By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Writer | Published January 9, 2020
SMYRNA—When Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory left the Archdiocese of Atlanta to become the Archdiocese of Washington’s seventh archbishop last May, I had an idea for “Then & NOW,” an occasional series in The Georgia Bulletin that provides updates on people who appeared in a newspaper photograph years ago.
I was hoping to find the two cousins, Karla and Frida Sandoval, who were among the multicultural group of people greeting Archbishop Gregory during his 2005 canonical installation as Atlanta’s new archbishop.
I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to find them 14 years later. I had their names, but not their parish. I thought the first place to look would be at one of the oldest and largest Hispanic missions in the archdiocese, Our Lady of the Americas, Lilburn.
A little help from above never hurts, because the parochial vicar, Father Carlos Bustamante Agudelo, knew Karla’s mother, an employee at Divino Niño Jesús Mission in Duluth.
Karla’s mother facilitated a meeting with the two cousins at Divino Niño Jesús Mission, so I could interview them and take an updated photograph.
The 2005 photo was always a personal favorite. When Archbishop Gregory bends down to greet the two, as he shakes Frida’s hand, his miter nearly touches Karla’s head, creating a visual circle of the three.
The young women who walked in the room more than a decade later were a stark contrast to the young girls in the original photo. Today, one of them is a college graduate and the other is a high school senior.
The only thing in the contemporary photograph that replicates the 2005 photo is that Karla is standing on the left and Frida is on the right, just like the original image.
Editor’s Note: Photographer Michael Alexander and The Georgia Bulletin’s staff writers each picked their most memorable stories of 2019 as part of Year in Review.