Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Deo Gratias Society members Linda and Raymond Hart of St. George Church, Newnan, join others in singing the processional hymn, “Gather Us In,” during the Oct. 17 Deo Gratias Mass at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Chancery. The society consists of people who have given or pledged lasting gifts to the Catholic community, whether it’s the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, a parish, a Catholic school or the Archdiocese of Atlanta.


Catholic Foundation donors honored at Deo Gratias Mass

By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published October 31, 2019

SMYRNA—For those who knew him, Robert Price was an inspiration to students at St. Joseph School in Marietta.

Living with a disability, Price became a loyal friend, motivated all those he encountered and was a faithful member of St. Joseph Church in Marietta.

“Robert had a big heart and was a friend to our students,” said Dr. Patricia Allen, principal of St. Joseph School.

After Price died in 2014, the school celebrated his life in various ways. Inspired by his gifts and meaning to the community, Paul and Renee Armstrong created a scholarship for middle school students with the help of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia.

“We wanted to do something that we felt would be more indicative of what St. Joseph meant to us and to many other people,” said Paul Armstrong. He met Price when his family moved to Atlanta and started attending St. Joseph.

As new members of the Deo Gratias Society, Renee and Paul Armstrong established The Robert Price “Never Give Up” Scholarship Fund, “which provides scholarships for middle school students at St. Joseph School, Marietta, with a heart for service.” The scholarships serve as reminder to the late Price’s inspirational “never give up” phrase he often shared with students. Photo By Michael Alexander

The Armstrong family established the “Never Give Up” endowment fund in honor of Price, who inspired so many with the phrase.

Now members of the foundation’s Deo Gratias Society, the Armstrongs look forward to the many lives that will be touched with their gift through the endowment fund.

The Catholic Foundation had the tool the couple needed to help the church and school together.

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia held a Mass and reception at the Chancery in Smyrna on Oct. 17 to honor and celebrate members of the Founders Society and Deo Gratias Society. Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, diocesan administrator for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, celebrated the Deo Gratias Mass. Deo gratias is Latin for “thanks be to God.”

Bishop Konzen thanked those attending for their faith and good works.

“Both your faith and your generosity are consecrated and elevated into lasting legacy gifts,” he said in his homily.

The Founders Society honors donors to the Catholic Foundation endowment fund, which helps to support its mission. The Deo Gratias Society recognizes those who make a planned gift in their will or estate plan to the Catholic Foundation, a parish, Catholic school or organization, or the Atlanta Archdiocese.

This year, thirteen people were recognized as members of the Deo Gratias Society and four members for the Founders Society.

Ongoing formation

A few years ago, Father John C. Kieran and his brother, Father Richard A. Kieran made a gift to the Catholic Foundation to support its mission.

“I have supported the foundation since its inception,” said Father Kieran. “It is an investment in the future of our church.”

After his brother’s death in 2016, and with the help of the archdiocese, Father Kieran was able to make another gift to support the ongoing formation of priests and deacons. This second fund in Father John and Father Richard’s names will offset costs for speakers, trainings, the annual priests retreat and the bi-annual convocation.

I am “glad my brother and I had the resources to do something special,” said Father Kieran.

The priest expressed hope that more people will support the foundation in the future and people will continue to pray for those who donate and do good works.

Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, far right, is assisted by Deacon William O’Donoghue Sr. during the Oct. 17 Deo Gratias Mass at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Chancery. Concelebrants included (r-l) Father William Rowland, SM, president of Marist School, Atlanta, Father Matthew VanSmoorenburg, LC, pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming, Father Henry Atem, pastor of St. George Church, Newnan, and chair of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia’s pastors advisory council, Father John A. Koziol, OFM Conv., pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro, and senior priest Father John Kieran. Photo By Michael Alexander

Kick-starting service

The “Never Give Up” scholarship will help students attend St. Joseph School. The scholarship is not primarily based on financial need or academics, but rather on the heart of the child, Renee Armstrong explained.

They hope to see focused students who want to make a difference through service.

The Armstrongs have collaborated with Kids Boost, a nonprofit that helps to teach children how to give back to their communities. The organization provided a toolkit to help students discover where they would like to serve and how to use their talents. As part of the scholarship, recipients will have the opportunity to lead a service project of their choice.

In this first year, three students were awarded the scholarship. The Armstrongs were involved in the application process with St. Joseph School. Renee helped the recipients get started on their service projects.

“We want kids to see that no matter what you’ve been given, there’s always more you can do to give back,” she said. 

To make a donation or learn how to create an endowment fund, visit the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia’s website,