Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 10, 2012

Blessed Trinity High School junior Alexandra “Alee” Smith received the Charity and Social Service Award on Divine Mercy given by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Five honorees are selected by the basilica nationwide. The program recognizes charity in action performed by young people.

Atlanta’s winning nomination was Smith, who produced and submitted a video of her service activity. You can see it here, at

“I feel this award is not just an award for my community service, but a tribute to all the people and organizations that have been a part of my life; my family, my faith, Holy Redeemer, Blessed Trinity, Habitat for Humanity and National Charity League,” said Smith.

Blessed Trinity junior Alexandra “Alee” Smith was one of five young people nationwide to receive the Charity and Social Service Award on Divine Mercy given by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  She has performed more than 575 service hours as a volunteer.

Her resume includes more than 575 service hours with National Charity League, a mother-daughter organization committed to philanthropic organizations involved in community service; Habitat for Humanity; Meals on Wheels, Drake House (a transitional housing opportunity for the poor); and the Malta Youth Pilgrimage to Lourdes, France.

Honorees received a trip to Washington, D.C., April 13-15 where they visited the tourist sites.

They were awarded the Charity and Social Service Honors medal during the Basilica’s Solemn Mass at 12 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 15. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of the Diocese of Washington, was the principal celebrant for the Mass.

The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is organizing an upcoming “Hands Around the Hill” 5K run/walk to benefit the night shelter at the Atlanta parish.

Donna Meyer, an organizer and a 13-year member of the downtown parish, said all of the race proceeds benefit the shelter, which operates during the winter months to give men who are homeless a safe alternative to the streets. Catholic volunteers team with members of the Central Presbyterian Church to run the ministry.

The 2011 race drew some 175 runners and brought in more than $10,000, said Meyer, who is a lector, Eucharistic Minister and usher at the parish. “We’d love to double those numbers if we could,” Meyer said.

Organizers are looking for guardian sponsors to support “Back on My Feet,” a program that uses running to help homeless people, to pay fees for their runners to participate. To sponsor a runner, a $20 donation is requested, but any amount would be helpful, Meyer said.

The race is on Saturday, June 9, at 8 a.m. The route starts at Talmadge Park, at the corner of Mitchell and Washington streets, goes to Grant Park and back. There’s an after-race party at Dakota Blue, on Cherokee Avenue. There is no race day registration, so those wishing to enter must go to by June 7 to sign up. Search for “Hands Around the Hill” to find the race on the website.

Last fall, The Georgia Bulletin featured a story about the start of a ministry in the Atlanta Archdiocese called Embrace. It grew out of the tears and heartache of a local couple who struggled with infertility and the grief of a stillborn child. You can read the story online at

A happy turn of events came from the story.

Two weeks after the story’s publication, Nicole Hartman and her husband, Peter, were contacted by family member of a pregnant young woman looking for a couple to adopt her child. In December, they were present at the hospital as their daughter Olivia Joan was born.  You can hear the story in Nicole’s words on the Georgia Bulletin blog,

Nicole later phoned the Georgia Bulletin and left a tearful message. She wanted the community to know how the birth mom is an “amazing young woman that made a very beautiful choice for her daughter that was loving, of prayer and of God.”

Nicole spoke highly of the woman and her decision. She hopes the story may inspire other young women to make a similar choice. An open adoption is a “very healthy choice and a loving choice,” she said.

St. Jude the Apostle School, Sandy Springs, recently held its Invention Convention as students tackled problems in their everyday life.

The inventions ranged from pet feeders and sports organizers to chore helpers and school-related organizers.

Nancy Harper and Alicia Ohlin, fourth-grade teachers at St. Jude the Apostle School, challenged their students to come up with an invention that would solve a problem they were having. The invention had to be something that could be sold to consumers. Each student submitted a blueprint and written description that included the purpose of the invention.

Like at a real convention, the young inventors demonstrated their product and how the gadgets worked.

This year marked the third annual convention at the school.

Thom Miller wasn’t going to let his friend’s trash talk stop him from cooking with gusto for the Men’s Cook-Off, organized by the Southside Ultreya’s group.

“I’ve always been good grilling and stuff like that,” said Miller, who is involved with several ministries at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Newnan. He is also known to go to the kitchen, pull a few items from the shelves and fridge to whip up a dish.

For this April meeting, he knew he needed “something that would wow the crowd” when he remembered a card buried in a recipe box. It came from the By the Sea restaurant he frequented for years when work took him to Atlantic City. It was handed to him by the chef.

The recipe required a fresh lobster that spent some time in his refrigerator, where it surprised his wife. “This was serious competition” where nothing could be second rate, he said.

The secret? Using the whole lobster carcass. “All the flavor is literally boiled out of it,” he said. Miller shared his winning recipe, which can be found on the Georgia Bulletin blog,

The theme of the monthly meeting was “Feed the Body, Feed the Soul.” The evening began with the cook-off. Women cast ballots for the 19 food items in the competition as the would-be chefs competed for the best entrée and best dessert. And there was a special prize for the most “culinar-illy challenged.”

Miller was the top chef with his lobster bisque.

The second-place winner was Michael Suhowolak with a eggplant parmesan.

Mike Statham earned the first place for best dessert with his Ah-Ha Chocolate and Vanilla Souffle.

And the first-ever winner of the “Culinar-illy Challenged” prize was Pete Darcy for his “Peanut Butter and Jelly Rooster” sandwiches.

After the fun, the guest speaker, Raul Valdez, from St. George Church, Newnan, spoke to the 55 members present.

The Southside Ultreya is part of the Atlanta Cursillo Movement, under the direction of Sister Margaret McAnoy, who belongs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary religious order. The Southside Ultreya is made up of several local parishes, including St. George in Newnan, St. Gabriel in Fayetteville, St. Matthew in Tyrone, Holy Trinity in Peachtree City, St. Peter in LaGrange and St. Mary Magdalene.