By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published April 20, 2017 | En Español
ATLANTA—Priests of the archdiocese joined Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory for the Holy Week tradition of the Chrism Mass, celebrated Tuesday, April 11, at the Cathedral of Christ the King.
During the Chrism Mass, Archbishop Gregory blessed the oils to be used for administering sacraments at each of the parishes in the archdiocese in the coming year. Priests attending renewed the promises made at their ordination, supported by the prayers of many deacons and seminarians in attendance.
The evening Mass was also a jubilee celebration of the ordinations of 11 priests and marked the incardination of Father Miguel Grave de Peralta as a member of the diocesan clergy.
“Please pray for them and for me that together we will always care for the Lord’s people with joy and trustworthiness and everyone within this local Church will feel the very presence of Christ through our ministry and service,” said the archbishop as he honored the jubilarians.
Priests celebrating 60th anniversaries of ordination this year are Father Juan de la Cruz, Father Daniel J. McCormick and Father Methodius Telnack, OCSO, of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.
Marking 50 years of priestly service are Father Tony Curran, Msgr. Edward J. Dillon, Marist Father Thomas Ellerman, Msgr. Paul Fogarty, Msgr. Leo Herbert and Father John Kieran. Father David Dye and Father Alvaro Avendaño celebrate 25 years as priests this year.
Father Grave de Peralta, parish administrator of Holy Family Church in Marietta, was formally incardinated. Incardination refers to the practice of transferring allegiance from one diocesan Church to another.
In his homily, Archbishop Gregory talked about olive trees that produce both fruit and the cherished oil to be used for the sacraments.
“These oils come from a tree that symbolizes peace and endurance,” said the archbishop. “As he began the last hours of his life, Jesus went to an olive grove called Gethsemane or the ‘olive press’ to reflect on what his Father was asking of him.”
In that same garden today, the trees still grow and bear fruit, noted Archbishop Gregory.
“May all of us who bless these oils today and will use them in the days that lie ahead see ourselves as genuine agents of peace and reconciliation,” he said. “May the land of Israel, the very homeland of Christ Jesus, finally be blessed with an enduring peace even as it continues to cultivate and grow the olive trees that represent a peace that is such a treasure and promise for us all.”
Archbishop Gregory consecrated chrism, a mixture of olive oil and the fragrant balsam, which will be used for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and holy orders in the archdiocese.
The archbishop expressed hope for a particular use for the sacred chrism in this coming year.
“If God grants us a new auxiliary bishop this year, I will pour out this same oil upon his head,” he said, a reflection upon the recent elevation of Bishop David P. Talley from Atlanta auxiliary bishop to bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana.
He also blessed the oil of catechumens for baptism and the oil of the sick for the infirm.
Before the evening Mass, priests participated in a day of reflection. Bishop Kevin Boland, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Savannah, was presenter for the day. The Lenten day of reflection offers priests time for renewal and culminates with the sacrament of reconciliation.
Father Grave de Peralta, at the invitation of the archbishop, made the closing remarks at the Chrism Mass.
He is the oldest son of Cuban political exiles who came to the United States. Father Grave de Peralta was raised a Baptist, but as he progressed in life he discerned a call to another denomination and was ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1996. He entered the Roman Catholic Church through the Melkite Church.
“It’s always a dangerous thing to ask a former Baptist to share a few words,” said the priest.
He thanked Archbishop Gregory for the opportunity to work with Atlanta’s presbyterate and the people of the Holy Family parish community.
He also acknowledged Bishop Talley’s role in his path toward serving in the Roman Catholic Church.
“I would like to thank publicly Bishop Talley who years ago popped the question: ‘Would you like to serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta?’ And I immediately said ‘no,’ but God wouldn’t let it go. And this is what happens when we seek his will,” said Father Grave de Peralta.
He extended his gratitude to Bishop Boland as his family worked and lived in Augusta in the Diocese of Savannah for 15 years.
Father Grave de Peralta is married with two grown children.
“I would like to thank my family for their sublime patience with this journey of ours,” he said.
The newly incardinated priest offered a final message to the lay faithful and priests gathered at the cathedral.
“Long live Christ the King …Viva Cristo Rey,” he said.
Father Juan de la Cruz was born Sept. 10, 1932, in Colombia. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Buga, Palmira, Colombia on June 29, 1957.
