Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (April 27,, 2006)

Published April 27, 2006

The City of Atlanta hosts many different conventions throughout the year—business, sports, hobby, and professional groups descend on our city throughout the year and provide an opportunity for many people to visit the vibrant community that is Atlanta. This past week another group attended a convention in Atlanta—the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) held its first convention in our Archdiocese. We were not the original site for this year’s convention, but the chosen location, New Orleans, was not ready to host the 7,000 Catholic educators at this time. I was pleased that the Archdiocese of Atlanta was able to step in as a substitute location.

This sudden change in venue was made possible through the hard work and generous assistance of the principals, administrators, teachers, volunteers, catechists, deacons, priests, and faithful people of our Archdiocese. How can I ever thank them sincerely enough? They worked very closely with the leadership of the NCEA and managed to make the transition both smooth and apparently perfect.

This convention brought many Catholics to Atlanta for the first time, and I know from the numerous comments regarding the convention it will not be the last time that many of them intend to visit our city. These conventioneers were educators representing Catholic schools, catechetical, seminary, and university level teachers. They are all deeply involved with educating and forming young people in the Faith of the Church. They were here to share their own expertise and to discover new and more effective ways of accomplishing their mission.

Some people were honored during the course of the week, including a few of our own outstanding teachers, catechists, and parents whose devotion to Catholic education is both a blessing for their schools and parishes and for this local Church.

There were displays of textbooks, multimedia resources, and educational equipment of all sorts. There were lectures, symposia, and informal gatherings that were intended to support and encourage all those who seek to pass on the Faith to a future generation of Catholics.

There were also Masses wherein we could listen to the One who teaches and forms us most effectively and to share the Bread that satisfies the hearts of those who seek Him.

All in all, it was an exciting time for the Church in North Georgia, and I thank all those who made it possible and so enjoyable. I do not believe that this will be the last time that the NCEA chooses Atlanta for the site of their annual Easter week convention.

Repeatedly throughout the week, the Archdiocese of New Orleans was very much in the thoughts and hearts of those who attended the convention. We all recognize that the challenges that face that Archdiocese are enormous and that their recovery and reorganization will take time and the support and prayers of Catholics and people of good will throughout our nation.

Many residents from New Orleans and the Gulf coast region of the United States are still living among us. We renew our welcome to them. Some of them may choose to become permanent members of this local Church; others are still waiting for an opportunity to return to their homes. The past nine months have been very difficult for all the people whose lives have been changed by the hurricanes of last year. While the Archdiocese of Atlanta was honored to be the host of this year’s NCEA, we realize that we only extended a welcome mat in lieu of another Archdiocese whose history and heritage remain treasures for this nation. We will pray for the day when New Orleans will be able to make good on the welcome that they originally extended to the NCEA that we were able to realize on their behalf.