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Bishop Mengeling Celebrates 90th Birthday and 25th Anniversary as Bishop

Bishop Mengeling Celebrates 90th Birthday and 25th Anniversary as Bishop

Bishop emeritus Carl Mengeling celebrated his 90th birthday and his 25th anniversary as a bishop with a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Mary Cathedral on Dec. 9. On his actual birthday on Oct. 22, Bishop Boyea said: “We are absolutely delighted to celebrate today, Bishop Mengeling’s 90th birthday – very few people reach this august age and he is carrying it splendidly. We have been incredibly blessed by this man’s service to the Church for so many years. May God continue to give him many more. God bless you Bishop Mengeling!”

He was ordained for the Diocese of Gary, Ind. on May 25, 1957, at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels in Gary. On Nov. 7, 1995, Msgr. Mengeling was appointed to succeed the Most Rev. Kenneth J. Povish as Bishop of Lansing. Thus, he became the first priest of the Diocese of Gary to be elevated to the episcopacy. He was ordained on Jan. 25, 1996, at St. Mary Cathedral, Lansing, by Cardinal Adam Maida, then-Archbishop of Detroit. Bishop Mengeling chose the words of St. John the Baptist as his episcopal motto “He must increase!” (Jn 3:30)

During his episcopacy, Bishop Mengeling launched FAITH Magazine, which was a millennial gift to the Diocese of Lansing, designed to help people connect with Jesus and his Church. That magazine was the genesis of FAITH Catholic, the largest publisher of Catholic periodicals in America.  Bishop Mengeling also guided the vision for serving the youth of the diocese that led to the building of Bethany House, designed as a retreat center for youth at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt.

Bishop Mengeling retired on Feb. 27, 2008, aged 77, after 12 years of service. Since then he has continued to play an active part in the life of the Diocese of Lansing.

Prior to the Mass on Dec. 9, Bishop Mengeling sat down with Communications Director David Kerr and shared memories, including:

  • His upbringing in Indiana within a family of immigrant German Lutherans.
  • His conversion to Catholicism at the age of nine.
  • His journey to the sacred priesthood and his ordination.
  • His role as a page at the Second Vatican Council in Rome.
  • His surprise at being named a bishop at the age of 65 and to a diocese he had never visited.
  • His happiest memories from his years as the Bishop of Lansing.

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