April 26, 2024

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FUNDED BY THE PARISHIONERS OF THE DIOCESE OF CHARLOTTE THANK YOU! Hundreds gather at Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage Cientos de jóvenes se reunieron para orar en el Peregrinaje Juvenil del Obispo 6, 22 Subscribe today! Call: 704-370-3333 Catholic Charities celebrates 75 years helping people in need 15-19 Monsignor McSweeney celebrates golden jubilee 10 NEW BISHOP La diócesis se prepara para un nuevo obispo DIOCESE PREPARES FOR 4, 20

At a glance

APRIL 26, 2024

Volume 33 • NUMBER 14

1123 S. CHURCH ST. CHARLOTTE, N.C. 28203-4003 catholicnews@charlottediocese.org



The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Bishop of Charlotte


EDITOR: Spencer K. M. Brown

704-808-4528, skmbrown@rcdoc.org


704-370-3332, keeagan@rcdoc.org


704-370-3375, rchurtado@rcdoc.org


704-808-4521, dwpuckett@rcdoc.org

EDITORIAL TEAM: Kimberly Bender

704-370-3394, kdbender@rcdoc.org

Annie Ferguson

704-370-3404, arferguson@rcdoc.org

Troy C. Hull

704-370-3288, tchull@rcdoc.org

Christina Lee Knauss

704-370-0783, clknauss@rcdoc.org


704-370-3333, catholicnews@rcdoc.org

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Liz Chandler 704-370-3336, lchandler@rcdoc.org

ASSISTANT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Patricia L. Guilfoyle 704-370-3334, plguilfoyle@rcdoc.org


Timely tips for blending faith & life

Between our diocese’s bishop-elect, fresh flowers to crown Mary, and the latest offerings in Christian entertainment – this Easter season is certainly fulfilling God’s promise to make all things new. Learn more about the role of a bishop, find ways to honor Our Lady, and discover the harrowing story of a Polish Catholic nurse in Nazi Germany.


With our beloved bishop of 20 years retiring and a new bishopelect to be ordained May 29, now is a great time to teach children about the role of a Catholic bishop. One great resource is “What is a Bishop,” a coloring book that explains who these modern-day successors of the apostles are in a fun and engaging way. Check out pages from the book and buy your own at www. brotherfrancisstore.com. Many resources can also be found at www.catholicnewsherald. com, where you’ll learn about what a bishop does, how he gets appointed and symbols associated with him such as the crozier (his staff), as well as find information about retiring Bishop Peter Jugis, now the diocese’s apostolic administrator and soon-to-be bishop emeritus, and Bishop-elect Michael Martin.



Are you holding your own May Crowning or planning one at your parish or school to honor Mary as Queen of Heaven? Find planning tips at www. catholicicing.com and learn how to make an ethereal flower crown with the instructions at www.TheologyofHome. com. Pressed for time? Order a kit from www.PetersSquare.com or the shop at www.CatholicAllYear.com, which also includes a video tutorial on YouTube.

If you missed seeing “Irena’s Vow” on the big screen earlier this month, check out the book of the same title by Dan Gordon, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay. Both works tell the true story of Irena Gut, a Polish Catholic nurse who risked everything to save 12 Jews during the Holocaust. Irena, 19, is promoted to housekeeper in the home of a Nazi officer when she finds out that the Jewish ghetto is about to be liquidated. Determined to help the Jewish workers, she decides to shelter them in the safest place she can think of – the basement of the German officer’s house. The real-life Gut was honored by the Israeli Holocaust Commission as well as Pope John Paul II, who bestowed a special blessing on Gut in 1995. Today, her story is featured in a permanent exhibit in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Published by Regalo Press, “Irena’s Vow” can be found at major booksellers while audiences wait for the movie’s availability.

Diocesan calendar of events


ELDER MINISTRY SPRING FLING : 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Charlotte. Enjoy live entertainment, games and door prizes, crafts, dancing, health and wellness activities, and fellowship – just for people 55+. Mass will also be offered. Sponsored by Catholic Charities’ Elder Ministry. For more information, call 704-370-3220 or email sandrab@ccdoc.org.

‘A GLOBAL EXPERIENCE’ – GASTON EARLY MUSIC SERIES : 8 p.m. Monday, April 29, at Belmont Abbey Basilica in Belmont. Carolina Pro Musica presents “A Global Experience – music from 1250 to present day,” featuring popular music from Europe, the Americas and the Far East. The free program is part of the Gaston Early Music Series and features songs and dances that were popular throughout entire regions in the past. For more information, go to www.carolinapromusica.org.


