Pope Francis appointed Tuesday Fr. Robert W. Marshall as the next bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana.

“I have known Bishop-elect Marshall for a number of years and am very pleased to welcome him to episcopal ministry here in the Diocese of Alexandria,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans said April 21.

“Please join me in praying for him and for the diocese as we move through this transition,” he added.

Marshall, 60, is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, where he worked as a civil attorney before his ordination to the priesthood at the age of 40.

He will lead the Diocese of Alexandria in central Louisiana, which has been without a bishop since March 2019.

It is unclear when his ordination and installation Mass will be able to take place as public Masses throughout the diocese remain suspended under coronavirus pandemic regulations.

Born in Memphis in 1959, Marshall studied history at Christian Brothers University in Memphis before earning a law degree from the University of Memphis in 1983. He practiced law for 12 years before discerning a call to the priesthood.

Marshall studied at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Memphis, where he served as pastor at a number of parishes, including the Church of the Ascension and St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Marshall served as pastor of Memphis’ Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception since 2017 and vicar general for the diocese since 2019.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans has served as apostolic administrator of Alexandria since April 2019. Archbishop Aymond tested positive for COVID-19 in March and has been in recovery from the coronavirus.

Aymond recently created a COVID-19 response team to address how the Diocese of Alexandria will restart ministries and public liturgies after Louisiana’s Stay at Home order lifts on April 30. As those plans are finalized, a date for Marshall’s installation will be announced.

“I am sorry I could not be here for this good news announcement,” Aymond said. “In light of Governor Edwards’ 'stay-at-home' order and my ongoing recovery, I am not able to greet you in person. Regardless, it is a privilege for me to join you in welcoming your new bishop.”