The Most Reverend
Peter W. Bartholome
1953 – 1968
The dramatic population and financial growth of the 1950s created new opportunities for the Diocese of St. Cloud. During Bishop Bartholome’s era, the diocese built 28 churches and 31 schools. The number of Catholics in the diocese grew 42 percent to 140,000. Lay people, by necessity, were empowered to take leadership roles in the churches and the schools.
The youngest of 11 children, Bishop Bartholome valued family. To combat increased divorce rates after World War II, he introduced marriage preparation classes to the St. Cloud Diocese and promoted the benefits of the classes across the United States. He also urged parishes to support family farms and creameries.
Along with his concern for Christian families, Bishop Bartholome also felt a great responsibility for the priests of the diocese. He made sure young priests were paired with pastors who would be good teachers. He visited priests who were ill, brought Christmas gifts to retired priests and officiated at the burial of every priest.
Bishop Bartholome was an avid reader, wrote many pastoral letters and was a good speaker.
In retirement, Bishop Bartholome focused on reading, prayer, and meditation. He raised chickens and tended a garden on his farm near Grey Eagle.