Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
In the American Sign Language track, Anne Greener-Hage, left, of St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville, served as a special services provider of tactile interpreting for Kathleen Potter, right, a deaf-blind woman. Potter, a resident of Los Angeles, California, coordinated her visit with friends in Atlanta so she could attend the June 22 Eucharistic Congress.

College Park

American Sign Language track features tribute to Mary, Mother of God

By MAGGIE ROUSSEAU, Special to the Bulletin | Published July 11, 2019

COLLEGE PARK—Using paintings, icons and stories, Father Tom Coughlin, OP Miss, shared a “Tribute to our Mother of God, Mary Most Holy” at the American Sign Language (ASL) track of the Eucharistic Congress June 22.

“What do we think of when we see a tabernacle?” Father Coughlin asked attendees.

Father Coughlin explained that the first tabernacle was Mary’s womb. In his presentation, he shared that Mary’s body became holy to be the tabernacle for God. The tabernacle is the holiest of places, and all the angels and saints saw Mary as a tabernacle herself.

“If we have too many consecrated hosts after Mass where does it go?” he asked. “We put it in the tabernacle so it is one body. The living God that we believe in is alive. The church set up the tabernacle so that we may worship and pay homage there.”

Born deaf himself, Father Coughlin used American Sign Language to present his message.

He asked those attending to consider who hates the tabernacle the most.

“The devil, the evil one. He has created this desire to destroy tabernacles. But, God tells us that the devil will never win,” explained the priest, the first deaf man ordained to the priesthood in North America.

Father Thomas Coughlin, founder of the Dominican Missionaries for the Apostolates of the Deaf and Disabled, provides a morning presentation in the American Sign Language track at the Eucharistic Congress. Photo By Michael Alexander

God’s trust in Mary has led to many important happenings, he shared.

“Who caused this Eucharistic Congress to happen? Who caused 1.3 billion Christians all over the world? Mary. She said ‘yes’ to God’s will,” said Father Coughlin. “We owe so much to mother Mary.”

Father Coughlin shared that Mary’s different appearances all over the world is a way of telling us to be closer to God. He concluded his presentation with references to the Hail Mary prayer. He explained that, the rosary is wonderful because sometimes you do not know what to pray.

“She kept all things in her heart. Prayer was important to her,” said Father Coughlin. Father Desmond Drummer of Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Atlanta, opened the track with adoration of the holy Eucharist and told the group that they would be in his prayers throughout the day.

The ASL track was also visited by Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, who provided a warm welcome. Deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and hearing individuals participated in the program with conversation facilitated by volunteer interpreters and SSP interpreters (Support Service Provider).  Attendees for the ASL track came from as far as California.