Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 5, 2012

Christmas at the Gift of Grace House was a community event, said David Caron, who plays music at the home in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood run by the Missionaries of Charity.

He said four volunteers and 42 homeless people were treated to a meal of “baked ham and the fixins’.”

The Gift of Grace House is a ministry of the Missionaries of Charity to women living with HIV/AIDS.

After Mass, which was celebrated by Father Kevin Peek, Caron said the homeless joined in singing Christmas carols before lunch was served. In fact, he said he taught them the responses from the newly revised Mass of Creation.

“And would you believe they sang it better than any congregation in the diocese! And they were all Protestant. Go figure. I told them I wanted them all to join the “Gift of Grace Choir.” I must tell you it was the most special Christmas Mass I have ever played for,” he said in an email.

Kiernan Christ, of Peachtree Corners, was among 508 students from Iowa and throughout the nation honored at the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony.

Kiernan is the daughter of Eric Christ and Maureen McIvor. She was named in honor of Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan.

“He’s like another dad to me. For Christmas, we go out to brunch. He was my pastor at All Saints (Church) when I was in high school,” said McIvor. The family visits him often at St. George Village.

The ceremony was held in the fall to recognize exceptional performance in the Belin-Blank Center student talent search based on participation in the EXPLORE exam, an ACT exam designed for eighth-graders.

Additionally, recognized students were given the opportunity to honor a teacher they credited for having a profound influence on their lives. Kiernan selected Patti Phillips of Notre Dame Academy, Duluth, for this honor. Phillips was Kiernan’s third-grade teacher at the Duluth school.

Kiernan is 10 and currently in seventh grade. She is home-schooled through the Homeschoolers Excelling in Greater Atlanta program.

The Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is an international full-service gifted education center at the University of Iowa’s College of Education.

Monica Hayden, of Covington, was among 17 individuals who made their first commitments as Providence Associates during a Eucharistic Liturgy.

Providence Associates enter into a relationship with the Sisters of Providence for the opportunity to participate in the life and mission of the Sisters of Providence. Some ways associates are able to participate are mutual and intentional prayer; appropriate community gatherings; reflection and prayer groups; Sisters of Providence retreats and spiritual enrichment programs; social justice activities, eco-justice projects and events.

There are more than 160 Providence Associates, in addition to 28 who are preparing to become associates after a year or more of candidacy.

Providence Associates are women and men of diverse faith traditions who seek a formal relationship with the Sisters of Providence. Associates are drawn to this relationship with the Sisters of Providence for many reasons, but primarily, they wish to deepen their spiritual life and they see themselves as being called to respond to the Providence vision through their own particular way of life.

Father Tim Gadziala, the vicar general of the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica, spoke in the fall to parishioners of St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville.

Father Gadziala is an Atlanta priest on a three-year assignment to the island country. He spoke to the church about his work, which includes aiding the Mustard Seed organization, the international community of priests serving the poor and severely disabled children and adults, among other areas of church life, according to Donna Coleman.

The award-winning middle school theater program at St. Joseph School, Marietta, has been accepted into the 2012 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta.

It is the world’s largest musical theater festival dedicated to groups working with elementary and middle school students and is presented by New York’s iTheatrics and Atlanta’s Theater of the Stars and sponsored by Music Theatre International and Disney Musicals.

The festival attracts more than 3,000 students, teachers and Broadway professionals to celebrate excellence in musical theater.The festival runs from Jan. 13-15.

St. Joseph middle school students have earned recognition at past festivals. In 2011, students Sophie Gregory and Ellen Hardin were awarded a Freddie G Outstanding Student Direction and Choreography award.

Each group attending the festival performs a 15-minute selection of a musical for a panel of distinguished theater professionals. St. Joseph students will present selections from “Dear Edwina Jr.”

The St. Joseph Middle School Drama Program will be performing its full production of “Dear Edwina Jr.” on Friday, Jan. 20, and Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in Marist Hall at St. Joseph School and Church, 81 Lacy St., Marietta.

Tickets are $6 at the door and may be purchased from the school office.