Catholic of the Year 2016- Bishop Robert Baker


Bishop Robert Baker was named a 2016 “Catholic of the Year” by Our Sunday Visitor. 

The genesis of this book was inspired by a set of talks that Father Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R., gave several years ago in the Diocese of Manchester, NH. At the time while researching material for a project I was working on I came across an advertisement for the talks and found both the title and topic striking. The topic seemed to fit Father Benedict’s lifetime of working among the poor and raising money to help their plight. I approached him, shortly after listening to the tapes and asked him to consider doing a book version. He liked the idea but was reluctant to pursue the project alone due to the shortage of time available to work on it.

"Michael Dubruiel"

Unwilling to let go of the project, I approached another friend of the poor, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Charleston. I knew that Bishop Baker’s priestly ministry had been devoted to finding Christ in the poor and with a wealth of experience he had in this area that if I could join his thoughts with Fr. Groeschel’ s we would have a book that would be of great benefit to the rest of us. After approaching Bishop Baker with my request he agreed and then Father Benedict agreed to collaborate on this book.

While the Bishop and Father Benedict were working on the written text of the book I came across a stunning work of iconography one day while visiting an Eastern Catholic church. On the back wall of the church was an icon of the Last Judgment taken from Matthew 25. I found that the great iconographer Mila Mina had written the icon. I immediately contacted Mila and asked if the icon might be used as an illustration for this book, her response was “anything to make the Gospel known!” Thanks to Mila and her son Father John Mina for allowing Joyce Duriga and David Renz to photograph the icon at Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, Clairton, PA.

Fr. Groeschel has written the introductory text that begins each section as well as the final “What Should I Do?” at the end of the book, and Bishop Baker has written the individual meditations and prayers contained in each of the six sections.

While this book was being written, Father Benedict was involved in a horrific accident that nearly took his life. At the time of the accident the text he was working on was in his suitcase. He had just finished the introduction to “When I was a stranger…” as you read over the text for that section you might sense that he was having a premonition of what was about to happen in his life-where he would soon be in an emergency room under the care of doctors, nurses and as well as his family and religious community.

You will find that this book provides you with keys to finding Our Lord in the poor, and to overcoming the fears and obstacles (represented by the seven deadly sins in each section) that prevent you from responding to His call.

Congratulations to Bishop Robert Baker, New Bishop of Birmingham, AL

When I was in Birmingham, AL last January I visited the EWTN studios and later joined the Franciscan Friars for evening prayer in the chapel. At the end of Vespers, we prayed another prayer–a novena for a good bishop–little did I know that God would answer that prayer by sending a bishop I know well.

In the Spring, I joined Bishop Baker at the Religious Life Institute Conference in Chicago, where he was the keynote, bringing copies of his latest book The Questioner’s Prayer for him to sign afterwards. While sitting at a table with Bishop Baker at the table where he was signing copies, some brothers from the EWTN community came up, (0ne who I know fairly well and have had a number of conversations with before). The topic dicussed? Who would be their next bishop.  The irony of the way things work.

The installation will be on October 2nd, Feast of the Guardian Angels. I know the bishop would appreciate everyone’s prayers. 

From Charlotte was Both, Amy’s New Blog:

Bishop Baker is a old friend of Michael’s, and he baptized Michael the Toddler in a memorable ceremony in a church in central Ohio that is probably still echoing from then 3 1/2 year old Joseph’s energy burst that seemed to come out of nowhere, but went straight into the annals of….something.

"Michael Dubruiel"Bishop Baker has worked with Michael on two books – one lovely, hardbound book he wrote with Fr. Benedict Groeschel  on Matthew 25 – When Did We See You, Lord  (in


 fact this was the book Fr. Groeschel was working on when he had his terrible accident in Orlando several years ago, which delayed its completion, but thanks to Fr. Groeschel’s strength in recovery, it did get finished. More details on that story, as well on the icons – written by the iconographer whose work we saw in the church in Conyers – at the Amazon link. )

More recently, Bishop Baker wrote The Questioner’s Prayer a very nice book of meditations based on, well…questions.

 I’m sure everyone in Birmingham – including EWTN – is very pleased to finally – after 2 1/2 years – to have a new bishop!


"Michael Dubruiel"

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