Published March 9, 2017
ATLANTA—A Mass and reception at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, March 10, and a wreath-laying on City Hall grounds afterward will honor the memory of the Civil War Irish pastor of the Shrine, Father Thomas O’Reilly.
The priest is credited with protecting five churches and several civic buildings from destruction as Atlanta fell to Union forces under Gen. William T. Sherman and was largely destroyed by fire. Father O’Reilly is interred in a crypt beneath the main altar of the Shrine.
A monument to Father O’Reilly is located on the grounds of Atlanta City Hall across from the Shrine and was placed there in recognition by the civic community of the priest’s actions. A wreath is laid at the monument every March near the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
There will be a small reception at 11 a.m. at the Shrine, located at 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, and tours of the historic church. Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. The wreath laying will take place at 1 p.m. at City Hall. The public is invited to these events. The church can be reached at 404-521-1866.