Published April 11, 2013
ATLANTA—Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory recently answered some questions for The Georgia Bulletin about the archdiocese’s newest bishop, David P. Talley, and his new role as auxiliary bishop.
What particular gifts does Bishop Talley bring to the role of bishop?
David Talley is one of the most revered and respected priests in our Archdiocese. He will bring the gift of credibility among clergy and laity to the office of bishop. His vast experience in parish ministry and in the Chancery equips him well to serve as one of our Auxiliary Bishops. His demeanor, warmth and good humor will add much to the life of this local Church.
What will be Bishop Talley’s role and duties? Will he be designated a Vicar General?
David will be an Episcopal Vicar (a territorial Vicar) as will Bishop Zarama. In most dioceses with multiple Auxiliary Bishops, that is how they are generally used to have specific responsibility for a number of parishes and institutions so that they can stay close to the workings of our parishes and represent me in those contexts. I will also assign him and Bishop Zarama oversight responsibility for a number of departments and ministries. Msgr. (Joseph) Corbett will be the in-house Vicar General and the two Auxiliaries have been designated Episcopal Vicars.
What is the process for seeking a second Auxiliary Bishop? Did it differ from the first time?
The process for seeking and identifying Auxiliary Bishops is the same—whether you have 1, 2, 3, etc. The Archbishop must seek the permission of the Holy Father to begin the process. In doing so, he must demonstrate that the growth/needs of the Archdiocese have increased to the point where another Bishop is needed and warranted. The Holy Father (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) was very generous and supportive in responding to my request because our growth is clearly indicative of a Catholic community in expansion mode.
There has been much attention given to the shift in Catholic populations around the country and one clear trend is the growth of the Church in the South. Atlanta is still a rather young diocese (established as an independent diocese in 1956 when we were separated from the Diocese of Savannah). In the relatively brief span of 56 years we have grown in Catholic population from the original 22,000 Catholics to over 1,000,000. What a grace this growth has been for us. We need to prepare for continued growth and that means planning and prayer. Bishop Talley and Bishop Zarama will be instrumental in helping to make that prayer and planning take shape for our future. I remain deeply grateful to Pope Benedict in his appointment of both of these fine men to assist me in the pastoral care of the Archdiocese.