Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
More than 40 ministries and organizations participated in the first Archdiocesan Justice & Peace Exposition on Feb. 5. The event allowed ministries and organizations that share the Church's teachings on social justice to come together in a common setting.


Chancery Office Hosts First Justice And Peace Expo

By STEPHEN O'KANE | Published February 28, 2013

SMYRNA—A variety of social justice ministries offered information and materials to visitors to the Archdiocese of Atlanta Chancery on Tuesday, Feb. 5, during the inaugural archdiocesan Justice and Peace Exposition.

Jan Swanson of Interfaith Community Initiatives, left, and Gareth Young of Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta speak with a Justice & Peace Exposition attendee. (Photo By Michael Alexander)

Jan Swanson of Interfaith Community Initiatives, left, and Gareth Young of Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta speak with a Justice & Peace Exposition attendee. Photo By Michael Alexander

Sponsored by the archdiocesan Justice and Peace Ministries, the day was designed to highlight ministries and organizations that are reflective of some aspect of the Church’s social teachings, with attention paid to each of the seven themes: life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.

More than 40 organizations participated in the event, including the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University, the Ignatius House Retreat Center, the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, the Prison and Jail Ministry, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and the Daisy Alliance, among others.

Under the theme “How Are You the Hands of Christ? Come & See,” Kat Doyle, director of Justice and Peace Ministries, said the purpose was to provide something of interest for everyone and encourage people to get involved with or learn about ministries with which they may not be familiar. Her hope was that Catholics would “learn about practical applications of social justice.”

But it was also a positive experience for the ministries and organizations involved as well, giving them an opportunity to make new connections and share the importance of what their ministry does.

Dominican Sister Mary Priniski, left, of Interfaith Worker Justice shares moment of laughter with Brian Freel, associate executive director – Vincentian support, St. Vincent de Paul Georgia. Photo By Michael Alexander

“It was a great opportunity to share the gift of Ignatius House with the community and to share how what we offer, a place of retreat, refreshment and replenishment, can enhance the good works of so many of these wonderful ministries,” said Maria Cressler, executive director of the Ignatius House Retreat Center.

“It also gave us an opportunity to share with those who came that day what many folks do not know, how Ignatius House serves those in need, offering eight retreats for the homeless,” for example, she said.

The exposition also featured screenings and discussions of two films: “Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever” and “Rise and Dream.” “Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever” is a film that deals with the morality of torture. Presented by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, which was also present at the event, the film includes leaders of various faith communities, survivors of torture, retired military leaders and others.

An award-winning documentary from the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, “Rise and Dream” introduced viewers to musically talented young people in the Philippines who are not defined by their poverty.

(L-r) Joe Goode of St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs, Stuart Cashin of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta, and Sally McDonald of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta, are on hand for the first Archdiocesan Justice & Peace Exposition. All three participants are members of Atlanta’s Pax Christi. Photo By Michael Alexander

Attendees also had the opportunity to browse and purchase Fair Trade items at the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Sale. Staffed by a CRS Fair Trade ambassador, the sale allowed Georgia Catholics to support artisans and crafters from around the world.

A small walking labyrinth provided a contrast from the busyness of the expo room, where visitors could take a few minutes to reflect on social justice and quiet their minds to discern where God might be calling them to work.

Overall it was a day of learning, connecting and sharing the important social justice work of the Catholic Church, and it gave both Catholics and social justice ministries the chance to share what they are passionate about.

“(The Justice and Peace Expo) gave me a chance to ‘network’ and connect with other agencies and ministries,” said Cressler. “I … look forward to participating next year.”

For more information about the archdiocesan Justice and Peace Ministries, visit or call (404) 920-7895.