Pope appoints Arkansas priest to be bishop of Shreveport, La.
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Francis Malone, a pastor and the chancellor for ecclesial affairs in the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, to be the bishop of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Bishop-designate Malone, 69, has held the post of chancellor since 2008. He also is pastor of Christ the King Parish in Little Rock. In Shreveport, he succeeds Bishop Michael G. Duca, now head of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was installed Aug. 24, 2018.
The appointment was announced in Washington Nov. 19 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-designate Malone’s episcopal ordination and installation Mass will be celebrated Jan. 28 in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport.
Little Rock Bishop Anthony B. Taylor introduced Bishop-designate Malone at the Catholic Center in Shreveport the morning of his appointment. The crowd included diocesan officials and other local Catholics and members of the news media.
Bishop Taylor said he felt “great joy” and some “sadness” in losing one of his “closest advisers” since he became bishop of Little Rock in 2008. But “we’re all one church,” he added.
Everything in Bishop-designate Malone’s life and ministry has pointed to him becoming a bishop one day, Bishop Taylor said. “He has served in the full range” of ministries — as a pastor in rural parishes around Arkansas, as a pastor in a large parish (Christ the King) with a large Catholic school, as “a minister to our senior priests.”
“He is an excellent preacher, faithful to the teaching of the church right down the line — things that are popular, things that are not popular,” Bishop Taylor added. He speaks Spanish, works well with personnel and “he’s got a lot of get up and go.”
“You’re just getting a real great treasure” with “the full range of experience in the life of the church and the diocese,” he added, noting that the Shreveport and Little Rock dioceses are “very similar” — in both, Catholics make up about 5% or 6% of the population.
When he took the podium, Bishop-designate Malone thanked Bishop Taylor for being with him in Shreveport. “(Your) presence here is of such great comfort and strength to me,” he said, adding there were “no words to fully express the impact he has had on my life and the lives of Catholics of the Diocese of Little Rock.”
He thanked Father Peter Magnum for his “stable oversight” as diocesan administrator since Bishop Duca’s installation in Baton Rouge.
Bishop-designate Malone noted that he and Bishop Duca “have history that goes back 50 years.” They were students together, and “he was deacon at my ordination and at my first Mass. He is a much loved man and a truly good and holy bishop. I pray my ministry among you will honor the work he began here.”
Noting that at age 69, he’ll have about a half dozen years at the helm of Shreveport before he’ll be required by canon law to turn in his resignation at age 75, the bishop-designate said: “So come Jan. 28, what do you say we hit the ground running?”
“Today and for the years to come, I pray that what we do as church will always reflect hearts filled with gratitude to the One who has called us to be here,” he added.
Among his diocesan appointments in Little Rock, Bishop-designate Malone was managing editor of the Arkansas Catholic, newspaper of the diocese. He was diocesan director of communications in 1995. He also was a theological consultant to the Catholic paper in 1997. He was vicar general from 2002 to 2006.
Born Sept. 1, 1950, in Philadelphia, Francis Malone was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Little Rock May 21, 1977. He holds a bachelor of arts in history (1973) and master’s degrees in divinity (1977) and education (1977) from the University of Dallas, a Catholic university in Irving, Texas. In 1989, he earned a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington.
After his ordination, then-Father Malone had many parish assignments as associate pastor and as pastor in parishes around the Diocese of Little Rock. He was named rector of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock in 1989, serving there until 1996. That year he was named pastor of Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anne Church in North Little Rock.
In 2001, he was assigned to his current pastorate at Christ the King Parish in Little Rock. The parish is considered a vibrant Catholic community, in part for fostering a number of vocations since he has been pastor.
He served on the faculty of Mount St. Mary Academy, an all-girls high school in Little Rock from 1980 to 1983. Also in 1983, he was on the clergy personnel board and a chaplain at St. Mary-Rogers Memorial Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas. He was moderator of Cursillo in 1989 and chancellor and vice officialis from 1990 to 2002.
He also currently serves on the priests’ council, the college of consultors, the clergy personnel board and the clergy welfare board.
Bishop-designate Malone was named a monsignor in 1998, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in 2002 and protonotary apostolic in 2010.
The Diocese of Shreveport has a Catholic population of 41,335 out of a total population of 812,200.