Pastor's Corner

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Building Community

This weekend, we have our Parish Picnic at Villa Marie Center on the Isle of Hope. Each year we have this event to help build community in our parish and get to know each other better than we do now.

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

What Will You Do?

This question has been asked of me a few times this past week and in the weeks and months before I have asked this question of myself. When I ask this question, I immediately think of what I could do to make reparation for the wounds and suffering of victims at the hands of my brother priests and the bishops who harbored them and moved them. I will address what you and I can do in this area in a later Pastor’s Corner.

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Labor Day

A Blessed Labor Day weekend to each of you and your families! May this extended weekend be one of rest and rejuvenation for each of you. Be safe and have a great time with your family and friends.

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gift of Life

This past Friday, I celebrated my 40th Birthday! Another decade gone and another one started. Many thoughts run through my head as I meet this halfway point on the ascent of the mountain journeying towards heaven. I see it not as going over the hill, but getting to that ridge on the mountain where I can see the top, where I need to go.

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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Back to School

Welcome back, students, faculty, and staff!

Buckle up! Here we go! This past week and this Monday many of the children and teen agers of the parish have gone back to school. St. James School begins Monday morning bright and early. The parish campus will be a buzz with energy and activity once again!

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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Generous Heart

Last Sunday, an usher came to me with a page from a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and handed it to me. Seeing the puzzled look on my face, he began to tell me a story from the previous mass. After the collection was taken up and the gifts already brought forward to the altar, a man brought his sobbing daughter to the back of the church to give something to the usher. She handed him a picture of Tigger that she had colored and wanted to put in the collection basket, but she couldn’t get it out in time to put it in and missed her chance. But, she still wanted to give it away in the collection.

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here to Serve

My brothers and sisters, it has been almost a year since I arrived at St. James the Less as your new Pastor. It has been quite an amazing year! I have much more to learn and I am still getting used to being your Pastor. I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed being with you, growing with you, learning with and from you, and accompanying you this past year. Even in the midst of mistakes and missteps, it has been a great year!

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

July 25, 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae written by Pope Paul VI. In this document we received an affirmation of the rich and consistent teaching of the Church on the beauty and dignity of married love and life. We at St. James will celebrate this anniversary by hosting a dinner and lecture on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Parish Center (the gym). Fr. John Johnson, S.T.L., a priest of the Diocese of Savannah, who has received his degree from the Pope John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family Life, will be our speaker. All are invited.

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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Beauty of Faith

The past two weekends I have witnessed once again the beautiful community and people of St. James! Your love and faith have been on display and it is extremely edifying to me and encouraging to see your faith come alive.

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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

In the Church’s Liturgical calendar, we celebrate the Birth of only three people – Jesus (Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, December 25th), Mary (Solemnity of the Nativity of Mary, September 8th), and John the Baptist (Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24th). Usually, the feast days that we celebrate are moments in the lives of Jesus and Mary and then the deaths of the Saints (their birth to eternal life). Today is a patronal feast of the Diocese of Savannah. Which means that we all celebrate it with great festivity and ask his prayers for everyone living in the Diocese of Savannah.

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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, Martyrs

The mid-16th century was a perilous time to be a Catholic in England. On June 22nd, we celebrate the feasts of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. These men were martyred for the faith, giving witness to the truth of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope to lead the Church across national borders. One of their heads replaced the other on the pike on London Bridge as a sign to those who defied the King. They were brothers in arms and in faith. One a layman, the other a Bishop and Cardinal of the Church.

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10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Prayer

“I’ll pray for you.” “Please pray for me.” “Keep so and so in your prayers.”

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9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Corpus Christi

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. At each mass we obey his words, “Take and eat…Take and drink…do this in remembrance of me.” As we hear from the lips of our Lord, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink,” we say confidently, “Amen” when the priest or the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion says, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ.”

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8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Beginning of Summer

School is finishing. Graduations have occurred. Camps and Vacations are scheduled. Summer is here! What a beautiful time to recreate, rest, play, and rejuvenate soul and body!

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Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirt and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the Earth.

Let us pray. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations.”

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Seventh Sunday of Easter

Ascension of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us and to send the Holy Spirit upon us so that we may be led to all truth. It is on this day that he spoke his last words to us while on this earth. There were many things to tell us, but he gave us at the very end the great commission. He charged us to evangelize all people, make them disciples and teach them his commandments and baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This commission is our task as His disciples. Being a missionary and bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus is an intrinsic part of being a Christian. It is essential to our Baptismal vocation.

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Sixth Sunday of Easter

First Holy Communion

There is rejoicing in heaven and here at St. James! Yesterday, May 5th, we celebrated the First Communion of 59 of our parishioners! 2nd graders from the School and our Parish Religious Education Program and a few others received the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the very first time!

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

St. James the Less

Thursday, May 3rd is the feast day of St. James the Less, our Patron! This is a special day for all members of our St. James family! On this day, we celebrate our Patron and ask him to bless us and pray for us as we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ just as he was!

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The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Easter Brings Newness!

With the Resurrection of Jesus, Almighty God brings new life to all who seek it! We become new creations when we are baptized and when we go to confession and are reconciled to God! Spring too is a time of new life! There is a newness in the air (see the pollen!). Flowers and new growth in the trees spring forth from the ground and the limbs.

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The Third Sunday of Easter

Missionary Disciples

Missionary Disciples is the theme for the 2018 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. We are disciples of Jesus Christ if we call ourselves Christian. Being a disciple automatically means that we are missionaries as well. We bring Christ to others. We radiate Christ to one another and to everyone we meet. We are the Gospel that they encounter. Each of our parishes should be a school of discipleship where we learn how to be a disciple of Jesus.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

Christ is Risen! Rejoice! Our Lord Jesus is Risen!

My first Easter here at St. James was beautiful! The liturgies were moving and prayerful and drew everyone into the mysteries begin celebrated! The choir and the servers were extraordinary! The decorations were gorgeous! Thanks to all who had a hand in it!

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Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen!

He, the Light of the World, the Morning Star, the Dawn, has shattered the darkness. We have walked the journey with him to the Cross, to death, but we do not stop there! Let us be with him in His Life! Death is not the end. Pain and suffering do not have the final say. Jesus has conquered death and given new life and light!

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6th Sunday of Lent: Palm Sunday

Confirmation and Holy Week

Thursday, March 22nd, our Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer confirmed 50 young men and women here at St. James! Congratulations on receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation! As they become more and more involved in the Church, we welcome them. I would like to encourage them to become involved in the ministries in the church as ushers, lectors, altar servers, and the choir. Let’s welcome them into those ministries and assist them in all they need to become involved in our parish community. Congratulations!

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5th Sunday of Lent

Preparing for Holy Week

Lent is a journey towards Easter, towards the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! We are closing in on the end of these 6 weeks of spiritual and bodily penances and exercises so that we can strengthen ourselves and have fertile soil in our souls to experience the abundant graces available for us during Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday).

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4th Sunday of Lent

House Cleaning

Lent is a time of conversion, repentance, turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel. It is a time when we assist the Lord Jesus in cleaning His house, our souls. Each one of us, each one of our souls is the dwelling place of God, His house. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in our souls because of our Baptism. They made their home there at that moment and have dwelt there ever since.

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3rd Sunday of Lent

What a Journey!

This week we will be halfway through Lent. What a journey! We use this time to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. These days celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through His blood, we are redeemed. His sacrifice gained for us eternal life, happiness, fulfillment of every longing. This is why we celebrate, this is why we fast, increase our prayer, and practice almsgiving and works of charity.

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2nd Sunday of Lent

Listening to the Lord

Lent is a time of conversion, transition, and change. It is a time of growth in our spiritual lives. It is a time when our heart expands and our capacity to love others increases.

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1st Sunday of Lent

The Bishop's Annual Appeal

This weekend, we kickoff the 2018 Bishop's Annual Appeal. Working at the Pastoral Center as the Chancellor and Vicar General the last ten years, I have always been impressed with St. James and how they meet their goal of the BAA each year.

