Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 6, 1966
A Decree Convoking The 1st Archdiocesan Synod
1. In the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By the ordinary authority of the Archbishop of Atlanta, I hereby convoke the First Archdiocesan Synod to be held November 20-22, 1966. It is called in the Spirit of the Sacred Scriptures recalling the early Church as narrated in the Acts of the Apostles. Under the direct influence of the program of awareness, reform, unity with other Christians and sensitivity especially to our entire human society (enumerated in Pope Paul VIs opening address in 1963), let us meet during these sacred days to renew the Church in Northern Georgia. May it by Gods power and our human efforts reveal to the world, faithfully though darkly, the mystery of the Lord until, in the end, it will be manifested in full light. (Constitution On the Church, #8).
2. The areas to be prepared, debated and voted upon are: (1) The archdiocese; (2) The parish: the living cell; (3) priests and people; (4) Christian formation; (5) The Church in the community. Chairmen and members of 28 committees are now working on the various subjects to be included.
3. Every priest of the archdiocese, both diocesan and religious, is called to the work of the Synod, each bringing his own wisdom and skills, his charity and his aspirations for the Church. Although, by canon law, the sole legislator strictly speaking is the Archbishop, the Synod must enlist the participation of the clergy. Their counsel, recommendations and criticism are indispensable for the fruitful formation and activation of the Synods decrees.
4. In addition, the Synod will have the benefit of the varied and rich experience of our Religious Sisters and of our laity. Both groups will hold congresses in the spring. It is expected that from these assemblies many worthwhile recommendations will be forwarded to the Synod.
The Congress for Religious and the Congress for Laity will be related to the Synod in three ways:
a) Each will forward to the proper Synod Committee those recommendations approved by a majority of the delegates;
b) Religious and lay consultants are to be invited to attend, advise and take part in preparatory meetings arranged by the Synod Committees. They will have consultative, but not deliberative, voices;
c) A representative group of Religious and laity will be selected at the respective Congresses to attend the Synod as auditors.
5. After the three events have been held, an appraisal committee will be appointed by the archbishop to review all parts of the years program. This report will be made to the archbishop, and proper committees of the Synod and two Congresses.
6. The Synod will be a reflection of the great Vatican Council just ended, but it will be local, not universal in its purpose. With Gods grace, it will breathe the same vigorous air. It will preserve the deposit of faith, and at the same time, meet the challenge of todays world. In exercising their office of father and pastor, bishops must stand as those who serve in the midst of their people....good shepherds, true fathers. (On the Pastoral Office of Bishops, #16) Priest, their prudent cooperators, are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity, a pattern to the flock (On the Church, #28). Religious must enter vigorously into the external works of the apostolate. (On the Pastoral Office of Bishops, #33). The laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth. (On the Church, #33). In the Mystical Body of Christ, no part can remain indifferent to the divine plan of the Head.
7. The holy lives and practical human efforts of priests, sisters and laymen and laywomen for more than a century have been the foundation - stones of the Church as we know it today in northern Georgia. The architects were ten zealous and tireless bishops - Gartland, Barry, Verot, Persico, Gross, Becker, Keiley, Keyes, OHara and Hyland. Catholics were always few in numbers, but they were strong in faith. We are standing on the shoulders of them all as we hear this new call from the Holy See to enter another chapter in the history of the Church.
8. In confidence born of the program of church renewal personified in Paul VI and the Council Fathers, I hereby convoke this Archdiocesan Synod as the authentic voice of the People of God, - archbishop, priests, religious and laity. To this end I entreat your prayers and your efforts, mindful of those great popes from Leo XIII to John XXIII, and asking the intercession and help of Our Blessed Lady, Mary Queen of Wisdom.
Given at Atlanta, January 6, 1966
On the Feast of the Epiphany
Paul J. Hallinan
Archbishop of Atlanta