St. Ann to celebrate 100 years as Catholic beacon in West Nashville

For 100 years, St. Ann Church at 51st Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue has been a hub of Catholic life and a beacon for the faith in West Nashville. 

“We’re a stable and connected part of the community,” said St. Ann’s pastor, Father Michael Fye. “We have open doors to anyone who wants what we have to offer, which is the Catholic faith and the teachings of Jesus.” 

The parish will celebrate the centennial jubilee of its founding with the blessing and dedication of a new grotto featuring a statue of St. Ann and her daughter the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Monday, July 26, and a free parish festival on the church grounds, Saturday, July 31. 

St. Ann Church, which is celebrating its Centennial Jubilee this year, was first located in
the converted Byrd Douglas plantation house located at 51st Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue.

“I think celebrating the centennial is an appropriate way to give thanks to God for what he has been doing for 100 years,” Father Fye said. 

The parish began as St. Peter’s Mission in 1917, a mission of the Church of the Assumption in North Nashville. Father Peter Pfeiffer, a Franciscan priest serving at Assumption, agreed to drive out to what was then the outskirts of the city once a month to celebrate Mass in a room above the Close and March Hardware Store at 49th Avenue North and Charlotte. 

The first Mass was celebrated in October 1917 with 115 Catholics present. 

The first floor of the house was remodeled to serve as the church, photo above, and the second floor for use as St. Ann School.

The community quickly grew as more Catholics, many of them working for the nearby Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Rail Line, moved into the area. Bishop Thomas Byrne established the new parish, named after St. Ann, in 1921.  

Father Henry Japes, a former pastor of Assumption, gave a bequest that was combined with money raised by the community to purchase the former Byrd Douglas plantation house, then known as the Thomasson House, at the corner of 51st Avenue and Charlotte. The home, with a large front lawn, was remodeled to be used as a church on the first floor and a school on the second. 

The school, which was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy from its founding in 1921 until 1992, is the oldest diocesan school in the City of Nashville.  

A new church building was built in 1939 on the lawn in front of the original church. That church building was replaced with a new structure – the current church – in 1960, while Father Edgar Kelly was pastor. The church underwent a major renovation in 1993 and the Parish Life Center was built in 1998, during the 25-year tenure of Father Philip Breen, the longest serving pastor in the parish’s history.  

The current rectory and school were built in 1947 when Msgr. Edward Dolan was pastor. The Neidert Hall gymnasium was built in 1965 during Father Kelly’s tenure. 

Emmett and Peggy Forte have been long-time parishioners at St. Ann Church, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this summer. Emmitt grew up in the parish, and Peggy joined the parish after they were married.

‘Part of our life’ 

Emmett Forte, 88, has lived nearly his entire life in the shadow of St. Ann Church. “I consider myself the oldest continuous member of St. Ann parish,” he said. “Even when I was in the service it was still my parish. Even when I was in school (at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville) it was my parish. I came home most weekends.” 

Forte was born in 1933, the fourth of five children of Henry and Anna Louise Seibert Forte. His father’s family were among those that settled in the Paradise Ridge area of Joelton and helped establish St. Lawrence Church. His mother grew up in North Nashville in Assumption parish. 

St. Ann School students gather for the May procession in 1927.

Her father bought property on both sides of Park Avenue between 52nd Avenue and 53rd, Forte said. His uncle, George Seibert, who was a carpenter, began building houses on that block, and the Forte family moved into the house at 5211 Park Ave., where Forte was born. 

“I was born a block from the church,” Forte said. “When you live that close to the church, church was just part of life. It wasn’t something you just went to on Sunday. … It was just part of our life.” 

His mother served as the parish organist for 35 years, and Forte graduated from St. Ann School, as have his four children and several of his grandchildren. His great-grandson, also named Emmett, is currently a student at St. Ann. Two of his daughters, Judy Graham and Karen Herrmann, are teachers at the school. 

Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, St. Ann parishioners living in the neighborhood around the church formed a tight community, Forte said. 

“Pop Neidert (the namesake of the school gymnasium) ran the Gulf Service Station at Richland Creek on Charlotte,” Forte said. “I worked at that service station all during high school.” 

The neighborhood, unlike its thoroughly urban feel today, still had a country feel to it then. “There was nothing from the creek to White Bridge Road. It was farmland,” Forte said. “The neighborhood boys we always played football in the cow pasture right behind Neidert’s service station,” which was located where the Metro Nashville Police Department’s West Precinct now sits. 

After graduating from Father Ryan High School, Forte served in the U.S. Air Force.  

“When I got out of the Air force, I told myself there’s no way you’re even going to look at a girl until you get through college,” Forte said. “That didn’t happen.” 

He met Peggy Curley, who grew up in the Cathedral of the Incarnation parish, when she and a friend started a senior CYO group at St. Ann. She and Emmett married in 1957 and moved into St. Ann parish. Their daughter Barbara Hember was the first child baptized in the current church. 

Mrs. Forte later served as the parish secretary for nearly 25 years. 

‘A nice bubble’ 

The Fortes raised their children to also be closely attached to the parish. 

“It was part of my life from the very beginning,” said Herrmann, who graduated from St. Ann School in 1977 and later from St. Bernard Academy. “Everything we did as a family was connected to the school and the church. … It was home really, just part of who we were.” 

As in her father’s youth, the St. Ann community was tight-knit when she was growing up, Herrman said. 

“I used to think everybody in the world was Catholic,” she said. “It was a bubble, but it was a nice bubble.” 

She returned to St. Ann as a teacher and has been there for nearly 27 years. Herrmann sent her three sons to St. Ann and her grandson is a student there now. “I wanted my kids to be a big fish in a small pond,” Herrmann said. “I always felt it was a good launching place.” 

‘Open and welcoming’ 

St. Ann has grown in recent years, mirroring the growth of the entire city and the changes in the neighborhoods around the church. 

“Roughly speaking, we had about 450 active families two years ago and now we have 600 plus,” Father Fye said.  

The school’s growth has matched the parish’s. When Anna Rumfola was named principal in 2018, the school had 117 students. This year it’s enrollment will be 183, she said. 

