By GRETCHEN KEISER, Special to the Bulletin | Published July 11, 2019
LOGANVILLE—In eastern Gwinnett County, Walton, Rockdale and DeKalb counties, Catholics and all people will have ready access to books, gifts and religious articles at a new Catholic spirituality center.
The Ave Maria Fransalian Spirituality Center is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is staffed by volunteers and located at 3887 Rosebud Road, Loganville.
This center is a crossroad between the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales religious order and what formerly was the lay-owned Ave Maria gift and bookstore in Alpharetta.
The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, also known as Fransalians, have been in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for almost 50 years. Their golden jubilee year in the archdiocese will be celebrated in 2020.
Priests from the order founded the parishes of St. Patrick, Norcross, and St. Lawrence, Lawrenceville. Fransalian priests are currently serving at St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn; St. Marguerite d’Youville Church, Lawrenceville; St. Benedict Church, Johns Creek and St. Alphonsa Church, Loganville.
In addition, this is the center of Fransalians serving in the United States, headquarters of the Fransalian USA vice province. Sixty-five of their priests work in different dioceses in the United States.
The order recently purchased a ranch-style residence at the Rosebud Road location and an adjacent property. As of April 30, the former residence is the Ave Maria Fransalian Spirituality Center, serving as an office for the Fransalian vice province and as a resource for the public. The adjacent property is a residence for two Fransalian priests.
The bookstore is in the spirituality center. Ave Maria bookstore was opened 24 years ago by Maureen and Jordan Colletta. After changing hands, it was most recently owned by Maria Olaya. The bookstore closed in December 2018.
Olaya said she prayerfully was led to donate all remaining inventory, including Catholic books, rosaries, medals, prayer cards and gift items such as first Communion, confirmation and other liturgical gifts, to the Fransalian Spirituality Center. At the Rosebud Road location, it is operating on the honor system with donations requested for items.
A blessing of the spirituality center and dinner was held April 30 and attended by priests and lay people, including those associated with Ave Maria and with parishes and spirituality groups affiliated with the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales.
The order is also planning to open a retirement home for priests on the expansive site and a spirituality retreat center to commemorate its 2020 jubilee year in the Atlanta Archdiocese, said Father Joseph Mullakkara, MSFS.
For more information, contact 770-569-9094 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The location is 3887 Rosebud Road, Loganville, GA 30052.