Wednesday, March 04, 2020

For Atlanta, "Habemus Friar" – In US Docket's "Crown," Pope Sends Franciscan To “Tara”

Just a couple years ago, upon inheriting one of the great estates of American literature, the leadership of a booming Atlanta church aimed to build its Archbishop a mansion commensurate with Catholicism's newfound status in the Capital of the South....

Not long after it emerged, an outcry from the faithful nipped the Smyrna Chancery's designs of grandeur in the bud. Only now, however, is the Pope set to finish the job, placing "Tara" – the crown jewel of the current US docket – into the keep of a Conventual Franciscan more used to sleeping at a Hampton Inn.

At Roman Noon Thursday, Whispers ops indicate that Francis will name Bishop Gregory Hartmayer OFM Conv., the 68 year-old head of Georgia's southern diocese at Savannah, as the Seventh Archbishop of Atlanta, his adopted home – a 69-county fold now comprising 1.2 million Catholics – where the Buffalo-born friar led parishes for a decade and a half until being given the hat in 2011. (Above, Hartmayer is seen with his Savannah predecessor, Bishop Kevin Boland, checking phone-shots after the Pope left his speech to the US bishops at Washington's St Matthew's Cathedral in 2015.)

A successor clearly cherished by his mentor – Wilton Gregory, sent to the capital last April 4th – the charge the Archbishop-elect inherits is a world different from the one his venerable predecessor arrived to 15 years ago this winter.

At least doubled in size since (and four times its population in 1990), today's 404 church – once seen as the US' seat of African-American Catholicism – is, beyond the ongoing "conversion" of transplants from the North, now a majority-minority outpost thanks to a mass infusion of Hispanics and Asians, a remarkably catholic (i.e. universal) reality that culminates each Corpus Christi weekend with the archdiocese's Eucharistic Congress, which draws an annual flood of over 30,000 faithful, making it the church's largest gathering in the American South:

As if this wasn't enough, per usual, more to come... yet as your full-salaried folks will be like vultures on this reporting – and, if history's an indicator, will insult Whispers along the way – the reminder's in order that all this only comes your way by means of your support...

...and if you're looking for this stuff somewhere else, welp, good luck.