Pope John Paul II announced yesterday that the Rev. Martin D. Holley, a 49-year-old pastor in Florida, will become an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Washington.
The pope also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Leonard Olivier, 80, who has served in the archdiocese since 1988.
Holley will be consecrated bishop in a July 2 ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest Washington. He will then assist Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, head of the 550,000-member Catholic archdiocese, by serving as vicar for the District.
The archdiocese, which includes five Maryland counties, has two other auxiliary bishops.
Holley "brings to us a pastoral heart, a deep concern for the poor, a zeal for the priesthood and a real gift for bringing people of different backgrounds together in service for Christ," McCarrick said yesterday in a statement. "I welcome him today."
Holley, who became a priest at 32, said in a brief telephone interview that he was "in shock" when told of the pope's decision. "I'm just really looking forward to serving the people here in the archdiocese," he added.
As vicar for the District, Holley will make pastoral visits to city churches, preside at confirmations and generally "make sure things are running smoothly in parishes," he said.
Holley, a native of Florida, attended Faulkner State Junior College in Alabama before receiving a bachelor of arts degree in management from Alabama State University in 1977. While studying for the priesthood, he attended Theological College of Catholic University in Northeast Washington from 1982 to 1984.
He is a priest in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and has been pastor of the 1,000-family Little Flower parish in Pensacola for two years.
McCarrick also praised Olivier's "service to our people," calling it "a labor of love since the day he arrived."
Olivier has made "many friends here through his gentle humor and cheerful graciousness," McCarrick said.