Pope names bishops for Memphis, Fresno and auxiliary for Los Angeles

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Bishop David Talley of Alexandria, La., is pictured in this 2010 file photo. Pope Francis named him March 5 to head the Diocese of Memphis, Tenn. (CNS/Michael Alexander/ Georgia Bulletin)

Washington — Just over four months after Pope Francis forced Bishop Martin Holley to step down as bishop of Memphis, Tennessee, he named Bishop David Talley of Alexandria, Louisiana, to lead the diocese.

Talley's appointment was announced March 5 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The archbishop also announced Francis' decisions to accept the resignation of 75-year-old Bishop Armando Ochoa of Fresno, California, and name Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Brennan to succeed him. In addition, Francis named Philippines-born Msgr. Alejandro Aclan to be an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Talley, 68, a former auxiliary bishop of Atlanta, was named coadjutor of the Diocese of Alexandria in 2016 and succeeded Bishop Ronald Herzog when he retired in 2017. Talley will be installed as the sixth bishop of Memphis April 2. Details of the ceremony are to be announced later.

"It is with deep joy that I join the faithful of the Diocese of Memphis" in welcoming Talley, said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who is apostolic administrator of the diocese. He brings "a wealth of experience" as pastor and bishop, and "most importantly, he brings the heart of a pastor and a sterling reputation as a good shepherd, the archbishop said in a statement.

He is "devoted to Jesus Christ and his church, deeply concerned for those he serves, humble and wise," Kurtz added.

Born Sept. 11, 1950, in Columbus, Georgia, David Prescott Talley was raised a Southern Baptist but became a Catholic while a student at Auburn University. He was received into the church when he was 24. He was ordained a priest of the Atlanta Archdiocese in 1989.

The Diocese of Memphis comprises 10,682 square miles. Out of a total population of over 1.5 million, about 60,320, or 4 percent, are Catholic.

In California, Ochoa welcomed his successor in Fresno "as a man of great faith, extraordinary talent, and love of his call to serve God’s people with the heart of Christ."

"After seven wonderful years as bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, I know that the clergy, religious men and women, and all God’s people will welcome Bishop Brennan with open arms and open hearts," added the prelate, who has reached the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope.

A native of Oxnard, California, Ochoa was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles May 23, 1970. He is a former auxiliary for the archdiocese. He had been bishop of El Paso, Texas, for 15 years when he was named fifth bishop of Fresno in December 2011. He was installed Feb. 1, 2012. Ochoa has served on several committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Brennan, who turns 65 March 20, has been a Los Angeles auxiliary since 2015. He will be installed as Fresno's sixth bishop May 2.

A native Angeleno, Brennan is the son of a San Fernando Valley grocer and the ninth of 10 children. He speaks fluent Spanish, and has a twin brother living in the diocese he will lead, according to Angelus, the news outlet of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The Fresno Diocese is a 35,000-square-mile territory with about 1.2 million Catholics. It is situated in the heart of California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley, known as America's "salad bowl" and the "food basket for the world, Angelus noted.

The new auxiliary for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Aclan, will become the second Filipino-American priest to be named bishop in the U.S. The first was Bishop Oscar Solis, an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles from 2004 until 2017, who is now head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

The Los Angeles area is home to the largest Filipino immigrant community in the United States, according to Angelus.

Aclan was born Feb. 9, 1951, in Pasay City, Philippines. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1993. He served most recently as vicar for clergy before taking a sabbatical last summer.

Archbishop Jose Gomez in a March 5 statement called him a "proud son of our vibrant Filipino community" and "a man of prayer."

"He has a true heart for Jesus – and a deep concern for the people he is called to serve. And I know he will be a voice for Filipino Catholics, who are a beautiful sign of growth and renewal in our church here in Los Angeles and throughout the country," the archbishop said.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles covers 8,636 square miles in Southern California. The general population of the area totals 11.5 million, of which over 4 million, or 35 percent, are Catholic.

Aclan told Angelus that his appointment is an opportunity to learn again" as he has throughout his 25 years of priesthood. "And I’m eager to learn," he said.

"I know for a fact that there’s a lot of people praying for me," he said, adding that he is assured of the constant prayers of at least two prayer groups, and, most importantly, "my mother and father in heaven."
"With that, I know that whatever challenges are sent my way, with God's grace, I should be able to handle them."

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