Following ordination, the priest was a professor at the Minor Seminary in Cali, Colombia.
Father de la Cruz arrived in the United States in 1971 and began to serve on the staff at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. He celebrated Mass every Sunday in Spanish. Father de la Cruz was one of the first Spanish-speaking priests to serve in the archdiocese as people from Cuba and other nations arrived. He celebrated the first Mass in Spanish at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna, in December 1971. He served at one time as Hispanic pastoral minister at St. Joseph Church, Dalton.
Father de la Cruz’ priestly service also included time as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
He was a parochial vicar at Holy Family Church, Marietta, for more than a decade. In 2008 Father de la Cruz was assigned to St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Snellville, where he continues to minister as parochial vicar to the Hispanic community.
Father Daniel J. McCormick was born in December 1927 in Lynbrook, New York. After high school, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1948. He attended St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia from 1948 to 1950 before transferring to St. Philip Neri in Boston, a school that specialized in accelerated Latin. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, finishing his studies in May 1957.
Father McCormick was the first priest ordained for the newly established Diocese of Atlanta on June 1, 1957, by Bishop Francis E. Hyland. Upon arrival, he was temporarily assigned to St. Thomas More Church, Decatur, and assisted at St. John Chrysostom Melkite Church, Atlanta. His first permanent assignment was at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta. He taught at St. Joseph High School in Atlanta. Father McCormick served as pastor and parochial vicar at many parishes, including St. Patrick Church, Norcross; St. Bernadette Church, Cedartown; St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville; St. Mary Church, Rome; St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn; and Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City. He was chaplain for the Roswell police, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta. He served the Province of Atlanta Court of Appeals as defender of the bond. He was a vicar for clergy of the archdiocese. A parochial vicar for more than a decade at All Saints Church, Dunwoody, Father McCormick is now a priest in residence there.
Father Methodius Telnack, OCSO, a native of Detroit, Michigan, served as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps for two years. He studied architecture at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before entering the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers in 1949 to make vows as a Cisterian monk. The order is formally known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. Monks of the order are informally known as Trappists. After making his monastic vows, he began to study for the priesthood and was ordained in 1957. At the Trappist monastery, Father Methodius runs the stained glass studio, and his more than 50 years of stained glass creations can be seen in parishes throughout the archdiocese and across the country. He learned about stained glass by studying books from the Atlanta Public Library and relied on help from other artisans. Parishes featuring windows designed by Father Methodius include St. Mary Church in Toccoa, St. George Church in Newnan, St. Thomas More Church in Decatur and St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro.
Father Anthony (Tony) T. Curran was born Jan. 24, 1942, in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. He entered the seminary at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, where he completed high school, college and theological studies. He also earned a master’s degree in liturgy from the University of Notre Dame. Father Curran was the only American and the last priest to be ordained in Atlanta by Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan. He was ordained on May 20, 1967.
After a year at St. Thomas More Church in Decatur, he served in the religion department at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta. In 1970, he was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville. Father Curran’s first pastorate was at St. Anna Church, Monroe, where he ministered to 100 families at the church and its Winder and Madison missions. He then went to St. Mary Church in Rome from 1973 to 1976. He returned to the Pontifical College Josephinum, where he was a member of the formation team. After coming back to Atlanta in 1980, he served at St. Thomas More Church and then as pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dalton.
Other parishes served by Father Curran include St. Jude the Apostle Church, Atlanta, Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, and Queen of Angels Church, Thomson. From 1995 to 2003, Father Curran was pastor of St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville.
Following ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, and St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek, Father Curran retired to Pennsylvania to care for family. He now resides in Roswell.
Msgr. Edward J. Dillon, of County Carlow, Ireland, was born on Oct. 4, 1943. He studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick’s College, Carlow, and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on June 10, 1967. While he began his priestly service as a parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, he was asked to serve in the Marriage Tribunal shortly thereafter and began several decades in which he served many archdiocesan roles in administration and leadership.
To serve in the Tribunal, Msgr. Dillon attended graduate school at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., earning three degrees in canon law, including a doctorate. He was the youngest officialis of a tribunal in the country in 1972. He oversaw the Tribunal for 14 years and for five years directed the Provincial Court of Appeals.
