Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Participants listen to a speaker in the Hispanic track during the 2008 Eucharistic Congress. This year's Eucharistic Congress will take place June 12-13 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.


Congress Speakers, Musicians To Exalt True Presence

By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published June 4, 2009

In its 14th year, the Eucharistic Congress will again feature a complement of interesting and eloquent speakers for the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s annual celebration of the eucharistic presence of Christ, and organizers for the event are expecting a diverse and enthusiastic crowd for the upcoming event.

Catholics across North Georgia and the Southeast are invited to attend the Eucharistic Congress, the yearly community event hosted by the Atlanta Archdiocese, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 12-13, at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

Preparations are being made, with every detail carefully considered and planned. Deacon Dennis J. Dorner, chancellor of the archdiocese and chairman of the Eucharistic Congress steering committee, believes the committee is “right on target” with just over a week to go.

“I could not be more grateful for the way every member of the steering committee has followed through on their commitments. Volunteer registration has been wonderful.”

He added that following the final pre-event meeting, the committee members gathered at a special Mass “for the success of the Congress.”

Between 20,000 and 30,000 people from around the southeastern United States are expected to attend the congress, which is free and open to the public. No tickets are required and parking is available at the convention center. Carpools and bus arrangements are encouraged.

Those who attend the Eucharistic Congress will find an opportunity to gather with Catholics and friends from all over—to pray, to learn and to be renewed in the celebration of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist on the feast of Corpus Christi.

The theme of this year’s celebration, selected by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, is “As Grain Once Scattered,” taken from the Didache, a manuscript of the early church that alludes to the gathering of the church worldwide into one body in God’s kingdom through the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Open to people of all ages, the Congress will take place on the evening of Friday, June 12, and all day on Saturday, June 13.

It will begin with Mass celebrated by Msgr. Richard Lopez on Friday evening, June 12, followed by concurrent sessions: a healing service led by Father Tim Hepburn and “Revive!”—a program for young adults ages 18 to 40.

On Saturday, June 13, the Congress includes an opening eucharistic procession into the great hall at 8:30 a.m., with members of many parishes and ministries of the archdiocese displaying their faith in vivid banners and flags.

During the all-day event on Saturday, a number of renowned speakers and faith leaders will educate and inspire the faithful—from children to adults. The Vietnamese, Hispanic and hearing-impaired communities will participate in special sessions given in their native languages and in sign language. There will be an organized program for children, from kindergarten to age 11, as well as a separate track for teenagers.

Ongoing throughout the day will be an exhibition of Catholic ministries and vendors. A number of vendors will offer Catholic merchandise for sale. Ministries will also be on hand to provide information about their outreach programs and what they offer to the community.

Reconciliation is available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those planning to attend the Congress who can are encouraged to prepare by going to reconciliation at their parishes prior to the event.

The Eucharistic Congress will conclude with a vigil Mass at 5 p.m. Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and previously the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.

Children who received their first Communion this year are asked to wear their first Communion apparel and gather at 4:30 p.m. for the procession into Mass.

Food and drinks can be purchased from vendors until 4 p.m. Childcare is not available.

The Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel, located at 4711 Best Road, College Park, will offer a special rate for those specifying they are Eucharistic Congress participants. Transportation will be provided all day between the hotel and convention site. For hotel bookings, call (404) 766-7900 or book online at

For more information on the 2009 Eucharistic Congress, visit the official Web site at