Most Reverend David P. Talley, Bishop
February 2, 2017, Pope Francis granted Bishop Herzog’s request for an early retirement and the Most Reverend David Talley succeeded him as the 12th Bishop of Alexandria, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Talley as coadjutor bishop to Bishop Ronald P. Herzog on Sept. 21, 2016. A native of Columbus, Georgia, Bishop Talley, 66, was ordained a priest on June 3, 1989, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, by Archbishop Eugene Marino, SSJ. He earned a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, Italy.
He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese, including as pastor of three metro Atlanta parishes, the archdiocesan vocations director, the chancellor of the archdiocese, and as judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal. He was named a prelate of honor, with the title of monsignor, by Pope John Paul II in May 2001. On Dec. 17, 2012, he was named an auxiliary bishop of the Atlanta Archdiocese by Pope Benedict XVI. He became the first native-born Georgian to serve as a bishop in the Atlanta Archdiocese when he was ordained on April 2, 2013. His episcopal motto is “He will give you a new heart.”
When he was director of vocations, the archdiocese initiated a cross-cultural immersion program for seminarians where they spent time living in El Paso, Texas, and in Juarez, Mexico, to learn Spanish and be more knowledgeable about Hispanic culture and more skilled at ministering in a variety of communities. One of his roles in the archdiocese is as chaplain to the Disabilities Ministry. His experience ministering among people with disabilities, which began at his first parish assignment, is key to his spiritual life, he said.
“All they can do is ask the Lord for help. That simplicity and humility is where I think the church should be—humble before God,” he said in an interview in 2013. Bishop Talley was raised as a Southern Baptist but has said he left the church as a teenager over the issue of racial segregation. At Auburn University he met Catholics and read the writings of Thomas Merton, which led him to become Catholic. He was 24 when he joined the church at St. Mary Church in Opelika, Ala.
Family members remain faithful Baptists, including a brother who is a deacon. That background gives him a broad view, he said. “I do know a faith across the spectrum,” he said. Bishop Talley also received a master’s degree in social work at the University of Georgia. For a time before entering the seminary, he worked as a caseworker in Atlanta’s Fulton County to protect children from abuse. He studied at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana, before ordination, where he received a master of divinity degree.
Bishop Talley also served as vicar general and director of Priest Personnel and was a member of the Council of Priests and the Committee for Ongoing Formation. He currently serves on various committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, such as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Special Assembly Planning Committee, and the Secretariat of Child & Youth Protection Services. As coadjutor bishop, Bishop Talley assisted Bishop Herzog, working in harmony with him in governance of the Alexandria Diocese. A coadjutor bishop has the right of succession.
Most Reverend Ronald P. Herzog, Bishop Emeritus
Bishop Herzog was named the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria on Oct. 27, 2004 by Pope John Paul II and ordained Jan. 5, 2005 by Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans. Prior, he had served as a priest for 30 years as a military chaplain and priest in the Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi.
Bishop Herzog has focused much of his episcopacy on seminarian education and communications. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina closed Notre Dame Seminary (where most of our seminarians were studying), Bishop Herzog arranged for the seminarians to transfer to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, which was his alma mater, and where he has served on the Board of Directors.
Since that time, a majority of the seminarians from the diocese attend the Josephinum, in addition to St. Joseph Seminary in Covington and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Bishop Herzog was also instrumental in promoting seminarian studies at the North American Pontifical College in Rome.
Priests who most recently completed their studies at the N.A. Pontifical College in Rome include Father Martin Laird and Father Taylor Reynolds. Transitional Deacon Daniel Hart is currently pursuing studies there now. In the last 11 years, Bishop Herzog has ordained 11 deacons to the priesthood including Peter Faulk, Ryan Humphries, Joseph Bordelon, Luke Melcher, Blake Deshautelle, Anthony Catella, Irion St. Roman, Thomas Paul, Adam Travis, Charles Ray and John Wiltse.
In 2007, Bishop Herzog organized the formation of the first class of permanent deacons in more than 30 years. Using a program offered by St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, 21 men from the diocese signed up for the four-year program. In February 2012, Bishop Herzog ordained the first class of 15 permanent deacons, most are still active in the diocese today. Another class of 14 diaconate aspirants are currently in their first year of study in the same program. If all of the diaconate aspirants complete the program, the diocese could have close to 30 deacons actively working in the diocese by 2018.
In 2007, Bishop Herzog initiated Taste of Faith, a benefit dinner designed to raise money for seminarian education. The bishop himself, planned the menu and coordinated the preparations and cooking of the elaborate multi-course meal, with the help of the seminarians and later, also the deacons. Through the Bishop and the coordinating efforts of the Office of Development, the Taste of Faith annual dinner has raised more than $150,000 for seminarian education during the past 10 years.
In the area of communications, it was Bishop Herzog who made the bold decision to offer the Church Today free to every Catholic household in the diocese. Prior to Bishop Herzog, the Church Today was distributed to those in the diocese who paid $20 a year subscription fee to received the bi-monthly publication. The mailing list was about 1,200.
In 2006, when the publication was offered free, the distribution list ballooned to more than 14,000 homes. With that, advertising increased, offsetting some of the expenses. Bishop Herzog has said the Church Today and our online presence are tools for evangelization. Bishop Herzog has also served on the USCCB Communications Committee for the past 10 years, as well as a long list of other state and national committees and Boards.