Sunday, May 12, 2024

New bishop named for troubled Knoxville diocese

Pope Francis has appointed Reverend James Mark Beckman, as Bishop of Knoxville. Bishop-elect Beckman is a priest of the Diocese of Nashville, and currently serves as pastor of Saint Henry parish in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The following biographical information for Bishop-elect Beckman was drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Father Beckman was born on October 19, 1962, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He graduated from Saint Ambrose College Seminary in Davenport, Iowa, with a bachelor’s degree in history (1984). He attended The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where he earned a master’s degree in religious studies (1984-1989). He was ordained to the priesthood on July 13, 1990, for the Diocese of Nashville.  

Bishop-elect Beckman’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Nashville (1990-1991); teacher, (1990-1996), and then associate principal for pastoral affairs at Father Ryan High School in Nashville (1991-1996); pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Springfield (1996-2002); administrator at Saint Michael Mission parish in Cedar Hill (1996-2002); and pastor at Saint Matthew parish in Franklin (2002-2015). Since 2015, Bishop-elect Beckman has served as pastor of Saint Henry parish in Nashville.

Bishop-elect Beckman’s additional service for the Diocese of Nashville has included: member of the presbyteral council (1993-2003; 2008-2013); member of the diocesan clergy personnel board (1995-2000); director of the diocesan youth office (1996-2002); priests’ vocation advisory council (1998-2000); member of the college of consultors (1993-2003, 2008-2013); dean of the northwest deanery (2001-2002) and central deanery (2008-2013); chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Council #11925 (2003-2011); state chaplain for the Knights of Columbus (2004-2005); chair of the priest personnel board (2018-present).

The Diocese of Knoxville is comprised of 14,242 square miles in the state of Tennessee and has a total population of 2,538,487, of which 71,274 are Catholic.