WASHINGTON, DC – Pope Francis has appointed Father Jeffrey J. Walsh, priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan.
He succeeds Bishop Steven J. Raica, who was Bishop of Gaylord from 2014 to 2020, when he was installed as head of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama. Since June 2020, Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley, Bishop of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord.
Walsh is currently Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, both located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.
His appointment was announced on December 21 by Bishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, in Washington.
Walsh’s episcopal ordination and installation will take place on March 4 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Gaylord.
“With gratitude to our Holy Father Pope Francis and joy in the Lord, I look forward to starting a new chapter in my disciple life among the good people of the Diocese of Gaylord! the 56-year-old bishop-designate said in a statement. “I am also very grateful to God for 27 years of priestly ministry in the Diocese of Scranton.
“I have been inspired and challenged to grow in the faith through various diocesan missions and I will always remember in prayer all the lay faithful, religious, deacons, priests and bishops with whom and for whom I have served. . “
Walsh acknowledged the “kind support” of the Bishop of Scranton, Joseph C. Bambera, and also said, “The most important act of gratitude I can offer is for my parents, Jerome and Nancy (Doud) Walsh. They, along with my deceased grandparents, were the most important trainers in my life. “
“I have been fortunate to have a strong, but by no means ‘perfect’ family, which also includes my two brothers (James and Joseph), two nieces, a nephew, aunts and uncles and many cousins Close siblings, “he added. “In the future, I hope to bring a missionary spirit to my episcopal ministry under the mantle of Divine Providence. From “Penn’s Woods” to the land of the “Great Lakes”, I trust in God’s plan of love. “
In a tweet posted, the appointment was announced at 6 a.m. local time, Bambera said he and the diocese celebrated the appointment of the priest of Scranton “with pride and gratitude to God.”
Hurley said, “I warmly welcome him to this diocese, a unique and special region of Michigan, and assure him of our prayers and support as he looks forward to assuming this responsibility and his next ordination. and installation in March. “
Born November 29, 1965 in Scranton, Walsh graduated from Scranton Central High School and in 1987 received a bachelor’s degree in health and human resources from the University of Scranton, which is run by the Jesuits.
He completed his priestly studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he obtained a master’s degree in divinity. He also received an MA in Christian Spirituality from Jesuit Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1999 and received an MA in Social Work from Marywood University in Scranton in 2010.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Scranton by Bishop James C. Timlin at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton on June 25, 1994.
Walsh’s first posting after ordination was as associate pastor at St. Rose Church of Lima in Carbondale and St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton.
In July 1999, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary of the Lake Church in Lake Winola, Pennsylvania, and also became director of spiritual and liturgical training at St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, Pennsylvania.
From July 2004 to July 2006, he served as pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Tunkhannock, Pa., Until he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Pastoral Region of the Diocese of Scranton.
Prior to his current assignment as pastor in two parishes in Carbondale, he served as administrator of two other parishes and later served as pastor of St. John’s Church in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.