Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Voting at the priest convocation

Published September 10, 2014

The vote tally zoomed up to 100, then 125, paused at 160 jumped to 170, and finally the stragglers would finally get around to casting their ballots with the handheld voting devices.

I watched the votes Tuesday afternoon coming in at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Priest Convocation at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. It was one step in shaping the pastoral plan.

Close to 180 priests chimed during their four-day break from ministry to winnow scores of plan recommendations to a manageable dozen. The final results are to end up on the desk of Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, along with another set of a dozen or so recommendations from upcoming meetings of parish leaders. He is expected to use both lists to come up with a pastoral plan, a five year roadmap on priorities for the 69-county archdiocese.

Voting became laughable in the convivial session I witnessed.

For example, one table wanted to trim the conversation time before voting from eight minutes.

Take a vote, urged the crowd of mostly middle-aged men. And in case you thought they were all men in black all the time, not so. Most relaxed in jeans and open collar shirts, while a smattering made a fashion choice to stick to black “clerics.”

The five minute option became the new conversation time limit. It won the plurality of votes at 30 percent.

Not everyone listened to the voice of the people. Father Victor Galier, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, invited fellow priests from the Central Deanery, in the urban center of the archdiocese, to tables he had set aside for dinner so they could break bread together.

Some called for a vote on whether to attend. His reply, with a smile:

I’m the dean. So no.

To pass the time during the afternoon session, priests tested their knowledge on trivia.

  • The tallest cathedral in the world.

Six out of ten priests guessed the answer correct. The tallest – drum roll – measuring in at 516 feet is the Cathedral of Cologne. 

And convocation organizer Peter Faletti, the planning chief in the archdiocese, took some ribbing on this one. He was corrected that it is St. Peter Basilica, not St. Peter Cathedral. (Bonus: click here to learn the name of Rome’s cathedral.)

  • What month requires the most “red vestments” during this liturgical year?

June is the right answer. And 59 percent got that right.


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