NCFL community welcomes the new Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - From Priest, to Pastor, to Bishop...Erik Pohlmeier is officially serving Catholics in North Central Florida.
Following his installation as the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, hundreds gathered for his first Mass at the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gainesville.
“I’ll get a chance to greet people and learn a little bit about them. It’s not just this Parish, its the whole area around Gainesville, so there’s churches in Gainesville, but also in smaller towns in the more western part of the state, that will all be here too,”
Florida is split up into seven different dioceses and the St. Augustine Diocese covers 17 counties in Florida, which serves more than 150,000 Catholics.
Many residents said they are excited to welcome Bishop Pohlmeier to the community.
“He’s young and vivacious, we loved Bishop Estevez, but this guy is from a new place and his whole focus is on the family of God,” said Mary Hardy, resident of Williston.
Prior to being appointed by the Pope back in May, Pohlmeier spent 24 years as a pastor in the diocese of Little Rock in Arkansas.
“There’s the whole range of emotions, there was lots of excitement and then a sadness of leaving behind people that I’ve known all of my life,” said Pohlmeier.
He said he’s looking forward to learning about what life is like as a Catholic in Florida.
“Everything I see gives me great joy and shows me that this work of God has been going on for a long time here, so I’m happy to be a part of it, to continue building and planting new seeds so that the work of God can develop in the generations that are here now and those to come,” he said.
Over the next few days, Pohlmeier is continuing to travel to several other Catholic churches across his new home.
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