By GRETCHEN KEISER, Staff Writer | Published January 23, 2014
ATLANTA—Father Austin Fogarty, the pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta and a dedicated prison ministry chaplain, died Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Emory University Hospital Midtown. He was 61.
A priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta for over 30 years, Father Fogarty was a native of Dublin, Ireland, born on May 18, 1952. The son of the late Christopher and Marie Browne Fogarty, he was ordained a priest on July 11, 1981, in Dublin by Atlanta Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan after study at All Hallows Seminary in Dublin and St. Peter’s in Wexford, Ireland, as well as Assumption-St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to St. Thomas Aquinas, he served as the pastor of Christ Our Hope Church in Lithonia and of St. George Church in Newnan, where he ministered from 2002-2012.
Other parishes where he served include St. Michael in Gainesville, when he was a deacon, and then as a priest at St. John the Evangelist in Hapeville, St. Jude the Apostle in Atlanta, and St. James in McDonough. While at St. James, in 1997 he also began making weekly visits to prisons, especially the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson. He would celebrate Mass and offer the sacraments, counseling, and a ministry of presence to prisoners in the general population and those on death row. He was deeply committed to this ministry and to drawing other clergy to visit prisoners more regularly. Through his ministry many inmates, including those on death row, received baptism and other sacraments and entered the Catholic Church.
The funeral Mass was to be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, followed by committal in Arlington Cemetery in Sandy Springs.
He is survived by his family in Ireland, including his brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Ann Fogarty; his twin sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Barry Pendred; his sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Brian Doherty; his sisters, Karen and Niamh Fogarty; his brother-in-law, Paul Harris; his aunt, Sister Catherine Brown; and nieces and nephews. Deceased family members include his parents, his sister, Brenda Harris, and Maura Fogarty. Condolences may be sent to Richard Fogarty, 40 Foxfield St. John, Raheny, Dublin 5, Ireland. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 535 Rucker Road, Alpharetta, GA 30004 to benefit its sister parish of St. Martin in Delatte, Haiti.