St. Robert Bellarmine's welcomes new priest
By By Matthew Nascone
Because of a shift in the Mobile Catholic Diocese St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Atmore has a new pastor.
Rev. Gordon Milsted comes to Atmore from St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Fairhope. He is a 69-year-old priest who was ordained into priesthood in 1963 so he knows a thing or two about the Catholic faith.
"I hope I will be here for a good while," Milsted said. "I like the area and the people have been great to me in the five days I have been here. The reception was very nice and unexpected."
That reception was a welcome dinner put on by the parishioners of St. Robert's last Sunday.
Milsted replaces Rev. Jan A. Zagorski who was also part of the shift the Arch Bishop and the Mobile Catholic Diocese implemented last week. Zagorski is now the full-time pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church in Bay Minette.
The area is not unfamiliar to Milsted as he was born and raised in Pensacola. The move to Atmore is a welcome change for Milsted.
"St. Lawrence was growing so quickly and I thought it would be good for them to get a new priest in there," he said.
He had been at St. Lawrence since 1995. After being ordained in 1963 Milsted was sent by the Bishop to teach religion and be a guidance counselor at Catholic High School in Montgomery.
He was at Catholic High until 1974 when he was given his first assignment as a priest at St. Maurice Catholic Church in Brewton. He stayed there for three years and moved back to Montgomery to found Holy Spirit Catholic Church near Catholic High School in East Montgomery.
"The Bishop sent letters to the surrounding parishes to let the public know we were building a church and we actually held mass in the cafeteria of Catholic High for three years until the church was completed," Milsted said. "Today it is a large church and they have built a new church to house all the members during mass."
After 10 years at Holy Spirit Milsted was transferred to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Grand Bay and he stayed there for eight years until he became the pastor at St. Lawrence's in Fairhope in 1995.
And now he is in Atmore at St. Robert Bellarmine's and he said he would like to be here for a long time.
"The people here are very cordial and nice and I am glad to be here," he said.