He was vicar general of the archdiocese from 1988 to 1992. During that time, he chaired an archdiocesan capital campaign resulting in establishment of five Catholic schools, the Office of Archives and Records and Catholic Construction Services. He was named a monsignor with the rank of prelate of honor in August 1992. He served as administrator of the archdiocese following the death of Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM, until the appointment of Archbishop John F. Donoghue.
Msgr. Dillon has served as pastor of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta, since 1987, appointed when he was also serving the archdiocese as vicar general. He has been serving Holy Spirit full time as pastor for 20 years, since 1997.
Msgr. Dillon has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1968. He served as its president from 1975 to 1976. He was an instructor in canon law in both the summer school at Catholic University and in the winter school program at the University of San Diego, California. Recognized for canon law expertise, Msgr. Dillon was a consultor for the Canonical Affairs Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1974 to 1977.
He is a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem and the Sovereign Order of Malta.
Marist Father Thomas Ellerman is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was born May 1, 1940. A priest of the Society of Mary (Marists), Father Ellerman was ordained on July 2, 1967, in Rome, Italy.
He is the former director of postulants for the Marist Fathers and Brothers in Berkeley, California. His past service has also included a year as assistant pastor at Holy Name of Mary Church in New Orleans. He served as a teacher and on the formation staff at Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, as a teacher at St. Charles Borromeo High School, Destrehan, Louisiana, and as an associate professor at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans.
Father Ellerman arrived at Marist School in Atlanta in August 2014. He is a senior religious (retired). He manages the kitchen for the community and presents adult faith formation classes as well as formation programs about Marist spirituality to the alumni and faculty of Marist School. Father Ellerman also offers spiritual direction.
Msgr. Paul Fogarty, a native of Tipperary, Ireland, was born June 6, 1941. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1967, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Carlow, after studies at St. Patrick’s College. He arrived in Atlanta in August of the same year and was assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
The youngest of eight children, Msgr. Fogarty was drawn to the mission territory of the American South by the vocations work of the late Msgr. P.J. O’Connor, who drew many Irish priests to Atlanta.
In 1970, Msgr. Fogarty was assigned to St. Mary Church in Rome until 1972, when he moved to St. Jude the Apostle Church, Atlanta. In 1974, he was sent to Conyers to found the parish of St. Pius X with a small group of families then worshipping at a chapel on the grounds of the Conyers monastery. He served there for nine years, working with the community in the process of establishing the parish and building the first church. In 1983, he was given the assignment to serve as pastor of Holy Family Church in Marietta, serving there until 1995. In the coming years, Msgr. Fogarty was asked to serve as pastor of Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, from 1995 until 2003 and as pastor of St. Thomas More Church, Decatur, from 2003 until his retirement in February 2016. He was named a monsignor with the rank of prelate of honor in March 2001. Msgr. Fogarty now lives at St. George Village in Roswell.
Msgr. Leo P. Herbert was born Aug. 2, 1942, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Msgr. Herbert came to the United States after being ordained at All Hallows College in Dublin in June 1967. The youngest in a family of four sisters and a brother, he decided on diocesan service in America after hearing then Atlanta vocations director, Msgr. P.J. O’Connor, speak about the needs of the church in the South on one of his periodic visits to Ireland.
The priest’s assignments included St. Joseph Church, Athens, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, and Holy Cross Church, Atlanta. Msgr. Herbert became a U.S. Army chaplain in 1971 and was sent to Fort Benning in Columbus.
After completing Officer Candidate School, he was the base’s first Catholic hospital chaplain in many years, serving there for nearly two years. He went on to serve at bases in Alaska and Kansas over the next three years.
Msgr. Herbert returned to his ministry in the archdiocese, spending two years at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta.
His first assignment as pastor was at St. Bernadette Church, Cedartown. He later was pastor of Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, and St. George Church, Newnan. He was founding pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw, where he was assigned in 1981.
Msgr. Herbert’s last assignment prior to retirement in 2011 was serving as pastor of Our Lady of the Mount in Lookout Mountain and as administrator of St. Katharine Drexel Mission in Trenton. It was Msgr. Herbert who first spoke to Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory about the need for a mission church there. Prior to its establishment, Catholics were traveling to Alabama and Tennessee to attend Mass.
Father John C. Kieran, a native of Dublin, Ireland, was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1967. Father Kieran’s first assignment in Atlanta was St. Jude the Apostle Church. He also served at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, before becoming pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dalton, and then of St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro, where he remained from 1975 to 1984.
