It is one of the busiest (and sometimes craziest) airports in the world. Now, it has a place of refuge and peace for the stressed or stranded passengers. For anyone traveling who wants to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport now offers a 24/7 eucharistic chapel.
The chapel was dedicated and blessed by Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer of Atlanta on Monday, February 13. The tabernacle was actually placed in the airport in November, according to CNA. The chapel was not able to be blessed by the archbishop until Monday because of security restrictions at the airport which require anyone beyond the security checkpoint to be a passenger of a flight (or of course an employee of the airport). Archbishop Hartmayer was on his way to catch a flight Monday and made use of his ability to enjoy the chapel, bless, and dedicate it.
The chapel is located in the international terminal of the airport so it does not benefit domestic travelers much, but it certainly provides a welcome grace for those coming into the country as well as those departing. Chaplain Father Kevin Peek told Catholic News Agency he has already seen individuals crying in the chapel and expressing their job at being able to spend time with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament while traveling through the airport.
The chapel will also provide an opportunity for communion services and Mass to be held at the world’s busiest airport. Mass is currently held there on Saturday night and Sunday night, which also coincides with the reportedly busiest travel days of the week. Deacons hold Communion services in the chapel on Thursday and Friday.
Although the chapel is designed to be an interfaith chapel (to enable others to use the space), it provides the ability for Catholics to spend some time before the Lord in the tabernacle. With the tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament in it the possibilities are unlimited as to how Christ can use this opportunity to spread His message of love, forgiveness, and peace in a violent and hate filled world. Next time you are traveling internationally through Atlanta, stop by and spend a few minutes with Jesus in the tabernacle or attend Mass.
The Catechism calls the Eucharist the "source and summit" of our faith. Now, it can be a source of peace, prayer, and calm in the midst of the chaos of traveling. It can also be a place of refuge for employees and airline crew members. The chapel is available to both passengers and employees.