Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 7, 1988
1987 In Review
Was Year Of Challenge, Sorrow For Archdiocese, Marian Year Begins, Lourdes Parish Celebrates 75th
By Rita McInerney
The new year of 1987 began on a quiet note in the archdiocese of Atlanta. The visit of Pope John Paul II to a neighbor diocese and the sad loss of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan were many months in the future.
Two January events brought Bishop Emerson J. Moore, D.D., auxiliary bishop of New York, to the archdiocese in visits six days apart. The black bishop was celebrant and the Commission for Black Catholic Concerns and the Office for Black Catholics at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In a prophetic tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bishop Moore said people have got to be aware, and priests must talk from the pulpit about the sin of racism.
Less than a week later, the New York bishop joined almost 20,000 blacks and whites in a Jan. 24 march against racism in Forsyth County. About 20 priests from the archdiocese and several hundred Catholics marched into Cumming under the banner of the Southeast Center for Justice, joining almost 20,000 others in the protest against bigotry in the virtually all white county.
On Jan. 21, a covenant was signed by St. Anns Church, the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection and the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, all in Marietta. During the service held at St. Anns, the three churches pledged to share more fully in the life and ministry of one anothers congregations. The covenant was the first on the parish level since the covenant signing on Nov. 2, 1986 by Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan and Lutheran Bishops Gerald S. Troutman and David A. Wolber.
A sad note on Feb. 7 was the death of Laurie Slagle, 38, the wife of Tom Slagle, a permanent deacon at Sacred Heart parish in Griffin, and the mother of 11 children. Mrs. Slagle came to public attention in 1985 when her illness with a severe type of cancer was discovered early in her pregnancy with Jonathan, her youngest child. Refusing advice by the medical community to have an abortion, the couple won a court test giving permission for Laurie to undergo chemotherapy which hospital authorities had refused her because of possible damage to the unborn child. Jonathan was born in September, 1985, a healthy baby who brought joy to his parents and brothers and sisters.
A healing Mass of Feb. 11 attracted almost the entire student body of 900 students at St. Pius X High School. Father Michael A. Panter, celebrant, was assisted by seven priests and prayer teams composed of members of charismatic prayer groups.
Despite rain, a pro-life march drew about 1,800 advocates to the Georgia State Capitol on Feb. 22. The march, planned for January but postponed because of snow, noted the 14th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand.
On March 1 the Franciscan Friars who had staffed the historic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception since 1958 announced that they would give the parish over to the archdiocese for staffing in June. The statement read at Sunday Masses noted the small number of Shrine parishioners and the need for the Franciscans to discern where they can best serve the people of God.
Bishop Raymond Lucker, of New Ulm, Minn., was principal speaker at a two-day workshop on The Role of the Laity held Feb. 27 and 28 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Decatur. The rule of God must be established in everyday lives, in families, schools, institutions of society; Wherever we are, the bishop said, but it must begin in hearts and lives and then extend to the world.
Approximately $800,000 of the $1 million goal for the 1987 Charities Drive was reported March 9, one day after Drive Sunday. Reporting totals were 55 parishes and missions in the archdiocese.
On the first two Sundays in March, March 1 and 8, 459 candidates preparing to join the Church at the Easter Vigil took part in the Rite of Election at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Archbishop Donnellan presided at the celebrations.
As April began, Catholic Social Services announced that it would help eligible undocumented aliens gain legalization under the new federal immigration law. Patrick Kingery and Elizabeth Thompson will focus on efforts to contact about 3,000 possible candidates for amnesty.
A Georgia Bulletin article by Thea Jarvis on April 23, described the ministry to people with AIDS of Father Alan Dillmann, pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta, and Father Henry Gracz, pastor of Transfiguration Church in Marietta.
May was a sad month in the archdiocese. Archbishop Donnellan, archbishop since 1968, was hospitalized by a stroke on May 1 and was a patient at St. Josephs Hospital (see accompanying story). Monsignor John F. McDonough, vicar general of the archdiocese, and Monsignor Donald Kiernan, pastor of All Saints Church in Dunwoody, were appointed extraordinary ministers of Confirmation to carry on, as normally as possible, the schedule in parishes. Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, a former auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese, was principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of Christ the King parish on May 4. More than 700 people crowded the cathedral for the occasion. A festive reception held under large tents in the parking lot followed the Liturgy.
