F. Richard Spencer

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Frank Richard Spencer
Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Services, USA
Titular Bishop of Auzia
F. Richard Spencer Bishop.jpg
Bishop F. Richard Spencer, 2012
Archdiocese Military Services, USA
Appointed May 22, 2010
Installed September 8, 2010
Other posts Titular Bishop of Auzia
Vicar, Military Chapels and US Embassies in Europe and Asia
Ordination May 14, 1988
by William Donald Borders
Consecration September 8, 2010
by Timothy Broglio, Donald Wuerl, and Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Personal details
Born (1951-06-10) June 10, 1951 (age 65)
Sylacauga, Alabama
Styles of
Frank Richard Spencer
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Frank Richard Spencer (born June 10, 1951) is an American Roman Catholic bishop. Formerly a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a U.S. Army chaplain,[1] he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services by Pope Benedict XVI on May 22, 2010.[2] He currently serves as the Vicar for all military Chapels (and U.S. State Department Embassies) in Europe and in Asia for the Archdiocese.


Early life, education and service[edit]

Spencer was born in Sylacauga, Alabama, and graduated from Sylacauga High School in 1969. He was an altar boy and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.[3] He then attended Jacksonville State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement.[4] He also received a Master of Education degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.[1] He earned Master of Divinity and Bachelor of Sacred Theology degrees from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland and two honorary Doctor of Letters degrees.[4]

His military education includes: Military Police Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Chaplain Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Command and General Staff Officer Course and Clinical Pastoral Education, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. and selected to attend the Resident National War College, Class 2010.

Spencer was commissioned an Army officer in 1973 and began serving active duty 1974.[4] Following Military Police Officer Basic Course and Advance training, he was assigned as the first active duty Provost Marshal since 1954 to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.[4] He served as commander of the Military Police Detachment at Fort McCoy until summer 1977, when he was assigned to serve with the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey in South Korea.[4]

Inspired by Father Emil Kapaun, an Army chaplain who died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, Spencer was released from active duty in 1978 to pursue his studies for the priesthood.[4] He initially studied under the Order of Friars Minor of the Holy Name Province, but was later recruited for the Archdiocese of Baltimore by Archbishop William Donald Borders.[5]

In total, he has served in Korea, Bosnia, Egypt, Pentagon (during 9/11) and Germany in capacities to include Brigade and Division positions. He has deployed into Iraq on five occasions and also served two deployments in Afghanistan.

Bishop Spencer retired from the US Armed Forces as a Chaplain, Colonel, in February, 2014.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

On May 14, 1988, Spencer was ordained a priest by Archbishop Borders at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.[2] His first assignment was as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon, for three years.[1] In 1991, he was named director of the Monsignor Clare J. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, and also accessioned again into the Army Reserve as a battalion chaplain, serving with the 92nd Field Hospital in Baltimore and the Aviation Brigade of the Maryland Army National Guard.[4] Following his completion of the Chaplain Officer Advance Course in 1994, Spencer served a deployment in Europe in support of Bosnia as a National Guardsman.[4] From 1994 to 1998, he was administrator of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Oakland.[1]

Spencer returned to active duty ministry in January 1999, and served as the 2nd Engineer Brigade Chaplain at Camp Howze in South Korea.[4] In 2000, he served a deployment in Egypt supporting the Fort Bragg mission in the Sinai Peninsula. From 2001 to 2005, he was an official of the Pentagon Office of Army Chief Chaplains, and served a deployment tour in Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division. In the summer of 2005, he began a one-year program as a student of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2005, and was appointed an episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese for the Military Services in 2006.[1]

In the summer of 2006, Spencer was assigned to serve as the Senior Clinician at the 121st Combat Support Hospital, the Deputy 18th MEDCOM Command Chaplain, and the Catholic pastor of Yongson in Seoul.[4] In June 2008, he was appointed to serve as the Division Chaplain of the Second Infantry Division in Korea, and served as a Deputy Command Chaplain of the U.S. Army Europe for Operations, Plans and Training.[4]

Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Services[edit]

On May 22, 2010, Spencer was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and titular bishop of Auzia by Pope Benedict XVI.[2] His episcopal consecration took place on September 8, 2010, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

Spencer's awards include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (6 Oak Leaf Clusters), Iraq Combat Medal, and the Korean Service Medal.[4] He was awarded the Combat Action Badge for specific combat actions in Iraq in 2004. His fraternal activities include a Papal Honor as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and also a member of the Kappa Sigma Social Fraternity.[4]


Bishop Spencer shares the joys of Priesthood with the members of his immediate family: his younger brother, Father Robert Spencer, retired Commander, U.S. Navy Chaplain; Jim Spencer (a Methodist Minister), Bill Spencer and sister, Peggy Spencer Fetyko.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Baltimore's Father Spencer named auxiliary bishop for American military". The Catholic Review. 2010-05-22. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop F. Richard Spencer". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. [self-published source]
  3. ^ "Baltimore priest who served in Iraq ready to become a bishop". The Catholic Review. 2010-08-31. Archived from the original on 2010-09-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "BISHOP-ELECT F. RICHARD SPENCER" (PDF). Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Palmo, Rocco (2010-05-22). "A Bishop for the Forces". Whispers in the Loggia. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Services, USA
2010 - Present
Succeeded by