The annual fundraising “Deimel Legacy Ball” in Columbus, Georgia, is the social event of the year for the Catholics in the Columbus Deanery of the Diocese of Savannah. Hosted by the Bishop of Savannah, The Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv, this year’s celebration was held on February 1, 2020, and supported by the parishes of Columbus Deanery including: Christ the King, Holy Family, and three parishes served by our friars ~ Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anne Church, and St. Benedict the Moor. Proceeds from the Deimel Legacy Ball support tuition assistance at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School, the only Catholic PreK-12th Grade, college prep school serving the Southwestern portion of Georgia. Bishop Hartmayer, who is also a friar of our province. joined his confreres serving in Columbus, along with our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., for an evening of fun and fellowship. (more photos)
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. serves as the friary Guardian and as Pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church, and in turn of St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School. He is joined in pastoral ministry there by Fr. Paul Pantiru, OFM Conv. (a Romanian friar serving in our province) and Fr. Manny Vascocelos, OFM Conv. (who is also Campus Ministry Chaplain for Columbus State University, often featured in a reflection video series via our Companions of St. Anthony ministry). The school’s mascot is the “Vikings!” They gifted our friars with appropriate headgear! (pictured above: Friar James, Friar Manny, Friar Robert, Fr. Pablo Migone (Docese of Savannah Chancellor, Vocations Director & Assistant to Bishop Hartmayer), Friar Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. (Pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish), and Bishop Hartmayer. Not pictured in the group shot, but also serving in the Columbus area is Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv., who is the Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Vicar Forane of the Columbus Deanery (insert at right).
During his February visit to Savannah, our Minister Provincial also took the opportunity to tour diocesan center and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Bishop Hartmayer has been working with the Holy Name Province (OFM’s) to promote the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs. The OFM’s have been working toward this goal since the 1950s, and Bishop Hartmayer has been trying to expedite the process. He recently visited with Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, OFM, the Postulator of the Cause, who is overseeing the redaction of the final historical document which will be presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints next year. Though greater awareness of and devotion to the five martyrs is needed in Georgia where they ministered to the indigenous population. When our friars moved to serve the faithful of the Columbus, GA area, they chose to name the new friary “Franciscan Martyrs Friary” in honor of Friar Pedro de Corpa and Companions, also known as the Georgia Martyrs.