Bishop Jugis celebrates ad limina Mass at St. Peter's Basilica
VATICAN CITY — When Bishop Peter J. Jugis and the other 14 bishops from North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida stepped out into St. Peter's Basilica, walked past the baldacchino (canopy) over the tomb of St. Peter and processed through the main nave, they caught the attention of the thousands of visitors who were visiting the basilica on May 8.
But as they walked closer to their destination of the altar of Blessed John Paul II, where Bishop Jugis was to celebrate Mass, they had to turn left. Another priest had co-opted that altar for an unscheduled Mass, so the basilica's ushers directed the bishops to keep walking until they reached the Altar of John XXIII. It was a humorous moment for the group, one that "Good Pope John" would surely have appreciated. His preserved body lay beneath the altar, on display behind glass, and it was almost as if he might sit up and wave at the group of bishops who had unexpectedly gathered around him.
This sudden change drew a big smile from Bishop Jugis, who took it all in stride and embraced the challenge of redirecting some of his remarks at Mass and during his homily to suit the situation.
During his homily, Bishop Jugis reminded the bishops that they had come to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul during the Ad Limina visit, "to draw inspiration and courage from the faithful witness of these shepherds of the flock, each of whom in his own time shed his blood in witness to the Gospel." Read the full homily, see more photos and a video clip.
He then spoke of the Cross and the suffering that is experienced when standing up for the Gospel. He shared all of the hardship and resistance he and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh have endured as a result of the marriage amendment battle in North Carolina.
"I shared with another bishop my sadness over this criticism of our support for something as beautiful and foundational to society as traditional marriage," he said. "We know the lines in the sand are drawn not only on this issue of the definition of marriage, but also on other issues such as religious liberty, and the culture of abortion, and that the bishop is called upon to be courageous in witnessing to the Gospel."
He then recalled the courageous witness to the truth in the ministry of St. Peter, St. Paul, and Blessed John Paul II.
"We recall the words from the Acts of the Apostles regarding the Apostles' courage in the face of opposition: "The apostles left the Sanhedrin full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name. Day after day, both in the temple and at home, they never stopped preaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus the Messiah (Acts 5: 41-42).
As shepherds of our respective dioceses, we ask for the grace to "never stop preaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus the Messiah."
During his closing remarks, Bishop Jugis reminded the bishops, "During these days of our ad limina pilgrimage we have the opportunity for prayer and renewal. Every day during our ministry we already carry all the faithful of our diocese in our heart, but these days of our pilgrimage give us a special opportunity to pray for our diocese at the holy shrines of Rome. May we be renewed in our commitment to Christ and His Church, and to the proclamation of the Lord's Gospel."
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Total love for Jesus is the measure of a man of God, pope tells bishopsVATICAN CITY — The depth of a bishop or priest's love for Jesus and his willingness to give up everything for God are the litmus test for how well the pastor is fulfilling his ministry, Pope Francis said. "We are not the face of an organization...
Pope Francis to visit birthplace of his namesake on saint's feast dayVATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will visit the birthplace of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, on the saint's feast day, Oct. 4. The Vatican confirmed the trip May 23. Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi said he was thrilled about the...
Be salt of the earth, not 'museum Christians,' pope says at MassVATICAN CITY — Christians are called to be the salt of the earth, and if they don't share the flavor of their faith, hope and love with others, they are simply "museum Christians," Pope Francis said. "Salt has meaning when it gives flavor...
Pope says Christians must recognize good others do, work with themVATICAN CITY — Christians are called to welcome and cooperate with the good accomplished by members of other religions or no religion at all, promoting a culture of dialogue and peace, Pope Francis said. "We are all children of God -- all...
Pope, visiting shelter, says Christian charity is witness of God's loveVATICAN CITY — Marking the 25th anniversary of the Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen and women's shelter at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that while unbridled capitalism has taught people that money is more important than anything else,...
Struggle for power in church is sin, pope says at MassVATICAN CITY — Careerism and a drive to seek power in the church are sins as old as the church itself, Pope Francis told a group of employees from Vatican Radio and from the Vatican's office for pilgrims and tourists. Commenting on the day's...
Vatican denies pope performed public exorcismVATICAN CITY — When Pope Francis solemnly laid both hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair and prayed intently over him for several minutes, he was not performing an exorcism, said the Vatican spokesman. The young man, who was among...
When church is too serious, it loses its loving, tender side, pope saysVATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church needs to revive its loving and tender side, which gets lost when the church becomes too serious, Pope Francis said. The church has ended up with "deviations, sects and heresies when it got too serious, that...
Recognize your sin, ask forgiveness, pope says at MassVATICAN CITY — The key problem in everyone's relationship with God is not that they sin, but that they are not ashamed of their sin and don't ask forgiveness, Pope Francis said. In a homily about St. Peter's relationship with Jesus, Pope...
Pope says head of mission office teaches him about reality of churchVATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which cares for the church in mission territories, has been teaching him about the nuts and bolts reality of the universal Catholic Church. "He...