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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

090817 kirbyPhotos, videos from the opening night

CHARLOTTE — Friday night’s opening Sept. 8 of the 13th Annual Eucharistic Congress at the Charlotte Convention Center had a little something for everyone - joy, music, prayer, Adoration – and a little fire and brimstone.

Bishop Peter Jugis opened the congress with a warm welcome to all those who came out for the evening’s events, leading the faithful in prayer.

Byzantine Rite Vespers were then chanted by Father Joseph Matlak, pastor, and Deacon Matthew Hanes, along with parishioners of St. Basil the Great Mission (Byzantine Rite). On this, the evening of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Byzantine Rite acknowledges this feast as well as the commemoration of her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anne.

And then came Father Jeffrey Kirby, author and pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Indian Land, S.C., who gave an at times fiery address entitled, “With Our Lady in Spiritual Battle.” Father Kirby cut to the chase throughout his address, pointing out how there are barriers, blockades and distractions in our lives today that come to us in a physical and a spiritual order in our lives.

He noted that these things can come to us through our natural enemy, the devil. “Did you know that the devil so hates humanity that he is on a kamikaze mission to destroy as many of God’s children as possible before the End Times?”

God wants a big family (in heaven), though, Father Kirby explained. So Jesus is waiting to return so that as many people as possible can be saved, he continued.

See videos from the opening night of the Eucharistic Congress

“Only when we realize that we need to be saved can the work of Our Redeemer begin,” he said. “We have to deny and order the distractions of our world. We have to convict the fallen distractions and attractions of our heart and we have to denounce the evil one in all his ways, in all his allurements and in all his lies! Then Jesus Christ can work.”

Father Kirby also addressed the pivotal role Our Lady plays in our triumph against the evil one.

“In the beginning of time human damnation happened because a virgin spoke to an angel. Eve spoke to Lucifer. In the Divine Pedagogy where God fixes what is broken, the beginning of our redemption begins, the beginning of the work of our Savior begins when a virgin speaks to an angel, Mary to Gabriel.

“There, when she gave the answer that Eve should have given, Our Lady unties the knot,” Father Kirby said. (She) replaces disobedience with faith. Our Lady conceives the Son of God. There in his unborn state, Jesus begins the work of His redemption.

Father Kirby called attention to Our Lady’s docility, to her heart and to her mission.

“We could say Our Lady declared her faith and showed her docility. We can say, in more contemporary jargon, the Dogma lived loudly in her. The Dogma dwelled within her because of that yes.”

He illustrated Our Lady’s role in Our Lord’s mission and how she can help us in our mission.

Father Kirby used the examples of when Our Lady and St. Joseph searched for Jesus for three days. “Spiritual writers tell us those three days were preparing Our Lady for the three days Our Lord would lie in the tomb. That God the Father was fashioning Our Lady for her own mission.”

He also recalled the events of the wedding at Cana, where Our Lady brought the plight of the couple and the lack of wine to Jesus’ attention, to which she told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

“Our Lady was there, always attentive… We have to see the Marian dimension to His public life and His public ministry… Jesus prepares His mother for her ministry, to be His first disciple.”

He noted how Our Lady stood at the foot of the cross, the Stabat Mater. How she was in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came down upon her and the Apostles.

“Our Lady received the Holy Spirit for the mission to be the Mother of the Church, Mother of our discipleship to guard and protect the Body of Christ. We see her in Revelation 12 as she fights and destroys the dragon seeking the decimation of God’s children.

“We see Our Lady being strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit so when the devil, that fallen angel thinks he has any power or control, Our Lady full of Grace, recipient of the Holy Spirit, spouse of the Holy Spirit destroys him, embarrasses him, mocks him and kicks him out!

“Because while that angel may surpass her by nature, she blows him out of the water by Grace. Our Lady has that beautiful power given to her in the Upper Room with her sons, the Apostles.”

Father Kirby pointed out the unprecedented spread of the Gospel and the Christian faith after they received the Holy Spirit.

Recalling that Our Lady is ever near, he noted that Our Lady ‘makes house calls’, appearing in places like Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, Akita and Knock.

“Our Lady is always willing to make house calls and she is fulfilling this mission that was given to her in the Upper Room, at Pentecost. That she intercedes and reminds us to pray, to fast, to turn to her Son and to be a people with consecrated hearts, people of trust.

“Our Lady has always been with us… When the Children of God listen to their Mother, when we turn to Our Lady, and she draws us closer to her Son. When the human family is willing to show the docility of the first disciple, God can do great things. He can bring about miraculous things. He can allow creativity, and virtue and goodness to flourish. But we have to imitate Our Lady, that first disciple.”

Father Kirby said we can take all of this now and apply it to our own discipleship.

“Now, here in this congress, when we have the opportunity to be with Jesus, we have to allow Our Lady to minister to us as she seeks to minister to the Church, to humanity.”
The night continued with a procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament to St. Peter’s Church for Exposition and Adoration and programming for college students.

— SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald

 

Father Matthew Buettner, pastor of St. Michael Church in Gastonia, blesses the Charlotte Convention Center Sept. 8 before the start of the 13th annual Eucharistic Congress. #goeucharist (Photo by John Cosmas, correspondent)
Father Matthew Buettner, pastor of St. Michael Church in Gastonia, blesses the Charlotte Convention Center Sept. 8 before the start of the 13th annual Eucharistic Congress. #goeucharist (Photo by John Cosmas, correspondent)
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Father Joseph Matlak, pastor of St. Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Charlotte, leads Vespers Friday night in honor of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. (Photo by John Cosmas, correspondent)
Father Joseph Matlak, pastor of St. Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Charlotte, leads Vespers Friday night in honor of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. (Photo by John Cosmas, correspondent)
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Father Jeff Kirby. Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Father Jeff Kirby. Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald
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