“Our school has more students in it than it’s had in probably more than a decade or more,” Father Fye said. “Which is incredible when you consider national and even local trends.” 

The school has made a concerted effort to raise its awareness among young families looking for school options, he said. “A lot of people didn’t even know we were here before.” 

The demographics of the parish are reflecting the larger trends in the diocese, Father Fye said. St. Ann has large Hispanic and Vietnamese communities, and the parish is fairly evenly split among new parishioners and those who have been there for years, he added. 

“The community is very open and welcoming,” Father Fye said. “We’re making explicit efforts to live the faith in a vibrant and confident way.” 

“We put love above all things. Love, mutual respect and understanding and sacrifice is what makes a community real,” he added. “A community is united around someone or something. That’s what makes them a community. Whether they are life-long parishioners or new to the parish, if they’re united in the love for Jesus, that’s the foundation for which you can build a culture that the community shares.” 

Centennial Celebration 

St. Ann Church is hosting several events as part of a year-long celebration of its Centennial Jubilee — “Radiating Christ for 100 Years.” 

This spring the parish hosted a women’s retreat and a concert and began a project to plant 100 trees in the city over the next year. 

On Monday, July 26, the parish will honor St. Joachim and St. Ann, the parents of the Blessed Virgin, with a Mass at 5 p.m. celebrated by Bishop J. Mark Spalding. Following the Mass, a new grotto, featuring a statue of St. Ann and Mary, will be blessed and dedicated. 

The parish will welcome its families and the community to a free parish festival on the church grounds, Saturday, July 31.  The event will run from noon until 5 p.m. for all ages, with a separate event for those 21 and older beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The bishop will be joined by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, diocesan Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rebecca Hammel, Metro Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy and others for a special salute and video presentation at 2:30 p.m. 

Sponsors of the Centennial Celebration include Choate Construction, Maxwell Roofing and Sheet Metal, Bradley Health Services, The Forte Family, The Hooper Family, Tara and David McGuire, Ascension Saint Thomas, Southern Made, WMV Production, Cumberland Creative, the Diocese of Nashville, Father Ryan High School, Pope John Paul II Preparatory School, St. Cecilia Academy, tpmbLAW, the Marchetti Family, Burgundy Group, the Pitt and Reed Families, Donna and John Braniff, and others.  

In August, the church and school will celebrate the installation of a historical marker recognizing their history in the neighborhood. It will be one of several activities the school will sponsor to celebrate the Centennial Jubilee through the year. 

For more information about the Centennial Celebration, visit

Pastors of St. Ann 

Here is a list of the pastors at St. Ann Church, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year. 

  • Father Joseph E. Leppert 
  • Father George L. Donovan 
  • Father William Freihammer 
  • Father William Neidert 
  • Father Charles N. Quest 
  • Father William K. Graw 
  • Msgr. Edward Dolan 
  • Father Edgar M. Kelly 
  • Father Coleman M. Ballinger. 
  • Father Joseph E. Wesley 
  • Father Allan J. Cunningham 
  • Father John L. Kirk 
  • Father Philip M. Breen 
  • Father Joseph P. Edwige Carré 
  • Father Michael C. Fye 

For Bishop Spalding, priesthood ‘ultimately it’s about Christ’

It can be difficult to hear God’s call to the priesthood or religious life. 

“There’s a moment when a person has to have the courage to say, ‘Yes, I want to truly discern this call,’” said Bishop J. Mark Spalding. “That moment when you say, ‘I need to get this question answered.’” 

For Bishop Spalding, that moment came between his junior and senior year at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, Kentucky. After a night of tossing and turning, he said, he decided to talk to a priest at his high school. 

“He was calm, cool and collected,” Bishop Spalding recalled. “He was just the right person I needed.” 

That first step on the journey of answering the question of whether God was calling him to the priesthood led to his ordination as a priest on Aug. 3, 1991. Bishop Spalding will publicly mark the 30th anniversary of his ordination by celebrating the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. 

“I thank God for that call,” said Bishop Spalding. 

‘A very Catholic family’ 

When presiding at the ordination of a new priest, Bishop Spalding likes to remind them that their formation began in their home. For him that was in Washington County, Kentucky, as the oldest of the three children of Mary Aileen and Joseph Lawrence Spalding. 

“I grew up in a very Catholic family,” Bishop Spalding said. “It was part of who we were, and all we did in life was built around our faith.” 

In his family were several examples of people who had discerned God’s call to religious life. His mother had an uncle who was a priest and an aunt who was a religious sister, and his father’s two younger sisters are Ursuline Sisters still serving in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky.  

“All around me in my foundational years growing up I had a vocation in the Church put before me,” Bishop Spalding said. “I saw men and women who loved it, who enjoyed it, and who were living a purpose-filled life. 

“They were people who were content with the life they had chosen,” even if it wasn’t always an easy life, Bishop Spalding said. “Seeing that contentment in them, it drew me to ask questions. Is priesthood right for me?” 

Besides his family, he also had the example of his parish priests who not only preached about priestly vocations, but “probably more powerfully lived it in a wonderful way that drew me in as well.” 

After high school, Bishop Spalding began his seminary formation at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana. 

“To go to the seminary doesn’t make you a priest the first day,” Bishop Spalding said. “It helps you wrestle with this call God has put in your heart.” 

He tells men who think they might have a call to the priesthood, “Be open to it. Don’t be fearful, don’t react negatively, and don’t dismiss it. Ask God to respond to it,” Bishop Spalding said. “It will be a question you will have to answer. Because if you don’t answer it haunts you.” 

Formation in the seminary “allows one to grow in peace and confidence in the vocation to the priesthood,” Bishop Spalding said.  

And if a man decides God is calling them to a different vocation, “at least you will be at peace that you did everything that you could to answer the question ‘Am I being called to the priesthood,’” Bishop Spalding said. 

‘A wonderful day’ 

Bishop J. Mark Spalding kneels before Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville, second from right, during his ordination as a priest on Aug 3., 1991, at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky. Bishop Spalding was announced as the 12th Bishop of Nashville in November 2017. His episcopal ordination and installation was held in February 2018.

After graduating from St. Meinrad in 1987, Bishop Spalding attended major seminary at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, where he earned graduate degrees in religious studies and later in canon law. 

He was ordained by Louisville Archbishop Thomas Kelly at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky, the same cathedral where Nashville’s first Bishop, Richard Pius Miles, was ordained a bishop before taking the reins of his brand new diocese. 

“It was a wonderful day, lots of emotions, mostly gratitude,” Bishop Spalding said of his ordination. 

“Family and friends … they all came together for this wonderful celebration of priesthood,” he said. “You got the glow of the moment.” 

After the ordination, Bishop Spalding walked out of the cathedral where he was greeted by his brother priests applauding for him. “In that moment, you’re one with them,” Bishop Spalding said. “It’s something I will never forget and always cherish.” 

It was his brother priests who helped shape his own priesthood. He served as associate pastor under four pastors before he was appointed a pastor himself and he drew from the example of each of them. 

Father Pat Creed, the first, spoke often of St. John the Baptist’s message: Christ must increase; I must decrease. 

Next it was then-Father William Medley, who now is the Bishop of Owensboro, who spoke often of the need for stewardship and people’s involvement in parish life. 

From Father Charles Thompson, now the Archbishop of Indianapolis, Bishop Spalding learned the importance of organizational skills in leading a parish.  

And from Father B.J. Breen, who was also serving as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese at the time, Bishop Spalding learned the importance of having a positive outlook even in the face of difficult challenges. 

His first appointment as a pastor came in 1999 at Immaculate Conception Church in LaGrange. At the same time, he was taking on more responsibility at the archdiocesan level, serving as the Judicial Vicar and Director of the Metropolitan Tribunal and later as Vicar General. 

With students, he often uses the saying: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.” 

It’s advice he follows himself, Bishop Spalding said. “We should always be bettering ourselves. … You keep studying and you keep looking at what your ministry is and what your called to.” 

What stands out to him about his priesthood, Bishop Spalding said, are “the great occasions God put me in. Not only good times, but difficult times as well.” 

At happy occasions such as weddings and baptisms, “If you have the eyes of faith, a lot of times you can see the love of parents for their children or the love a couple have for each other.” As a priest, he has rejoiced in being part of those moments. 

“It’s the same thing on the other side,” he said. “I’ve been in situations absolutely heartbreaking, and yet knowing there is no other place that God would want me to be than right here in this moment bringing to this family the presence of Christ coming from the sacraments of our Church.” 

‘A disciple of Jesus Christ’ 

In November 2017, he was announced as the 12th Bishop of Nashville, and his episcopal ordination and installation were held on Feb. 2, 2018. He brought all the lessons of his priesthood to his new role in Middle Tennessee, Bishop Spalding said.  

For Bishop Spalding, being a priest is to be “a disciple of Jesus Christ. A person who knows the person of Christ and loves him and cares for what he was and what he is for us right now in this day and time and to live according to his words and his deeds and his very life upon this earth, a life worth living.” 

His advice to his brother priests is “accept the gifts God has given you. They’re going to be used in ways you’ve never dreamed of,” Bishop Spalding said. “And simply show the same mercy to yourself as you show to others, and you’ll be fine. 

“It’s not about you; ultimately, it’s about Christ,” he added. “Don’t forget that.” 

Bishop Spalding’s 30th anniversary 

To mark the 30th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, Bishop J. Mark Spalding will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. 

On hand will be Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the metropolitan of the Louisville province, which includes all the dioceses of Kentucky and Tennessee. Bishop Spalding served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville with Archbishop Kurtz before his appointment as the 12th Bishop of Nashville. 

The Mass will be livestreamed on the Diocese of Nashville’s Facebook page. 

St. Patrick in McEwen, St. Lawrence to host barbecue picnics


Two historic parishes, St. Patrick Church in McEwen and St. Lawrence Church in Joelton, are once again hosting their annual barbecue picnics. The 167th Irish Picnic will return to a full in-person event in McEwen on Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31. The 139th St. Lawrence Barbecue Picnic, a drive-through only event for at least one more year, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7.

For more than a century, the Irish Picnic and Homecoming at St. Patrick Church in McEwen and the Barbecue Picnic at St. Lawrence Church in Joelton have been highlights of the summer in the Diocese of Nashville. 

This summer promises more of the same. 

The 167th Irish Picnic will return to a full in-person event to be held Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, in McEwen, while the 139th St. Lawrence Barbecue Picnic on Saturday, Aug. 7, will be a drive-through event for at least one more year. 

Although St. Lawrence will have drive-through sales of barbecue this year, organizers “hope like heck we can do something that feels more normal and involve families” and the community next year, said Tom Wagner, co-chair of the St. Lawrence picnic. 

Irish Picnic and Homecoming 

Since 1854, the parishioners of St. Patrick Church in McEwen have been hosting its annual Irish Picnic and Homecoming, featuring pulled pork barbecue and a secret-recipe sauce, a variety of other food options, music and games. 

St. Patrick Church was established in 1849 to serve the Irish Catholic sheep herders and railroad workers who had settled in the area. In 1854, the McEwen community decided to host a picnic as a fundraiser for a bell for the parish’s new church. 

The event has become an event for the entire community, and more than 20,000 visitors are expected for the two-day event, which also is a homecoming for people who grew up attending the picnic each year with their family.  

More than 21,000 pounds of barbecue pork will be slow-cooked over hickory bark coals to be sold during the picnic, as well as 4,200 chicken halves. 

The barbecue chickens will be sold from 11 a.m. Friday, July 30, until they are sold out.  

There will be a silent auction from 3-8 p.m., and the numerous traditional carnival game booths will open at 5 p.m. Friday. Visitors will be able to enjoy musical performances and dancing 6-11 p.m. 

On Saturday, July 31, the barbecue pork, sold by the pound, will go on sale beginning at 7 a.m., and the dinner stand will open at 10 a.m. Bottles of the St. Patrick barbecue sauce, made from a secret recipe brought over from Ireland, will also be for sale throughout the weekend. 

Other foods for sale will include fried chicken, hamburgers, nachos, hot dogs, funnel cake, ice cream, other sweets and desserts, as well as a variety of drinks. 

The game and activities booths will be open 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and are staffed by a parent from St. Patrick School or a local community member. Some families have worked the same booth for generations. 

The music will begin Saturday morning and last throughout the day. 

The Irish Picnic and Homecoming is the biggest fundraiser of the year for St. Patrick School, which was opened in 1856. 

Nashville Bishop J. Mark Spalding will visit the picnic at 5 p.m. Friday, July 30. 

For more information, visit

St. Lawrence Barbecue Picnic 

St. Lawrence Barbecue Picnic

Volunteers at St. Lawrence will start filling drive-through orders for barbecue and all the sides at noon Saturday, Aug. 7, “until we run out or 6 p.m., whichever comes first,” said Wagner. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the parish to go to a drive-through event last year, which sold out of barbecue, Wagner said. “Because we ran out last year … we’ve increased about 40 percent. We’re going to do about 4,500 pounds of pork shoulder.” 

The barbecue will be sold by the pound or by the shoulder. The purchase of a whole shoulder comes with a bottle of St. Lawrence’s secret recipe barbecue sauce, which also can be purchased separately. 

Other items for sale will be baked beans, green beans, cole slaw, a selection of pies and cakes (whole or by the slice), and half gallons of iced tea, Wagner said. 

“We’ll have traffic control, and we’ll get people through as quickly as possible,” Wagner said. “We share with them the menu while they’re in line. We try to have the order ready when their car gets up to the doors.” 

Bishop Spalding will celebrate Mass at St. Lawrence at 5 p.m. 

Proceeds from the barbecue picnic will be used to fund the parish’s religious education program as well as the tuition subsidies the parish pays for parishioners attending Catholic schools. 

St. Lawrence is located at 5655 Clarksville Highway in Joelton. 

“Folks can come get dinner,” Wagner said. “Go find your favorite place and spread out and have a picnic.” 

The St. Lawrence Picnic is a community event drawing people from throughout Joelton and beyond. “The vast majority of our patrons are from the community,” Wagner said. “A lot of the folks who help … do all the things we need to get done properly and safely, they’re not even parishioners. They just can’t see a tradition not be held up.” 

St. Lawrence’s families, including some of the founding families of the parish, have volunteered at the picnic for generations, Wagner said.  

For more information, visit

JPII grad Jake Rucker selected in MLB draft

Jake Rucker, a 2018 graduate of Pope John Paul II Preparatory Academy, prepares to make a throw while playing for the University of Tennessee. Rucker was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft. This is the third year in a row that a JPII grad has been selected in the MLB draft.  Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

Jake Rucker’s baseball career has taken him to many places, from Williamsport to Knoxville to Omaha. Now there is a new destination: Minneapolis.  

Rucker, a 2018 graduate of Pope John Paul II High School – now known as Pope John Paul II Preparatory Academy – was drafted in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins. He was the 219th pick overall.  

His selection in the draft completes an incredible junior year for the University of Tennessee Volunteers. Rucker started 67 games for the Vols this year at third base, batting .330 and leading the team in hits with 90. He also set career highs in at-bats (273), runs (48), doubles (21), home runs (nine), RBI (55), total bases (142), walks (27) and stolen bases (7).  

Rucker, who started as a true freshman at UT, this year was named first team All-SEC, first team all-Southeast Region, and third team All-American. 

Rucker also helped lead the Vols to their fifth ever College World Series appearance, and first since 2005. It was his first World Series appearance since 2012, when his Goodlettsville team advanced to the finals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  

“The College World Series was a great experience because all our hard work paid off,” Rucker said. “It was great to see the fanbase supporting us, and the field was beautiful. But it wasn’t nearly as cool as the Little League World Series, because I was 12 then, so playing in front of 50,000 people made you feel like a celebrity.” 

Rucker points to three things that have driven him to reach this point: faith, family, and hard work.  

“I just can’t thank God enough,” Rucker said. “I was following His plan and waiting for a phone call.”  

Faith holds a central role in his preparation and outlook on baseball. Rucker uses the Bible as an anchor to center his mind on game days.  

“It’s actually something I developed on my own in college. I needed something to do with all that free time,” he said. “I felt like I got a calling to be able to get back into the Word and share my experiences. Reading the Bible also gets me in a calm place to just have fun and do it all for the Lord.”  

Jake credits his mother, Jill Rucker, with developing his faith. They are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes in Springfield, where Jill taught religious education for first, third, and fourth grade for nine years. Jake was an altar server and also helped out with the first grade class.  

“He’s always been kind to others, willing to help at home, school, church, and a leader on any baseball team he played on,” Mrs. Rucker said.  

Jake emphasized her help in developing that leadership mentality, however. “She always got on to my brother Carson and I about going to church every Sunday and being the best person you can be,” he said. “I can’t thank her enough for helping me become mature enough to understand the Bible, stay in the faith, and stay positive.” 

Rucker graduated from Pope Prep in 2018, and he thanked Coach Chris Parker and the program there with giving him the foundation for success at the next level and beyond.  

“JPII has always been known for baseball, it’s kind of why I went there,” Rucker said. “It’s a very successful program, and Coach Parker is always successful and a winner. He knows everyone and wants to coach everyone he can. Having his knowledge definitely helped me and Mason (Hickman),” who helped lead the Vanderbilt Commodores to the national championship in 2019.  

Parker was just as effusive in his praise of Rucker. 

“I think the number one thing he carries is that he’s a young man with very high character. Just a great kid,” Parker said of Rucker. “I called him to congratulate him on being drafted, and all he wanted to talk about was my son and his baseball endeavors. Not a lot of kids would do that.  

“He’s a family-centered person, and that’s a big tribute to Mr. (Andrew) and Ms. Rucker,” Parker said. “Very humble young man. All he knows is that he gets a chance to keep playing baseball, and now he gets paid to do it.” 

This year was the third straight that a Pope Prep grad was selected in the MLB draft, with Rucker following Mason Hickman in 2020, drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and Whit Drennan in 2019, drafted by the Houston Astros. All three played together on the Pope Prep varsity in 2015, then coached by Michael Brown, when Drennan was a senior, Hickman a sophomore and Rucker a freshman. 

“I think we have some kids with good ability,” Parker said. “The work ethic we teach them here in class and on the field helps them rise above. … We teach them to work hard, and that nothing comes easy. Those are two things you learn at JPII, and you take them to college and things are going to be easy.”  

Rucker is headed to Fort Meyers, Florida, to begin his professional baseball career with the Twins’ single-A affiliate Mighty Mussels. He hopes to spend a short time there before heading to Iowa to join the Cedar Rapids Kernels. 

Pat Langdon, a Father Ryan icon, dies at age 80

From his first day at Father Ryan High School as a student in the fall of 1954 to the last day of his 43-year career as a teacher there, Pat Langdon loved the school. 

“He just was all in,” said Father Ryan Principal Paul Davis, who was a student of Mr. Langdon’s and later a colleague on the school’s faculty. “Whenever there was something that needed to be done, he was willing to do it.” 

Besides teaching a variety of topics, his other duties included decorating for the school prom, working the concession stand for basketball games and wrestling matches, and coordinating detention. 

“He was a challenging teacher, but you were always prepared,” Davis said. “He loved his students. That was evident.” 

Patrick Allen “Pat” Langdon, 80, died peacefully at home on July 8, 2021, wearing one of his favorite purple Father Ryan alumni t-shirts. A funeral Mass was celebrated on July 12 at Christ the King Church in Nashville, where he was a parishioner. 

“It was a celebration of life,” Davis said of the funeral, which included eulogies by several of his children and a nephew. “They captured the essence of Pat Langdon. A lot of laughs, a lot of fond memories.” 

“Patrick was one of a kind,” recalled his family. “He was loud, outspoken, and never shy to use a cuss word, but he was also loving, kind, and devoted to his faith, his family, his friends, his students, and Father Ryan High School.” 

Mr. Langdon was born on Aug. 18, 1940, the youngest son of Aloysius and Minnie Duncan Langdon. His twin sister, Patricia, died at 2 years old. “He carried her in his heart throughout his life and often said that Patricia was the one who would help him get to heaven,” said his family. 

The Langdon family lived next door to Assumption Church in North Nashville, where Mr. Langdon attended church as a child and graduated from the parish school. “For many years, Pat, his brothers, and other family members, loved singing in the choir on Sunday at the Assumption Church,” his family said. “After Mass, the whole family would have lunch at the family home, where he and his four brothers would sit at the dinner table and talk politics.” 

Mr. Langdon graduated from Father Ryan in 1958. While a student he was active with the Journalism Club, was a cheerleader, played in the school band, took to the stage as a Purple Masque Player, and served as the Senior Class Secretary. 

He graduated from St Bernard’s College in Cullman, Alabama, with a degree in history and later received his Master’s in Education at Middle Tennessee State University. Mr. Langdon returned to Father Ryan as a teacher in 1965 and remained on the faculty, with one brief respite, until 2010. 

Most of those years he taught religion and Latin. He was joined on the Father Ryan faculty by his brother James, and to differentiate which Mr. Langdon they were referring to, students affectionately nicknamed them “Fat Pat” and “Slim Jim.”  

“Pat left an indelible impression on those who had the privilege of teaching with him and learning from him,” Father Ryan President Jim McIntyre said. “His was a life that reflected our mission to be a living experience of the Gospel.” 

“No matter the subject, no matter the year, Pat always welcomed time spent with his students in a Father Ryan classroom,” Davis said. “You saw it in his smile, which was always present, and you saw it in the joy he took from teaching. He embraced this vocation as an opportunity to impart knowledge and to gain knowledge, and in this respect, he never stopped going to school.  I was honored to be his colleague and will miss his joyful presence among our community.” 

For many summers, Mr. Langdon worked at his other favorite place, Camp Marymount, where his infectious personality and fun nature made him a favorite among the staff and campers. 

“Patrick loved crossword puzzles, reading, watching the History Channel and sipping on Gentleman Jack Bourbon,” his family recalled. “Without a doubt, his favorite thing to do was his weekly visits with his best friend, Tom Seigenthaler, playing backgammon, talking politics, or going fly fishing.” 

Mr. Langdon was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers David, Joseph and William, his sister Patricia, his sisters-in-law Anita and Martha, and longtime best friend Tom Seigenthaler. 

Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Linda; his children, Joe (Julie) Langdon, Amy Langdon, Ann (Kevin) McGee, Margaret (Joe) Huffaker, Thomas (Kelley) Langdon, Marnie (Carl) Heinemann, Michael (Teresa) Rohling and Carrie (Raza) Hussain; brother James (Nancy) Langdon; sister-in-law Nancy Garner Langdon; grandchildren Rachel, Caroline, Payton, Matthew, Jack, Will, Caitlin, Wyatt, Monica, Cliff, Audrey, Conner, John and Marley; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

The family expressed their gratitude to Laurel, Linda, Sarah and Stephanie at Comfort Care Hospice for their love and care. 

Memorial contributions can be made to the Langdon Family Tuition Assistance Fund at Father Ryan High School or to Camp Marymount. 

Marshall Donnelly Combs Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. 

Appealing to need for unity, pope restores limits on pre-Vatican II Mass

Father Stephen Saffron, parish administrator, elevates the Eucharist during a traditional Tridentine Mass July 18, 2021, at St. Josaphat Church in the Queens borough of New York City. The Sunday Latin Mass has a dedicated following, drawing more than 150 people from Queens and neighboring counties, in addition to southwestern Connecticut and northern New Jersey. CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

VATICAN CITY. Saying he was acting for the good of the unity of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has restored limits on the celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Missal in use before the Second Vatican Council, overturning or severely restricting permissions St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had given to celebrate the so-called Tridentine-rite Mass. 

“An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path and expose her to the peril of division,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to bishops July 16. 

The text accompanies his apostolic letter “Traditionis Custodes” (Guardians of the Tradition), declaring the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council to be “the unique expression of the ‘lex orandi’ (law of worship) of the Roman Rite,” restoring the obligation of priests to have their bishops’ permission to celebrate according to the “extraordinary” or pre-Vatican II Mass and ordering bishops not to establish any new groups or parishes in their dioceses devoted to the old liturgy. 

Priests currently celebrating Mass according to the old missal must request authorization from their bishop to continue doing so, Pope Francis ordered, and for any priest ordained after the document’s publication July 16, the bishop must consult with the Vatican before granting authorization. 

