Founding Pastor

/Founding Pastor
Founding Pastor2018-09-20T20:20:27+00:00
Father Christopher G. Phillips
Father Christopher G. PhillipsPastor Emeritus of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church

Father Christopher G. Phillips Biography.

From the inception of The Atonement Academy in October 1993, and its subsequent opening on August 15th, 1994, Fr. Christopher George Phillips has been here every step of the way.  You might see him in the early morning dawn hours, unlocking the church, or in the late night hours returning from Midnight Mass.  His is ever-present and the standard of the parish – the church and the school.

Christopher George Phillips was born to George and Jeanne Phillips in New Hartford, Connecticut, on December 13, 1949. The eldest of three boys, he grew up on his parents’ dairy farm. His interest in music led him to study church music at Westminster Choir College at Princeton, New Jersey, where he was an organ scholar.

At the age of twenty, he married his wife JoAnn while he was studying at Barrington College in Rhode Island, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies and Philosophy. While at Barrington College, he became an Episcopalian and was accepted as a candidate for ordination. He and his wife departed for England, where he continued his studies at Salisbury and Wells Theological College in Salisbury. Upon completion of his studies, he was ordained for the Anglican ministry in the Diocese of Bristol, England.

After having spent five years abroad, he returned to serve at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Warwick, Rhode Island, where his conversion to the Catholic Faith developed.

In August of 1980, Pope John Paul II issued the Pastoral Provision which allowed Anglican clergymen to become Catholic priests. In January 1982, Fr. Phillips resigned from the Anglican ministry and moved with his family to San Antonio, Texas, at the invitation of a small group of people who had left the Episcopal Church with the intention of becoming Roman Catholics. On July 9, 1983, Father Phillips received permission from Saint Pope John Paull II to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood and was ordained by Archbishop Patrick Flores on August 15, 1983 in the Cathedral of San Fernando.

Father Phillips is a well-known figure in the publishing world.  He was a contributor to the Catholic Encyclopedia in 1992, and to the Catholic Dictionary in 1993. Father Phillips has written and published several hymns and has recorded hundreds of audio tapes on the Old and New Testament. He has hosted a Catholic radio series on WOAI 1200, and has appeared on religious videos promoting Eucharistic Adoration on EWTN, as well as being a guest on the Coming Home program. In 1989, he and his family appeared in the “Religion” section of TIME Magazine and in a television interview on NBC Nightly News. He appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes in September of 2002. He has been a guest speaker on several radio broadcasts including San Antonio Catholic Radio, Michigan Public Radio and Philadelphia Public Radio, promoting the Ordinariate Form within the Catholic Church, and he remains very active in pro-life work.

Although the parish may not realize that Fr. Christopher Phillips is a celebrity in the Catholic world, nor may they recognize there will be a chapter about him in the Church History book that future students will study.  What they do realize is that Father Phillips is a real spiritual father for them, always finding time to listen to their confessions, their worries, and their concerns about life.  On any given day, you may enter the foyer during the lunch hour and see a line of students waiting to speak to Father Phillips and to receive absolution in the Sacrament of Confession.  His open-door policy to the students and to the faculty and staff make him the beloved Father he is.  Through trials and tribulations, and great suffering, Father Phillips has made this parish and this school his life work and has exemplified the title “servant of God.”  We look forward to his continued guidance and love as pastor emeritus.