Remembering Owensboro's Third Bishop

Owensboro’s third bishop John McRaith passed away Sunday of natural causes.

"I think the first thing that comes to people's mind would be that he was a kind and simple man,” current bishop of Owensboro William Medley said Monday.

Kind and simple is one way to describe McRaith, but it's not the only way. First ordained in 1960, McrRaith came to Owensboro in 1982. He brought his sense of humor, which made it easy to connect with his congregation.

The man who replaced him said his impact goes beyond the four walls of the church.

"Well, when people say you have big shoes to fill, I would always say well, I brought my own shoes,” Bishop Medley said laughing. “Because it would be impossible to think about filling the shoes of someone who had been around for 27 years like Bishop McRaith was.”

Bishop Medley replaced McRaith in 2010. He said McRaith was his biggest supporter.

McRaith was also a supporter of people living off the land.

"With a love for god's creation, thus the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, thus his identify with the issues of farmers and people from small towns,” Bishop Medley said.

McRaith often hosted dinners in rural areas, where one special attraction was always present.

"He hooked up the wagon to his John Deere tractor and took whoever was there on hayrides through those country roads in the county,” Bishop Medley said.

While McRaith now rides his tractor in a better place, his legacy is a man who challenged the church community to think outside the box.

"He was a pastor at heart. And so people will remember his kindness to school children, his reaching out to people in need, and particularly his witness to the poor and challenging the church to be visible and present to the poor,” Bishop Medley said.

Visitation for McCraith is Thursday at Saint Stephens Cathedral. The funeral will be Friday at 11 AM. Both visitation and the funeral are open to the public.

Bishop Medley said McRaith will be brought to the church on a hay wagon pulled by a John Deere tractor.


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