Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


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

Nancy Ramos, an eighth-grader at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Atlanta, won the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award. Middle school students must volunteer between eight hours and 24 hours a year, depending on the grade level. Nancy completed 281 hours of service, according to the school.

Our Lady of Mercy High School graduate Megan Malasarte, class of 2010, recently became an All-American at the NCAA Track & Field Championships.

She finished seventh out of eight to earn this distinction.

She was a dancer and volleyball player when she came to the school, but coaches at the Fayetteville Catholic high school saw her potential as an elite runner.

In fact, she became a multiple-year state champion in cross country and track while at OLM and got a full scholarship to run at the University of Georgia. As a sophomore, she has broken UGA’s record in the 800-meter. She and her parents, Bob and Malut Malasarte, live in Fayetteville, and attend St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro.

Mark Biebel, 17, son of Joe and Kathy Biebel, and Sean Galgano, 18, son of Carl and Moss Galgano, all of Marietta, celebrated their Eagle Court of Honor Saturday, June 23, at St. Joseph Church in Marist Hall.

Mark and Sean participate in Troop 287, based at the Marietta church. Micah Lindler is their Scoutmaster.

Mark’s Eagle project was to prepare a level pad and build two recycled lumber picnic tables for St. Joseph School. Mark will be a senior at Marietta High School.

Sean’s Eagle project was to build an arbor, plant shrubs, and spruce up the area behind the community building of Gaines Park Assisted Living Community in Kennesaw. Sean will be a senior at Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell.

A fourth-grade teacher, Erin Dunkle, is a recipient of the “Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award” given by the National Association of Special Education Teachers.

Dunkle leads the fourth-grade language arts and science program at Sophia Academy, Atlanta.

According to Cami Rat, the school’s director of instructional support, Dunkle “is a talented and involved teacher who seeks to engage the students in an ongoing variety of multi-sensory methods. … She holds true to her heart the maxim that every student can truly learn.”

Debbie Orr, head of school at Notre Dame Academy, Duluth, earned a fully funded fellowship to a 2013 Heads of School program sponsored by the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership to be held at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. This award provides independent school leaders with an opportunity for focused professional enrichment, renewal and reflection.

The Klingenstein Center works to improve the quality of independent school education by strengthening leadership among teachers and administrators who work in independent schools in the United States and throughout the world. Notre Dame Academy is a Marist and International Baccalaureate World School serving pre-K3 through eighth grades.

St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) recently expanded its store and support services in the Stone Mountain community.

A grand opening took place on Friday, June 16, at the new location in Rockmor Plaza, Stone Mountain. It’s a 14,000-square-foot facility replacing the former smaller store. It has a larger shopping area, along with donation receiving and processing area and a facility to host programs and services. The original store has operated in Stone Mountain since 1992.

It is home to one of the nonprofit’s new Family Support Centers (FSC), the fifth such center, supporting a local community.

John Berry, CEO of SVdP, said, “The FSC centralizes a variety of services, easing the burden of those in need by overcoming the accessibility challenges and transportation issues which are common barriers for people with limited or no financial resources.”

Revenue from the store supports those in need in the local community. The new facility is at the Rockmor Plaza, 4871 Memorial Drive, at the corner of Memorial and Rockbridge Road.

Milestones deserve a party. Three milestones lead to a really big party, which was held Sunday, June 3, for Father John Kieran at St. Pius X Church.

The Irish-born priest turned 75 and celebrated 45 years of priesthood and 15 years as pastor of the Conyers parish. A dinner, complete with an open mike for attendees to tell stories, serious and humorous, about Father John was held after the Sunday evening Mass. The dinner was given by the parish and guests, in addition to parishioners, included longtime friends and former parishioners from other parishes where he has served.

Rockdale County and Conyers officials also attended and recognized Father John for his active involvement in the civic community.

In his homily at the evening Mass, Father Kieran said being a priest today requires “true grit” and dependence on the “all-important grace of God.” In his own case, he said, becoming a priest was not a slam dunk, but he persevered.

“My father never expected me to be ordained. My friends were skeptical. My grades in seminary barely made ‘pass,’” he said. “Perhaps it is because I believed in the virtue of perseverance.”

Now, he said, “After 45 years I am very aware that it is the grace of God that has kept me going in the priesthood. … It is his grace that empowers me to be his voice, his presence, in the world.”