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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lent

In a few days Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 14th (be careful, couples…better celebrate Valentine’s Day another day!). This day begins the season of Lent – 6 weeks of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Church gives us this time to focus on something that will make us better disciples of Jesus Christ. Individually we can do so many different penances or works of mercy which form us and mold us into better disciples.

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5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Living the Eucharist

In a few weeks, we as a parish will begin our Lenten program, Living the Eucharist, with other parishes around the diocese. For six weeks we will be meeting together in small groups, as families, as friends, as teens, to grow deeper in faith, hope, and love for our Lord Jesus Christ and our Catholic faith. Don’t miss this opportunity. We all need each other to grow and to continue our conversion.

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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Building a Culture of Life

Monday, January 22nd, marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade which opened the door to legal access to abortion across our nation. This began a massacre of innocents and opened wounds in the hearts and souls of so many women and men. Some of our parish went to Atlanta to the March for Life there to witness to Right to Life of every human person no matter how small or vulnerable. They went to offer healing to the women who have had abortions and to the men who have been effected.

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2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bang!!

2018 sure has started with a bang! I returned from vacation in the frozen tundra of northern Michigan (where the temperature never got above 12º and was most often negative with the wind chill) to the frozen low country of Georgia! However, I must confess, it was nice to come home to a closed office and get a few more days to catch up before I jumped back into things!

Vacation was nice and the weather gave me plenty of time to read and watch the bowl games! UGA played brilliantly in both the semifinal and the National Championship game but just came up a little short in the final. The future is looking bright for the Dawgs! Yes, I cheered for them against Oklahoma and Alabama. Though I am an LSU fan, UGA runs a close second. Go dawgs!

Now, we will all go through College football withdrawal until things start up again in the fall.

LIVING THE EUCHARIST

All the parishes in the Diocese of Savannah will be participating in a Lenten program for the next three Lents called Living the Eucharist. This revolves around small groups getting together weekly to share the faith and learn more about the faith and how to allow the faith to impact their daily lives. You will be hearing more and more about it over the next few weeks, please keep your eyes and ears open for more information.

Lent begins on February 14th. Just like we had a short Advent, we have an early Lent and an Early Easter. Easter is on April 1st. It is amazing how time flies!

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Christmas

Happy New Year!

The Sunday within the Octave of Christmas is celebrated as Holy Family Sunday when we reflect on the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. What a blessing it is to go to the school of love which is their family and their relationships.

Imagine that household – the Son of God, His most perfect creation, and the man entrusted to care for both of them! Joseph was entrusted to care and protect and provide for Jesus, the Word made flesh, our Lord and Savior, Almighty God and Mary, the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception, the sinless Virgin.

Look at the joy and peace which reigned in their home. Joseph and Mary teaching Jesus about the Jewish faith and heritage, bringing him to synagogue every Sabbath. They prayed in their home each day. Joseph loved Mary and taught Jesus the beauty of married love. Mary cared for Joseph and Jesus with a tenderness and concern surpassing all others.

What can we take away from their life at their home in Nazareth? Maybe we think about how we pass on the Catholic faith to our children. Do we bring them to mass each Sunday (even if they are in high school and even if they go to St. James or St. Vincent’s or Benedictine)? Do we pray as a family? Does my son or daughter see me pray and value my relationship with Jesus? Do they see me try to grow in my understanding of the faith? Do they see me involved in my parish?

This New Year perhaps we can make some resolutions along those lines. Maybe we can commit to praying as a family each night (praying a rosary together or naming what we want to pray for and ending with an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be). Perhaps we commit to spending an hour in the adoration chapel each week as a family.

Whatever resolution you make as a family, may your lives be filled with the Joy and Peace of the Holy Family! On behalf of the other priests and the staff at St. James, we wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Holy 2018!

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent/The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord

Happy Advent! Merry Christmas!

This Pastor’s Corner will be a bit different. Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent and this evening and tomorrow, we celebrate Christmas! It is the shortest 4th week of Advent possible – only a few hours!

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The Third Sunday of Advent

Gaudete Sunday

Today is a Sunday of rejoicing! The pink candle is lit. The priest may wear rose vestments (I think Fr. Adams has a vestment, but the parish doesn’t have one – we will wear his!). This lighter color symbolizes the need to rejoice during this Season of Advent.

