IN AETERNUM MISERICORDIA EIUS – His Mercy Endures Forever
On October 19, 2016, the Most Reverend Martin David Holley was installed as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee. He succeeds Bishop J. Terry Steib, S.V.D., who served from 1993–2016. Previous bishops were Most Reverend Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B. (1987–1992), Most Reverend James Francis Stafford (1982–1986) and the founding bishop, Most Reverend Carroll Thomas Dozier (1970–1982). Bishop Martin D. Holley was born on December 31, 1954 in Pensacola, Florida.
The eighth of 14 children, Bishop Holley attended Catholic elementary schools; was captain of the basketball team at Tate High School and a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. He also attended Faulkner State Junior College in Bay Minette, Alabama; and Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977.
Having felt the call to the priesthood from a young age, Bishop Holley attended Theological College in Washington, D.C. and completed his seminary studies at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on May 8, 1987.
Father Holley’s first assignment was parochial vicar of St. Mary Catholic Church in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida where he later became administrator.
He also served at St. Paul Catholic Church and Little Flower Catholic Church, both in Pensacola. During his seventeen years in Pensacola, he served on the Council of Priests, including two terms as chairman. He also served as a Tribunal Advocate, spiritual director of the Serra Club of West Florida and spiritual director and instructor for the permanent diaconate program. He served on the Diocesan Commission for Catholic Schools and was the director of the Department of Ethnic Concerns. He has been a member of the Joint Conference of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus since 1983.
Named an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington by Pope John Paul II, his episcopal ordination on July 2, 2004 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. Having developed a great devotion to St. Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy during his years as a priest, Bishop Holley chose “His Mercy Endures” as his episcopal motto.
While in the Washington Archdiocese, Bishop Holley served on a number of committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Pro-Life Activities; and National Collections; as well as the Subcommittee for Hispanic Affairs. He also served on numerous committees for Cultural Diversity; and Communications; as well as subcommittees for Africa; African-American Catholics; Bishop’s Ministry and Life; Laity, Women, Children and Youth; and Migration. He has been on the Board of Catholic Relief Services and is the immediate past Chaplain of the Knights of St. Peter Claver. Bishop Holley was a member of the Washington InterFaith Network, International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf People and Catholic Athletes for Christ.
As Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Washington, Bishop Holley served on the boards of the D.C. Catholic Conference, Maryland Catholic Conference and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. He was a member of the Archdiocesan College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, Seminarian Review Board, Administrative Board, and was Chairman for the College of Deans overseeing the fourteen deaneries in the Archdiocese of Washington. As Moderator of Ethnic Ministries, Bishop Holley also oversaw the pastoral needs of all the ethnic and language communities within the archdiocese.
On August 23, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Holley to be the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee.