The history and tradition of our parish

About Us

Founded in 1966, the Parish of Saint Thomas the Apostle in Smyrna, Georgia, is staffed by the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.

Parish Mission Statement

As a faith community we seek:

  • to have the loving, reconciling presence of Jesus at the center of our lives, especially in the Eucharist where we experience an understanding of God’s grace;
  • to build strong bonds of mutual support within our community;
  • and to serve the cause of mercy, justice and evangelization in our world.

History of our Parish

Did you know that our first parishioners attended Mass at a movie theater until the current Social Hall was built?

CLICK HERE to learn more about the history of our parish on an article written by Nancy Nolan.


Priests assigned to our parish since 1966

Archdiocesan Priests (1966-1977)

  • Rev. Richard B. Morrow – Pastor (1966-1972)
  • Rev. Robert Kinast (1971-1972)
  • Rev. Richard Lopez (1972-1972)
  • Rev. James Maciejewski – Pastor (1972-1974)
  • Re. Paul Reynolds (1972-1974)
  • Re. William E. Calhoun ( 1974-1975)
  • Rev. Joseph Cavallo ( 1975-1977)

In 1977, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette began their work in our parish:

  • Rev. Robert E. Dyer, M.S. – Pastor (1977-1986)
  • Re. Joe Aquino, M.S. (1977-1978)
  • Rev. Timothy Randall, M.S. (1978-1979)
  • Rev. Victor W. Chaupetta, M.S. (1979-1984)
  • Rev. John Dolan, M.S. (1984-1984)
  • Rev. Gerald R. Biron, M.S. (1984-1986)
  • Rev. James P. McGlone, M.S. – Pastor (1986-1990)
  • Rev. Gerald J. Boulanger, M.S. (1986-1992)
  • Rev. Leo C. Holleran, M.S. (1987-1988)
  • Rev. Don Baribeau, M.S. – Pastor (1990-1994)
  • Rev. Denis Kolumbar, M.S. (1990-1993)
  • Bro. Bob Belliveau, M.S. (1990-1993)
  • Rev. Thanh Nguyen, M.S. (1991-1994)
  • Rev. Daniel Bradley, M.S. (1994-1997)
  • Rev. James Caffery, M.S. – Pastor (1995-2004)
  • Rev. John Welch, M.S. (1997-2004)
  • Rev. Eugene Barrette, M.S. (1997-2010)

In 1998, Fr. Jaime Molina, M.N.M. (Missionaries of the Nativity of Mary) was invited by Fr. Caffery to serve our Hispanic community

  • Rev. Jaime Molina, M.N.M. (1998-Present)
  • Rev. Jaren Topolewski, M.S. (2000-2002)
  • Rev. Brian Schloth, M.S. (2003-2005)
  • Rev. James H. Kuczynski, M.S. – Pastor (2004-2013)
  • Rev. Joy Chukkananickal, M.S. (2004-2006)
  • Rev. Leo Cummings, M.S. (2004-2009)
  • Rev. Francisco E. Negri (2007-2009)
  • Rev. Jose Manjaly, M.S. (2007-2011)
  • Rev. Pedro Chingandu, M.S. (2010-2012)
  • Rev. Paul Rainville, M.S. (2010-Present)
  • Rev. Andrews Kollannoor, M.S. (2011-2014)
  • Rev. Brian Sheridan, M.S. – Pastor (2013-Present)
  • Rev. Jojohn Chettiyakunnel, M.S. (2014-Present)

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Deacons

  • Rev. Mr. Al Weber (2003-2010)
  • Rev. Mr. Joe Reynolds (2004-2008)
  • Rev. Mr. Michael Garrett (2006-Present)
  • Rev. Mr. Earl D. Jackson (2007-Present)
  • Rev. Mr. Mark Mitchell (2012-2015)
  • Rev. Mr. Richard B. Searls (2017-Present)

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Nuns of the Holy Humility of Mary (1966 – 1985)

  • Sr. Elizabeth Heisler (1966-1972)
  • Sr. Damian Schiner (1967-1972)
  • Sr. Mary Rita Brennon (1967-1970)
  • Sr. Barbara Walter (1970-1972)
  • Sr. Mary Jane Melchoir (1972-1977)
  • Sr. Linda Valasik (1977-1980)
  • Sr. Therese Zak (1980-1984)
  • Sr. Diane Dougherty (1983-1984)
  • Sr. Mary Ann Warner (1976-1985)

Meet our Clergy

Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church is staffed by the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, a religious Order dedicated to making known the message of Our Lady at La Salette, a call to healing of inner brokenness and personal reconciliation with God especially as found in the first three commandments. The missionaries are popularly known as “the La Salettes.”

CLICK HERE for our clergy biographies.


Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette

Have you ever wondered what is the meaning of the pincers and hammer on the La Salette cross?

Do you want to learn more about the Missionaries of Our Lady or La Salette and their mission?

Click HERE to learn more


Who was Saint Thomas the Apostle?

St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ.

When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities.

At the Last Supper, when Christ told His Apostles that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

But St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas’ unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday merited for him the title of “doubting Thomas.” Eight days later, on Christ’s second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his scepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded – seeing in Christ’s hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side. At this, St. Thomas became convinced of the truth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: “My Lord and My God,” thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.

St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus – at Lake Tiberias when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament.

Tradition says that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost this saint was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, and Persians; he ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves “Christians of St. Thomas.”

He capped his left by shedding his blood for his Master, speared to death at a place called Calamine.

His feast day is July 3rd and he is the patron of architects.

Read article at www.catholic.org

Important pieces of art and other memorabilia

The bronze statue of Our Lady of La Salette

Donated by Rev. Jerry Biron, M.S., when he was at our parish, ca. 1985.

The Saint Thomas the Apostle Painting

The painting was done in India in 2005, by request of Fr. Joy Chukkananickal, M.S., who was assigned at that time to our parish.

The Stained Glass window

Located at the entrance of our church, it depicts two sets of hands: the risen Christ and a doubting Thomas, along with a banner that reads: Believe.

The ivory crosses – wall art

The large ivory display of crosses (originally located behind the main altar and moved to our Social hall after the renovation in 2015) was made by Carl Leick, an artist and former parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle.

The Processional Cross

Donated to our parish in honor of M.L. and Jack Kellner, parishioners of St. Thomas since 1972, in recognition for their many years of service and dedication to the St. Thomas community. The Kellners moved to upstate New York in 2008.

The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross were donated by several parishioners during Rev. James McGlone’s time at St. Thomas. They were purchased from Maison Bouvrier Inc, a Canadian Religious Articles business.

The Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was donated by the Hispanic parishioners of our church.

The Statue of the Blessed Mother (indoors)

The statue of Mary was acquired during Fr. Dyer’s time.

The Wooden Nativity

Donated by Glenda Brennan and family in memory of Glenda’s husband, Tom Brennan.

The Wooden La Salette Cross
Commissioned to Phil Reynolds, parishioner and British craftsman, in 2010.  The cross is built in teak wood and it can be admired as you access our parish from King Springs Road. The installation of the cross took place on January 21, 2011.

Memorial Garden

Dedicated in September 2010, this garden was donated by parishioner Mr. Gus Scannapieco, as a place to all St. Thomas families to remember their beloved ones. Engraved bricks can be found throughout the garden and donations continue being accepted for the placement of new bricks.