‘LIFE AFTER LOSS’ GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP : 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2, in the St. Cecilia Room of St. Leo the Great Church, Winston-Salem. St. Leo’s newly formed grief support group is for adults who have lost a spouse, parent, child or close relative. It is designed to assist members to grow and heal through the sharing of their experiences. The group meets the first and third Thursdays of the month. For questions or more information, contact Deacon Carl Brown at 336-207-7502.

Scan the QR code for this week’s recommended recipes, crafts and activities:

The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:

APRIL 29 – 2 P.M.

Meeting with the Most Reverend Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Archbishop of Owerri, Nigeria Pastoral Center, Charlotte

MAY 1 – 6 P.M.

Groundbreaking for St. Joseph College Seminary Chapel

St. Joseph College Seminary, Mt. Holly

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 2
THE CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD is published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte 26 times a year. NEWS: The Catholic News Herald welcomes your news and photos. Please e-mail information, attaching photos in JPG format with a recommended resolution of 150 dpi or higher, to catholicnews@rcdoc.org. All submitted items become the property of the Catholic News Herald and are subject to reuse, in whole or in part, in print, electronic formats and archives. ADVERTISING: Reach 165,000 Catholics across western North Carolina! For advertising rates and information, contact Advertising Manager Kevin Eagan at 704-370-3332 or keeagan@rcdoc.org. The Catholic News Herald reserves the right to reject or cancel advertising for any reason, and does not recommend or guarantee any product, service or benefit claimed by our advertisers. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $16.75 per year for registered families of the Diocese of Charlotte and $25 per year for all others POSTMASTER: Periodicals Class postage (USPC 007-393) paid at Charlotte, N.C. Send address corrections to the Catholic News Herald, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, N.C. 28203. INDEX
& Entertainment 28 Contact us 2 Español 20-24 Our Diocese 4-12
Our Faith 3 Our Schools 13 Scripture 3, 23 Viewpoints 30-31

The Crucifixion

Having explored the incarnation in last month’s column on the Word made flesh, we now turn our attention to the other end of Christ’s earthly life, the crucifixion. The fourth article of the Apostles’ Creed states that “Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.”

Before we look at the crucifixion itself, we should first say a word about Pontius Pilate. Other than the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, his is the only proper name mentioned in the Creed.

Why should such an honor be paid to a pagan Roman governor who famously washed his hands of anything to do with Christ (Mt 27:24)? Pilate’s name gives important historic context to the crucifixion of Christ. It places it at a fixed point in history. The Romans were excellent record keepers, and so we know that Pontius Pilate was the fifth Roman governor of Judea who served in that position from 26 to 36 AD, plus or minus a year.

The inclusion of Pilate’s name in the Creed is an important reminder to us that our faith is not in a cleverly devised myth or legend, but in a real, historical person who was born, lived, died – and, as the gospels record, rose from the dead. As St. Paul attested, if Christ is not truly raised from the dead, then empty is our preaching and empty is our faith (1 Cor 15:14). But to be raised from the dead, one first has to die.

In the fourth century, a great doctor of the Church, St. Athanasius, wrote “On the Incarnation.” In this work, he argues that the death of Jesus was the very reason for the incarnation. The one thing Jesus did not possess as God, the source of all being and the source of all life, was the ability to die. And the one thing we need from God is eternal life. We could never, on our own, acquire God’s immortality, but as our Creator, God can take to Himself our mortality.

The incarnation was thus a divine exchange, allowing Jesus, by His death, to gain for us everlasting life.


But why this kind of death? Roman crucifixion was the most excruciating form of execution ever conceived by the heart of sinful man. Indeed, it is the source of the word “excruciating,” from the Latin crux, or “cross.”

Some have objected to the divinity of Christ for this very reason – if Jesus is truly God, it would seem terribly unfitting that He would die in such a public and shameful way as a condemned criminal. This is why St. Paul calls the


A 12-part series on the Creed


This article is Part 4 in a series exploring the Creed. Look for articles each month in the Catholic News Herald and online at www.catholicnewsherald.com.

crucifixion “a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness for the Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23). St. Athanasius addresses these objections.

First, if Jesus had to die to save us, why not die in a more dignified manner? Why not live a long, fruitful life and die peacefully in His bed of old age?

