By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff reporter | Published November 22, 2013
ATLANTA—This issue offers a gift from The Georgia Bulletin to the Catholic community of the Atlanta Archdiocese: a “Hail Mary” poster of multihued images reflecting the vibrant presence of Mary throughout the parishes and schools that comprise the archdiocese (pages 24-25).
The 23 varied images were taken at parishes and schools all around the archdiocese especially dedicated to the Blessed Mother.
Staff photographer Michael Alexander sought out and photographed the glorious depictions of Mary, crisscrossing the 10 deaneries of the Atlanta Archdiocese, traveling the upper half of Georgia some 1,270 miles, finding and photographing artwork that illuminates the beauty of the Blessed Mother in paintings, stained glass and sculpture at six schools and 17 parishes and missions. He started the project March 19 and ended with the final photo Oct. 1. Using the final group of photos, graphic designer Tom Schulte then created the poster, patiently working at the design until the presentation was “just right.”
Last November Catholics in the Archdiocese of Atlanta were invited to journey a Year of Faith With Mary, emphasizing the “Faith Personified” of the Virgin Mother.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had called for a Year of Faith worldwide, “a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the World.”
In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory asked that the Year of Faith have a special focus on Mary as part of this call to renewed conversion.
In a 2012 interview with The Georgia Bulletin, Archbishop Gregory said, “She is the Mother who identifies herself with her children in each age, nation and in every culture. She is first and foremost, Mother—and like every Mother she is pivotal in the development of faith in the lives of her children.” He said that Mary is the “very personification of faith” for Catholics.
This devotion to Mary and foundation of faith has deep roots in the history of the archdiocese: in 1956, when the Diocese of Atlanta was established, Bishop Francis Hyland named the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the principal patroness of the Catholic Church in North Georgia. In 2007, Archbishop Gregory renewed the consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary while he dedicated it to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Empress of the Archdiocese.
Here at The Georgia Bulletin, articles and photos throughout the Year of Faith told of the many titles and indigenous faith stories by which Mary is known and revered in countries and cultures worldwide, traditions sustained by those now living in Georgia.
The Year of Faith concludes with a Mass at the Cathedral on Sunday, Nov. 24, celebrated by Archbishop Gregory.