Creighton alumnus named bishop in Michigan
The Most Rev. Jeffrey Walsh, MA’98, will always feel a sense of loyalty when it comes to Creighton. It is, after all, why he keeps coming back. “I had a very, very positive experience at Creighton, and I do feel it prepared me in a very positive way spiritually,” he says.
In March, Walsh, an alumnus of Creighton’s Christian Spirituality program, was installed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord in Michigan. But throughout his decades-long career with the Church, he has tried to find time, every three or four years, to return to Omaha to serve as a spiritual advisor with the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF), headquartered on Creighton’s main campus.
“I love the campus, and I love the city,” Bishop Walsh says. “And I always thought that, since the diocese invested in me getting a degree from Creighton, I wanted to go back and pay it forward.”
Bishop Walsh came to study at Creighton in the mid-1990s at the behest of the bishop of the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania. While completing his degree, he encountered the then newly formed IPF, which is dedicated to helping seminarians, priests and bishops grow in their faith.
“Once I got my degree, I came back to Creighton every few years to serve as spiritual director for men preparing for the priesthood during their eight-day retreat,” Bishop Walsh says. “I’ve always looked at it as a way to keep those lessons fresh in my mind as well.”
Before being named Bishop of Gaylord, Walsh served as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
The transition, while exhausting, has been “absolutely wonderful,” he says. “I couldn’t be happier or more filled with gratitude and joy. What I’ve experienced here in Gaylord has been a wonderful outpouring of hospitality and warmth.”
In September, Bishop Walsh will travel to Rome for the so-called “baby bishops’ school,” in which he and other new bishops will become more familiar with the governing structures of the Holy See.
Bishop Walsh says his time at Creighton has prepared him academically, spiritually and professionally for his latest challenge. For one thing, he says, his summers on campus have provided him with valuable opportunities to network with priests from all over the country.
And his academic experience, he says, continues to bear fruit.
“At Creighton, I had the opportunity to delve into the firsthand accounts of saints who wrote books that I wouldn’t have had access to or wouldn’t have taken the time to read otherwise,” Bishop Walsh says. “That element of Ignatian spirituality led to an understanding of the dynamics of our faith which has benefitted me in every aspect of my ministry ever since.”