Published September 22, 2005
One thousand two hundred Catholic women met in Atlanta last week at the Downtown Hilton Hotel. They were the delegates for the 52nd Biennial Conference of the National Council of Catholic Women, and we in the Archdiocese of Atlanta were quite privileged to host them. From all that I could tell, they had a wonderful time. Plus it was a good opportunity for me to meet with the generous ladies from the Province of Atlanta—many for the first time—but also a chance for me to welcome many dear friends from Chicago and Belleville to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
NCCW is an umbrella organization that groups together more than 5,000 different Catholic women’s organizations. These wonderful ladies belong to a number of associations that serve the mission of the Church in a variety of ways. Through those organizations they pursue so many different activities that I could not possibly list them all in this single column. Suffice it to say that wherever the Catholic Church is engaged in charity and service, some branch of the NCCW will most assuredly be found.
I was particularly impressed with the breadth of concerns that were a part of the conference, everything from spiritual programs and activities, to confronting domestic violence, to leadership development. As one might expect, the topic of Katrina was very much an issue throughout the conference. As usual, these women had already devised a host of ways to respond to this tragedy, and they wanted to share their efforts as well as their deep distress over these events.
Our own women here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta were the perfect hostesses—as we have all come to experience—and I believe that they deserve a great round of applause for taking upon themselves this large project. They made everyone feel at home, and of course they made the Church in North Georgia very proud.
This weekend, I also made my first visit to the Korean Catholic Mission and celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. The date also coincided with Korean Thanksgiving Day, and the people observed this event with a specially prepared table of Korean foods that traditionally mark the observance. It is very important for all of our many people to follow the cultural observances that tie them to their particular heritage.
Our own American Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching, and we have our own special ways of marking that observance. I can remember that during the four years I was a student in Rome even though Thanksgiving Day was not observed as a legal holiday there were constantly about 75 young priests who were desperately looking for a turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie in order that the fourth Thursday in November was properly observed.
As I drove up Buford Highway, I could not help but notice the many different languages, cuisines, and businesses that clearly attest to the fact that we beyond a doubt are a multicultured and multilingual community. Atlanta has become the home for a myriad of peoples, each bringing special traditions, ethnic, artistic and culinary gifts. It may tax us at times to recognize, appreciate and honor each community, but in the long run it makes us a better community to embrace all of the human variety that is now a part of Atlanta’s identity.
We are living the very motto that we find on our American currency, e pluribus unum “from the many there is one.” And nowhere is that motto truer than in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith that we profess and that we try to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.