Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


IHM To Complete New Church This Year

By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published February 21, 2008

Those taking a trip down Briarcliff Road recently have probably seen the large project currently taking shape on the property of one of the city’s older Catholic churches, Immaculate Heart of Mary. A five-year project is expected to come to fruition this year when the parish community will celebrate the building of a new church and the renovation of many other buildings.

Father James Schillinger, pastor of IHM, came to the parish approximately five years ago, towards the end of a strategic planning process that recommended several renovations to the current structures. A building committee was formed to address the issues raised by the strategic planning, and as the committee looked closer at IHM’s situation, the plans grew.

The committee also found a pressing need for new office space, meeting space and a new parish hall due to the growing community and the age of the original structures. The initial plan was to build a new two-level church, as well as new classrooms, and renovate the old church into the parish hall. While they kept some components of the original plan, the committee came up with a new plan, to adjust to the church’s budget.

The site for the new church was changed as part of the committee’s reassessment. In addition to the more prominent position of the church, which is clearly visible from the road, the rectory was torn down and more parking was added. And, for the first time in IHM’s history, all of the administration offices are now positioned together in the former parish hall.

The parish has faced many challenges up to this point, which was expected with a project as large as this one. But despite any difficulties, the new renovated parish hall was completed under budget.

The new two-level church is slated for completion in November or December of this year, when the parish community will mark its 50th anniversary. As a sign of solidarity, the whole IHM community, including students of the school, clergy and parishioners, came together last month to sign the beams of the new church.

“This is our church,” said Father Schillinger. “Putting our names on the beams shows our support. We are all part of this family.”