By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 7, 2021
SMYRNA—On March 5, The Georgia Bulletin published a story about the annual Rite of Election where believers take the next step in joining the church at Easter. People there talked to me about how they felt compelled to take their faith seriously by joining the Catholic Church. The front page photo shows church pews crowded with people sitting elbow to elbow. Not a face mask in sight.
In two weeks, public Masses would be suspended. We became familiar with COVID-19. Many of those faithful full of excitement waited months before receiving baptism, first communion and confirmation.
Flipping through the 2020 issues, I’m proud of the work of The Georgia Bulletin as editors, writers and photographers showcased faith lived during a pandemic. We turned the spotlight on the many people who strived to be church outside the building. Like the folks at Rome Mercy Care who switched up a program to deliver groceries to vulnerable senior citizens.
I also salute the seniors who found their last year of high school upended by the pandemic.
At the same time, the story of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Atlanta unfolded. As a Georgia Bulletin writer since 2007, I’ve enjoyed talking with all kinds of people who make the church fascinating. I regret that in 2020 there were stories that wouldn’t get to see the light of day.
A favorite story of the past year gave me hope for young Catholics. For this reason, I turn to my story about the Lyke House chaplaincy at the Atlanta University Center. The center—with its unique stone church modeled on ancient houses of worship in East Africa—earned national recognition for working with college students.
You see, my college experience of church showed me how faith is lived in a community, is rooted in an intellectual tradition and asks questions that challenge the privileged. My hope is those college students grow in faith to ask Christ-centered questions about our post-pandemic world.