Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

  • At the “calling of the candidates” Miguel Echevarria of St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Kennesaw, joins his fellow deacon candidates in the center aisle of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta during the Feb. 7 diaconate ordination as his wife Maria, left, looks on. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Archbishop Gregory presents the Book of Gospels to newly ordained Deacon Paul Gorski of Church of the Transfiguration, Marietta. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Six-foot-two-inch Deacon King Cooper Sr. leans over to greet Archbishop Gregory during the Kiss of Peace. Cooper is assigned to St. Matthew Church, Tyrone. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • (L-r) Deacons James Tramonte, Stuart Mead and Jose Pupo join retired deacon of formation, Deacon Loris Sinanian following their Feb. 7 ordination to the permanent diaconate. Stuart is holding a small pig doll affectionately know as “Saint Baconi.” The pig became a class symbol of someone who gives their all. Photo By Michael Alexander

At the “calling of the candidates” Miguel Echevarria of St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Kennesaw, joins his fellow deacon candidates in the center aisle of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta during the Feb. 7 diaconate ordination as his wife Maria, left, looks on. Photo By Michael Alexander


International class of deacons ordained

By STEPHEN O’KANE and ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writers | Published February 19, 2009

Christ the King Cathedral welcomed family and friends from all over the country and beyond as a unique and international class of deacons was ordained on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Five countries and a commonwealth were represented in the class of 12 permanent deacons, which even had a special presence in Timothy Gallagher, who was ordained as a transitional deacon, completing the “baker’s dozen,” as Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory put it.

In addition to the United States, the class includes natives of Cuba, El Salvador, Peru, Venezuela and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Ranging from Gallagher, who is 37, to Stuart A. Mead, who is 68, the class includes five men with over 20 years of service in the Army, Navy or Air Force and, by profession, a preponderance of engineers.

The deacons’ wives, children, parents, siblings and friends packed Atlanta’s mother church on the unseasonably warm day and came together to celebrate the culmination of their five years of study and formation.

While the men who were ordained came from different cultures and families, their desire to serve the larger community with compassion is what unifies them in this vocation.

In his homily, Archbishop Gregory referred to the Gospel of the day, a reading from Matthew, which told of Jesus visiting various synagogues, healing many with diseases and sicknesses.

“Seeing the people, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd,” the Gospel read. “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’”

“The Gospels over and over again reveal that Jesus Christ was an empathetic man. He furthermore was not afraid to display his emotions,” the archbishop said during his homily.

“It is this image of the heart of Christ, moved with pity, that the Gospel places before us on this ordination day, and rightfully so,” he continued. “Christ is a man of such deep compassion for the needs of people that we could not have selected a more appropriate image as we ordained these men for the office of deacon. In view of the fact that a deacon must be a man of deep compassion for the needs of all those who even today yearn to encounter Christ through his Church.”

Archbishop Gregory continued to encourage the candidates, offering them advice on how to be the best they can be.

“Deacons must be men of prayer, for within your life of prayer only will you meet the Lord Jesus. The most perfect encounter with Christ will always be in the Eucharist. As you stand at the altar of the Lord assisting at the celebration of the Eucharist, look to discover Christ in his word and in the cup of salvation so that you will both know the one that you proclaim and understand more profoundly his message of life,” the archbishop said.

Scott Parker of St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville, pledges his obedience to Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and his successors. Photo By Michael Alexander

Following the homily, Archbishop Gregory examined the candidates, asking them if they were sincere in their desire to serve the church.

Each of the candidates then made a promise of obedience to Archbishop Gregory and his successors.

They approached the archbishop one by one, and as he clasped their hands and looked them in the eyes, he spoke encouraging words.

“May the God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment,” said Archbishop Gregory to each candidate.

The Archdiocesan Festival Choir, led by choirmaster Kevin Culver and organist Dr. Timothy Wissler, led the crowd in a reverent Litany of the Saints, which was followed by the laying on of hands. The candidates again approached the archbishop, knelt before him and bowed their heads. Archbishop Gregory closed his eyes and placed his hands on the candidates’ heads in silent prayer.

The prayer of consecration followed, as the archbishop petitioned, “Send forth upon them, Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit.” Archbishop Gregory prayed that the new deacons would be given the purity of innocence, and that God’s commandments would shine forth in their conduct.

Rev. Mr. Gallagher, who is preparing to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, also made a vow of celibacy.

The candidates were then vested with the stole and dalmatic, usually assisted by their wives and by a priest or deacon. The simple white cassocks which were worn by the candidates at the beginning of the day were replaced by beautifully ornate vestments, signifying that their transformation was complete.

The other family members watched from the pews with smiles on their faces, tears in their eyes and cameras in hand.

Nekisa Cooper, 33, flew in from California to see her father, King, who is 60, become a deacon who will serve at St. Matthew Church in Tyrone. She was part of the large group of the Cooper family and friends that crowded into two wooden pews in the cathedral, coming from Savannah, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

The family is “incredibly proud,” she said.

“This has been such a journey for him,” said Cooper, who works as an independent film producer.

His new role as a deacon confirms what has been part of his life. Cooper said her father, a federal law enforcement senior manager, has long been helping people.

“This just seems like a natural progression,” she said.

Each deacon was presented by the archbishop with the Book of the Gospels, signifying they were ready to preach the Good News.

“Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become,” Archbishop Gregory said as he handed the book to each deacon. “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, practice what you teach.”

The 2009 class of deacons included: Joseph Carter, King E. Cooper, Miguel Echevarría Garcia, José G. Espinosa León, Timothy Gallagher, Paul Gorski, William H. Marten, Stuart A. Mead, Israel Dimas Melara, Donald Scott Parker, Jose Ignacio Pupo, Eduardo Rubio and James Albert Tramonte.

For the deacons, the ordination is special from beginning to end. But there are certain parts that speak to their hearts.

For Deacon Melara, it was the moment that Archbishop Gregory handed him the Book of the Gospels.

“I’ve been working for the church for a long, long time. I’ve been teaching the Bible for 35 years,” he said. Now God has strengthened him to continue that ministry, he said.

Archbishop Gregory lays hands on Eduardo Rubio of St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming. Photo By Michael Alexander

Deacon Melara is a truck driver, who once would drive to make deliveries as far away as Texas and Massachusetts. A few years ago, the 52-year-old started a trucking company in Atlanta. With its small fleet, the company is trying to survive the economic downturn.

Born and raised in El Salvador, he left school after seventh grade. It was the priests there who inspired him to fulfill his dream to serve the people of the church.

“It was a dream since I was a little kid. I wanted to be a priest, but it didn’t work out,” he said.

The goal of working for the church and the faithful remained with him and it could be fulfilled as a deacon, however.

Family members came from his native El Salvador, California, Massachusetts and points in between to celebrate the day. His parish of St. Theresa Church, Douglasville, hosted two parties for him on Saturday and Sunday.

“A lot of good surprises,” said Deacon Melara, who was slated to give his first homily the next week.

Hispanic deacons, like Deacon Melara, made up nearly half the class of new deacons ordained.

However, the ministry of deacons is not well understood in the Hispanic culture and people often mistake a permanent deacon with his wife for a married priest, he said. Deacon Melara said in his homeland there are very few deacons to serve people. There is a need to inform people about the ministry, he said.

As for the future, Deacon Melara said he would like to be a model for Hispanics so they learn about deacons and, at the same time, he wants to serve as a bridge between the Hispanic and the Anglo communities so they get to know each other better.

New Orleans native Jim Tramonte realized his call for ministry as a deacon through the constant nudging of the Spirit.

“It wasn’t the lightning bolt that knocked me off the horse. It was a gradual thing,” said the father of five children. Yearly, Tramonte takes a retreat, focusing on matters of the spirit and discerning God in his life.

It was when Msgr. Jim Fennessy, pastor at his parish of St. Jude the Apostle, Atlanta, asked him to consider the deacon’s ministry that he set on that goal. Deacon Tramonte said he approached the invitation with “open hands” to do God’s will.

Tramonte works as a tax lawyer with the firm of Miller & Martin PLLC. And according to the firm’s Web site, he was involved with a $463 million acquisition for a European client. Asked about the contrast of serving as a deacon and a lawyer, Tramonte said: “That’s not who I am, that’s what I do.”

The preparation for service as a deacon in this archdiocese is intense, including one year of aspirancy and four years of study. Tramonte said learning the intellectual history of the church unexpectedly deepened his spirituality. And the week-long journey to Jamaica to work with the missionaries and serving at Our Lady of Perpetual Help cancer home opened his eyes to the many needs of people, he said.

