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America StaffNovember 10, 2023
Bishop Robert E. Barron was installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in July 2022. (CNS photo/Clare LoCoco, courtesy Word on Fire Catholic Ministries)

In America’s interview with Pope Francis in November 2022, the Holy Father said that “the grace of Jesus Christ is in the relationship between the bishop and his people, his diocese.” We asked U.S. bishops to answer five of our nine questions. In these brief interviews, we hope to highlight and foster this relationship, and to offer some unique personal perspectives and spiritual insights of the shepherds leading our church.

Q&A with Bishop Robert Barron 
Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn.

What is an event from your childhood that helped you understand who God is?
When I was 5 or 6 years old, I saw my father, whom I considered the most powerful force in the world, kneeling in devout prayer, invoking someone that he considered more powerful than himself. That moment permanently shaped my sense of the reality and importance of God. 

What is your favorite movie/book/play/musical/art/sport/etc. right now?
“Mrs. Davis” is an impossibly quirky and theologically very questionable show, but I absolutely love the idea of a committed nun, who regularly communes with Jesus, taking on the soulless A.I. algorithm to which the whole world has surrendered. Everyone refers to Mrs. Davis as “she,” but Sister Simone knows that the correct term is “it.” 

What’s something that people might not know about you?
When I was a doctoral student in Paris, I used to give tours every Wednesday at noon at Notre Dame Cathedral.

If you had not become a priest, what other job/vocation/career could you see yourself in?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. When I was in high school, I thought I would be a lawyer/politician. 

What’s a lesson you’ve learned from the life of your favorite saint that is most applicable to your life today?
My favorite saint is Thomas Aquinas. He’s a touchstone figure for me, both intellectually and spiritually. The most important lesson I’ve learned from him is to make a prayerful relationship with Jesus the foundation for everything I do or say.


Read more from our Bishop Q&A series: 

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, Va. 

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Diocese of Crookston, Minn.

Bishop Thomas Daly, Diocese of Spokane, Wash

Archbishop George Lucas, Diocese of Omaha, Neb.

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, Diocese of St. Louis, Miss

More: Bishops

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