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1950 - 2000

 Noteworthy Events in the History of the Diocese
1950 - 2000
Adapted from Where the Star Came to Rest by Gaspar F. Ancona;
The Catholic Church in the Grand River Valley, 1833 – 1950 by the Rev. John W. McGee; and other sources.
August 29, 1953
Bishop Francis Joseph Haas passes away after suffering his third heart attack.
February 15, 1954
Bishop Allen James Babcock, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, is appointed Bishop of Grand Rapids.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids begins broadcasting a Mass live from the studios of WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. Fr. Hugh Michael Beahan, who had worked in commercial radio prior to his ordination, is the producer, director, and narrator. A large cloth cyclorama is painted, in shades of black, gray, and white to look like the interior of a church and is used as the background.
December 21, 1955
Robert Rose is ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Clemente Micara vicar general to Pope Pius XII. Fr. Rose was born in Grand Rapids and completed eight grades of elementary school at St. Francis Xavier School, Grand Rapids. He then attended St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Grand Rapids. He went on to attend the Seminaire de Philosophie in Montreal, Canada. He completed four years of theology at the Pontifical Urban College in Rome (the Church's missionary seminary). Fr. Rose is later appointed Bishop of Grand Rapids.
A major reconstruction and expansion of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids took place in 1961-1963, when the Saint Ambrose Chapel wing was constructed. This renovation also featured the closing off of Maple Street from Sheldon to Division, providing a surrounding green space.
October 11, 1962
Pope John XXII convenes the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).
December 8, 1965
The Second Vatican Council is closed under Pope Paul VI.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids moves the TV Mass to the Cathedral of St. Andrew. A control room is constructed in part of the sacristy in the southwest corner of the cathedral and two television cameras are purchased. The signal is sent from the Cathedral to the WOOD-TV studios via microwave. Fr. (later Monsignor) Hugh Michael Beahan continues as producer, director and narrator.
June 27, 1969
Bishop Allen James Babcock passes away of lymph cancer at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Grand Rapids.
October 6, 1969
Bishop Joseph Matthew Breitenbeck, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, is appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
July, 1971
The Diocese of Gaylord and the Diocese of Kalamazoo are founded. The Diocese of Gaylord was formed from 14 counties in northwest Michigan that had been part of the Diocese of Grand Rapids as well as counties from the Diocese of Saginaw. The Diocese of Kalamazoo was formed from Allegan and Barry counties from the Diocese of Grand Rapids. The remaining counties of the Diocese of Kalamazoo were formed from counties that had been in the Diocese of Lansing.
October 16, 1978
Cardinal Karol Josef Wojtyła is elected Pope and chooses the name of John Paul II. He is the first non-Italian pope in 450 years.
1979 -1980
A major renovation to the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids occurs under Bishop Joseph M. Breitenbeck. The sanctuary is expanded, a vesting and gathering area created, and the interior is decorated in muted earth-tone colors
June 24, 1989
Bishop Joseph Matthew Breitenbeck, Bishop of Grand Rapids, retires.
June 24, 1989
Bishop Robert John Rose, former Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, and Grand Rapids native, is appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
1997 – 2000
The Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids is renovated. The baptismal pool is built, the stained glass windows are refurbished and bas-relief Stations of the Cross are installed. The ceiling is painted and stars in the blue ceiling show the placement of stars in the sky on the date of Bishop Henry Joseph Richter’s installation in 1883.