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