Pope Francis also transferred to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the new rules. 

The priests in the Diocese of Nashville currently celebrating the pre-Vatican II Mass in Latin may continue to do so as long as they are working for unity in the Church, said Nashville Bishop J. Mark Spalding.  

“The pope has concerns about unity in the Church,” said Bishop Spalding. “He is reminding the bishops of their responsibility to maintain and support this key duty of unity within a diocese. 

“Part of that responsibility of unity in the diocese is assuring the liturgy is celebrated well and according to the norms of the Church, especially those teachings that come out of Vatican II,” Bishop Spalding added. “As long as people are respectful of those teachings of the Second Vatican Council and work for unity in the Church, the official Latin Mass may continue.” 

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued “Summorum Pontificum” on the use of the pre-Vatican II Roman liturgy. It said any priest of the Latin-rite Church may, without any further permission from the Vatican or from his bishop, celebrate the “extraordinary form” of the Mass according to the rite published in 1962. The Roman Missal based on the revisions of the Second Vatican Council was published in 1969. 

The conditions Pope Benedict set out for use of the old rite were that there was a desire for it, that the priest knows the rite and Latin well enough to celebrate in a worthy manner, and that he ensures that the good of parishioners desiring the extraordinary form “is harmonized with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.” 

The now-retired pope also insisted that Catholics celebrating predominantly according to the old rite acknowledge the validity of the new Mass and accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. 

In his letter to bishops, Pope Francis said that responses to a survey of the world’s bishops carried out last year by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me and persuades me of the need to intervene. Regrettably, the pastoral objective of my predecessors, who had intended ‘to do everything possible to ensure that all those who truly possessed the desire for unity would find it possible to remain in this unity or to rediscover it anew,’ has often been seriously disregarded.” 

“Ever more plain in the words and attitudes of many is the close connection between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican Council II and the rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the ‘true Church,’” Pope Francis wrote. 

To promote the unity of the Church, Pope Francis said, bishops should care for those Catholics “who are rooted in the previous form of celebration” while helping them “return in due time” to the celebration of Mass according to the new Missal. 

The pope also indicated he believed that sometimes parishes and communities devoted to the older liturgy were the idea of the priests involved and not the result of a group of Catholic faithful desiring to celebrate that Mass. 

Pope Francis asked bishops “to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the ‘holy people of God.’” 

However, he also said that many people find nourishment in more solemn celebrations of Mass, so he asked bishops “to be vigilant in ensuring that every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses.” 

The liturgical life of the Church has changed and developed over the centuries, the pope noted. 

“St. Paul VI, recalling that the work of adaptation of the Roman Missal had already been initiated by Pius XII, declared that the revision of the Roman Missal, carried out in the light of ancient liturgical sources, had the goal of permitting the Church to raise up, in the variety of languages, ‘a single and identical prayer’ that expressed her unity,” Pope Francis said. “This unity I intend to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite.” 

Andy Telli contributed to this report. 

Cynthia Hasenberg, deacon’s wife, dies at 68

Cynthia Anne Hasenberg, 68, of Goodlettsville, the wife of Deacon Rock Hasenberg of St. Lawrence Church in Joelton, died on Monday, July 19, 2021, due to complications related to the stroke she suffered on Friday, July 16. 

Visitation will take place at Anderson and Garrett Funeral Home on Thursday, July 22, from 4 p.m. until the beginning of the Rosary Service at 7 p.m. 

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Lawrence Church, 5655 Clarksville Highway, at 10 a.m. Friday, July 23. Interment will follow at St. Lawrence Catholic Church Cemetery.  

Mrs. Hasenberg and her husband were involved with the Diocese of Nashville’s prison ministry. “They formed an exceptional team, bringing faith and joy to prisoners on a weekly basis,” said Deacon James Booth, director of the diocesan prison ministry. “Cindy and Rock simply were the Catholic presence at DeBerry Special Needs Prison. Cindy will be deeply missed by all who knew her.” 

Mrs. Hasenberg was preceded in death by her father Richard Zanone. 

Survivors include her husband Deacon Rock Hasenberg; children Mara (Jonathan) Wiley, Christie (Stephen) Kretsinger, Diana (Andre) Tuxford, Barry Hasenberg, Anne (Robert) Engels, Kathleen Saller, Roxanne (Clint) Baker, and Joseph-Friedrich Hasenberg; mother Josephine Zanone; siblings Monica Havins, Gina Mountain, Rick Zanone, Charles Zanone, Serena Walsh, Joanna Reindel, and Paul Zanone; grandchildren Grace Wiley, Paul Kretsinger, Teddy Kretsinger, Sam Kretsinger, Antonio Tuxford, Nicolai Tuxford, Lucas Engels, Nadia Engels, Sonny Saller, Richard Saller, Raymond Baker and Thora Baker; and many other extended family members. 

Anderson and Garrett Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish gathers to celebrate past, present, future

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tennessee Ridge recently held a Grand Reopening and Dinner on the parish grounds to welcome parishioners back to the church in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in rural Tennessee Ridge is open for the Lord’s business after a long pandemic. 

A recent Grand Reopening and Dinner on the parish grounds included Mass, the blessing of the parish cemetery, and a short program on the parish’s past, present and future. That was followed by an old-fashioned dinner on the grounds and a chance to relax in the shade of the backyard’s huge trees while children and young people played yard games and others played guitars. A parishioner took family photos as well. 

The day was as idyllic as it sounded, and it sent a clear message, according to Pastor Father Zack Kirangu. “I am so thankful that we came together to celebrate our faith as a parish after a long time of the pandemic,” he said. “We are back to do the Lord’s business, and He is good to his people.” 

Guests visit in the shade in the spacious yard at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

In addition to parishioners, guests came from Father Zack’s other parish, St. Patrick’s in McEwen, Nashville and the surrounding area, West Tennessee, and Stewart County. Parishioners and guests brought sides and desserts to go with the hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken being grilled by the parish’s seasoned grill masters. 

The day was made even more special as all were privileged to witness Joss Rye’s First Holy Communion at Mass.  

