Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Congress To Present Splendid Array Of Speakers

Published April 27, 2006

When the Eucharistic Congress is held this year on Saturday, June 17, this popular event will provide the usual stellar opportunity for Catholics to come together in community and hear the inspirational words of renowned speakers. The Congress, held each year on the weekend of the feast of Corpus Christi, has been attended in recent years by more than 20,000 faithful, who come from all over to be edified and lifted up by a day of prayer, music and talks—with something for the whole family—and ending with a Mass that celebrates the overwhelming power of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The event, which is free of charge, is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Congress is preceded the evening before by a healing service and the young adult track Revive! on Friday, June 16.

The Congress begins the next day, Saturday, at 8 a.m. with a procession into the hall by a panoply of churches and organizations holding brightly colored banners and accompanying the Blessed Sacrament into the main hall. After a morning welcome, prayer and talk, those attending can move into different parts of the convention center to hear talks in the various tracks offered.

The concelebrating bishops for the Eucharistic Congress are Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland.

Archbishop Gregory, principal homilist for the Eucharistic Congress, was installed as seventh bishop, sixth archbishop of Atlanta on Jan. 17, 2005. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973, he served as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview, Ill., a member of the faculty at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., and master of ceremonies to Cardinals Cody and Bernardin. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Chicago diocese in 1983 and installed as the seventh bishop of Belleville, Ill., on Feb. 10, 1994. In 2001, Bishop Gregory was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, following three years as vice president. Among other positions, he served on the NCCB Executive and Administrative Committees, the Administrative Board, the Committee on Doctrine, and the U.S. Catholic Conference Committee on International Policy.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is the keynote speaker for the 2006 Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress. Born in Dublin on April 8, 1945, he studied philosophy at University College, Dublin, and theology at the Dublin Diocesan Seminary at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and later pursued higher studies in moral theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He entered the service of the Holy See in 1976 in the Pontifical Council for the Family. In 1986 he was appointed Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and in 1994 Secretary of the same Pontifical Council. In 1998 he was appointed Titular Bishop of Glendalough and received the episcopal ordination at the hands of Pope John Paul II in St Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 6, 1999.

During his service at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop Martin represented the Holy See at the major United Nations international conferences on social questions held in the 1990s. He also took part in activities of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, especially on the theme of international debt and poverty reduction.

He served as a member of various Vatican offices, including the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In March 2001 he was elevated to the rank of archbishop and undertook responsibilities as Permanent Observer of the Holy See in Geneva, at the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies and at the World Trade Organization. He led the delegations of the Holy See to the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (Doha, 2001), and the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Dublin in 2003, and automatically succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell as archbishop of Dublin in 2004.

Schedule and speaker information follows for the different tracks offered at the Eucharistic Congress. More information about the 2006 Eucharistic Congress is available at

General Track

Msgr. Kevin Irwin, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the dean of the school of theology and religious studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is the author of 14 books on liturgy and sacraments, including “Liturgy, Prayer and Spirituality,” “Responses to 101 Questions on the Mass” and “Models of the Eucharist.” He is currently writing a book entitled “The Priestly Life: A Spirituality for Parish Priests.”

He is the author of the article on sacramental theology for the revised edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, on sacrament for the New Dictionary of Theology, and on liturgy for the New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality. He is the author of over 50 articles and 60 reviews in such journals as Worship, Pastoral Music and La Maison Dieu.

Msgr. Irwin has recently been named as an advisor to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, which role he also held in the 1990s. He also served for a decade as an advisor to the Bishops’ Committee on the Permanent Diaconate.

In addition to his academic work, Msgr. Irwin regularly celebrates Mass and preaches at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and at the Church of St. Mary, Richmond, Va., where he is involved in parish education and liturgy programs.

Father Robert Barron, priest and author, was born in Chicago in 1959. He received his master’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1982 and was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. He served as associate pastor at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Park Ridge, Ill., from 1986-89. He earned his doctorate in theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris in June 1992. Currently, he is a professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago. He also gives frequent retreats, missions and workshops on various aspects of the spiritual life, and his numerous articles on theology and spirituality have appeared in a variety of journals.

