The Church of Columbus finds a unique way to fill its pews

Borrowing an idea from a priest in Italy, they asked students at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School and church members to send in their photos. The response was overwhelming.

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More than 650 people sent photos by e-mail, including some who have heard of the project and who do not even frequent Sainte-Anne.

Now “the church is almost full,” said a very happy Schlageter. “Now we look out, we see their faces. For a Catholic priest, of course, we have our families, but our people are also our families.

Micki Kaye was thrilled with the project and planned to send in her picture as soon as possible.

Kaye, who has been a member for about three years, said she felt separated from her parish. “My heart was so full of joy. It must be divinely inspired, for sure.

She noticed a picture of her granddaughter in the church.

“That’s where faith comes in, when you can elevate a situation that has so much worry, so much sadness, and so much separation into something that has so much joy.”

Anne’s friars are members of the same order, the Conventual Franciscan Friars, as Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer, who will lead the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

He doesn’t know how long the church won’t have in-person Mass, but he thinks the experience could be meaningful for the community.

“It teaches us all how much we mean to each other.”

Martha J. Finley