Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Pope Francis names new archbishop for the Archdiocese of Atlanta

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF, | Published March 5, 2020

ATLANTA—This morning, March 5, Pope Francis named Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer, OFM Conv., as seventh Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He is currently the Bishop of Savannah and will succeed Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who served as Atlanta’s archbishop from January 2005 to May 2019.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta will hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. this morning at the Chancery of the Archdiocese, located at 2401 Lake Park Drive SE, Smyrna, to introduce and welcome Archbishop Hartmayer.

Archbishop Hartmayer, son of the late John and Sally Hartmayer, was born on Nov. 21, 1951 in Buffalo, New York. He was raised in Tonawanda, New York, a northern suburb of Buffalo and was a member of St. Amelia Catholic Church, where he attended elementary school. Archbishop Hartmayer has an older brother, C. Douglas, and a younger brother, John, both of whom continue to live in Western New York with their families; and sister, Mary Jo Kotacka, who lives with her husband, Rolf, in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.

After graduating from St. Amelia Elementary School, Archbishop Hartmayer attended Cardinal O’Hara High School, conducted by the Conventual Franciscan Friars and graduated in 1969. Upon graduation, he joined the Conventual Franciscan Friars at their Novitiate of St. Joseph Cupertino in Ellicott City, Maryland. He professed his simple vows there on Aug. 15, 1970. Archbishop Hartmayer then pursued studies at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1974. Meanwhile, he professed his solemn vows as a Conventual Franciscan Friar on Aug. 15, 1973.

After graduating from college, Archbishop Hartmayer was assigned to teach at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1974 through 1975. He then entered theological studies at St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, New York, earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard on May 5, 1979, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, New York.

Archbishop Hartmayer earned a Master of Arts degree in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1980 and a Master of Education degree in secondary Catholic school administration from Boston College in 1992.

After his ordination to the priesthood, Archbishop Hartmayer was assigned as a guidance counselor to Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, where he later served as principal from 1985 to 1987. He was appointed principal at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda, New York, for the 1988-89 academic year, and then became principal of St. Francis High School in Hamburg, New York, a position held until 1994.

During the fall of 1994, Archbishop Hartmayer was granted a three-month sabbatical of studies at the Vatican II Institute in Menlo Park, California. In January of 1995, he was assigned to the faculty at John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce, Florida.

On Aug. 15, 1995, Archbishop Hartmayer was named pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro, where he served for 15 years. In July of 2010, he was appointed pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Lithia Springs, until being named the 14th Bishop of Savannah, on July 19, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Hartmayer‘s Episcopal Ordination took place in the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah on Oct. 18, 2011, celebrated by Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Bishop J. Kevin Boland, retiring bishop of Savannah; and Bishop Luis R. Zarama, who was then the auxiliary bishop for Atlanta.

Throughout his religious life as a Conventual Franciscan Friar, Archbishop Hartmayer held numerous positions as guardian of friaries in Baltimore, Maryland; Tonawanda, New York; Hamburg, New York; Jonesboro and Lithia Springs in Georgia. He served on the Definitory of the Province of St. Anthony of Padua, and as a delegate to provincial chapters. He chaired the Province Commissions on Parochial Concerns and Franciscan Life. He served on the Parochial Advisory Team, conducting visitations of several Franciscan parishes in the Eastern United States and was a consultor for the merger of two parishes in the diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.

While ministering in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Archbishop Hartmayer served as a member of the College of Consultors, the Committee for the Ongoing Education of Priests, as coordinator of the mentoring program for newly ordained priests and chairman of the Council of Priests. While serving as a pastor in Atlanta, he was elected to the National Board of Directors for the Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy.

During the eight years as Bishop of Savannah, two parochial schools were rebuilt, three new churches were built, a new parish was created, and a new parochial high school was created in Albany. Archbishop Hartmayer was instrumental in welcoming Franciscan Friars, Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles of Jesus and seminarians from Nigeria and Ghana, West Africa, Poland, Mexico and Colombia.

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the archbishop served on the committee overseeing the distribution of financial support to the dioceses in Eastern Europe and was the representative of Region 14 to the Administrative Committee and the Committee for Priorities and Plans. Archbishop Hartmayer is a member of the USCCB Committee on Communications and the Committee on National Collections. He is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign. He serves on the boards of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association and The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

During his tenure as Bishop of Savannah, Archbishop Hartmayer made it a priority to attend parish and Catholic school celebrations throughout the 90 counties and 38,000 square miles of the diocese.

Atlanta’s new shepherd will be welcomed with solemn vespers on Tuesday, May 5, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. His installation will follow on Wednesday, May 6, at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell. Both are tentatively scheduled.