Published January 9, 2014
Father Henry Atem, the pastor of St. George Church, in Newnan, has been selected as the national president of the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States. He served as the national vice president from 2009 to 2013.
There are ranges of challenges faced by African clergy and religious, with the main one being cultural, he said. Africans often come from “family-oriented, community-based societies with a more laid-back approach to life,” he said. One goal is to help African clergy integrate better in this society, he said.
As a native of Cameroon, Father Atem is rooting for his homeland’s team in the 2014 World Cup. An opponent will be the national team of Mexico, which is well represented in the Newnan parish community. “I will not give my Mexican parishioners longer penances even if Cameroon loses the game,” he joked.