By Suzanne Avilés
MEMPHIS, TENN. –Bishop Martin David Holley, DD, was installed as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee on Wednesday, Oct 19. He follows Bishop Emeritus J. Terry Steib, SVD, who retires after 23 years of service to the Memphis Diocese.
Immediately after his installation, Bishop Holley joined volunteers from the diocese in two service projects to serve the hungry and comfort the sick. The effort was just one event in his “100 Days of Service,” in which he has teamed up with Catholic Charities of West Tennessee to assist the vulnerable.
In addition to Bishop Joseph Kopacz from the Diocese of Jackson, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Donald Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, attended the installation.
“I am honored and humbled to join the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee. I’ve chosen as the motto for my episcopal ministry “His Mercy Endures”, and mercy will be my guiding principle here on the banks of the Mississippi. I look forward to listening to, learning from and sharing with the people of the diocese,” said Bishop Holley.
Bishop Emeritus Steib stated, “I thank God for allowing me to serve the good people of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee for the last 23 years. Likewise, I thank God for sending Bishop Holley to our diocese to serve the people of West Tennessee. I offer Bishop Holley my prayers and best wishes.”
Bishop Holley was ordained as a priest in 1987 and served in his home diocese of Pensacola, Florida, before being named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2004. In the 12 years in Washington, he served as vicar general, moderator of ethnic ministries, a member of the Washington InterFaith Network, the International Catholic Foundation for the service of Deaf People, Catholic Athletes for Christ. He also participated on several committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops including the African-American Catholics, Hispanic Affairs, Pro-life and Multicultural committees. Bishop Holley has been a member of the Joint Conference of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus since 1983. He has been on the Board of Catholic Relief Services and is the immediate past Chaplain of the Knights of St. Peter Claver.
The Catholic Diocese of Memphis covers more than 10,000 square miles and includes more than 65,000 Catholics. Within the state of Tennessee, Catholics make up approximately 4 percent of the population. The Diocese is referred to as “The Good Samaritan on the banks of the Mississippi” and as the “Land between the rivers” referring to its location between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. The north and south boundaries of the diocese are the state lines of Kentucky and Mississippi.
(Suzanne Avilés is the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Memphis)
By Suzanne Avilés