St. Athanasius says no. Were our Savior to die a death like that, it would appear that He died from His own weakness, because His body wore out over time. But Jesus is strong, not weak. It would be unfitting for the great Healer to Himself succumb to age or disease. Instead, death came to Jesus from others.

But why did it have to be so public? Would a private death not have been less shameful?

If His death had not been witnessed by the crowds, His resurrection would not have been believable. People would have assumed He was faking, reappearing after hiding for three days, only claiming to have died. No, there had to be witnesses, many witnesses. Christ’s death had to be a public spectacle for the resurrection to be believed.

But why so painful a death? Even given that God chose to die as man for our sins, surely He had it within His power to choose a less painful means for His sacrifice.

I love St. Athanasius’ rebuttal to this objection. He notes that a strong, confident

wrestler doesn’t selectively choose His own opponents but rather takes on all comers.

If Jesus had chosen His own form of death, one less painful or less shameful, or easier to endure, it would have suggested that His power over death was limited. Instead, at the crucifixion, our Lord stands on the hill of Calvary staring Death in the face saying, “Give me your worst.”


By permitting His enemies – chief among them Satan – to choose the manner and means of His death, St. Athanasius writes, “A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.” More than 2,000 years later, we continue to honor that monument to death’s defeat, that instrument of torture which has become the means of our salvation and the gateway to eternal life, the Holy Cross on which hung the Savior of the world.

Upon the wood of the cross, Jesus hangs with arms outstretched, one to the Jews, the other to the Gentiles, embracing all peoples and races, nations and tongues, just as He prophesied: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn 12:32).

DEACON MATTHEW NEWSOME is the Catholic campus minister at Western Carolina University. He is the author of “The Devout Life: A Modern Guide to Practical Holiness with St. Francis de Sales,” available from Sophia Institute Press.

Our faith

Faith, hope, love are antidote to pride

While the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance are the marks of a righteous individual, the virtues of faith, hope and love emphasize a connection to other people fueled by belief in God and reliance on prayer, Pope Francis said.

“The Christian is never alone. He or she does good not because of a titanic effort of personal commitment, but because, as a humble disciple, he or she walks behind the master Jesus,” the pope said April 24 at his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis continued his audience talks about virtue, distinguishing between the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, which are essential for living a righteous life, and the “theological” or New Testament virtues of faith, hope and charity.

The cardinal virtues were espoused and promoted by ancient philosophers well before the development of Christianity, the pope said. “Honesty was preached as a civic duty, wisdom as the rule for actions, courage as the fundamental ingredient for a life that tends toward the good and moderation as the necessary measure not to be overwhelmed by excesses.”

Christianity, he said, did not replace that ethical heritage, but “enhanced, purified, and integrated” it with the teachings of Jesus about faith, hope and love.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the pope noted, says the three theological virtues “are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues.”

Those virtues, he said, also are “the great antidote to self-sufficiency” and prevent a good person from falling into pride.

“Pride is a poison; it is a powerful poison: one drop of it is enough to spoil an entire life marked by goodness,” the pope said. If people perform good works only “to exalt themselves, can they still call themselves virtuous? No,” he said.

“Goodness is not only an end, but also a way. Goodness needs a lot of discretion, a lot of kindness,” the pope said. “Above all, goodness needs to be stripped of that sometimes too unwieldy presence that is our self.”


Sunday (Fifth Sunday of Easter): Acts 9:26-31, 1 Jn 3:18-24, Jn 15:1-8; Monday: Acts 14:5-18, Jn 14:21-26; Tuesday: Acts 14:19-28, Jn 14:27-31; Wednesday: Acts 15:1-6, Jn 15:18; Thursday: Acts 15:7-21, Jn 15:9-11; Friday: 1 Cor 15:1-8, Jn 14:6-14; Saturday: Acts 16:1-10, Jn 15:18-21

MAY 5-11

Sunday (Sixth Sunday of Easter): Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48, 1 Jn 4:7-10, Jn 15:9-17; Monday: Acts 16:11-15, Jn 15:26, 16:4; Tuesday: Acts 16:22-34, Jn 16:5-11; Wednesday: Acts 17:15, 22, 18:1, Jn 16:12-15; Thursday: Acts 1:1-11, Eph 1:17-23, Mk 16:15-20; Friday: Acts 18:9-18, Jn 16:20-23; Saturday: Acts 18:23-28, Jn 16:23b-28

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26, Jn 15:9-17; Wednesday: Acts 20:28-38, Jn 17:11b-19

Greeting Polish pilgrims, Pope Francis noted that April 27 is the 10th anniversary of the canonization of St. John Paul II. “Looking at his life, we can see what man can achieve by accepting and developing within himself the gifts of God: faith, hope and charity.”