The Georgia Bulletin carried an article on the establishment of the Aquinas Center of theology at Emory University. The only venture of its kind in the southeastern United Sates, it was founded under the auspices of the Southern Province of the Dominican Order. Father Bob Perry, O.P., is director.
On May 5, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, president of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity since 1969, came to Atlanta as keynote speaker at the National Workshop on Christian Unity. He also spoke at a luncheon for Catholic diocesan ecumenical directors attending the workshop. About 500 ecumenical leaders from some 15 to 20 denominations attended the sessions.
Antonio Furentes became the first undocumented alien to be granted a temporary work permit under the new federal immigration law which went into effect May 5. The Salvadoran who entered the United States illegally in 1981, was assisted by the legalization program of Catholic social Services.
Among clergy assignments was the naming of Father Richard Kieran, pastor, of St. Josephs Church in Athens, as administrator of the Cathedral of Christ the King. Monsignor John F. McDonough, who had held the position since 1972, stepped down, effective June 11, to serve as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta, in a change approved by Archbishop Donnellan before his stroke.
Fifty-one men became permanent deacons in two separate ordinations held at the Cathedral of Christ the King with Bishop George E. Lynch, retired auxiliary bishop of Raleigh, N.C., presiding in the absence of his longtime friend, Archbishop Donnellan, hospitalized with a stroke since May 1. Twenty-seven deacons were ordained May 16 while 24 were ordained May 23.
Thirteen black Catholics from the archdiocese were among delegates to the National Black Catholic Congress held at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The congress developed a national pastoral plan emphasizing evangelization during the session held from May 21 to 24.
On June 7, Pentecost Sunday, the archdiocese opened the Marian year with a celebration at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, mother church of the archdiocese. Legion of Mary members from St. Judes Church in Sandy Springs, planned the ceremony.
Marist School, a Catholic private school in northeast Atlanta, was one of eight Georgia schools recognized May 27 as a National School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
Twelve Hispanic bishops gathered June 15 at the Monastery of the Holy Sprit in Conyers for a two-day meeting of the ad hoc committee on Hispanic affairs of the national Conference of Catholic bishops. On June 17, several of the bishops traveled to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta where they concelebrated an evening Mass. After Mass they enjoyed a fiesta in the IHM school cafeteria with several hundred Hispanic Catholics.
By July 10, the legalization program of Catholic Social Services had sponsored 103 aliens who were awarded temporary legal status under the new immigration law.
A temporary restraining order issued June 30 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hall delayed the implementation of the Georgia parental notification law which the state Assembly had passed during its 1987 term. The judges order came one day before the law was to become effective on July 1. The pro-life office of the archdiocese and the Georgia Right to Life chapter had lobbied for the measure for several years. The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood chapter in Atlanta and Augusta.
On Saturday, Aug. 22, feast day of the Queenship of Mary, about 180 people participated in a three-church pilgrimage which began at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta. From there the Marian Year pilgrims traveled in cars to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Atlanta. Third stop was at Sacred Heart Church in Griffin.
Four new principals, three women and one man, joined the ranks of Catholic educators in the archdiocese in September. Belinda Johnson, a native Atlantan, is new principal at St. Paul of the Cross School in northwest Atlanta. Bill Meehan, a native of New England, is the first man to serve as principal at St. Jude School in Sandy Springs. Nellie Jo Hendricks, a Catholic school educator for 31 years, assumed the position at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Atlanta. Sister Helen Gilroy, I.H.M., returned to St. Josephs School in Athens as principal after a six-year absence.
Sister M. Stella Maris Bergin, R.S.M., pastoral minister at St. Josephs Hospital since 1975, and long a leader of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, died Sept. 2 at the hospital after a brief illness. She was 80 years old. In the only public appearance since his stroke on May 1, Archbishop Donnellan attended the funeral Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Church. He was seated in a wheelchair at the front of the church with other priest celebrants.
