Published July 11, 2019
ATLANTA—The guest speaker at the August Magnificat meal will be Father Joseph Mullakkara, whose vocation as a missionary priest brought him from India to the Atlanta Archdiocese where he has served for almost 30 years.
All women are invited to attend the Magnificat meal. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the parish hall. The Atlanta chapter of Magnificat has been active in the archdiocese for 27 years.
Father Mullakkara—to most who know him, simply Father Joseph—is a Missionary of St. Francis de Sales, the saint who preached that all people, especially ordinary lay people, are called to holiness.
The congregation, also known as Fransalians, fosters the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, a doctor of the church.
Born and raised in the state of Kerala, India, Father Joseph’s vocation to the priesthood was inspired by an uncle who was a priest of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. There were 11 priests in his extended family. Tradition maintains that the Apostle St. Thomas brought the Gospel to India.
Ordained Aug. 2, 1975, Father Joseph served in several different churches in India, including in Andhra Province and Bangalore. He also taught and served as procurator of a Fransalian seminary. The motto of the congregation is “to live Jesus.”
Coming about 9,000 miles to the Atlanta Archdiocese in 1990, Father Joseph joined American Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in the archdiocese. The congregation started two metro Atlanta parishes, St. Patrick and St. Lawrence. Father Joseph has served at both and at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. For the last 10 years he has served at St. Benedict Church, Johns Creek.
He said that being a missionary priest is a blessing.
“To be a missionary to the world, to go out of one’s own place to go to another, that is a great gift of vocation,” he said.
“You develop an openness to different cultures, different languages,” he said.
It is part of the spirituality of the order to seek and discern the presence and goodness of God in the diversity and goodness of people to whom they minister, he said.
Fransalian spirituality supports and fosters “the innate God-given dignity of each person and that all are able to live a happy, healthy and holy life.”
He speaks three Indian languages, English and Spanish and is skilled in Latin.
Father Joseph has been the spiritual advisor to the Atlanta chapter of Magnificat for more than 15 years. He also fosters a lay group studying the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, which meets at St. Lawrence Church.
Magnificat is a ministry to women within the church that began in the United States and has spread throughout the world, including Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa. Chapters are under the guidance of the local bishop.
The heart of the Magnificat ministry is to hear the faith story of an ordinary person and to be encouraged and surprised by the actions of God in daily lives.
Its purpose is to help women open more to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment of their lives to Jesus as Lord and to impart the Holy Spirit to one another by their love, service and sharing the good news of salvation.
In addition to the testimony of the speaker, the Magnificat includes a catered breakfast, a time of praise and worship led by a music ministry, and intercessory prayer. The sacrament of reconciliation and the opportunity for individual prayer from a prayer team are available afterward.
Each table has a hostess and seating is open so women are welcome to come either on their own or with friends.
Reservations are $20 and are made in advance. No tickets are returned. Check-in is at the door for those with reservations only. To register online, go to https://tinyurl.com/y24nmkb7.
To register by mail, please send your name, address, parish if applicable, contact information, and a check made payable to Magnificat Joyful Visitation to Debbie DuPont, 315 Rose Court, SW, Lilburn, GA 30047. Mailed reservations must be postmarked by Aug. 3.
Doors open early, and guests are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. Holy Cross Church is located at 3773 Chamblee Tucker Road, Atlanta, less than a mile from the Chamblee Tucker Road exit on Interstate 285.
Priests and religious are invited to attend free of charge, but reservations are still requested to plan for the meal. Since the morning is designed to speak to the hearts of women free of distractions, it is respectfully requested that young children not attend.
For information, contact Debbie DuPont at 770-696-6216.
Editor’s Note: The link was corrected from the one in the print edition.