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From the Bayous to the Bluegrass: Louisville’s New Archbishop


After serving as the Archbishop of Louisville for 14 years, Archbishop Kurtz gave his resignation to Pope Francis on his 75th birthday. Pope Francis has since appointed Bishop Shelton J. Fabre to become the new Archbishop of Louisville. Archbishop Fabre will be Louisville’s fifth archbishop, and Louisville’s first African American Archbishop.

Archbishop Fabre is from Louisiana but is ready to embrace Louisville. Archbishop Fabre said that, “I am no longer in the “Who Dat” nation of the New Orleans Saints, for I know well this is “Cardinal and Wildcat country” where basketball is king. The Lord has led me from the bayous to the bluegrass, from gumbo and jambalaya to barbecue and the hot brown. I leave the coasts of a Cajun community to walk with you in the foothills of the heartland. And I do so, knowing that my love for King Cake and Mardi Gras will soon be quenched by Mint Juleps and the Kentucky Derby.” Archbishop Kurtz also had nothing but praise for Fabre as he believes that Fabre will add “Cajun flavor” to Kentucky and said that, “We’re getting someone who is a deeply human person, a very healthy person, a holy man and, in a special way, a good pastoral bishop.”

Serving as the chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, the issues of racism and racial equality are very important to Archbishop Fabre. He says that, “While I recognize that our community has faced what some may say is far too great an experience of injustice and disregard for human life and dignity, I come to you with a message of joyful hope. I have great faith and great hope in the work already underway within our community regarding racial equality.” Fabre has stated that he looks forward to experiencing all the cultures in the local church from every land and nation.

Fabre’s episcopal motto comes from Isaiah 40:1 and is the phrase “Comfort my People” and he hopes to do just that for the archdiocese. The Installation Mass for Archbishop Fabre will be held on Wednesday, March 30th at the Kentucky International Convention Center. For all those who cannot physically attend but wish to see it, a video of the Mass will be available on the archdiocesan website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.

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By: Sarah Dahl

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