Atlanta Priest Saved Churches from Torch
Atlanta reveres Father Thomas O’Reilly. Born in Ireland in 1831, Father O’Reilly arrived in Georgia in 1857, shortly after ordination, reaching Atlanta in 1861 just as the Civil War began.
Union General William Tecumseh Sherman deliberately waged war against civilians, not just armies, burning and looting, hoping to break popular loyalty to the war effort. His forces neared Atlanta. Father O’Reilly brazenly warned that if any churches, Catholic or Protestant, were touched, he would excommunicate Catholic soldiers involved and urge all federal Catholic troops to mutiny.
Sherman spared the churches. Most of Atlanta was torched. In 1872, Father O’Reilly died.
Priest Sees His Blindness as a Great Gift
Father Patrick Martin, of the Norwich diocese, ordained in 1978, says that God has given him many gifts in his life, but he says his blindness is a gift most appreciated because this disability enables him to remind people that they can serve God well regardless.
When he was nine, meningitis took his vision. He went on to school, however. His pastor allowed him to be an altar server, and it prompted an interest in the priesthood. Years passed.
The Norwich diocese finally accepted him as a seminarian pending papal approval. Pope Paul VI gave this approval.
World War II’s Toll
Seventy-five years ago, on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. The Second World War began, eventually taking between 38 and 55 million civilian lives and the lives of between 22 and 25 million military personnel.
Fifty Years Ago
In September 1964, The Priest had an article on the U.S. seminaries at that time and the seminarians. Another discussed the effectiveness of art in decorating churches. An article discussed a pastor’s responsibility in providing religious instruction for children not in Catholic schools. Our Sunday Visitor advertised pamphlet missals for Requiem Masses.
‘Go in Peace’
“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.”