Monday, June 28, 2010

Behind the scenes

A gift a reporter receives is visiting a wide array of parishes and experiencing the many beautiful ways the liturgy is celebrated across North Georgia.

Last Wednesday night at St. Jude's Church (Sandy Springs), a prayer vigil was celebrated for Msgr. Daniel J. O'Connor the night before his funeral Mass. Many elements went into this very well-attended wake service, but one catching my attention was the music.

Music director Alan Brown later told me that the choir, at his invitation, was made up of singers who came from not only St. Jude's, but also Sacred Heart (Atlanta) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Alpharetta), where Msgr. O'Connor had been pastor over the years.

Alan Brown said, "I knew he was highly regarded at both churches. This would be an opportunity for musicians from both churches to be at the celebration of his life and to pray for him."

The beautiful soprano solo "Pie Jesu" from Faure's "Requiem" had been requested by Msgr. O'Connor. He once asked Brown to be sure that it was sung at his funeral liturgy by Jeanné Brown, a celebrated soloist whom he had heard at the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw as well as on occasion at St. Jude's.

Sam Hagan, also celebrated in Atlanta and familiar to parishioners at St. Jude and other parishes as a soloist, was the cantor.

The night before, when the 40-member combined choir met for the first and only time to rehearse, a violent storm broke out and the church lost all power and air conditioning. "Everyone got out their cell phones to back light their music," Brown said. Not everything was able to be covered in the rehearsal as a result.

But none of this was evident the following evening in the prayer service that honored the pastor who also loved music.

The next Georgia Bulletin will include an article about the prayer service and the funeral the next day at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Gretchen Keiser, Editor

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the road to South Africa

My colleague, Michael Alexander, wrote about his changing interest in the "beautiful game" and the young people, including a standout from Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, heading to South Africa for a global soccer competition.

In the video below, Katelyn Longino talks about what she hopes to learn from the trip.

Godspeed and safe journey to Katelyn and all the young people from around the world traveling to South Africa for this unique event.


PS: Atlanta Magazine profiled Ricardo Clark, a graduate of St. Pius X Catholic High School who plays for the USA soccer team.

Read this week's Georgia Bulletin to learn the rest of the story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Return Home

It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I was a student at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Lilburn, being shuffled in for a schoolwide Mass. All eight grades just barely fit into the sanctuary, even spilling into the choir area for the extra space. Throughout my time growing up the Stone Mountain/Lilburn area, I encountered the SJN community on a regular basis, whether it was playing guitar in the Life Teen music group or joining the casual softball league with some buddies of mine.

The crucifix in the new St. John Neumann sanctuary. Photo compliments of Anthony R. Socci Photo & Graphic Design.

Tomorrow I will return to SJN for the Mass to dedicate its new church building. Most of you know about the struggles the school and church community endured after severe flooding damaged a good portion of the facilities last year. However, construction on the new building continued shortly afterward, with the spirits of the parishioners hardly dampened. Tomorrow they will all come together to celebrate their new worship space, and one that is well deserved.

I am very excited to be able to attend this important moment for the SJN community and encourage all of you to look for the article on the Mass and dedication in the upcoming issue of The Georgia Bulletin!

Stephen, Staff Reporter

Monday, June 21, 2010

So what exactly is "press day"...?

For several years, whenever I would pick up a newspaper, it never occurred to me the behind-the-scenes work that goes into such a publication. The paper always arrived on my doorstep or in my mailbox fresh and ready to read, looking effortless in its flow and design.

It wasn’t until I started here at The Georgia Bulletin a couple of years ago that I got a taste for what the production process really entails. The detail that goes into the editing, layout and finalization of the paper that is delivered to you every other weekend can be difficult and time consuming.

However, it is a process that is well worth the effort. The hours spent meticulously editing, rearranging or laying out a story at the last minute can be an exciting experience. All of the staff, whether editor, reporter, photographer or design—a team that is usually scattered in their location—come together in a unique way to bring The Georgia Bulletin and news of the archdiocese to you. Now whenever I see a print publication, I find myself noticing little details that I never would have picked up on before my experience with this wonderful paper. I hope now you will take a closer look too!

To be a part of the newspaper which I grew up reading is a special honor. And to experience how it operates behind the scenes has been even more of a treat. In all honesty, I never pictured myself as journalist, though I always loved the written word and my faith. What a blessing to be able to express both with The Georgia Bulletin!

Stephen, Staff Reporter

Bishops from Sudan visit Atlanta

Three bishops from the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference will travel to Atlanta as guests of Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

These bishops from the north, south and central regions of Sudan are visiting the U.S. in connection with the Peaceful Transition for Sudan Initiative of CRS and the USCCB.

