The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton

The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as Bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1970 by John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago. Bishop Braxton was ordained a bishop in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis by Archbishop (now Cardinal) Justin Rigali in 1995, the 25th anniversary of his First Mass.The future Bishop studied for the priesthood at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Niles College Seminary, and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Ill., in the Archdiocese of Chicago, where he earned his BA, MA, S.T.B. and S.T. L. degrees. He was a post-graduate student at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium from 1973 to 1975, where he earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and an S.T.D. in Systematic Theology summa cum laude. He pursued a Post- Doctoral Fellowship at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, and filled the William A. Coolidge Chair of Ecumenical Thought at Harvard Divinity School from 1976 to 1977, and then served as a visiting professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He became the Scholar in Residence at the North American College, the U.S. Bishops’ seminary in Rome, in 1983 at the recommendation of Cardinal James A. Hickey.Bishop Braxton has served in many capacities and parishes throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. Throughout his ministry the Bishop has frequently been invited to preach in major Catholic and Protestant pulpits, such as the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the Sage Memorial Chapel at Cornell University, The Memorial Church at Harvard University, and The Rockefeller Chapel at The University of Chicago. He has preached many retreats for priests, deacons, religious, and lay people around the United States, as well as in Canada, Central and South America, Europe and Africa. He has been the keynote speaker at many national Catholic gatherings, such as the National Catholic Education Association.Bishop Braxton’s writings on a wide range of theological and pastoral topics have appeared in the Harvard Theological Review, Theological Studies, Louvain Studies, The Irish Theological Quarterly, Chicago Studies, Origins, The New York Times, America, Commonweal, The National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Catholic, The Priest, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Ligourian, The Lake Charles American Press, and many other journals and periodicals. He is the author of numerous articles on African American Catholics, many of which have been translated and published abroad. His books The Wisdom Community and The Faith Community: One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic are widely used in Catholic colleges and seminaries. His professional associations include the American Academy of Religion, The Catholic Theological Society of America, The Canon Law Society of America, and the Black Catholic Clergy Caucus. His profile is included in Who's Who in Black America and Who's Who in Midwest America. He is able to converse in French, and he has a reading knowledge of Spanish and Italian.His prayerful reflections during his week at Chautauqua will be based upon portions of his Pastoral Letter, “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.” This letter, which has gained national and international attention, explores the painful events surrounding the deaths of young African-American males during altercations with White law enforcement officers and the responsibility of Christians and all people of good will to contribute to a process of reconciliation. The full text of the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter can be found at www.diobelle.org .