Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photograph by Johnathon Kelso
Atlanta's 11 new deacons exchange a fraternal hug with clergy during their ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King Feb. 4.


Meet the deacons of 2023

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published February 23, 2023

ATLANTA—On Feb. 4, 11 men were ordained to the permanent diaconate for ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta:

Deacon David K. Beals

David Kent Beals Jr.

Age: 53. Place of birth: Atlanta 

Family: He and wife, Tracey, have been married 11 years and have four children, Andrew, Katherine, Noah and Katierose. 

Education: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (B.S. physics). 

Work experience: 26 years in the software business as a business analyst, a quality assurance analyst and a consultant. Currently a senior business analyst at Capstone Logistics. 

Hobbies and interests: Reading, music, movies, hiking, mountains 

Parish assignment: Our Lady of the Mountains, Jasper. 

Deacon Kirk Broom

Kirkland Broom  

Age: 63. Place of birth: Denver, Colorado    

Family: He and wife, Julie, have been married 41 years and have three children: son Owen Michael Broom and his wife Janet; daughter Caroline Louise and daughter Hannah Rose. They have three grandchildren. 

Education: University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, bachelor of arts in journalism with a management specialization, and business administration minor. 

Work experience: Sales management for Cooks Pest Control, Atlanta; Past work in Houston, Texas in insurance and financial investments, and as a national sales manager for an internet car buying service and as a general manager for the Bay Area Sun and Mariner’s Log Magazine. 

Hobbies and interests: Horseback riding, sailing and performing in various groups as a bass player.  

Parish assignment: St. Paul the Apostle Church, Cleveland.  

Deacon Thang Chien Bui

Thang Chien Bui  

Age: 51. Place of birth: Ba Ria, Vietnam 

Family: He and wife, Thuy Bui, have been married for 22 years. They have a daughter, Truc Bui, 20, and a son, Victor Bui, 17. 

Education: DeKalb Technical Institute, Clarkston. Earned a degree in printing/graphics technology and prepress/image assembly option. 

Work experience: Printing graphics technician in Atlanta. 

Hobbies and interests: Playing tennis, gardening, spending time with family, touring new places. 

Parish assignment: Our Lady of Vietnam Church, Riverdale. 

Deacon Michael J. Chernick

Michael Joseph Chernick 

Age: 63. Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Family: Married to Elena for more than 35 years. They have three children: Christopher, Jodie and Amanda. One granddaughter. 

Education: Certification to teach science in grades 6-12, Fulton County. Bachelor of science degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the State University of New York at New Paltz.  

Work experience: Currently a biology and anatomy teacher at Holy Spirit Preparatory School. Worked at IBM as a mainframe assembly technician and a manufacturing engineering technician, and at UPS as a software developer and quality assurance manager for shipping applications and  

Hobbies and interests: Connecting with family, staying physically fit, swimming, biking and running as well as practicing a Korean martial art. Running 5K and 10K races, and triathlons. Building puzzles, taking care of his dog. Rugby and traveling. 

Parish assignment: St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta. 

Deacon Pablo Cepeda Contreras

Pablo Emilio Cepeda Contreras 

Age: 64. Place of birth: Bogota, Colombia 

Family: He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 16 years. 

Education: Bachelor of science degree in biology from Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotá, Colombia. Clinical Biochemistry Specialization from Pontifical Xaverian University in Bogotá.  

Work experience: For the past 12 years, he has been working for the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was a science professor in Bogotá. 

Hobbies and interests: Reading, walking, teaching, playing chess, cats, watching soccer and tennis tournaments. 

Parish assignment: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Atlanta. 

Deacon Lawrence Maijer

Lawrence Maijer  

Age: 62. Place of birth: Indiana 

Family: He and wife, Anna, have been married for 39 years. They have one son, Ian. 

Education: Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana. Earned a bachelor of science in criminology with a minor in business administration. 

Work experience: Works for Verisk Analytics in data and risk analytics and sales. 

Hobbies and interests: Reading, enjoying nature and wildlife 

Parish assignment: Prince of Peace Church, Flowery Branch. 

Deacon Mat Mathews

Mathew T. Mathews 

Age: 45. Place of birth: Kerala, India   

Family: Married to his wife, Darlene, for 18 years. They have two daughters, Rania and Laila. 

Education: University of London, master of arts in international studies and diplomacy, London, UK. Emory University, bachelor of arts, in political science and economics. 

Work experience: Chief technology officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He is leading digital and data modernization in the areas of product development, business intelligence, technical operations and cybersecurity. Prior to joining Boys & Girls Clubs, he spent almost two decades supporting the United States national security community in areas of counterterrorism, counter-trafficking and cyber-defense. 

Hobbies and interests: reading historical and science fiction, gardening and turning off lights in empty rooms. 

Parish assignment: Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Brookhaven. 

Deacon Claro Rodriguez

Claro Rodriguez 

Age: 64. Place of birth: Sariaya, Quezon-Philippines 

Family: Married to wife, Nanette, for 39 years. They are parents to Christopher Rodriguez, and daughter-in-law, Jiselle, and daughter Celine Rodriguez. They have two granddaughters. 

Education: Graduated with a degree in accounting and marketing, from La Salle University and received a Master of Business Administration in finance and project management and Lean Six Sigma certification from Keller Graduate School of Management in Atlanta. 

Work experience: Retired from a full-time position as a senior financial executive working for Fortune 100 Companies, with extensive experience in financial, operational and leadership roles in media, manufacturing, transportation, distribution and supply chains. Currently consulting part-time for small and mid-size companies.  

Hobbies and interests: Running, biking, swimming, trail hiking and going on long walks with family. 

Parish assignment: St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell.  

Deacon Hector Romero

Hector Romero 

Age: 53. Place of birth: San Isidro Cabanas, El Salvador  

Family: He and wife, Vilma, have been married for 27 years. They immigrated to the U.S. some 30 years ago. They have four children, now adults. They have three grandchildren. 

Education: Three years of pastoral theology at the University of Dallas. 

Work: He is self-employed, having built a small, successful construction company in the Cobb County area.  

Hobbies and interests: When not working, he enjoys football and baseball. Soccer is his favorite as he grew up playing it daily with his brothers.  

Parish assignment: St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw. 

Deacon Mark R. Tahsler

Mark Randall Tahsler 

Age: 47. Place of Birth: Cleveland, Ohio     

Family: Married to wife, Jennifer, for 24 years. They have two adult daughters, Madelynn and Meghan.  

Education: Received a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering technology at 

Southern Polytechnic State University. 

Work experience: Senior manager of global IT sourcing and partnerships at 

Warner Bros. Discovery. 

Hobbies and interests: Reading and cycling. 

Parish assignment: St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw. 

Deacon Merlin D. Todd

Merlin Devereaux Todd  

Age: 66. Place of birth: Atlanta  

Family: He and wife, Bernestine, have been married for 30 years. They have two daughters, Maria Adia Todd and Sarah Ngozi Todd. 

Education: Bachelor of science degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a master of architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology. Technical and Business Communication Certificate. 

Work Experience: Operations Supervisor at United Parcel Service (UPS), and director of housing and residential life and special assistant to the vice president for student services and director of housing at Morehouse College. 

Hobbies and interests: Family time, baking, watching television and sports. 

Parish assignment: St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta.