Catholic pastoral center adds value in Pine Mountain

Father Ron Madden talks about new pastoral center

Christ the King Catholic Church has built a new center for community use featuring a banquet hall and meeting rooms. Father Ron Madden talks about the beginning.
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Christ the King Catholic Church has built a new center for community use featuring a banquet hall and meeting rooms. Father Ron Madden talks about the beginning.

The new Christ the King Catholic Church Pastoral Center is open for business.

But not just church business.

“This is value added to the county. We are not just thinking of ourselves,” said Father Ronnie Madden of the 25,000-square-foot facility on Ga. Highway 354 near the main entrance of Callaway Gardens in Harris County.

The pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church sees the center as a venue to host a wide variety of events such as weddings, corporate retreats and conferences for anyone who is interested.

“We don’t have beds, but we have everything else,” Madden said.

The construction cost was about $4.8 million, but furnishing it and adding items such as state-of-the-art audio and video systems brought the cost to approximately $5.7 million.

Smith-Boland of Atlanta was the architect and Van Winkle & Company of Atlanta was the builder. The construction took 14 months and it was finished in January.

The church building, which is in close proximity to the center on the 23-acre campus, is not that old itself, having been dedicated in 2007.

And it was then that Madden was already thinking about the center.

In 2014, a bridge was built from the church area to a large unused pasture. It was not a road to nowhere, but a bridge to the future, getting parishioners thinking about what they might have someday.

Christ the King provides faith services to those visiting Callaway Gardens and FDR State Park, as well as to its membership of about 250 families. Many parishioners come from 25 miles away to attend services.

“We have folks from LaGrange, Newnan and Columbus,” Madden said.

He hopes people and organizations will want to come from those places and even much farther away to make use of the center.

Growth in Pine Mountain is another reason for construction of the center.

“In the coming years, Pine Mountain will become an Atlanta bedroom community,” he said. “Luxury homes are being planned here. We want to be ready for that growth.”

The center features a 2,400-square-foot carpeted atrium with a fireplace that can accommodate about 200 people and also a 6,400-square-foot main hall with room for 400 guests.

For banquets, there is a professional kitchen and an outdoor cooking and smoker area.

In addition, there are two large meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 50 people.

The center features six classrooms. A room aimed for use by teens features a television, computer, microwave and ping-pong table.

The Sister Philomena Learning and Outreach Centers is in the back of the building. There is a library there and also rooms to help feed the needy and provide help paying utility bills.

It is named for Sister Philomena Fogarty, who taught in Columbus and in Hamilton, Ga., and was murdered in 2003.

“We did not think small when we planned the center,” said Madden, 70, who came to the church in 2001 after retiring from the Navy.

He said donations were received from as far away as Atlanta, Denver and San Diego to help build the center.

“We could not have had something this beautiful if we had put the burden on the backs of our families,” he said.

But they did help. A large quilt hangs in the center. People contributed money to have their name placed in a square on the quilt. The item raised $25,000.

Get more information about the church and center by calling 706-663-0090 or visiting

“This is a very peaceful place in a beautiful rural setting,” Madden said. “We are hoping many will take advantage of what we have to offer.”

Larry Gierer: 706-571-8581, @lagierer