By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published May 12, 2011
Priests of the Archdiocese of Atlanta were to join Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory on Wednesday, May 11, in celebrating the annual Jubilee Mass, honoring those priests who will reach significant milestones in their ministry this year.
Four priests officially celebrate 25 years of ordination in 2011, and three priests will be honored for 50 years of priestly service. Recognized in the liturgical celebration at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta will be golden jubilarians Msgr. William Hoffman, Father Denis Dullea and Father Thomas R. Flynn, as well as silver jubilarians Father Balappa Selvaraj, Fransalian Father John DeVore, Scalabrinian Father Jacques Fabre and Father Roy Lee.
Msgr. Hoffman took the opportunity to reflect on his vocation and service to the church. His priesthood has been reflected in various ministries, from pastor and parochial vicar to educator and missionary.
He remembers thinking about the priesthood “from time to time” as a young student at Georgia Tech. However, it wasn’t until the Newman Club at the college made a weekend retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers that Msgr. Hoffman began to seriously consider answering that vocational call.
“I began to think a lot more about it,” said Msgr. Hoffman about his call to the priesthood. “Then I went to my hometown of Gainesville and met a family that had just moved there, who had two sons who were seminarians.”
Msgr. Hoffman remembers talking with the men and asking them lots of questions about their experience in the seminary. One of the seminarians joked with the young Hoffman and said, “If you want to know that much about it, why don’t you go and find out for yourself?”
That question prompted Msgr. Hoffman to begin his lifelong journey as a priest, which has led him to various parishes and ministries throughout the world. Most recently serving as a supply priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Msgr. Hoffman has also worked as a campus chaplain, a Catholic high school principal, and pastor, and also spent 10 years as a missionary in Peru. Fluent in Spanish, he was one of the first “Anglo” priests of the archdiocese to celebrate Mass in Spanish regularly in North Georgia. He also made it his concern to bring the sacraments to the hearing impaired.
During his decades of service, Msgr. Hoffman has experienced first-hand the explosive growth of Catholicism in the South.
“The influx of immigrants has brought a lot of new Catholics to the archdiocese,” he said about the recent growing numbers.
At the age of 58, while on a priestly sabbatical, he hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Currently Msgr. Hoffman resides at St. George Village in Roswell and is still active in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille ministries.
Father Denis Dullea
Father Denis Dullea was born in Cork City, Ireland, in 1935. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1961, at St. Patrick College in Carlow, Ireland, by Bishop Thomas Keogh of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Father Dullea was pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Milledgeville and of St. Joseph Church in Dalton. He was also priest-in-charge of St. Elizabeth Seton Mission, then in Manchester, and the chaplain at DeKalb General Hospital in Decatur. His other assignments included as parochial vicar at St. Jude, Sandy Springs; as chaplain at the Monastery of the Visitation, Snellville; as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Carrollton; as administrator at Holy Cross Church, Atlanta; and as parochial vicar at Holy Cross, St. John the Evangelist, Hapeville, St. Anthony of Padua, Atlanta, and Sts. Peter and Paul, Decatur. He resides at St. George Village in Roswell.
Father Thomas R. Flynn
Father Thomas R. Flynn was born in Spokane, Wash., in 1936, and grew up in Anaconda, Mont. A priest of the Diocese of Helena, Mont., he was ordained in Rome, Italy, on July 16, 1961. In 1970, Father Flynn completed his studies at Columbia University in New York where he received his doctorate in French philosophy. A respected scholar who has penned four books and co-edited three others, Father Flynn arrived in Atlanta in 1978, and has been serving as Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, where he is known as “Doc” to his students. Prior to Father Flynn’s arrival in Atlanta, he served as assistant professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; visiting scholar, St. Mary’s College Seminary, Baltimore, Md.; and assistant professor, Carroll College, Helena Mont. Father Flynn was named Emory University “Scholar-Teacher of the Year” in 1986 and was the first recipient of the prestigious teaching award from Emory University, the George P. Cuttino Award, given in recognition of his excellence in undergraduate mentoring.
Msgr. William G. Hoffman
Msgr. William G. Hoffman was born in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1935, and grew up in Tallahassee, Fla., and Gainesville, Ga. He was ordained a priest in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 20, 1961, by Archbishop Martin O’Connor. Since his ordination, Msgr. Hoffman’s ministry has included many varied assignments. He was the first pastor of St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs, and also has served as pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dalton, St. Jude Church, Sandy Springs, and St. Michael Church, Gainesville, where he guided the parish for a decade. Msgr. Hoffman also spent 10 years serving the Missionary Society of St. James in San Pedro, Andahuaylas, Peru. Fluent in Spanish, upon his return he directed the Hispanic Apostolate of the Atlanta Archdiocese from 1982-1986. Since his last pastorate, he has served in several parishes, including as parochial vicar at St. Brigid, Johns Creek; as administrator of St. Joseph, Dalton; and as parochial vicar at St. Patrick, Norcross, Christ Our King and Savior, Eatonton, and Sacred Heart, Hartwell. He was invested as a monsignor with the title of prelate of honor in May 2001. In his earlier years of service in the archdiocese, Msgr. Hoffman was chaplain at the Newman Center at Emory University; principal of Drexel High School, Atlanta; parochial vicar at St. Joseph, Athens; and parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Assumption, Atlanta. Msgr. Hoffman’s other appointments included as chaplain to the Boy Scouts of America; dean of the Northwest Deanery and Northeast Deanery; regional vocational promoter; director of the Ministry to Priests Program; director of the Archdiocesan Permanent Diaconate Formation Program; member of the Archdiocesan Board of Consultors; and member of the Archdiocesan Committee on the Sacred Liturgy. Msgr. Hoffman is very active as a presenting team priest in Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille. He also remains very active in the Archdiocese of Atlanta serving as a supply priest to many of the parishes.
Father John C. DeVore, M.S.F.S.
Father John DeVore, a member of the religious congregation of Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, was born in Detroit in 1925. A “late vocation,” he had a career of over 25 years in the business world before he entered the seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood on Jan. 24, 1986, at St. Patrick Church in Norcross by the late Atlanta Archbishop Eugene A. Marino, S.S.J. The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales for a number of years staffed both St. Patrick Church in Norcross and St. Lawrence Church in Lawrenceville. Since his ordination, Father DeVore’s ministry has included assignments as parochial vicar at St. Lawrence, Lawrenceville; parochial vicar at St. Patrick, Norcross; parish administrator at St. Patrick, Norcross; and pastor at St. Lawrence, Lawrenceville. Father DeVore is currently serving as the treasurer of Villa Luyet, a house of spirituality in Snellville of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales.
Father Jacques E. Fabre, C.S.
Father Jacques E. Fabre, a member of the religious order of the Missionaries of St. Charles, was born in Haiti in 1955. He was ordained a priest on Oct. 25, 1986, at St. Theresa of Avila Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., by then Bishop Wilton D. Gregory. Since his arrival in Atlanta in 2006, Father Fabre’s ministry has included assignments as parochial vicar at St. Joseph, Athens, and at Holy Trinity, Peachtree City. He currently serves as administrator of San Felipe de Jesus Mission, Forest Park, where he has been serving since 2008. Father Fabre also serves currently as spiritual director to the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal in Atlanta. Prior to ministering in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Father Fabre served as pastor at San Pedro de Macoris parish in the Dominican Republic from 1991-2004, as a chaplain to the Haitian refugees in Guantanamo, Cuba, from 1990-1991, and as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Immokalee, Fla., from 1986-1990.
Father Royal A. Lee
Father Royal (Roy) A. Lee, Ph.D., was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisc., and ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on May 17, 1986, by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B. Father Lee arrived in Atlanta in 1999 in order to pursue academic studies. He is a member and secretary of the National Black Clergy Caucus and is an adjunct professor at St. Leo University in Florida and DeVry University in Decatur. He has also taught at the Xavier University Institute for Black Catholic Studies in New Orleans. From 1990-1999 Father Lee was a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, earning a myriad of distinctions including the Air Force Commendation Medal with one-leaf cluster, Air Force Organization Excellence Award, National Defense Service Medal, and the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze campaign stars for both Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Father Lee is a supply priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta and is active in prison ministry, and in feeding the homeless in Atlanta and with the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home. In addition to giving lectures, parish programs and presentations, Father Lee is currently working on his autobiography, which will be published in June.
Father Balappa Selvaraj
Father Balappa Selvaraj was born in Bangalore, India, in 1961. He was ordained a priest on May 15, 1986, at St. Anthony’s Church in Bangalore, by the late Bishop Joseph Rajappa of the Diocese of Kurnool. Since his arrival in Atlanta in 1991, Father Selvaraj’s ministry has included assignments as pastor, St. Peter, LaGrange; pastor, St. Francis of Assisi, Blairsville, and St. Paul the Apostle Mission, Cleveland; parochial vicar, St. Thomas More, Decatur; parochial vicar, Sacred Heart, Atlanta; and parochial vicar, St. Thomas Aquinas, Alpharetta. Father Selvaraj was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop John F. Donoghue on Nov. 25, 1997. In 2010, Father Selvaraj completed his graduate studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, where he received his licentiate in canon law. He also completed graduate studies at Georgia State University where he received a master of science in counseling psychology in August 1999. Father Selvaraj currently serves as the chief advocate in the Metropolitan Tribunal and is also active in the Archdiocese of Atlanta serving as a supply priest to many of the parishes.