Bishops bring news of 'dynamic' dioceses to Rome
VATICAN CITY — The bishops of North and South Carolina, Florida and Georgia made their ad limina visits to the Holy Father and to the tomb of St. Peter this week, bringing reports of their flourishing dioceses and praying for courage in their work to build up the Church across the South.
"Ad limina apostolorum" means "to the thresholds of the apostles" Peter and Paul. The heads of dioceses are required to make the visits every five years or so to celebrate Mass at the tombs of the apostles martyred in Rome, meet with Pope Benedict XVI to report on the status of their dioceses, and hold discussions with Vatican officials on issues of common concern.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta led the contingent of prelates from around the Atlanta Province, who kicked off their week-long visit with Mass at the tomb of St. Peter below St. Peter's Basilica on May 7. Archbishop Gregory was the principal celebrant and homilist.
Archbishop Gregory told his brother bishops, "As we go about our ministries as bishops, we have to remember that what we do is to glorify the Lord in our service of the people that we are privileged to care for, the people who come to us looking for guidance and direction and hope," he said.
While Christian charity demands efforts to meet the material and physical needs of the poor and suffering, Christians must offer more in response to requests for help, he said. Christians, especially bishops, are called to "provide faith and hope and encouragement, joy and possibility. As we gather this morning around the tomb of Peter, we ask the Lord to give us a share of his courage, a share of his witness and a share of his capacity to love."
The ad limina activities continued with the official meeting on May 8 with Pope Benedict, who heard from the bishops that the Church in the South is dynamic and growing, Bishop Peter Jugis said.
For example, the Charlotte diocese's population has grown more than 21 percent in the past eight years, to 64,281 registered households in 2011. The total estimated number of Catholics, registered and unregistered, also grew 22 percent over the same period: from 145,148 in 2004 to 177,364 in 2011. Average weekly Mass attendance also grew nearly 16 percent, from 83,000 people in 2004 to 96,000 in 2011. More than 27,000 children were enrolled in schools and faith formation programs in 2011.
This was the first ad limina meeting with Pope Benedict for Bishop Jugis, who made his last ad limina visit in 2004 to meet with Pope John Paul II. Accompanying him this time was Father Roger Arnsparger, diocesan vicar of education and chair of the diocesan Eucharistic Congress planning committee.
Education and communication were key topics during the bishops' Vatican visit: the pope has repeatedly emphasized the importance of using social media, strengthening the Catholic colleges and evangelizing in the public sphere to spread the Gospel. He also has declared a Year of Faith that will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in October – a time to highlight the historic council as well as encourage catechesis.
During their visit with the pope on May 8, the bishops spoke for a few minutes about their dioceses and had their photos taken with him. Each talked about how they are using communication to spread the Gospel and foster education.
"The Holy Father was very engaging and very interested in all we had to say," Bishop Jugis said.
Bishop Jugis spoke about Catholic Voice NC, the legislative advocacy organization of the two bishops of North Carolina. Through Catholic Voice NC, the bishops are kept apprised of legislative matters before the General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. When the situation warrants, the bishops inform Catholic Voice NC participants, via e-mail alert, of an important matter. Participants are often asked to contact their elected representatives to ensure that a Catholic viewpoint is taken into consideration.
The organization enables the faithful to get informed quickly and participate in the public sphere "so that Catholics can bring Catholic social teaching to the decision-making process of our government," Bishop Jugis said.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh discussed the state's constitutional amendment to protect marriage, which was approved by voters May 8, and how Catholic Voice NC worked on that issue as well as advocating for the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which enables death-row inmates to appeal their sentences in instances of racial bias.
"It was a very relaxed meeting," Bishop Jugis noted – more like a conversation than a formal meeting.
At the end of the visit, the Holy Father gave each bishop a pectoral cross and rosaries as mementos.
The rest of the week, the bishops spent in a series of meetings with Vatican offices. They included the congregations in charge of doctrine, clergy, bishops, worship, education and religious orders, and pontifical councils that deal with ecumenism, the family and laity. The bishops also met with the council for new evangelization.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer. Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service contributed.
New deacon welcomed at St John NeumannCHARLOTTE — Deacon Joseph Denzler has been granted faculties by Bishop Peter J. Jugis and has been assigned to St John Neumann Parish in Charlotte. Deacon Denzler was ordained for the diocese of Brooklyn in New York on May 23, 2009. A native...
CRS CEO Woo visits Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High PointHIGH POINT — "The work we do is in your name," Dr. Carolyn Woo told parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point May 20. "Your presence is what we bring into the world." The special visit from the president and CEO of Catholic...
College students spend weekend 'awakening' their faithKING — A group of Catholic students from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently held their first Awakening Retreat at Camp Hanes in King. Aided by Raleigh's Catholic Campus Ministries and...
Postcard from Kingston: My impressions of our parish mission trip to JamaicaKINGSTON, Jamaica — I was feeding a young boy named Paul, who couldn't speak or use his limbs. He was sitting in a chair and I was in a child's chair beside him. As I began to feed him I could see his eyes following me, and it was at that...
'Yankee' turned Southern pastor reflects on 60 years as a priestALLEGANY, N.Y. — Sixty years ago on May 14, 1953, Monsignor Thomas Walsh was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro. Just a few short years before, Monsignor Walsh didn't even know anything about North Carolina....
Nuns get on the bus for immigration reformCHARLOTTE — The nationwide "Nuns on the Bus" campaign by members of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby led by Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director, will stop in Charlotte Friday, May 31, to highlight the urgent need for...
Military Mass planned for July 7CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter J. Jugis will celebrate a Mass for U.S. military personnel at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. The Mass and rosary (to be recited at 3 p.m.) will be offered for all military personnel...
Catholic Charities celebrates new nameCHARLOTTE — Dr. Gerard Carter, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, formally Catholic Social Services, introduced the agency's new name and logo at an unveiling ceremony May 17 at the Pastoral Center in Charlotte. Forty...
Belmont parish hosts community shredding eventBELMONT — A Community Shredding Fundraising Event was held May 4, at Queen of the Apostles Church in Belmont. According to event organizer, parishioner George Burazer, the event had several aims: to provide people with a convenient way to...
Sunshine, smiles light up Belmont Abbey College graduationSavannah bishop encourages grads to be excited about their faith BELMONT — At 8:55 on May 11, their last morning as students of the Benedictine-run Belmont Abbey College, 364 graduates gathered one last time to join the monks for prayer....
Dozens of youth confirmed at St. Ann ChurchCHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter Jugis confirmed 28 youth from St. Ann Church on May 13 at 7 pm. He spoke to the confirmands in his homily, telling them, "God the Father has chosen you this evening to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in...
New Redemptorist parochial vicar joins Concord, Kannapolis parishesCONCORD — Redemptorist Father Aldrin Christopher Roswell Nunes has been appointed parochial vicar at St. James the Greater Church in Concord, effective April 23, Bishop Peter J. Jugis recently announced. Father Nunes will serve both St. James...
Renewing roots in charityLearn about the new Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Since 2005 we have celebrated Catholic Social Services Week. Each year this week provides an opportunity for our parishioners to become more...
Charlotte seminarians graduate from Pontifical College JosephinumCOLUMBUS, Ohio — The second Saturday of May was a joyful day at the Pontifical College Josephinum, as the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy held its 114th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises. Diocese of Charlotte seminarians...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy