Sunday, August 16, 2015


The Catholic Church in the metro Augusta, Georgia area is quite strong and unified. The metro area that takes in a portion of South Carolina (Charleston Diocese) from North Augusta, SC to Aiken, SC has more Catholics in it than the metro area of Savannah, Georgia, the See City of our Diocese. But metro Augusta is far more public in its witness to the Catholic Faith than Savannah, Georgia's Catholics who think wearing green for a few weeks prior to the Saint Patrick's Day festivities and debauchery is what constitutes true Catholicism, but I digress, although I'd like to see Augusta become the See City as they have earned it!

Last week there was a rally of hundreds of Christians in Augusta, Georgia to protest in front of the murderous corporation Planned Parenthood in downtown. This for profit organization on Broad Street, just 8 blocks from my former rectory on Broad Street, slaughters hundreds of children yearly taken from mothers they have counseled. One wonders what body parts were traded?

But the amazing thing was that the secular newspaper in town, the Augusta Chronicle promoted it prior to it happening (the Christian rally at Planned Parenthood) and then covered it heavily and prominently in their paper! The Macon Telegraph owned and operated by a big corporation insensitive to the religious composition of Macon, would never have done this. They are owned or purchased by the McClatchy organization with its ideologies. It is a disaster for a local community to have its news and editorial policies distorted by a faraway media corporation with an agenda. 

Even more astounding is that the Augusta Chronicle also helped to promote a "Walk for Jesus" in downtown Augusta yesterday (Saturday) and then place its coverage of it on the front page of the paper this morning, Sunday!

It was an ecumenical event, but something Catholics would appreciate, an outdoor procession! Here is the Augusta Chronicle's coverage of the story. Kudos to them (they are locally owned!)

Christians march in unity

Thousands bring prayer, praise downtown

JOn-MICHaeL SuLLIvan/STaff Arthur Blessitt (left) leads the crowd in a song at Augusta Common after thousands marched on Broad Street in Augusta’s first March for Jesus on Saturday morning. The group Christians in the Media organized the event.
People sing and dance at the March for Jesus. The event was held to “change this nation through prayer and praise” and to acknowledge the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

 People walk down Broad Street with crosses during the March for Jesus. The event drew people of many different denominations along with Christian motorcycle clubs.

As soon as Wouter Ceyssens heard about the March for Jesus, he knew he wanted his whole family to participate.

Watching Saturday’s activities on Augusta Common, he said he was happy to be part of an event that “really united us Christians in Christ’s love.”

“You see all kinds of speakers from many different churches and denominations participating here today. That’s really something awesome to see,” said Ceyssens, a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church (Augusta). “You often hear about a big Catholic conference or a Protestant gathering, but very rarely do you see an event that brings all of us together like this. I’m glad to be in an event that’s not just telling others what we are against, but also what we support.”

Ceyssens was one of thousands of people carrying crosses, singing hymns and waving flags as they marched down Broad Street. Many said they hoped to draw strength from a united display of faith.
“Many times, I feel like Christians think they have to hide in corners. But we need to gather together. It’s a great way to gain encouragement and strength in this hard life” – Lyle wolfgram, Hephzibah resident

There was no official number of those taking part, but the crowd filled Augusta Common and much of Broad Street, and one speaker said the 10,000 expected had shown up.

The event, organized by local Christian radio and television stations, was meant to be a “way to change this nation through prayer and praise,” and to acknowledge ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

“This is exciting, isn’t it? And it’s only the beginning for us. We plan to keep on going,” Watchmen Broadcasting CEO Dorothy Spaulding said to the crowd after the march. “This rally not only brings glory to God but is a first step in taking our city back … through prayer and praise it will happen.”

Local churches and Christian motorcycle clubs participated in the rally. Arthur Blessitt, who has carried the cross in every nation and is listed in Guinness World Records for the longest walk, took part in the march and gave a sermon afterward.

Participants sang and danced at Augusta Common throughout the morning.
Hephzibah resident Lyle Wolfgram, who works as a street preacher, said it felt “great to band together.”

“Many times, I feel like Christians think they have to hide in corners. But we need to gather together. It’s a great way to gain encouragement and strength in this hard life,” Wolfgram said. “It does do me some good to look around here and see that I’m not the only one in this boat … that there are more people who feel like I do.”

The event did draw at least two counter-demonstrators. One of them, Harlem resident Patrick Moorehead, said he had a “very positive experience” debating the marches.

