Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
(L-r) Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III, Father Craig David and Father William Williams converse with each other outside the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, at the conclusion of the March 30 Chrism Mass. All three men are silver jubilarians this year.


Atlanta’s 2021 jubilarian priests

Published April 15, 2021

ATLANTA–Sixteen priests serving in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrate milestone anniversaries of their ordinations to the priesthood this year. They hail from the United States, Colombia, Ireland and Vietnam and serve in a variety of ministries from education to prison work to hospital chaplaincy. Honored at the March 30 Chrism Mass were:

Diamond Jubilarians – 60 Years

Father Edward Sheehan, SM 

Father Edward Sheehan was born into a Boston Irish family of five children—three boys and two girls. He attended Catholic schools and then entered the Marist Seminary College of Philosophy in 1952. He was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 4, 1961, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Father Sheehan wanted to be a missionary to the South Pacific Islands. Instead, his Provincial in the Society of Mary sent him to Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods, Michigan, where he taught religion and speech. He also worked with the debate team, coached hockey and moderated the golf team.

After teaching, he was assigned to parish work in Maine, Massachusetts and New York. One of the priest’s dearest memories comes from his time at Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.

Father Sheehan led a dozen mission trips for adults to Haiti. He also served as chaplain for VA hospitals in Vermont, Arkansas and Rhode Island.

The most important thing about being a Marist, he said is “to be hidden and unknown. That’s the Marist spirit. Just do the work and give the credit to God or to Mary. Just do the work.”

In 2019, Father Ed retired from parish work and moved to Our Lady of the Assumption.

Msgr. William “Bill” Hoffman 

Msgr. William “Bill” Hoffman was raised in Tallahassee, Florida and Gainesville, Ga. He was ordained a priest in Rome, Italy, in 1961.

While serving with the Missionary Society of St. James in Peru, Msgr. Hoffman learned Spanish. In the late 1960s and ‘70s the pope was asking that North America share its priests with Latin America. For three semesters, he taught at a seminary to increase the number of priests in Peru. Then, the reverse occurred; Latin American priests started coming to North America to help fill in gaps.

Upon returning to Atlanta, he served as director of the Hispanic Apostolate of the archdiocese between 1982 and 1986.

Msgr. Hoffman’s ministry included many parish assignments such as being the first pastor of St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs. He also served as pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dalton, St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs, and St. Michael Church, Gainesville.

In addition to serving as a supply priest for parishes, Msgr. Hoffman spent time in prison ministry, celebrating Mass on a regular basis at Hays and Arrendale state prisons.

He was a team priest for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and the Retrouvaille ministries for couples dealing with marital difficulties.

During retirement, Msgr. Hoffman spent Lenten seasons serving in the Diocese of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands.

Golden Jubilarians – 50 Years

Father Francis J. Kissel, SM 

Father Francis J. Kissel, SM, was born in Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 1942, to John and Helen Kissel.

Father Kissel attended Holy Ghost School in Olyphant, Pennsylvania and went on to high school as well as two years of college at the Society of Mary (Marist) minor seminary of St. Mary’s Manor in Penndel, Pennsylvania.

In 1962, he entered the Marist novitiate in Rhinebeck, New York, and professed as a Marist religious in 1963. He was ordained a priest on Feb. 6, 1971, at his home parish of Holy Ghost Church by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick.

He went on to earn a BA in philosophy from Catholic University of America in 1965; completed theological studies at Marist College and St. Paul’s College, both in Washington, D.C., in 1970. He holds a master’s degree in library science from Catholic University.

Father Kissel has served several schools as a librarian, media specialist, audio-visual specialist and educational technologist including Immaculate Seminary in Lafayette, Louisiana, St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio, and Marist School in Atlanta. For 17 years, he worked as admissions director at Marist School, where he is still a part-time helper.

Father Kissel also shared his talents as a coach for baseball, basketball and tennis teams during his 40-plus years at Marist. Father Kissel retired from coaching in 2017.

Father John Adamski

Father John Adamski, a native of Buffalo, New York, grew up in St. Joachim’s parish and attended the parish elementary school. His mother’s uncle was the pastor of the church, and John was frequently in and out of the rectory, which became like a second home. He attended Buffalo’s Diocesan Preparatory Seminary for high school and two years of college.

