Published October 4, 2007
The Archdiocese of Atlanta was running at a fever pitch this past weekend, and I think that I may have met myself both coming and going at various events.
Atlanta was the site of the Retrouvaille International Council Meeting last week, and about 500 people, including about 30 priests from around the world, met at the Airport Westin Hotel. Retrouvaille is an international Catholic marriage program that has a long history here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Thanks to the generous support of our own pioneer couples, we have this ministry in a number of different communities and now also both in English and Spanish.
Our folks were the perfect hosts (as is constantly the custom here in Atlanta), and our guests could not say enough about the hospitality and the exceptional organization that made their conference such a success. We even supplied a “Rhett Butler” look-alike character—á la Msgr. Bill Hoffman, period costume and all—to confirm that they really were in Atlanta! Mary Ellen Hughes and her staff, of course, did all of the behind-the-scenes planning and preparations, and they deserve more than most of the credit for a wonderful event!
The St. Vincent de Paul Society here in the Archdiocese inaugurated its annual gala event at the Cobb Galleria. It too brought guests to Atlanta, and they also marveled at the warm welcome and the enthusiastic support that our folks have provided for the St. Vincent de Paul Society here in North Georgia for 104 years! The many different parishes that were represented were a solid indication that care for the poor and needy is a primary concern for our people. The spirit of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, is very much alive in this local Church.
Bishop William Curlin, the retired Bishop of Charlotte, delivered a tour de force presentation on the spirituality of caring for God’s poor. It was simply one of the finest witness talks that I have ever heard—I think every one agreed it was the perfect way to honor and to encourage all those who are Vincentians here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
At the same time on the other side of town, this weekend also marked the 51st convention of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Council of Catholic Women, and true to form there was much energy, enthusiasm and friendship shared at that convention. The new leadership took over, and they pledged to continue the very fine work that the AACCW has done for so many worthy causes for 51 years of our history.
The women of this community of Faith are without equal in their commitment to the needs of the Church, the poor, and their neighbors. I left the dais a bit early to stop by and to greet a group of Marriage Encounter couples who were also meeting at the same hotel. They had heard that the Archbishop would be in attendance at the AACCW convention, and they wanted me to know that they too would appreciate a visit.
Many of our deacons and their wives made a weekend retreat under the direction of Bishop Richard Pates, the auxiliary bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, and this too was a very successful gathering on this first weekend of the fall.
Each event was a clear indication that the summer slow-down was officially over and that life here in the Church in North Georgia was gearing up for an exciting fall and future!