Bishop Jugis answers questions in advance of ad limina
CHARLOTTE – Bishop Peter Jugis met with staff writer SueAnn Howell on April 27 to discuss his upcoming ad limina visit to Rome May 6-12:
CNH: What are you looking forward to most about your ad limina and your visit to Rome?
Bishop Jugis: Of course, it would be the visit with the Holy Father. That would be the thing I am looking forward to most. As of this moment, we do not know the precise schedule as to when we will have our meeting with the Holy Father...The meetings of the other offices of the Curia are scheduled, but we are waiting for the pontifical household to tell us when it will fit into his schedule during the week.
CNH: You have met him in the past when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is that correct?
Bishop Jugis: Yes, when I went for the ad limina in 2004 and he was the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We had our session with Cardinal Ratzinger then, so that is the first time I met him.
CNH: What were your impressions of him?
Bishop Jugis: He seemed to be very humble, a gentle person, soft-spoken and very easy to talk to with, no pretense. I felt very comfortable in his presence.
CNH: What are you going to say to him when you see him face to face?
Bishop Jugis: Depending on how long we are able to speak...I plan to use some of the phrases I gave in the ad limina report, that there is a tremendous enthusiasm for the faith in the Diocese of Charlotte and that the faithful are eager to grow in their relationship with Christ and in their knowledge of the faith and to live their faith and witness to the faith...and that there is a very positive, upbeat attitude in our diocese regarding the work we are doing. The faithful have a sense they are involved in an enterprise that is purposeful and worth their time.
CNH: The Holy Father is your "boss" and your (and our) spiritual father, too, so he plays a dual role in your life. With that in mind, what else might you say to him?
Bishop Jugis: I'll tell him that the faithful of the diocese of Charlotte love him and that we pray for him and that his ministry as the vicar of Christ will be successful and that God will keep him in good health as he fulfills the mission that Christ gave to him.
CNH: Are there any places you are looking forward to visiting in Rome to spend time in prayer?
Bishop Jugis: St. Peter's Basilica is the favorite place I would go to pray, either in the Adoration Chapel in St. Peter's or also in St. Joseph's transept, which is where all the confessionals are set up. It's off the beaten path and tour groups can't go there, so you can pray there.
The ad limina is to go "to the threshold of the tombs of the Apostles," to be there at the huge shrine that is built at the tomb of St. Peter, to pray at the tombs of the various popes... Pope Leo the Great, there is a beautiful altar there, and Pius X is there, and down below there is John Paul II...
CNH: What other meetings are you looking forward to participating in during your time in Rome?
Bishop Jugis: I am especially looking forward to the meeting at the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as a new council that Pope Benedict has inaugurated. It will be good to hear, from the president of that council, exactly what ideas they have for promoting this New Evangelization. We have some written material already from the Holy Father's letter "Porta Fidei," that he wrote last year, and then the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in January published some ideas on how to implement the Year of Faith. I think the New Evangelization Council might also have some ideas in that regard for the Year of Faith.
CNH: Is there anything you would like to say to the people of Charlotte about your ad limina visit?
Bishop Jugis: The ad limina visit really gives the bishop a chance to personally go and meet with the Holy Father and all the offices of the Curia about the status of the diocese, but it really sends the message to the local diocese that the Holy Father and the Curia consider us to be important: that they want to meet personally with the head of the diocese and that they are very interested in how the Church is doing in the Diocese of Charlotte, just as in the Diocese of New York or Chicago. And that they want to hear from our local Church is encouraging. They consider us to be just as important as the other dioceses in the U.S.
There is a good spirit here, a lot of enthusiasm for the faith and living the faith and growing in knowledge of the faith. That is what is inspiring about our diocese -- a good, upbeat positive attitude about the Church and the mission that we have to do.
I carry the intentions of all the faithful of the diocese in my heart as I go to all of the events of the ad limina and will be praying for all of the people of the Diocese of Charlotte every day while I am there.
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