Land is being cleared on Benton Boulevard in Pooler for the new Corpus Christi church location. A groundbreaking will be scheduled soon.

State of the Diocese 2017

Originally Appeared in : 9801-1/4/17

As I look at the State of the Diocese of Savannah for the past 12 months, I am overwhelmed with the generosity and diversity of the tens of thousands of people who worship and minister in the 77 parishes and missions in South Georgia.


The Catholic faith is flourishing in missions as small as Our Lady of Guadalupe, which occupies a double-wide trailer in Sandhill, Georgia, to our largest parish, Sacred Heart in Warner Robins with 2,800 families.


Last year over 1,100 young people were confirmed in the faith in Confirmation services throughout the diocese.


During the Easter Vigil, a total of 382 South Georgians, some who had never been baptized and others who had been baptized in other faiths, professed their faith as new Catholics. 


There were 1,577 Baptisms and 310 sacramental marriages.


We served more than 50,000 individuals through our parish-assisted social service programs, meeting needs ranging from food, shelter, family stabilization, medical and employment assistance.


Two elementary schools opened new campuses in 2017. Sacred Heart Church in Warner Robins opened both a new parish center and a new school building. Blessed Sacrament Parish in Savannah completed its first phase with a new school, parish and a gymnasium with more to come in the near future.


Teaching of the faith and the basics has not changed since my days in the classroom, but now there are music and art rooms, STEM and STEAM labs, robotics and even a dark room.


The first special needs program in the Diocese, now in its third school year, continues to attract an underserved population at Immaculate Conception School in Augusta. I am so proud of this program. I fall in love with these children every time I walk through the school. In 2018, these students will continue in a new high school program.


St. Teresa School in Albany expanded its elementary program into the first two grades of high school this term with plans to add 11th and 12th grades in the future.


Looking to the future, St. Francis Xavier Parish in Brunswick has plans to renew its elementary school campus during 2018.


In addition to constructing new facilities, we also strengthened our educational and catechetical programs through a variety of approaches from encouraging certification for catechists to adopting new academic assessment tools for all schools. 


Sacred Heart Parish in Vidalia will start construction on a new sanctuary shortly while St. Juliana Parish in Fort Valley is getting ready to expand their sanctuary. Both St. Paul Parish in Douglas and Immaculate Conception Church in Dublin are planning to construct multipurpose buildings. 


Pooler, Georgia, a suburb of Savannah, is growing so rapidly that we are establishing a new parish—Corpus Christi. Land has been cleared for a pastoral multipurpose center, which will serve for worship services, religious education classrooms and pastoral offices. 


For the first time in many years the 2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal exceeded the goal of $2.6 million by 7 percent thanks to your generosity. The Bishop’s Annual Appeal helps to fund many ministries, including the education of the 19 seminarians studying in three seminaries to become the priests of the future, Catholic education and formation, as well as outreach to those in most need throughout our diocese.


In order to reach a hard to identify and evangelize population, I recently appointed eight priests to serve as campus ministers to students on several college campuses around the diocese. 


Our Office of Hispanic Ministry provides an online catechetical and leadership school which is transmitted live to a variety of parishes throughout the diocese. In 2018 we will establish a Hispanic Ministry catechetical school in Augusta. 


The Hispanics who live, work and worship in our Diocese have a special place in my heart. The thousands of Latinos who live in South Georgia include those who were brought to this country as children, often referred to as DREAMERS, who live in danger of being deported because of a lack of comprehensive immigration reform.


To better minister to the Hispanic population we have been holding a series of Encuentros (Encounters) designed not only for Hispanics but for the Anglo population to encourage the communities to socialize and worship together.


 We are laying the groundwork for a dynamic three-year evangelization program in Spanish and English in parishes throughout the Diocese in Lent, 2018— Living the Eucharist/Vive la Eucaristía. 


Living the Eucharist is a parish-based program designed to help revitalize parish life and foster spiritual growth through a more profound experience of Sunday Mass. It helps the entire parish—adults, teens, and families—grow in their Catholic faith and live more fully as Missionary Disciples of Jesus.


In August of 2018, we are welcoming four Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, an American missionary community of sisters whose specific mission is the preservation of the faith with an effort to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle. We look forward to their presence in our diocese and their ministry to our parishes and institutions.


In this article, I am only mentioning the highlights of what is happening in our diocese. You will learn more as the individual departments in the Catholic Pastoral Center issue their own annual reports. 


Reading the bi-weekly Southern Cross and visiting our diocesan website with its links to our social media sites will keep you informed throughout 2018 of the programs and projects as they develop.


New construction, programs, funding and statistics are meaningless unless they are directed towards bringing each of us to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate goal of all of our efforts at the Diocese of Savannah.

(Leer in Espanol here)

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