena, served as Vicar General while Bishop Robert Morlino was Bishop of Helena. He summarizes the late Bishop’s ministry with a Scripture passage from Ephesians 3:14-19:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Msgr. O’Neill went on to say, “Bishop Morlino’s great devotion to the Holy Eucharist and his invitation through the Eucharist to taste and see the goodness of the Lord was the hallmark of his episcopal ministry. His homilies, regularly given at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Helena, were delivered to a full church that was attentive to his words. Even though the congregation did not always agree with his conclusions, when they approached him with concerns they were greeted with charity, attentiveness, and a joyful invitation to continued discussion. In his life, he answered the directive of the Blessed Mother to do whatever the Lord tells you. We commit him to God’s loving mercy and will assist him with our prayer.”
Msgr. O’Neill will celebrate a Memorial Funeral Mass for Bishop Robert C. Morlino at the Cathedral of St. Helena at 12:00 p.m. on December 4th.