From the very first day of my service here, it has been a joy. As you might remember, the announcement of my appointment came on the Feast of St. Matthew, the 21st of September, 2016. I moved in with Fr. Jim Ferguson at our Cathedral in late October and on the 7th of November, was introduced to all at a Mass of Welcome. From that day until now, I have been embraced by our people, as they have shown me their love for Christ’s Church and their love for those of us who serve them as ordained clergy; and I have come to love our priests and deacons and sisters…and the small group of disciples that work at the Chancery.
I was told of this new appointment, as the 6th Bishop of Memphis, on the evening of the 9th of February. I was in Fifth Ward, at Our Lady of Lourdes, celebrating the Vigil Mass and the Golden Jubilee of their beautiful church and the Confirmation of eleven of their teens. After holy Mass, as we were all in the fellowship hall for photos and the reception, I checked my voice-mail and heard the message of the Apostolic Nuncio asking me to contact him. After arriving back in Alexandria, I called the Nuncio and heard…that the Holy Father had appointed me Bishop of Memphis. The Nuncio then asked…will you accept the appointment?
Will you accept the appointment? For two and a half years, I have spent most every waking moment thinking and praying about our faith life in central Louisiana. I have received your counsel and the counsel of our priests and deacons and women Religious. For two and a half years, I’ve tried to work collaboratively with our clergy and religious and lay-leaders, looking to develop a plan for the evangelization of those who do not know Christ the Lord and a plan to re-evangelize those “cultural Catholics” who were baptized as infants but have yet to embrace with intention and resolve the ONE who has embraced us first…THE LORD. The Diocese of Alexandria has so many gifts to share and we have some challenges to face. And, with all of my heart, I was ready to offer it to you, the people of central Louisiana…for the rest of my life. But then, this call on the 9th of February, and the judgment by the Holy Father and by all who assist his oversight of the world-wide Episcopacy, that the Diocese of Memphis would be served by the Episcopal ministry I am able to offer, by God’s grace.
The Nuncio asked me…Bishop Talley, will you accept the appointment? For each of us who follow the Lord Jesus, we are asked the same question…will you be obedient to the Way of the Lord as He calls you by name? I…we…answer…YES.
It has been a joy, and I am brokenhearted in having to leave you. But I go to Memphis with a great desire to shepherd Christ’s Church there in sanctity and in service. You have my love, and I ask for your prayer. I will carry you in my heart.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God