My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Archdiocese of Louisville,
Today, June 27, 2023, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Richard F. Stika as Bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville. While I remain Archbishop of Louisville with my responsibilities here, the Holy Father has appointed me also as the temporary Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Knoxville until a new bishop in Knoxville is named and subsequently installed. I offer gratitude to Bishop Stika for his 14 years of episcopal ministry, and I extend my best wishes and prayers as he assumes his new role as retired bishop, or Bishop Emeritus, of Knoxville.
As my appointment as Apostolic Administrator is effective today, I will now begin to distribute my time between Louisville and Knoxville. It is my plan in the coming days to name a priest of the Diocese of Knoxville to assist me in caring for that diocese.
While this appointment will impact my presence at events and celebrations within the Archdiocese of Louisville for a time, I will strive nonetheless to accept every possible opportunity to be present with you. However, I ask for your understanding and patience as I may need to make some pastorally sensitive scheduling adjustments for the good of the faithful of Louisville and Knoxville. Nevertheless, be assured of my firm resolve to provide ongoing spiritual support to you, the lay faithful, priests, deacons, seminarians, and consecrated men and women of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Let us continue to pray for each other as we pray for the People of God in East Tennessee. May God bless you, and remain,
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre
Archbishop of Louisville
Apostolic Administrator of Diocese of Knoxville