Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


July 2 Mass Will Celebrate Jubilee Of Atlanta Diocese

By GRETCHEN KEISER, Staff Writer | Published June 22, 2006

A Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Atlanta will be held at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Sunday, July 2, at 7 p.m. with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory as the principal celebrant.

Savannah Bishop J. Kevin Boland will concelebrate the Mass, honoring and acknowledging the Diocese of Savannah, which once included all the state of Georgia, as the mother diocese of Atlanta. Atlanta Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue will also be a Mass concelebrant.

The separate Diocese of Atlanta was established by the Holy See on July 2, 1956, a territory then comprising 71 counties in North Georgia, later adjusted to the 69 counties of today.

Taking a special role in the Mass will be four priests who were serving when the Diocese of Atlanta was established: Msgr. Walter Donovan, Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, Father James Harrison and Father Richard Morrow. Msgr. Donovan was ordained in 1944, Msgr. Kiernan in 1949, and Father Harrison and Father Morrow in 1955.

Also pastors will come from the 19 parishes that were in existence when the Diocese of Atlanta was formed: Father Christopher Williamson from St. Joseph, Washington; Msgr. Henry Gracz from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta; Father Michael McWhorter from Sacred Heart, Milledgeville; Father Thomas J. Meehan from Sacred Heart, Atlanta; Father Timothy Gadziala from St. Anthony, Atlanta; Father David McGuinness from St. Joseph, Athens; Father John Adamski from Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlanta; Father James Miceli from St. Mary, Rome; Msgr. Tom Kenny from the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta; Father Balappa Selvaraj from St. Peter, LaGrange; Msgr. Paul Fogarty from St. Thomas More, Decatur; Father Jesus Trujillo-Luna from St. Joseph, Dalton; Father Fabio Sotelo-Pena from St. Michael, Gainesville; Father Dennis Juan from Sacred Heart, Griffin; Father James Duffy, SM, from Our Lady of the Assumption, Atlanta; Father Paul Berny from St. Joseph, Marietta; Father Liam Coyne from St. Gerard, Fort Oglethorpe; Father Edward Thein from St. John the Evangelist, Hapeville; and Father Jed Sumampong, CP, from St. Paul of Cross, Atlanta.

The parish council president and spouse from each of the 19 parishes will also be honored guests.

Assisting at the Mass will be Deacons Scott McNabb and Hilliard Lee. A reception will be held following the Mass.

Archbishop Gregory has chosen “All Time Belongs to Him” as the theme for the jubilee, taken from the Easter Vigil Liturgy and blessing of the Paschal candle, which was also the source of Pope John Paul II’s theme for the Jubilee Year 2000.

An anthem has been composed at the archbishop’s request by Dr. Kevin Johnson, director of the Spelman College Glee Club and the Archbishop Lyke Memorial Mass Choir. Johnson will coordinate the music at the July 2 Mass.

The archbishop also celebrated a Mass June 4 at the Cathedral for couples celebrating their 50th or 60th marriage anniversary in 2006, and a Mass June 7 for priests celebrating silver and golden jubilees of ordination. The 2006 Eucharistic Congress Mass June 17 also included thanksgiving for the golden anniversary of the diocese and officially opened the jubilee.

Celebrations will continue for the next six months, including an outdoor Mass and picnic for young adults with the archbishop on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 5:30 p.m. on the grounds of Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fairburn. There will also be celebrations with Catholic educators, consecrated Religious, and parish staffs as well as musical celebrations.

The jubilee will conclude with a Sunday Mass on Nov. 26, the feast of Christ the King, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral that will be concelebrated by the other bishops of the Province of Atlanta.


More information on the jubilee events and the history of the Catholic Church in North Georgia can be found at