The Most Reverend
Anthony Basil Taylor
(born 24 April 1954) serves as bishop of the Little Rock, Arkansas since 2008.
Early life and education
Bishop Taylor was born in Fort Worth, Texas on 24 April 1954. His parents and grandparents on both sides were long-time residents of Fort Worth. Two of his grandparents are converts (his mother's father from Judaism and his father's mother from Protestantism) and both of his parents, as well as the Taylor children themselves, were raised in Catholic homes.
Bishop Anthony Taylor is the oldest of the seven children of Basil and Rachel (Roth) Taylor; the five boys and two girls were born in a little over nine years. The Taylor family moved to Ponca City, Okla., in 1960, where Bishop Taylor's father and two of his siblings and their families still live—the other four live in Fort Worth. His mother died on April 26, 2016. Ponca City is on the Arkansas River in northern Oklahoma.
BIshop Taylor attended parochial and public schools, graduating from Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1972. He attended the University of Oklahoma for two years, after which he was accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana for two years, graduating with a bachelor's degree in history. From 1976 to 1980 he was trained for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome while studying theology at the Gregorian University.
Ordination and ministry
Taylor was ordained a priest at St. Mary Parish in Ponca City, his home parish, on 2 August 1980 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He earned a Ph.D. in biblical theology in 1989 from Fordham University.
Taylor has been involved with Hispanic ministry from the start of his career. His first assignment was to Sacred Heart Parish, Oklahoma City, and within a month of ordination he had begun to celebrate mass in Spanish twice a month in Clinton and Hinton, Oklahoma. In 1982 he was transferred to western Oklahoma, where he lived at Queen of All Saints mission in Sayre until 1986 and served the Hispanic population in a five-county area, including ongoing ministry in Clinton and Hinton.
In 1984 Archbishop Salatka decided to send Taylor to Fordham University in New York for further studies. He took classes there during the summers of 1984 and 1985, and then full-time from 1986 to 1988. During this time he served Holy Rosary Parish in the Bronx. Fordham University awarded Taylor a doctorate in biblical theology in 1989. The title of his dissertation was "The Master-Servant Type Scene in the Parables of Jesus".
Upon his return to Oklahoma, Taylor was named the vicar for ministries of the archdiocese. He was responsible for ministry to priests and, for a number of years, was also responsible for the permanent diaconate program. He had specific responsibility for the orientation and oversight of the international priests serving in Oklahoma, for the newly ordained in their first year of ministry and new pastors in their first year as pastors. He remained the vicar for ministries for 20 years, until being named bishop of Little Rock.
In 1993 Taylor also became the founding pastor of St. Monica Parish in Edmond, Oklahoma, which is a total stewardship parish. During his 10 years at St. Monica, the parish grew rapidly and dedicated a large church in the 2000. In 2003 Taylor returned to Sacred Heart Parish in Oklahoma City as pastor and has overseen the last phase of its transition from predominately Anglophone to predominately Hispanic. The parish is now 95 percent Hispanic, and has nine masses on the weekend, seven in Spanish, one bilingual and one in English.
From 1963 to 2001 the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City sponsored and staffed the parish of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. In 1981 Oklahoma priest Father Stanley Rother was killed there, as were many of his catechists and parishioners during the 1980s. In 2001 the parish was returned to the care of the local diocese of Sololá, but the Catholics of Oklahoma continue to be involved in providing assistance to that parish.
Since then Taylor has been in charge of facilitating Oklahoma support for that parish, its parish school, the local hospital and most recently an alcohol abuse treatment center planned for that community. The cause of canonization of Father Rother was opened formally in September 2007, with Taylor heading up the effort as the episcopal delegate for the process. To date he has interviewed 35 of the 112 surviving witnesses to Father Rother's martyrdom or heroic virtue, 23 of these in Guatemala.
At the time he was selected for Little Rock, Taylor was also the chairman of the Presbyteral Council, chairman of the Personnel Board, chairman of the Retirement Board, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and a member of the Mount St. Mary High School Board of Trustees. Mount St. Mary in Oklahoma City is a sister school of Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.
Bishop of Little Rock
Taylor was appointed Bishop of Little Rock by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 April 2008, the seventh bishop of the diocese. He was consecrated on 5 June 2008 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
Bishop Taylor will visit our parish on July 12th at 7pm and give a detailed audio-visual presentation on the life of Blessed Stanley Rother. He will return to the parish on July 26th at 7pm and repeat his presentation in Spanish. Free copies of Bishop Taylor's book, The First American Martyr, will be available at both presentations. Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Arkansas Catholic on January 16, 2018.
Bishop Taylor publishes book on Blessed Stanley Rother
Bilingual book details life of Oklahoma priest martyred for faith in Guatemala
Published: January 16, 2018 “Blessed Stanley Francis Rother: The First American Martyr,” a new book by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, is now available. The bilingual book is an informative and inspiring account of the life and death of the Oklahoma priest who was murdered for his faith in 1981 in Guatemala, adapted from an extensive audio-visual presentation created by Bishop Taylor.
The 88-page book includes eight pages of color photographs from Father Rother’s life and his September 2017 beatification Mass in Oklahoma City. Each book is reversible for both English and Spanish.