Students, Alumni Dedicate Plaza To Beloved Chaplain
Published: November 13, 2008
Franciscan Father Mario Di Lella (left) watches the unveiling of the engraving bearing his name over the plaza in front of the Catholic Center on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. The 81-year-old chaplain, who retired in April, was honored Saturday, Oct. 25, with a celebration and reception. (Photos by Thomas Spink/Archdiocese of Atlanta)
ATLANTA—Nearly 200 students and alumni of the Georgia Institute of Technology came together on Saturday, Oct. 25, to dedicate the Catholic Center plaza to the Catholic student center’s former spiritual guide, Franciscan Father Mario Di Lella.
Father Tim Hepburn, who took over for Father Mario after he retired earlier this year at the age of 81, said the day was about remembering the priest’s 38 years of service to the Catholic students of the school and honoring the “building he built.”
The group engraved Father Mario’s name above the door of the Catholic Center and also purchased a statue of St. Peter for the center in remembrance of Father Mario’s favorite saint.
Since it was Georgia Tech’s homecoming weekend, it provided a great opportunity for current and former Tech students of Father Mario to pay their respects in a unique way.
The Catholic Center at Georgia Tech is located at 172 Fourth St., NW, Atlanta. More information about the center can be found at http://cyberbuzz.gatech.edu/catholic/.
Father Mario Di Lella enthusiastically hugs the new statue of St. Peter, his favorite saint, placed in the 13,500-square-foot Catholic Center building by Georgia Tech students, alumni and friends to honor the priest’s 37 plus years of service at the school. The statue was blessed Oct. 25. During his tenure at Tech, Father Mario witnessed 23 vocations to the priesthood and religious life, including five Atlanta priests, Father Theodore Book, Father Terry Crone, Father Kevin Hargaden, Father Augustine Tran and Father Neil Dhabliwala.
Adaora Okwo, 25, right, a Georgia Tech graduate gets a warm hug from Father Mario Di Lella during the celebration in his honor at the downtown Atlanta university.
Father Tim Hepburn blesses with holy water the crowd of alumni, students, clergy and friends gathered for the dedication of the plaza in front of the Georgia Tech Catholic student center. Father Mario Di Lella, whose name graces the plaza, was also the chaplain for the Georgia Tech football team, and men’s and women’s basketball teams. He was also named an honorary alumnus of the school in 1990.
Over 200 people gathered on the plaza for the dedication and celebration for Georgia Tech chaplain Father Mario Di Lella.
Former chaplain Father Mario Di Lella, left, and current chaplain, Father Tim Hepburn, right, smile together at the Oct. 25 celebration of Father Mario’s years of service at Georgia Tech.