By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published June 7, 2007
As priests, they have given of themselves so that others may find Christ. In the 25, 50 or even 60 years that they have served, their lives as priests have belonged to the people of God.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, priests of the archdiocese and dozens of Atlanta Catholics gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the King to celebrate six of those priests who marked a special anniversary this year.
The jubilarians who attended the Mass May 30th included Father Lawrence Schmuhl, SM, who marks his 60th year of ordination; Father Eugene Hughes, SM, Father Daniel McCormick, and Father Methodius Telnack, OCSO, who are celebrating their golden jubilee or 50 years of priestly service; and silver jubilarians, Father James Adams and Father Daniel Stack, who are marking 25 years since their ordinations.
The simple Mass drew more than 50 concelebrating priests of all stages of service—some ordained for decades, and others ordained less than one or two years—all anxious to congratulate their brother priests.
In his homily, Archbishop Gregory spoke of the value of servitude.
“These priests have made themselves servants of their sisters and brothers in countless quiet and gentle ways as well as in ways that were nothing less than heroic in their generosity,” he said. “We all pause to thank them, to applaud them, and to congratulate them. We also stop today to learn from them and to be renewed and re-inspired by their fidelity to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ that we all share with them.”
Priesthood is a gift to be shared with the flock of Christ, the archbishop reminded his priests.
“Our lives as Priests belong to the People of God; we were all told on the day of our Ordination that we had entered a unique brotherhood that was not too much concerned with our needs as it was dedicated to the spiritual and human needs of those to whom the Church would send us,” he said. “In the language of our youngsters today on our Ordination day we were reminded—‘it’s not all about you!’”
The joy of the priesthood often comes from sacrificing for the good of another, so that that person may find Christ.
“It is this desire to surrender our freedom, our comfort, and our own desires for the other that make Priesthood a great sign of Christ’s own Servant Leadership,” the archbishop said. “Our celibacy and simplicity of life are understandable in the light of such servant leadership. And whenever the Church experiences such signs of true greatness, she discovers Christ Himself.”
“That is why this local Church pauses today to thank and to congratulate our jubilarians for the witness of fidelity that they represent and for helping us all to see Christ in the example of greatness that they have given us all for however many years they have been our priests.”
Following the homily, all of the priests in attendance stood and renewed their priestly commitment.
After the Mass, a luncheon was held in honor of the jubilarians in the Cathedral’s Parish Hall.
Celebrating 60 years of service is:
Father Lawrence Schmuhl, SM
Father Schmuhl, a native of Chicago, was ordained June 8, 1947. He spent his first assignment as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Minneapolis until 1948, when he moved to Atlanta to become a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Church and its mission in Marietta. During that time, he taught English, science and religion to junior high students at Marist School. From 1950-1959, he served as the vocations director for the Marists, and from 1959-1968, he served as director of the Marist mission program traveling to many parishes for two-week periods giving renewal missions. In 1968 he was elected to the provincial council of the Washington Province of the Marist Fathers. Father Schmuhl also served for five years on the archdiocesan clergy personnel board. He became administrator of Marist School in 1968, while the new school facility was being constructed. In other roles in the archdiocese, he served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Marietta from 1980 to 1985 and as associate pastor at St. Joseph’s and at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Atlanta. He continues to assist in the archdiocese where needed.
The golden jubilarians are:
Father Eugene Hughes, SM
Father Hughes was ordained to the priesthood on Feb 2, 1957, in Washington, D.C. His first assignment was as an English and religion teacher at Marist School in Atlanta for three years. He then went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he taught at Chanel High School for five years until he was sent back to Marist to teach for another six years. He then began teaching at the Marists’ minor seminary in Penndell, Pa., and was later sent back to teach at Chanel High School in Cleveland. He then went into parish work, serving as an assistant pastor in a parish in Wheeling, W. Va., and then as pastor at a parish in Richwood, W. Va. He returned to Atlanta to serve as a parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s in Marietta and then as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Atlanta. He retired about four years ago but still assists at OLA.
Father Daniel J. McCormick
Father McCormick was ordained for the newly established Atlanta Catholic diocese on June 1, 1957, by Bishop Francis E. Hyland in Father McCormick’s home parish, St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, in Far Rockaway, N.Y. His first assignment was at St. Thomas More Church in Decatur where he also helped out at St. John Chrysostom Melkite Church in Atlanta. His first permanent assignment was at St. Anthony of Padua Church in southwest Atlanta. He also taught at St. Joseph’s High School in downtown Atlanta. Father McCormick has served as a pastor in numerous parishes including St. Patrick Church, Norcross; St. Bernadette Church, Cedartown; St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville; St. Mary Church, Rome; St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn; and Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City. He also spent over two years with the monks at Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers before returning to active service as an Atlanta diocesan priest. He also has served multiple other parish assignments and as chaplain to the Roswell police and to the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. He has served in his current assignment as a parochial vicar at All Saints Church in Dunwoody for over a decade and also serves as a chaplain at the Atlanta Veterans Hospital and continues his longtime service in the Province of Atlanta Court of Appeals where he is Defender of the Bond. He is a Vicar for Clergy of the Atlanta Archdiocese.
Father Methodius Telnack, OCSO
Father Methodius, a native of Detroit, served as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps for two years. He studied architecture at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before entering the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers in 1949. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1957. At the Monastery, Father Methodius runs the stained glass studio, and his more than 50 years of stained glass creations can be seen in parishes throughout the archdiocese and the country.
The silver jubilarians are:
Father James P. Adams
Father Adams graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He also holds a master of divinity degree from St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. Ordained on June 5, 1982, Father Adams spent his first assignment as a parochial vicar at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Atlanta for five years. He then served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Washington for seven years and as pastor of Prince of Peace Church, then in Buford, for five years. He has served as pastor of St. Gabriel in Fayetteville for the past six years. Father Adams is also passionate about mission work and has spent part of his time doing mission work in Nicaragua for the past 12 years.
Father Daniel Stack
A native of Florida, Father Stack attended the University of Florida and worked for a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps before entering the seminary. His first assignment was as a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta for three years. He then served as a parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Marietta. His first pastorate was at St. Bernadette Church in Cedartown, followed by St. Joseph Church in Dalton, and St. Anna Church in Monroe. In 2001, he began his current assignment as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Cartersville. Father Stack, who is bilingual, also assisted in vocations work, often traveling to Mexico to recruit men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.