Father Barron’s books include “Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master,” “The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path” and “Bridging the Great Divide: Musings of a Post-Liberal, Post-Conservative, Evangelical Catholic.”

Sister Anita Baird, DHM, is a native of Chicago and a member of the religious congregation of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. She is a member of the faith community of St. Sabina where she has served as word ministry team leader, head of the spiritual life institute and as a member of the preaching staff.

For over 25 years Sister Anita has been involved in the work of the church at the local and national levels. She played a major role in the establishment of the archdiocesan Office for Black Catholic Ministries and represented the Archdiocese of Chicago as a delegate to the sixth and seventh National Black Catholic Congresses.

She was named African-American Catholic of the Year and received the Father Augustus Tolton award from Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in recognition of her dedicated commitment and years of service to the African-American Catholic community in Chicago and across the nation. Sister Anita has received numerous other awards including the National Black Sisters’ Conference Harriet Tubman Award, the Ladies of Peter Claver Court 200 Sister Thea Bowman award, the NBC Jefferson Award for outstanding community service, and the Dominick’s Fresh Spirit Award.

In 1997 Sister Anita was appointed by Chicago Cardinal Francis George to serve as his executive assistant, and in 2000 he appointed her to serve as the inaugural director of the Archdiocesan Office for Racial Justice.

Sister Anita holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from DePaul University, Chicago, and a master’s degree in religious studies from Mundelein College of Loyola University, Chicago.

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 Blessed Mother Teresa to Mel Gibson to Placido Domingo. His previous positions include working as a Capitol Hill correspondent at CBN News where he covered the 1992 presidential election and the 1994 congressional elections.

Russ Spencer (emcee) is a FOX-5 news anchor and veteran journalist and has worked in the TV news business since 1983. He spent two years teaching sixth grade in Guatemala, Central America, where he also did freelance reporting, learned Spanish and met his wife, a native of Bolivia, with whom he now has six children. Before returning to the United States in 1990 he went to Nicaragua to report on the presidential election that ended Sandinista rule.

Hispanic Track

Father Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, is currently president of the Lola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, Calif., and adjunct professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University. A Jesuit priest since 1979, he earned a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies at St. Louis University and an STD in missiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1988 he was elected first president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States and in 1990 was elected first president of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry.

Father Deck is known for his textbook on Hispanic ministry, “The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures.” He has edited four other books and written more than 50 articles on Hispanic ministry, faith and culture, and Catholic social teaching. He was co-editor for the recently published book “The Treasure of Guadalupe.”

He is a full visiting professor of Hispanic ministry at Barry University in Miami.

Msgr. Héctor Salah Zuleta was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He was ordained bishop of Girardota, Colombia, in 1998 by Pope John Paul II. He has served as director of the pastoral department for the hierarchy ministries of the permanent secretaryship of the Colombian Episcopate, and as vicar of the Sonsón, Rionegro-Colombia dioceses. He was appointed bishop of Riohacha, Colombia, in May 2005.

Father Mario Vizcaino, SchP, is the founder and executive director of the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI) in Miami, Fla., one of the nation’s eight regional offices for Hispanic ministry. Recently he was one of the leaders of the regional Hispanic conference held at St. Andrew Church, Roswell, as part of his work in training young leaders for the Hispanic community.

Father Vizcaino graduated with a degree in theology from Gregorian University, Rome, and a degree in spirituality from the Theological Institute of Gregorian University; he also earned a degree in religious education from The Catholic University of America.

Patricia Ramos (emcee) was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She has worked as correspondent for Univision, NBC and CNN and currently works as a correspondent covering the Southeastern United States for a large communications network in Mexico, Grupo Monitor, and producer of special programs for HBO Latin America. She is the news editor for Atlanta’s newspaper 7 Días.

