Published February 26, 2004
Ten years since Archbishop John F. Donoghue instituted perpetual adoration, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is preparing to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi by hosting its ninth annual Eucharistic Congress on June 12 at the Georgia International Convention Center.
“I have been in this archdiocese for 55 years, and this is the most spectacular religious gathering I have ever witnessed, and I thank the archbishop for having the vision to start this,” said Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, vicar general.
In recognition of the archbishop’s vision and commitment to bring Catholics to a deeper understanding of the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, this year’s Congress has adopted the theme, “To Live in Christ Jesus,” which is also his episcopal motto.
“This is our way of recognizing the archbishop’s vision and thanking him for his leadership and his example,” said Father Joe Corbett, pastor of St. Brigid Church, Alpharetta, who instituted perpetual adoration at his parish this year. “As the shepherd, he lives out his devotion to the Eucharist, not only in a public way through the celebration of Mass, but also privately as he has a weekly commitment to perpetual adoration as a guardian at the Cathedral.”
Because of the success of the past Congresses, which last year attracted approximately 20,000 participants, many renowned Catholic speakers have accepted the archdiocese’s invitation to participate in the day of spiritual renewal, which is designed to meet the needs of all the members of our Catholic family.
“I really enjoyed the speakers last year, especially Jim Caviezel,” said Msgr. Paul H. Reynolds, vicar general and chancellor. “Each year the Congress has risen to a higher level, which is hard to duplicate. But I believe this group of speakers has the potential to be the best yet.”
Speakers for the General Track include the following:
Alan Keyes, a devout Catholic, received a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. He spent 11 years with the U.S. State Department, served in the U.S. Foreign Service and was on the staff of the National Security Council before becoming President Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council from 1983-85. As a candidate in the 1996 and 2000 Republican presidential campaigns, Keyes brought an unequivocally pro-life message to the national political debate. Keyes recognizes the importance of his faith and is willing to speak publicly about his love for the Eucharist and the need for God in our daily lives.
“We stand on the threshold of an era when the greatest temptation will be to take overweening pride in our seeming achievements and to regard them with a sense of self-sufficiency that releases us from the boundaries of ordinary moral judgment,” Keyes wrote in WorldNet Daily Exclusive Commentary in 2000. “What could be more necessary than the humbling and limiting acknowledgment that there is, in fact, a God, and we are not Him? This essential element of religious faith will become ever more crucial to our well being and, indeed, to the survival of humanity in the course of the century to come.”
Raymond Arroyo is the news director and lead anchor for the Eternal Word Television Network, which serves over 80 million homes through the world’s largest religious network. He is responsible for its live coverage of news events from around the world including papal visits. Known for his penetrating interviews, he has interviewed everyone from Mother Teresa to Mel Gibson to Placido Domingo. He served for two years as Mother Angelica’s regular co-host on her popular live show. His prior positions include working as a Capitol Hill correspondent at CBN News where he covered the 1992 presidential election and the 1994 congressional elections.
Jeff Cavins, a convert to Catholicism, received a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. He and Scott Hahn, Ph.D., taped a 13-week series entitled “Our Father’s Plan,” which is a journey through historical periods of the Bible currently shown on the Eternal Word Television Network. Cavins hosts a nationally broadcast show on the Starboard Radio Network entitled “Morning Air” and is the adult formation minister at the Church of St. Paul in Ham Lake, Minn. His faith story is found in his autobiography “My Life on the Rock.” He is also co-author of the “Amazing Grace” book series, as well as a contributing author for the new books “Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God” and “Catholic for a Reason II” published by Emmaus.
Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio
Marcellino D’Ambrosio earned his Ph.D. in historical theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he wrote his dissertation on Cardinal Henri de Lubac of the Second Vatican Council and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the early Church Fathers, under the direction of renowned Jesuit theologian Cardinal Avery Dulles.
This experience brings uncommon depth to his teaching, while five children and years in the business world bring relevance and practicality to his talks, which are humorous and down-to-earth. He is a weekly columnist for Our Sunday Visitor, his weekly radio and television appearances reach six continents and his book “Exploring the Catholic Church,” CDs and videos are distributed worldwide. In 2001 he left his position at the University of Dallas to expand the work of Crossroads Productions, the apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization that he co-founded 20 years ago, and to further the growth of Wellness Opportunities DFW, a company dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their lives physically, mentally and financially.
Dr. Deal Hudson
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D., has recently written a book in which he credits Msgr. Richard Lopez, chaplain at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, with his conversion to the Catholic faith. Hudson now is publisher and editor of Crisis magazine, a Catholic monthly published in Washington, D.C. His articles and comments have been published in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, National Review, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Village Voice, Roll Call, National Journal, The Economist, and by the Associated Press. He appears regularly on television shows such as the NBC Nightly News, One on One with John McLaughlin, C-Span’s Washington Journal, News Talk, NET’s Capitol Watch, The Beltway Boys, The Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on PBS, and radio programs such as “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio. He was associate professor of philosophy at Fordham University from 1989-95 and was a visiting professor at New York University for five years. He taught for nine years at Mercer University in Atlanta, where he was chair of the philosophy department. He has published many reviews and articles as well as four books: “Understanding Maritain: Philosopher and Friend” (Mercer, 1988); “The Future of Thomism” (Notre Dame, 1992); “Sigrid Undset On Saints and Sinners” (Ignatius, 1994); and “Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction” (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996).
Christopher West holds a master’s degree in theological studies from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Maryland in College Park.
He is a visiting professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Melbourne, Australia, and an adjunct professor at the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary of Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute in Denver. He has given approximately 1,000 public lectures since 1997 on topics including Christian anthropology, the Creed, morality, sacraments, marriage, sexuality and family life. He is the former director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Archdiocese of Denver and has written “Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary on John Paul II’s Gospel of the Body” and “Good News About Sex & Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching.”
Russ Spencer, FOX-5 news anchor, will be the emcee for the General Track.
The archbishop is pleased to have so many speakers of national prominence. “We have great speakers. I am thankful that they have agreed to share their stories about their love for the Eucharist with us. I invite all of the faithful to join me, my brother bishops and my fellow priests June 12 so that we can come together to celebrate the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”
Speakers for the Hispanic Track include the following:
Bishop Jose H. Gomez, S.T.D.
Bishop Gomez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, and a naturalized U.S. citizen, has distinguished himself as a respected national leader among Hispanic priests, an enthusiastic supporter of vocations to the priesthood and Religious life, and a promoter of the vocation of the laity to holiness and to applying their faith to their daily lives.
After earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting and philosophy at the National University in Mexico City, he was ordained a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei in 1978 and went on to earn a doctorate in moral theology at the University of Navarre, Pomplona, Spain. Returning to Mexico he worked with young adults in the Archdiocese of Monterrey for the next seven years.
Bishop Gomez moved to the United States in 1987 to continue his ministry to young adults and families at St. Bartholomew Parish in Katy, Texas. He served from 1999-2001 as executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Priests, having also served as regional representative and president. He has also served as member and treasurer for the National Catholic Council of Hispanic Ministry and on the steering committee for Encuentro 2000, a national celebration of the Jubilee Year.
In 2001 he was installed as an auxiliary bishop of Denver, where he now serves as vicar general, moderator of the curia and as pastor of Mother of God Parish. In 2003 he was awarded the National Association of Hispanic Priests “El Buen Pastor” Award. He spearheaded the establishment of the new Centro San Juan Diego for Family and Pastoral Care, a place for formation of lay leaders and services to immigrants.
Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estevez, S.T.D.
Bishop Estevez, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami, was born in 1946 in Havana, Cuba, and arrived in the United States as a teenager. He was ordained in 1970 and has completed extensive studies in spiritual theology, earning a doctorate from Gregorian University in Rome. He is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian. From 2001-03, he served as spiritual director of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., where he had served as rector from 1980-86. He was pastor of St. Agatha Parish in Miami for 14 years, while also directing campus ministry at Florida International University. Appointed auxiliary bishop in 2003, he oversees the archdiocese’s Ministry of Pastoral Services, including family life, youth, campus, prison and Respect Life ministries, and apostolic movements.
Johnny Romero was born in the rough neighborhoods of San Fernando, Calif. He fell away from the faith when he encountered Protestants who exposed him to extreme anti-Catholicism. Through grace and the help of his brother Jesse, he realized the deception and came back to the faith with zeal to spread the truth. He is now a dynamic bilingual lay apologist. A former Marine and super middle-weight kickboxing champion, he spreads the Gospel with enthusiasm and passion, specializing in apologetics, retreats, youth events, Bible studies and bilingual events.
Cucho Garcia, a member of Regnum Christi, Cursillo, and St. Benedict’s Church, Duluth, will be the emcee for the Hispanic Track.
Father Jose Duvan, priest liaison to the Hispanic Apostolate and one of the Hispanic track planners, noted how the event is the one time of the year when all Catholics of North Georgia, Hispanic and Anglo, unite as one church, and that it’s an event that must not be missed. And, he said, bring those estandartes (banners).
“Our goal is to promote this event as an opportunity to share as the one community of Atlanta, not two churches, and to celebrate the Eucharist around the altar, one body in Christ, to give thanks to God for the church and for the archdiocese and for the priesthood and for all God gives us,” he said. “We want all churches to be together, with our bishop.”
Planners will publicize the event in various Spanish media outlets and are inviting different parishes to volunteer in various aspects of planning, including assembling a choir from different churches, and will choose other churches next year, to encourage more involvement.
“It’s the best gift one can give oneself this year,” Father Duvan said. “‘To live in Christ Jesus’ is the theme of the archbishop and the same theme that the Hispanic Apostolate adopted.”
Young Adult Track
A young adult track, “Revive 3,” for those in their 20s and 30s, single and married, will be held at the convention center on Friday evening, June 11. Kersti O’Farrell, director of young adult ministries for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, “is thrilled to be having this track for the second year in a row. I am expecting the largest and most diverse young adult crowd in Atlanta yet. The program will be upbeat and moving.”
Jason Evert, 26, will work to improve the spiritual quality of teenagers’ lives as he addresses the teens as well as the young adults. Evert, who holds a master’s degree in theology and counseling and a minor in philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, works as a full-time apologist for Catholic Answers, a nonprofit Catholic apologetics and evangelization organization in San Diego, Calif. He speaks internationally to tens of thousands of teens each semester, is on the governor’s program for abstinence in Louisiana and trains speakers for the International Challenge Task Force on Chastity. He wrote “Pure Love,” which challenges young people to embrace chastity. He is also a frequent guest on radio programs and has appeared on worldwide TV, including EWTN’s “Life on the Rock,” explaining and defending the Catholic faith.
Bishop Sam G. Jacobs, D.D.
Bishop Sam Jacobs is the Ordinary of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy in 1960 from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in education/administration in 1964.
Ordained for the Diocese of Lafayette, La., Bishop Jacobs served as bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria, La., from 1989-2003, when the pope asked him to become bishop of Houma-Thibodaux. He was newly installed there last October.
The Diocese of Alexandria experienced an outpouring of religious vocations while he was serving as bishop and he also developed new Catholic campus ministry and outreach to youth. Bishop Jacobs is the former Chairman of the Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Charismatic Renewal and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Renewal Ministries. He serves as an episcopal advisor for the Fraternity of Priests, and is a regular speaker at the Franciscan University of Steubenville Summer Conferences.
Music for the Young Adult Track will be provided by John Ferguson and the Revive Band.
The Youth Track will also feature Jeff Cavins and Jason Evert.
Barbara Garvin, senior director of children and youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, said that she is hoping to have the largest turnout yet. “I think our speakers are awesome … This is an opportunity for our teens to not only hear excellent speakers but to be part of the bigger church. We had over 2,000 teens last year and our goal is to exceed that number this year. I encourage all middle school and high school students to attend.”