While the Grand Reopening was focused on the present moment and the opportunity to once more gather as a Christian family, Father Zack gave some perspective by bringing in the past. He spoke animatedly about the parish’s patroness, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, making her come to life for the listeners, and he followed with the founding of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish, dedicated in 1977. 

Gregg Lill, left, and his nephew Josh Lill enjoy the Pickers’ Corner at the Grand Reopening and Dinner.

Kate Morris of Humboldt, who grew up at St. Elizabeth’s, said she was fascinated with the parish history because she knew so many of the people who made it happen, but as a child, she just thought of them as part of the parish family, not as movers and shakers. 

To give a sense of where the parish stands now, parishioner Bonnie Lill gave a rundown of what programs and activities the parish engaged in pre-pandemic and what parishioners can anticipate as they move forward with the pandemic lessening.  

Roman Anthony Baylor enjoys the climbing apparatus on the parish playground.

Graduates Carney Brown and Landon Arthon were honored, as were the three confirmandi: Lyndsey “Gianna” Broughton, Wyatt “Hubert” Brown and Esme “Francis” Rye. First Communicant Joss Rye was also honored.  

Pam Rye presented the parish’s plans to expand the narthex of the church with a large portico. “If it was raining, we could still have an event like this because we could put the tables under the portico,” she said. 

Rye also said that lacking space for people to gather as they enter and leave Mass consistently deprives them of the opportunity for weekly fellowship. 

The parish is already two-thirds of the way to having the funds for the project, she added. 

“It reminded me of when we were kids, running around and playing in the yard while the grownups all cooked or did Chicken Jamboree things,” said Josh Lill, who grew up in the parish and now lives in Mt. Juliet. He added he was glad his children got to experience the event s as well. 

He also enjoyed catching up with childhood friends, getting caught up on the last 25 years of their lives and seeing their kids running and playing games in the same yard he played in.

Esme Rye celebrates a win during a game of cornhole as Wyatt Brown looks on.

 “For me, I enjoyed seeing the kids playing again, watching our kids honored after such a long time of not being together,” said parish Office Manager Valerie Brown. “Seeing all the smiling faces, meeting new friends, rekindling old friendships – it was all so good. The unity of the moment was overwhelming. We are ready to be together again.” 

“I loved this day,” said Father Kirangu, “seeing kids play and make new friends, combined with good music and good food. We need to do this more often!” 

Catholic author’s new book helps families affected by addiction

Jean Heaton

Jean Heaton had traveled the difficult journey of trying to help a family member with an addiction problem and wanted to help others on that same path. 

She found help for her own family at the intersection of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Program and Jesuit spirituality. That led her to write the book “Helping Families Recover From Addiction: Coping, Growing and Healing Through 12 Step Practices and Ignatian Spirituality.” 

“I wanted this book to be one that helps others,” said Heaton, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville. “It is a book that gives them a tool to work with.” 

The book, which is garnering attention and praise, was honored in the recent 2021 Catholic Media Association Book Awards. 

“My book won second place in the categories of Pastoral Ministry – Parish Life, First Time Author of a Book, and an Honorable Mention in the Healing and Self-help category,” said Heaton. 

“This is an important topic, and I was grateful for the recognition because it helps people find the book who need help the most,” said Heaton. 

“I wrote the book because there are members of our family who have struggled with drug and substance abuse,” said Heaton, who has been a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake for the last five years and was a parishioner at St. John Vianney Church in Gallatin before moving. 

“The fear, shame, and stigma associated with addiction can prevent families from discussing and addressing the issues that affect everyone who loves the addict,” according to the description of the book on the Amazon website. “Addiction is best responded to when we address the spiritual and familial dimensions of the disease, in addition to the physical aspects.” 

It was while working on her own program for family members, said Heaton, “that I began to research the 12 Step Alcoholics Anonymous program, and it was there that I discovered the parallels between AA’s 12 steps and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola,” one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, popularly known as the Jesuits. 

“The tools offered with these two programs were so profound that it spurred me to write about my experience,” Heaton said. 

Like any literary effort, Heaton’s book went through different stages of evolution. 

“There were different versions of the book at various times, and it actually began as a memoir of a parent writing about someone battling addiction,” said Heaton. 

Loyola assigned Heaton an editor to work with, something that, said the author, “introduced me better to St. Ignatius and Loyola as an organization,” and the book was published in October 2020. 

In the book, “I share a lot of stories from people who are in my 12-step group – with their permission – and each chapter features one of the 12 steps and a tool of Ignatian spirituality,” Heaton said. 

“I was concerned about whether or not the 12 steps featured in my book might go against the Church’s teachings, so I did some research and learned about a Jesuit priest, Ed Dowling, who was the spiritual director of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA,” said Heaton. 

Heaton approached Loyola Press because, she explained, “they are a Jesuit publisher, and we both wanted this to be a book that helps others and gives them a tool to work with.” 

Besides writing the book, Heaton leads retreats for people with family members battling addiction with Sister Mary Michael Fox, O.P., of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville. 

“Jean has been on a very difficult and at times, lonely journey,” Sister Mary Michael said. “She doesn’t want other women to make this journey alone.” 

The book is “well researched and showing the wisdom of many excellent existing resources,” Sister Mary Michael said.  

The book’s release happened in the middle of the worldwide pandemic, which made it difficult to gauge initial reaction to the book, Heaton said.  

“Feedback was hard to obtain, just as our 12-step retreats had to be discontinued, because no one could go out or do anything, but now I see things starting to get better,” said Heaton. 

Alcoholic Anonymous has been especially favorable toward the book, as have other Catholics. 

“Fellow Catholics have reviewed my book and found it acceptable,” Heaton said. “This is important for me as an author, since their seal of approval is something that would have been important for me if I were the one looking for a book.” 

The retreats led by Heaton and Sister Mary Michael are returning this fall, including one the Bethany Retreat House in Dickson, owned and operated by the Nashville Dominicans. 

“Bethany was a place of rest for our Lord, and the people who come here all express a tangible presence of Christ here, and a specific grace of healing,” said Michael. 

Heaton’s award-winning book can be found wherever books are sold. 

