By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 26, 2011
Some 2,100 Catholics and others gave GRACE Scholars an all-time high of $3.7 million in contributions last year.
And taking over the scholarship program—which raises money as people opt to redirect some state tax dollars through a tax credit—is an experienced fundraiser, David Brown.
Brown started in early May as the new director of GRACE Scholars, the student scholarship organization serving the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah.
The 2011 goal is to award 450 multi-year scholarships to deserving students and families to help defray tuition at Catholic schools.
Brown, a parishioner at the Cathedral of Christ the King, comes to the program from fundraising positions at Atlanta universities. At Oglethorpe University, he worked as the director of planned giving. And at Georgia State University, he was the associate vice president for development.
A father of two, Brown earned a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also holds a master’s degree in community leadership and development and a bachelor of arts in English.
Brown can be reached at (404) 920-7903 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about GRACE Scholars, visit the website at www.gracescholars.org.
Women and men in the armed services on the front lines will be getting a special MP3 player loaded with Catholic prayers through the efforts of Knights of Columbus members.
The audio devices include the celebration of Mass, a homily, religious music and prayers.
The Knights at St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs, joined a national effort to get the portable audio devices into the hands of Catholic military women and men. With the shortage of Catholic priests in the military, some Catholics have infrequent opportunities to receive the sacraments.
At a special collection during the weekend of May 7 and 8, parishioners donated nearly $2,011 to the cause at the parish. At St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, Douglasville, members of the Knights of Columbus collected $2,300, said Damon Clemons, who served in Vietnam for two tours and retired from the Army after 24 years as a lieutenant colonel. He is a past Grand Knight and worships at St. John Vianney.
The two parishes are members of the Mother Teresa Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Clemons said.
“It’s a great honor for us to go out and ask for donations. We know what the service members do for us. We probably still have more money coming in,” said Clemons.
“It is a new type of evangelization that is utilizing modern social communication to bring the Mass, the prayers and the rosary to our service people who otherwise would not have access to them,” said Father Greg Hartmeyer, OFM Conv., pastor of St. John Vianney.
The devices cost $24 apiece. Some of the spiritual works loaded on the MP3 player include a Memorial Day Mass celebrated by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, D.C. The rosary is a “Warrior Rosary” conceived by Lynda MacFarland, the wife of a career military man, using the sorrowful mysteries.
Other programming on the MP3 includes “Centurions of Rome,” a presentation made by the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen at the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; children’s letters to soldiers read by the children themselves; an examination of conscience; and two-and-a-half hours of stories about faith in military life, including “The Grunt Padre” about a priest who ministered to infantry soldiers.
For more information about the project, visit Front Line Faith at www.frontlinefaithproject.org.
On May 9 students from 17 of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholic schools competed in the 2011 Oratorical Contest sponsored by the Office of Catholic Schools and Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal financial services organization.
Prior to this contest, the students had already won first place in their local school contest to advance to the archdiocesan semifinals and finals. They shared their presentations on this year’s topic, “An American Invention.” The first-place winner Teddy Caito, an eighth-grade student from St. Jude the Apostle School, Atlanta, spoke about the assembly line and won a trophy. His school will also receive an engraved trophy.
Second-place winner Olivia Camp, an eighth-grade student from St. Mary’s School, Rome, spoke about the television, and third-place winner John O’Connell, a seventh-grade student from Holy Redeemer School, Johns Creek, spoke about the airbag. The two also received trophies.
The Modern Woodmen School Speech Contest is one of many free youth education programs Modern Woodmen offers to schools nationwide. More than 100,000 students compete in the contest each year.
Founded in 1883 as a fraternal benefit society, Modern Woodmen of America offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States.
Samantha Smith, an eighth-grade student at Holy Redeemer School in Johns Creek, participated in the 2011 Letters About Literature event sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Students in grades 4-12 wrote a letter to an author, living or dead, whose work has had the most impact on their lives or influenced their view of the world.
Samantha chose author Markus Zusak, who wrote the novel “The Book Thief.”
She stated, “Not only did I gain perspective about myself, but I also gained perspective about the world, as well.” She placed second for Level II (seventh and eighth grade) in the state competition. Some 70,000 letters are submitted for the contest nationwide.
Anthony “AJ” Jones is a 13-year old College Park resident, and a student at the Joseph Sams School in Fayetteville. The Jones family attends Blessed Sacrament Church, Atlanta.
After a lifelong battle with cerebral palsy, he has overcome an initial medical diagnosis that he would never walk, talk or perform other functions of a child his age.
In March, AJ served as a page, alongside his sister Brittney, for Georgia Sen. Donzella James (35th District). With the assistance of Sen. James’ assistant, AJ delivered information to various Georgia state senators. He stood on the Senate floor with all the other pages and actively participated in the process during the 2011 legislative session.
Although being a page is one of AJ’s most noted accomplishments, he is also an active participant in the Special Olympics and the Boy Scouts and a Junior Knight at Most Blessed Sacrament Church. His accomplishments have been recognized by his pastor, Father Bruce Wilkinson.
An avid church member, AJ looks forward to attending Mass every Sunday and plans to join the youth choir.