Catholic Charities Atlanta held its third annual gala on Thursday, April 15, at 6 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta. In honor of the Year for Priests, three priests of the archdiocese were honored for their particularly supportive of the work. Among them was La Salette Father Jim Kuczynski, M.S., pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna, GA.
In the program for the evening, he was described as: “A compassionate servant leader for what is perhaps the largest and most diverse parish in the Archdiocese, St. Thomas the Apostle, Fr. Jim is an unwavering voice for Catholic Charities Atlanta. He, his staff and his parishioners support our Village of St. Joseph Counseling Program and implement many of the Catholic Charities Parish and Social Justice Ministries initiatives, including Justice for Immigrants, Just Faith and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.” His parish is nearly half Hispanic.
They also listed the various programs and ministries under his supervision: the members of his parish “participate in the Good Friday Pilgrimage and Operation Rice Bowl and gave a generous donation to Catholic Charities Atlanta from their successful parish Hunger Walk event. Every year, Fr. Jim makes space available for our Catholic Charities Immigration Services to conduct their annual citizenship day drive at his parish, and his personal endorsement from the pulpit on the good work we do for the poor and needy during our Christmas Appeal demonstrates his faithful commitment to Catholic Charities Atlanta.”
His biography was also listed:
Father Jim Kuczynski was born in Chicago near the beaches of Lake Michigan and in the shadow of the U.S. Steel Mill. Father Jim made his religious profession of vows in the La Salette Community in 1964, studying Philosophy at the La Salette Seminary in Ipswich, MA before receiving his Master's in Theology at the Washington Theological Union in Silver Spring, MD. Following ordination, Fr. Jim served in community assignments with seminary students, hospital chaplaincy in the Chicago area and as pastor of a La Salette Parish in Rainham, Essex, in England.
He was assigned as pastor to St. Thomas the Apostle in Smyrna in 2004 and is currently also serving the Las Salette Community as Vicar Provincial for the North American Province of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.
Fr. Jim has just returned from an international gathering of La Salettes in Poland, where he represented the La Salette Missionaries of North America.
Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.
Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.
Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”