By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published December 10, 2015 | En Español
We are so fortunate to have an increasing number of men and women religious within the Archdiocese of Atlanta—but we are still very much open to receiving even more!
Dominican men returned to this local Church several years ago. There is an increase in the numbers of Jesuits already taking place at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, and soon others will come to serve at St. Thomas More Parish in Decatur.
Each year, Sister Margaret McAnoy, IHM, our Vicar for Religious, tries to keep track of the women and men religious who leave the Archdiocese of Atlanta as well as those who join us in ministry. Some of these women religious come from different countries such as Vietnam, Mexico, Korea and Nigeria, to mention but a few places. They are joined with the wonderful American sisters, some of whom have served in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for decades.
In each case, these women and men enrich this local Church with their charisms and apostolic energy in serving the Gospel of Christ.
We are nearing the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life wherein the entire family of the Church praises and thanks God for those who live the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience) as a public witness to Christ.
The other day while I was in Rome, Italy, I ran into a couple of Nashville Dominican sisters and I told them how much we love their colleagues who serve at our local St. Catherine of Siena Parish School. These two nuns were accompanied by two young women who seemed very attached to the sisters. I asked them if they were thinking about entering the convent—they just giggled. I took that as a yes! How diminished the Church would be without the witness of faith provided by those in consecrated life.
So many of us come from other parts of the country—and the world—where we may have deeply cherished memories of sisters, brothers and priests who were pivotal in our faith development. Unfortunately the numbers of religious have fallen significantly in many places.
On the other hand, the numbers of religious have increased in other places, and some of those religious now provide a missionary presence in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. For that we are deeply grateful.
We will soon take up the annual collection for Retired Religious in our country. The spirit of gratitude that fills so many of our hearts for the role that religious have played in our lives spurs us to be generous to this particular collection, which cares for the many retired men and women who have served the Church so generously.
Last week, I had my annual meeting with the religious leaders of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. It was an opportunity for me to hear about their varied ministerial service here in north and middle Georgia and to thank them in my name and in yours for the gracious heritage that they and their predecessors have given to this local Church.
Every local Church that has the good fortune of having religious men and women is blessed indeed. We here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta give thanks to God for those who have served and who continue to enrich our lives.