Published May 31, 2007
Eucharistic Congress: Friday, June 8
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with praise and worship music, followed by Mass at 6:30 p.m. At 7:45 p.m. the healing service will begin, with the REVIVE! Young Adult Track going on concurrently beginning at 8 p.m.
Father Fernando Suarez, CC, was born in the Province of Batangas in the Philippines in 1967. From the time he was in his teens, he sensed God calling him to pray with people who were sick. After spending much of his life living and working as a chemical engineer in the Philippines, he moved to Canada in 1995. In 1997 he joined the Companions of the Cross, a religious community of priests and seminarians, and was ordained in 2002. Since his ordination, he has found that the gift of healing has become more pronounced. He spent the first year of his priesthood as the associate pastor of St. Timothy’s Church in North York, Ontario, and since 2003 has a healing ministry through which he regularly conducts healing Masses, retreats and missions. He is the founder of Mary Mother of the Poor, a ministry dedicated to serving the poor.
REVIVE! Young Adult Track
Father Leo Patalinghug is a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore who travels throughout the country offering retreats, conferences and presentations. A former competitive break dancer, Tae Kwon Do champion, singer, teacher, world traveler and cook, Father Leo is also the host for the upcoming PBS television show “Grace Before Meals,” a program to help families grow in their faith and appreciation of the blessings of God. He uses his captivating background, humor and faith to strengthen families and individuals. He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, studied philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and received a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and an advanced license degree from the Pontifical Marianum University in Rome, specializing in Mariology.
Matt Maher released his first CD, “The End and the Beginning,” in 2002, and at World Youth Day that year in Toronto, his “Litany of the Saints” was sung at the official Papal Evening Prayer, with the Holy Father singing the lyrical prayer along with 700,000 young pilgrims. In October 2003, he received the Unity Award for “Best New Artist of the Year” from the United Catholic Music and Video Association. In 2004 he received the Unity Award for Praise and Worship Song of the Year for “I Love You, Lord.” He has become a popular performer at youth ministry conferences and rallies.
Darrell Miller spent most of his professional baseball career in the minor leagues but did play in parts of five seasons at the Major League level from 1984-88, all as a member of the California Angels. Today, he serves as the director of Major League Baseball’s first Urban Youth Academy, which opened on Feb. 28, 2006, on the campus of Compton (Calif.) Community College. The $10 million facility, which is owned and operated by Major League Baseball, provides free instruction in both baseball and softball to Southern California youth between the ages of 8-17 and features a 10-acre complex operated year-round by Miller. Raised Baptist, Miller converted to the Catholic faith as an adult, after studying the history of the church and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
Danielle Chodorowski (emcee) is a 2003 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she received her master’s degree in counseling. She also has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame. She loves sharing Christ’s message of freedom and healing. For several years she worked in youth ministry for the Diocese of Alexandria, La., and currently works with her husband doing life and career coaching for Catholics.
Eucharistic Congress: Saturday, June 9
On Saturday, June 9, the doors at the Georgia International Convention Center will open at 7:30 a.m. and the 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. At 11 a.m. the General, Hispanic, Teen, Vietnamese, and Deaf Tracks will begin, followed at 4:30 p.m. by the rosary and a 5 p.m. Vigil Mass in the main hall.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi was born June 27, 1938, in Sogliano sul Rubicone, Forli, Italy. He was incardinated in the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro and ordained a priest on March 14, 1964. He holds a doctorate in sacred theology and canon law. He joined the Vatican diplomatic service in 1969 in Cameroon and served in the nunciatures or apostolic delegations to Cameroon, Jerusalem, Cuba, Algeria, Nicaragua, Belgium, and India. In 1991 he was appointed apostolic nuncio to Indonesia and in 1998 was appointed apostolic nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. Archbishop Sambi was named apostolic nuncio to the United States in December 2005.
Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, was born December 29, 1941, and is the first cardinal in history from Honduras. First ordained a priest in 1970, a bishop in 1978, then the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in 1993, he was ordained cardinal on January 21, 2001. Multilingual, with degrees in philosophy and theology, a diploma in clinical psychology, and trained in classical piano, he is celebrated in the Latin American church. His campaign for human rights and the poor have won widespread praise, and he has brokered peace accords with rebels and led rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster. He served as president of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) from 1995 to 1999. He has been a member of several pontifical councils, including the Council for Social Communications; the Council for Justice and Peace; and the Commission for Latin America. He is also the founder of the Catholic University of Honduras.
Immaculée Ilibagiza of Rwanda had her life transformed dramatically in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days. During this horrific ordeal, Ilibagiza lost most of her family but survived to share the story and her miraculous transition into forgiveness and a profound relationship with God. Four years after the Rwandan tragedy, she emigrated to the United States and began working for the United Nations in New York City. She will continue to share her inspiring story this year in major cities at numerous upcoming conferences sponsored by Hay House, Inc. “Left to Tell” is her first book.