Then, it was on to St. John Vianney Major Seminary, where five years ahead of him, other Buffalo natives were studying for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. As a result of those connections, John applied to become an Atlanta seminarian. Upon acceptance, he was sent to study theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.

He was ordained at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, on May 22, 1971 by Archbishop Thomas Donnellan.

During his pastorate at St. Anthony of Padua Church, the priest opened the first night shelter for the homeless in a Catholic church in Atlanta. Later as pastor of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, he opened the night shelter there. Under his guidance, the parish initiated its ministry to persons with HIV/AIDS, including “Tuesday Night at the Shrine,” a weekly dinner offering community to those with AIDS. 

Father Adamski also served as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, archdiocesan director of vocations and as a member of the College of Consultors. He retired in 2010.

Father John Fallon

Father John Fallon was born in Longford Ireland, on Sept. 1, 1941, but now proudly claims American citizenship. He graduated from St. Patrick’s College with a degree in philosophy and then earned a degree in theology from St. John’s College in 1971. He was ordained in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Waterford, Ireland, on June 6, 1971. By August of that year, he was serving as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church in Norcross—the start of a long career in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

He served as parochial vicar at seven parishes, including serving at St. Joseph Church in Washington where he helped take care of the surrounding Catholic communities in Elberton and Sharon.

Father Fallon served as pastor of St. Joseph Church in Washington and St. Joseph Church in Athens. He said his favorite assignments included time in a nursing home and rehab facility.

“I loved my nine years at Wesley Woods and in nursing care facilities,” he said. He also had a deep dedication to prison ministry, spending 26 years serving those incarcerated in the archdiocese as a chaplain.

“I came here on Aug. 6, 1971 and it was all arranged by God,” said the now retired priest.

Silver Jubilarians – 25 Years

Father Miguel Grave de Peralta

The oldest son of Cuban political exiles, Father Grave de Peralta was born and raised in New Jersey. Brought up as a Baptist, he and his sister were nurtured in a devout Evangelical home as a result of his parents converting in the early 1960s.

Embracing Anglicanism while in college, Father Grave de Peralta excelled in theological studies receiving ordination as an Episcopalian minister in 1988. He served in California and North Carolina as a school chaplain and a military chaplain in the early- to mid-1990s. After much struggle and research, he was ordained an Eastern Orthodox priest in 1996 and came into communion with Rome via the Melkite Catholics in 1998. He served as a hospital priest-chaplain in the Roman Rite and a Melkite Catholic parish from 1998 to 2011 in Augusta.

Moving to the Metro Atlanta area in 2011, the priest served as director of pastoral care and priest-chaplain of Emory Saint Joseph Hospital until 2016 when he was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and became pastor of Holy Family Church, Marietta, where he presently serves. He has been married to the former Ana Rivas for 33 years. They live in West Cobb and have two children, Elliot and Meredith, who live in the metro area. 

Father Joseph Morris

Father Joseph Morris was raised in northeast Florida, graduated from The University of North Florida in 1985. He waited tables, taught high school and junior college English, worked for the City of Jacksonville and Catholic Charities, both in social services. He attended Catholic Theological Union in Chicago for his master of divinity in 1995. He was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1996.

Since then Father Morris has served at Transfiguration Church in Marietta, St. Mary Magdalene Church in Newnan, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, St. Joseph Church in Marietta, Prince of Peace Church in Flowery Branch and the Kennesaw State University Catholic Center in Kennesaw since 2007.

He previously served as a chaplain at Berry College in Rome, and for the Atlanta Falcons.

Father Morris enjoys painting and has participated in art shows.  He has studied drawing independently since high school, but didn’t paint his first oil portrait until 2013.

He has performed “The Gospel of Mark,” a one-man show, by heart some 1,000 times since 2001 throughout the United States, UK and Canada and continues to do so.

Father Paul Burke

Father Paul Anthony Burke was born on July 18, 1970 in Galway, Ireland to Michael and Philomena Burke.

Father Burke studied at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on May 24, 1996, by Archbishop John F. Donoghue in St. Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea, Ireland.

He served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church, Marietta, St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw, and Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta. He served as chaplain of Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville. He taught at Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville, and continues to teach at Holy Spirit College. Father Burke is chaplain of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home where he serves the needs of the patients and Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, who are tremendous sources of inspiration.

Father Burke holds a J.C.L. degree from Catholic University of America. He is nearing the completion of the J.C.D. degree at the Catholic University of Leuven, focusing on Catholic education. He is adjutant judicial vicar at the Metropolitan Tribunal. Since 2009, Father Burke has worked closely with the Orthodox Church.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy in 2014, he remains active in ministry. His inspiration continues to be St. John Paul II who he met several times in the 1990s. 

Father Peter Vu

Father Peter Vu was born on June 18, 1960 in Thu Duc, Vietnam during the Vietnam War. At age 12, he entered the Minor Seminary of St. Paul.

Vu’s priest encouraged him to pray for God’s call while he studied. The fall of Saigon in 1975 halted his studies. Communists closed the seminary so Vu returned home to work and finish high school.

His former bishop invited him to study philosophy and theology in secret. During the day, he and his fellow students worked in the fields. At night, they would meet at the bishop’s residence for classes.

Father Vu and his brother, Minh Vu, escaped Vietnam in 1987 on a boat. They were rescued in the Gulf of Thailand and taken to a refugee camp. The brothers were granted asylum in America. With sponsorship by their former pastor, Msgr. Francis Pham Van Phuong, they came to Georgia.

Once Father Vu was settled, he resumed studies at St. John’s University, New York, and then Mt. Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, earning a master’s of divinity. He was ordained on June 1, 1996 at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta by Archbishop John F. Donoghue.

He has served at Holy Cross Church in Atlanta, Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Norcross, St. Pius X Church in Conyers and is now the pastor of Our Lady of Vietnam Church in Riverdale.

Father John Howren

Father John T. Howren was born Sept. 12, 1964, in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a few years in Florida, his family moved to Atlanta where they were members of Corpus Christi Church in Stone Mountain.

In 1989, he was accepted as a seminarian for the archdiocese, and went to Saint Meinrad College Seminary in Indiana where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1992. He later earned a Master of Arts and a Master of Divinity. On June 1, 1996, John was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John Donoghue at Holy Spirit Church.

Father John was first assigned as parochial vicar at St. James the Apostle in McDonough. Subsequently he was assigned as pastor to St. Gerard Majella Church in Fort Oglethorpe; St. Augustine of Hippo Church in Covington; St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Cumming, followed by St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn. After assisting at the Cathedral of Christ the King, he went to St. Lawrence Church in Lawrenceville as pastor. Now he serves as rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta. 

“In every one of these faith communities, the people of God have been kind and gracious in their embrace of my priestly ministry to them, for which I am most grateful and blessed,” he said.

Father José Duván González

A native of Colombia, Father González was ordained in 1996 for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. After ordination, he served as a parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, then as administrator of San Felipe de Jesus Mission in Forest Park. He has also been a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church, Marietta; St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta and St. Joseph Church, Dalton. He was also pastor of St. Bernadette Church in Cedartown and also served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hapeville.

The priest’s work in the archdiocese has also included serving as the vicar for Hispanic clergy, as a member of the college of consultors, as spiritual director of the Hispanic Cursillo movement and as director of the Hispanic Ministry Office for five years.

He became a U.S. citizen in 2007. Father González accompanied then-Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory on a pilgrimage to Mexico City in 2008 to renew the consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

Father González is now priest in residence at St. Benedict Church, Johns Creek. He remembered years of work with Hispanic youth for a 2019 Georgia Bulletin article on the Provincial Encuentro.

“The Hispanic youth are proud of their faith. Their faith traditions are in their DNA,” he said. “They need all our support to continue to grow in their faith and to continue the traditions they learned at home with their parents.”

Father Daniel Fleming

Father Dan Fleming was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He earned his undergraduate degree from James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Father Fleming attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, and the University of Maryland. He graduated from Saint Meinrad Seminary in 1996. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on June 1, 1996.

His assignments have included service at St. Benedict Church, Duluth; St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta; and St. Mary Magdalene Church, Newnan.

He was a member of the Council of Priests for three years and serves on the archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.

Father Fleming was pastor of St. Mary Magdalene, which began as a mission of Holy Trinity in Peachtree City, when a new church was dedicated to serve the growing Catholic community in Fayette and Coweta counties.

He is currently serving as pastor of St. Andrew Church, Roswell.

In 2017, Father Fleming co-organized a joint prayer service with the neighboring Cross of Life Lutheran Church to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The focus was on the progress made in dialogue between the two faiths.

