The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed Father Erik Pohlmeier the next bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. For the past 24 years, Bishop-elect Pohlmeier has served as a pastor in the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the entire state of Arkansas
Raised in Paris, Ark., Father Pohlmeier was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Little Rock on July 25, 1998. He is currently the pastor of the largest parish in Little Rock, Christ the King Church, and director of the Office of Faith Formation and Office of Deacon Formation. He has been the theological consultant for Arkansas Catholic newspaper for 19 years and director of continuing education of clergy since 2019.
In his new appointment, Father Pohlmeier succeeds Bishop Felipe J. Estévez, who has served as bishop for the past 11 years and is retiring. He will be installed as the 11th bishop of St. Augustine Friday, July 22 with Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami presiding at the ordination liturgy. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock and Bishop Estevez will be co-consecrators. The time and location of Mass have not been announced. One of seven Catholic dioceses in Florida, St. Augustine has a Catholic population of more than 149,000 in 17 counties in the northeastern part of the state. This compares to the approximately 154,000 Catholics in Arkansas’ 75 counties.
Reflecting on his appointment to the Diocese of St. Augustine, Father Pohlmeier said, “I am grateful for every way I have been called to serve the Church and am humbled by this opportunity to serve in the place where Mass was first celebrated in the United States. May God be praised for any good work I am able to do.”
Bishop Taylor 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.”
A press conference to introduce Bishop-elect Pohlmeier will be held today at 10 a.m. Eastern in St. Augustine. The event will be livestreamed on the St. Augustine diocese Facebook page.
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