Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (August 6, 2009)

By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY, Archbishop of Atlanta | Published August 6, 2009

Those of you who are the parents of teenagers or young adults are quite accustomed to having them introduce new words and phrases into your lives. Words that are often amalgamations of well-known terms and phrases that appear in new combinations that are used to indicate something that is novel but that makes sense in a strange and new type of way.

This past July for my free time, I enjoyed a staycation—one of those new terms, which means that I stayed at home for my vacation. I have come to enjoy Atlanta so very much and so do many of my friends from Chicago, Belleville and even Rome. I stayed at home and entertained (and was entertained by) some of my cherished friends who came to visit and to enjoy the wonderful community of Atlanta. I like having my old friends meet my new family of Faith—and I think that the feeling is mutual. I went to the Aquarium, visited Stone Mountain, took in a baseball game, played some golf and in general enjoyed the many delights of our hometown. It was a wonderful way to spend my downtime with my friends old and new!

I am very glad that I did stay at home this year since I received a very important telephone call from the papal nuncio’s residence in Washington, D.C., during the second week of my staycation, which came during a rain-delayed golf game. That telephone call told me of the wonderful news that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Luis Rafael Zarama to serve as the second Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I was able to call Msgr. Zarama myself from the rain-soaked golf course to tell him of this exciting appointment. He was stunned and quite in disbelief!

I have been graced to have known both of the Auxiliary Bishops of this local Church. As you are all well aware, Cardinal Bernardin, who ordained me his Auxiliary Bishop, had served in that same office here for Archbishop Paul Hallinan from 1966 until Archbishop Hallinan’s death in 1968. I recall with deep affection so many times when Cardinal Bernardin spoke of his admiration and gratitude for the wisdom and pastoral guidance that he received from our first Archbishop. Now it will be my personal great fortune to ordain the second Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta. And hopefully, I will be able to assist him as he grows in his knowledge of his new responsibilities and to guide him in learning how to exercise the Episcopal Office within the Church.

There is a new term that has now been reintroduced into the vocabulary of the Archdiocese of Atlanta—Auxiliary Bishop—the combination of two well-known terms that designates the service and office of one who has been chosen to assist the work of the Archbishop in service to this rapidly growing local Church.

I remember with great fondness the lessons of pastoral guidance and the extraordinary example that I learned from Cardinal Bernardin, which he in turn learned from Archbishop Hallinan. I pray that I will fulfill my new responsibilities with as much love and gentleness of spirit that Joseph Cardinal Bernardin did for me. I know that I have a wonderful candidate in Luis Rafael Zarama. He represents the fine pastoral zeal of the Priests of this Archdiocese, and I am sure that you will all grow accustomed to the meaning of this relatively new term, Auxiliary Bishop, as a phrase that will become a blessing for all of us. I congratulate Bishop-elect Zarama as he prepares to become our Auxiliary Bishop. Please keep him in your prayers so that his new relationship with you will be a grace for him and for all of us.