Church growth and expansion was the topic when leading bishops of the Catholic Church’s Atlanta province met recently in South Carolina.

“We are all in a growth mode. That’s a good thing,” Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta told the Diocese of Charleston’s newspaper The Catholic Miscellany.

“We are spending part of our time here talking about the need to establish new parishes, expand pastoral outreach, and respond to growing numbers both from immigration and those moving here from other parts of the country,” the archbishop continued. “We all are sharing in this growth.”

The growth in part reflects the number of Catholics moving south from northern dioceses. Though this results in the closures of churches and schools in former Catholic strongholds, it is driving new expansion in the U.S. South.

The provincial meeting, held in Charleston June 26-28, was attended by bishops, auxiliary bishops, and one auxiliary bishop-elect from the Savannah and Charleston dioceses as well as from the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Another focus of the province’s bishops was how legislation and the political climate are affecting immigrant populations.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston said the issue is especially important because most of the Hispanic immigrants are Catholic.

“We realize that we have those who are documented and undocumented, and they are all our brothers and sisters,” he told The Catholic Miscellany. “We have to see how we can be of assistance to them.”