The Newnan Times-Herald


Groundbreaking held for St. George rectory

  • By Winston Skinner
  • |
  • May. 02, 2019 - 6:23 PM

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Groundbreaking held for St. George rectory

Debby Dye / The Newnan Times-Herald

After blessing the ground, Bishop Joel Konzen uses an aspergillum to bless all who came to the St. George groundbreaking ceremony. Father Henry Atem and MC John Huynh look on.

Parishioners of St. George Catholic Church are continuing their celebration of a Year of Grace and Gratitude, including breaking ground for the church’s new rectory.

Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, joined Father Henry Atem, pastor, for the ceremony. The groundbreaking opened with the singing of “The Church’s One Foundation,” followed by words of welcome from Atem.

He acknowledged the opportunity to “thank God for all his many blessings upon our parish community.”

The pastor gave special thanks to the parish building committee; project manager Dan Davis, Eric Bowen of the Five Star Group Inc., Richard Dearing of Strack Inc., Dorothy Pope, Connie Cebulski and Catholic Construction Services of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. 
Atem expressed gratitude to parishioners for supporting the project and “for the selfless generosity you continue to demonstrate.”

Konzen, who was making his very first visit to St. George since being ordained a bishop, prayed that the rectory project would be brought to successful completion and that all who work on the construction would be safe from injury.

At the Feb. 27 service, the bishop noted that more than half of Atlanta’s 108 Catholic parishes and missions have building projects taking place, not a trend experienced in most dioceses.

“It’s a sign of the growth of this archdiocese,” Konzen said. He commended the parish for “caring for the spiritual leaders who care for you” with the building of the rectory, a home for current and future priests serving St. George.

“It’s a team, and all of you support one another,” said the bishop. “It’s a sign of your care for the church in general.”

After the prayer of blessing, during which the ground was blessed with holy water, Konzen, Atem, Bowen, and parishioners Dorothy Pope and Monique Davis donned hard hats and broke ground with silver-toned shovels.

The new rectory will be located at the rear of the church property closer to Henderson Hall. The current priests’ residence, which faces Roscoe Road, is prone to flooding.

Parishioners supported the $600,000 construction project with the Building the Future campaign, which will also allow for expansion of the faith formation program.

The Year of Grace and Gratitude, which began in 2018 to mark the 80th anniversary of the first Mass ever celebrated in Coweta County, will conclude in June.

In 1938, Ellis and Effie Mansour requested permission from the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta to have Mass in Newnan, and they opened their home.

On June 15, the parish will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the church building. Archbishop Thomas Donnellan dedicated the church in June 1969, and it was elevated to parish status in 1974.

St. George is home to more than 1,200 families, representing many nations of origin.