By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published January 25, 2018 | En Español
“Cristo Rey” is a title that is intimately connected with the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the name of our Cathedral Church, and it is now proudly displayed over the skyline of our city, clearly visible from the connector as folks travel north into the heart of our urban home. The name is a reminder that Christ is our King and will guide and protect all the citizens of this wondrous community.
This particular display downtown is also a proud indication of the presence of a Jesuit Catholic high school in the heart of the city of Atlanta, whose mission is to provide a first-rate college prep education for hundreds of kids, all of whom come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. These fine young people are reaping the benefits of countless big-hearted and supportive people in Atlanta—Catholics and non-Catholics alike—who have been the engines of generosity and dedication in establishing this new Catholic educational ministry.
I could not be more grateful to all the people and organizations that have made this school a reality and have established it on such a solid foundation.
Our corporate benefactors, individual contributors, clergy, religious and ecumenical partners have collaborated in this outreach of educational opportunity to these fine young people.
The Society of Jesus, the Jesuits in the United States, conceived and established the model of Cristo Rey schools, and they have guided the development of these institutions with great pride. Our Atlanta school has become one of their latest success stories. Not only have the Jesuits sent personnel and made a sizeable financial contribution, but they have increased their pastoral presence in the Archdiocese of Atlanta—and for that I am truly grateful.
The Cristo Rey school owes a great debt of thanks to Deacon Bill Garrett, who has made this particular project a personal work of love. He has given himself enthusiastically to its establishment and development. Bill is one of our permanent deacons who branched out well beyond his liturgical ministry to engage the youngsters at Cristo Rey as a work of charity. I marvel at his tenacity in making Atlanta’s Cristo Rey one of the finest such projects in the Cristo Rey network. Bill and his wife Susan have been good friends since I arrived in Atlanta over 13 years ago. He’s originally a New Yorker, and he brings all of that creativity, energy and determination to full play here in Atlanta. The students who now benefit from Cristo Rey’s success will owe a great debt of gratitude to him, as I do now.
On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the Cristo Rey community will bless the new facility and celebrate the school’s relocation from its interim start at our old Chancery building. They have renovated and remodeled a former office building, which was itself a generous gift to this project and is now fully operational as a metro high school campus.
The Cristo Rey kids come from well beyond the boundaries of the city of Atlanta and find this location convenient for the many job opportunities they use to help finance their tuition. We ought to take pride in this endeavor that has been made possible by so many acts of kindness and charity and promises a bright future for some very worthy youngsters.
May Christ the King—Cristo Rey—reward all those whose generosity and dedication have given life to this project with many and lasting blessings.
Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Jesus Christ the King!