Interview with Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh

Interview with Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh

“I promise to be a shepherd who listens and leads with humility.” These were among the first words that Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh said in the press conference after the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Davenport, Iowa. He continued, “I consider myself fortunate to have been entrusted with the pastoral care of the people of this diocese. I’m deeply humbled by the confidence and the great responsibility that the Holy Father has placed upon me.” It is a historic moment for the Diocese of Toledo — the first priest to be directly appointed as bishop of another Diocese.

Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh with Bishop E. Thomas, the newly ordained Fr. Jacob Livecchi, and Fr. Thomas Hunyor

Bishop-Elect Walsh will become the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport which was established in 1881 and contains over 83,000 Catholics and 74 parishes throughout the southeast quarter of Iowa. His ordination and installation is scheduled for Friday, September 27. He will continue his pastoral ministry to St. John the Evangelist in Delphos, St. John the Baptist in Landeck, and St. Patrick in Spencerville until a new pastor is assigned.

Watch the press conference held in Davenport on Tuesday here

Bishop Daniel E. Thomas said, “I am thrilled that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has honored the presbyterate of our diocese by choosing one of our finest pastors and such a splendid priest, now Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh, to serve as a Successor of the Apostles. As a bishop, his fidelity to Christ and His Church, his pastoral and practical wisdom, his administrative and leadership aptitude, his love for the people of God, and his warm and jovial personality will serve him well as he shepherds the local Church of Davenport. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Father Walsh for almost ten years, and have found him to be a spiritually grounded and trusted advisor who lives out his vocation in joyful obedience. I kindly ask all the people in our diocese - priests, deacons, consecrated religious and lay faithful – to join me in enthusiastically and prayerfully congratulating Bishop-Elect Dennis Walsh!”

The announcements of the appointment on social media were flooded with comments from parishioners past and present, heartily agreeing with Bishop Thomas’ sentiments. They praised Bishop-Elect Walsh’s kindness, gentleness, wisdom, and humility.

The appointment came as quite a surprise for Bishop-Elect Walsh. “It was the shock of lifetime,” he said of the call he received from the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States two weeks ago. During the interval between learning of the appointment and the news being made public, Bishop-Elect Walsh received permission to tell his mother, who still lives in Lima, where Bishop-Elect Walsh was raised.

St. Gerard Catholic Church, Bishop-Elect Walsh's home parish

During his childhood, Bishop-Elect Walsh attended St. Gerard Parish, which was and is still led by Redemptorist priests. He knew from a young age that he wanted to become a priest. Bishop-Elect Walsh was ordained as a Redemptorist in 1992. He served in Baltimore and the Bronx before returning to the Diocese of Toledo. He was incardinated in the Diocese of Toledo in 2000, and has served in Sandusky, Defiance, and Toledo prior to his current assignments. “Being a priest has been the greatest joy of my life. I have cherished every moment. I thank God for the gift and the privilege of this vocation. As I embrace this new ministry to which I have been called, I anticipate experiencing that same profound joy [as a bishop],” Bishop-Elect Walsh remarked.

While he is looking forward with excitement and anticipation, it will be bittersweet to leave the Buckeye State for the Hawkeye State this autumn. “There’s a bit of grieving,” he said. He leaves his family, who are a short drive away currently. He also leaves the many people and brother priests he has known for the past two decades. “To my brother priests, thank you for receiving me warmly into your presbyterate,” he said. “I have been inspired by the people in each assignment, by their extraordinary love for the Church.” Bishop-Elect Walsh continued, “I’ll greatly miss them all.”

Posted June 28, 2024 at 8:48 am