Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued this statement to the parishioners of the Diocese of St. Augustine May 24 regarding the appointment of Father Erik Pohlmeier as their new bishop.
“Bishop-elect Pohlmeier is one of the most capable priests of the Diocese of Little Rock, and he will be sorely missed. He comes from a very devout Catholic family with a strong commitment to Catholic education. His father is a permanent deacon, his mother is the secretary of their local parish and parish school in Paris, Arkansas, and his brothers and sister are very involved in the life of the Church. He once said that Catholicism is the family business. He is as solid as they come, with deep German Catholic roots, an unflappable personality and a good sense of humor.
Bishop-elect Pohlmeier brings a personal experience of the full spectrum of Catholic life acquired over the course of 24 years of priestly ministry and relates well with people of every ethnicity, language, income level and culture. He has served in small rural parishes and most recently a large suburban parish. He speaks Spanish well and has served in an entirely Spanish-speaking parish, as well as in entirely English-speaking parishes and in bilingual parishes. He brought healing to a large urban parish whose pastor had to be removed due to scandal, he is utterly orthodox and is a very articulate defender of the teaching of the Church. He is a strong advocate for all pro-life and pro-social justice issues, and in his work as director of faith formation, he has work hard to make the authentic renewal of Vatican II more and more a reality in the Diocese of Little Rock.
As director of faith formation, he has devoted many hours to overseeing the formation in English and in Spanish of 46 permanent deacon candidates to be ordained next month, one of whom is his own brother Jason. Bishop-elect Pohlmeier is a born leader, a man of vision who takes the initiative, a hard worker and a man deeply devoted to the Lord. He seeks to live his faith in everything he does, promoting everything that the Church promotes, including the values of family and life, human rights and the safeguarding of creation.
We are all one Church, and so while we in Arkansas are proud of Bishop-elect Pohlmeier and sending him to you is a great sacrifice for us in Arkansas, we rejoice in the good fortune of the Diocese of St. Augustine and know that the Lord must love you very much to give you such a fine man to be your next bishop — a fitting successor to Bishop Estévez — whom I have known and admired and loved for many years. We entrust Bishop-elect Pohlmeier to you with the prayers and best wishes of your fellow Catholics in Arkansas.
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