New chaplain welcomed into the St. Pius X family

Fr. Rey adjusts from parish life to high school priest


Fr. Rey, who grew up in Atlanta, came to St. Pius X in August. He was a parish priest at Christ the King before the Archbishop assigned him to his new position.

Replacing Fr. Michael who was re-assigned to the parish Christ Our King and Savior in Greensboro, Georgia, Fr. Rey comes to us from Christ the King and has been adjusting to the change of transitioning to our school as much as we have adjusted to having a new friendly face on campus.

When Bishop Ned Shlessinger from the Archdiocese of Atlanta initially told Fr. Rey to serve as the new chaplain at St. Pius, he didn’t know how to react.

“I thought it was a joke,” Fr. Rey said. “I thought the bishop was playing a little bit of a cruel trick on me because I already was told that I wasn’t moving.”

However, once he knew his assignment was real, Fr. Rey said he was nervous and unsure of what it would be like.

“High school ministry in particular is wildly different than anything that we do as priests, and we’re not prepared to be chaplains: we’re prepared to be parish priests,” he explained. “That’s how you know you have to trust the holy spirit, because as many concerns as I had, or kind of insecurities that I had even, it’s just proven to be something really beautiful and amazing and I’ve been really happy and fulfilled in the few months I’ve been here.”

With the reassignment Fr. Rey’s whole life changed, not just his job. For example, Instead of praying the Liturgy of the Hours several times a day like he used to at Christ the King, Fr. Rey has had to squeeze his prayers into the mornings and evenings and find other ways to meet the requirements during the school day.

“My prayer schedule is different now,” he said. “All of the work you do is your prayer too, so all of the time I spend with the students, all of the time I spend discussing the mission of the school, I have to make all that a type of prayer as well.”

Another adjustment Fr. Rey pointed out that he has to get used to is was what he eats for lunch.

“[Now,] I eat cafeteria food,” he said, quickly adding, “but it’s very good food. I’m pleased with the food. I mean if anything I eat too much of it.”

One of the most obvious adjustments he’s had to make is ministering to teenage students rather than the wider age group of adults and children he had as parishoners at Christ the King, which has affected how he prepares his homilies.

“One thing I learned is that you can’t really craft a homily perfectly for an audience,” he said. “What I try to do is just rely on the spirit a lot, with this kind of trust that I need to go with what the spirit has put in my heart that I need to preach about, not wash it down, not overcomplicate it; communicate it in a way that people can receive it.”

He continued, “The other part of that is praying really hard that the spirit works in every single person who’s hearing it and I always pray that at least one person gets something from it. I say if my homily can touch one soul, then it’s done its job.”

Ordained at only 25 years old and currently 30, Fr. Rey is younger than most priests and said he enjoys the fact that he can mention memes, vines, viral videos, and other media during his homilies without having to explain them like he did to his older audience at his parish.

“There was always a sort of age difference in the average age of the parish,” he said. “It’s been fun because you guys get references that would probably go over the heads of some of my perishoners elsewhere.”

Beyond the walls of St. Pius, Fr. Rey enjoys spending his time in the kitchen, making food.

Fr. Rey’s father was a chef, which he thinks might have inspired his passion for cooking.

If he wasn’t a priest, Fr. Rey said that he could see himself being in the restaurant industry like his father, or a teacher.

That said, Fr. Rey added that “I don’t know if I’m a very good cook. Some people say that they enjoy my food but I also realize that they might just be trying to be nice to a priest.”

Once he realized that God wasn’t calling him to be a cook for the rest of his life, Father Rey went to the Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia, where he came to know one of our current theology teachers.

“Mr. [Andrew] Pudysz and I were actually roommates in college,” he said. “It was a small school, just starting up, so we all are still very good friends.”

Not only did Fr. Rey and Mr. Pudysz go to the same college, they also were around each other before then.

“We knew each other from college but then we also found out later that we actually went to the same middle school,” which was in Lawrenceville.

Fr. Rey and Mr. Pudysz are still good friends to this day, and hang out together frequently.

“It [shows] how God is kind of able to give you friends for the long run like that.”

Overall, Fr. Rey said that coming to St. Pius “has been an adjustment, but a really beautiful one, because it’s a really beautiful community to be a part of.”