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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

Take a look back at the year of the Immaculate Heart as reported by Catholic News Herald:

1. Bishop Jugis dedicates the year to Mary

081817 fatimaLast year brought with it some special Marian anniversaries in the Church, Bishop Peter Jugis noted in his homily at Mass on Jan. 1, 2017, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

“We begin this New Year 2017 as we begin every new year – continuing the Christmas season and honoring Mary, the Mother of God, on the Octave of Christmas,” he said during Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral.

But, Bishop Jugis noted, “This New Year is special because in 2017, we are marking several important Marian anniversaries. So it seems appropriate that on this first day, drawing attention to our Blessed Mother Mary, we should make note of the special anniversaries coming up in 2017.”

The year marked the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. The year also marked the 100th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe establishing the Militia of Mary Immaculate.

Accordingly, he said, 2017 should be called “The Year of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

“There will be big festivities going on this year in Fatima, Portugal,” he said. “At Fatima, Our Lady reveals her Immaculate Heart to us. She says, ‘In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ We might ask the question: Triumph over what? And, of course, we know the answer: Triumph over all evil.”

Mary’s purity, sinlessness and holiness triumphs over all evil as we see in her Immaculate Conception, he said. God allowed her, at the moment of her conception, to triumph over original sin, crushing the head of the serpent. “In the end she says, ‘My Immaculate Heart will triumph,’ she assures us.”

“To help us celebrate these special anniversaries this year, we chose a line from Mary’s Magnificat as the theme of this year’s Eucharistic Congress: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,’ ” he also announced.

“Those words come from the account of the Blessed Mother’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the visitation. At her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, Our Lady, with the Infant Jesus in her womb, is filled with joy and she praises God: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My soul magnifies the Lord.’ ”

The year’s Marian theme was adopted for many events and efforts across the diocese last year, including the Bishop’s Lenten Youth Pilgrimage, the Marian Rosary Congress, the Catholic Camporee, and more. Parishes, schools and ministries took the theme to heart, with hundreds of people consecrating or reconsecrating themselves to Jesus through Mary. Holy Trinity Middle School was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart by chaplain Father Joseph Matlak. Charlotte area pro-lifers also inaugurated a Vigil of the Two Hearts each month at St. Patrick Cathedral, dedicating themselves to prayer and penance in reparation for the tragedy of abortion.


2. More than 20,000 fill Charlotte streets in Eucharistic Procession

090817 congres mainCatholics took to the streets of uptown Charlotte to process and pray during the 13th Eucharistic Congress Sept. 9. Officials estimated it was the largest Eucharistic Process to date, with more than 20,000 participants.

The Eucharistic Procession, in which Bishop Peter J. Jugis carried a monstrance containing a consecrated host – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ – was a highlight of the two-day Eucharistic Congress that opened Sept. 8.

In his homily for the closing Mass, Bishop Jugis noted that 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.

“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.

The 2017 theme, the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary – “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” – served as a further inspiration and example for everyone, 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.

“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.”


3. Pastor of the diocese’s largest parish retires

051217 mcsweeney 1On May 12 Monsignor John J. McSweeney, pastor of St. Matthew Church, announced that he was retiring after 42 years of priestly ministry, effective July 18. In a letter to parishioners, he wrote, “Many thanks to all of you for your support, dedication and wonderful commitment. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is truly present and guides St. Matthew.”

Monsignor McSweeney was the first priest ordained for the Charlotte diocese, ordained by the diocese’s first bishop, Bishop Michael J. Begley, on Sept. 29, 1974.

Upon his retirement, parishioners at St. Matthew Church honored him with an endowment to the parish’s World Hunger Drive that will sustain the charitable work for years to come. The annual World Hunger Drive provides packaged meals and sustainability programs to help the hungry through local food banks and also to those in need in Haiti and Jamaica. At last year’s event, 1,500 volunteers packaging 341,280 meals weighing more than 50,000 pounds. Over the years, 1.5 million meals have been packaged by World Hunger Drive volunteers.

Succeeding Monsignor McSweeney was Father Patrick Hoare, who had been pastor of St. John Neumann Church in Charlotte. It was a homecoming of sorts for the new pastor, who once was a member of the parish and then served as a deacon there until his ordination to the priesthood in 2007, which was also held at St. Matthew Church.

