Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic Educators To Hold Convention In Atlanta

Published February 9, 2006

More than 9,000 delegates and exhibitors are expected to attend the 103rd annual Convention and Exposition of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in Atlanta April 18-21. The theme for the convention is “Charting the Future in Challenging Times.”

The invitation to convene in the city was extended to Catholic educators by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory. The meeting previously had been scheduled for New Orleans, and a new location was needed due to the extensive storm damage.

“Archbishop Gregory’s timely and enthusiastic invitation to come to Atlanta was an opportunity that we were pleased to accept,” said Karen M. Ristau, Ph.D., the president of NCEA. “We are especially delighted that we will bring our national meeting to this great city for the first time.”

Ristau added the decision to convene in Atlanta followed a long and comprehensive search for a new venue. “The archbishop’s kind hospitality was a deciding factor, along with the desire to locate close to New Orleans since the majority of our 450 convention speakers come from that area. NCEA executive directors also enthusiastically endorsed Atlanta, anticipating that many of the delegates who had planned to join us in Louisiana can reach Atlanta easily by car or a quick plane ride.”

The president said that it is especially exciting to be in an area where Catholic education is growing. “Blessed Trinity Catholic High School and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, along with three regional elementary schools, have opened during the last five years,” Ristau said.

“However, as pleased as we are to be convening in Atlanta,” said the NCEA president, “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on New Orleans. We know how much people—including the large Catholic educational community—have suffered from the storms. Their challenge now is rebuilding schools and parishes, but we want them to know that when they’re ready for another NCEA convention, we’ll be at their doorstep.”

NCEA has raised more than $200,000 in hurricane relief funds through its “Child to Child: A Catholic Campaign To Aid Education” initiative. Monies will help the educational needs of students in Catholic schools and religious education programs that have been impacted by the storm. For more information on how to contribute, visit

Open to anyone working in or interested in Catholic education, the NCEA convention features general sessions and liturgies, department meetings, development sessions, technology sessions, presentations and workshops dealing with special interests for school board members, directors of religious education, parents, pastors, principals and teachers. The convention is expected to draw delegates from throughout the country. Convention sessions will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

Bishop Edward K. Braxton, former bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles, La., and now bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., will deliver the keynote address expanding on the convention theme.

Concurrent with the NCEA convention, the 30th annual National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors (NPCD) convocation will meet in Atlanta. Parish catechetical leaders and coordinators of religious education will gather for workshops, prayer and fellowship with hundreds of colleagues from across the United States.

According to Sue Arvo, NCEA convention director, an integral part of the four-day convention is the exposition, which features the latest in educational equipment and supplies. “With offerings ranging from school uniforms to computer networking and Internet services, exhibitors find the exposition an effective way to develop contacts,” said Arvo. Approximately 450 companies will display in more than 650 booths.

NCEA is the largest private, professional education association in the world. Association membership represents more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students in all levels of Catholic education. For more information about the convention and NCEA, visit the Web site at