Tony Melendez was born without arms because his mother was prescribed thalidomide, a drug used to help calm morning sickness during her pregnancy. In high school he began playing the guitar and harmonica with his feet and writing his own songs. He now uses his talents as a guitarist and composer for Masses and church-related events. A highlight of his career was performing for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1987. Since then Melendez has traveled across the United States and 27 foreign countries, making countless television appearances on major networks. Melendez’s latest album, “Hands In Heaven,” is a musical look into the heart and soul. He resides in Branson, Mo., with his wife Lynn.
George Weigel, a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., is a Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading commentators on issues of religion and public life. Weigel is the author of “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II,” published to international acclaim in the fall of 1999 and the author or editor of 18 other books, including “The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.” He has appeared on numerous television and radio discussion programs, and is a consultant on Vatican affairs for NBC News. His weekly column is syndicated to 60 newspapers around the United States. Weigel, who has been awarded eight honorary doctorates and the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, serves on the boards of directors of several organizations dedicated to human rights and the cause of religious freedom.
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.
Deacon Patrick Graybill was born in Kansas just before World War II began, one of seven children, five of whom are deaf. Deacon Graybill graduated from the Kansas School for the Deaf and attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in deaf education. He serves as a permanent deacon at Emmanuel Church of the Deaf, a Catholic church in Rochester, N.Y., where he will soon celebrate his 25th anniversary as a deacon. On May 7, 2005, Deacon Graybill was conferred the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, Honoris Causa, from St. Thomas University in Miami where he was part of a planning committee to initiate a new master’s degree program in pastoral ministries with the deaf. Deacon Graybill also serves as a missionary for the International Catholic Deaf Association.
Brother Pablo-Maria is now following a new path as a full-time missionary after 10 years as a monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. With Jesus as his inspiration, the Holy Spirit as his guide, and under the watchful eye of Mother Mary, he is bringing the healing love of Jesus to the people of the world. He and his missioners have visited jails, orphanages, hospitals and rehabilitation centers for all types of addictions.
Father Manuel Corral-Martín, priest of the “Misioneros del Verbo Divino – SDV,” was born in Zamora, Spain, and studied philosophy at the University of Navarra. He moved to Mexico and completed his studies in theology at the Iberoamericana University where he also received his doctorate in theology. A well-known Scripture expert, he worked for the Catholic World Scripture/Bible and as executive secretary for the Episcopal Pastoral Bible Commission in Mexico. He currently is the executive secretary ad extra for the Mexican Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops, in charge of public relations and the relationship between the church and government.
Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, is described in the speakers for the General Track.
Patricia Ramos (emcee) was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She currently works as a correspondent covering the southeastern United States for a large communications network in Mexico, Grupo Monitor, and as a producer of special programs for HBO Latin America. She is the news editor for Atlanta’s newspaper 7 Días.
Doug Brummel is a nationally known family comedian and storyteller. He travels around the United States entertaining and evangelizing to people of all ages through his “Lighten Up!” parish family missions/renewals, whole community theater events, and presentations at conferences. His multi-generational style emphasizes life-long conversion.
Matt Maher is described in the REVIVE! Young Adult Track.
Tony Melendez is described in the speakers for the General Track.
Paul George (emcee) has been in the “trenches” of ministry for the past 12 years, having run parish youth ministry programs in both Louisiana and Arizona. He is the former director of parish programs/southern regional director for Life Teen International. He had the honor of speaking in Rome, Italy for the World Youth Day Celebration in August of 2000. He currently resides in Houma, La., where he serves as director of ADORE ministries. George also serves the diocese as the director of young adult ministry.
Father Joseph Hoang Minh Thang went to Rome in 1971 and was ordained in 1977. Since 1980 he has collaborated as redactor of Vatican Radio’s Vietnamese program and of the Radio Veritas in Manila. He also teaches the Bible through the radio. Since 1991 he has been an invited professor of the Old Testament in the Pontifical Urbanian University belonging to the Propaganda Fide (Congregation of Evangelization) and in the Institute of Regina Mundi (filial of the Pontifical Gregorian University). He preaches at retreats for Vietnamese communities in the United States, Europe and Australia.
Father Joseph Tien Loc Nguyen was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1943. After joining the Congregation of the Redemptorists, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. He was appointed as director of the formation house, then chaplain for the Boy Scout Movement for many years. He has traveled to many countries to conduct retreat and renewal weekends for groups and parishes.
The Cat.Chat Man and Moses the Cat give music concerts specifically geared for children and families. The group’s goal is to entertain, encourage and educate kids in the basics of the Catholic faith with songs and teachings about Jesus, Mary, Mass, angels, saints and more. The Cat.Chat Man, Moses the Cat, bongo player, drummer and dancer make a great team as they delight kids and their families with their concert production. Audiences have enjoyed the original songs, captivating stories, impressive juggling and unicycling, as well as action songs and other fun surprises with Moses the Cat.
The Eucharistic Congress will conclude with the celebration of the Vigil Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi at 5 p.m. in the main hall at the convention center. The principal celebrant will be Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi.