Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

  • Florence Adu, right center, chaired the 25th anniversary steering committee for Christ Our Hope Church, Lithonia. The parish celebrated its two and a half decades with a special liturgy and celebration, Aug. 30. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • (L-r) Father Guyma Noel, current pastor of Christ Our Hope Church, joins the parish's first pastor Father John C. Kieran, currently the pastor of St. Pius X Church, Conyers, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, and former pastor Father Paul Flood, currently the pastor of St. Benedict Church, Johns Creek following the Aug. 30 anniversary Mass. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Sisters Mima Corbitt, left, and Mandy Mills, right, stand at the foot of the altar with Our Lady of LaSalette pastor Father Victor Reyes. Corbitt and Mills are offspring from one of the parish's founding families. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Father Victor Reyes, pastor of Our Lady of LaSalette Church, Canton, elevates the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament during a Sept. 15 liturgy of evening praise. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • (L-r) Current Our Lady of the Mountains pastor Father Charles Byrd is joined on the by Father Frank Richardson, the first pastor after the community was elevated to a parish, and LaSalette Father Joseph Nolan, the first administrator when it was a mission. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Joseph, front pew, left, and Rosemarie Murray stand among other founding parishioners of Our Lady of the Mountains during a special liturgy marking 25 years since it was first established as a mission and the first celebration of the parish feast, The Holy Name of Mary, Sept. 12. Photo By Michael Ale

Florence Adu, right center, chaired the 25th anniversary steering committee for Christ Our Hope Church, Lithonia. The parish celebrated its two and a half decades with a special liturgy and celebration, Aug. 30. Photo By Michael Alexander


2009 A Jubilee Year In Canton, Jasper, Lithonia

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published November 12, 2009

Three churches in the Atlanta Archdiocese mark their silver jubilee as faith communities this year.

They are Christ Our Hope Church, Lithonia; Jasper’s Our Lady of the Mountains Church; and Our Lady of LaSalette Church, Canton.

Christ Our Hope, Lithonia

Parishioners who stream into this Atlanta area church come from more than 50 countries, from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Caribbean.

The parish marked the lawn facing Wellborn Road with a visible recognition of its silver anniversary. Photo By Michael Alexander

The parish started when Father John Kieran was appointed to open the first Catholic church in this DeKalb County community, just outside Atlanta. Catholics gathered in the Lithonia First United Methodist Church in October 1984, since the parish did not have its own place to pray. It wasn’t for nearly another three years before the parish had a church of their own to use for Mass.
For the anniversary, the parish organized a series of special events. There has been a jazz concert, international food festival, a wine and cheese party. In the months ahead, there is to be a grand tea party and an Advent prayer service. The anniversary year ends with a ball on New Year’s Eve.

Our Lady Of The Mountains, Jasper

As more Catholics moved into Pickens County during the early 1980s, the mission church of Our Lady of LaSalette in Canton was becoming too cramped.

On Sept. 16, 1984, Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan approved a new Catholic mission to open its doors in Jasper, Georgia, some 60 miles north of Atlanta. LaSalette Father Joseph Nolan was named as administrator. On this same day, the mission of Our Lady of LaSalette in Canton was elevated to a parish.

The late Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan established Our Lady of the Mountains Church, Jasper, as a mission on Sept. 16, 1984. The current church building was dedicated on Nov. 7, 1987. Photo By Michael Alexander

A 126-seat building was built in Jasper in 1987 and by 2000 the mission had outgrown that home. In 2002, the church was renovated to seat 550 people. A year later, the mission was elevated to a parish with Father Frank Richardson as pastor. In 2009, Father Charles Byrd took over as pastor.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, the community gathered to mark the special anniversary of its founding as a mission.

Father Byrd said the parish celebrated with a new feast day, choosing the Holy Name of Mary.

At the special anniversary Mass, founders of the parish were recognized with corsages and boutonnieres. Priests from the early days, including the first pastor, Father Richardson, were there and concelebrated the Mass. The Legion of Mary carried an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was blessed. Following Mass, brunch was shared with the parishioners.

Our Lady Of LaSalette, Canton

This parish in Canton has a history going back 40 years.

In 1969, the then-mission was staffed by Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette. The mission was linked to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Cartersville. Mass was celebrated in the Georgia Power building in Canton. The mission consisted of 12 families when the first Mass was celebrated and it served all the Catholics in Cherokee and Pickens counties. Eight years later, a new church was dedicated. In a decade, the number of Catholics had increased to 140 families.

At the same time, Jasper’s growing number of Catholics required a mission in Pickens County. Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan on the same day established Our Lady of LaSalette as a parish and opened Our Lady of the Mountains Mission.

Our Lady of LaSalette Church celebrated its 25th anniversary as a result of a decree handed down by the late Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan on Sept. 16, 1984 establishing it as parish. Photo By Michael Alexander

LaSalette Father James P. McGlone was the first pastor. Today, Father Victor Reyes is the spiritual leader of the church. It has some 420 households and about 20 percent of the parish is Hispanic.

In Canton, the 25-year anniversary has been marked frequently throughout the year, from remembering the founders on All Saints Day to a three-day period of prayer leading up to the feast day of Our Lady of LaSalette on Sept. 19. A formal dinner is planned for early 2010.

Father Reyes, the pastor for two years, said the parish wanted to do more than throw a party, but rather have a “spiritual celebration” to mark the special year.

He said the goal is to have a jubilee year in the spirit of the Hebrew tradition.

“We enter together this time of celebration with the hope that at the end that we will be different. We will be transformed,” he said.