Amid an ongoing debate about liberalizing the nation’s abortion laws, Pope Francis asked Polish Catholics to “remain faithful to his legacy. Promote life and do not be deceived by the culture of death.”

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 3
— OSV News
MAY 12-18 Sunday (Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord): Acts 1:1-11, Eph 1:17-23, Mk 16:15-20; Monday: Acts 19:1-8, Jn 16:29-33; Tuesday:
; Friday:
25:13b-21, Jn 21:15-19; Saturday: Acts 28:1620, 30-31, Jn 21:20-25
Thursday: Acts 22:30, 23:6-11,
Daily Scripture
Pope Francis

Diocese prepares for new bishop

Franciscan priest to succeed retiring Bishop Jugis

CHARLOTTE — For the first time in a generation, Catholics across the Diocese of Charlotte are preparing for a change in leadership as Bishop Peter Jugis retires and a Franciscan priest prepares to become his successor.

The news broke April 9 when the Vatican announced Pope Francis had accepted Bishop Jugis’ request to retire early due to health limitations and appointed Father Michael Martin, OFM Conv., longtime educator and pastor of a parish in Georgia, as the fifth Bishop of Charlotte.

Surprise over Bishop Jugis’ retirement announcement quickly turned to appreciation that he will continue to serve the diocese as bishop emeritus, as well as questions over what the bishop-elect might mean for the Church and the people of the growing diocese’s 46 counties. Planning is now under way for the episcopal ordination on May 29 – an elaborate event that will draw several thousand people including bishops and Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Vatican’s “apostolic nuncio” (ambassador), to the United States.

Rehearsals, guest lists, photos, food, transportation, accommodations, vestments, movers – all must be arranged amid excitement and stress as Church staff prepare in Charlotte, Atlanta and Jonesboro, where the bishop-elect will hand off his parish, St. Philip Benizi, to a new priest. Bishop-elect Martin must also select an episcopal motto and coat of arms, which will set the tone for his ministry.

“It has been overwhelming,” Bishop-elect Martin, 62, told the Catholic News Herald. “My ‘internal’ life changed from the moment I received the phone call from Cardinal Pierre, and I’ve

Words of welcome and gratitude

Friends, family and faithful react to Bishop-elect Martin’s assignment in Charlotte diocese:

spent time speaking to Jesus in prayer about wanting to serve in whatever way the Holy Spirit leads me rather than what I want. My ‘external’ life has also changed dramatically, especially since the public announcement in Charlotte, so much so that I can’t seem to keep up to return phone calls, text messages and emails from so many gracious people who have reached out to offer their congratulations, prayers and love.”

Bishop-elect Martin is professed with the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. He has deep roots in Catholic education, having served as a teacher, coach and school administrator in Baltimore, New York and Durham, where he was

‘His homilies are my favorite thing. He really can connect with everyone.’

director for the Duke Catholic Center at Duke University from 2010 to 2022.

Although he’s juggling new tasks, prior commitments and

Bishop-elect Martin talks with students at Charlotte Catholic High School during his April 9 visit to Charlotte. (Left) Bishop Peter Jugis greets the bishop-elect at the news conference announcing his appointment as the next bishop for the Diocese of Charlotte.


hundreds of well-wishers, the bishop-elect plans to go on retreat in May to help him prepare for his new ministry.

“I will use that time to praise

‘He’s gracious and down to earth. Everything he does, he does with passion, grace and humility.’
— Larry Furey, founder and senior partner of Partners in Mission

God for this grace and to seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit to guide me in ministering to the people of western North Carolina,” he says. “As far as the many details, the Lord will provide. I need to stay focused on what is most important: sharing God’s love with those who come into my life each day.”

He held the same philosophy April 9 when “Father Mike” walked into a press conference with lights, TV cameras and reporters. Standing next to Bishop Jugis, who confirmed his retirement and thanked the diocese for the “joy of a lifetime,” Bishop-elect Martin delivered

‘At the heart of it is his relational ministry with students and helping people get close to Christ. He wanted to be with the students and meet them where they were.’

