.- The Archdiocese of Atlanta’s 15th annual Eucharistic Congress will take place this weekend, dedicated to the theme “To Sanctify the Christian People.” It will emphasize the “indelible link” between the Eucharist and the priesthood with the help of speakers and musicians.
The free event will take place on June 4 and 5 at the Georgia International Convention Center.
The theme comes directly from the prayer of ordination for priests, the Archdiocese of Atlanta explained in a press release.
“Since this is the Year for Priests, Archbishop Gregory wanted to stress the sanctifying work that the priests do,” said Deacon Dennis Dorner, chairman of the Eucharistic Congress steering committee, referring to Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton Gregory.
“What’s amazing about the congress is that it never feels routine. Every year there is so much energy and freshness,” Deacon Dorner continued.
Speakers at the Congress include Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley; Archbishop of Vancouver Michael Miller, a specialist on the papacy; and Allen Hunt, the creator of a nationally syndicated talk show and a former Methodist pastor who converted to Catholicism in 2008.
The Friday evening opening session will begin with a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta Luis Zarama, followed by a healing service with Fr. Jack Durkin. The service will coincide with a live music event for young adults with an “unplugged” performance by rock musician Matt Maher.
A procession of the Blessed Sacrament will begin Saturday morning, followed by adoration and exposition.
Attendees can select from several tracks: general, deaf, Hispanic, Vietnamese, kid and teen.
Speakers for the general track include Deacon Dorner, Archbishop Miller, and Allen Hunt as well as Fr. Mitch Pacwa and Johnette Benkovic.
Juan Diaz, host of the Archdiocese of Atlanta “Nuestra Fe” radio program, will emcee the Hispanic track. Its speakers include Dr. Carmen Cervantes, Executive Director of Instituto Fe y Vida (Faith and Life Institute) and Ricardo Castanon-Gomez, President of the “Grupo Internacion para la Paz.”
Vietnamese speakers include Bishop Peter Tran Dinh Tu of Phu Cuong and Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Thinh, a theology professor who is pastor of Vinh Sơn Parish in Vietnam.
Fr. Michael Medas, a long time advocate and minister for the deaf community, will be featured speaker for the deaf track, the Archdiocese of Atlanta reports.
Deacon Dorner said he imagines that the numbers of attendees will be equal to the last several years where up to 30,000 attendees “maxed out capacity.”
“The popularity has to do with Catholics’ love and devotion to Jesus Christ, real and present in the Eucharist,” he commented.
The official website of the Congress is at www.archatl.com/congress.