Cleansing Fire

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News From Atlanta

January 3rd, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

I spent the last 30 years in Atlanta, returning to CNY to care for aging parents. Over the last 20 years the Atlanta Church has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, Msgr Tally will become the 2nd Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta. Rocco has the details here. It is well worth the read.

I attribute this to the following:

  • Sound liturgical discipline. Priests, Deacons and the laity all fulfilling their roles with vigor.
  • An annual Eucharistic Congress that is the Friday and Saturday of Corpus Christi weekend that serves both a catechetical and evangelical need to adults, teens, children, Hispanics, Vietnamese and Deaf. During this event, every priest is available for Sacramental Confession and Confession is continuously heard. 30,000+ Catholic come for the sacraments and formation.
  • The open-armed welcome to every recognized Catholic movement.
  • An aggressive and effective Pro-Life office.
  • Eucharistic Adoration widely available and aggressively promoted.
  • Door to door Evangelization something we picked up from the Baptists; Baptist converts that is…
  • Over 2000 enter via RCIA.
  • Aggressive Hispanic outreach, sensitive to their particular needs and understanding that Guatemalans, Mexicans, Colombians and Cubans share only a common language they are not equivalent culturally.
  • Sound priestly formation from top tier seminaries. Bilingual priests is the norm. Latin in the liturgy is common.
  • A parish completely devoted to the extraordinary form.
  • Pro-Life March led by the Bishop. Down Peachtree Street.
  • Rosary March down Peachtree on the Immaculate Conception.
  • Catholic Charities & St. VdP are million dollar plus enterprises.
  • ZERO sexual abuse, ever. The one priest who stepped out of line was immediately arrested (in the 1990’s) jailed and later deported.
  • Solid bishop(s) who are visible and involved. Homilies on contraception, abortion, divorce and other sentinel issues of our time are offered routinely.
  • NFP training is required for all candidates for marriage – even if you are beyond the childbearing years, or have a Protestant spouse.

We can expect the same here, in 20 years. The template is already written and there are a dozen flights per day to Atlanta. Atlanta in the late 1980’s was 15% Catholic.  This will take some doing. Some vertex to base renewal and reform. Some liturgical and sacramental reform and it may even take inviting some outside religious order priests to assist.

The renewal will begin on our knees.

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8 Responses to “News From Atlanta”

  1. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post, Dan!

  2. avatar annonymouse says:

    Well that seems to be an excellent, all-inclusive list of “New Years resolutions” for our AA and next bishop!

    And the renewal does begin “on our knees” – in the confessional!

  3. avatar JLo says:

    Wow. That list was achieved over 30 years!? Would that we may begin that awesome march toward true Catholic life here. Atlanta started with only 15% of the population Catholic, you say? I don’t know the numbers, but we’ve shrunk mightily in Rochester. Maybe the remnant to the true Faith is that small here; but with faithful, robust leadership maybe we can awaken the sleeping giant we once thought we were, and this time make of ourselves educated, aware and so devoted Catholics and not just cultural Catholics…. Please, God. +JMJ

  4. avatar DanielKane says:

    Actually 1988 – 2006 so 18 years. I left Geneva 30 years ago but lived in Atlanta from 1988 until Christmas 2006. Still have a home there.

    In the midst of this the Archbishop Marino left because of an affair with an adult woman. +Marino, I am happy to add repented, spent the balance of his time in NYC working as a priest with alcoholics and troubled priests and died a holy, even saintly death.

    The late Archbishop Donahue did most of the work. He was one very courageous bishop. In the mid to late 1990’s we opened a parish every six months. My own parish divided twice. He reigned until he was 78 or 79. A local connection – as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of D.C. he was instrumental in the theological silencing of Father Curran of SMU who is incardinated in the DoR. He refused to allow the heroic (but pro-choice) Congressman and MLK Aide John Lewis to speak in the Cathedral at an MLK Day event. I recall vividly his “Not in my Cathedral” speech in miter, cope and crozier. The list is endless and the people rallied around him time and again.

    It can (and will) happen here.

    At the very center as I saw it and lived it was a sound liturgy and Eucharistic devotion. They hired operating managers not pastoral (what evers). You do not need to be Catholic to run a non-profit or negotiate a roofing job or get the church cleaned. By freeing up the priests and pastors to be priests and pastors and leaving the “operations” to the laity (who do not imagine themselves to be anything other than business managers of non-profits) things get done well.

    Lastly, there is the persecution aspect – lots of Evangelicals and southern protestants in general actually persecute you. “I gave the job to a fellow at my church.” is a common way you lose accounts, sales and jobs. Little league coaches invite your kids to Church. If you are an ignorant Catholic, life is brutal. So Adult Ed abounds. Apologetics abounds. To counter the protestant push (in that for the first time you are surrounded by people of faith, just not YOUR faith)you become “more Catholic than the Pope” and celebrate all things Catholic just to swat the Evangelical paparazzi away.

    I would rather see the parishes reduced by 50% and filled with militant, informed Catholics than double the size with near-do-well CCD (Communion, Confirmation, Done) Catholics.

  5. avatar JLo says:

    Exactly my belief about freeing up the clergy from housekeeping and office stuff!! But when you say that in Rochester they think you mean those “pastoral” wannabes (I, too, lived away from here from 1989 to 2006).

    Countering anti-Catholicism is the same story of college students more likely to keep the Faith at secular colleges than at the pretend-Catholic ones. Keeps you awake and engaged.

    May your prediction of a resurgence here come about soon! Thank you, Daniel.

    +JMJ
    P.S. I love your +bishop Marino story.

  6. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    The number of Catholics roughly tripled from 1990 to 2010, so there’s proof you can be orthodox without emptying the pews. What’s the name of the parish devoted to the EF?

  7. avatar DanielKane says:

    The Extraordinary Form Parish is St. Francis deSales, Mableton, GA (northwest suburb) run by the FSSP community. http://www.francisdesales.com/index.html

  8. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I lived in Cary, NC for 10 years and my experience there echoes your’s in Atlanta. I tell people all the time that we were forced to learn our faith or abandon it. We had evangelicals, Mormons and JWs at our door almost every day. The church we belonged to had small groups which were a lifesaver for my husband and I. I suppose our church would be considered a Catholic “mega-church” (for those interested, the website for my former parish can be found here: http://www.acswebnetworks.com/stmichaelcary/). When I was there, we had 12 Masses every weekend and they were just starting to build a parish-associated school (see here: http://school.stmcary.org/).

    My husband and I naively thought we’d be returning to a deeply Catholic area when we came back north. Boy, were we wrong. Lukewarm is too generous a term to describe what we’ve encountered. I got excited when my church began a stewardship campaign, but it has gone nowhere. One thing about living in the South is that it is easier to be a devoted Catholic. Yes, you were challenged for your beliefs, but the environment was more friendly, in general, to people of faith. Baptists and Evangelicals may not have agreed with some of our particular beliefs, but they respected us. I don’t find that to be the case here in Rochester.

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