Published June 22, 2006
“Thank you for the Eucharistic Congress!” I have heard that phrase repeatedly since last Saturday.
In all candor, I am not the one who should be thanked. You would have to have a long list of people, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous, who by right should be thanked for the success of this Eucharistic Congress (and the prior ones as well). Priests, deacons, women Religious, pastors and parochial vicars, seminarians, staff members of Archdiocesan departments, parish and school staff and volunteers of every kind made the Eucharistic Congress possible and successful! People should thank them—as I do—for all of their hard work and generous assistance.
There were more people at the Eucharistic Congress than the entire Catholic population of the new Diocese of Atlanta when we were established on July 2, 1956! Then there were only approximately 22,000 Catholics living in all of the territory of the new diocese.
How good God has been to us in allowing us to grow so quickly and so dramatically in these 50 years. No doubt, one of the reasons for our growth has been the economic development that has graced North Georgia. That growth has brought hundreds of thousands of people from throughout our country and many other countries here to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The Eucharistic Congress was a glowing example of the many cultures, races and ethnic communities who now call these 69 North Georgia counties their home. We are blessed to have each and every one of them. They are a living expression of God’s grace acting in our midst.
As I carried the Eucharist in procession throughout the Georgia International Convention Center, I could see the faces of the wonderful folks of our Archdiocese. As they knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, I knew that God would continue to smile on us and strengthen us and give us all the grace that we need to be a family of Faith, to be a people of Hope, to be a community of Love.
Many people made financial contributions to the Eucharistic Congress. In whatever amount your gifts were offered, they made the Congress possible. Thank you for that investment of time, treasure and talent that have established this pastoral assembly as such a vibrant and important part of our Catholic heritage.
I conclude with another word of thanks to Archbishop John Donoghue for creating the environment that has fostered these Eucharistic Congresses. All of those people I mentioned should be thanked for the Congress—and many others besides—but I guess it’s easier just to say thanks to the Archbishop—he knows that the credit belongs elsewhere. And most especially, thanks should be given to God!