Most Reverent Bishop Spalding
2800 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN 37214-1402
Fr. Mark Spalding
The Mass of the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of His Excellency, The Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding, D.D., J.C.L. as the twelfth bishop of Nashville, was held on February 2, 2018.
November 21, 2017: Pope Francis has named Father J. Mark Spalding, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, to be the 12th Bishop of Nashville. The appointment was publicized at noon in Rome, 5 a.m. central time, on Tuesday November 21, 2017. He replaces Bishop David Choby, who died June 3 after serving since 2005. Since then, Father Michael Johnston has served as administrator of the diocese, which covers 38 counties of Middle Tennessee and includes about 76,000 registered Catholics in 53 parishes and three missions.
“Bishop-elect Spalding is blessed with a joyful spirit, a strong work ethic, a deep love for the Lord and his people, and a great desire to lead and serve,” Johnston said in a press release announcing the appointment.
Bishop-elect Spalding will be ordained a bishop and installed as the Bishop of Nashville on February 2, 2018 at Sagrado Corazon at the Catholic Pastoral Center on McGavock Pike.
Spalding, 52, a native of Fredericktown, Kentucky and a priest since 1991, is currently pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and Holy Name Parish in Louisville. He has also served as a vicar general for the archdiocese since 2011. He is a member of a large extended family with roots dating to the earliest days of Catholic life west of the Appalachian Mountains. He received a master of religious studies and a licentiate in canon law from American University in Louvain, Belgium.
He is currently pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and Holy Name Parish in Louisville. He has also served as a vicar general for the archdiocese since 2011. He has served a number of other assignments including associate pastor at St. Joseph and chaplain at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, associate pastor at St. Augustine in Lebanon, KY, associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary in Louisville, pastor of Immaculate Conception in LaGrange, KY. He has served as a judge, judicial vicar, and director of the tribunal for the archdiocese.
The entire state of Tennessee was established as the Diocese of Nashville on July 28, 1837 from the territory of the Diocese of Bardstown, KY by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1971 the western third of the state was established as the Diocese of Memphis. In 1988 the eastern third of the state was established as the Diocese of Knoxville. The Diocese of Nashville now covers 38 counties of Middle Tennessee and includes about 76,000 registered Catholics in 53 parishes and three missions. Masses are offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Latin, and Korean.
The See of Nashville has been vacant since Bishop David Choby died on June 3, 2017. Father Michael Johnston was elected administrator by the priests of the diocese’s College of Consultors. Father Johnston will continue as administrator until Bishop-elect Spalding is ordained bishop and takes possession of the diocese.
A message from Father Michael Johnston: On behalf of everyone in the Diocese of Nashville, I am very happy to thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for appointing Father J. Mark Spalding as the 12th Bishop of Nashville, and for his generosity in accepting this call. Having served the Archdiocese of Louisville in many capacities over the years, presently as Vicar General and pastor of Holy Trinity Church in the city of Louisville, Bishop-elect Spalding brings a wealth of experience to us as our new shepherd.
He is a man filled with enthusiasm and excitement with his new responsibilities. He comes to Nashville and Middle Tennessee, an area of our state that is dynamic, growing, having such great potential. Bishop-elect Spalding is blessed with a joyful spirit, a strong work ethic, a deep love for the Lord and his people, and a great desire to lead and serve. He has already expressed such a keen interest in learning about the Diocese of Nashville, in listening to our needs and our hopes and dreams, and then discerning the direction the Holy Spirit wishes to take us. With God’s gift to him of this spirit of service and willingness to lead us, we are truly blessed.
Archbishop Kurtz and the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville are undergoing the loss of such a fine priest, and we are grateful for their sacrifice. We assure them that our new bishop will be loved and cared for as he begins his new ministry among us. May we pray for Bishop-elect Spalding and the Diocese of Nashville.
On June 16, 2018, Bishop Spalding confirmed five young people here at St. Andrew Church.
Fr. John Patrick Day
On July 3, 2018, Fr. John Patrick arrived as the new pastor of St. Andrew Parish.
Father John Patrick Day is a Member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ – known as the Passionists – see in Christ’s crucifixion his unending love. Spreading the message of Christ’s love is the mission of the Passionists in their parish work, their mission work, and in their preaching.
“Almost everybody has some cross they’re dealing with,” said Father John Patrick Day, a Passionist priest serving as associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville. “The passion is a gateway into our soul. The best way to help people deal with their cross is to remind them of Christ’s passion that he went through because he loved them so much. And in the eyes of God they are special people.”
Father Day came to the Diocese of Nashville last summer after serving as a missionary in Japan and as a parish priest throughout the Midwest.
The late Bishop David Choby had asked the Passionist monastery in Louisville if they could send a priest to serve in the diocese. Father Day met Bishop Choby on the day he died last June. Father Day was impressed that the first thing Bishop Choby asked him was how his mother, who is in a nursing home at age 93, was doing.
“I thought that was wonderful … and kind that he expressed his concern for my mom,” Father Day said. “He asked me if I would come to Clarksville. I said I would be glad to.”
Father Day grew up in Calhoun County in western Illinois, located northwest of St. Louis along the Mississippi River. “I come from a good, Irish-Catholic family,” he said. “I told my folks when I was 5 years old I wanted to be a priest. My dad said if you think God wants you to do it you better get to it.”
As a youngster, he was interested in becoming a missionary. “I met a Passionist priest when I was in seventh grade, Father Raymond McDonough, who was the founder of our missions in Korea. He was such a humble man.”
Day entered the Passionist order and was ordained in 1972. “Primarily, we are a preaching order, dedicated to spreading a devotion to the suffering of Christ, the passion,” he said. Many in the order lead parish missions and retreats, but Father Day has devoted his ministry to working in parishes. “I’ve always loved to work in parishes,” he said. “I’ve been ordained 46 years and 45 of those years I’ve been involved in parish work.”
That parish work has sent him to the other side of the globe. “I was in Japan for 14 years,” Father Day said.
While in Japan, he had the opportunity to serve as St. Teresa of Calcutta’s chauffeur during her visit there. The Passionists were founded to be both contemplative and active, spending a lot of time in prayer and then going out to help people in their spiritual lives, Father Day explained. He asked St. Teresa, “When you’re so busy, how do you get into your prayer?
“She said, ‘When I’m really, really busy, I pray twice as long so I can get my act together to get done all I have to get done,’” he said.
“Everybody is so busy. The easiest mistake to make is to say I’m so busy I’ll put aside the prayer,” Father Day said. “We have to be alert to God’s grace so we’re not distracted by the negative things in the world today. We’re supposed to be the ones that bring hope, that remind people that they are special. And I don’t think we’re going to be out of work too soon.”
Since returning from Japan, Father Day has been working in parishes throughout the Midwest. During that time, he has served as a chaplain with the Illinois State Police for 33 years and the Missouri Highway Patrol for 20 years.
“It’s great,” he said of his work as a chaplain. “Police officers are under a lot of stress. You’re there to relieve that stress and give them a chance to talk about things they can’t talk about with most other people. It’s a chance to help people with a very unique share of the cross.
“Everybody has a share of [the] cross,” Father Day said. “That’s the most profound sense of my life, and what I believe and what the order and what the Church says.”
And in Christ’s passion, we can find “a blueprint of how we need to carry the cross, not only what he was going through physically but what was going on in his heart,” Father Day said. “He was being compassionate to others,” asking “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
“If you see someone that’s not doing well, you have to ask why and pray for them and encourage them and ensure them God loves them,” said Father Day. “A lot of people aren’t sure that God loves them. That can be very lonely and very devastating.”
As Fr. John Patrick Day settled into his new home at Immaculate Conception, his background as a Navy chaplain and working in other cultures has helped parishioners who represent a variety of cultures and where many have ties to nearby Fort Campbell. “I’m really comfortable with that,” Father Day said. “I’m enjoying it very much.”