“I’ve gotten about five hugs since I set up here this morning,” he said from the edge of the common. “I’m not out here to demonize. Many people here are very loving and don’t have bigoted beliefs. But I am hoping that maybe I can debate some people’s views on gay marriage or helping the poor and change some minds here. … I’d just like to see some Christians act more Christ-like.”

Watch a video and see a slideshow from Saturday’s March for Jesus at


gob said...

Too bad John Nolan couldn't have been there for the music and the dancing and arm waving. He could have dazzled everybody with some chant....

rcg said...


John Nolan said...

I can't believe that those who organized this jamboree were unaware that it was the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption. One of the tactics of aggressive Protestantism is to pit Jesus against His Blessed Mother. So it's hardly ecumenical and is, at least in part, a counter-Marian demonstration.

Fifty years ago Catholics would have seen through this straight away. Their pastors would have staged a proper Marian procession with suitable hymns and chants (yes, gob, Catholics could sing Salve Regina and Ave Maris Stella, and recite the Litany of Loreto).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, that is a bit cynical as Catholics in Augusta while strong, still constitute a tiny minority and the Episcopal Church is quite smaller. I doubt that Protestant organizers in any way considered the Assumption as a way to keep Catholics from going to Mass or demonstrating their faith in the Assumption by any kind of other procession as street processions are not a tradition for Catholics in Georgia, although we have attempted them in the past but in a sort of contrived way as these are not a natural part of our Catholic culture, compared to predominately Catholic countries where processions are quite common, i.e Italy. We do have parades, like on St. Patrick's Day, but the religious significance of these parades are often lost.

John Nolan said...

It is not an attempt to keep Catholics from going to Mass. It is, however, a witness to the fact that most Protestants consider Catholic Marian devotion to be sacrilegious, and are using the focus on Jesus to make their point. I don't think I'm being overly cynical, but I do think you are being naïf.

Catholics and Episcopalians may be a tiny minority in the state of Georgia and the multifarious Protestant sects the overwhelming majority but they know in the larger scheme of things they are not that significant; they cling to their bibles without acknowledging the fact that the Church predates the New Testament and it was the Church which decided what would be included in the bible and what should be rejected.

Do not appear to condone their heresy by joining them. And don't, under any circumstances, wave your arms around.

rcg said...

John, if I don't wave my arms how else will I fly over Jordan? John, is, except for the parts related to lift, correct. I am always surprised at the number of people who think praying to saint is worshiping a saint. I also think that our nation could benefit emmensly from a devotion to and study of Mary.

Lefebvrian said...

"I also think that our nation could benefit emmensly from a devotion to and study of Mary."

That's an understatement!

gob said...

John Nolan....Far from being involved in some evil conspiracy to "pit Jesus against His Blessed Mother" or to overshadow the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, or concern over Catholic veneration of Mary, I would like to suggest that most Protestants do not really care...rarely if ever think about any of the above subjects. You very likely think about protestants a lot more than they think about I think that mostly they are quite comfortable practicing their faith...their denomination and ignoring us. (BUT, of course, we are charged with the task of turning them all into Catholics. They feel no such pressure about converting us.)

John Nolan said...

Gob, get real. Aggressive evangelism by extreme Protestants with no shortage of funds is seriously eroding Catholicism in Latin America. The fact that Catholic veneration of Mary is deeply Christological is not something that the Jesus-freaks, with their simplistic outlook, are likely to appreciate.

gob said...

"Jesus Freaks"

John Nolan said...

Gobshite, how else would you describe them? I don't know whether you have visited Northern Ireland but evangelical Protestantism there identifies itself by its hostility to the Catholic Church. The late Ian Paisley got his 'doctorate' from the Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Your bible-belt Jesus-freaks are all cut from the same cloth. I'm with Hilaire Belloc:

Heretics all, where e'er you may be,
In Tarbes, or Nîmes, or over the sea;
You never will have good words from me:
Caritas non conturbat me.

But Catholic men who live upon wine
Are deep in the water and frank and fine;
Wherever I travel I find it so:
Benedicamus Domino.

Lefebvrian said...

Gob, you do know that "Jesus Freaks" is the proper name of a 20th century American Protestant "movement" and not a derogatory moniker coined by Mr. Nolan, right?

John Nolan said...

Thanks, Lefebvrian, but I wouldn't want that fact to mitigate my disapprobation.