Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published April 14, 2011

Serra Atlanta, an organization of Catholic men and women that supports vocations of priests and sisters, helped finance a recent vocation conference at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

Some 20 vocation directors, both monks and nuns, from Trappist monasteries all over the United States, came to Conyers to pray for and share the challenges of recruiting men and women to discern a vocation to monastic life.

This was an opportunity for Atlanta Serrans to use club funds to support the organization’s primary mission. The Holy Spirit Monastery has played a major role in the Atlanta Archdiocese’s quest for more vocations with monastic and other religious orders, and many of the archdiocese’s own priests have discerned their vocations during time spent in prayer at the monastery.

Jim Aden, the president of the North Metro Serra Club, and club trustee Joe Krygiel presented $6,000 to the monastery’s abbot, Dom Francis Michael Stiteler and Brother Elias Marechal, the novice master.

Friends of 16-year-old Nikki Thornton rolled up their sleeves in support of the ill St. John Neumann teen.

Thornton received a new liver in February shortly after the EDGE middle school program, led by Linda Mauge, prayed for her on Sunday, Feb. 20. That night a liver became available, and by Monday, Feb. 21, Nikki had a new liver.

During her hospital stay, friends at the parish prayed and brainstormed to organize a blood drive in her honor.

Nikki’s friends continued to pray after the American Red Cross told the group it’d be a few months before they could service their blood drive. It turned out there was a cancellation and the young people with EDGE pulled it all together, from designing posters and registering donors to handing out cookies and juice on the drive on Sunday, March 27.

Katie Daly, a volunteer with the middle school program, said blood donors surpassed the goal of 42 pints and contributed 58 pints of blood that can help more than 170 people.

Parish and Social Justice Ministries has been brought under the umbrella of the Atlanta Archdiocese.

The program that promotes the social justice teaching of the church—focusing on changing situations that cause people to fall into poverty—had been part of Catholic Charities Atlanta for many years. It was recently made part of the communications department of the archdiocese.

The director of the ministry is Heidi Tauscher. The mission of the program will not change, she said. Tauscher, who has taught at Georgia State University, said she may take on a larger role in communicating the Catholic perspective on public policy issues.

Javier Pabon and Richard Vu from the Archdiocese of Atlanta were admitted to candidacy for Holy Orders at the Josephinum on March 25.

Nine seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, participated in the Evening Prayer liturgy.

Bishop Roger Foys, of Covington, Ky., admitted them to candidacy for Holy Orders in the seminary’s Saint Turibius Chapel. The ceremony is celebrated when a seminarian has reached a maturity of purpose in his formation and has demonstrated the necessary qualifications for ordination. In the presence of the bishop, he publicly expresses his intention to complete his preparation for ordination, so that he will serve Christ and the church faithfully.

Congrats to the students of the Notre Dame Academy, in Duluth, who recently saw themselves on TV.

The school and its students were part of a select group of schools chosen to be on the “Profiles Series” seen on the Discovery Channel.

Crews showed up one day in September to film students doing things all students do, from physical education to math to art.

“Our status as the only private Catholic school that has the International Baccalaureate accreditation certainly was a drawing feature,” said Debra Orr, NDA’s head of school.

“I think our school was well represented. We were able to illustrate how we infuse technology into our curriculum and other vital features of our school, like our ‘Fit for Life’ program and service learning projects.”

The video also incorporated interviews with parents, administration and Marist Father Joel Konzen, the principal of Marist School and a member of NDA’s board of trustees.

“I’m glad we have the opportunity to share our blessings with others,” said Orr.

Michael Ferrin is bringing a new role to the Vocations Office of the Atlanta Archdiocese. Instead of focusing on helping men figure out whether they have a priestly vocation, he’ll be casting a wide net to promote vocations.

“Every baptized Catholic has a vocation. Primarily, each of us has the vocation to holiness: we are all called to be saints! Beyond that, God calls each of us to a particular state in life: married, single, priesthood or religious. You will find the deepest joy in your life by discerning the vocation God has called you to,” said Ferrin, who is 28 and is married to Amy, a teacher. They worship at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, Dahlonega, and live in Gainesville.

His work mirrors the emphasis for the 2011 Eucharistic Congress to promote all vocations.

His position focuses on helping young people—from high school age to young adults—make a “diligent discernment” of their vocation. One discernment group at Georgia Tech meets the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., which is open to all college students, with a plan to start other groups around the diocese.

Before starting the position in March, Ferrin worked for two years as youth minister at St. Pius X Church, Conyers, and the past four years as youth minister at St. Luke the Evangelist in Dahlonega, as well as campus minister to North Georgia College and State University.

Learn more about discernment resources at the Vocation Office’s website at and on