The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop David Prescott Talley, currently auxiliary bishop of Atlanta and a former Baptist, to serve as the coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria.
As coadjutor, Bishop Talley possesses the right of succession as head
of the Diocese of Alexandria upon the resignation of its current
ordinary, Bishop Ronald Herzog. Bishop Herzog will celebrate his 75th
birthday – 'mandatory retirement' age for bishops – on April 22, 2017.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta said Sept. 21 that Bishop Talley
“is a servant minister of our Church, who is graced with extraordinary
wisdom, patience, kindness and dedication.”
The bishop, he said, “developed these gifts as a priest and bishop
here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, where he always cared for our people
as a true minister of mercy and kindness. Thus, he now begins this new
appointment with exceptional credentials.”
Serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta since
2012, Bishop Talley, 66, was the first native-born Georgian to serve the
Archdiocese of Atlanta as a bishop.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, Sept. 11, 1950, he was raised as a
Southern Baptist, but left that ecclesial community as a teenager over
the issue of racial segregation, he said. He then joined the Catholic
Church when he was 24, after meeting Catholics and reading the writings
of Thomas Merton while he was studying at Auburn University.
He was ordained a priest of the Atlanta archdiocese June 3, 1989, and
earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian
University. He has served as pastor at three Atlanta area parishes, as
the archdiocesan vocations director, as chancellor of the archdiocese,
and as judicial vicar of the metropolitan tribunal. He was made a
monsignor in 2001, and appointed auxiliary bishop of Atlanta in 2013.
As director of vocations, Bishop Talley, who speaks Spanish, helped
the archdiocese to initiate a cross-cultural immersion program for
seminarians to spend time living in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez so that
they could learn Spanish and be more knowledgeable about the Hispanic
culture and community.
He currently serves as chaplain to the disabilities ministry in
Atlanta. Serving in this ministry has been key to his spiritual life:
“all they do is ask the Lord for help. That simplicity and humility is
where I think the Church should be – humble before God,” he told the
Atlanta archdiocesan newspaper, the Georgia Bulletin.
Archbishop Gregory said, “We will sorely miss him in the Archdiocese
of Atlanta, even as we thank him sincerely for sharing himself with us
over these years, but we will gladly accompany him with our prayers and
warmest best wishes.”
In Bishop Talley, the Pope has given the people of Louisiana a “tremendous gift,” he said.
Bishop Talley met with the priests of the Alexandria diocese
Wednesday morning, saying, “I'm happy, I'm excited to be here in the
Diocese of Alexandria. I pray that I will be the bishop that I need to
be for this diocese.”
Located in central Louisiana, the Diocese of Alexandria serves 12 of
the state's parishes, where nearly 10 percent of the population is