The Roswell parish has worked to be an intercultural parish, instead of each culture operating on its own while occupying the same building.

“We strive toward becoming a strong community of different languages and cultures,” said Father Fleming.

Bishop Bernard Shlesinger

Bishop Bernard E. “Ned” Shlesinger III was born Dec. 17, 1960 in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech in 1983. After college, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. He retired from active duty in 1990, and began studies for the priesthood in the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.

He studied philosophy at Theological College at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He then entered the North American College in Rome, Italy, completing a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He also began studies toward the licentiate of sacred theology in spiritual theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was ordained a priest on June 22, 1996 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Bishop Shlesinger served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Wilmington and as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Newton Grove. He also served as assistant director of vocations from 1999-2002.

He became the director of vocations and seminarian formation for the Diocese of Raleigh in 2007 and served in that role until 2013. He was also the administrator of Maria, Reina de las Americas Church in Mount Olive. He became the spiritual director in the theology division of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania in 2013.

On May 15, 2017, Pope Francis appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was ordained July 19, 2017.

Father William “Bill” Williams

Father William “Bill” Williams was the middle child of 14 siblings. He was born on July 24, 1958, to Bill and Rita Williams. He grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania.

As a young man, he was connected to a House of Prayer in Erie where he would make retreats and do service work. He worked with a group called Young People who Care in Appalachia ministering to the poor in northern Kentucky and southwest Pennsylvania.

On Jan. 15, 1979, he began a 25-year career in the U.S. Army. He spent eight years in Germany and Alaska as a radio operator. While in Alaska, he worked in street ministry. He then served eight years with the Pennsylvania National Guard. He finished his military career with the Army Reserves as a chaplain. 

After he left the Army, Williams went to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He entered St Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe Pennsylvania and was ordained June 29, 1996, by Archbishop John F. Donoghue.

As a priest, he has served at St. Joseph Church, Marietta, St. Jude the Apostle in Sandy Springs, Christ our King and Savior in Greensboro, St. John Neumann in Lilburn, Queen of Angels in Thomson, St. Gerard Majella in Fort Oglethorpe and in prison ministry.

He has hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia through the Smoky Mountains, is an avid rosary maker and enjoys cooking and wine making.

Father Craig David

Father Craig David was born and raised in Philadelphia, the youngest of seven. He went to Catholic schools and then to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

In college, he worked with a Christian humanitarian aid organization in Haiti and then joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) working in the Dominican Republic. The assassination of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador inspired him to enter seminary.

He began a novitiate with the Society of Jesus studying at Saint John the Evangelist Seminary in California. After Father David met Msgr. Donald Kenny, vocations director for Atlanta, he joined the archdiocese. He finished studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

On June 29, 1996, Father David was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Christ the King by Archbishop John F. Donoghue. His first assignment was at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn. Father Craig served in several parishes until September 2005, when Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked him to serve the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA as a Veterans Affairs Hospital Chaplain. He started at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California and has worked at various VA Medical Centers across the United States.

Father David is studying Jewish spirituality, Judaism and Torah Studies. He is assigned to the Syracuse VA Medical Center in New York, and is working on becoming a clinical board-certified chaplain focusing on palliative care/hospice ministry.

Father Javier Muñoz 

Father Javier Muñoz was born in Medellín, Colombia. He entered minor seminary at age 13 where he finished high school. He studied philosophy in the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and received his degree in theology, philosophy and religious sciences from La Universidad Católica del Norte. 

He was ordained on Dec. 15, 1996, by Bishop Jairo Jaramillo Monsalve in the Diocese of Santa Rosa of Osos in Colombia. On March 30, 2010, he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Since then, he has served at different parishes in the archdiocese.

He was a spiritual director in the Nazareth House, has served at St. George Church, Newnan; Holy Cross Church, Atlanta; St. Joseph Church in Marietta, and at parishes in North Carolina. He also ministered at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, and at Good Shepherd Church in Cumming.

During these 25 years of priesthood, he is very grateful, first with God for all the blessings he has received in all these years of walking with Christ, for all his priest brothers, and the different bishops who have helped him grow in his vocation as a priest. He is also thankful for all the great people whom he has encountered in every parish he has been assigned and for their help in this continuous journey.