The Most Rev. Bishop Mark Spalding, who was ordained Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Nashville on Feb. 2 of this year, received a warm welcome on his first visit to St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin recently.
Dancers from St. Luke Catholic Church led a procession of more than 1,000 St. Philip parishioners from Second Avenue to the Main Street entrance of the church where they were personally greeted by Bishop Spalding. The bishop appeared to greatly enjoy the impromptu meet-and-greet, talking, smiling often and making a special effort to meet the young children.
The 12th bishop of the Diocese of Nashville was accompanied by priests from area churches, churches from outside the area and as far away as Nicaragua, to perform the Confirmation Mass and to anoint 120 teenagers with consecrated Chrism oil.
Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church with Baptism the first and Holy Communion the second. Catholics believe confirmation instills a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. According to Catholic Doctrine, the Sacrament of Confirmation completes the process of initiation into the Christian community, and prepares the soul for the work to come.
During the Mass at St. Philip, Bishop Spalding spoke directly to the confirmation class explaining Confirmation is a stepping stone in the Catholic Church. It’s not simply a graduation from the Catholic Church and one’s involvement in church life, but the beginning of a new life in the Church and a commitment, as a Catholic and Christian, to serve others and the Church.
Bishop Spalding was appointed by Pope Francis in November following the June 20, 2017, death of Bishop David Choby, who was undergoing treatment for a blood infection he acquired after a fall in his home on Feb. 7, 2017.
Bishop Spalding is a native of Kentucky. He was the pastor of Holy Name Church and the associate pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Louisville prior to his ordination and installation as Bishop of the Nashville Diocese.