Published February 8, 2007
These men and women have surrendered their lives, as did the Infant Christ who was presented to God in the Temple—a fitting reminder of the generous surrender that is the hallmark of Religious Life. Our men and women Religious serve in many different capacities throughout North Georgia.
Looking upon their faces on Monday evening in the bright light of sunset, I was so grateful for the witness that they provide for the whole community here in North Georgia.
Religious men and women belong to congregations that are generally worldwide in their organization and membership. They are Franciscans, Dominicans, Passionists, Trappists, Legionaries of Christ, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Joseph and a whole host of others too numerous to list in this brief column that serve in many different capacities in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Yet all of them follow the charism of their founders and live out the sacred vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Some of them wear habits, while others do not—yet all of them are a grace for us because they remind us that there is a Kingdom that is to come and it belongs to God’s providence and wisdom.
A few of our religious men and women can date their presence here back to the very foundation of this local Church. Some of these men and women can recall—and will do so with scant urging—the early years of our Archdiocese. Others are new to North Georgia and are in the process of coming to know the people and the needs of our territory. All of them—young and old—rejoiced in each other’s company at the prayer service and festive meal that was prepared for them. I renew my gratitude for their presence and for their service as they provide a witness to the love of God that reminds us all of the Kingdom of God.
The Serra Club sponsors the Shepherd’s Dinner gathering each year—regrettably, I missed this year’s event as my “annual” cold decided to make its appearance with a vengeance this week. I know that this get-together is another expression of the great respect and esteem that the Serra members have for our priests. I thank them—even in my absence—for hosting this traditional expression of support and gratitude for our priests—and for Archbishop Donoghue and myself. Our priests and Religious were honored this past week—I hope that we all pay tribute to and thank them for the generous service that they provide every day of the year!