Faith Heats Up in Atlanta

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta at his archdiocese's 2007 Eucharistic Congress.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta at his archdiocese's 2007 Eucharistic Congress. (photo: CNS)

Catholic bloggers Sherry Weddell and Rocco Palmo have drawn attention to the vitality of the Church in Atlanta.

According to Weddell, who is co-director of the St. Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo.:

Atlanta: One of the healthiest dioceses I’ve ever worked in where the diocesan staff are openly disciples (yes, I am implying that this is not always the case). Orthodox, wonderfully creative and not driven by fear. This may be one consequence of living in the Bible Belt, where it is normal for Christian faith to manifest in public and where Catholics don’t feel as besieged by the culture. The renewal in Atlanta started about 15 years ago, and one of the major catalysts seems to have been Eucharistic adoration.

Palmo cites Weddell’s assessment in an entry he posted yesterday at his Whispers in the Loggia blog titled “Hotlanta: ‘Grain Once Scattered’ … Now a Juggernaut”:

Writes Palmo:

Suffice it to say, the fruit is considerable — in the heart of the Bible Belt, the North Georgia Church has seen a more than fivefold increase in membership over the last two decades, exploding from 150,000 in 1990 to within striking distance of 800,000 today ... and — as if that wasn’t enough — a concurrent increase by half of the diocesan presbyterate (121 in 1990 to 181 today), with eight more priests ordained last weekend ... and, what’s more still, they can’t build or expand the schools quickly enough.

Oh, and — while we’re at it — over 2,700 adults were received into the local Church there over the last year.

If all keeps up — and by the looks of it, the rate of the rise just keeps accelerating — it won’t be long before a red bird comes home to Peachtree Street.