U.S. service men and women received good news on Saturday morning when Pope Benedict XVI named current Army chaplain Fr. F. Richard Spencer as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
The head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, welcomed the news of Bishop-elect Spencer's appointment by saying it “represents one more sign of the paternal care of our Holy Father for all of us.”
Archbishop Broglio highlighted the bishop-elect's extensive military experience as well as his educational and spiritual formation. “That experience,” the archbishop said, “will certainly contribute to the richness of the episcopal ministry to which he is now called.”
Bishop-elect Spencer began his military career as a commissioned U.S. Army officer in 1973, and in 1974 began serving active duty. After serving as the Commander of the Military Police Detachment at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin, Bishop-elect Spencer was deployed in the summer of 1977 with the 2nd IN Div MP Company to Camp Casey, Korea.
During his time in Korea, he was influenced by the life of Father Emil Kapaun, a POW who died in North Korea during the Korean war. While still in Korea, Bishop-elect Spencer began to discern a call to the priesthood.
In 1980 the bishop-elect was released from active duty to pursue his vocation with the Order of Friars Minor, Holy Name Province. He later switched his studies from the Franciscans to study for the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the invitation Archbishop Borders, a former Army Chaplain of WWII.
Bishop-elect Spencer was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Baltimore on May, 14 1988.
Besides serving in Korea, Bishop-elect Spencer was also sent to Bosnia, Egypt, the Pentagon, and in 2004, to Iraq.
Bishop-elect Spencer shares the joys of priesthood with his younger brother, Father Robert Spencer, U.S. Navy.
The Archdiocese for Military Services serves more than 220 installations in 29 countries, 153 V.A. Medical Centers and all the federal employees serving overseas in 134 countries. Bishop-elect Spencer will help Archbishop Broglio shepherd more than 1.5 million men, women and children.