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The Second Sunday of Advent

Death and Renewal

Amongst the many magnificent events we had at St. James last week, two stood out. The first was a funeral and the second was the renewal of vows of our IHM Sisters.

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The First Sunday of Advent

Happy New Year!

The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year! We begin with Advent leading up to Christmas. Then we have Christmas and the Christmas Season. Last year, we had the longest Advent we could have since Christmas fell on a Sunday. This year, we have the shortest Advent we could have since Christmas falls on a Monday.

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Christ the King Sunday

The Four Last Things: Heaven

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Many blessings and prayers for you and your family as you celebrate this weekend and give thanks to Almighty God for all He has done for you. I thank Him for you, the parishioners of St. James the Less Parish! What a blessing you are to me!

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Four Last Things: Hell

During the month of November, in our Catholic tradition as the end of the year approaches, we think and dwell on the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. We have covered death and judgment. The third installment is on hell.

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32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Four Last Things: Judgment

During the month of November, in our Catholic tradition as the end of the year approaches, we think and dwell on the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. We covered death last week. This week we will reflect on judgment.

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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Four Last Things: Death

At 3:00 PM, Sunday, November 5th, we will have the Blessing of the Graves at the Catholic Cemetery. During this blessing and prayer service, we will read the names of each of those who have been buried from our Catholic Churches over the previous year. We will pray for their souls and for their eternal rest.

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

500 Years Later…

October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This act is widely regarded as the beginning of the western schism in the Catholic Church and is celebrated by our Protestant brothers and sisters as the beginning of their traditions especially of Lutheranism and Calvinism. Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of this event.

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Stewardship Sunday

We read in the Letter of St. James, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead…For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:14-26)

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome!

Today we welcome all new members to St. James parish who have come this past year! I am amongst them! I too am a new parishioner! On Wednesday, we will have our Welcome Dinner as our first monthly parish dinner this year. Everyone in the parish is invited.

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Last Sunday, we had our parish picnic. Thanks to all who assisted in planning and implementing it! Building those relationships and building community is such a wonderful and necessary thing for us as a parish.

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hurricane Irma!

Hurricane Irma came and went! We were spared the brunt of it, but we still had our damage. There are plenty here in our parish who suffered flooding of their property and wind and tree damage. The church buildings survived beautifully. Nothing but debris and limbs to clean up afterwards! Sr. Lisa, Sr. Carolyn, Fr. Adams, Richard Morgan, the Kromenhoeks, and I had a two day clean up after the storm! We had a great time – though we are all a bit sore!

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Extraordinary!

Whatever is faithful to the tradition of the Church, whatever is permissible in Sacred Scripture, Canon Law, and by Holy Mother Church, and whatever helps the Catholic Faithful grow deeper in love with Jesus and His bride the Church, I support and I will facilitate as best I can. The Holy Spirit works in all different ways and in so many different forms and apostolates and ministries to draw people closer to Jesus.

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Charlottesville, VA

Seeing the images flashing across the screen and the reading the news articles made me sick to my stomach. This hatred, vitriol, fear, and violence was simply disgusting. It was difficult to wrap my head around it.

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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Assumption of Mary

On Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven. This day we proclaim that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her early life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hello!

Sitting in the Personnel Board Meeting this spring, the meeting took a bit of turn and next thing I knew, Bishop Hartmayer asked me if I would be the Pastor at St. James. As I said yes, I thought, “Man, I’m going to miss my friend, Mark.” This was followed by, “My goodness, that parish is huge…and a school…and a convent of sisters…and an Adoration Chapel…and 2 parochial vicars…and a monastery of Carmelite nuns!!” What wonderful things are going on over here at St. James! What exciting movements of the Holy Spirit! What amazing potential!

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St James the Less Catholic Church

St. James the Less Catholic Church
8412 Whitefield Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31406
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Office Hours: M–F | 9A – 5P


  • Church Office

    912 355 1523
  • FAX

    912 353 7226
  • School Office

    912 355 3132
  • Early Learning Center

    912 629 2430
  • Convent

    912 355 6815