Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, center, joins jubilarians (l-r) Msgr. Francis Pham Van Phuong (50 years), pastor of Our Lady of Vietnam Church, Riverdale, Conventual Franciscan Father Santo Cricchio (25 years), Legionaries of Christ Father Patrick Langan (25 years) and Father Kidanemariam H. Gebrehiwot (25 years) for a group photo before the Chrism Mass.


Six priests celebrate golden, silver jubilees

Published March 31, 2016

ATLANTA—Six priest jubilarians were recognized at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Chrism Mass on March 22.

Msgr. Francis Pham Van Phuong, pastor of Our Lady of Vietnam Church, Riverdale, is celebrating 50 years of priesthood. A native of Vietnam, he was ordained April 29, 1966, in Saigon. He came to the United States as an exchange student. Through the insightful friendship of Father Richard Morrow, he was invited to come to Atlanta in 1976 and minister as the leader of a Vietnamese Apostolate for the archdiocese based at St. John the Evangelist Church, in Hapeville. This blossomed into Our Lady of Vietnam Mission Church, then in Forest Park, where he became administrator. In 1997 Msgr. Phuong became the first pastor when it was named a parish, in Riverdale. He was honored with the title of monsignor in 1994. His leadership earned him national recognition in 2001 when he was elected the president of the Federation of Vietnamese Catholics in the United States.

Father Santo Cricchio, celebrating 25 years as a priest, is a parochial vicar at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro. He professed solemn vows as a Conventual Franciscan friar on Aug. 2, 1988, and was ordained a priest on Oct. 11, 1991. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he served in parishes there and in New York, before joining two friars in campus ministry at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. He then led in the creation of a merged parish made up of three cultural communities, Spanish, English and Polish in Brooklyn, New York, where he was pastor for eight years. He has served as a reserve chaplain for the U.S. Navy since 2000. He was assigned to St. Philip Benizi in 2014 where he is mainly serving the Latino community.

Father Kidanemariam Gebrehiwot, of the Catholic Archeparchy of Asmara, Eritrea, serves at Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain. A silver jubilarian, he is the vicar for the Catholic Ge’ez Rite community in the Atlanta area, which is based at Corpus Christi Church. He was ordained April 14, 1991. He served in his native Ethiopia and in Vatican City. He founded Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Church in Ethiopia.

Father Patrick Langan, a Legion of Christ priest, is a parochial vicar at St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming. Celebrating 25 years of priesthood, he was ordained Jan. 3, 1991 by Pope St. John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, the oldest of five children, and joined the Legion of Christ in 1975. His service included 11 years in northern California as a school chaplain. Before living in the Atlanta area, he assisted at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Father Thad Rudd is a senior priest of the archdiocese. Also a silver jubilarian, he was ordained Dec. 14, 1991, by the late Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM. A native of Indiana, Father Rudd was the first married former Episcopal priest to be ordained for service to the Archdiocese of Atlanta under a special provision of the Vatican for the United States. He served as a military chaplain, including tours of duty during Desert Storm, retiring with the rank of colonel, and as Catholic chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital. He was administrator of St. Clement Church, in Calhoun, and of St. Paul the Apostle Church, in Cleveland. He and his late wife, Sherri, who also entered the Catholic Church, were married for 47 years and had three children. Father Rudd has 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He serves as a supply priest in New Zealand, Bermuda, Alaska and parishes in north Georgia.

Father Stewart Wilber is a senior priest of the archdiocese. A priest for 25 years, he was ordained Dec. 14, 1991 by the late Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM. A native of New York, he received Dominican formation before transferring to the Atlanta Archdiocese. He served as a parochial vicar at Holy Family Church, in Marietta, and is one of the founders of St. Monica Church, in Duluth. In 2007, he earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University in New York, leading to a special ministry as a psychotherapist with Catholic Charities Atlanta. He retired in 2013 and is living in San Francisco where he serves as a supply priest.