Madison Diocese remembers Bishop Morlino

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A prayer vigil and visitation for Bishop Robert Morlino was held on Monday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. People had the chance to pay their respects and say their goodbyes. A vesper service was held at 7 p.m., following visitation.

Bishop Morlino led the diocese for 15 years. After a heart attack, he passed away on Nov. 24.

Friends and colleagues said they will remember Morlino as a joyful person who stayed true to the teachings of the church. He also prioritized bringing more men into the priesthood -- during his time as bishop, he ordained 40 new priests.

"I think what drew men to the priesthood was partly, besides God's call and God's grace, was his model of priesthood, which was very focused and priestly and deep but at the same time on a human level, very friendly," said Monsignor James Bartylla, a priest who worked with Morlino for 14 years.

Bartylla said Morlino touched many people's lives, not just in the Diocese of Madison but nationally as well.

"You don't really appreciate everything about a person, in this case, the bishop, almost until he's dead and you see the outpouring and you realize the impact he had on so many people, both locally and he was a bishop who had kind of a national presence," Bartylla said. "There are so many people who say Bishop Morlino taught me so much that I didn't know before."

A funeral mass for Morlino will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church. Visitation will be held starting at 9 a.m.

Morlino will be laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery immediately after the mass.