Bishop David P. Talley now heads the Diocese of Alexandria, with Pope Francis’ acceptance of the resignation of Bishop Ronald P. Herzog.
“Many thanks to all, for these three months of transitioning,” Bishop
Talley said in a Feb. 2 statement. “We will care for and honor our
bishop emeritus, lovingly; and I will give you all I have and am capable
Bishop Talley, 66, was born in Columbus, Ga. Sept. 11, 1950. He
studied at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana and
was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1989. He received
a doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome, and St.
John Paul II named him a monsignor in 2001.
Benedict XVI named him an auxiliary bishop for the Atlanta
archdiocese in January 2013, and Pope Francis named him coadjutor bishop
of central Louisiana’s Alexandria diocese Sept. 21, 2016.
Bishop Talley was raised a Southern Baptist but left the denomination
as a teenager over the issue of racial segregation. He converted to
Catholicism at the age of 24 after meeting Catholics and reading the
writings of Thomas Merton while he was studying at Auburn University.
The Spanish-speaking bishop helped begin a cross-cultural immersion
program for the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s seminarians, and he also served
as the chaplain for the archdiocese’s disabilities ministry.
When Bishop Talley's appointment as coadjutor in Alexandria was
announced, Archbishop Wilton Gregory commented that he is “a servant
minister of our Church, who is graced with extraordinary wisdom,
patience, kindness and dedication … he now begins this new appointment
with exceptional credentials.”
As for Bishop Herzog, the 74-year-old bishop was born in Akron, Ohio
in April 1942. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of
Natchez-Jackson in 1968 and named Bishop of Alexandria in 2004. He has
served as a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’
Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
He retires a few months before turning 75, the mandatory retirement age for bishops.
According to the U.S. bishops’ conference, the Alexandria diocese has
about 36,280 Catholics in a population of 368,000. There are 71
churches and missions in the diocese.