Bishop Hartmayer Ordination Fills the Cathedral
With reverence, high ceremony, singing, prayer, and applause, Franciscan Friar Gregory John Hartmayer was ordained and installed as the fourteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah. The two-and-a-half hour Mass on October 18 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was filled to capacity with parishioners from across the Diocese, and with people from every period of Bishop Hartmayer’s life?family, hometown friends, Franciscan Friars, and former parishioners.
The ordination Mass was celebrated by over 200 priests, including 20 bishops, 1 cardinal, 5 abbots and 7 provincials. The bishop’s mother Sally Hartmayer and three siblings served as gift-bearers, and his brother Douglas Hartmayer was one of the readers.
The service reflected Bishop Hartmayer’s Franciscan order, through the presence of dozens of friars, the St. Francis hymn, and a newly written hymn using his motto, Pax et Bonum.
Monsignor Jean-Francois Lantheaume from the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington read the Apostolic Mandate, the written directive from Pope Benedict appointing the 14th bishop of Savannah.
Ordaining Prelate Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta offered words of welcome, encouragement and advice to his close friend and newly appointed brother bishop.
“…you must propel the People of the Diocese of Savannah toward Christ Himself. You do so most importantly through your own good example of prayer and reverence for the things of God.”
“This is the first ordination of an ordinary that I’ve ever attended,” said Bishop Hartmayer at the opening of his remarks, generating laughter and one of many rounds of sustained applause during the service. He spoke of his gratitude for the respect that the people of the Diocese of Savannah show to the office of Bishop. “Personally I need to earn the respect of the people.”
Bishop Hartmayer, who succeeds Bishop J. Kevin Boland, who has gained emeritus status,
pledged to pursue a “mission of evangelization” in his new post.
“It was overwhelmingly magnificent,” said Karen Sheehan of St. Michael’s Parish on Tybee Island. “It was so touching, his gratefulness for his mother being there. From our vantage point we couldn’t see everything, but we could see the anointing with the oils by the Archbishop.”
“We watched him grow as a priest and we knew there were going to be other things for him,” said Judy Atkins, a parishioner at St Philip Benizi, where Bishop Hartmayer was pastor for 15 years. “We’re just going to pray for him every day, for the strength he’s going to need to lead this diocese.”