To all who come through the doors of St. Clement's Catholic Church in
Calhoun, GA - the only Catholic Church in Gordon County - I offer a
heart felt welcome. Whether you come as a visitor, a guest of a
parishioner, or one of the many travelers passing through from the
North to Florida, we invite you to return many times and join in our
community of love, fellowship and prayer.
is a community and family of prayer. We pray together on Sundays, and
during the week we pray for each other, extended family, and for the
needs of the world. This faith community prayed with me and for me
during my cancer battle two years ago and helped pray me through that
difficult time. That time of prayer was my first experience and
encounter with St. Clement’s and it has left a lasting impression.
Our prayer has borne fruit: health and
healing for many, strength and a sense of peace for those going
through hard times, countless blessings, and the constant awareness
that we never have to go through anything alone. This community has
cried and smiled, we have laughed and loved, and we have been
instruments of healing, of hope, and a hand up when someone has
fallen. Christ has been seen in us, through us, and by each one of
We recognize his closeness and his
constant presence. When we walk into the church, we sense his
comforting and welcoming love. We are surrounded by friends and
neighbors who by God’s grace become our brothers and sisters:
familiar faces. A reunion of longtime family members, new members,
and visitors who are invited to join us any time they wish.
We relax in
this place that helps us experience the intimate nearness of Christ.
His Spirit enlivens us and invites us to come and stay and be
restored. We settle in and the pews become like the family room sofa.
We encounter heaven in a way that causes the world outside these
walls to become insignificant. In very few places have I felt this
close to God every time I come.
We are a diverse community in search
of deeper unity and connection—in Christ and through Christ. We have
members from a few days old to 100 years young. We have members who
are immigrants from many different nations and others who have always
called Calhoun home. We are a collection of people God has chosen and
brought together in a unique place at a significant moment for a
special purpose. I have rarely seen such a rich collection of wisdom
and experience, talents and abilities, and faith journeys that point
to perseverance and great potential.
We, like other families, have our
faults and weaknesses, our fights and our frustrations—We even fight
over the bathroom! But we strive to get along, to support, to
encourage, to even laugh at ourselves. I enjoy being pastor of a
church of real people who are authentic and honest and largely
unpretentious. We struggle with pride, just like everyone else, but
we value being humble and not being afraid to depend on God.
We are a parish of service and
charity. Of study and reflection. Of celebration and remembrance. A
people open to growing, stretching, being challenged, and being
called to new things. From our Food Pantry to our Angel Tree, to our
teens doing Catholic Heart Work Camp (CHWC)—to so many other
things—we continue the mission of Christ.
formation for our children to RCIA to Vacation Bible School (VBS), we
pass on our faith. From Wednesday Rosary to Lenten Stations to
ongoing personal devotions, study, and prayer, we continue to grow in
and live out our faith. From Baptisms to Weddings, Quinceañeras to
Graduations, we celebrate the sacraments and key moments of life.
From Mardi Gras to Christmas parties to Parish Picnics, we simply
celebrate and continue to be a social people. St. Clement’s has
always known how to party! We also know how to say goodbye and to
remember—especially through our presence at funerals, the
thoughtfulness of our Bereavement Community, and anniversaries that
allow us to recall our history and those who have contributed so much
in faith and thanksgiving. Yes. St. Clement’s helps us all to become
better Catholics. And for that I am forever grateful. I offer Christ
all the glory and ask through the intercession of St. Clement that we
continue to be the parish Christ has made us and called us to be.
With love in Christ,
Rev. Joseph Shaute