Metro-East News

Belleville bishop to moderate portion of Vatican conference

Bishop Edward Braxton of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville will travel to Rome on Saturday to take on a leadership role at a Vatican conference.

The conference is Sunday through Tuesday and includes participants from around the world.

Braxton will serve as moderator of the fifth and final session of the Vatican conference titled “Testimonies: At the Service of the Most Vulnerable Persons.” He will introduce the theme, welcome six international speakers, and then conclude the sessions with his own observations about the issues addressed.

During recent years, Braxton has written extensively on the implications of the racial divide in the United States and has spoken on the topic across the country.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican office recently created by Pope Francis for Promoting Integral Human Development, invited Braxton to assist in leading the conference, according to a news release from the Belleville diocese.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this international conference,” Braxton said in a released statement. “The Catholic Church’s social teaching — from Pope Paul VI through Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and including Pope Francis — is more urgent now than ever, not only in developing countries, but also in the United States. I look forward to learning from the participants and sharing my own ideas with them.”

The conference will conclude with an audience with Pope Francis. Braxton will return to Belleville on April 7.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe