Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
(L-r) Silver jubilarians Father Albert Jowdy, pastor of St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville, and Father James Schillinger, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, and diamond jubilarian Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, pastor of All Saints Church, Dunwoody, stand with Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue during the reading of the Gospel.


Jubilee Mass Celebrates All Priests

By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published July 16, 2009

Seven priests were honored June 4 at the annual Jubilee Mass where those with diamond, golden or silver anniversaries of ordination are singled out. But Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said it was appropriate for all of the more than 50 priests who came to the Mass to recall God’s faithfulness to them.

“Some of us mark special anniversaries and are honored for that, but in truth, each of us observes the grace of God’s fidelity in our lives no matter how many years we have shared in Christ’s priesthood,” the archbishop said during his homily at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

“Anniversaries, no matter what titles we give them, no matter how we chart their occurrences are about God’s activity in our lives,” he continued. “Arbitrarily we rank some of them as more significant than others. What makes a silver more precious than the seventeenth or a diamond jubilee more noteworthy than the eighth? Is not the God who is faithful for 50 years the very same Lord who is faithful for 12?”

“We celebrate God’s fidelity,” he said. “We celebrate the wondrous truth that the Lord has touched each of our lives in so many generous and compassionate ways.”

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, right center, is joined by his brother priests and the jubilarians on hand, which included Msgr. Walter J. Donovan, dressed in black, a priest of 65 years, Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, right of archbishop’s crosier, a priest of 60 years, and Father Albert Jowdy, immediately behind Msgr. Kiernan, a priest of 25 years, and Father James Schillinger, left of Msgr. Donovan, a priest of 25 years. Photo By Michael Alexander

“Walter Donovan is senior in honor today and Jim Schillinger, Albert Jowdy and Paul Hachey comprise our silver boast,” he said, speaking first of one priest who celebrated 65 years and then of three celebrating their 25th jubilees.

“Yet all of us confirm the same truth: that God blesses each of us with his fidelity and his grace throughout our ministry and service,” he said.

During the quiet morning Mass, the priests participated in acts of unity, from renewing their priestly commitment to the consecration of the Eucharist.

Standing following the homily, the priests answered a series of questions asked by Archbishop Gregory, committing their lives again to God’s service.

“We thank you for the manifestation of your love and providence in the countless numbers of good people whom we have encountered in our years in the ministerial priesthood,” the presbyterate prayed together. “In thanksgiving, and conscious of our foibles and weaknesses, we renew our commitment to you in the ordained priesthood, so that we may be your effective ministers in continuing, in accordance with your will, the good work which you have entrusted to us.”

Following the Mass, the priests gathered in the cathedral’s parish hall for a reception and fellowship.

The diamond jubilarians honored at the Mass are Msgr. Walter Donovan (65 years) and Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan (60 years). The golden jubilarians honored are Father Alan Dillmann and Claretian Father Gregory Kenny. Silver jubilarians are Marist Father Paul Hachey, Father Albert Jowdy and Father James Schillinger.

Msgr. Walter Donovan—65 Years A Priest

Born in Little Falls, N.Y., in 1916, Msgr. Donovan, 93, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Savannah on July 1, 1944, when that diocese encompassed all of Georgia. His ministry included participating in historic changes that occurred in the state and in the Catholic Church in the second half of the 20th century. After serving in Savannah and Dublin, Msgr. Donovan was pastor of St. Joseph Church in Athens, where he opened St. Joseph’s Elementary School in 1949 and acquired land for the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia. He was involved in resettling many refugees following World War II and at one time directed Catholic Charities here. Later he founded Blessed Sacrament Parish in Atlanta, was chaplain for a Catholic interracial council and was elected the first president when a Priests’ Senate was created in the Atlanta Archdiocese in the 1960s. He was also pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Decatur and Good Shepherd Church in Cumming. Msgr. Donovan is now retired and living at St. George Village in Roswell. In 2003, Monsignor Donovan Catholic High School, a private Catholic school, was dedicated in Athens in honor of the priest.

Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan—60 Years A Priest

Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, an 84-year-old native of Massachusetts, attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and was ordained to the priesthood for the Savannah Diocese on May 4, 1949, by Cardinal Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston. Like Msgr. Donovan, Msgr. Kiernan became a priest of the new Atlanta Diocese from the time it was established in 1956. His pastorates have included St. Jude Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta and All Saints Church in Dunwoody, where he has been pastor since 1985. He has also been a pastor of St. Peter Church in LaGrange. He has especially served as an ambassador to community and statewide organizations as metro Atlanta developed. He founded the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, serving as its director and chaplain for over 20 years, and has also been a chaplain to DeKalb County police, the Georgia State Patrol and the local division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Msgr. Kiernan served as an editor of The Georgia Bulletin for 13 years, writing a local column, and has been a chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and very active in Boy Scouts in metro Atlanta. He has received several honorary doctorates, including from Providence College, his alma mater, and Georgia State University.\


Father Alan Dillmann

A native of New York City, Father Alan Dillmann was ordained a priest on May 23, 1959, after study at St. Bernard’s Minor Seminary in St. Bernard, Ala., and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. His years of ministry were varied, as he spent time teaching at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta as well as serving many parishes, including as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Atlanta and St. Philip Benizi in Jonesboro. Sent to serve in the area of Buford and Cumming, he was the administrator when the first Prince of Peace church was built there and the parish name chosen and, after building up the community, he was named the first pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Cumming. While pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta, Father Dillmann through hospital visits encountered persons with AIDS when the syndrome was first appearing. He became instrumental in beginning AIDS ministry in the archdiocese, helping to form and lead the initial archdiocesan task force on AIDS and later serving at Grady Hospital as a chaplain while in residence at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Father Dillmann is now retired.

Father Gregory Kenny, CMF

Born in Chicago in July 1932, Father Greg Kenny was ordained into the Claretian order in September 1959. He served as the provincial treasurer for the Claretians from 1974 to 1989, and also served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Chicago. The Claretian order was appointed to administer Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, in 1992 and Father Greg Kenny was named pastor. He is now pastor emeritus at Corpus Christi Church.


Father Paul Hachey, SM

Boston-born Marist Father Paul Hachey was ordained in November 1984 by Bishop Raymond Lessard of Savannah. Father Hachey first served as a parochial vicar for St. Francis Xavier Church, Brunswick. In 1986, he joined the faculty of Marist School, Atlanta. In May 1991, he was appointed as a judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In July 1995, Father Hachey was appointed as a judge in the Court of Appeals serving the ecclesiastical Province of Atlanta and a year later, in June 1996, he was appointed as judicial vicar of the Court of Appeals, an appointment that he still holds. Father Hachey was also elected to represent religious order priests on the Council of Priests.

Father Albert Jowdy

Father Albert Jowdy, a native of New Bern, N.C., grew up in Athens, Georgia, as a member of St. Joseph Church. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he began studying astronomy and psychology, before he began to respond to his call to the priesthood. A 1979 UNC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, he then studied at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., and was ordained a priest of the Atlanta Archdiocese in June 1984. Father Jowdy has served at a number of parishes and been pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, and St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville, where he currently serves. He has been elected to lead the Council of Priests and appointed to serve on various archdiocesan commissions. Father Jowdy has also been active in assisting Marriage Encounter and working with small Christian communities. He is currently a member and secretary of the Council of Priests, a member of the archbishop’s College of Consultors and dean of the Northeast Metro Deanery.

Father James Schillinger

Father James Schillinger, who hails from Philadelphia, was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1984 after studying in Rome, Italy. Originally a student at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, he later transferred to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio as an independent student without affiliation with any particular diocese. Through a friendship with Msgr. Richard Lopez, he began to consider coming to Atlanta and made a commitment to the archdiocese during his senior year. He has received degrees from the Josephinum and from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, both in Rome. Father Schillinger, who currently serves as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, also has overseen continuing education of the clergy and has been elected to lead the Council of Priests. He is currently a member of the Council of Priests, director of Ongoing Formation of Priests and dean of the Central Deanery.