CRS is spending $4 million to help the people in war-torn Sudan to build better future.

View Larger Map

The bishops will celebrate Mass at Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, on Sunday June 27, at noon.

--Andrew, reporter

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now I Get A Kick Out Of It

I am not a big fan of soccer or the World Cup for that matter, but I enjoy sports. That means at some point over the course of the World Cup I’ll watch a game or two, especially when it gets down to the semifinals and finals.

Years ago soccer was like the vegetable I didn’t like for no reason. As a kid I didn’t like squash because I just didn’t like it. Mind you I hadn’t tasted it, but I still didn’t like it. Well, one day I was eating at a restaurant and I ordered a side dish of fresh vegetables. I finally tried the squash and I liked it.

It was the same way with soccer. I played it a bit during my P.E. class in junior high school, but it never grew on me, and I most certainly never watched it on television. When my daughter was attending Chamblee High School, she had some friends who played on the varsity team, so I went to a few games with her and I enjoyed watching it live and in person. The same thing was true when I started covering Catholic high school sports for The Georgia Bulletin back in 2007. Once I started photographing and reporting on soccer, it gave me a new appreciation for the game. One of the most exciting soccer games I covered was the 2008 game between the girls of Marist and St. Pius X. It went down to the wire. I’ve also covered some intense games between St. Pius and Woodward Academy.

Earlier this week the World Cup came closer to home when I met and photographed Our Lady of Mercy High School junior soccer player Katelyn Longino. The 16-year-old defensive midfielder also plays soccer for a club team called the AFC Lightning in Fayetteville and she’s involved with an organization called Soccer in the Streets. Longino is one of six Soccer in the Street delegates from Georgia heading off to the World Cup in South Africa on June 26. In addition to participating in a 32-country soccer tournament of five on five, the group will attend some World Cup matches. For more information about Longino and her South African sojourn, see Andrew Nelson’s upcoming article on Longino in the June 24 issue of The Georgia Bulletin.

Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fifteen and Counting

One of my most recent assignments involved photographing the 15th Annual Eucharistic Congress. I covered my first Congress in June 1999. Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholics threw a party celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and the tradition continues to this day. In 1999 the Congress took place at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta. Three photographs accompanied the one and half page story in The Georgia Bulletin, written by editor Gretchen Keiser.

The Eucharistic Congress has grown tremendously over the years and so has its coverage. People always ask me, “How many photographs did you take?” Drum roll please. I took 424 photographs this year, beginning with the opening Mass on Friday, ending with the closing Mass on Saturday, and all the things in between. That doesn’t include the photos taken by freelancer Thomas Spink. They used 30 of my images in the June 10 issue of the newspaper. You can see some of the other photographs on our gallery.

The only down side to the Congress is the physical punishment my body takes that day. It’s a workout! Back and forth, up and down, bending, contorting kneeling, scooting, squatting, and standing. You get the picture.

The best thing about the Eucharistic Congress from my perspective is I get to move around between tracks. I get to see multiple aspects of the Congress as it unfolds.

Moving between tracks I get to see lots of people. Some I’ve previously met or photographed over the years. I don’t always have time to stop and talk, but it’s fun to reconnect with people when time permits. The Eucharistic Congress is like a huge family reunion of Catholics. It’s like meeting the cousins you didn’t know you had.

Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer

Friday, June 11, 2010

Photo Friday

You can see photos taken at the recently completed Catholic Media Convention.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy day

Here's a photo captured with my iPhone:

Deacon Juan Jose Teran greets a well wisher moments after his ordination on Saturday, May 29th. Learn more about the new deacon, including Deacon Charles Okeke, in this week's Georgia Bulletin. Read it here.
(If the photo looks familiar, it was tweeted that day.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A happy assault on the senses

I checked out the celebration of the "KKI" on Sunday, June 6. That'd be the Indonesian Catholic Community that is based at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Atlanta.
The great smells from the grills, the unfamiliar language, seeing traditional arts and crafts really made the day-long event a nice place to spend a few hours.
The community marked 10 years since its founding. But instead of celebrating just themselves, the group invited the whole Indonesian community from Atlanta, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, to the celebration.
And its purpose wasn't to pat themselves on the pat with an 'attaboy. Proceeds from the day were to aid an orphanage back in the home country. --Andrew

A few photos:
Sofjan Handgjo, the coordinator of the Indonesian community.

Exhibits highlighted native arts, including this puppet which is one of 'the three clowns,' known for their mischief and deep wisdom.

Deacon Antonius Anugerah climbs out of the dunk tank.
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