By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published March 3, 2022
ATLANTA—Father Rey Pineda is preparing 47 men for the priesthood as director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
“By their witness and relationship with their parishes and schools, seminarians immediately become a living display of the joy that comes from doing the Lord’s will,” said Father Pineda.
“I want to journey with them so as to give them the clarity and confidence to inspire other young disciples to respond to the Lord’s invitation.”
His duties include overseeing monthly Masses and retreats for men discerning their vocation and assisting current seminarians on their journey to the priesthood. Under his supervision, seminarians are immersed in the Atlanta Catholic community, learning the inner workings of parish life and meeting school teachers and students.
The Office of Vocations is one of many programs and ministries supported by the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. The appeal helps to carry out the mission of the Atlanta Archdiocese by supporting ministerial, outreach, education, evangelization and discipleship work in north and central Georgia.
This year’s appeal theme, “Transformed in Christ,” invites Catholics to transform their lives “through a renewed understanding of and devotion to Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Generous gifts to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal allow us to “continue our work building strong parishes with intentional disciples and funding archdiocese-wide initiatives that reach all the faithful in north and central Georgia, that we may be transformed in Christ,” said Archbishop Hartmayer.
The 2022 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.
When the coronavirus pandemic closed parishes, schools and businesses in 2020, Catholics found various ways to engage in the faith. After an unprecedented year, Archbishop Hartmayer called for a eucharistic renewal to help Catholics deepen an appreciation for the Eucharist.
This eucharistic renewal includes the return of the 2022 Eucharistic Congress, scheduled for June 17-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The event, funded by the appeal, brings together about 30,000 Catholics of all ages for spiritual enrichment in Mass, adoration and engaging speakers.
“The words of Pope Saint John Paul II remind us that ‘only by deepening our Eucharistic communion with the Lord through personal prayer can we discover what He asks of us in daily life,’” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “This transformation is witnessed in our actions as we love like He did and do His will, serving others.”
In addition to the Eucharistic Congress, the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal supports clergy, 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 93 parishes, 10 missions and five pastoral centers. As of 2021, local Catholics are served by 185 diocesan priests, 94 religious order priests, 106 men and women religious. There are 271 permanent deacons in the archdiocese and 47 seminarians.
Catholic schools, both diocesan and independent, serve some 7,715 students with more than 52,000 young people participating in parish religious education programs and nine college campus ministries.
The outreach and evangelization of the archdiocese impacts the lives of 7 million people in Georgia.