Bishop Jugis: Good news to tell pope during May ad limina visit
Diocese of Charlotte shows 'signs of vitality'
CHARLOTTE — It has been eight years since Bishop Peter Jugis met with the pope to report on the state of the faithful in the Diocese of Charlotte. The last time Bishop Jugis made such a visit to Rome was in 2004, when he met with Pope John Paul II during his first ad limina visit after being ordained as bishop of the Charlotte diocese.
This time Bishop Jugis will be among 15 bishops from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida meeting for the first time with Pope Benedict XVI during the week of May 6-12.
Each bishop prepares an ad limina report in advance for the pope and the Vatican offices to review before and during the ad limina visit.
Pictured: Bishop Peter Jugis displays the diocese's three-volume 2012 ad limina report, copies of which are already at the Vatican in preparation for his upcoming visit May 6-12. (SueAnn Howell | Catholic News Herald)
The diocese's 2012 ad limina report is bound into three volumes. Essentially an overview of the state of the diocese, the report contains 23 sections covering topics such as statistics, liturgical and sacramental life, Catholic education and faith formation, pastoral care to families, the Eucharistic Congress, Church administration, religious orders and communications.
The diocese's growth and vibrant faith is evident in the numbers, Bishop Jugis said during his spring reflection to the Charlotte Catholic Women's Group April 16, where he shared highlights from the report.
In 2004 the diocese counted 52,788 registered Catholic households; in 2011 there were 64,281. That's an increase of about 21.7 percent. The total estimated number of Catholics, registered and unregistered, grew 22 percent: 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.
Since Bishop Jugis' previous ad limina visit in 2004, four new parishes have been established, and 17 churches and eight parish activity centers have been built. One new Catholic elementary school and a third Catholic high school has opened, and one K-8 school has moved to a larger location.
Religious vocations are on the rise in the Diocese of Charlotte, as well. Seventeen men are studying for the priesthood this year, up from 15 men in 2004.
The administering of the sacraments of baptism and marriage are also on the rise. In 2011, 3,233 infant baptisms were performed. The number of marriages rose 14 percent, from 816 marriages in 2004 to 927 in 2011.
"This is a sign of the vitality of our diocese," Bishop Jugis said. "It is a sign of strong marriages and family life, too."
Besides discussing the contents of the ad limina report with the pope, Bishop Jugis will attend 10 meetings with various Vatican offices during the week and visit the diocese's five seminarians who are studying in Rome. He will also celebrate Mass at the altar of Blessed John Paul II, who ordained him to the priesthood in 1983, and concelebrate Mass with his brother bishops at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul, the spiritual basis for the ad limina visits.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Join us on A Virtual Pilgrimage
Join Catholic News Herald staff writer SueAnn Howell on a virtual pilgrimage as she travels to Italy to report on Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis' ad limina visit to Rome.
In addition to reporting on the ad limina meetings and special Masses, SueAnn will share her impressions, insights and photos from her perspective as a first-time pilgrim visiting Assisi, Siena and the Eternal City.
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