Bishop Stika congratulates new Nashville bishop

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Father J. Mark Spalding has been named the bishop of the Diocese of Nashville.

Bishop Richard F. Stika is offering his congratulations to the new Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Nashville, Father J. Mark Spalding.

“I welcome Bishop-elect J. Mark Spalding to the state of Tennessee. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis has made an excellent choice to lead the Diocese of Nashville and I look forward to working with him as I did for many years with late Bishop David Choby. The Diocese of Nashville holds a special place in the hearts of all Catholics in East Tennessee because the Diocese of Knoxville was created from it in 1988. Cardinal Rigali and I look forward to Bishop-elect Spalding’s ordination on Feb. 2 in Nashville.”

Bishop-elect Spalding was born January 13, 1965 and was ordained a priest on August 3, 1991.

He succeeds Bishop David Choby who died on June 3.

Bishop Stika, who was ordained Knoxville’s third bishop on March 19, 2009, is now the senior bishop in the state of Tennessee.  Bishop Martin Holly was installed in the Diocese of Memphis in 2016.

Bishop Stika was in Nashville for the introduction of Bishop-elect Spalding on Tuesday.

Bishop-elect Spalding attended St. Meinrad College Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana where he studied philosophy. He later attended the American College at Louvain in Belgium (1991) where he earned a degree in theology. He later attended the Catholic University of Louvain, where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1992.

Assignments after ordination included parochial vicar, St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Bardstown (1992-1996); parochial vicar, St. Augustine Parish, Lebanon (1996-1998); parochial vicar, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Louisville (1998-1999); pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, LaGrange (1999-2011); pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Louisville (2011-present).

Father Spalding also served as judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1998-2011 and is currently vicar general for the Archdiocese, 2011-present.

Pope Francis has also named Father Shawn McKnight, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, as the new bishop of Jefferson City after accepting the resignation of Bishop John R. Gaydos.

Father Shawn McKnight was born June 26, 1968. He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Wichita on May 28, 1994.

He earned a master of arts degree and a master of divinity degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum (1993-1994) and later earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome in 1999. In 2001, he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology also from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm.

Assignments after ordination include: associate pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita (1994-1997); pastoral administrator, St. Patrick Parish, Chanute (1999); chaplain, Newman University, Wichita (2000-2001); priestly service, St. Mary’s Parish, Delaware (2003-2008); pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita (2008-2010); priestly service, parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Washington (2010-2015); presbyteral council and college of consultors, Wichita (2000-2005); pastor, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita (2015-present).

Father McKnight formerly served as executive director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2010-2015. He has also held numerous academic, professional and academic society positions among them serving as director of Liturgy and director of Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John R. Gaydos, who has served as the third bishop of Jefferson City.

Bishop Gaydos was born August 14, 1943 and will turn 75 this August. On June 25, 1997, Gaydos was appointed bishop of Jefferson City by Pope John Paul II. He was ordained as bishop on August 27, 1997.

He also served within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as Chairman of the Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry, now known as the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV).

The Archdiocese of Louisville comprises 8,124 square miles. It has a total population of 1,408,733 people of which 177,725 or 7 percent, are Catholic.

The Diocese of Jefferson City comprises 22,127 square miles. It has a total population of 920,234 people of which 81,958 or 11 percent, are Catholic.

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