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First day in Rome: Visiting 'the NAC'
ROME — Bishop Peter Jugis arrived in Rome over the weekend and among his first stops was the North American College, where the Diocese has several young men preparing for ordination to the priesthood. Bishop Jugis and his brother bishops who making their ad limina visit to Rome celebrated Mass with the seminarians on Sunday, and our reporter SueAnn Howell was there. See photos from the Mass and SueAnn's tour of the college, and read about Bishop Jugis' reminisces from when he himself was a student at "the NAC."
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Q&A with Bishop Jugis: His days in Rome at the North American College
CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter Jugis reflected on his time spent in Rome at the North American College during the early 1980s during an interview with CNH staff writer, SueAnn Howell, on April 27.
CNH: You are familiar with Rome as you studied there in seminary and were ordained there. Do you have any favorite places in Rome that you love to visit?
Bishop Jugis: The favorite places would be St. Peter's Basilica, as I was ordained a deacon there at the Altar of the Chair. I was also ordained to the priesthood there. I do like to go to that spot, that place in the basilica where Pope John Paul II laid his hands upon me when I was kneeling...to thank God for the blessings and the graces that He gave me at that moment that have continued to grow and blossom over the years.
Another favorite spot would be the seminary chapel at the North American College, which is where I said my first Mass on June 13, 1983...I said a Mass For the Spread of the Gospel, the new translation calls it For the Evangelization of Peoples. It was like a missionary thrust that I carried with me, coming from a missionary diocese and seeing that as essential to the mission of the Church and sharing the Good News.
CNH: Are there any fond memories of your time in Rome when you were studying there that you would like to share?
Bishop Jugis: Yes! In the seminary, there was a wonderful spirit of brotherhood and mutual support, not only with my own classmates but with upper classmen and those who came in after me. There was just a good camaraderie among the seminarians.
Other fond memories would be the opportunity to serve the papal Masses. Pope John Paul II was so accessible and he seemed to be out among the people and he had so many public Masses there at St. Peter's, that the ceremonies department of the Vatican would call the different colleges to provide servers for the Masses and whenever they called the North American College and put the list on the bulletin board I always volunteered. I had many opportunities to serve the pontifical Masses at St. Peter's or in the square out front.
A fond memory is when the Holy Father visited our seminary and personally came and met each seminarian my first year in Rome, Feb. 22, 1980, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter.
I told him, 'Holy Father, I pray for you every day.' He put his hand on my shoulder, kind of shook me, and said, 'God bless you.'
Another great memory would be the Eucharistic Procession in 1982 as a deacon with other deacons from North American College helping to serve and carry the baldacchino (canopy) over the Holy Father as he was processing with the Most Blessed Sacrament from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major...and the memory of processing down the avenue and to see the faith and devotion of the faithful along the way and even in the apartment windows above...the people were very prayerful and devout.
A popular Sunday event also would be to go to St. Peter's Square to participate in the Angelus Prayer with the Holy Father and receive his blessing at the end of the Angelus. Sunday of course being a slow day, as there was no school, I and some of my classmates would try to do that as often as we could to listen to his brief spiritual message at the Angelus and pray with him. It was a wonderful opportunity and blessing to be there studying.
-- SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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