Seven monks from the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers are in Venezuela to establish the first Cistercian foundation in that country, Our Lady of the Andes on a tract of land high in the Andes. Thousands of people welcomed the monks on Sept. 11, feast day of the countrys patroness, Our Lady of the Coromoto.
Eleanor OConnor, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, and active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, was honored nationally as the 1987 recipient of the Rosa Parks Award. This citation is given annually by Women in Community Service, a coalition of womens groups, for outstanding work for the poor.
St. Bernadettes Catholic Church is among congregations supporting Samaritan house, a center for social ministry dedicated Step. 27 by the Cedartown Ministerial Association. The center is under the direction of Sister Elizabeth Racko, D.C., and will be staffed by volunteers from the member churches in its outreach to the poor.
Father Robert Kinast, a priest of the archdiocese serving in Washington, D.C., was featured speaker at the 31st annual convention of the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women held Sept. 26 and 27. Theme of the convention was Mary, Model for Todays Laity.
Several hundred people gathered at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta on Oct. 4 for the 16th annual archdiocesan Rosary Rally. Monsignor McDonough celebrated the Mass and gave the homily. He reflected upon the words of Mary in the Magnificat which revealed, he said, the revolution that would take place with the coming of Christ.
The Village of St. Joseph celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct. 11 with entertainment and refreshments at the facility in southwest Atlanta. The Village is a residential treatment center for youths of all faiths with special social, emotional and or educational needs. It is owned and supported by the archdiocese and administered by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
A site in East Point has been selected for the second personal care home for the elderly, according to Steve Brazen, interim director of Catholic Social Services. A residence will be built to house 15 frail elderly persons. It is expected the cost of between $600,000 and $700,000 will come from the special Capital Funds Drive conducted by the archdiocese in 1983.
Three events marked the 75th anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes parish at 25 Boulevard, founded as a black Catholic mission by Father Ignatius Lissner of the Society of African Missions and formerly served by Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order founded by Mother Mary Katherine Drexel. An ecumenical service was held Nov. 9, an archdiocesan Mass on Nov. 12 and a homecoming celebration on Nov. 22.
Monsignor John F. McDonough, administrator of the archdiocese, was operated on Nov. 12 for a malignant tumor in the colon. After a period of hospitalization he recuperated at Holy Spirit rectory in Atlanta.
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, and Father William J. Byron, S.J., president of the Catholic University of America, spoke at the conference on the U.S. bishops pastoral on the economy held in Atlanta on Nov. 12 and 13. The workshop was presented by the Committee for Continuing Education of the Clergy and attended by 150 priests, Religious and lay men and women.
The 25th anniversary of the dedication of the church building at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Carrollton was celebrated Nov. 21. The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan who also confirmed 36 members of the parish.
Father Joseph Fahy, a Passionist priest who served Hispanics in the archdiocese for three years, arrived in Honduras with four other Passionists to work in the diocese of Tegucigalpa. During his ministry in Atlanta, Father Fahy was an advocate for the Cuban detainees in the federal prison in Atlanta.
Members of the Hispanic Catholic community, led by Sister Pilar Dalmau, A.C.J., and Father Salazar, S.J., brought spiritual support to wives and children of the penitentiary on Nov. 23 a few days after the announcement that the United States government would return many of them to Cuba. When the 11-day siege ended Dec. 4, Father Raymond Dowling was among the 89 hostages released by their Cuban captors. Manuel Echevarria, a teacher at the prison, was released with three other captives on Nov. 29.
The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception began serving weekly dinners to persons with AIDS on Nov. 24. The dinners, held in the church hall, provide a time of hospitality and sociability, according to Father John Adamski, pastor.
The archdiocese sponsored an Advent petition drive in support of a verifiable, bilateral nuclear test ban treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. The petition was available at all Masses for the signatures of Catholics. The petition drive is in direct response to the pastoral letter, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," issued in 1983 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The local chapter of Pax Christi co-sponsored the petition drive.