At that time, he was asked to found a parish in Lithonia, which became Christ Our Hope Church. The church building was dedicated in August 1987. He became pastor of St. Peter Church in LaGrange in 1991. During his time there, Father Kieran oversaw the construction of the first Catholic church in neighboring Meriwether County, at St. Elizabeth Seton Mission. The church was dedicated in 1996. He formed the first RCIA program at St. Peter Church. In 1996, he became pastor of St. Pius X Church in Conyers, where he served for 17 years. He guided the building of a new sanctuary at the parish, which was dedicated in the fall of 1999.
For 35 years, Father Kieran promoted twinning with parishes in poor developing countries, especially Haiti. He has continued active priestly ministry since retiring in 2013, by assisting parishes with Masses and serving on the chaplaincy team at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Hospital. He was a longtime presenter for Engaged Encounter weekends. He is chaplain of the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta. He was a Scout chaplain for the archdiocese for 23 years.
Father Kieran is a former board member of the Atlanta Red Cross and the Christian Council of Metro Atlanta. His brother, the late Father Richard Kieran, was a priest of the archdiocese for 51 years, to whom he gave dedicated service after Father Richard suffered a debilitating stroke in 1999.
Father Alvaro D. Avendaño was born Jan. 30, 1961, in Santa Rosa de Osos, Antioquia, Colombia. He attended seminary at Seminario de Misioneros Extranjeros de Yarumal in Medellin, Colombia. He was ordained on June 6, 1992 at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. His ordination was a celebration that highlighted the growing presence of the Hispanic community in the archdiocese.
Father Avendaño was the second Latin American to be ordained for the archdiocese. Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Gonzalez, OFM, of Boston, presided at the liturgy, which
was celebrated in Spanish. Over the years, he has served as parochial vicar at various parishes such as Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, and the Cathedral of Christ the King. Father Alvaro has also served at St. Joseph Church, Marietta, Good Shepherd Church, Cumming, Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, and St. Mark Church, Clarkesville. He also served as the administrator of St. Helena Mission, Clayton, recently elevated to a parish, from 2012 to 2015. Father Avendaño retired in November 2016. He is a priest-in-residence at St. George Church in Newnan, where he assists with Spanish Masses.
Father David M. Dye was born in Atlanta on July 24, 1944. He went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1966 to pursue his bachelor’s degree.
In the fall of 1968, he entered The Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. He received his master of divinity in 1971 and shortly after was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church. His first assignment was as assistant rector of St. Bede Episcopal Church. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in early 1972.
After serving as a priest in Brussels, Belgium, for a few years, Father Dye returned to Atlanta. In 1988, he was received into the Catholic Church with his wife, Chantal Bialek, and their three children, at Marist School chapel by Msgr. Peter Ludden.
After receiving permission from Rome under the Pastoral Provision, he was ordained to the transitional diaconate on April 4, 1992, by Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM. On May 30, 1992, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph Francis.
Father Dye’s first appointment as priest was campus minister at Georgia State University. He assisted with Sunday Masses at St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn. In 1996, he served as a representative of the Archdiocese of Atlanta for the religious services held during the Olympics, including for athletes in the Olympic Village.
Later, Father Dye served as administrator of Mary Our Queen Church, Peachtree Corners, until his retirement in July 2016. He lives with his wife in Ellijay and enjoys spending time with his four granddaughters and grandson.
Father Miguel Grave de Peralta is the oldest son of Cuban political exiles who came to the United States in 1959 and 1960. He was raised in New Jersey. His parents converted to the Baptist faith soon after their arrival. While being raised Baptist, Father Grave de Peralta felt called to another denomination. He was ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1996 after serving as an Episcopalian minister for eight years. He entered the Roman Catholic Church through the Melkite Church (an Eastern Byzantine Church in communion with Rome).
His ministerial experience includes being a parish assistant and administrator, school chaplain, and a military chaplain. Father Grave de Peralta was also a hospital priest-chaplain and director of pastoral care for 13 years in Augusta. He served as director of pastoral care and as a priest chaplain at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta from 2011 to 2016. In June 2016, he was assigned as the administrator of Holy Family Church, Marietta.
Father Grave de Peralta is married to Ana Rivas from Colombia. They have two children, Elliot and Meredith. He and his wife live in Marietta. Their children are software engineers living in Atlanta.