Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., to become fifth Bishop of Charlotte

The Diocese of Charlotte today announced that longtime Bishop Peter J. Jugis is retiring due to health limitations and that Pope Francis has appointed Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., of Atlanta, as his successor to lead the growing diocese.

Bishop Jugis submitted his request for retirement to Rome last June, saying a chronic but non-life-threatening kidney condition made it difficult for him to preside over lengthy liturgies and travel across the 46 counties of the expansive diocese. Bishop Jugis recently celebrated his 20th anniversary as bishop and 40th anniversary as a priest. He will serve as administrator of the diocese until May when Bishop-Elect Martin is installed, then he will continue to assist the diocese as bishop emeritus.

Bishop-Elect Martin, 62, is a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and serves as pastor of St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro, Georgia. He has deep roots in Catholic education – having served as a teacher, coach, and school administrator in Baltimore, New York, and Durham – and arrives at a time of record enrollment in the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 schools.

He will be ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Charlotte on May 29 at St. Mark Catholic Church in Huntersville.

“I am amazed and humbled that the Holy Father has faith in me to call me to serve the people of Western North Carolina,” Bishop-Elect Martin said. “I am excited to get to know you and to listen to the ways in which together we can respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to be disciples of Jesus.”

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv., rejoiced at the news: “The Holy Father has recognized our brother as an excellent spiritual leader and administrator.  Friar Michael has the God-given gifts to be a successor of the Apostles.”