Published July 6, 2007
Area Catholics are invited to attend the 65th Serra International Convention Aug. 9-Aug. 12 at the Hilton Atlanta.
This is the first time the international convention, which will have the theme, “Faith of the Family: Foundation of Vocations,” will be held here.
Serra International is a nonprofit Catholic organization made up of laymen and laywomen from around the world who pray and work to foster and promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. Members of Serra, or Serrans, belong to Serra Clubs, which have been chartered in 44 different countries since the organization began in Seattle in 1935. The Archdiocese of Atlanta has four Serra Clubs in the metropolitan area, including the Metro Club, the North Metro Club, the Northeast Metro Club and the Serra Club of Northwest Atlanta.
The convention will feature Catholic speakers, including several television personalities from EWTN, cardinals from Canada, Mexico and the United States, and separate tracks for clergy and laypersons. In the past, Serra conventions have been open only to Serrans, but the convention committee chose to open the event to all this year, said Joseph Krygiel, convention co-chair.
“We wanted to change the focus this year and open our convention to any attendees who have an interest in religious vocations ministry,” he said. “The Atlanta Catholic community has had the privilege of enjoying prominent Catholic speakers each year who have spoken at our annual Eucharistic Congress. Our Atlanta Serra Convention will offer the same high quality, inspirational national and international Catholic speakers. The focus of our convention talks will address the important aspect of faith of the family in supporting future religious vocations for our church.”
Krygiel said clergy are also encouraged to attend, and a separate track is designated for clergy and Religious.
“Building on a successful program used at the 2005 Serra Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, our Atlanta convention will include a separate track on Friday and Saturday designed specifically for the clergy, and we are hoping many local priests and Religious will plan to attend,” he said
The event will begin Thursday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m. with an opening Mass celebrated by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, which will be followed by a “Welcome to Atlanta” reception at6:30 p.m.
On Friday, Aug. 10, Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue will celebrate the opening Mass at 9 a.m.
Featured speakers include Serra International president Robert T. Wright; Steve Ray, author and host of the 10-part video series, “The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation From Abraham to Augustine”; Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, popular Catholic author and teacher; and Archbishop Gregory.
That evening there will be an optional dinner at the Georgia Aquarium. The dinner speaker will be Raymond Arroyo, author, journalist and host of EWTN’s international news magazine, “The World Over Live.”
Dinner will be by Wolfgang Puck Catering in the Oceans Ballroom. Each registrant will receive a copy of Arroyo’s book, “Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality.” The author will be available to sign copies after dinner. The evening will be open to the first 950 people who register and will cost $95 per person.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada, and Cardinal Juan Sandoval, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, will concelebrate the morning Mass at
9 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. Cardinal Sandoval will be the keynote speaker. Jeff Cavins, internationally recognized author and speaker, as well as founding host of EWTN’s popular show, “My Life on the Rock,” will serve as the luncheon speaker at 12:15 p.m. Cardinal Ouellet will speak to both the general and clergy tracks at 2:15 p.m., followed by a panel session moderated by Arroyo at 3:45 p.m.
Sister Catherine Marie Hopkins, OP, vocations director of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, located in Nashville, Tenn., will be the opening speaker on Sunday at 9 a.m. Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia and the episcopal adviser for Serra International, will speak at 10:30 a.m. From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., conference attendees will have the option of taking one of several Atlanta tours. At 2:30 p.m. there will be a meeting for delegates, followed by a 4:15 p.m. Mass celebrated by Cardinal Rigali.
The annual banquet will begin at 7:30 p.m., featuring the theme “The Year Ahead,” addressed by newly installed Serra International president Lloyd P. Crockett.
On Monday, Aug. 13, Nashville Bishop David Choby will celebrate Mass at 8 a.m. for those who have not yet departed. The hotel is located at 255 Courtland St.
Cost of the full conference for adults is $300, which includes some meals. The clergy rate is $225. Daily rates Friday and Saturday, which include lunch, are $65. Hotel accommodations are additional as are the optional tours and the dinner at the Aquarium. For more information, or to register, visit www.serra.org. Clergy and Religious who wish to attend should contact Joe Krygiel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 885-7476.