New Savannah bishop introduced to diocese

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The Conventual Franciscan pastor who will become Savannah's bishop Oct. 18 observed at his introduction July 19 that it will take a helicopter to reach the far-flung ends of the diocese.

Bishop-designate Gregory John Hartmayer was introduced that morning by retiring Bishop J. Kevin Boland at a news conference in Layfayette Square, opposite the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

In the shady square, Bishop Boland placed a magenta bishop's zucchetto atop his successor's head, symbolically transferring the diocese to Bishop-designate Hartmayer on the 161st anniversary of its creation.

He joked about "naively" wondering that morning as his retirement became official, whether angels would come down and transfer responsibility.

"I am now like an automobile running out of fuel and I want to get the very last value out of the moment," he said of his last official act as bishop.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation July 19, the same day he named his successor. Bishop Boland is 76; he turned in his resignation at age 75 as required by canon law.