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Meet your Clergy: Father Brian Bufford

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In the town of Washington, GA, nestled away from the hustle and bustle of city life, lies a community steeped in tradition and faith. For many, St. Joseph and Purification Catholic Church are not just places of worship but symbols of community. It’s within this backdrop that Father Brian Bufford began his journey of faith. 

Father Bufford was born and raised in Washington, and he states that the town was a place where “everyone knew everyone.” His journey into the church truly began in fourth grade, during the summer of ’95, when he expressed an interest in becoming an altar boy. Under the guidance of Father Phillip Ryan, he took his first steps towards serving the church as an altar boy at Purification in Sharon, GA. The opportunity to know the pastor personally was a cherished aspect of his upbringing, fostering a deep connection to his faith. 

As an altar server and active member of the church, Father Brian felt a deep connection to his calling. “Priesthood was something ingrained within me,” he shares. From a young age, he felt drawn to the service of God, with parishioners often remarking on his potential as a priest. 

Father Bufford decided to explore other options and see if he was meant for something else. He explained that just because one feels called to do something, it might not ultimately be their path. So, after high school, he decided to pursue a degree in accounting at Augusta State University. His dad used to say, “There comes a point when you have to adopt the Nike slogan ‘Just do it,’ or you’re just spinning your wheels.” And that sentiment really stuck with him. After working in accounting for a while, he realized that the call to priesthood was still very much alive within him, and he decided to take the leap and enter seminary. Everything seemed to fall into place once he made that decision, from the application process to his acceptance. 

Looking back on his journey, Father Bufford sees the hand of God guiding him every step of the way. “You see God in the rearview mirror,” he says. “He might seem to pull a disappearing act on you while you are on the right path- like the Israelites wandering in the desert. It’s only when you’re doing what you’re truly meant to be doing that His presence becomes clear.” 

Reflecting on the changes in Washington over the years, Father Brian expresses surprise at witnessing the revival of Purification Church, the Locust Grove Cemetery, and the Retreat Center. Despite the challenges posed by a small Catholic population, he remains hopeful about the future of these cherished institutions, acknowledging their significance in the fabric of the community.  

Father Brian attended the chapel blessing and Mass at Purification and the Purification Heritage Center. He feels blessed to witness the improvements of this space for Catholics and religious leaders to gather. The peaceful atmosphere will undoubtedly help others connect with the Lord through prayer and reflection. 

The restoration of Purification Church and Heritage Center was made possible by gifts to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.