St. Mary Magdalene’s dedication festivities set for Feb. 8-16

Tue, 01/30/2007 - 4:01pm
By: The Citizen

Planning church dedication

It’s been a long journey for the pilgrim people of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Coweta County. Finally, their yearned-for first church will be officially dedicated by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory on Feb. 8. And an Octave of Celebration will continue through Feb. 16 with special planned events for both the parish and the community.

The parish began as a mission of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City and early day Masses were held at Thomas Crossroads Elementary School. Overcrowding necessitated a move to Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church next door, but more growth caused another move to East Coweta High School’s cafeteria.

In between, church members used the famed “tin barn” left on the property when it was purchased from the original owners. The structure became the setting for many special liturgies and parish celebrations. A huge tent then served as a temporary venue.

After years of planning, fund raising, moving from one temporary worship site to another, then going through the lengthy building process, parish members saw their church finally finished. It will be formally blessed at a special Rite of Dedication on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. Presiding along with the Archbishop will be Father Daniel J. Fleming, pastor, and Deacon Donald Kelsey. Other priests of the archdiocese also have been invited.

During the rite, the Archbishop will bless various components of the church, anoint the new altar and dedication crosses with sacred oils, lead a procession into the church and receive the keys from the building chairman.

The Mass will have special readings, music, a homily by the Archbishop, offertory procession, a performance by liturgical dancers, celebration of the Eucharist and conclusion. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

Celebrations planned for the days following the dedication include a “Praise and Worship” night for middle and high school youth on Friday, Feb. 9, featuring as speaker Father Bryan Small, director of Emory University’s Catholic Center. Small has been involved for several years with youth ministry programs. The evening will conclude with a pizza party.

Saturday and Sunday celebrations (Feb. 10 and 11) will include Masses at 5 p.m. (Vigil), 9 a.m. and noon, and commissioning service for parish ministries.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, priests of the Southern Deanery have been invited for luncheon. That evening, a Community Open House at 7 p.m. will feature tours for guests. The entire community is invited.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the parish will host a Community Outreach Ministry luncheon. Guests will include those engaged in social ministry outreach on behalf of the parish as well as guests representing the different social service ministries of the Newnan/Coweta community at large.

A Family Night planned for Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. will feature Father Linus deSantis, OFM, a noted Franciscan speaker and leader, who will discuss the parish’s special San Damiano cross, said to have been the inspiration to ministry of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order. An ice cream social will conclude the evening.

A parish adult celebration on Friday, Feb. 16, requires reservations and will conclude the events at St. Mary Magdalene.

The church recently had a change of address although it did not move. The entrance formerly was located on Lower Fayetteville Road and had a Sharpsburg address. However, the new entrance is from Ebenezer Church Road off Ga. Hwy. 154 (next to the fire station), and has a Newnan address.

The official address of St. Mary Magdalene church is 3 Village Lane, Newnan.

Church leaders helping with the dedication include Paul Bauer, director of music; Bill Tucker, head sacristan for the Mass of Dedication; Kathy Kucska, liturgical consultant for the dedication; and Annette Tomasi, director of liturgical dance.

The church complex encompasses more than 17,600 feet and includes administrative offices and classrooms. The sanctuary seats 615 persons.

Architects for the project were Barker, Cunningham, and Barrington of Buford. General contractor was Group VI of Peachtree City.

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