|Bishop Martin Holley, center, was installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Memphis on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The diocese covers the western region of the state and has about 65,000 Catholics. Among the bishops attending the instillation were Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, far left, and former Memphis Bishop Terry Steib, second from left. Photo by Dr. John Tyler/Diocese of Memphis|
Bishop Martin David Holley was installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Memphis during a Mass held at the Cook Convention Center on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
Bishop Holley succeeds Bishop Terry Steib, SVD, who retired after 23 years of service as the Bishop of Memphis. He comes to the West Tennessee diocese from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where he served as an auxiliary bishop since 2004.
“I’m delighted with the appointment of Bishop Martin Holley to succeed Bishop Terry Steib as the new bishop of the Diocese of Memphis,” said Bishop David Choby of Nashville. “I’ve known Bishop Holley through the years since becoming bishop myself and have always found him to be warm and approachable and engaging. He certainly will succeed Bishop Steib well.”
Bishop Holley was installed by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Among the bishops on hand for the installation was Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the metropolitan of the province that includes the dioceses of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Bishop Holley began his service to the Diocese of Memphis with two acts of mercy. After the installation Mass, Bishop Holley joined a group of volunteers who packed 2,000 food bags for the homeless and divided floral arrangements for the Mass into smaller bouquets for residents of the Ave Maria Nursing Home in Memphis.
The Diocese of Memphis was established in 1970 when it was carved out of the Diocese of Nashville, which until that time had included the entire state of Tennessee.
Bishop Holley was born on Dec. 31, 1954, in Pensacola, Florida, the eighth of 14 children. He attended Catholic elementary schools and was captain of the basketball team at Tate High School and a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. He also attended Faulkner State Junior College in Bay Minette, Alabama; and Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977.
Having felt the call to the priesthood from a young age, Bishop Holley attended Theological College in Washington and completed his seminary studies at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on May 8, 1987.
He held numerous positions in the diocese before St. John Paul II appointed him as auxiliary bishop of Washington in 2004.
In the 12 years in Washington, he served as Vicar General, moderator of ethnic ministries, a member of the Washington InterFaith Network, the International Catholic Foundation for the service of Deaf People, and Catholic Athletes for Christ. He also participated on several committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops including Africa, African-American Catholics, Hispanic Affairs, Pro-life and Multicultural.
The Diocese of Memphis covers more than 10,000 square miles between the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers. The north and south boundaries of the diocese are the state lines of Kentucky and Mississippi. The diocese has more than 65,000 Catholics and is referred to as “The Good Samaritan on the banks of the Mississippi” and as the “Land between the rivers.”