Shining his light as a retired priest: Father Richard Tibbetts

In the first 50 years of his life, Father Richard Tibbetts was a Capuchin brother, then a schoolteacher, and then a social worker. In his own words, he had “a lot of growing up to do” before finding his way to seminary, even though there had always been a longing on his heart to be a priest. Leaving the northeast and Maine, where he was born and raised, Father Tibbetts was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta when he was 55. Now, at 76, Father Tibbetts is retired from parish life and fills his days with what he loves most, celebrating Mass and hearing confessions. He is also a spiritual director, passionate about prison ministry, and actively assists area parishes as needed.

Your support of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal funds seminarian education, retirement care and continuous formation for the priests of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

 The people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta are wonderful. They love their priests, and they show it. As a retired priest, I feel that love.”

“I was 50 when I entered seminary. I have been ordained 22 years. And I’m right where I’m supposed to be. What brought me down to Atlanta, is that I saw what I believed, and what I still believe, to be a church that is very vibrant and alive.”

Shining her light as a catechetical leader: Jenny Kiehl

Launch Director & Pre-K-First grade Coordinator, Catholic Church of St. Ann, Marietta

In 2017, when Jenny Kiehl accepted a part-time position in the religious education department at St. Ann’s, she thought it would be a small, temporary role until she found a new job in her career field in her new city. Instead, God enabled her to pour her expertise in curriculum development and organizational leadership into her parish, working together with staff and parishioners to completely re-create their children’s ministry. The new program, named Launch, debuted in 2017 with the goal of “igniting children’s Catholic faith” and works to incorporate multiple teaching strategies, individually-led stations and general passion for the faith into the religious education teachings of the Church. As a presenter at the 2019 Atlanta Catechist Conference, Jenny was able to share her story of rebuilding their children’s ministry and use her experience and expertise to inspire and guide other parish catechetical leaders to find new ways to bring each child closer to Christ.

Your support of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal funds the Office of Formation and Discipleship, including the Atlanta Catechist Conference and other opportunities to equip pastors and their leaders with the support, training and resources needed to fulfill the pastoral mission of catechesis and evangelization.

Shining his light as a seminarian: Joe Wagner

The call to the priesthood came clearly and succinctly to Joe Wagner as he was attending college at Kennesaw State University. He can remember the exact time and place, as he knelt in prayer at a local parish, that he first felt the nudge. The sheer unexpectedness and shock of the vocation he felt placed on his heart by God took him about four years to process and own as his path. Growing up Catholic in Woodstock, Georgia, the Lord began to stir deeply in his heart in college and continue as he started his professional work as an accountant, finally culminating in his yes to attend Mundelein Seminary. Currently looking at ordination as a transitional deacon next year, Joe is enjoying his pastoral year in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, walking with parishioners as he supports St. Stephen the Martyr parish in Lilburn.

 It was a beautiful thing to watch my desire align with God’s desire for me. This is exactly what I want to be doing, there is no place else I would rather be than answering God’s call to this gift of the priesthood.”

“The Lord is so good and has drawn near to me, revealed himself to me, transformed me and given me deep joy and peace. The Lord has done this in my life and I am called to share this with others. There is a deep desire to give away what I have received. The Lord has broken into my life and renewed me with his healing grace, and I desire to make his grace known to then ends of the earth.”

Your support of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal funds the Office of Vocations, including the position of Vocations Director, the discernment retreats and other supports and activities that were all monumental in Joe’s ability to respond to God’s invitation. Your generosity also funds the education and support of our seminarians, preparing well-trained priests for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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