By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 23, 2011
Father Neil Dhabliwala said his experience as a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King was good training for his new role as a first time pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Church, Dahlonega. He started in the post in March.
“I am looking forward to working with all the different communities and getting to know the people at the parish and at the college,” he said by e-mail.
The assignment came when former pastor, Father Robert Frederick, left to become the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming.
Father Dhabliwala said his years at the Cathedral have been very helpful for his ministry.
“My experience as a parochial vicar at the Cathedral was extremely valuable in preparing me to be a pastor. I was blessed to have had two great pastors who mentored me. When I was first ordained I was with Msgr. Tom Kenny for about four months until he died, then I was with Father Frank McNamee for about two years,” he said.
He was in charge of religious education at the Cathedral where he worked with a staff of nine people.
“This experience, as well as my education at Georgia Tech, will be helpful in carrying out some of the administrative responsibilities involved in being a pastor,” he said.
Father Dhabliwala, who will be 32 in July, graduated from Georgia Tech and worked in information technology before entering the seminary.
“For me, I felt a sort of dissatisfaction with the coldness of corporate America, and as I really began to grow in my faith, I sensed that the Lord might be calling me to pursue a vocation to the priesthood,” Father Dhabliwala said in an interview with The Georgia Bulletin before his ordination in 2008.
A native of Canada, he attended St. Pius X High School in Atlanta and he was for a time a parishioner of St. Brigid Church in Johns Creek. He was one of eight priests ordained in 2008.
His seminary study began in August 2002 and was completed in six years. He earned a master of divinity and a master of arts in moral theology from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md.
During his training, he served among other places at Christ our Hope Church, Lithonia; St. Jude Church, Sandy Springs; St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell; and the Cathedral of Christ the King. He participated in a Spanish immersion program in Mexico City.
St. Luke Church ministers to nearly 400 families in the Dahlonega area with four weekend Masses, including one in Spanish. Last fall, the faith community about an hour north of Atlanta celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Father Dhabliwala will also be the campus minister at North Georgia College with its 6,000 students.