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Please help us in welcoming our new bishop!

Please help us in welcoming our new bishop! All the welcoming comments will be shared. Here is a First Coast News story sharing this momentous event.On Friday, the Diocese of St Augustine will have a new bishop, someone who was appointed by Pope Francis himself.

Bishop-Elect Erik Pohlmeier used to serve as a pastor in the diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas. He's expected to become the 11th Bishop, succeeding Bishop Felipe J. Estevez.

Pohlmeier, who was in Arkansas for 24 years, said he never expected this would become his role. The Bishop-Elect said it happened in secret.

"There's no even inclination that it's happening, so when the call comes, it's completely out of the blue," Pohlmeier said. "It was shock initially. Then quickly turning into prayer and then this mix of all the emotions."

Becoming Bishop wasn't something Pohlmeier said he applied for or considered. Yet, he answered the call to serve the Catholic community of Northeast Florida.

"For nine days I couldn't tell anybody, so I was living under the secret from Pope Francis," Pohlmeier said.

To soon hold the title of Bishop, is something Pohlmeier believes wasn't earned, but given by God. To the Bishop-Elect, "it was something called forth by God through the voice of the church."

Polhmeier will be responsible for leading 17 counties. He said his vision for the first coast is to "bring people closer to God and God closer to them." As he was welcomed by the people after Vespers at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Father Pohlmeier said he's embracing this new chapter.

"Seek first the kingdom of God," Pohlmeier said. "That's the scripture I'm basing everything on from the beginning and hopefully throughout my years here."

The ordination ceremony will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Church, July 22 at 2 p.m. The event is invitation only, but it will be live-streamed for everyone to watch on the Diocese of St. Augustine's Facebook Page.

Author: Tristan Hardy, First Coast News

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