By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published July 10, 2012
Marist Father Patrick Scully recently took on the role of pastor at St. Peter Church in LaGrange and administrator of its mission, St. Elizabeth Seton in Warm Springs, an appointment he is both passionate and excited about.
“I’m excited to be in LaGrange. I’m excited with the locale, the feel, the people,” he said about his new parish and first pastorate.
Father Scully, who has been ordained for nine years, said he has moved seven times over the last decade, making his position at St. Peter a welcome source of stability. The 41-year-old priest appreciates the chance to establish relationships with parishioners and hopes he will be able to provide a steady pastoral presence in his new assignment.
“I’m very excited to settle down,” he said. “I’m ready to settle in as the pastor of one church and not have to move, move, move.”
To serve as a pastor under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Father Scully had to serve in at least three parishes before seeking incardination as a diocesan priest, another reason he is happy about his new role. His most recent assignment was as a parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Church in Flowery Branch. He has also served at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Atlanta and as administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Cartersville.
Born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts, near Salem, the strong faith of Father Scully can be attributed to his father, whom he named as an inspiration in his life and vocation. Father Scully described his dad as a rock of faith who stayed steady during any difficult times they faced together as he grew up.
“It was my father’s faith,” he said of Catholicism. “It inspired me to look for something deeper and enduring.”
That search for something enduring really took root during Father Scully’s time as a student at St. Anselm College, a Benedictine Catholic college located in Manchester, N.H. For a brief time, Father Scully considered a vocation as a funeral director, but he said he soon realized his attraction was to the liturgy and ministry, so he began discerning the priesthood. This eventually led him to the religious congregation of the Society of Mary, or the Marists.
During his diaconate, he lived in Mexico for six months and has been involved in Spanish ministries since his ordination in 2003. Father Scully said one of the most meaningful events of his life, besides his father’s death in 1999, was a year-long pilgrimage program he participated in with 19 Protestant preachers, who traveled together to the Holy Land, courtesy of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
He also served at Marist School in Atlanta for four years as a religion teacher, coach and director of admissions and as a hospital chaplain at the Atlanta Medical Center for a year.
As he looks forward to his new role as pastor of St. Peter Church and St. Elizabeth Seton Mission, Father Scully is focused on providing the spiritual guidance and leadership that the parishioners deserve, he said.
The focus is “to give them stability and the relationship that folks would expect from a pastor,” he said. “I pray they have patience with my learning curve as a new pastor.”