“You really come to an awareness of the precious gift of life,” Deacon Tramonte said.

Stephanie Tramonte attended many of the courses with her husband, to learn with him. She was a lector during the ordination, reading the account in the Acts of the Apostles of the first call of deacons in the church.

“Saturday is just the beginning,” she said. “It is the beginning of a whole new life,” she said at the rehearsal held several days before the ordination Mass.

“It is amazing to me to commit to something you don’t really know where it is going to take you,” she said.

The Tramontes—high school sweethearts growing up in New Orleans—have served married couples and engaged couples for more than 20 years. He hopes to continue the ministry, along with his wife, in marriage enrichment and marriage preparation.

Deacon Tramonte also wants to help women struggling after an abortion to find healing. And as an Eagle Scout, he sees himself serving as a Scout chaplain.

“I hope that through my example, my lived example, I can be a sign of hope for people and an invitation for people. If God can do this for me, what is he calling for you?”

The ministries the deacons will participate in are as varied as the culture in which they were raised. From outreach to the poor and young adult ministries, to marriage preparation and caring for the elderly, the new class of deacons will serve in more than 10 churches throughout the archdiocese, including Our Lady of the Americas Mission, Lilburn, St. Monica, Duluth, and St. Brendan the Navigator, Cumming.

Archbishop Gregory publicly thanked those who had been “engaged in the process,” first and foremost their wives, but also friends and other family members who provided support along the way.

“Thank you for helping us ordain a baker’s dozen of servants,” the archbishop said to a chuckling crowd.

Deacon Israel Melara shares the happy occasion of his ordination with his 82-year-old mother Ignacia of El Salvador. Photo By Michael Alexander

A standing ovation was given to the new class as they exited the cathedral church, ready and willing to serve God’s people. But not before enjoying a quick snack in the parish social hall.

Hundreds of friends and family members gathered for finger sandwiches, punch and dessert as they congratulated the new class on a job well done.

Deacon Echevarría, a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, had lots of his family present including his 20-year-old son, Christopher, and his nephew Carlos.

Christopher, who said he was anxious and excited before the Mass of ordination, was happy to see his father ordained. Carlos felt his uncle deserved to be happy and was also excited to see him ordained after five years of hard work.

“I’m happy to see him get what he wants,” Carlos said.

Deacon Dennis Dorner, director of permanent diaconate for the archdiocese, said he was touched by the diversity of this particular class.

“There is a wonderful spirit in this group of men,” he said, adding that they have a delightfully positive attitude.

Deacon Dorner also said that the diaconate is becoming “more and more a part of the fabric in the archdiocese,” and with a total of 230 men serving in nearly every parish, he believes more people are beginning to become comfortable seeing deacons intricately involved in their parish.

“Our hope is that we will see this continue to expand,” he said.

“We will look to you to be those men (of compassion) who from this day forward will allow your hearts to be moved with pity so that you will respond with the same compassion as Christ,” the archbishop told the deacons. “And he will be rediscovered anew in our world and time.”

Deacon Joseph Carter

Age: 63

Date of Birth: April 16, 1945

Place of Birth: Nashville, Tenn.

Family: He and his wife, Carol, have been married for 44 years and have three daughters, Carren Wilkins, Christy Carter-Morgan, and Lee Ellen Carter, and four grandchildren.

Education: Associate of arts degree in electronic engineering from the Community College of the U.S. Air Force; bachelor of science degree in industrial technology from the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale, Ill.; and a master of science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.

Work Experience: Retired from the U.S. Air Force with 21 years of active duty service in ground communications. Retired from Lucent Technologies with 22 years of service as a quality assurance engineer, quality manager and program manager.

Hobbies and Interests: Favorite pastime is harassing his grandchildren and enjoying retirement.

Parish Ministries: Ministry to the sick and elderly, OCIA, adult education, St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Ministry to the sick and elderly and adult education.

Parish Assignment: St. Monica Church in Duluth.

Vested By: Deacon Al Samoranski and Carol Carter.

