Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Published November 12, 2009

For 12 hours, some 175 Marist School students, faculty, staff and administrators read aloud Vergil’s epic poem “The Aeneid” in English translation.

“My favorite part was reading by candlelight when it was still dark,” said Joseph Monardo, president of the Latin Honor Society at Marist.

The read-a-thon on Friday, Oct. 16, raised more than $900 to pay for college courses for the “Lost Boys” of Sudan in Atlanta. October 15 is Vergil’s birthday.

The poem shares a common theme with the Lost Boys, according to Anne Washington Saunders, a Latin teacher at the independent Catholic school.

In the Aeneid, the hero Aeneas left his destroyed home and established a new home in Italy. Vergil emphasizes that any great endeavor entails sacrifice, loss, and effort, much like these young people from Sudan face, Saunders said.

“They are refugees too, like the early founders of the Roman people, starting something new here in this country,” she said.

 The annual event is sponsored by the Marist chapter of the Junior Classical League, an organization for high school Latin students.

Rev. Mr. Michael Silloway was just recently ordained a transitional deacon for the Atlanta Archdiocese.

But the newness of his ordination didn’t prevent him from a participating at a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

On Sunday, Oct. 25, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the landmark church for the close of the synod on Africa, and Deacon Silloway chanted the Gospel reading for the Mass.

In response to an e-mailed question, Deacon Silloway gave this account of his moment:

“I really didn’t get too nervous until the day before the Mass when we had the run-through. I was struck suddenly out of my ‘cloud 9’ wonderment and brought face to face with the reality that this was really happening. The MC had no qualms reminding me that ‘tomorrow there will be thousands of people, international TV cameras and, oh yes, the Holy Father.’ When it finally came time for me to get up and file into the Gospel procession, I received two great blessings that soothed an anxious soul—the first was from the Pope himself, when I as the deacon, bowed before him to ask his blessing that I might worthily proclaim the Gospel. The second was from Archbishop Gregory, in front of whom the procession passed. He flashed a smile and thumbs up that I caught out of the corner of my eye. I thought to myself—I’m surrounded by love and grace; this is going to be awesome. Was I nervous as I was chanting the Gospel? Oh yeah. But the prayers of family and friends were heard by our great and loving God, providing the strength that was needed.”

Deacon Silloway is in his fourth year of formation at the Pontifical North American College.