Archbishop Kurtz shares
his plans for the future

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz spoke at a press conference Feb. 8 announcing the new Archbishop of Louisville Shelton J. Fabre. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

The transition into retirement is bittersweet, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said in a letter to priests Feb. 10, two days after Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre was named his successor.

“While I rejoice with all my heart in Archbishop Shelton’s presence and leadership among us and pledged my support for him and my desire to do all in my ability to serve with him, I also embrace the Lord’s call for me to open a new chapter in the book of my life,” he wrote in the letter, which he later shared in a leadership briefing.

Archbishop Kurtz has been named apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Louisville until the installation of Archbishop Fabre on March 30. At that time he will retire, though he will retain the title archbishop.

“As Archbishop Kelly did almost 15 years ago when I became the archbishop, I will take time away from the archdiocese for a few months in order to give Archbishop Shelton full opportunity to become the archbishop and to set his own pace,” he explained in the letter.

During that time, Archbishop Kurtz said he plans to go to his home in Wilmington, N.C., and return to Louisville in the short term for a few major events.

His home is close to the Duke Cancer Institute, where he is monitored for cancer. Archbishop Kurtz was diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancer in 2019. He said at a press conference in August that a year and a half after treatment and surgery he remained cancer-free.

After living in North Carolina for a few months, he said in the letter, he intends to stay at St. Patrick Church’s rectory in Eastwood along with three other priests already in residence there, including the pastor Father Jeffrey Shooner. He said he hopes to help Archbishop Fabre, as needed, and spend time in Wilmington, as well.

He concluded his letter by noting that the Archdiocese of Louisville will send a financial gift to help the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, currently led by Archbishop Fabre, with recovery from Hurricane Ida.

The storm dealt a devastating blow to the area in southern Louisiana in August.

Archbishop Kurtz asked the priests to consider if their parishes could contribute something “as circumstances allow,” but did not ask them to hold a collection, since there have been numerous second collections lately, including for tornado recovery in Kentucky.

He also asked for the prayers of his brother priests.

“Please continue to pray for me that I might continue to serve Jesus Christ as his holy priest and be assured that each day, I will be praying for you,” he wrote.

1 Comment

  • Isabelle Denton says:

    I wish you well in your retirement. You are one of the warmest, kindest, humble souls on this earth. It has been my pleasure to have been in your presence. I’m positive Jesus Christ has a special place for you when he calls you home, which I pray is a long time away. May he bless you everyday of your life. You will be greatly missed by The Archdiocese.

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