Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today it was announced that Pope Francis has accepted Bishop Felipe Estévez’s resignation and has appointed Fr. Erik T. Pohlmeier, as Bishop-elect of our Diocese.
Bishop-elect Pohlmeier is a priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, and currently serves as pastor at Christ the King parish in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Since Bishop Estévez began his service for us, he has listened with the ear of the heart and this visionary, faithful leader looked ahead in a bold and courageous way. From the early listening sessions and the resulting visionary summary (a Pastoral Letter entitled “One Faith, One Family”), the Eucharistic Congress, the Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, the updating of the Cathedral, the success of the Bishop’s Appeal, the growing number of priestly ordinations, the Canonical Coronation and Consecration of our Diocese to Our Lady of La Leche, Bishop Estévez has served faithfully. As a leader he was empathetic and collaborative; gifts that served us well especially through these most recent tumultuous years. It has been my pleasure to serve Bishop Estévez and to share in ministry with this genuine and sincere man of God. I will miss him and pray that his well-earned retirement is filled with grace and peace.
I have every confidence that God will continue to bless our Diocese and our parish through our next shepherd, Bishop-elect Pohlmeier. He has shared that his episcopal motto will be “Seek first the kingdom of God.” The Bishop-elect said that Jesus invites us all to seek God’s will in everything we do. He said that Jesus makes clear in the Gospel that the kingdom of God reaches into every aspect of life and that is the work of our life.
Bishop Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock said, “Bishop-elect Pohlmeier is one of the most capable, beloved and admired priests of the Diocese of Little Rock, and he will be sorely missed. He is fluent in Spanish and brings to the Diocese of St. Augustine a personal experience of the full spectrum of Catholic life acquired over the course of 24 years of priestly ministry in every apostolate imaginable: urban, rural and suburban, in which he has served people of every ethnicity, income level and culture, both in parish life and in diocesan apostolates, most recently as the director of faith formation. We are all one Church, so while we in Arkansas are proud of Bishop-elect Pohlmeier and sending him to Florida will be a great sacrifice for us, we rejoice in the good fortune of the Diocese of St. Augustine and know that the Lord must love them very much to give them such a fine man to be their next bishop.”
Bishop-elect Pohlmeier will be installed as the 11th bishop of St. Augustine at St. Joseph Church, Jacksonville, on Friday, July 22 (the feast of St. Mary Magdalene) with Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami presiding at the ordination. Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock and Bishop Estévez will be co-consecrators. We will keep the parish updated as more details become available.
I will close by echoing Bishop-elect Pohlmeier’s words, “May we proclaim Christ as our living Lord and one day may we see him in glory.”
Let us thank God ahead of time for all that is in store.
To learn more about Bishop-elect Erik T. Pohlmeier, click here.