Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo Courtesy of Catholic Foundation of North Georgia
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., celebrates Mass for the Deo Gratias Society and Founders Society on Sept. 18 at Mary Our Queen Church in Peachtree Corners.

Peachtree Corners

Catholic Foundation donors honored at annual Deo Gratias Mass

By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 29, 2021

PEACHTREE CORNERS–Being involved in parish life at St. Michael the Archangel Church inspired Katia León to leave a legacy for generations to come.

“I have seen first hand all the wonderful work our parish does for the community,” said León. 

This work included the preschool and faith formation programs, local pantry offerings and scholarships, among many other parish ministries. 

Katia León was inducted into the Deo Gratias Society after making a bequest to support St. Michael the Archangel Church in Woodstock.

León made a bequest in her will to support the parish endowment fund at the Woodstock church. It was easy to set up with the help of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, she explained. She hopes the gift will continue to support those in need and ensures St. Michael the Archangel Church has the resources to serve and make a difference in the lives of its community. 

“Being a member of the parish means offering our time and talent for the life of our parish and beyond,” said León. “Life is not about us only, but about being part of something that is bigger than us.”

León was recognized as a Deo Gratias Society member at the virtual Mass and celebration on Sept. 18 at Mary Our Queen Church in Peachtree Corners. This annual event honors and celebrates members of the Founders Society and Deo Gratias Society.

Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer OFM Conv., celebrated the Deo Gratias Mass. Deo gratias is Latin for “thanks be to God.”

During his homily, the archbishop thanked the donors for sharing their gifts, bearing fruit in the local Catholic community. 

“We all benefit in a variety of ways by your willingness to be good stewards of your gifts and bear the good and nourishing fruit of your faith,” he said. “Through your generosity, you are leaving a Catholic legacy for generations to come that will continue the mission of Jesus Christ. Miracles happen as a result of your generosity.”

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 Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Since 1997, the Catholic Foundation has provided more than $24 million to parishes, Catholic schools and nonprofits. In the last four years, $10.6 million has been granted to help organizations serving the Catholic community in north and central Georgia. 

This year, 55 people were recognized as members of the Deo Gratias Society.

A family gift

After living in a pandemic and the loss of her husband last year, Jacqueline Cote wanted to do more to help the church. She and her husband, Rene, were lifelong members of St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell. 

Mike Cote, left, and his wife, Kathy Cote, were inducted into the Deo Gratias Society after contributing to the Rene and Jacqueline Cote endowment fund, which benefits youth and young adult discipleship programs at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell. Photo Courtesy of Catholic Foundation of North Georgia

Her son, Mike Cote, approached Msgr. Peter Rau, pastor of the Roswell parish, and asked for guidance. He encouraged the family to set up an endowment fund with the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia.

The endowment fund is named after Rene and Jacqueline and supports discipleship for youth and young adults at St. Peter Chanel. 

A cradle Catholic who attended Catholic schools, Jacqueline said she learned so much, including good morals. Catholic education teaches the right way to go about life, she said. 

“The children growing up now, that’s our future and we need to make sure we can help them in any way we can,” she said.

“Education has always been important to my parents and faith is at the top of the list,” said Mike, who along with his four siblings attended Catholic school. Mike and his wife Kathy, as well as his four other siblings have sent their children to Catholic school over the years. 

Jacqueline, her children and their spouses have all contributed to the endowment fund.

Mike said the fund is a way to deepen youth spirituality at St. Peter Chanel in honor of his parents in a lasting way. 

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