bishop edward m. rice

Bishop Rice seeks to build on Springfield-Cape Girardeau’s history in new role as bishop there

On the feast day of St. Justin Martyr, Bishop Edward M. Rice officially became bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, installed June 1 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Springfield.

"I pray that I may imitate (St. Justin Martyr's) fidelity," Bishop Rice said in the homily. "He embraced the faith and defended the faith in the midst of a pagan culture, and he paid the ultimate price with his life. May the Good Lord strengthen me to imitate that same fidelity."

Humor, holiness make Bishop Rice approachable to men discerning priesthood

Bishop Edward M. Rice held the Archbishop’s Cup, a trophy filled with candy that is presented to the winner of the Water Olympics, at Kenrick-Glennon Days, an annual camp at the seminary to introduce young men to priests and seminarians. As Bishop Rice begins his new role as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, seminarians and priests reflected on the impact he had on their vocation stories.

On occasion when Father Jim Theby gets a call from Bishop Edward M. Rice, the bishop will start the conversation something like this:

"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were in the chapel praying..."

Of course, his opening is meant in jest, but somehow Bishop Rice still drives home a message of the importance of prayer.

That balance of humor and holiness is what has made Bishop Rice so approachable over the years, said Father Theby, a longtime friend of the bishop's.

Seminarians look to Bishop Rice’s example in serving the poor

In 2010, then-Msgr. Edward Rice prayed with the seminarians who accompanied him to the soup kitchen at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. As part of their apostolic services, the seminarians help the parish in their mission feed homeless men, women and children at their “Meals for the Hungry” program.

Bishop Edward Rice has learned one major lesson from serving the poor: cooking is not his forte.

Twenty-five years ago, as a teacher St. Mary's High School, Father Rice started a tradition of taking his students on the 19th of the month to serve meals to the homeless. "They gave us this huge pot, and we had Hamburger Helper," he recalled. "We burned it — the poor wouldn't eat it. It was a disaster." Some of the students' mothers came the next month to help with the cooking; the guys served the meal, visited with those they were serving and helped with clean-up.

Busy bishop is used to running here and there — literally

Bishop Edward M. Rice ran with seminarians Andrew Auer, Jacob Brock and Michael Horn outside Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in 2013. The bishop and seminarians competed in the GoStLouis Marathon.

Though his vocation as a priest in parishes and administration often have kept Bishop Edward M. Rice busy night and day, he always makes time for an avocation — running.

"I like the down time. I don't take my phone with me," said Bishop Rice, an avid runner since he was on the cross-country team at St. Mary's High School in south St. Louis. He stated in an interview a couple years ago that running also helps him in his work. "It keeps me focused and helps me to pray. I'm more settled in my prayer when I run."

Special friendship between Pink Sisters, Bishop Rice goes back to childhood

Eddie Rice often tagged along with his older brothers to visit the Pink Sisters at Mount Grace Chapel, just a few blocks away from their north St. Louis home. Donning the cassock and surplice, he'd serve Mass alongside them.

Their father, John, worked for the gas company and visited the nuns' convent several times a year to make sure the furnaces were properly working and all systems were in order.

‘He’ll always be Eddie’ | Bishop Rice remains just another sibling in the Rice family

A family portrait of the Rice family. From bottom left: Helen (Honey), Virginia (GiGi), Leo, Vincent and Edward. Row two: Mom (Helen), Patrick, James and Mary Ann. Rear: Dad (John), Mark and John Leo.

Long before he became Bishop Edward M. Rice, he was merely Eddie, the sixth among 10 children of the late Helen and John Rice.

Growing up, Eddie never was much for inactivity. He always seemed to be on the go: riding a bike to take multiple siblings to the swimming pool; racing them to the store for Popsicles or soda pops; or playing a competitive game of catch — "runners up," they called it — with the "base" runner avoiding the tag while running back-and-fourth between two fielders.

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