Published May 29, 2014
DUNWOODY—Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan commemorated the 65th anniversary of his ordination by celebrating Mass on Sunday, May 4, at All Saints Church in Dunwoody, where he had served as pastor for 25 years.
A reception was held following Mass for friends and former parishioners to join in the celebration.
Msgr. Kiernan was born on Dec. 28, 1924 and raised in Taunton, Mass.
His goal as a young man was to be a teacher. He attended Providence College, in Rhode Island, during World War II but left before graduating to finish his studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
Ordained in Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross by Cardinal Richard Cushing in May 1949, Msgr. Kiernan’s’ first assignment was as assistant rector of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah.
The priest’s first pastorate was at St. Peter’s Church in LaGrange. Named a monsignor in 1969, Msgr. Kiernan served as the pastor of seven other parishes until he was assigned as pastor of All Saints in 1985. He was also editor of The Georgia Bulletin for 13 years.
Retired since February 2011, Msgr. Kiernan now lives at St. George Village in Roswell.
Msgr. Kiernan also founded the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and served as its chaplain for more than 20 years and in a wide-ranging ministry to law enforcement agencies also was chaplain to the Georgia State Patrol, the DeKalb County Police Department and the local division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Msgr. Kiernan was only the second pastor to serve at All Saints Church, and it grew from 700 to 2,300 families during his time as spiritual leader.
Upon receiving the Archbishop John F. Donoghue Award presented at the Catholic Charities Gala in 2010, he was interviewed by The Georgia Bulletin. He spoke about the growth of All Saints occurring through the grace of God and not himself.
“There’s a wonderful spirit in the parish,” he said. “There’s not a happier priest in the United States than I am.”