Teen Track

Father Ricardo Bailey was born on Dec. 19, 1973, in Atlanta and baptized at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He attended school locally at Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Thomas More schools, and Shamrock High School in DeKalb County. While at Xavier University in Louisiana, he began his seminary formation for the priesthood with the St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart, Inc. After three years with the Josephites, he transferred his seminary affiliation to the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Father Bailey received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Xavier in May 1997. In 2003, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and a master’s degree in divinity from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md. On June 7, 2003, Father Bailey was ordained, and he currently serves as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta, and as chaplain for the Atlanta Serra Clubs.

Danielle Rose is a 2002 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she received bachelor’s degrees in music and theology. At 17, Rose traveled to Delhi, India, to volunteer with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. From this experience, she was led to serve the poorest of the poor by offering her gift of music as a means of alleviating the spiritual poverty of America. Since her graduation from Notre Dame, Rose has traveled the globe as a music missionary to spread the Gospel through joyful witness of story and song. In January 2004, she received the personal blessing of Pope John Paul II as she presented him with her album “Mysteries,” a collection of meditations upon the 20 mysteries of the rosary. She promised him, “I am your messenger to the young people to take up the rosary once again.” She is now completing her third album, dedicated to the life and work of Blessed Mother Teresa.

Mike Ragan (emcee) has been working with teens for over 10 years. After serving as a youth minister for six years, Mike is now a middle school religion teacher at St. Joseph School in Marietta. He combines physical comedy with his quirky sense of humor to keep people laughing and focused on the Lord. Mike is married and has two daughters.

The XLT Band from St. Andrew Church, Roswell, is the worship band that plays for “XLT” North held on the second and fourth Tuesday nights of each month. Made up of local parish musicians and vocalists who share in the joy of leading teens in prayer, worship and eucharistic adoration, members include Greg Ferrara, Greg Koerner, George Williams, Mark Foster, Neil Derryberry, Dawn Ferrara and Barb Suwank.

Vietnamese Track

Msgr. Joseph Dinh Duc Dao is a professor of missionary studies on the faculty of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, director of the Centro Internazionale di Animazione Misisonaria, and director of the Office of the Apostolate for the Vietnamese in the Diaspora, Rome. He will be the main speaker for the Vietnamese track.

Track for the Deaf

Msgr. Glenn Nelson, the main speaker for the track for the deaf, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., in 1993. He has served as an associate pastor at Holy Angels Church, Aurora, until he was moved to Rockford to serve as secretary to the bishop in 1996. He graduated with a licentiate degree in canon law from the Gregorian University, Rome, in 2000. Msgr. Nelson was appointed chancellor for the Diocese of Rockford in 2000 and vicar general in 2002, as well as pastor of Christ the Teacher University Church at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 2005. Since receiving a bachelor’s degree in special education for the hearing impaired from Northern Illinois in 1987, Msgr. Nelson has worked with the deaf and has served as director for the Deaf Apostolate of the Diocese of Rockford since 1993. Msgr. Nelson was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf where he represents the Great Lakes Region IV. He is currently serving his second term in this capacity.


The KidTrack program, entitled “Conquered in Love,” is a high-energy, medieval program. The area is designed to take all knights and princesses back in time to a world full of castles, jesters and drawbridges. Special guests and emcees APeX Ministries will dazzle with their death-defying juggling, hilarious antics, engaging stories, and personal testimony.

The goal of the activities planned is to help children cultivate a deeper friendship with Christ through a variety of dynamic, interactive activities focusing on prayer, Scripture, and Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist. The program will include hands-on faith and fun activities, such as fun, thought-provoking skits; interactive music, dance, movement and praise sessions; Christ’s visit in the monstrance; and an afternoon movie.

APeX Ministries and Christian vaudeville headliners Brad Farmer and Gene Monterastelli will entertain with juggling, humor, skits, storytelling, audience participation and personal testimony. In past years, APeX has entertained the middle school and high school tracks at the Eucharistic Congress.