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Most Reverend Robert J. Rose

Feb. 28, 1930-March 2, 2022

Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Rose, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, died on Ash Wednesday, March 2, after more than 65 years of devoted service to the Lord.

Bishop Rose began his formation for the priesthood at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, where he completed high school and junior college. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the Seminaire de Philosophie in Montreal, Canada. Further theological studies and preparation for the priesthood were undertaken at the Pontifical Urban College in Rome (the Church’s missionary seminary), where he received his licentiate in sacred theology.

On Dec. 21, 1955, he was ordained to the priesthood in the college chapel by Clemente Cardinal Micara, Pope Pius XII’s Vicar General.

Following his ordination, Father Rose received a master of arts in education from the University of Michigan.

In 1956, Father Rose was assigned to the faculty of Saint Joseph Seminary, where he served for 13 years. From 1969-71, he served as the first director of Christopher House, a seminary residence near Aquinas College. From 1971-77 he served as rector of Saint John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. He returned to the Diocese of Grand Rapids to serve as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Muskegon Heights from 1977-81.

In October 1981, Father Rose was appointed as the second bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, and was ordained and installed on Dec. 6. In July 1989, following the retirement of Bishop Joseph Breitenbeck, he was appointed the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. He was installed on Aug. 30. After 22 years of episcopal ministry, Bishop Rose retired in October of 2003. He remained active in the diocese as his health allowed.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids on March 11, with Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit presiding.