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Pope Benedict XVI Names Buffalo Native Bishop of Savannah | News

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Pope Benedict XVI Names Buffalo Native Bishop of Savannah
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Pope Benedict XVI Names Buffalo Native Bishop of Savannah

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop J. Kevin Boland, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Savannah and has named Franciscan Father Gregory John Hartmayer, OFM Conv, 59, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, to succeed him. 

Bishop-elect Hartmayer was born in Buffalo in 1951. He is the former principal of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda and St. Francis High School in Athol Springs.

The resignation acceptance and appointment were announced in Washington, D.C. on July 19 by Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, chargéd’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.

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.

Reacting to his appointment, Bishop-elect Hartmayer said, "I have been a Conventual Franciscan Friar for 42 years. I am the first Conventual Franciscan Bishop of Savannah. I bring with me a spirituality of simplicity and joy. St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, had a unique love for all God’s creatures because he saw the reflection and the imprint of God on each and every one of them. 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."

Pope Benedict has named Bishop Boland, who is now bishop emeritus, as apostolic administrator of the diocese until the ordination of Bishop-elect Hartmayer.

Bishop-elect Hartmayer’s most recent assignment was as pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Lithia Springs, Georgia. A native of Buffalo, he spent 16 years of his 32 years of priesthood in Catholic high school education and the past 16 years in parish ministry.  He grew up in St. Amelia Parish in the Town of Tonawanda, went to the parish school and then attended Cardinal O'Hara High School in the town.  He would return in 1988 to become principal of CHS.  A year later, he was named principal of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs.

He will become the 14th bishop of the Savannah Diocese, which was founded in 1850.Bishop J. Kevin Boland

The Savannah Diocese includes 38,000 square miles in 90 counties in South Georgia.

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