Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer to lead Atlanta archdiocese

Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, Archbishop-elect of Atlanta. (CNA file photo)

Pope Francis on March 5 appointed Bishop Gregory Hartmayer of Savannah to be the next archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia.

Bishop Hartmayer is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and has been bishop of Savannah since 2011.

In Atlanta, Bishop Hartmayer follows Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Washington in early 2019, after leading the Georgia archdiocese for almost 15 years.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta covers 21,445 square miles in the northern half of Georgia. It has over 100 parishes and serves around 1.2 million Catholics, according to 2018 stats.

It is also the metropolitan see of the province of Atlanta, which encompasses the dioceses of Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.

This means, according to Pope Francis’ 2019 norms Vos estis lux mundi, that if a bishop in one of these dioceses were to be accused of sexual abuse or coercion, or of interfering in investigation of such conduct, it would fall to Archbishop-elect Hartmayer to investigate.

There are currently several Vos estis investigations going on in dioceses in the U.S.

Archbishop-elect Hartmayer was born in 1951 in Buffalo, New York, one of four children.

He joined the Conventual Franciscan novitiate in Ellicott City, Maryland, in 1969 and made his solemn profession in 1973. He was ordained a priest for the Franciscan order in 1979.

In addition to a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Massachusetts, Bishop Hartmayer holds three master’s degrees: a master of divinity degree from St. Anthony-on-Hudson, in Rensselaer, New York; a master of arts degree in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston and a master of education degree from Boston College.

Prior to being named Bishop of Savannah, he spent 16 of his 32 years of priesthood in Catholic high school education, with the remaining in parish ministry.

He spent many years in New York and Massachusetts, but in 1995, he moved south to teach at a Catholic high school in Florida, before being asked to serve as pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro, Georgia.

By Hannah Brockhaus/Catholic News Agency