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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina
090017 closingmass'Let your soul, let your life proclaim the greatness of the Lord to everyone you meet,' Bishop Jugis preaches at closing Mass of Eucharistic Congress

CHARLOTTE — The Eucharistic Congress is a time to rejuvenate one's soul in fellowship with other Catholics and to receive God's sanctifying grace in the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession, Bishop Peter Jugis noted in his homily for the closing Mass of the congress Sept. 9.

The 13th annual congress drew more than 20,000 Catholics to the Charlotte Convention Center, organizers estimated.

"How good it is to see all of you here at this Mass," Bishop Jugis greeted the thousands seated inside the convention center for the Mass. "This is one time of year that we all come together as one diocesan family," "to be with thousands and thousands of our brothers and sisters," to celebrate our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he said.

"The sheer numbers lift us up," he said, as we experience together the various aspects of the Congress – from the Eucharistic Adoration and procession, to the educational tracks and activities, to the closing Mass. "It is a tangible spiritual benefit that cannot be repeated elsewhere."

That spiritual benefit derives from the fact that every aspect of the congress "is centered on the Eucharist," the bishop said.

This year's theme, the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary – "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord" – serves as a further inspiration and example for everyone at the congress, he continued.

Our souls can proclaim God's greatness just as Mary did, he said. Starting with our baptism and continuing through the other sacraments of initiation, our souls are "elevated by His sanctifying grace."

"As you continue in life, the Holy Eucharist is nourishing God's divine life within you, and your soul continues to proclaim the greatness of the Lord because He is sanctifying you," he said.

“The Lord wants holy people. The Lord wants holy married couples. The Lord wants holy families, holy teenagers, holy children, holy single people, holy young adults, holy priests, holy deacons, holy consecrated religious, holy seminarians,” he continued. “He wants holy people in His Church.”
The bishop noted the long hours during the congress that priests spend hearing people’s confessions, and how important the sacrament of confession is in purifying one’s soul and becoming holier.
“Thank you for asking your priests to help you. Thank you for asking your priests to do something for you which no other man can do: absolve you from sins,” he said. “Ask the Lord to make your priests holy men of God.”

Participating in the closing Mass of the congress – the "high point" of the two-day gathering – sanctifies and rejuvenates one's soul, he emphasized.

He referred to the Gospel reading from John 6:51-58, in which Jesus proclaims.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."

"Jesus asks you to partake of His sacrifice," he said. "Jesus is inviting you to this sacred meal of His Body and Blood and reminding you that He is the sacrifice of the new covenant, and he wants to sanctify you by partaking of this sacrifice."

Make a point during this 100th anniversary of the appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, to strive to imitate her in all things, the bishop entreated the faithful.

Just as Mary, carrying the Son of God in her womb, proclaimed God's glory when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, so too should we proclaim God's glory, he said.

"In imitation of the Immaculate Heart and of her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, let your soul, let your life proclaim the greatness of the Lord to everyone you meet," he said. "Share the love and joy of this Eucharistic Congress with everyone you meet."

— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor

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_DAS2823 (CopyPhoto by Doreen Sugierski
_DAS2823 (CopyPhoto by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by SueAnn Howell
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Doreen Sugierski
Photo by Tara Heilingoetter
Photo by Tara Heilingoetter
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