GAYLORD – Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Jeffrey J. Walsh, priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., The sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. The announcement was made recently by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, in Washington, DC
Bishop-elect Walsh, 56, is a priest in the Diocese of Scranton and is currently Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Carbondale. Episcopal ordination and the installation of Bishop-elect Walsh as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord has been set for March 4, 2022 at 2 p.m. in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Gaylord.
As the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Walsh succeeds Most Reverend Steven J. Raica, JCD, DD Bishop Raica was a Shepherd of the Diocese from August 28, 2014 until June 23, 2020, when he was installed as bishop. of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama. Since June 2020, when the Diocese was a vacant seat, Bishop Walter A. Hurley has served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of 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! said Walsh. “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 faithful lay people, religious, deacons, priests and bishops with whom and for whom I have served.
“In particular, I would like to thank the kind support of Bishop Joseph C. Bambera. 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, two nieces, a nephew, aunts and uncles and many close first cousins. Looking to 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. “
Walsh was born November 29, 1965. Son of Jerome and Nancy Walsh, he is originally from Scranton, Pa., And graduated from Scranton Central High School. He is one of three children, along with brothers James and Joseph Walsh. He graduated from the University of Scranton in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in health and human resources. He then completed his priestly studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, obtaining a master’s degree in divinity. Walsh received an MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in 1999 and an MA in Social Work from Marywood University in 2010.
Walsh was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Scranton by Bishop James C. Timlin at Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Scranton, Pa. On June 25, 1994. After his ordination, Walsh served as associate pastor at Saint Rose Church in Lima, Carbondale, and St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton. In July 1999, he was appointed to his first pastorship at St. Mary’s Lake Church, Lake Winola, as well as director of spiritual and liturgical training at St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, Pennsylvania. From July 2004 to July 2006 he served as pastor at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tunkhannock, until he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Pastoral Region of the Diocese of Scranton.
In 2008, Walsh became administrator of St. Rita Church, Gouldsboro, and in 2009 was appointed administrator of Saint Anthony, Saint Bridget, and Saint John the Baptist parishes in Throop. In July 2010, Walsh was appointed pastor at Saint John Church, East Stroudsburg.
In January 2015, he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for the Clergy by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera. While fulfilling this role, Walsh also served as a sacramental minister of Our Lady of the Eucharist parish in Pittston. In July 2020, he was appointed Pastor of St. Rose Parish of Lima, Carbondale, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Carbondale. As Walsh prepares to leave for Gaylord, St. Rose Parish of Lima has just completed a large-scale renovation project on their nearly 150-year-old building.
During his years of pastoral ministry, Walsh also served in various diocesan positions, including that of director of religious training at the former Sacred Heart High School in Carbondale and the former Bishop Hannan High School in Scranton. For five years he was chaplain at Saint Michael’s School and for 12 years (1995-2007) he was chaplain of the Deaf community. Walsh has also served as Director of Diocesan Vocations, Director of Youth and Young Adult Retreats at the Fatima Center, and served for a year as Diocesan Assistant Secretary for Catholic Social Services. In 2007, he was also appointed to the board of directors of the Notre-Dame regional school system.
“I am grateful to our Holy Father for appointing Bishop-elect Walsh to serve as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. 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 ” Hurley said.