FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Contact: Patricia M. Chivers
Thousands of Catholics to Gather for 2010 Eucharistic Congress
At the Georgia International Convention Center
Press Conference on Saturday, June 5 at 11:00 a.m.
ATLANTA— Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory welcomes the public and the media to the 15th annual Eucharistic Congress. The event will take place on Friday and Saturday June 4th and 5th at the Georgia International Convention Center. Admission is free.
This year’s theme, “To Sanctify the Christian People,” comes directly from the prayer of ordination for priests as the global church celebrates the Year for Priests and the indelible link between the Eucharist and the priesthood.
“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.
“What’s amazing about the congress is that it never feels routine. Every year there is so much energy and freshness” says Deacon Dennis Dorner, chairman of the Eucharistic Congress. This statement holds true for this year’s Eucharistic Congress, as there will be yet another great line up of speakers and two new tracks added to Friday’s schedule.
Some of this year’s list of speakers include Cardinal Seán O’Malley, founder of Centro Católico Hispano (Hispanic Catholic Center) in Washington, DC, an organization which provides educational, medical and legal help to immigrants; Archbishop Michael Miller, a specialist on the papacy and modern papal teaching and Allen Hunt, creator of a nationally syndicated mainstream talk radio show focused on "where real life and faith come together.”
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. on June 4th. The Friday evening session begins with Mass celebrated at 6:30 p.m. by Bishop Luis Zarama followed by a healing service with Father Jack Durkin at 7:45 p.m. Parallel to the healing service will be “Revive” for young adults featuring live music. Adults, single or married, from the ages of 18 to 40, are invited to listen to the Catholic rock superstar Matt Maher perform “unplugged’. The inspiration continues with presentations given by Father Leo Patalinghug and Tiffany Lambert.
In response to the growing popularity of this multicultural event, two new tracks have been added to Friday night --- a Francophone track and a Brazilian track. Both tracks will run from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Pedro Poloche and Father Roger Araujo with the Archdiocese of Atlanta will serve as the Brazilian track speakers and Father Jules Campion from Haiti is to lead the Francophone track.
On Saturday, June 5th, doors open at 7:30 a.m. with the solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament at 8:30 a.m. The procession brings together priests, first communicants, altar servers, and representatives from schools, parishes and ministries followed by adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 10 a.m. Archbishop Gregory will welcome participants and introduce Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Young and old will find a place on Saturday to be inspired in the following list of tracks: general, deaf, Hispanic, Vietnamese, kid and teen track for children, all beginning at 11:00 a.m.
In the general track, speakers include Deacon Dennis Dorner, Director of the Permanent Diaconate and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Archbishop Michael Miller, Johnette Benkovic, founder of Living His Life Abundantly International Inc., Allen Hunt, and Father Mitch Pacwa, founder of Ignatius Productions.
This year, Father Michael Medas, a long time advocate and minister for the deaf community, will be the featured speaker for the deaf track.
The Hispanic track features speakers with a range of experience working with the Hispanic community. The emcee, Juan Diaz, is the current host of a Catholic radio program of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, “Nuestra Fe” (Our Faith). He will introduce speakers Dr. Carmen Cervantes, Executive Director of Instituto Fe y Vida (Faith and Life Institute),Ricardo Castanon-Gomez President of the “Grupo Internacion para la Paz”, and Archbishop Michael Miller.
The Vietnamese community will welcome Father Joseph Nguyen Van Thinh, the Pastor of Vinh Sơn Parish in Việt Nam and a Theology professor at Saint Joseph of Sài Gòn and Bishop Peter Tran Dinh Tu, well known for his insight on the Eucharist.
Back by popular demand, children from 5 to 11 years old will be entertained by Christ Music Kids in the track for kids. Singer-songwriter, Matt Maher, will also make an appearance at this year’s teen track for 6th- through 12th-graders as well as Bob Rice.
Greg and Jennifer Willits, hosts of the Sirius XM satellite radio show “The Catholics Next Door” will be broadcasting live from the Georgia International Convention Center on Sirius XM on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., providing a national stage and audience for this year’s congress gathering. “To me, the Eucharistic Congress gives us an opportunity each year to experience what I consider to be a rarity, especially in the south: to be gathered with tens of thousands of Catholics for the sole purpose of growing closer to Jesus in the Eucharist. Each year the congress seems to be “better than the last,” said Greg Willits, the father of five. “We are continually amazed at the ways God continues to feed us … each year.”
“I can only imagine that our numbers will be equal to the past couple of years where we maxed out capacity,” said Deacon Dorner when the congress attracted up to 30,000 people. “The popularity has to do with Catholics’ love and devotion to Jesus Christ, real and present in the Eucharist.”
The media is invited to a press conference on Saturday, June 5, at 11:00 a.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center outside of Hall D. To view the Eucharistic Congress Press Kit and biographical information on all speakers visit the official Web site at www.archatl.com/congress
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