Michelle Sutton, Duke University alumna who worked with Bishop-elect Martin at the Duke Catholic Center

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 4
Norma Casal Buckley, St. Philip Benizi Parish member, Jonesboro, Ga.


warm remarks and answered questions from the media, setting the foundation for what he described would be his ministry to Catholics and nonCatholics alike.

“To the people of Western North Carolina, and Charlotte in particular, who are of other faiths or of no particular faith, I look forward to being with you as we all strive to make our area a place of dignity, peace and prosperity for everyone, especially the most marginalized,” he said in the news conference.

“To the faithful Catholics spread across 92 parishes and missions, I can’t wait to come to be with you, to listen to your story of discipleship, and to know how best I can serve you. To the many priests, deacons and religious who walk with their lay brothers and sisters on the journey, I pledge my heart to you.”

The bishop-elect then set off on a tour that was playful, prayerful and true to his promise to get out to meet people.


Bishop-elect Martin started with an impromptu visit to the diocese’s food pantry, operated by Catholic Charities every Tuesday and Thursday at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, where he shook hands with pleasantly surprised staff and volunteers, then walked outside in the rain to pray with a family waiting in their car for groceries. He then headed to Charlotte Catholic High School, just two days after the school community had learned two of its students –17-year-old Abby Lyn Robinson and 18-year-old Isabella Tarantelli – had been badly injured in an April 6 car accident near Asheville that killed two other teens.

Greeted by a delegation in the school lobby, he immediately asked about the injured girls (who remained hospitalized as of press time April 24) and promised to pray for them.

Dressed in his gray Franciscan habit and new bishop’s zucchetto (skullcap) atop his head, Bishopelect Martin couldn’t help but attract attention as he walked the halls with two student leaders.


During his visit to Charlotte, Bishop-elect Martin made a heartwarming stop at Holy Angels in Belmont, a special living facility for those with intellectual developmental disabilities and delicate medical conditions. There he met Holy Angels’ youngest resident, a 14-month-old girl who requires 24-hour nursing care.

He dropped by five classes – each time commanding the classroom in the way only a former teacher could. Bishopelect Martin spent two decades in Catholic schools in Baltimore and New York, as a teacher, basketball coach, principal and school president. His classroom visits were equal parts humor, encouragement and reflection. Before departing each class, he asked if he could lead students

Join in the ordination

in prayer, calling on the Holy Spirit and then pausing at length before speaking. He also asked students to pray for him.

“I thought he was awesome, really personable,” Charlotte Catholic senior Madeline Lewis, 17, said. “I loved how on his first day (in Charlotte) he came here. It is so important for everyone to feel some connection to their Catholic family, and having a personal relationship with the bishop is cool. It makes me want to get

more immersed in my faith.”

When the tour group reached Brian Mathews’ junior theology class, the bishop-elect found it unusually quiet. The students were preparing for a test on the Fifth Commandment. He asked them: “What’s going on? What have you learned about the Fifth Commandment?” When it became clear the students were distracted, he asked if there was anything in

Bishop-elect Michael Martin, OFM Conv., will be ordained during a special Mass at St. Mark Church on Wednesday, May 29, and installed as the fifth Bishop of Charlotte during a Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral on Thursday, May 30. Due to the size of the churches, attendance at these liturgies will be by ticket only. Both Masses will be livestreamed on the Diocese of Charlotte’s YouTube channel, as well as being available “on demand” afterwards.

All people of the diocese – especially young people – are invited to attend a special “Holy Hour and Benediction: An Evening of Praise and Prayer” with Bishop-elect Martin starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, at St. Mark Church, located at 14740 Stumptown Road in Huntersville.

Look for details and updates on www.catholicnewsherald.com

Get to know our bishop!

Look for our special keepsake edition about Bishop-elect Martin coming May 24.

‘He has a great mix of leadership gifts and administrative gifts, and he also cares deeply for people and takes time for them.’

— Jason Simon, president of The Evangelical Catholic

‘He tries to motivate the people around him to be the best they can be.’

— Jeremy Joseph, current principal of Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, where Father Martin once served

Background of service

Bishop-elect Michael Martin was born in Baltimore on Dec. 2, 1961, the only boy of four children in a Catholic family whose faith was an integral part of their lives. He attended Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, where he would later return to work.

In 1979, when he was 17, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Friars Novitiate in Ellicott City, Maryland. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College-Seminary (Massachusetts), earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure (Rome), and received a master’s degree in education from Boston College.