For more information about Heaton and the retreats she leads with Sister Mary Michael, visit 

Pathways to Possibilities sets new record in a difficult year

Demetrius Kelley, left, the managing partner of Rodizio Grill The Brazilian Steakhouse and the Melting Pot Fondue restaurants that were destroyed in the Christmas bombing in downtown Nashville, talks to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville Executive Director Judy Orr for a video shown as part of the Pathways to Possibilities fund-raiser. Kelley and others told their stories of how Catholic Charities has supported them. Pathways raised $214,000 this year, a record for the event.

Click here for a full video of the conversation.

In a year when many non-profit organizations were hampered by donor fatigue, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville had its most successful fund-raising effort ever. 

Pathways to Possibilities, which was a virtual event this year featuring videos of people talking about the support they received from Catholic Charities, recently closed with a total raised of $214,000. That represented a significant increase from the 2020 total of $135,000.  

“We were thrilled with the response to Pathways,” said Judy Orr, executive director of Catholic Charities. “Though it was a virtual event, the video presentations really inspired people to support us. We are grateful to those individuals who paid it forward by sharing their personal stories of triumph over crisis.” 

In Catholic Charities’ nearly 60-year history, “it was the largest event we’ve ever done,” said Gene Gillespie, development director for Catholic Charities. “It sets the stage for us going forward.”  

“You hear this was a year of donor fatigue. We obviously didn’t experience that,” Gillespie said. “Most of our individual donors gave consistently throughout the year and again at the end of the year with Pathways.” 

“The money will be utilized across all of our services that Catholic Charities offers,” Gillespie said, which includes helping people meet basic needs such as food and housing, job training and workforce development, refugee resettlement, counseling and emotional support, emergency assistance and disaster relief. 

The last 18 months, with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2020 tornadoes that cut across Middle Tennessee, the Christmas day bombing in downtown Nashville that forced people out of their homes and businesses to close, and the spring 2021 floods, highlighted the many ways Catholic Charities helps those in our community in need, Gillespie said. That, in turn, helped make Pathways to Possibilities such a success, Gillespie said. 

“It elevated Catholic Charities to a point that we were one of the first responders the city and other organizations were calling, and with that it brought more awareness to the work Catholic Charities does and the community we serve,” Gillespie said.  

The many challenges Catholic Charities responded to affected people from all parts of the community, said Keith King, Catholic Charities’ director of community relations and communications. 

“Catholic Charities is uniquely positioned to help people across all sectors,” he said, from the homeless living on the street to those who lost their homes to the tornadoes and flooding, as well as businesses shut down by the bombing and those struggling to stay open and pay their employees through the pandemic. 

“We’re going to help them all,” King said. 

One of those helped was Demetrius Kelley, the managing partner of Rodizio Grill The Brazilian Steakhouse and the Melting Pot Fondue restaurants that were destroyed in the Christmas bombing. Kelley told his story in a video shown as part of this year’s virtual Pathways to Possibilities. 

“I had to wake up all 13 managers at 7 o’clock in the morning on Christmas and tell them the building has probably been destroyed, you probably don’t have a job,” Kelley said. 

He was able to land another job, but three days into training, he was diagnosed with COVID, and later so was the rest of his family. “I’m like, you have to be kidding me,” Kelley said on the video. “It’s like they kept on coming.”   

On top of those challenges, Kelley and his wife were expecting a baby.  

“All of sudden I opened up the mail and it’s a check from Catholic Charities. It’s a godsend to me … I’m going to be able to be OK for a couple more months. Even missing my training, it’s not going to be sending me down some spiral. I’m going to be good,” said Kelley, who had never before needed help from a charitable organization. 

“Catholic Charities will lift you up when you’re at a point when you feel like you’re at your lowest,” he said. 

“When you feel like you don’t have any way out, and you’re trapped, and you don’t know what’s going to come, and everything is dark, you get that little ray of sunshine that kind of peaks over that cloud and all of sudden you go whoa there’s actually some hope,” Kelley said. “And then you feel the love and warmth and support. All you want to do from that point on is to be able to pay it forward to some people because of all the love that I got.” 

The stories of how Catholic Charities helps people in the community in a wide variety of ways struck a chord with area businesses and their foundations, which decided to be sponsors for this year’s event, Gillespie said. 

“We went out aggressively to speak to corporate sponsors,” Gillespie said. “In sponsors alone we raised $144,000. These are individuals who were giving donations of $2,500 up to $30,000.” 

The event had 39 sponsors. “We touched everything from banks to law firms to packaged food companies,” Gillespie said. “We reached the gamut and we’re looking at building on that for the coming year and working with other corporations.” 

The presenting sponsor for this year’s Pathways to Possibilities was the First Horizon Foundation. Other sponsors included:  

  • Platinum: Cushman and Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm, and the Diocese of Nashville. 
  • Gold: Ascension Saint Thomas and the Bass Berry and Sims law firm. 
  • Silver: HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health; Kroger Company Zero Hunger/Zero Waste Foundation; MCC Nashville; Regions Bank; Taylor, Pigue, Marchetti and Blair, PLLC, law firm; Lloyd and Elizabeth Crockett; Chris and Bubba Donnelly; Mark and Lori Morrison. 
  • Bronze: Centric Architecture; Gresham Smith design firm; Holladay Properties; Iroquois Capital Group; JPMorgan Chase and Co.; LBMC professional service solutions provider; Pinnacle Financial Partners; Sims Funk law firm; Truist Bank financial services company; Vanderbilt University; Adrienne and Steve Hayes. 
  • Supporting: BancCard; Bone McAllester Norton PLLC Attorneys; Bradley law firm; Catholic Business League; Father Ryan High School; Fifth Third Bank; Holy Family Catholic Church, Brentwood; Nashville Catholic Business Women’s League; Parris Printing; Pope John Paul II Preparatory School; the Tennessee Register; Farmer, Purcell, White and Lassiter law firm; Mike and Donna Nunan; John and Rochelle Reding. 

“They want to be part of helping us providing services for the people in the community,” Gillespie said. 

“I just want to really thank all of our individual donors and our corporate sponsors,” he added. “Considering everything that happened this year, the donors made everything Catholic Charities was able to do this year possible.”