Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Meet the 2018 jubilarian priests

Published April 5, 2018

ATLANTA—The March 27 Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King was a jubilee celebration of the ordinations of nine priests:

60-year jubilarians

Father Jerome McKenna, CP

Father Jerome McKenna, CP, is the pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he is the oldest of seven sons of the late Francis J. and Gertrude M. (Foley) McKenna and a member of the Congregation of the Passion (The Passionists).

He took his vows in 1951 at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in Pittsburgh and was ordained a priest in 1958 at St. Michael’s Monastery in Union City, New Jersey. In 1961, he received his licentiate in theology from St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome.

Father McKenna served in several administrative positions within his province, including directing the American Passionist Social Concerns Center from 1970-1980. From 1981-1999, he served in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as pastor of churches in rural Preston County, West Virginia. He was a member of the diocesan evangelization commission and was director of pastoral practicum in the diaconate formation program. In 2000, Father McKenna was appointed by the late Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt as director of pastoral planning for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He served until 2005 when Bishop Michael J. Bransfield appointed him vicar general.

In 2009, Father McKenna accepted an appointment by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory to be pastor of St. Paul of the Cross, where he has served since. He has conducted parish renewal programs and led religious and clergy retreats.


Father Thomas Francis Smith, OCSO

Father Thomas Francis Smith, OCSO, was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and educated in Catholic schools. After high school, he joined the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier, a religious institute dedicated to teaching youth. After training with the community, he taught at a high school in Louisville, Kentucky.

Under the influence of Thomas Merton’s writings, he became a Trappist monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers in 1951. In 1958, he was ordained a priest by Atlanta Bishop Francis E. Hyland. While Conyers has remained his home monastery, he has traveled to other countries to teach monks about liturgy, theology and church history. He spent five years in the Trappist monastery in Kenya. Upon his return in 1970, he spent a few years in Conyers before teaching in Nigeria for a couple of years. He also spent six months in a French monastery and traveled to the Philippines and China.

His last foreign mission was as chaplain to a community of Trappistine nuns in Venezuela. Upon his return to Conyers in 2001, he was assigned to the monastery retreat house where he provided spiritual direction, centering prayer workshops and taught contemplative prayer.

Father Smith now extends Cistercian hospitality, welcoming pilgrims to the visitor center where he is often called upon to hear confessions.


Father Matthew Torpey, OCSO

Father Matthew Torpey, OCSO, celebrates 62 years as a priest on June 9. He was ordained in 1956 in the Trappist monastery in Gethsemani, Kentucky, which he entered in 1950 and where he made his solemn profession as a monk five years later on All Saints Day.

He has lived in three Trappist monasteries—Gethsemani and two monasteries founded by monks from Gethsemani—Our Lady of New Clairvaux, in Vina, California, and Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers, where he has been for the last 51 years.

Father Torpey was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and attended Catholic schools. At 22, he felt called to the diocesan priesthood. Preparing to enter the seminary for the Newark, New Jersey archdiocese, he read a pamphlet entitled “The Powerhouse of Prayer,” by Dom Robert McGann, the novice master at Gethsemani Abbey, who later served at the abbot at the Conyers monastery.

Father Torpey entered Gethsemani Abbey at 23, and there he gladly accepted ordination.

He has always worked within his monastic community to keep it self-sustaining, having been the electrician in all three monasteries where he lived.

He has been a cantor and after receiving a licentiate in philosophy in Rome, Italy, in 1962, served as a philosophy teacher and assisted in vocations screening. His ministry as a spiritual director he describes as “a beautiful thing to be allowed to do.”


50-year jubilarians

Msgr. James Fennessy

Born in 1943 in Newcastle, County Tipperary, North Ireland, to Thomas Fennessy and Mary Murphy, Msgr. James Fennessy was the third of four children. He went to seminary at St. Patrick’s, Carlow College in Ireland. He was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Carlow on June 8, 1968.

During his years in the archdiocese, Msgr. Fennessy served at nine parishes, including as parochial vicar for Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, St. Peter Church in LaGrange, Sacred Heart in Atlanta and Corpus Christi Church in Stone Mountain. His first pastorate was at St. Bernadette Church in Cedartown, where he had served as administrator, followed by St. John Vianney Church, then in Austell, St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta and St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn.

