The Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding was installed Friday, February 2, 2018 as the twelfth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville, before a capacity crowd at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Donelson.
Pope Francis named Spalding, 53, in November to succeed Bishop David Choby, who died last June after more than eleven years in office. Arch- bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, or diplomatic representative, to the United States, represented the Pope and read the letter announcing Spalding’s appointment.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of the Archdiocese of Louisville, whose jurisdiction includes the Nashville diocese, presided over the installation, assisted by Archbishop Charles Thomas of Indianapolis and Bishop William Medley of Owensboro, Ky. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Emeritus of Phila- delphia and several bishops from across the U.S. were in attendance as well, and participated in the consecration ceremony.
Kurtz noted that Spalding has chosen as his motto, “God has lifted up the lowly,” a line from The Magnificat, inspired by the New Testament Gospel of Luke. He encouraged Spalding to “preach Jesus boldly” and to”serve those entrusted to your care, lovingly and joyfully, so that God might lift up the lowly through you.”
In remarks to the congregation, Bishop Spalding said he looks forward to “sharing the joy and hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Middle Tennessee.” He observed that many Southerners like to say they have “the love of Jesus in my heart.” Spalding reminded the audience that to people of faith, this means loving the person who is Jesus, and also loving others as Jesus loves them.
“The more we know the person of Jesus, the more our life is changed. The more we know God, we are able to change the world,” Spalding said. “When we have the love of Jesus in our hearts, our eyes open up. Our ears open up, our arms open up, our hands open up to others. And we help them create a new world.”
Both Spalding and Kurtz paid tribute to Choby, recalling his humility and life of service. Spalding also recognized Father Michael Johnston, who served as the Diocese’s administrator between Choby’s death and Spalding’s installation.
Liturgical music for the installation ceremony was provided by singers and musicians from various congregations in the diocese.
A native of Lebanon, Ky., Spalding is a graduate of Saint Meinrad Seminary and the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained in 1991 and has held several parish, educational and administrative positions within the Archdiocese of Louisville. Prior to his appointment as bishop, Spalding served as pastor of both Holy Trinity Church and Holy Name Church in Louisville.
The Diocese of Nashville was founded in 1837 and covers most of Middle Tennessee with fifty-seven parishes and missions and more than 70,000 parish
by Paul Ladd
Contributor to The News