A few years ago, the Diocese of Savannah beautifully restored its Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This glowing building symbolizes the progress the Catholic Church in Georgia has made. On the other hand, rural south Georgia remains classic mission territory, an area where poverty, long distances between parishes and a general lack of development impedes effective ministry. Outside metropolitan Savannah and Augusta, a thin Catholic population is scattered over 37,038 square miles of small towns and open countryside. However, the number of Catholics is growing rapidly as Hispanic immigrants flood into the region in search of agricultural jobs. Of the 90 counties that make up the diocese, 27 have no Catholic presence—no parish, no mission, no priest. On the plus side, Savannah ordained five new priests in 2005 and six more are scheduled for ordination in 2006 and 2007.
The Diocese of Savannah has:
- 82,249 Catholics (3% of total population)
- 79 parishes and missions (26 without resident pastor)
- 55 active priests
601 E. Liberty Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Did you know?
In the novel Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation home, Tara, is located in what is now the Diocese of Savannah. Her mother is portrayed as a devout Catholic, though little of it rubs off on Scarlett! In the real world, former president Jimmy Carter is from Plains, Georgia, in Savannah’s western reaches.