Discover the Diocese of Savannah

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern United States comprising 90 of the southern counties of the state of Georgia.  It is led by a prelate bishop who serves as pastor of the mother churchCathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Savannah.


Today the Diocese of Savannah comprises 90 counties in south Georgia.  It covers 37,038 square miles (95,930 km2). There are 54 parishes and 25 missions within the diocese, serving about 77,000 lay Catholics.


Clergy and religious

The current number of priests stands at 105. Of these, 90 are serving actively, while 22 priests are in retirement status. There are 38 men that serve the diocese as members of the permanent diaconate, as well as 103 religious (mostly nuns).

High schools

There are 5 Catholic high schools and 16 elementary schools in the diocese, serving over 6,000 students.

The Diocese of Savannah was formed in 1850, comprising the entire State of Georgia and a large part of the State of Florida. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, dedicated in 1876, is the seat of the Diocese of Savannah. Today the Diocese includes 90 counties of the southern part of Georgia. There are 77,287 Catholics.
The Diocese of Savannah comprises 90 counties in south Georgia. It covers 37,038 square miles.
The total population of the southern part of Georgia is 2,800,000 . Catholics number 77,287.
There are 55 parishes, with a total of 24 missions and mission stations.
The current number of priests (diocesan and religious) stands at 120 Of these, 88 are serving actively, while 27 priests are in retirement status.
54 men serve the Diocese as members of the permanent diaconate.
We have a total of 88 Sisters and 3 Brothers.
There are 5 Catholic high schools and 16 elementary schools serving 5,823 students.
There are 655 high school students and 4,431 elementary students enrolled in the catechesis/religious education program. A total of 5,086 students are under Catholic instruction.
The Diocese of Savannah has 1 Catholic hospital in Savannah.
There are 15 Social Service centers in the Diocese.

Bishop of Savannah
Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer,OFM Conv.

Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Episcopal Ordination: October 18, 2011
Fourteenth Bishop of Savannah -- 2011 - present
Date of Birth: Nov. 21, 1951
Place of Birth: Buffalo, N.Y.
Family: The son of Sally and the late John W. Hartmayer, he has two brothers, C. Douglas and John, and one sister, Mary Jo Kotacka.
Ordained: On May 5, 1979, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, N.Y., by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard. He joined the Conventual Franciscan Friars at the novitiate of St. Joseph Cupertino in Ellicott City, Md., in 1969. He professed his simple vows there on Aug. 15, 1970. He professed his solemn vows on Aug. 15, 1973.
Education: Master of education degree in secondary Catholic school administration, Boston College, 1992; master of arts degree in pastoral counseling, Emmanuel College, Boston, 1980; master of theology degree, St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, N.Y., 1979; bachelor of science degree in philosophy, St. Hyacinth College and Seminary, Granby, Mass., 1974; Cardinal O’Hara High School, Buffalo, N.Y., 1969.
Pastoral Assignments: Pastor, St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs, 2010 to 2011;
Pastor, St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro, 1995 to 2010; faculty at John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce, Fla., January 1995 to August 1995; principal of St. Francis High School, Athol Springs, N.Y., 1989 to 1994; principal at Cardinal O’Hara High School, Tonawanda, N.Y., 1988 to 1989; teacher, guidance counselor and principal at Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore, 1974 and 1975, 1979, and 1985 to 1987.
Additional Archdiocesan Appointments: Archdiocesan Committee for the Ongoing Formation of Priests and Mentor for Newly Ordained, 2008 to the present; Archdiocesan College of Consultors, June 2005 to the present; elected chairman of the Archdiocesan Council of Priests for 2005 and 2006 and currently chairman in 2011 as well as elected representative of religious order priests.
Conventual Franciscan Appointments: Past definitor of the St. Anthony of Padua Province; guardian of friaries in Baltimore, Tonawanda, N.Y., Athol Springs, N.Y., Jonesboro and Lithia Springs, Ga.
Hobbies: Golf, walking and watching the Atlanta Braves.

The earliest Catholic presence in what is now the State of Georgia began with the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. For many years the Franciscans maintained a network of mission stations which stretched from St. Augustine to the Savannah River.
The arrival of the British brought an end to the period of Spanish presence. No Catholics were permitted in the new colony of Georgia. After the Revolutionary War small groups moved into the area of Locust Grove, near Augusta, and to Savannah, where the church of St. John the Baptist was established.
Savannah belonged first to the Diocese of Baltimore, and later to the Diocese of Charleston. In 1850 the numbers of Catholics had grown, and a new Diocese of Savannah was formed, taking in the entire State of Georgia and a large part of the State of Florida.
Immigration from Europe and the movement of population from the northern United States southward swelled the Catholic population over the years. In January 1937, the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta. It was re-designated with its original name on November 8, 1956, when the northern part of the state became a separate diocese. The Diocese was re-named Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta in 1937, with a cathedral in each city. In 1956 the division became permanent, with Atlanta (later an Archdiocese) taking the northern part of the State, Savannah taking the southern half.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, dedicated in 1876, is the seat of the Diocese of Savannah. Today the Diocese includes 90 counties of the southern part of Georgia. There are 73,649 Catholics.



The diocese was canonically erected on July 3, 1850, by Pope Pius IX, taking its territories from the Diocese of Charleston, including all of Georgia and a large portion of Florida.  Originally, the Diocese of Savannah, therefore, was created from the Diocese of Charleston; and the Diocese of Charleston originated from the Archdiocese of BaltimoreMaryland.  Pope Pius XI changed the ecclesiastical territory's name of the Diocese of Savannah to become the conjoined Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta on January 5, 1937,  to reflect the growth of Catholicism in the state.  The number of Catholics in the northern counties of Georgia had grown so much that Pope Pius XIIdivided the ecclesiastical territory on July 2, 1956,  and created the Diocese of Savannah and the Diocese of Atlanta.  At that time, there were also two designated co-cathedrals, including St. John the Baptist in Savannah and Christ the King in Atlanta.  (In 1962, the Diocese of Atlanta was elevated to the status of an archdiocese, becoming the center of the ecclesiastical province of the same name.)


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