By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY, Archbishop of Atlanta | Published April 23, 2009
Last Thursday evening more than 550 people gathered for our second annual Catholic Charities Gala at the JW Marriott in Buckhead. These wonderful folks came together not merely for a nice evening—which it certainly was—but more importantly to show their solidarity with and concern for the thousands of people here in North and Central Georgia who turn to Catholic Charities of Atlanta for assistance and support during these difficult economic times.
In truth, the people who rely on Catholic Charities of Atlanta do so not only during downturns in the economy but even during the most prosperous times. And Catholic Charities of Atlanta has been and will be there for them in the future, thanks to the support of those who shared in the festivities as well as the many others who are generous to and supportive of Catholic Charities of Atlanta.
Catholic Charities of Atlanta is the face, hands and heart of the Catholic Church for countless thousands of people who need assistance with adoption, crisis counseling, housing, crisis pregnancies and migration issues, along with many other situations. Catholic Charities helped hundreds of families who had to flee their homes and settle here in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They find furniture for families who have been evicted or who have arrived here with little or nothing. They run Christmas projects to bring some joy to the lives of those without many resources at that joyful time of the year. In short, Catholic Charities continues the ministry of Jesus in countless ways for people who turn to us in order to find Him.
The gala was a success because of dozens of people who lent the prestige and wealth of their names, businesses and professional associations to this undertaking. We thanked them at the gala, and I renew now my own sincere appreciation for all that these generous people did—now for a second year—to make this event such a great accomplishment.
But beyond the money that the gala raised for Catholic Charities of Atlanta, it certainly heightened the image of this magnificent agency in the minds and hearts of so many people. The people who staff the offices and provide the services of Catholic Charities of Atlanta go about their business with little desire of promoting or publicizing the good that they accomplish. They work quietly and effectively to serve the needs of their sisters and brothers. Yet when others hear of the actions of charity that come from this agency, they are apt to support these works. The gala hopefully makes the good works of Catholic Charities better known and therefore more widely supported.
These have been very difficult financial times for most people but especially for the poor. They have come to Catholic Charities recently in greater numbers simply because their needs have increased in light of the problems that we all face. I am delighted to know that Catholic Charities of Atlanta has been able to provide assistance to those who come to us, irrespective of race, religion or background. The gala brought together wonderfully generous people for a very worthy cause.
This was our second annual event, and it was even better attended than the first. I pray that the gala will continue to grow and to expand and that many others will take this opportunity to support the works of Catholic Charities of Atlanta so that Christ may continue to use those wonderful folks to accomplish His mission of love and service to the poor and needy.