The Diocese of Nashville welcomed their new pastoral leader Feb. 27 with the Episcopal ordination of Bishop David Choby.
The ordination, held at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, was attended by hundreds of faithful and well-wishers who gathered to see one of their native sons elevated to the episcopate. He is only the second priest of the Diocese of Nashville to be named bishop; the others have all come from outside the diocese.
The much-loved pastor had served for 17 years at St. John Vianney Parish in Gallatin, Tenn.
Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville was the main celebrant. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the recently named apostolic nuncio in the United States, also attended as the Pope’s representative. About 30 bishops participated.
Pope Benedict appointed the 58-year-old Nashville native Dec. 20 to succeed Bishop Edward Kmiec, who was assigned the new pastoral charge of Buffalo, N.Y.
Prior to his ordination, hundreds of his parishioners at St. John Vianney held a farewell party for him at the local Catholic elementary school, which was built during his time at the parish.
The people applauded when he entered in his Episcopal garb and waited patiently for their turn to greet him and shake his hand. Parishioners, both young and old, left notes for their pastor, expressing their love for him and wishing him well. One young girl said she thought he would make “a great pope some day.”
Bishop Choby was ordained a priest in 1974 and holds a canon law degree. He served in several parishes and the diocesan tribunal. He was on the faculty of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, (1984-89) and currently serves on the seminary’s board.
The Diocese of Nashville has 75,000 Catholics in 51 parishes and three missions.