Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Seminarian Joe Wagner, standing, interacts with teens in a confirmation class at St. Stephen the Martyr Church, Lilburn, where he has been working during his pastoral year since last August. Wagner attends Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Money raised through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal helps fund the costs of formation for Archdiocese of Atlanta seminarians.


Annual Appeal calls faithful to be ‘light of the world’

By SAMANTHA SMITH, | Published March 5, 2020

ATLANTA—In need of a small, temporary job in her new city, Jenny Kiehl accepted a part-time position in religious education at St. Ann Church in 2017.

Three years later, she is now the pre-K and first grade coordinator, and the director of “Launch,” a program that incorporates multiple teaching strategies at the Marietta parish.

Her leadership and expertise led to being a speaker at the 2019 annual Catechist Conference, which supports parish catechetical leaders. This event and ongoing formation for religious education leaders are just a few archdiocesan programs supported by the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

The appeal helps to carry out the mission of the Archdiocese of Atlanta by supporting ministerial, outreach, education, formation and discipleship work in north and central Georgia.

This year’s appeal theme, “‘You are the Light of the World,’ reminds us of our call to live a life of love and service, brightly shining God’s grace for all to see,” said Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, diocesan administrator of the Atlanta Archdiocese.

The 2020 campaign began in February and will conclude in December. Parishioners can make a pledge and pay in up to 10 monthly installments. Payments can be made through Dec. 31.

Joe Wagner, a seminarian for the Atlanta Archdiocese, felt God’s call to the priesthood while in college at Kennesaw State University.

“It was a beautiful thing to watch my desire align with God’s desire for me,” said Wagner. “The Lord is so good and has drawn near to me, revealed himself to me, transformed me and given me deep joy and peace.”

Currently, Wagner is enjoying his pastoral year at St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Lilburn and looks forward to his ordination as a transitional deacon next year.

The Office of Vocations, which supports Wagner’s education and formation, are funded by the annual appeal. Discernment retreats and “Come and See” weekends are hosted and shared by the department.

Father Richard Tibbetts, an archdiocesan priest, is retired from parish life. Now, he enjoys celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.

“The people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta are wonderful,” said Father Tibbetts. “They love their priests and they show it. As a retired priest, I feel that love.”

Retirement care for Father Tibbetts and the many other senior priests in the Atlanta Archdiocese are supported by the annual appeal. It also supports continuous formation for active priests.

In addition to the clergy support, the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal supports pastoral outreach through various social justice ministries; education and formation for laity; the work of Catholic Charities Atlanta and administrative costs. The goal is $8.5 million.

Nearly 1.2 million Catholics live in the archdiocese and are served by 192 diocesan priests, 92 religious order priests, 101 men and women religious. There are 279 permanent deacons in the archdiocese and 46 seminarians. Catholic schools, both diocesan and independent, serve some 11,500 students with more than 40,000 young people participating in parish religious education programs and 15 college campus ministries.

The outreach and evangelization of the archdiocese impacts the lives of 7 million people in Georgia.