Deacon José G. Espinosa León

Age: 54

Date of Birth: Jan. 26, 1955

Place of Birth: Caracas, Venezuela

Family: He and his wife, Rhaiza M. De Espinosa, have been married for 23 years and have one son, Julian De La Rosa. His mother and sisters, as well as the mother and sisters of his wife, live in Venezuela.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, 1983.

Work Experience: Twenty-five years working with the General Electric Co. from local field engineer to regional service manager to global logistics manager.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading and music.

Parish Ministries: Case sponsor for persons seeking annulments, marriage preparation, social justice, parish school of religion and adult education.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Same as those above.

Parish Assignment: Our Lady of the Americas Mission, Lilburn.

Vested By: Father Fernándo Molina Restrepo, administrator of Our Lady of the Americas, and Rhaiza M. De Espinosa.

Deacon Miguel Antonio Echevarría Garcia

Age: 45

Date of Birth: Sept. 1, 1963

Place of Birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Family: He has been married for 26 years to his high school sweetheart, Maria C. Echevarría, and they have three young adult children, Christie Marie, Michael Anthony and Christopher Michael.

Education: After secondary education at the Academia Santa Maria (St. Mary’s Academy) in Ponce, Puerto Rico, he began college at the Colegio Regional de Ponce and continued as he traveled with the U.S. Army at Vincennes University in Arkansas and at the University of Georgia.

Work Experience: His military service, both active duty with the U.S. Army and active duty as an Active Guard Reserve AGR Title 12 with the Army National Guard of Georgia, includes service in South Korea and within the continental United States, in the professional fields of logistics, personnel, maintenance and infantry. He retired with 22 years of exceptional active duty service in June 2005.

Hobbies and Interests: Spending quality time with his wife and children, spending time with his three beagles. Otherwise he enjoys being outdoors in his 4×4 all-terrain vehicle, camping, hiking and canoeing, as well as bowling, traveling and movies.

Parish Ministries: A past Grand Knight and currently trustee for Knights of Columbus Council 9923, he founded the Columbian Squires Circle 4695 and the Columbiettes Auxiliary Council 9923 in Kennesaw. He teaches in the parish school of religion and RCIA and implemented and supervises the RICA, which is the Spanish adult education program. He serves as clergy liaison for the Hispanic eucharistic ministers and lectors as well as all the Spanish liturgies. He implemented and supervised all Spanish baptismal, marriage and quinceañera preparations (Hispanic traditional celebration similar to a sweet sixteen celebration). He also serves as a Tribunal case sponsor and on the Hispanic advisory board to the pastor.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Baptismal, marriage and quinceañera preparations; RCIA/PSR and RICA Hispanic Adult Education; Spanish Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors; Knights of Columbus Council 9923, Columbiettes Auxiliary 9923 and the Columbian Squires Circle 4695.

Parish Assignment: St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw.

Vested By: Father John Matejek and Maria C. Echevarría.

Deacon Paul Gorski

Age: 58

Date of Birth: Aug. 24, 1950

Place of Birth: New Haven, Conn.

Family: He and his wife, Elise, have three children, Joseph, Thomas and Christine, and one grandson.

Education: Bachelor of science in civil engineering from Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.; master of science in construction management from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Work Experience: Retired with over 20 years of service from the U.S. Army. Currently employed by MARTA as the chief cost estimator.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading, running.

Parish Ministries: Knights of Columbus, perpetual adoration, adult education, Holy Name Society, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector, Men’s Club.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Hospital ministry.

Parish Assignment: Transfiguration Church in Marietta.

Vested By: Father Augustine Tran and Elise Gorski.

Deacon William H. Marten

Age: 55

Date of Birth: June 28, 1953

Place of Birth:  Indianapolis, Ind.

Family: He and his wife, Marie (Micki), have been married for 33 years and have four children, Ryan, Sean, Colleen and Kimberly, and two grandchildren.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in political science from Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala.

Work Experience: He worked for 17 years with Hormel Foods Corp. in brand management and sales. Owner of Plantation Candy Co. from 1993 to 2002. Currently, he is business and finance manager at St. John Neumann Parish, Lilburn.

Hobbies and Interests: Family, reading, sports, ministry.

Parish Ministries: Baptism preparation, adult education, acolyte, care ministry, eucharistic minister, family formation, finance council, Knights of Columbus, liturgy committee.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Outreach ministry to the sick, the needy and the homebound, adult education, sacramental preparation.

