By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO and PRISCILLA GREEAR, Staff Writers | Published March 30, 2006
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has announced several changes in the senior administrative staff for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, effective April 28.
Father Joseph Corbett, who has served as both vicar general of the archdiocese and as pastor of St. Brigid Church, Alpharetta, since April 2005, will assume the role of vicar general on a full-time basis, leaving his position as pastor of the active north Atlanta parish.
Msgr. Paul H. Reynolds, vicar general in curia, will step down from this position, in which he has served since 2000, and assume the reins as the pastor of St. Brigid Church, succeeding Father Corbett.
Father Luis R. Zarama, pastor of St. Mark Church, Clarkesville, has been named as the second vicar general for the archdiocese. He will serve in this capacity full time. A pastor for St. Mark’s will be named at a later date.
Under canon law, the archbishop freely appoints the vicar general, who must be a priest and who serves as his closest advisor and chief administrator. With these appointments, Archbishop Gregory has established two vicars general to work full time at the Chancery as administrators of the archdiocese, each with specific areas of responsibility. By his office, the vicar general “possesses that executive power in the entire diocese which belongs to the diocesan bishop in law … ” and is customarily an expert in either canon law or theology.
The archbishop expressed his thanks to Msgr. Reynolds for the assistance offered during his first year in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
“Msgr. Paul Reynolds was the first Atlanta priest that I spoke to after I had been appointed Archbishop of Atlanta,” noted Archbishop Gregory. “He has been a great friend and colleague in helping me to come to know the archdiocese, its history, its people, and its needs. He is a priest of extraordinary devotion to this local church and to the Office of the Archbishop. I shall miss his daily involvement with the administration of the Catholic Center.”
Archbishop Gregory also voiced his continuing confidence in his new senior administrative team, as they prepare to begin full-time work at the Catholic Center after Easter.
He said, “Father Corbett will assume more of the day-to-day activities of the governance of the archdiocese along with Father Zarama. These two priests bring a complementary host of talents that will continue the fine service that Msgr. Reynolds has rendered to this local church. I look forward to working closely with both of them.”
Father Corbett, 34, is a native of County Waterford, Ireland. He attended St. John’s College in Waterford and was ordained in 1995 for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. After serving three years in his first assignment as a parochial vicar at All Saints Church in Dunwoody, Father Corbett was the founding pastor of the St. Brigid Mission, beginning in 1999. Seven years later, the church is now a thriving parish of approximately 10,000 parishioners.
Colombia native Father Zarama, 47, was surprised to get the invitation to serve as the vicar general, and after praying and reflecting about it accepted the position in service of his shepherd and the people of North Georgia.
“I really love to be here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta,” he said. “I would like to respond in whatever way possible to serve the people and to serve the (archbishop).”
Having served for the past decade as pastor at St. Mark’s and priest-in-charge of St. Helena Mission in Clayton, he acknowledged that it’s difficult to leave his beloved flock in the quiet North Georgia communities in which he has established roots.
“It’s been 10 beautiful, great years here. I really love my parishes in Clarkesville and Clayton. It’s been a great, beautiful experience to be a priest and to serve the people,” he said. “It has been 10 extraordinary years in my life as a priest that has taught me through my people of the parish the greatest lesson of love. And it is where I learned more profoundly the real meaning of priesthood.”
During that time Father Zarama, who became a U.S. citizen in 2000, oversaw the growth of St. Mark’s to about 300 English and 300 Spanish-speaking households and the construction of a new church dedicated in 2003. About 27 miles away in the mountains in Clayton, near the North Carolina border, 10 acres have been bought and efforts to build that community a new church are underway. Both parishes include Spanish ministries, and Father Zarama, who is bilingual and bicultural, has worked to hold different activities to promote the growth and unity in diversity of the communities. He also said that the 24-hour adoration of the Blessed Sacrament ministry every Sunday through Friday at St. Mark Church has brought the parish “countless blessings” over the past five years.
Father Zarama has also served as an assistant vocations director for the archdiocese and in the Marriage Tribunal as defender of the bond and is a member of the Priest Personnel Board for the archdiocese. He also recently traveled to his homeland with Archbishop Gregory and Father Jose Duvan Gonzalez, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, on a vocations-related trip.
The oldest of six children, Father Zarama is from the southwest Colombian city of Pasto. Three of his brothers live in Colombia while another brother and sister and his parents live in Orlando, Fla. Growing up he attended Jesuit schools, the Seminary of Pasto and received his licentiate in philosophy and theology from the Universidad Mariana in Pasto while also teaching philosophy and religion in different high schools. Later he received his licentiate in canon law at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, where he met an Atlanta priest who put him in contact with the Atlanta vocations office. In 1991 he came to the United States, and as a seminarian his first assignment was at St. Bernadette Church in Cedartown. He was then transferred to Our Lady of the Americas Mission in Doraville, then to Sacred Heart Church, Atlanta, before being ordained by Archbishop John F. Donoghue in 1993. His first priestly assignment was as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart.
Father Zarama is now preparing for his move to Atlanta and to faithfully carry out his new responsibilities. “I’m praying and asking God to help me to try and do my best in the position the archbishop has asked me to take.”
Archbishop Gregory expressed his support for his new vicar general.
“Initially Father Zarama will assume the responsibilities that Msgr. Reynolds exercised,” he said. “Father Zarama has a degree in canon law and extensive parish experience. He has served in a community outside of the metro area and has guided building projects and expansion projects in the two communities where he has been pastor. He understands our growing pastoral needs and the diversity of our population. He is a wise and energetic priest who will be of great service to me and to the people of the archdiocese as one of our vicars general.”
Msgr. Reynolds returns to parish life with his assignment at St. Brigid’s. Ordained 43 years ago, he was born in Dublin, Ireland, and is a graduate of All Hallows Seminary. Most recently, he has served the archdiocese as vicar general since 2000 and also served as chancellor from 2000 to 2005. Prior to his work on the senior administrative staff at the Chancery, Msgr. Reynolds served in a variety of capacities around the archdiocese. He founded St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, and served as its pastor for 11 years. During his time as pastor, St. John Neumann Regional School was established and launched. He also led St. Andrew Church in Roswell as pastor from 1988 to 2000.
Msgr. Reynolds has been a member of the Priest Personnel Board and a judge for the Court of Appeals of the Province of Atlanta. In the 1980s he belonged to the archbishop’s College of Consultors and served on the archdiocesan Board of Education.
A well-liked pastor and priest, Msgr. Reynolds offers a wealth of experience to the community in Alpharetta.
Archbishop Gregory said, “I know that he wants to return to full-time pastoral service and that he will bring his considerable wisdom and zeal to St. Brigid’s Parish. While they will lose the services of an excellent priest, they will gain the pastoral care of an equally devoted pastor. I wish Paul Reynolds and the people of St. Brigid’s my very best.”