The province meeting was hosted by Bishop Richard F. Stika, who was joined by Bishops David R. Choby of the Diocese of Nashville, J. Terry Steib of the Diocese of Memphis, William F. Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro, and Roger J. Foys of the Diocese of Covington.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of the Archdiocese of Louisville, the second bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville who was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November, usually presides at the Louisville Province meeting but was unable to attend, as was Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Diocese of Lexington.
Accompanying Bishops Stika, Choby, Steib, Medley and Foys were more than 40 priests from those dioceses.
The keynote address for the meeting was delivered Dec. 3 by Father Ronald Knott, who is on faculty at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. Father Knott is a former Diocese of Louisville priest who founded the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates and is director of the institute.
His address, titled “Strengthening Our ‘Intimate Sacramental Brotherhood’ for Service,” prompted discussion on ways to enhance the priesthood and better equip priests with the tools for a stronger vocation.
Father Knott discussed key trends seminaries are encountering, including the rising number of Catholic converts entering seminaries and the priesthood and the growing number of priests from other countries.
The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion among the priests and bishops. The panelists were Diocese of Knoxville priests Father Doug Owens, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Lenoir City, Father Aaron Wessman associate pastor of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission in Maynardville and Blessed John Paul II Mission in Rutledge, and Father Brent Shelton, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Townsend.
The bishops led a panel discussion on Dec. 4, where they fielded questions from priests on subjects ranging from The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family to the sacrament of Confirmation. The bishops also posed questions to the priests.
In addition to the keynote address and panel discussions, the bishops and priests gathered for Masses, daily and evening prayer, diocesan reports and presentations.
The meeting sites rotate among the dioceses in the Louisville Province.