TONAWADA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Vatican announced Thursday morning that a Buffalo native has been appointed as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Atlanta.
Msgr. Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., was born in Buffalo in 1951, and attended Saint Amelia School and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda in 1969.
"I think he was that student that everybody liked," remarked Mary Holzerland, principal, Cardinal O'Hara.
Holzerland was one year behind Bishop Hartmayer at the high school. He also served as O'Hara's principal from 1988 until 1990. Holzerland says he was a great student and gentleman.
"Calm, gentle kind of person. I know that the students who were here at the time Bishop Hartmayer was the principal said that he was out there every morning at the door greeting the students," Holzerland reflected.
Hartmayer is a Franciscan priest and was ordained in Albany in 1979.
At a news conference in Atlanta Hartmayer said the Pope called him about his new assignment this past weekend.
"I received the call on Saturday, so he works on Saturday. He e kinda floored me, although I've heard the rumors I was in the running to be the archbishop of Atlanta," Hartmayer said.
Bishop Hartmayer visited Cardinal O'Hara last year to celebrate his 50th high school reunion.
"We're so proud of him. We feel blessed that he was part of our family for so many years as a student, as well as an administrator. We're always there behind him," Holzerland said.
Bishop Hartmayer last visited Cardinal O'Hara last year to celebrate his 50th high school reunion.
"I hope to see him back here this year. It would be wonderful if he could come back, visit the school, see our students," Holzerland said.
In one of the high school classrooms, a group of students, awaiting dismissal, offered best wishes to the alum.
"Congratulations Bishop Hartmayer from Cardinal O'Hara High School," declared the students.
Before his appointment as Metropolitan Archbishop of Atlanta, Hartmayer was appointed Bishop of Savannah, Ga. in 2011.