By GRETCHEN KEISER and ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writers | Published September 18, 2014
SMYRNA—In a recent reorganization of the Chancery administration, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has named a layman to the new post of chief operating officer and brought Brad Wilson, the chief financial officer of the archdiocese, into a direct reporting relationship to the archbishop.
Archbishop Gregory also has designated Bishop David P. Talley as a vicar general of the archdiocese, along with Bishop Luis R. Zarama, dividing the responsibilities that a single vicar general exercised between the two auxiliary bishops.
David Spotanski was named the new chief operating officer this summer and will also handle some of the administrative functions relating to the Chancery and its agencies, Archbishop Gregory said.
Spotanski, 52, came to the Atlanta Archdiocese in August 2013 as the director of stewardship. He has a long working relationship with Archbishop Gregory, with whom he served in the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, for 11 years. From 2006-2012 he was the chancellor of administration and pastoral services for the Diocese of Belleville. From 1986-1994 he served the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, as director of the Secretariat for Administration and the Council of the Laity. Immediately before coming to the Atlanta Archdiocese, he served as director of mission at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York. He and his wife, Sharon, have three adult children.
While in Belleville, he earned laurels for penning a forthright letter, writing as a parent of children, during the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal to then-Bishop Gregory. To emphasize his points, Spotanski read the letter aloud to the bishop, who as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was pivotal in guiding how the bishops responded to the crisis.
In written responses to questions from The Georgia Bulletin about the administrative changes, Archbishop Gregory said that in addition to Spotanski’s experience in diocesan administration, his colleague is a strong person of faith.
“He knows and loves our Church and is completely dedicated to his Catholic faith. At the same time, like most Catholics of his generation, he has known many reasons to doubt or abandon his faith—often because of the failure of clerics, religious, and laity in positions of authority. Nonetheless, he has remained a source of great wisdom and hope for me and for countless others of his colleagues in Church ministry,” Archbishop Gregory wrote.
He added that both the chief operating officer and Wilson, the chief financial officer, “are dedicated to the life of this local Church and they bring an extraordinary portfolio to their duties in their backgrounds and experiences.”
“My staff currently includes many such wonderful folks who have served with distinction during my time as archbishop. I want to encourage the type of engagement that recognizes their talents, invites their candid dialogue, and encourages their collaboration in the mission of this local Church,” he stated.
“Our auxiliary bishops and I depend upon the wisdom and competence of all of these people as we lead this local Church into a very bright future,” he said.
While the question posed by The Georgia Bulletin may have implied that priests customarily serve in these roles, Archbishop Gregory said, rather that, “I would like to suggest that we need more laity in the service of the Church since they are also the greatest number of people who love, serve, participate in and support the life of any local diocese.”
During priest reassignments this summer, Msgr. Joseph Corbett was named pastor of St. Jude Church, in Atlanta, after serving as vicar general of the archdiocese since April 2005.
The archbishop was asked if priests were needed in pastoral and parish work more than in administration, as the growth of the Catholic population of the Atlanta Archdiocese continues exponentially.
“When one of our premier parishes needs a pastor, I must always make the prudential judgment that perhaps one of my colleagues in the administration of the archdiocese would be the ideal priest to care for the people of that parish,” Archbishop Gregory wrote.
“This more than any other consideration prompted me to send Msgr. Corbett to St. Jude. As an aside, I have received many expressions of gratitude for the gifts that he brings to this new assignment and he himself seems to be basking in the joy of being a full-time parish priest once again,” he wrote.
The complete text of Archbishop Gregory’s comments can be found here.