Sister Briege, Father Scallon Lead All Saints Parish Mission
Published: March 1, 2012
DUNWOODY—Some came for physical or spiritual healing, some hoped for a miracle and others came simply to hear Father Kevin Scallon and Sister Briege McKenna speak at the recent parish mission at All Saints Church in Dunwoody. The duo was warmly welcomed at All Saints by Msgr. Hugh Marren, pastor.
The mission, held over a three-day period in late January and early February drew nearly 4,000 people to the parish, according to Katie Hall, director of adult education at All Saints. Some came from as far away as Canada, said Hall.
Sister of St. Clare Briege McKenna prays for spiritual and physical healing for those present Jan. 31 during the second night of a three-day mission at All Saints Church, Dunwoody. (Photos by Michael Alexander)
Deacon Bill Garrett of All Saints said he thought as many as half of the people who came were not regular attendees at All Saints.
“I think it talks to the vibrancy of the mission that Sister Briege and Father Kevin have that they can attract people from a wide area to come to the mission,” said Deacon Garrett. “We talk about Catholics come home, we talk about reaching out and evangelization, and I think that’s exactly what happened.”
Sister Briege, a Sister of St. Clare known throughout the world for her healing ministry and the author of the book “Miracles Do Happen,” and Father Scallon, a priest of the Vincentian community, are in full-time ministry to priests. During the mission, the two focused their talks on the healing power of Jesus in the Eucharist. Both are natives of Ireland and Sister Briege, at the age of 24, was miraculously healed of rheumatoid arthritis during the celebration of the Eucharist.
Olga Myers, founder of the Atlanta chapter of Magnificat, a ministry in which Father Scallon serves as international spiritual director, said Sister Briege’s focus is to let people know that Jesus is alive in the Eucharist and that he is the healer.
“And it doesn’t have to be physical healing alone,” said Myers, an All Saints’ parishioner. “The healing of your faith, your soul, is the greatest healing. That is what is amazing to me and amazing to people who hear and follow Sister Briege.”
While the mission was extremely well attended all three days, the second day saw the largest crowds with about 1,500 people attending either the morning or evening Mass, which were dedicated to healing. In the morning, priests administered the sacrament of the sick, anointing those who came forward, which proved very emotional for many, according to Deacon Garrett.
“What I saw on people’s faces as they were coming up to have the anointing from the priest was concern, fear and trepidation,” said Deacon Garrett. “Many people there were crying and then as they received the sacrament, you could almost sense the healing, at least in spirit, that was happening in so many of their hearts and souls.”
Hall, the parish adult education director, said she also noticed a lot of tears from people who were being anointed.
“I can’t say whether they were healed or not, but it was just so powerful,” said Hall.
One parishioner, who came to the mission to stand in for her ailing friend in Puerto Rico, was deeply moved by the sacrament and the mission and passed along a story of healing.
Vincentian Father Kevin Scallon carries the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament around the church. Father Scallon and Sister Briege led the three-day mission focused on Eucharistic healing.
Magda Galarza, whose friend had something wrong with her brain as evidenced by two separate MRIs, said the friend was scheduled for surgery on Feb. 7, one week after the mission. Galarza’s friend had suffered from sudden and temporary vision loss since last November.
During the morning Mass on Tuesday, Jan. 31, as Galarza was walking to the altar for the sacrament of the sick, she was suddenly reminded of her mother as the scent of flowers that her mother used to place in their home came over her. She glanced around to see if she saw flowers, but there were none in close proximity. Later, as she came forward for Communion, the scent was not present.
Just before her friend’s surgery the following week, another MRI was taken of her brain and doctors informed Galarza’s friend that the MRI was clear. There was no longer a need for surgery.
Another All Saints’ parishioner, Carol Ward, also shared a story of healing. Like Galarza, she attended the mission to stand in for someone else. In Ward’s case, it was her sister-in-law who was ailing and in the hospital.
“My sister-in-law gained 20 pounds over a weekend,” said Ward. “She had a liver infection and a leaking heart valve.”
Ward returned home from the mission on Monday night and got the news that her sister-in-law had undergone surgery, but not major or open heart surgery.
“They went in through a vein and she was able to come home the next day,” said Ward. “They say that miracles happen sometimes through God and sometimes God operates his miracles through doctors. It’s a blessing. I call it a miracle.”
Sue Stanton is a member of All Saints Church, Dunwoody.<,/i>