Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

2006 Eucharistic Congress

Published June 1, 2006

Eucharistic Congress: Friday, June 16


The young adult track, “Revive!” for those 18-40 years old, single and married, will offer young people a chance to deepen their faith in Christ. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. and closing at 10:30 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center, the event will include music, eucharistic adoration and Benediction led by Father Ricardo Bailey, who serves as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta. Other speakers for this track include:

Mary Beth Bonacci, an internationally known speaker, will be the main presenter at “Revive!” Bonacci, who is the author of two books, has been speaking about love, relationships and chastity to teens and young adults around the world since 1986. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in theology of marriage and family from the John Paul II Institute at Lateran University, and an honorary doctorate in communications from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Lisa Epperson, Eastern and international director for LIFE TEEN, and one of the founders of “On the Deck,” a ministry for Catholic college students, will serve as the emcee for the event.

Healing Mass and Service

This year’s Eucharistic Congress will offer a healing Mass and service on Friday evening, June 16, which will begin this faith-filled annual event in the archdiocese with a special focus on the power of Christ and the Blessed Sacrament in healing those who are in need. Adoration in the chapel will take place throughout the evening. The service will begin with praise and worship music at 7 p.m., and Mass is at 7:30 p.m., celebrated by Father Luke Ballman, pastor of St. Augustine Church, Covington, and concelebrated by priests of the archdiocese. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be on hand to welcome those attending the healing service.

Alan Ames, a well-known speaker in the area of healing and spirituality, is the main speaker for the healing service. Ames is a visionary, an evangelist, a healer and a stigmatist from Australia. He has been speaking and praying for healing around the world since 1994. He has permission to speak from his bishop in western Australia, Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, and is strictly obedient to his spiritual director, a priest selected by the archbishop.

Eucharistic Congress: Saturday, June 17

On Saturday, June 17, the doors at the Georgia International Convention Center will open at 7:30 a.m. and the colorful procession of banners into the hall will begin at 8:30 a.m. Adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 10 a.m., with Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue serving as homilist for the morning liturgy. Following Archbishop Donoghue’s remarks, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, as the spiritual head of the Atlanta Archdiocese, will welcome all those assembled to the Eucharistic Congress.

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 and 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 has written over 50 articles and 60 reviews.

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 earned his doctorate in theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris in June 1992 and 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.

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. In 2000 she was appointed to serve as the inaugural director of Chicago’s 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.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is the keynote speaker for the 2006 Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress. After studying 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. He served as Under-Secretary and later, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In 1998 he was appointed Titular Bishop of Glendalough. He served as a member of various Vatican offices, including the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Elevated to the rank of archbishop in 2001, he 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 was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Dublin in 2003, and automatically succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell as archbishop of Dublin in 2004.

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. They have six children.

Hispanic Track

Father Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, is currently president of the Loyola 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. He has written one book, edited four other books and authored more than 50 articles on Hispanic ministry, faith and culture, and Catholic social teaching. 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 Diocese. 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, one of the nation’s eight regional offices for Hispanic ministry. He 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 in Atlanta and baptized at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Xavier University in New Orleans 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.

Jason Pastore loves the church and has been involved with the LIFE TEEN program for years, starting as a teen, then a CORE member and a youth minister. He now serves the church by working for LIFE TEEN International as the western regional director. He lives in the sweltering heat of the Arizona desert, with his wife, Yvonne, and their two sons.

Mike Ragan (emcee) has been working with teens for over 10 years. After serving as a youth minister for six years, Ragan 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. Ragan 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 earned a licentiate degree in canon law from the Gregorian University, Rome, in 2000. He 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.


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. 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.

Closing Mass

The Eucharistic Congress will conclude with the celebration of Mass at 5:30 p.m. The principal celebrant will be Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and concelebrating with him will be Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, and Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue, as well as the priests of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

More information about the 2006 Eucharistic Congress is available at