Dear Faithful of the Diocese of Memphis,
Relying on God’s grace, I greet you with affection and with gratitude for the gift of our faith in Jesus Christ and in His Church.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis made public my appointment as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Memphis. With this appointment, I will seek to provide care for the diocese until our Holy Father appoints a new bishop in the coming months. I am eager to work with the priests, curia, and faithful to promote stability, peace, and healing. I have admired the Church of Memphis for many years, particularly from my time as Bishop of Knoxville.
On Wednesday, I traveled to Memphis and had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Holley as he completed his service as your bishop. It was a meeting filled with mutual respect and dignity, and I ask for your prayers for him. Bishop Holley now has the status of bishop emeritus and will reside outside of the Diocese of Memphis.
I also had the opportunity to meet with the diocesan priest consultors and with those members of the Priests’ Council who could assemble on short notice. I met as well with the diocesan staff who provide ministry throughout your local Church. It is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge their desire to reach out to all of the faithful in the hope that every Catholic in the diocese will be renewed in our commitment to follow Jesus Christ faithfully. Many spoke to me of the need for healing as we move forward. It is my hope that all of us together will seek unity in Christ in truth and love.
I want to assure you of my desire to serve you well. I hope to meet with all of the priests in early November. I also extend special thanks to the deacons, women and men religious, and lay ecclesial ministers who have served and will continue to serve so faithfully. Since I will continue to serve as the Archbishop of Louisville, I have appointed Father Robert W. Marshall, pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, as my delegate to assist me during this time.
Please be assured of my prayers. I ask for your prayers as I seek to provide leadership with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ.
Sincerely yours in our Lord,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.