By GRETCHEN KEISER Special to the Bulletin | Published October 7, 2021
ATLANTA—St. John Neumann staff member Linda Koerner, who has lived out her heartfelt desire to help teens deepen their faith in Christ, will be the guest speaker at the Magnificat gathering for women to be held on Saturday morning, Nov. 13.
All women are invited to attend the Magnificat, which will be held at Holy Cross Church in Atlanta from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Atlanta chapter of Magnificat hosts the gathering, which includes breakfast, a time of praise and worship with music, and the speaker’s testimony.
The international Catholic women’s ministry is inspired by the joyful meeting of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, related in the Gospel of St. Luke.
Since growing up in Pittsburgh, Linda Koerner has been drawn into a lifetime of ministry to teens and families, while she and her husband, Greg, were also raising their own three children. In Pittsburgh she began with Teens Encounter Christ, a retreat and ongoing Catholic support ministry to older teens and young adults.
After the Koerners moved to the Atlanta area in the 1990s, she became youth minister at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, and this shepherding of teens and their families closer to Christ has continued in decades of ministry at that parish and other parishes. She is currently director of religious education at St. John Neumann for EDGE and Life Teen, the middle school and high school youth. She has received the Companions on the Journey Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.
“I really believe my spiritual journey personally began when I was in high school. I loved to go sit in the church when it was totally empty. I felt like the Lord really educated my heart and my mind and my spirit during those times. As we grew up and got married and had children, I found myself just drawn into helping teenagers know how very much God loves them and cares about them, no matter what the circumstances of their lives,” she said. “There is so much hope in Christ.”
Her faith has been tested as well, she said. “Things have not always been easy for me. There are tough times in all our lives. … My desire is to share with you, through my experiences, the hope, love, forgiveness and peace that comes in knowing the Lord.”
The Magnificat ministry began in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and has spread throughout the world. Chapters are under the guidance of the local bishop. The Atlanta Joyful Visitation chapter has been active since 1992. The purpose is to help women open more to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment of their lives to Jesus as Lord and to impart the Holy Spirit to one another by their love, service and sharing the good news of salvation.
Advance reservations for the gathering are required and can be made either online or through the mail. The cost is $20 per person. No tickets are sent. Check-in is at the door for those with reservations only.
Those who have provided contact information to the ministry will receive an invitation by email. To be added to that list, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register by mail, please send your name, address, parish if applicable, contact information, and a check made payable to Magnificat Joyful Visitation to Debbie DuPont, 315 Rose Court, SW, Lilburn, GA 30047. Registration closes on Saturday, Nov. 6. Mailed reservations must be received by that date.
At this time, the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Atlanta say that those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are required to wear a mask during any parish activity. Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are not required to wear a mask, but it is strongly encouraged.
The doors open early. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. Holy Cross is located at 3773 Chamblee Tucker Road, Atlanta, less than a mile from the Chamblee Tucker Road exit on Interstate 285.
Priests and religious are invited to attend free of charge, but reservations are still requested to plan for the meal. Since the morning is designed to speak to the hearts of women free of distractions, it is respectfully requested that young children not attend.
For information, contact Debbie DuPont at 770-696-6216.