Father Bill Williams, 55, is spending his first fall as the priest at St. Gerard Catholic Church - the sole Catholic church in Catoosa County.
He is leading an All Saints Day mass Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. It is a special day to remember all the saints from the past. All Souls Day Nov. 1 will be a day to pray for all those from the church family who have passed away. Williams will pray with families mourning the loss of loved ones that weekend.
After learning the parish for the past three months, he said he feels ready to lead all the ministries of the church to help the community, which recently became his home.
"As a Roman Catholic priest you are called to be obedient to the bishop. So you go where you are sent," he explained.
Williams said the 240 families that belong to the parish assist with the many ministries of the church too.
"We have an outreach ministry to Memorial Hospital," he said. "We have a group of men and women that go up once a month to give lunch to the people. We have an outreach to the sick and shut-ins. We have a men's group that helps with Flag Day putting out flags for veterans around the city. We have a Knights of Columbus group that is active. At Christmastime they put on a special dinner program with Santa Claus for people with special needs. Our women's group hosts a large yard sale annually to raise money for the church. We have a seniors ministry where seniors come here to eat lunch. We also help pack snack packs for children in need of food."
They also help with the building process.
"Father Liam did the renovation work in the Parish Life Center," said Williams, referring to recent work completed including renovating the hall and classrooms. "That was Phase I of the renovation process. In Phase II, we plan to renovate the kitchen, add parking, add a large entryway to the parish hall and put stone on the outside. Part of my job is to help move forward to the next phase as soon as we are able to."
Parishioners plan to plant hardwood and maple trees along the church property, since many trees are aging on the grounds, he added.
"We want to plant more trees here," said Williams. "The trees will grow up and help keep shade."
Williams said St. Gerard Catholic Church is home to the original chapel where the Sixth Cavalry attended church.
St. Gerard Catholic Church, at 3049 LaFayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe, can be reached at 706-861-9410. Mass is held every day except Friday. Parishioners attend mass Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. Saturday vigil mass is held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday mass is held at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
A special ministry mass is presented to the Walker County Prison in Rock Spring Sunday at 7 p.m.