Published October 31, 2019
St. Augustine of Hippo Church, Covington
From its humble roots above an American Legion Hall, a multilingual family of faith recently marked 60 years in Newton County. Here are some key facts about the parish:
—Augustine of Hippo Church, Covington, celebrated the generations who built its foundation as new members add to community life.
—Five families initially made up this community of believers in 1959. The first Mass was 4, 1959. Now there are more than 500 families. Its pastor is Father Roberto A. Orellana.
—In 1977, recorded Catholics in Covington numbered 90 when St. Augustine became a parish. The parish boundaries included all of Morgan and Newton counties, plus the town of Social Circle in Walton County. St. Augustine was elevated from a mission to a parish Sept. 29, 1977, by Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan.
—The parish, about 40 miles east of Atlanta, is home to people from all over the world. Some 60% of its members are Hispanic, with the observance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the largest annual celebration.
—This summer the parish opened a new daily chapel, dedicated to St. Francis. The chapel is used for weekday masses and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on first Fridays. Father Orellana said the chapel was conceived to save energy costs, especially in the winter and the summer. He said the effort is done in the spirit of the environmental encyclical Laduato Si’, to save costs and allow the parish to continue to support ministries, locally and around the globe.
—St. Augustine is one of the founding churches of Faithworks, an ecumenical outreach ministry to aid people in need in Newton county. The community also hosts priests from “Food for the Poor,” “Cross Catholic Outreach,” “Catholic Relief Services” and “Unbound” as part of its support of the poor around the world.
—The Knights of Columbus “Virgin Mary” chapter at St. Augustine is also actively serving the local community and the parish.
—The parish comes together during the year for bilingual and multicultural celebrations including holy days of obligation and for the Holy Triduum. Its members also come join in the fun at the summer picnic or fall festival.
—The parish held its 60th anniversary celebration with a bilingual Mass celebrated by Bishop Joel Konzen, SM, and for a festival that drew more than 500 people on Sunday, Oct. 6.