Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Thomas Spink
During Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory’s visit to the Adore! track, the children were given the opportunity to ask the archbishop a question. Here a young girl, Valerie, laughs at her own question, as Archbishop Gregory makes a face. The children asked about the purpose of incense, why a priest wears layers of clothes and what it feels like to be an archbishop.

College Park

Children in the Adore! track have questions for archbishop

By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published June 10, 2016

COLLEGE PARK—The Adore! track for children at the Eucharistic Congress meant it was time for 20 questions with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

More than 400 children, between the ages of 5 and 11, visited with Archbishop Gregory, learned about mercy through the stories of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, and enjoyed coloring and other activities.

Adore! got underway at 11 a.m., and shortly after, the archbishop brought Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament to the room.

“This is my very favorite part of the Eucharistic Congress—visiting with you,” Archbishop Gregory told the children.

He asked the first communicants for this year to raise their hands. “That was a happy moment, wasn’t it?” he asked.

“I have a feeling when you received him for the first time, you made him especially happy that day,” said the archbishop.

He also inquired how many of the children would be celebrating first holy Communion next year.

“I hope that you will prepare very well, and I hope you get more and more excited as the day draws near,” he said.

Children who wanted to ask whatever was on their minds lined up to take turns posing questions to the archbishop.

“What’s an archbishop?” asked the first child in line.

“That’s a good question. First of all, I’m a priest,” he answered. “I’m a special kind of priest that cares for a very large family here in the archdiocese. So, rather than be at any one parish, the archbishop gets a chance to visit as many parishes as he can to tell the little ones and the big ones, the young ones and the older ones how much Jesus loves them.”

Other questions covered the purpose of incense, why a priest wears many layers of clothes when celebrating Mass, what it feels like to be an archbishop, and about Noah, and Adam and Eve.

Deacon Thomas McGivney, of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, standing left, Deacon Thomas Ryan, of St. Clare of Assisi Mission, Acworth, standing right, interact with the children in the Adore! track at the Eucharistic Congress June 4. Some 400 children, from ages 5 to 11, spent the day doing crafts, enjoying music and skits, praying and learning about mercy. Photo By Thomas Spink

“You guys ask the best questions,” said Archbishop Gregory. “You ask the questions that the big people are sometimes too embarrassed to ask.”

Cathy Marbury, associate director of religious education for the archdiocese, said a new activity this year for Adore! was to create special cards for those who need comfort including the sick, the aged and those in prison.

The children enjoyed the music of Jim Wahl, who began writing Catholic songs for children when his oldest two sons were in preschool, including the energetic song “Jonah.”

Wahl is director of liturgy and music at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Marbury said adult and teen volunteers from St. Paul the Apostle Church in Cleveland performed the dramatic skits this year.

Ashley Shaw, who attends St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock, participated in Adore! alongside her younger siblings, Emily and Vinny. She took home a corporal works of mercy coloring sheet and a sticker scene.

“It was fun. We did crafts and watched skits,” said Ashley.

The children’s track offering allowed their mother, Sunny Shaw, to attend the other programs of the congress while their dad worked at the Carmel Communications booth in the exhibitor hall.

“It’s nice to be able to drop them off,” said Shaw. “It’s like a retreat day.”

For the entire family, the congress is a one-of-a kind experience.

“It’s the universal church,” said Shaw.