NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Middle Tennessee’s 75,000 plus Catholics are getting to know their new spiritual leader.
Kentucky native J. Mark Spalding was ordained as the 12th Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville on February 2.
The 53-year-old priest says his calling to ministry was cemented early in life, growing up in a devout family in heavily Catholic Washington County, Kentucky.
Bishop Spalding most recently served in the Diocese of Louisville. He sees his calling as bringing Christ to others “through word and sacrament.” The Bishop says simply being there for people struggling with life is another focus for his work.
Spalding says his initial assessment of the challenges facing the Nashville Diocese are all what he refers to as “good problems.” He says dealing with growing flock will take up much of his time.
“So that the ministries are there for them; so priests, deacons...not only parish staff. Along with that you have to take care of churches and buildings.”
Bishop Spalding notes that Spanish speaking parishioners make up a large part of that growth and the Nashville Diocese needs to meet their particular needs.
“We have to be aware of the ministers and the ministries that can best serve that community that’s coming in to our areas…towns here, whether it’s Nashville or any of the other surrounding communities throughout Middle Tennessee.”
Bishop Spalding says his first task will be to visit every one of the catholic churches here in the mid-state.