Over the last six years APeX has worked with youth and adults alike in over 40 states and one Canadian province at the national, diocesan and parish levels. They have shared their ministry with audiences as large as 30,000 and as small as nine. Some of the places APeX has shared its ministry include the papal visit to St. Louis, Mo., in January 1999 (in which APeX shared their ministry for a crowd of 30,000), the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Kansas City, Mo., (with over 17,000 youth in attendance), the NCYC in St. Louis, Mo., (with over 23,000 youth in attendance), the NCYC in Indianapolis in 2001, and the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Conference in Philadelphia in 1997. As they have crisscrossed the country they have slept on floors, sofa beds, and in their car in efforts to make their ministry as available as possible. Their ministry has taken them as far west and north as Fairbanks, Alaska, and as far south as Florida and 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. APeX primarily offers youth conference/youth rally keynote speaking and workshops, prayer services, and evenings of laughter and faith-sharing with youth groups and entire parishes. The two members of ApeX, Brad and Gene, also share at retreats and mini-retreats on a more personal level. Their presentations are geared to help spread the Word of God, build community through laughter and interaction, and, yes, even provoke people to think about life and spirituality.
Music for the Teen Track will be provided by Ed Bolduc, director of music at St. Ann’s Church, Marietta.
Paul George, Southeastern hub coordinator for LIFETEEN, will be emcee for the Youth Track.
This year the Children’s Track will be more interactive. Specific details will be released at a later date.
Morning Procession, Adoration and Exposition
Doors open at 7 a.m. Praise and Worship Music, led by Ed Bolduc, will begin at 8 a.m. The Corpus Christi procession begins at 8:30 a.m. Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah will lead the procession and be the homilist for Adoration and Exposition. During the procession, first communicants, archdiocesan parishes, schools and ministries carry banners into the convention center. All parishes, schools and ministries are encouraged to participate in the procession.
Bishop John Kevin Boland, D.D.
John Kevin Boland was born in Monkstown, County Cork, Ireland, April 25, 1935. Bishop Boland attended Christian Brothers College in Cork and All Hallows Seminary in Dublin. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 14, 1959, for the Diocese of Savannah by Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin. He was appointed Bishop of Savannah on Feb. 7, 1995, and his episcopal ordination took place on April 18, 1995, at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah. Bishop Boland has been a member of the Pastoral Practices Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Science and Human Values of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He presently serves as Region IV representative on the NCCB/USCC Administrative Committee. He has also served on the Board of the Southeast Pastoral Institute and is currently a member of the Board of Catholic Mutual.
The Congress closes with the celebration of Mass at 5:30 p.m. with music led by Rhett Barnwell, music minister at St. Brigid Church, Alpharetta, who is assembling a choir for the Congress. First communicants and banner carriers will be asked to lead the procession before the closing Mass.
Priests of the archdiocese have been overwhelmed by the attendance at this liturgy in the past.
“Looking out over the 20,000-plus people was a beautiful sign of the universality of the Catholic Church gathered around our bishop celebrating the Holy Eucharist,” said Father John Shramko, parochial vicar of St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell.
Bishop Joseph Galante, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop Galante, was ordained a priest for the Philadelphia Archdiocese. He earned his doctorate in canon law from the Lateran University in Rome, Italy, and a master of arts in spiritual theology from the University of St. Thomas, Rome. He was on loan to the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, from 1968-72 and then returned to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1972 where he served in positions including professor of canon law at seminaries of the archdiocese and as Vicar for Religious. He was undersecretary of the Congregation for Religious from 1987-92 in Rome. In 1992 he was installed as auxiliary bishop of San Antonio, Texas, and then was appointed bishop of Beaumont, Texas, in 1994. He was installed as the coadjutor bishop of Dallas in January 2000.
Open to people of all ages, the Congress will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Congress is free and open to the public. No tickets are required and ample parking is available, although traveling with parish groups by bus is encouraged.
Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the day. Local and national vendors will have books and items for sale in an exhibitors’ area. To reserve an exhibit table call Christine Heusinger at (404) 885-7277. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Volunteers are needed to assist throughout the day. To volunteer, contact Cathy Hood at (404) 885-7227.
The Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel will offer a special rate of $86 for those specifying they are conference participants, and transportation will be provided all day between the hotel and convention site. There is free parking at the hotel for guests and valet parking is $10. For hotel bookings call (404) 766-7900. Deadline for registration is May 26.
For more information on the Congress call Diane Gilsdorf at (404) 885-7445 or visit www.archatl.com/congress.