What is the Georgia Tech Catholic Center?
The Georgia Tech Catholic Center is a vibrant Catholic Sanctuary located on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. It caters towards students but welcomes all looking to further their discipleship. As a Branch of the Shrine of Sacred Heart, it follows traditionalist Roman Catholic values. Services are reverent and include all the comfort and consistency that a Catholic service provides. Homilies inspire parishioners to grow as disciples of the Lord and Father Branson always ensures that they are grounded in history and text, but are applicable to modern challenges. It is a smaller church community, therefore newcomers get a lot of welcome and support.
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The Georgia Tech Catholic Center serves approximately 1,000 people total, with each mass catering to between 50-150 people.
Fr. Branson Hipp – Chaplain
Father Branson discerned his calling to the priesthood early in life and entered Saint Joseph College Seminary in Covington, Louisiana after high school where he studied philosophy. He then studied theology in preparation for the priesthood at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. He’s been a parish priest as well as Associate Director of Vocations in the past and now serves as the Chaplain of the Georgia Tech Catholic Center. Fr. Branson’s youth and deep wisdom of the Catholic faith makes him very relatable for the young adults who attend the Catholic Center.
Lisa Machado – Office Manager
Lisa runs the logistics of the Parish. After a career in the corporate world, she started and sold a personal home care company. She loves her vocation of being a wife and mother and at the Catholic Center, she is always available to help with signing up for retreats and other coordination of Church-related activities.
Madeline Robertson – Development Director
Madeline graduated in 2016 and worked in Ireland as a House of Brigid fellow, then went on to work in fundraising for Saint Mary’s College, her alma mater. She’s now using her development skills to support the mission of the Church at the Catholic Center.
Daniel Buckley – Music Coordinator
Rene Van Hoorde – Student Resident
Goals & Objectives
The Mission of the Georgia Tech Catholic Center is to provide a community for Georgia Tech students, faculty, and friends to encounter Christ in the Liturgy, the Sacraments, formation and discipleship, and Christian service. They strive to form intentional disciples of our Lord.
The dress code varies depending on which service you attend. Evening services are casual. People typically wear jeans or work clothes. Morning services are more traditional and a bit more formal. Women wear skirts, dresses, and blouses. Men wear ties, polos, and dress shirts. Morning services are definitely dressier, but not necessarily fully formal. Full formal is reserved for special masses, including Easter Sunday and Holy Week. On these occasions, patrons wear full suits, ties, and dresses.
Worship & Music Style
The worship style is consistent with Roman Catholic practices. It is traditional and reverent. All services are held in the main sanctuary on the upstairs level.
The choir ranges in size from 5 to 20 members—depending on the service—and is made up of student volunteers. They are often accompanied by a piano, cello, guitar, and occasionally a trumpet. The music style does vary depending on which mass you attend (see mass and confession times on their website):
- Morning Services: traditional Latin chants, old Latin and Greek hymns
- 11:30 Mass: Selections from the hymnal and proffers
- Evening Services: Contemporary style worship music interspersed with hymnal selections
An important note about the Catholic Center is that they typically only have mass during the school year schedule. If you go during the summer months or over a holiday break, you’ll likely find yourself outside a dark building with a few other people who similarly forgot or didn’t realize it’s closed outside of the school year.
What to Expect
There are two main entrances to the Catholic Center. One is downstairs and one is upstairs. The downstairs entrance will lead you to a casual lounge space, where people typically gather for fellowship. Upstairs there is a coffee bar and fireplace for quiet reflection. Church events and upcoming news can be found on screens throughout this area. All services are held in the Sanctuary upstairs. Patrons can make their way into the sanctuary and fill in pews wherever they are comfortable or can find room. For masses with specific song selections, song sheets will be passed out at the door to the Sanctuary. For the Latin mass, patrons will be given books.
Confession is conveniently made available before every Sunday mass and before 5:30 pm mass on weekdays (except Wednesday). After morning masses, people typically leave more quickly. Evening masses offer more opportunities for fellowship and faith activities. After mass, some stay to communally pray the Angelus at 6:00. Patrons are welcome to remain in the sanctuary to pray evening prayer or meditate after service. There are often community dinners that are posted on the Catholic Center Calendar.
The Catholic Center adheres to the Roman Catholic faith and all of the traditions set forth in Rome. They offer a Latin high mass which moves all the way up to Novis Orvo.
The Catholic Center is an on-campus ministry for the Georgia Institute of technology, so they incorporate messages that speak to a collegiate audience’s faith needs.
The Catholic Center has very broad messaging. Most Homilies are more oriented towards young adults. Father Branson is a very analytical yet relateable Priest. He presents the truth of the Lord in a relevant and well-rounded fashion. He is straightforward with a pastoral sensibility. Usually, his homilies begin with a story about something in our current society and experience, and then he ties that back to the Scripture and demonstrates the reasoning in the text. Finally, he gives a broader picture of how these messages apply and how patrons can apply them in their daily discipleship.
The refrain throughout every mass is motivating parishioners to become disciples of Christ. Each service is intended to educate and impassion members of the Catholic community so that they are prepared and eager to engage in the discipleship of the Lord that week.
Most masses are in English or Latin, but a Spanish mass is occasionally offered. The majority of parishioners are Georgia Tech students since the Catholic Center is located on the Georgia Tech campus. Families are another larger segment of their demographic, as well as older professors and Georgia Tech faculty. It is a highly multicultural space, as Georgia Tech has many international students.
Overall, the Catholic Center loves humans. Anyone who wishes to engage in worship is welcome. It is a place where everyone should feel comfortable.
The Catholic Center has an atmosphere of professionalism and reverence. Upstairs is typically reserved for quiet reflection and worship. Downstairs is much more casual. Parishioners typically hang out and engage in fellowship downstairs. It is a smaller parish and therefore a close community. If you are new, there is not a welcome desk, but someone will reach out to welcome you and make sure you feel at home. Catholic Center clergy and FOCUS missionaries want to get to know you and help you along your faith journey.
Find Your Community
You are welcome to get involved with the parish to whatever extent you like. Most logistical things are handled by the office, as well as the Catholic Student Organization. There are many opportunities to grow your faith through the activities offered. You can get involved with the Knights of Columbus as well. There are often community dinners and intramural sports.
The most popular involvement is with the FOCUS bible studies. These are conducted by Father Branson, as well as the FOCUS missionaries in residence at the Catholic Center. These studies include small group training on how to be a good human and a good Catholic, discipleship, and much more.
The Catholic Center is constantly trying to grow its community outreach. They engage in Pro-life tabling, as well as visiting the women’s choice center to engage in prayer with expecting mothers. They also participate in a homeless shelter ministry. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a local retirement center, where parishioners go to pray and sing with residents.
Their most popular outreach endeavor is a yearly mission trip to Peru. Fifty to sixty parishioners travel to a missionary community there to help build retention walls and bring vitamins. They also bring fun things like gummy bears that the Peruvian children would not otherwise have access to. Here they are able to engage in prayer with the locals, as well as experience the dedicated discipleship of missionary life.
Other Fun Facts
At Georgia Tech, there is a history of forming priestly vocations. They are proud to consistently have multiple priests who are graduates and many are currently serving in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The Georgia Tech slogan is be “A Helluva Engineer”, so the Catholic Center has coined the phrase be “A Helluva Catholic”
Contact & Social Accounts
- Website: gtcatholic.org
- Address: 172 4th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
- Phone: 404-892-6759
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social & Other
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