Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (November 26, 2009)

By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY, Archbishop of Atlanta | Published November 26, 2009  | En Español

“Please pray for me!” I have received requests like this almost every day of my life as a priest. Sometimes the prayer request is for a child who may have gone astray, or for a sick spouse, or to find a job, or simply to continue living the good fortune that has come into someone’s life. People believe in prayer, and they believe that my prayers for them are valuable. I take those requests very seriously, and I usually take them with me to the altar where I can quietly speak to the Lord about the needs of my people.

Each week, I offer the Eucharist pro populo—for my people. These Masses are part of my ministry as the Archbishop. But each time I pause for the prayer of the faithful—whether at a public Mass or at a private celebration in my home chapel—I specifically recall the wondrously good people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. There is an important spiritual bond between a bishop and his people—between any pastor and his people. Our prayer for the needs of our people is part of our responsibility of pastoral service to you. Your burdens and your needs are rightfully placed within our prayers.

As I offer the Psalms of the Liturgy of the Hours and recall the many different sentiments expressed within those 150 song poems of faith, I come across the full range of feelings and hopes of the people of the Archdiocese. I relive the worry, the disappointment, the frustration, the sorrow, the jubilation, the hope that are all to be found within the Psalms. Yet it is also in my unstructured prayer that I remember the yearnings of the people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. As I allow my heart to roam over the events of the day or those of the past week, I recall the many requests for prayer from our folks.

On Thursday of this week, I will have a special reason to be grateful: that John Paul II assigned me to care for the people in North Georgia. I received the telephone call from the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C., five years ago this Thanksgiving Friday. I did not know then of the wondrous folks, who are so generous and loving, so dedicated and enthused with our Faith.

I will offer a special prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving for being the Shepherd of this particular local Church. Since it is also the Year for Priests, I will also hold up my brothers in the Presbyterate of Atlanta. How kind and zealous these fine men are who share with me the Priestly Office. I am thankful for them too and I ask the Lord to watch over them and strengthen them in their service to the Church.

Finally, I ask that you pray for me too, in view of the fact that, like all of you, I need the support and encouragement of the prayers of the Church and all of its members!

Happy Thanksgiving, my very dear brothers and sisters in Christ.