Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 1, 1981
Dolores McNamara - Person Of The Year
By Monsignor Noel Burtenshaw
Ladies lavishly clean churches.
Monsignor Kiernans ladies over at Immaculate Heart of Mary are no different than any other. They really know how to clean. Its get out of their way on Fridays, says the jolly Monsignor, or youll get the shoes cleaned out from under you. They are great.
But the Friday morning leader is the greatest of all. Monsignor Kiernan has found it so, his predecessor can honestly say the same and going back to Monsignor Regan the testimony is just as glowing. Dolores McNamara is the best loved first lady of the IHM parish.
She organizes the women, says Monsignor Kiernan, but thats not all. Last one out is Dolores and the real messy job is always reserved for herself. No one loves to work for the Church like Dolores.
The entire Church of the Archdiocese of Atlanta has experienced the dedicated hands of Dolores McNamara, since she, along with her husband George, moved to the Atlanta area in 1963. Her parish is her first love, but the toil for others never stops there. Her heart is just too big.
The special hobby of Dolores McNamara is quiet, gentle outreach to others. Where there is a need that her charitable presence can fulfill, her quick feet get her there.
We recently lost our janitor to cancer, recalls Monsignor Kiernan. It was Dolores who constantly visited him in the V.A. Hospital. To her, he was one of the family and because of her kindness and example of prayer, Carl became a Catholic before he died. Delightedly, Dolores dressed the altar for Carls last Mass. He would have loved it.
But shut-ins get the special attention of this active dynamo. For many years the senior citizens at Wesley Woods have received her special attention. Every Monday along with a priest from the parish, Dolores is there with a healing smile and an assuring presence among shut-ins so glad to have her.
Father Hugh Marren remembers, She would quickly organize all the rough work. Set up the altar, calm the excitement of those coming to Mass and join them like this was her weekly liturgy too. They loved the kindness of her presence.
Dolores, always the heart of her own family, keenly understands the loneliness of those without family. She loves to do little things for her friends at Wesley Woods, says husband George. She gives surprise parties and takes Holy Communion and enjoys seeing shut-ins enjoy themselves.
Dolores McNamara wants her Church and the liturgy she loves and serves to reach out in beauty to the community of Atlanta. And being Dolores, she found a way. When a Mass on television became a possibility over three years ago, Dolores saw her chance to be involved and bring the Mass to many.
From the first instant that WSB agreed to televise the Mass, remembers Monsignor Noel Burtenshaw, Dolores gave her talents to beautify each occasion. She puts the altar together, makes the linens, arranges the sets, and advises producers and directors on how it all comes together.
When Dolores advises, directors listen. Dolores wants only the best, the most prayerful, and pictures of high beauty when it comes to this public celebration of the Mass.
She never misses, says Monsignor Burtenshaw. Dolores is first in the studio and last to go. And her advice is always so practical. Recently we offered Mass with some Special Ministers of the Holy Eucharist present and gave an explanation of their role in parish life. It turned out great, it was a good experience for our viewers and Dolores was the person to suggest we do it. Shes a whiz.
Dolores roles in the Church are very many. Her greatest treasure is her ministry as a Eucharistic Minister. No one has greater devotion or faithfulness in this role than Dolores, says Monsignor Kiernan. Without any exaggeration, her example to the parish and to the sick is really an inspiration.
The other love of this woman of the Church is the Legion of Mary, a parish organization devoted to daily prayer and works of charity. Dolores believes the work of the Legion brings results, says George McNamara. She will tell you the rosary does it. She prays the rosary and has great devotion to Mary in her life each day.
She was Delores Meeker before she met George in Memphis, her hometown. One of five children, she and George married in 1940. In 1963 the McNamaras brought their three girls and two boys to Atlanta where George took a position with the National Credit Unions. Their youngest boy, George Gregory, still lives with them on Briarcliff Road, but they also brag of six grandchildren whom Dolores has well and truly spoiled.
Dolores McNamara serves the Church in many other ways. She is a member of the Communications Board of the Archdiocese, president of the Curia (central government) of the Legion of Mary and one of the founding members of the Liturgy Board of her parish.
The Georgia Bulletin, always honoring one from our own Catholic family at the end of each year, is happy to choose, for our person of the year, Dolores McNamara.