Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published September 30, 2010

Close to 50 Brazilian Catholic ministry leaders from around the East Coast gathered at Norcross’ Simpsonwood Conference Center Sept. 20 to 23 to share ideas about bridging cultural gaps.

The 10th meeting of the National Encounter of Brazilian Ministry focused on integrating Brazilian immigrants into the American church, instead of having immigrants move toward a parallel church.

Auxiliary Bishop Edgar DaCunha of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., said both natives and newcomers can learn from each other, but it takes time.

A Brazilian Catholic is used to a lively, spirit-filled Mass in contrast to the more reserved way the community celebrates Mass here, said Bishop DaCunha, a native of Brazil. For instance, here at the sign of peace it is the custom to shake hands only with people nearby, but in Brazil, parishioners go around the church hugging people.

The approximately 1 million Brazilians living in the country have spiritual vitality to offer their parish communities, he said.

“The Brazilians are very faith-filled people, and they have energized the U.S. church with their faith, families and Catholic traditions,” he said.

Flavia Figueiredo, from Miami, Fla., was attending her first national meeting.

“Regardless of the ethnicity, we are all Catholics. We do things different than Americans, but we are all the same,” she said.

Figueiredo volunteers at her parish. People from different cultures need to trust one another and not relegate one group to the “church in the basement,” she said.

In Atlanta, Rosana Szvarca worships at St. Jude Church, Sandy Springs, where the Brazilian community has been welcomed with open arms. As an example, she said, the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration of the parish would be at one Mass celebrated in three languages, including Portuguese.

It is a sign the community is moving in the right direction of integration, she said.

Another parish with strong ties to Brazilians is Holy Family Church, Marietta. The church hosts Mass in Portuguese at 8 p.m. on Saturday (a Sunday vigil Mass) and at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. They have a distinct religious education program from both the Hispanic and the English-speaking communities at Holy Family Church. Father Roger Araujo ministers to the Brazilian communities in both archdiocesan parishes.

Andrea DeKroon and her birth daughter Jenna Sykes are competing on the TV show “The Amazing Race.” Sykes, a University of Georgia student, was adopted as a youngster. She and DeKroon met only a few times before the start of the global scavenger hunt. Father Paul Williams, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dalton, is DeKroon’s brother.

Starting in Gloucester, Mass., the duo joined 10 other teams in a transatlantic flight to England. Once there, it was a race to Stonehenge and later they faced medieval challenges, like storming a castle while being doused with dirty water and other obstacles.

The team avoided elimination. The competition on Sunday, Oct. 3, takes them to Ghana.

You can read a recap of the show at the Georgia Bulletin blog at The recap will run weekly until DeKroon and Sykes either win the $1 million prize or are eliminated.

Parishioners at St. Theresa Church, Douglasville, have a new prayer garden.

The community recently dedicated a memory garden that is open to the public for reflection and meditation. The garden has a pro-life memorial.

The gift was paid for in part with a $1,000 donation from the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, a $4,500 gift from the Sweetwater Council of the Knights of Columbus, along with contributions from parishioners.

Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo, the pastor of the church, blessed the garden and the monument.

St. Pius X High School freshman Savannah Tully was selected as one of 400 state finalists in Google’s Doodle 4 contest. There were a total of 33,000 entries across the country from 20,000 participating schools.

The search engine giant usually runs its well-known blue, red, orange and green logo.  But on special occasions it mixes it up with doodles.

That’s where this national contest comes in.

Student artists were asked: “If I Could Do Anything, I Would …” The entries were judged on artistic merit, creativity, theme communication and how well the drawing enforced the supporting statement.

Savannah answered that she’d save endangered animals. She drew the face of a tiger, with ‘Google’ creating the eyes and stripes of the animal’s face.

The competition was open to students in grades K-12 and urged them to be creative when creating the artwork and completing the phrase.

According to the Google website, doodle submissions were judged in four stages. The first stage, in which Savannah was chosen, selected up to 400 state finalists. They were then judged at a regional level to determine the 40 regional finalists by an expert panel of judges that included artists and authors. The online public selected four national winners from the regional selections, and of the four national winners, one was selected to grace the homepage of Google for one day by company executives.

According to Google, doodles have been a constant part of the website’s history. The first doodle was drawn to celebrate Independence Day in 2000. Since that creation, more than 300 doodles have marked worldwide events, anniversaries, holidays and even birthdays of noted scientists and artists. The doodles are designed on or around the Google logo.

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If you have news items or submissions for Notable, contact Andrew Nelson at or