Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (May 31, 2007)

Published May 31, 2007

These have been some pretty exhilarating days for many people throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Untold numbers of families are hosting parties for their graduates—grammar, high school and college graduates are the focus of well wishes, hugs and gifts as these young people reached a pinnacle achievement in their young lives. Relatives from far and wide have come to rejoice with graduates and to tell them of their pride and admiration in them.

Last Saturday, I ordained eight deacons for the Archdiocese, and with God’s grace these young men will become our priests next year. What a great joy filled the Cathedral as these fine men entered the ranks of the clergy. The entire Church in North Georgia congratulates them and their families and friends at this moment in their lives. We have very high expectations of these deacons that they will fulfill the office of deacon with zeal, integrity and gladness as they conclude their seminary programs and finalize their preparation for priesthood.

Many festive celebrations marked their ordination to the diaconate at their home parishes, at parishes where they have worked as seminarians or perhaps where they may have worshiped before they entered the seminary. Their families and friends hosted many different celebrations in their honor and in the hope that next year there will be even more reasons to rejoice with them.

There continue to be a spate of jubilee celebrations for priests who mark special anniversaries—or even those who simply want to give thanks for the gift of priesthood, no matter what the length of time that they have served God’s people. I will be able to participate in a special Mass and luncheon this week and to extend the personal congratulations of the Archdiocese at some of those planned anniversary events. Each year that we are able to serve as priests of the Church is a grace for us and for which we ought to be truly grateful.

Next Saturday, our deacons will renew their promises to serve the needs of the Church in North Georgia with a recommitment Mass at St. Brigid Church. These men and their families take their diaconal ministry very seriously and continue to provide a welcome service to the needs of their fellow Catholics throughout this local Church.

The confirmation “season” is winding down and has also provided opportunities for parents and parishes to rejoice with many of our youngsters who have received the Gift of the Holy Spirit in this sacrament and to witness their continued growth in Christ. Confirmation is an occasion when parishes can encourage the young people within their communities to continue developing into young adults, which bodes so well for our common future as a Catholic presence here in North Georgia.

All of these happy moments may have distracted us as last Sunday evening the entire Church passed from the Easter season back to ordinary time. We may have missed the simple movement of the paschal candle from its Easter position to its ordinary location near the baptistery in most of our churches. Monday brought the Church back to our ordinary season of green, as we continue to observe the ordinary season of the liturgical year for the next six months until Advent arrives.

The liturgical calendar is another way that we live out our faith as Catholics. It marks our time as disciples of the Lord and opens for us the Mystery of Christ in a measured, steady fashion.

We may have missed this subtle change last Sunday evening as we were so caught up in the happy events of this time of year. Yet Christ Himself continues to guide all of our days—the heady ones and the ordinary ones as well—with His grace and love.