Alexandria, La., Sep 21, 2016 / 10:46 am
The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop David Prescott Talley, currently auxiliary bishop of Atlanta and a former Baptist, to serve as the coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria.
As coadjutor, Bishop Talley possesses the right of succession as head of the Diocese of Alexandria upon the resignation of its current ordinary, Bishop Ronald Herzog. Bishop Herzog will celebrate his 75th birthday – 'mandatory retirement' age for bishops – on April 22, 2017.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta said Sept. 21 that Bishop Talley “is a servant minister of our Church, who is graced with extraordinary wisdom, patience, kindness and dedication.”
The bishop, he said, “developed these gifts as a priest and bishop here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, where he always cared for our people as a true minister of mercy and kindness. Thus, he now begins this new appointment with exceptional credentials.”
Serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta since 2012, Bishop Talley, 66, was the first native-born Georgian to serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta as a bishop.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, Sept. 11, 1950, he was raised as a Southern Baptist, but left that ecclesial community as a teenager over the issue of racial segregation, he said. He then joined the Catholic Church when he was 24, after meeting Catholics and reading the writings of Thomas Merton while he was studying at Auburn University.
He was ordained a priest of the Atlanta archdiocese June 3, 1989, and earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He has served as pastor at three Atlanta area parishes, as the archdiocesan vocations director, as chancellor of the archdiocese, and as judicial vicar of the metropolitan tribunal. He was made a monsignor in 2001, and appointed auxiliary bishop of Atlanta in 2013.
As director of vocations, Bishop Talley, who speaks Spanish, helped the archdiocese to initiate a cross-cultural immersion program for seminarians to spend time living in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez so that they could learn Spanish and be more knowledgeable about the Hispanic culture and community.