Pope Francis picks Kentucky priest to be Bishop of Nashville

Pope Francis has named Father J. Mark Spalding, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, to be the 12th Bishop of Nashville. The appointment was publicized at noon in Rome, 5 am central time, on Tuesday November 21.

Bishop-elect Spalding will be ordained a bishop and installed as the Bishop of Nashville on February 2, 2018 at Sagrado Corazon at the Catholic Pastoral Center on McGavock Pike.
Bishop-elect Spalding, 52, a native of Fredericktown, KY and a member of a large extended family with roots dating to the earliest days of Catholic life west of the Appalachian Mountains, was ordained to the priesthood on August 3, 1991 at the St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, KY. He is a graduate of Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, KY, and St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana. He received a master of religious studies and a licentiate in canon law from American University in Louvain, Belgium.

He is currently pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and Holy Name Parish in Louisville. He has also served as a vicar general for the archdiocese since 2011. He has served a number of other assignments including associate pastor at St. Joseph and chaplain at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, associate pastor at St. Augustine in Lebanon, KY, associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary in Louisville, pastor of Immacu- late Conception in LaGrange, KY.

The position has been vacant since Bishop David Choby died on June 3, 2017. Father Michael Johnston was elected administrator by the priests of the diocese’s College of Consultors. Father Johnston will continue as administrator until Bishop-elect Spalding is ordained bishop and takes possession of the diocese.

A message from Archbishop Michael Johnston:
On behalf of everyone in the Diocese of Nashville, I am very happy to thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for appointing Father J. Mark Spalding as the 12th Bishop of Nashville, and for his generosity in accepting this call. Having served the Archdiocese of Louisville in many capacities over the years, presently as Vicar General and pastor of Holy Trinity Church in the city of Louisville, Bishop-elect Spalding brings a wealth of experience to us as our new shepherd.

He is a man filled with enthusiasm and excitement with his new responsibilities. He comes to Nashville and Middle Tennessee, an area of our state that is dynamic, growing, having such great potential. Bishop-elect Spalding is blessed with a joyful spirit, a strong work ethic, a deep love for the Lord and his people, and a great desire to lead and serve. He has already expressed such a keen interest in learning about the Diocese of Nashville, in listening to our needs and our hopes and dreams, and then discerning the direction the Holy Spirit wishes to take us. With God’s gift to him of this spirit of service and willingness to lead us, we are truly blessed.

Archbishop Kurtz and the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville are undergoing the loss of such a fine priest, and we are grateful for their sacrifice. We assure them that our new bishop will be loved and cared for as he begins his new ministry among us. May we pray for Bishop-elect Spalding and the Diocese of Nashville.