In another significant pastoral change, the Jesuits who had been serving at St. Therese Church in Mooresville were reassigned out of state and the parish was reverted to the care of diocesan priests. Father Mark Lawlor, who had been pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte, was appointed pastor by Bishop Jugis.


4. Continued growth seen in vocations

061717 ordinationThe diocese continued to see an upsurge in religious vocations in 2017.

In June, during a joyful Mass at St. Mark Church in Huntersville, Bishop Jugis ordained five men to the priesthood: Fathers Peter Ascik, Matthew Bean, Brian Becker, Christopher Bond and Christian Cook.

Also, the number of men discerning a priestly vocation continued to swell, as nine additional students moved into St. Joseph College Seminary adjacent to the campus of St. Ann Church in Charlottebringing the total number of college seminarians to 16. The diocese purchased and renovated a second residence to house the additional students, and it closed on a land deal in Mount Holly for the permanent location of the college seminary.

In addition, 15 men from parishes across the diocese took the next step towards anticipated ordination as permanent deacons in 2018.

Many clergy and religious were honored for their jubilee anniversaries in 2017, but none more so than Bishop Emeritus William Curlin, who marked his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination in May. He offered a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Charlotte, surrounded by many friends and fellow priests who had been closest to him over the years. Bishop Curlin, who served as the third Bishop of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, passed away peacefully on Dec. 23, 2017.


5. Diocese target of two lawsuits
The diocese went in court early in 2017 in response to two unrelated civil lawsuits.

In one lawsuit, former seminarian John Brian Kaup was accused of sexual abuse and assault while serving at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury. The civil lawsuit, filed Feb. 2 by a female parishioner and her parents in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, alleged that Kaup assaulted her on church grounds in 2013. Salisbury police investigated the matter in 2016 with no criminal charges filed.

A former substitute teacher also sued the diocese, the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools system, and Charlotte Catholic High School, claiming that his civil rights were violated when the high school decided to stop calling him for substitute teaching work. Lonnie H. Billard, a retired drama teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School, claimed in a federal lawsuit that he was removed from the school’s list of substitute teachers in late 2014 after announcing plans to marry his male partner, in violation of Church teaching.
Both cases remain unresolved as of press time.

At www.facebook.com/catholicnewsherald: Tell us: What was your favorite story of 2017?
At www.pinterest.com/charlottecnh: Read all these stories and see more photos and videos, all in one place, on our Year in Review board



70 YEARS: Mercy Sister Alma Pangelinan
65 YEARS: Father Joseph Elzi, CM
60 YEARS: Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin, Mercy Sister Therese Galligan
55 YEARS: Benedictine Abbot Oscar Burnett (deceased), St. Joseph Sister John Christopher
50 YEARS: Jesuit Father Dominic Totaro, Mercy Sister Carolyn Coll, Mercy Sister Jane Davis, Mercy Sister Rose Marie Tresp, Mercy Sister Donna Marie Vaillancourt, St. Joseph Sister Geri Rogers
40 YEARS: Father Roger K. Arnsparger, Father Philip Scarcella, Conventual Franciscan Father Carl Zdancewicz, Deacon Sidney Huff, Deacon Ronald Sherwood
45 YEARS: Redemptorist Father Charlie Donovan, Deacon Ralph Eckoff
35 YEARS: Redemptorist Father John Carney, Deacon Anthony Marini, Deacon George Szalony, Deacon John Zimmerle
30 YEARS: Redemptorist Father Oscar Paniagua, Deacon J. Patrick Crosby, Deacon James Johnson
25 YEARS: Father George David Byers, Father Herbert Burke, Father Stephen Hoyt, Father Andrew Latsko, Father Gi Tae Lee, Father John Putnam, Missionaries of Charity Sister M. Martinella, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Sister Pushpa Jose, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Sister Christie, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Sister Agnes Maria
20 YEARS: Father W. Ray Williams, Redemptorist Father Alvaro Riquelme, Deacon James Gorman, Deacon Matthew Reilly
15 YEARS: Father Larry LoMonaco, Father Peter K. Nouck, Deacon Scott McNabb, Deacon Roland Geoffroy
10 YEARS: Father Patrick Cahill, Father Richard DeClue, Father Patrick Hoare, Father Fred Werth, Father Ambrose Akinwande, Father Felix F. Nkafu, Deacon John Barone, Deacon John Riehl
5 YEARS: Father Jason Barone, Father Matthew Codd, Father Peter Shaw, Deacon Jose Vargas

In memoriam

Abbot Oscar Burnett, seventh abbot of Belmont Abbey, died Nov. 21, 2017, aged 91.
St. Joseph Sister Mary Isabel Carpenter, cofounder of St. Joseph Academy in Maggie Valley, died June 29, 2017, aged 98.

Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin, third bishop of Charlotte, died Dec. 23, 2017, aged 90.
Mercy Sister Carmen Cruz, a Sister of Mercy for 64 years and primary education teacher in Catholic schools, as well as a certified hospital chaplain, died June 9, 2017, aged 82.
Deacon Charles Dietsch, a deacon for more than 32 years who served most recently at Sacred Heart Church in Brevard, died Aug. 31, 2017, aged 73.
Deacon Kenneth Drummer, who served St. James the Greater Church in Concord for five years, died Aug. 2, 2017, aged 63.
Deacon Bob Gettelfinger, who formerly served at St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte, died Dec. 23, 2017, aged 96.
Deacon Eugene Gillis, a charter member of Holy Cross Parish, died June 14, 2017, aged 87.
Sister Veronica Grover, SHCJ, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 66 years, who helped to establish a justice and peace center named Pacem in Terris and served St. Luke Church in Mint Hill as director of education, died April 11, 2017.
Deacon Charles Knight, a member of Our Lady of Consolation Parish since 1962 who served as a deacon for more than 34 years, died Sept. 13, 2017, aged 85.
Deacon Robert Michael Kratchman, who served as a deacon for 25 years, most recently for the past six years at St. Therese Church in Mooresville, died April 6, 2017, aged 83.
Father Charles Reese, who served as pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Church in Statesville; St. Benedict Church in Greensboro; Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville; and St. Ann Church in Charlotte, died Nov. 2, 2017, aged 93.
Deacon Frederick Scarletto, a deacon for 22 years who served at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in High Point for six years, died on Oct. 9, 2017, aged 66.
Mercy Sister Mary Matthew Snow, a Sister of Mercy for 62 years who served as a teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School, Sacred Heart College, Belmont Abbey College, and the Catholic Orphanage of Nazareth in Raleigh, died March 31, 2017, aged 95.

Building for growth

2017 saw several building and special projects across the Diocese of Charlotte:

FEBRUARY: St. Pius X Church in Greensboro dedicated a new 23,477-square-foot Simmons Parish Center.
APRIL: St. James the Greater Church in Concord dedicated Our Lady of Guadalupe Hall. So far, 9,000 square feet of the 22,500-square-foot building have been readied for classroom, meeting and social gathering spaces.
JULY: St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Charlotte was dedicated July 22 by Bishop Jacob Angadiath of Chicago.
SEPTEMBER: The Diocese of Charlotte purchased land in Mount Holly for the permanent location of St. Joseph College Seminary. Another residence to house additional college seminarians was purchased in Charlotte.
St. Benedict Church completed a restoration of its 120-year-old sanctuary and nave, and it was dedicated by Bishop Jugis.

Other projects
- Historic St. Joseph Church in Mount Holly began receiving critical renovations.
- Christ the King High School began expansion with 27,000 square feet of new construction.
- Western Carolina University’s Campus Ministry building received needed updates, including a renovated chapel.

Special anniversaries

- St. Michael School in Gastonia, 75 years
- Pennybyrn at Maryfield in High Point, 70 years
- St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte, 60 years
- Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem, 60 years
- Catholic Daughters Court Sacred Heart 1759, 60 years
- St. John Neumann Church in Charlotte, 40 years
- St. Luke Church in Mint Hill, 30 years

Top stories online

In 2017, 128,557 visitors to www.catholicnewsherald.com viewed a total of 302,535 pages. The 10 most popular stories last year were:
- Priest assignments for 2017: 21,546
- View the current print edition of the Catholic News Herald: 8,435
- Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin passes away: 5,038
- A tribute to Monsignor John McSweeney: 3,749
- Diocese buys land for college seminary: 2,779
- 2017: The Year of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: 2,678
- Deacon Toner: Why we should not attend the traditional Latin Mass: 2,525
- Bishop Jugis ordains five men to the priesthood: 2,122
- New pastor of largest Catholic flock in U.S. settles in: 2,160
- Parishioners restore Greensboro’s oldest Catholic church to its original splendor: 1,729