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Congratulations, Deacon Mat Mathews

Congratulations to our Mat Mathews who was ordained to the permanent diaconate on Saturday!


Go forth and preach the Gospel, use words if necessary.

- St. Francis of Assisi

Mat Mathews was born in Kerala, India where St. Thomas established some of the world’s first Christian Churches which pre-date Catholicism. A thousand years after St. Thomas’ mission work, Vasco de Gama would land in South India and merge the local Christian traditions with the Roman Catholic Church. Americans often ask Mat when he converted. He

proudly replies that his ancestors accepted Christ into their hearts long before there was a Catholic Church. This unique Christian/Catholic heritage is a cornerstone of Mat’s Catholic identity and deep faith.

Mat was raised by a hard-working, faith filled single mother who reared two boys into strong men. His faith was further reinforced at his home parish, St. Thomas More in Decatur. Fr. Pat Mulhern and Fr. John Murphy were strong role models in Mat’s life and nurtured his spiritual journey. In fact, Mat credits Fr. Pat who first recognized Mat’s devotion to his faith as a young man and encouraged him to pursue a vocation in the Catholic Church. At the time, Mat chose to focus on his educational goals. He is a proud graduate of DeKalb County public schools, Emory University, and the University of London, but he never forgot the sincere endorsement Fr. Pat gave him years before. The mustard seed had been planted.

Mat met his wife Darlene while volunteering for a South Asian domestic violence nonprofit called Raksha. He was soon absorbed into her large, Pakistani Catholic family. They married in 2004 at the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and moved to Washington, DC where he began a successful career in counterterrorism. Mat and Darlene returned to Atlanta in 2012 with their daughter Rania who was born in 2009. In 2013, Laila was born, and

Mat’s family was complete. Mat and Darlene chose Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) as their home parish. They are also grateful for the exceptional faith and academic formation their girls have received at the OLA Preschool and OLA Catholic School. Today, Mat works

for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America where he serves as Chief Technology Officer. He feels fortunate that service permeates not just his personal and spiritual life, but his professional career as well.

At OLA, Mat joined the Knights of Columbus and the Saturday Morning Men’s Group. Both, Mat and Darlene participated in Christ Renews His Parish at the encouragement of Darlene’s mother who promised free babysitting. They regard Christ Renews as a transformative experience in their faith formation.

In 2016, Fr Jim asked Mat to consider joining the Archdiocese Diaconate formation program. Fr. Jim explained that it would be a commitment of the entire family and that both Darlene and Mat should give up active ministry work. The Mathews contemplated this decision very carefully as their daughters were still very young. Ultimately, after prayer and contemplation, Mat discerned that the Diaconate was in fact his vocation because of his deep commitment to service and faith in action.

Mat’s faith is inspired by three Francis’s: St Francis of Assisi for his ministry to the poor, St Francis De Sales for his focus on strengthening and unifying the Church through continuing education for the laypeople and the clergy, and Pope Francis for his focus on social justice.

Mat is excited to begin his vocation at his home parish, OLA, with the clergy and parishioners that have become his second family. Those who know Mat can attest that he is very approachable (he never met a stranger). He is eager to meet and get to know more OLA parishioners and is humbled to serve the Church through Christ.

- Written by Darlene Mathews


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