Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published October 14, 2010

Good things are happening for Melissa Peña, who was featured in a Georgia Bulletin story about a retreat for homeless women held at Jesuit Retreat Center at Ignatius House (“Retreat Brings New Life To Women In Recovery,” April 29).

Since her spring retreat, Peña not only completed her GED but also spoke at her graduation ceremony, highlighting the retreat and showing her painting from the weekend to the more than 500 people gathered.

“I am looking forward to starting college by spring and aspire to be a wildlife rehabilitator. I’m trying to figure out the whole financial aid situation right now,” she said.

That event will happen soon, but Peña positively glowed while relating how she never could have imagined herself speaking in public, even to a small group of classmates, and how she is looking forward to sharing her story.

Cathy Crosby, one of the retreat facilitators, said Peña “seemed calm and confidant, slightly amazed at her own progress and excited about her future.”

The retreat team keeps in touch with many of the former retreatants and has hosted a retreat reunion. Plus, the women facilitators have even started doing ongoing spiritual direction and spiritual companionship where they go to the shelters and programs to continue encouraging the women.

Tommy Treat is the new leader of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholic Committee on Scouting.

Treat takes over for Tom Bender, who will remain active as chairman emeritus and special advisor to the chaplain, according to Deacon Tom Gotschall, of St. Andrew Church and chaplain of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholic Committee on Scouting.

“Scouting is truly a ministry to Tommy Treat,” said Deacon Gotschall, adding that Treat’s service in the Scouts has been “a special blessing for our archdiocese.”

Treat’s ties to the Scouting movement are deep, stretching more than three decades. He was the first Scoutmaster of Troop 75 of Transfiguration Parish in Marietta back in 1982. In addition, two of Treat’s sons are Eagle Scouts.

Treat is a recipient of many distinguished awards for Scouting. He earned the Silver Beaver award, given to adult leaders who have made an impact on youth, along with the Bronze Pelican and the St. George awards for adults who promote Scouting within the Catholic Church.

He’s currently active with the Scouting units at St. Catherine of Siena, in Kennesaw.

St. Pius X High School is calling it a “marathon of mercy.”

More than 200 students are to participate in various Works of Mercy projects at more than 20 organizations around the Atlanta community.

Gayle Ohrenberger, the St. Pius X director of campus ministry, said the project follows Pope John Paul II’s call to young people to be the “lights to the world.”

The event will take place at several locations in the metro Atlanta area from 7 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 23.

Students are volunteering at places called “Stockings for Soldiers” which provides Christmas stockings to deployed troops and thank you letters at Thanksgiving. Another project that students are able to participate in is “Afghans for Angels,” which makes blankets for critically ill children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

Other projects include the Atlanta Community Food Bank of Peachtree Hills Garden, to help prepare crops and gardens used to help feed the hungry; Habitat for Humanity in which students assist with building a Habitat house with the Cathedral of Christ the King; and tutoring students at nearby Dresden Elementary School.

Participating in Works of Mercy projects is a requirement for the theology program and graduation from St. Pius X. This service compels students to protect, promote and defend the dignity of each human person by their actions, especially the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the outcast, the suffering, the sick, the exploited and the unborn.

Father Bryan Small celebrated a Mass in honor of the recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cannon Chapel at Emory University on Sunday, Oct. 10.

The Mass included a shrine to Cardinal Newman with some of his letters, as third-degree relics.

Many of the Catholic ministry centers at secular universities are named for Newman. He encouraged the formation of places of worship and learning for Catholic students attending non-religious universities.

This is a special year for Cardinal Newman, a theologian and church leader, with his beatification on Sept. 19 by Pope Benedict XVI.

A third-degree relic is an object that is touched by either the saint or by an item used frequently.

The Pitts Theology Library at the university is holding an exhibit of  Cardinal Newman’s letters and writings.

A third generation of O’Connells just entered Immaculate Heart of Mary School.

Annalise O’Connell is just the latest member of her family to be at the school at 2855 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta.

Both her grandmothers taught here. Pat O’Connell, her paternal grandmother, was a middle school teacher for five years. Ruth Patch, her maternal grandmother, is in her 22nd year of teaching at the school. And her father, Ricky O’Connell, graduated from the school in 1985.

If you have news items or submissions for Notable, contact Andrew Nelson at or (404)877-5512.