Father Jeffrey J. Walsh, Bishop-elect of Gaylord, Michigan, wanted to take a moment to express a sincere thank you to everyone who sent well wishes via the Diocese of Scranton’s Facebook page, website and social media pages. In response to the hundreds of comments that have come in over the last week, Bishop-elect Walsh said:
“In gratitude for all the comments regarding my announcement as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, I want to say thanks to all who took time to express congratulations/well wishes/kind remembrances via social media. My heart swelled with love as I read each comment and I felt truly blessed with the gift of friendship. As the adventure unfolds, the welcome mat will always be out in the wilds of northern Michigan to family and friends from NEPA. God bless!”
— Fr. Walsh
On Tuesday, December 21, 2021, the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan hosted a live press conference at St. Mary Cathedral to announce the appointment of Reverend Jeffrey J. Walsh as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. You can watch that press conference in the link provided below.
SCRANTON – On December 21, 2021, Pope Francis appointed the Reverend Jeffrey J. Walsh, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale, as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan.
Bishop-elect Walsh succeeds Most Reverend Steven J. Raica, J.C.D., D.D., who was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, on June 23, 2020. Since that time, Bishop Walter A. Hurley has been serving as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord.
Bishop-elect Walsh’s episcopal ordination and installation as Bishop of Gaylord are scheduled for March 4, 2022, at 2 p.m. in Saint Mary Cathedral, Gaylord.
“With gratitude to our Holy Father Pope Francis, and joy in the Lord, I am eager to begin a new chapter in my life of discipleship among the good people of the Diocese of Gaylord! I am also most grateful to God for 27 years of priestly ministry in the Diocese of Scranton. I have been inspired and challenged to grow in faith through various diocesan assignments and will forever prayerfully remember all the lay faithful, religious, deacons, priests and bishops with whom and for whom I have served,” Bishop-elect Walsh said. “In particular, I would like to acknowledge 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, as well as my deceased grandparents, have been the most significant formators of my life. I have been blessed with a solid, but by no means ‘perfect,’ family that also includes my two brothers, two nieces, one nephew, aunts and uncles and many close first cousins. Looking forward, 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 ‘Great Lakes,’ I trust God’s loving plan.”
Bishop-elect Walsh was born on November 29, 1965. The son of Jerome and Nancy Walsh, he is a native of Scranton, Pa., and is a graduate of Scranton Central High School. He is one of three children, with brothers, James and Joseph Walsh. He graduated from the University of Scranton in 1987 with a degree in Health and Human Resources. He went on to complete his priestly studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., earning a Master of Divinity Degree.
Bishop-elect Walsh received a Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in 1999 and a Master of Social Work Degree from Marywood University in 2010.
Bishop-elect Walsh was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Scranton by Bishop James C. Timlin at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, Pa., on June 25, 1994. After ordination, Bishop-elect Walsh served as assistant pastor at Saint Rose of Lima Church, Carbondale, and the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. In July 1999, he was appointed to his first pastorate at Saint Mary of the Lake Church, Lake Winola, as well as Director of Spiritual & Liturgical Formation at Saint Pius X Seminary. From July 2004-July 2006, he served as pastor at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Tunkhannock, until being appointed to serve as Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Pastoral Region of the Diocese of Scranton. In 2008, Bishop-elect Walsh became administrator of Saint 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, Bishop-elect Walsh was appointed to serve as pastor at the Church of Saint John, East Stroudsburg. In January 2015, he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Clergy by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera. While serving in that role, Bishop-elect Walsh also served as Sacramental Minister for Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, Pittston. In July 2020, he was appointed pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale. As Bishop-elect Walsh departs for Gaylord, Saint Rose of Lima Parish just completed a large-scale renovation project on its nearly 150-year-old building.
During his years of pastoral ministry, Bishop-elect Walsh also served in a variety of Diocesan positions, including Director of Religious Formation 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 served as chaplain to the Deaf Community. Bishop-elect Walsh has also served as Diocesan vocations director, was director of youth and young adult retreats at Fatima Center, and served for one year as the Diocesan Deputy Secretary for Catholic Human Services. In 2007, he was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Notre Dame Regional School System.
In reaction to Pope Francis’ appointment, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, commented, “With pride and gratitude to God, we celebrate Pope Francis’ appointment of Father Walsh to serve as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. This announcement brings great joy in the Diocese of Scranton as the Holy Father has chosen a native son, nurtured and formed locally, to the office of episcopal leadership and service in the Church. Having known and served alongside Father Walsh for many years, he has shown himself to be a caring, compassionate and skilled pastor. His deep love for the Lord is evident in the loving service that he has shared with the flock of Christ entrusted to his care in a wide range of parishes, ministries and apostolates. Father Walsh has generously shared his talents and his love for the Church in so many ways, especially with our youth, elderly, the poor, sick and those on the periphery. While this appointment is somewhat bittersweet for many of us in the Church of Scranton, especially those of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Saint Rose of Lima Parish, where Bishop-elect Walsh currently serves as pastor, we are grateful to God that he has chosen Father Walsh to serve the broader Church and particularly our brothers and sisters in the Church of Gaylord as bishop. Please join me in giving thanks for the years of priestly service that Father Walsh has shared so generously with the faithful of our Diocese and in asking the Lord Jesus to fill his heart with joy as he begins his episcopal ministry among the good people of Michigan.”
Diocese of Gaylord Overview
The Diocese of Gaylord is one of seven Roman Catholic Dioceses in the state of Michigan. His Holiness Pope Paul VI established it on July 20, 1971. The 11,171 square miles of the diocese includes the 21 most northern counties of Michigan’s lower peninsula, which are mostly rural in nature. The total population of the Diocese exceeds 506,000, of which more than 44,000 are Catholic. The Diocese of Gaylord consists of 75 parishes, 16 Catholic schools and many closely related institutions.
The Bishops of Gaylord:
Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, 1971-1981
Bishop Robert J. Rose, 1981-1989
Bishop Patrick R. Cooney, 1990-2009
Bishop Bernard A. Hebda, 2009-2013
Bishop Steven J. Raica, 2014-2020
Bishop-elect Jeffrey J. Walsh, 2022-