Traveling priests reflect on the ad limina pilgrimage
ROME — Pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Atlanta were blessed to have several priests accompany them to Italy for the 10-day ad limina pilgrimage, May 2-12.
Father Christopher Roux, rector/pastor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Charlotte, Father John Eckert, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro, and Father Michael Silloway, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, were with them every step of the way.
Here they share some of their reflections on their experiences as ad limina pilgrims and priests.
Pictured: Father Christopher Roux and Father John Eckert in the Tomb of St. Peter. Photo by SueAnn Howell.
"To be with Benedict XVI on Wednesday and then the first pope (at the Tomb of St. Peter), I don't think we could have had more beautiful experiences as pilgrims than to do those two things," said Father Christopher Roux, who served as spiritual advisor for the approximately 40 pilgrims.
"To see the tomb of the first pope and also see the current pope, and to think of all the many popes who make up the continuous line of faith that has nurtured this world and will continue to nurture it, and to think of all the attempts to destroy the Church by all those who have tried to destroy the Church...Where are they and where are we?"
"It just shows that the Rock (St. Peter)...that Jesus picked the right guy," he joked.
"It was an amazing experience to be at the place that is the heart of the Vatican. To be right there, near the bones of the prince of the Apostles, St. Peter...I'll put it this way, it was an amazing experience," said Father John Eckert.
Father Michael Silloway also shared his enthusiasm about accompanying the pilgrims. "It fills me with a lot of joy and hope (to see the pilgrims on their journey)," he said.
"Being at a cathedral parish myself, where there is a lot of secularism, a lot of people doubting their faith and not knowing their faith, you see the struggle in people. As a priest, you try to minister and try to explain and preach and teach, and even in conversations with people, not just in homilies – you try desperately. Sometimes you wonder if it is having an impact on people.
"What helps about coming here, you can see it happen in people, things click for the first time, it's the moment where they are being evangelized by the architecture, the art, the stories of the saints, their own personal encounters in prayer...
"These stories in the Bible aren't just ancient tales, they are truth, and Jesus is speaking to me through the lived faith that is memorialized in these buildings and the true stories of the martyrs and the saints that have gone before us.
"So when they (pilgrims) walk into St. Peter's and they see the magnanimity of it, they're blown away. They say 'I've seen that on EWTN, I've seen pictures of the pope here' – there's something so Catholic about it, it roots their whole experience in something real and concrete.
"For me to see that, it's uplifting, it's like, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you for working in people. For your Holy Spirit nudging hearts and bringing them so they can have this experience.'
"It encourages me to want to do something like this every year."
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Local annulment cases up after Pope Francis' reformsCHARLOTTE — More people are seeking marriage annulments in the Diocese of Charlotte following the reforms of Pope Francis last year, and diocesan staff are speeding up the review process in light of the pope's instruction to "carry out justice...
NFP Awareness Week begins July 24WASHINGTON, D.C. – "Natural Family Planning. Love, Mercy, Life. Opening the Heart of Marriage" is the theme of this year's Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, a national educational campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to...
Sisters of Mercy elect leadership teamBELMONT — The Sisters of Mercy-South Central Community has elected a five-member Community Leadership Team, comprising sisters currently serving in leadership. The election took place June 24 during the community's assembly in Concord, with...
Pro-life events being held this summerBe a witness for life! Several pro-life events are coming up in the Diocese of Charlotte over the next few weeks: PROCESSION FOR LIFE: Saturday, July 23, starting at St. Ann Church (3635 Park Road, Charlotte) with Mass at 9 a.m. followed by...
One million meals packed for the hungryCHARLOTTE — Approximately 1,400 volunteers came together at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte July 9 to pack 336,312 meals for the hungry, part of the parish's annual World Hunger Drive. The meal packing event was a collaboration with the local...
Fidelis, Fraternus youth celebrate summerHUNTERSVILLE — Youths who participate in Fidelis and Fraternus at St. Mark Church celebrated their Summer Bash July 6. More than 125 youth in sixth-12th grades played games, ate and prayed while nearly 75 adults were on hand to grill, organize...
Vacation Bible School fun at St. Gabriel ChurchCHARLOTTE — More than 130 children and 90 adults and teen volunteers celebrated a fun and faith-filled week of Vacation Bible School "Under the Stars" at St. Gabriel Church the week of June 13-17. Music, crafts, games, Bible stories and snacks...
Youth at service at St. ElizabethBOONE — During the week of June 20, the youth of St. Elizabeth Church gathered for a service camp. During the course of the week, the youth provided service at the county library, FARM cafe, Hebron Colony thrift store, the Hunger and Health...
Having fun with Totus TuusHUNTERSVILLE — More than 80 children at St. Mark Church participated in Totus Tuus this summer, held the week of June 20-24. The children kicked off the week-long summer camp by attending morning Mass. Newly ordained Deacon Brian Becker delivered...
First Communion in JeffersonJEFFERSON — Seventeen children received first Holy Communion on the feast of Corpus Christi at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Pictured with them are Father James Stuhrenberg, pastor, and Father Camilo Cárdenas, the Hispanic Ministry coordinator...
Catholic Heart Workcamp helps out at House of MercyBELMONT — Teen volunteers from Catholic Heart Workcamp recently volunteered at House of Mercy, a nonprofit residence caring for low-income persons living with AIDS. Youth representing Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey and North Carolina...
St. Matthew parishioner admitted to candidacy for priesthood July 5CHARLOTTE — Seminarian Jacob Mlakar, a parishioner of St. Matthew Church in Charlotte, stood before Bishop Peter Jugis July 5 and affirmed his desire to advance along the path towards the priesthood. In the Rite of Admission to Candidacy,...
New St. Mark ministry makes 'survival kits' for police officersHUNTERSVILLE — St. Mark Church's Alzheimer's Respite Ministry recently made "Survival Kit" treat bags to give to the Huntersville Police Department. The bags contained items such as Life Savers candies and PayDay candy bars for a fun way...
Learn about sacred music at St. Ann ChurchCHARLOTTE — What is sacred music and how does it differ from religious music? How did Gregorian chant develop? What is the role of sacred music in the Sacrifice of the Mass? Learn the answers to these questions and more during a free class...
Deacon candidates installed as lectors; deacons affirm promise to serveCHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter Jugis installed 15 candidates to the permanent diaconate as lectors during a July 14 Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. At the same liturgy, approximately 50 permanent deacons from around the Diocese of...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy