WASHINGTON — F. Richard Spencer, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, was ordained auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Military Services on Sept. 8 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The new bishop entered Holy Name Province as a postulant in 1980, “having always been interested in social justice,” according to an article from The Catholic Review. He made his simple profession of vows in 1982, and was studying at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., for a semester before withdrawing from the order. At that time, Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, was serving as vicar of the friary, and Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was guardian.
Bishop Spencer was later ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in May 1988, but gives credit to his time as a friar.
“It was his service as a brother that inspired him to become a parish priest,” according to the article. “Bishop-designate Spencer turned to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, a Catholic community he had known while stationed at Fort Meade.”
Much like the Province’s own Mychal Judge, OFM, Bishop Spencer found himself ministering to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when a hijacked airliner plowed into the western wing of the Pentagon.
“He spent two weeks facing some of the most harrowing challenges of his priesthood — entering the burning building to be with troops as they collected bodies, praying over the dead and consoling survivors,” wrote Catholic Review’s George Matysek.
“On behalf of Holy Name Province,” said Dominic, “we offer congratulations to Richard on his episcopal ordination.”
A photo album as well as highlights from the ordination Mass can be viewed on the Facebook page of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.