Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Local Efforts Increase To Help Those Discerning

Published April 6, 2006

The Vocations Office in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and its director, Father Brian Higgins, are working harder than ever to help those considering a vocation to the priesthood and religious life.

Father Higgins is excited about several new and revived programs that will help to further vocations in the archdiocese.

Nazareth House, located on the property formerly known as the Village of St. Joseph, south of Atlanta in East Point, will become the St. Charles Borromeo House of Priestly Formation.

Nazareth House has, until now, been mostly a home for young seminarians who are learning English as a second language.

Father Higgins said a few rooms will still be set aside for those men, but the St. Charles Borromeo House, named for the patron saint of seminarians, will focus more on men who are discerning their vocation.

“We wanted a new direction for the house, and so this will be for guys who may be discerning the priesthood but just aren’t quite ready for seminary life,” he said.

The men will participate in morning and evening prayers and daily Mass, and will serve at parishes during the weekends. “This will be a chance for them to live in community and to answer any questions they might have.”

Father Higgins spoke of his own journey toward the seminary.

“I didn’t go to Catholic high school and I wasn’t familiar with all the terms, so when I got to the seminary, it was a little overwhelming. I’m hoping that (the St. Charles Borromeo House) helps to lift that veil of mystery.”

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has agreed to visit on a regular basis to give spiritual talks to the men who live in the nine-room house.

Father Higgins will also be creating a diocesan vocations support committee made up of lay Catholics who will help to promote vocations through prayer and holy hours for vocations. In addition, this committee will take on the task of planning the annual vocations fair. They will work in conjunction with other organizations that currently promote vocations, such as the Serra Clubs of North Georgia and the Knights of Columbus, Father Higgins said.

Sister Patricia Rogers, OP, a Sinsinawa Dominican, will revive the dormant St. Theresa Discernment Group for high school and college-age girls, and the group will begin meeting regularly this fall.

“(Sister Patricia) will be there to help these young women in their discernment process, not just for her order but for all orders,” Father Higgins said.

The Vianney Club Southside is a group for high school boys, which meets the second Wednesday of each month at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fairburn.

Another group that will begin in the fall is the Borromeo Club, which will be offered for men college age and older. This group, Father Higgins said, will differ from the current discernment group that is offered to men and women and meets each month at the Catholic Center at Emory University. The Borromeo Club, Father Higgins said, will focus more on diocesan vocations. The Emory discernment Mass and discussion will continue as scheduled and is open to men and women who are considering the priesthood or religious life.

In addition, Father Higgins said, the Vocations Office is working to make all of their literature and videos bilingual in Spanish and English.

“We are trying to serve all of God’s people in all communities,” he said.

The Vocations Office will also begin again to communicate with seminaries in Ireland to find vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Father Higgins said. However, the vocations director is also hoping to further tap into areas closer to home.

“I’ve always believed that the Archdiocese of Atlanta has more vocations,” he said. “While I’m definitely open to accepting men from Mexico and Colombia and Ireland and places like that, we have such a diverse community right here in Atlanta that I know we have lots of vocations.”


For more information about the programs offered by the Vocations Office, visit or call (404) 888-7844.