Retired Grand Rapids bishop, former Detroit auxiliary will serve until successor found for outgoing Bishop Raica, who will lead Alabama diocese

GAYLORD — Bishop Walter A. Hurley, the retired bishop of Grand Rapids and a former Detroit auxiliary bishop, has been appointed by Pope Francis to oversee the Diocese of Gaylord until a successor is named for the diocese’s outgoing bishop, Bishop Steven J. Raica.

Bishop Raica was installed June 23 as bishop of Birmingham, Ala. 

The pope appointed Bishop Hurley, 83, to govern and minister to the spiritual needs of nearly 50,000 Catholics in the northern Lower Peninsula as apostolic administrator of the Gaylord diocese in the interim.

Since retiring as bishop of Grand Rapids, where he served from 2005 to 2013, Bishop Hurley has been called upon to serve in several temporary roles throughout the state. From October 2018 to July 2019, he served as temporary administrator of the Saginaw diocese after the sudden death of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone.

Bishop Hurley was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1965. In 2003, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese, where he served for two years before being appointed bishop of Grand Rapids in 2005. 

Bishop Hurley was well known for his work with Catholic Charities West Michigan, for establishing FAITH Grand Rapids magazine, and orchestrating the development and construction of Cathedral Square in Grand Rapids.

After his retirement, Bishop Hurley returned to the Archdiocese of Detroit, where he has assisted several parishes and archdiocesan projects.

The Gaylord diocese is home to 75 parishes, 17 Catholic schools and encompasses 21 counties spanning 11,171 square miles.