Franciscan Father Hartmayer is 14th bishop of Savannah

“I am extremely grateful to Pope Benedict for his confidence in me as the bishop of Savannah,” said Bishop-elect Gregory John Hartmayer, Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv.) as he stood on the shady lawn of Lafayette Square opposite the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Savannah.

The announcement of his appointment as the 14th bishop of Savannah was released in Rome at 6:00 a.m. 161 years after the establishment of the Diocese of Savannah on July 19, 1850.

J. Kevin Boland, now officially Bishop Emeritus, placed a magenta zucchetto atop Bishop-elect Hartmayer’s head before introducing him to the crowd.

Addressing those gathered for the press conference Bishop-elect Hartmayer said, “For almost 800 years, the Franciscans have been preaching about the love and mercy of God. This friar and son of St. Francis will continue that mission of evangelization here as bishop of the Diocese of Savannah.”

Since receiving word July 5, “that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed me the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, my head and my world have been spinning in opposite directions,” said Bishop-elect Hartmayer.

Currently serving in the Archdiocese of Atlanta Fr. Hartmayer is the pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Lithia Springs, immediately prior to that he was the pastor of St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, for 15 years.

Bishop-elect Hartmayer was Ordained for the Conventual Franciscans in 1979 and has held numerous positions as Guardian of friaries in Baltimore, Tonawanda, Atbol Springs, Jonesboro and Lithia Springs. He served on the Definitory of the Province of St Anthony of Padua, and as a delegate to Provincial Chapters. He has chaired the Province Commissions on Parochial Concerns and Franciscan Life.

“I look forward to meeting and working together with the priests, consecrated religious and all the laity of the parishes in the 90 counties of South Georgia. I think I am going to need a helicopter instead of a car to get to all those counties,” said Fr. Hartmayer.

Bishop-elect Hartmayer’s Episcopal Ordination will take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18 in the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland and Bishop-designate Gregory John Hartmayer, a Coventual Franciscan, walk together before a press conference adjacent to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Bishop-designate Hartmayer was introduced as the new bishop of Savannah , Ga., July 19. He succeeds retiring Bishop Boland. CNS Photo/Michael J. Johnson, The Southern Cross