Archbishop Joseph Kurtz was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday. For the past three years, he served as USCCB vice-president. He now succeeds outgoing president Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose term ends Thursday.
From 1999 to 2007, Archbishop Kurtz was Bishop of Knoxville. He presided at both of my kids’ Confirmation ceremonies. At one of the Confirmations, he met my mother and grandmother and remembered their New York accents for years to come. He also often mentioned that he had seen some of my blog posts about Catholicism.
In 2007, Kurtz was promoted to Archbishop of Louisville. He keeps in touch with his former dioceses. He is fondly remembered in Allentown and Knoxville. Archbishop Kurtz was one of several bishops and archbishops who attended the Diocese of Knoxville’s Eucharistic Congress in September.
My friend and childhood librarian from New York wrote, “Frank I can’t believe it! First my guy and then yours! Thanks be to God!” Those of us in Knoxville were not terribly surprised. Over the weekend, one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a column that predicted Kurtz’s election.