Parish Assignment: St John Neumann Church, Lilburn.

Vested By: Msgr. David P. Talley, pastor of St. John Neumann, and Marie C. Marten.

Deacon King E. Cooper

Age: 60

Date of Birth: Sept. 29, 1948

Place of Birth: Ridgeland, S.C.

Family: He and his wife, Evelyn, have been married for 34 years and have three adult children, Nekisa, King Jr., and Darius, and two grandchildren.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Md., 1974; master of science degree in adult and occupational education from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., 1981.

Work Experience: Thirty-nine years of progressive civilian and military law enforcement experience, which includes 33 years of command or executive level management. For the past 10 years he has worked in various senior level law enforcement and security management positions with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service. Since January 2006, he has served as chief program support manager for the Southeast Sunbelt Region 4, administering and directing programs, personnel and resources responsible for ensuring the maintenance of a safe and secure environment for federal employees throughout an eight-state region, including the protection of federal properties. He serves as a senior management official, providing key input to the regional director in the development and implementation of regional law enforcement, security, contracting and budget programs.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading, listening to book tapes during travels, and fishing.

Parish Ministries: Extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector, RCIA coordinator, RCIA catechist and catechist for the parish school of religion.

Parish Ministries of Interest: RCIA coordinator, annulment case sponsor, marriage/baptism preparation and visitation of the sick and homebound.

Parish Assignment: St. Matthew Church, Tyrone.

Vested By: Father Victor Galier, pastor of St. Matthew Church, and Evelyn C. Cooper.

Deacon Stuart A. Mead

Age: 68

Date of Birth: Nov. 21, 1940

Place of Birth: South Kingstown, R.I.

Family: He is married to Mary-Mead A. Mead and has three children, a son, Franklin B. Mead, and two daughters, Elizabeth M. Hiles and the late Dorothy M. Farina. Education: Bachelor of science degree in industrial management from Georgia Institute of Technology, graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Work Experience: Military service (both active and reserve) includes service in Europe, the Republic of South Vietnam and within the continental United States. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and various service awards and retired with over 28 years of exceptional service in 1992. In industry he has served in accounting and administrative positions, including as corporate controller in the metalworking and printing industries. His specialty is working with firms in financial or operational stress to find and eliminate the problem. He is currently a registered representative for First Allied Securities, Inc. and is state-licensed in insurance in the areas of accident and sickness, life, and variable products.

Hobbies and Interests: Investing time with family, military reenactments and living histories, photography, chaplaincy. Parish Ministries: Knights of Columbus, adult education and faith formation teacher, extraordinary minister to the sick, reader and acolyte, volunteer chaplain and on-call chaplain for the Rockdale Medical Center.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Same as above.

Parish Assignment: St. Pius X Church, Conyers.

Vested By: Father John Kieran, pastor of St. Pius X, and Mary-Mead A. Mead.

Deacon Israel Dimas Melara

Age: 52

Date of Birth: Sept. 28, 1956

Place of Birth:  Chalatenango, El Salvador, Central America

Family: He and his wife, Luz de Maria, have four daughters, Veronica, Jacqueline, Andrea and Raquel.

Education: Seventh grade in El Salvador

Work Experience: A truck driver for 30 years, 20 of them in the United States, he now runs his own trucking business.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading in specialized areas, including the history of the Catholic Church, philosophy, and the history of other denominations, formerly played soccer and now enjoys playing spiritual music on the guitar and organ.

Parish Ministries: Extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector, acolyte, adult education, marriage preparation, RCIA, evangelization, baptism classes, children’s chorus.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Nursing home ministry, visiting the sick, jail ministry, marriage council, drug and alcohol abuse council, to strengthen families, working with the homeless, and helping the charismatic renewal in evangelization.

Parish Assignment: St. Theresa Church, Douglasville.

Vested By: Father Richard Tibbetts, pastor of St. Theresa Church, and Luz de Maria Melara.

Deacon Donald Scott (Scott) Parker

Age: 52

Date of Birth: July 21, 1956

Place of Birth: Newnan, Ga.

Family: He and his wife, Rosa Maria Montano-Parker, have been married for 29 years and have four children, Angela, Christopher, Sarah and Matthew, and six grandchildren.

