The Coat of Arms of The Most Reverend David P. Talley, M.S.W., J.C.D.
A Bishop “impales” his coat of arms with that of the Diocese entrusted to his care by placing them side by side on the same shield. The Church’s custom, derived from the practice of a husband and wife impaling their arms, recalls the spousal relationship between a Bishop and his Diocese, which is signified also by his episcopal ring. In ecclesiastical heraldry, the Diocese’s arms are placed on the “dexter” side (observer’s left), while the Bishop’s arms are placed on the “sinister” side (observer’s right).
BISHOP DAVID P. TALLEY, M.S.W., J.C.D. was installed as the Sixth Bishop of Memphis on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
“I know west Tennessee has a long-standing culture, and I want to know the culture of Memphis. I am here to listen and hear from our Catholic family and ask their opinion. God allows us to develop relationships and those relationships begin today.”
The Most Reverend David P. Talley was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis as the sixth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee on March 5, 2019, and was installed on April 2, 2019. In the Fall of 2020, as a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Talley was elected by his peers as Chairman of the Bishop’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Bishop Talley, originally from Columbus, Ga., was raised a Southern Baptist, but converted to Catholicism while a student at Auburn University. He was received into the Catholic Church at age 24 at Saint Mary Church in Opelika, Ala. His family members remain Baptists, Catholics, Church of Christ, Lutherans, United Methodists and those seeking the light of God.
After his studies at Auburn, he later obtained a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia and spent time as a case worker in Fulton County, Ga., protecting children from abuse and neglect. He studied for the priesthood at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana and obtained a Master of Divinity degree in 1989. Bishop Talley was ordained to the Priesthood on June 3, 1989, at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, Ga.
As a Priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Bishop Talley served as a Parochial Vicar, Administrator and Pastor of a number of Parishes. From 1993 to 1998, Bishop Talley studied at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a Doctorate in Canon Law. Bishop Talley also served as Judicial Vicar of the Tribunal, as the Director of Vocations and as Chancellor of the Archdiocese. In 2001, he was named a Chaplain to His Holiness Saint John Paul II, with the title “Monsignor.”
One of his roles in the Atlanta Archdiocese was as chaplain to the disabilities ministry. He has said his experience ministering among people with disabilities, which began at his first parish assignment, is key to his spiritual life. “All they can do is ask the Lord for help. That simplicity and humility is where I think the church should be–humble before God,” he said in an interview in 2013.
On December 17, 2012, while serving as Pastor of Saint Brigid Church in Johns Creek, Ga., Pope Benedict XVI named Monsignor Talley an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and he was ordained to the episcopacy on April 2, 2013. His episcopal motto is Dabo Vobis Cor Novum, which is translated to: “I will give you a new heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). During his time as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Bishop Talley served as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Director of Priest Personnel, and he was a member of the Council of Priests and the Committee for Ongoing Formation.
Prior to his announcement in Memphis, on September 21, 2016, Bishop Talley was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Alexandria, La. and on February 2, 2017, he became the 12th Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, upon the retirement of Bishop Ronald P. Herzog.