After 46 years as a priest, Msgr. Fennessy retired from active ministry in 2014, celebrating his farewell Masses at St. Jude the Apostle Church, where he was pastor for 12 years.

He is a priest in residence at All Saints Church, Dunwoody.


Father Patrick McCormick

Father Patrick McCormick was born in Erie, Pennsylvania—the youngest of five children of John and Frances McCormick. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, then entered the seminary under the direction of Msgr. P.J. O’Connor, vocations director of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He studied at St. Mary’s Spiritual Center on Paca Street in Baltimore, Maryland, then at the Pontifical North American College, Rome. He completed his licentiate in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and was ordained in Rome on Dec. 20, 1968.

In the Atlanta Archdiocese, he served as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta; St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville; and Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain. In 1973, Father McCormick was assigned to the North American College in Rome as director of liturgy. In 1977, he returned to the archdiocese and was assigned as pastor of St. Mary Church in Toccoa and Sacred Heart Church in Hartwell, becoming that parish’s first full-time pastor in 1982.

In 1990, he entered active duty with the U.S. Navy, being assigned to a submarine base in Italy, then two aircraft carriers in San Diego. He spent five years in Japan at naval and Marine Corps stations. He was also assigned to Naval Station Pearl Harbor Hawaii, NATO Combined Transition Command in Afghanistan and the Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. Father McCormick retired from active duty in 2010.

He served as a civilian chaplain at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, then for the army at the Reagan Missile Defense Garrison in the Marshall Islands. He retired in 2017.

Father McCormick is a senior priest at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Mililani, Hawaii, and preaches for Cross Catholic Outreach.


25-year jubilarians

Father Gregory Goolsby

Father Gregory Goolsby was born on Aug. 29, 1956, in Atlanta. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary and the University of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1989-1992.

He earned a master of divinity at The Catholic University of America in 1993. He also earned a juris doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University.

After being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on Nov. 7, 1993, he served as parochial vicar at St. Benedict Church in Johns Creek and at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta. He also served as pastor of St. Monica Church in Duluth and St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta. Father Goolsby was also a judge for the St. Thomas More Society and Provincial Court of Appeals in 1996.

Father Goolsby currently serves as pastor of St. Pius X Church in Conyers.


Father Timothy Hepburn

A native of Atlanta, Father Timothy Hepburn is a gifted musician who grew up as a parishioner at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University in Alabama.

While at Auburn, he experienced an awakening of Trinitarian faith, realizing that designing buildings was less important than building the kingdom of God. In 1988, he entered St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.

Father Hepburn was ordained a priest in 1993. He has been active in teen and young adult ministries, priestly formation, speaking, preaching and teaching. He was the first archdiocesan pastor of St. Gerard Majella Church in Fort Oglethorpe and then was pastor at St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville. In 2000, he served as the inaugural chaplain of Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell. In between ministry assignments at Emory University and Georgia Tech, he pursued graduate study in the new evangelization and received his licentiate in sacred theology from the Angelicum through Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.

Since 2010, he has served as director of the office of vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.


Father Patrick Kingery

Born in Atlanta to the late Bill and Jolaine Kingery, Father Patrick Kingery grew up in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church community. He graduated from St. Pius X High School and attended St. John Vianney College Seminary and St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1993. His first assignment was at the Cathedral of Christ the King. He was also pastor at St. Bernadette Church in Cedartown, St. Michael the Archangel in Woodstock, Christ Our King and Savior Church in Greensboro, Holy Cross Church in Atlanta and St. Mary Church in Rome.

Father Kingery presently works in hospital ministry and is assigned to St. Lawrence Church in Lawrenceville.


Father Frank X. Richardson

Father Frank X. Richardson grew up in Ireland, the third youngest of 15 children. He worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years. At the age of 46, he entered the seminary and was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on May 28, 1993.

He served as a parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Marietta. His first pastorate was at Our Lady of the Mount Church in Lookout Mountain, where he first discovered his love for the mountains. In 1999, he began serving as pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Decatur, where he stayed for four years. He then served as pastor of St. Andrew Church in Roswell, followed by Our Lady of the Mountains in Jasper. In 2009, he became pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Cumming.

Father Richardson retired in 2016.