Education: Master of science in human resources management from Chapman University, Orange, Calif., 1996; bachelor of science in vocational education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill., 1987; associate of arts from the University of the State of New York, 1984.

Work Experience: Presently unemployed. High school special education teacher for five years at East Coweta High School; high school soccer, tennis and football coach; adjunct business professor at Clayton State University for four years; personnel training officer for Clayton County Board of Commissioners for two years. Spent 21 years on active duty as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy working in Special Forces (during last two years of the Vietnam War), and on aircraft carriers and aboard fast attack submarines.

Hobbies and Interests: Riding his Harley, traveling, playing mandolin, repairing old motorcycles, reading, watching old Disney movies and British mysteries and comedies on television, and spending as much time with his wife as possible.

Parish Ministries: Acolyte, lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, Life Teen, Hispanic ministry and adult education.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Law enforcement chaplain, Hispanic ministry, adult religious education, marriage preparation, Tribunal caseworker, Amigos for Christ, prison ministry and Catholic Relief Services.

Parish Assignment: St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville.

Vested By: Father Timothy Hepburn and Rosa Maria Montano-Parker.

Deacon Jose Ignacio (Joe) Pupo

Age: 51

Date of Birth: Sept. 1, 1957

Place of Birth: Havana, Cuba. Immigrated to United States in 1962, settled in Hoboken, N.J.

Family: He and his wife, Lyadel, have two children, Andrew and Amanda.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in marketing and business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, N.J., 1981.

Work Experience: Employed by Campbell Soup Co. since 1984, focused on consumer package goods sales. Currently national account sales director for the V8 beverages immediate consumption team; relocated to Atlanta in1994.

Hobbies and Interests: College and professional football, baseball, country music, playing guitar, traveling, reading and, most importantly, spending time with family and friends.

Parish Ministries: Member of Knights of Columbus since 1995, former religious education assistant teacher, current lector, acolyte and annulment case sponsor.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Ministering to the sick, the elderly, and the poor. Plan to be of service to those forgotten and in prison. Enjoy catechesis and plan to rejoin St. Thomas Aquinas’ religious education team with focus on middle and/or high school age students. Continued active membership in the Knights of Columbus.

Parish Assignment: St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta.

Vested By: Father Greg Goolsby, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, and Deacon Edmund LaHouse.

Deacon Eduardo J. (Ed) Rubio

Age: 45

Date of Birth: Oct. 11, 1963

Place of Birth: Trujillo, Peru, South America

Family: He is married to Luisa M. Rubio.

Education: Bachelor of science degree from the University of South Florida and a master of science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in the field of electrical engineering.

Work Experience: Network reliability engineer for Cox Communications since February 2007. Previously he worked as a detail engineer for ADC Telecommunications and a product manager for Nortel Networks.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading and traveling.

Parish Ministries: Lector, sacristan, eucharistic minister, usher, Hispanic ministry.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Hispanic ministry, religious education.

Parish Assignment: St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Cumming.

Vested By: Father Guillermo Córdoba and Deacon Roger Fraser.

Deacon James Albert (Jim) Tramonte

Age: 57

Date of Birth: March 6, 1951

Place of Birth: New Orleans, La.

Family: He and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 36 years and have five children: James Jr. (Jay) and his wife, Amanda; Karen Kovacs and her husband, Christopher; David; Patrick and his wife, Sarah; and Mark; and one grandchild. Deacon Tramonte’s parents, Gus and Jean Tramonte, are members of St. Ann Parish in Marietta.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans; J.D. from Tulane School of Law; and LL. M. (master of laws) in taxation from New York University.

Work Experience: Currently tax partner in corporate department of Miller & Martin PLLC, Atlanta, concentrating in international business and tax law. Previously served as general counsel of public and private companies in Atlanta and practiced tax law in New Orleans before moving to Atlanta in 1988.

Hobbies and Interests: Acoustic guitar, hiking mountain trails, travel and reading.

Parish Ministries: Adult religious education, RCIA, liturgy committee, altar servers, marriage preparation, right to life committee.

Particular Ministries of Interest: Marriage enrichment and marriage preparation; retreat director at Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center; PATH (Post Abortion Treatment and Healing) ministry; Missionaries of the Poor; and Boy Scouts.

Parish Assignment: St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs.

Vested By: His wife, Stephanie, and his father, August J. Tramonte.