With Savannah, Father Francis Gets a Two-Fer
The mother-diocese of Georgia, encompassing some 90 counties -- its roots dating to 1850, with the state's top half only split off in 1956 -- Savannah's 14th bishop is, like his Irish-born predecessor, an emigré to the South who's spent a significant amount of his priesthood there. A native of Buffalo with advanced degrees in pastoral counseling and education, Hartmayer worked for over a decade in the North before taking a teaching assignment in Florida in 1995, then the Hotlanta parish.
While not an incardinated priest of Atlanta, the last time a cleric in the 404 was named a bishop outside it came in 1978, when then-Fr Eusebius Beltran was named bishop of Tulsa. Later archbishop of Oklahoma City, Beltran retired earlier this year. Likewise, the bishop-elect becomes the second "Black Franciscan" named to the current bench, following Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse.
Hartmayer's ordination is scheduled for 18 October.
With yesterday's desk-clearing moves before Rome hits high summer, seven Stateside dioceses now stand vacant, with another seven led by ordinaries serving past the retirement age.
PHOTO: Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News