He worked as a religious studies teacher and coach at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, New York, in 1984-85, then served as a transitional deacon at St. Adalbert Parish in Elmhurst, New York, in 1988-1989.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1989, by then Auxiliary Bishop John Ricard of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, at St. Casimir Church in Baltimore.

Following his ordination, he returned to St. Francis High School to serve as admissions director and a teacher and coach, from 1989 to 1994. He then served in several positions at his alma mater Archbishop Curley High School from 1994 to 2010 – including president, principal, admissions director, and teacher and basketball coach.

In 2007 he was the recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from then-Pope Benedict XVI for his service to the Church.

Bishop-elect Martin is no stranger to North Carolina, having served as director of the Duke Catholic Center – the official Catholic community at Duke University in Durham – from 2010 to 2022. The center serves and supports a Catholic student population that is the largest single faith community on campus, about 2,500 students.

In 2022, his order assigned him to ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, where since then he has served as pastor of St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro. BISHOP, SEE PAGE

‘He has a good sense of humor and doesn’t take himself seriously. But I will tell you, he’s very honest and he will tell you like it is.’

— Father Michael Heine, OFM Conv., Bishop-elect Martin’s religious superior

He has also held a number of leadership positions in the Church, particularly in Catholic education. He has served on multiple Catholic school boards including Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, and worked with Partners in Mission, a Bostonbased consulting firm that partners with Catholic schools and institutions to advance the mission of Catholic education.

‘He’s a person of the people, a builder and a visionary. He’s not afraid to try new things.’

— Mike Salvino, St. Matthew parishioner and former board member of Duke Catholic Center

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 5

Our diocese

Spending the day with Jesus

Hundreds of youth gather for prayer, fellowship at Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage


BELMONT — Under sunny skies at Belmont Abbey College, nearly 700 middle and high school students gathered to pray, reflect and grow in their devotion to the Eucharist at the 2024 Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage.

Held each spring, the day-long pilgrimage featured music, games, motivational speakers, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, the opportunity to receive the sacrament of confession, and a Eucharistic Procession to conclude the pilgrimage. The day carried the 2024 Eucharistic Congress Theme, “Remain in Me,” based on the words of the Gospel of John (15:4).

Busloads of youth came from parishes across the diocese for the April 13 event., including more than 100 people from Divine Redeemer in Boonville and another 70 from St. Francis of Assisi in Lenoir.

Benedictine Abbot Placid Solari kicked off the day’s events by asking the youth to pray for Bishop Peter Jugis, who announced his retirement for health reasons after leading the Diocese of Charlotte for 20 years, and to pray for Bishop-elect Michael Martin, OFM Conv., who will be ordained the fifth bishop of the diocese on May 29.

“We have gathered together today as the youth of the Diocese of Charlotte to give praise and thanks to God, and especially in this Easter season to give thanks for the gift that Jesus has given us of His Presence of the sacrament of His Body and Blood,” Abbot Placid said. “And by focusing on His Presence among us in the Eucharist, to know that it is that presence among us

which binds us to Him and through Him to one another.”

Keynote speaker Father Aaron Huber, chaplain at Christ the King High School in Huntersville, told the crowd of students that when we live a certain way, we are

nourishing our souls by the Holy Eucharist.

“When we remain in God as He remains in us, it’s not just simply about doing something, it’s about being something. And what does God call us to be?” he asked.

After fielding responses from the crowd,

Father Huber said, “We’re all called to be saints, right? It’s not like you just simply wake up and make the decision: ‘I’m going to be a saint.’ You do make that decision, but that decision means you have to do other things. Not just do them, but do them with love. Do them as God does them. We remain in Him as He remains in us.”

Singer-songwriter Dana Catherine told young women who attended a breakout session for high school students that God thinks they are wonderful.

Catherine, who deepened her relationship with God while in college at UNC-Chapel Hill, sang and spoke to the young women at the pilgrimage.

“You are so loved by God,” she said. “Don’t let other voices drown out God’s voice of truth. Trust God’s voice and plan for you.”

During the Mass, Abbot Placid talked to the youth about Jesus’ gift of the Eucharist. “He is the Bread of Life,” he told them, encouraging them to take the gift received in the Eucharist with them out to where they live, into their parish, school and community.

The Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage is a youthrelated component of the diocese’s annual Eucharistic Congress, which will be held this year in Charlotte Aug. 30-31.

More Online

At www.catholicnewsherald.com

See more photos and video of the 2024 Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage.

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 6
KIMBERLY BENDER PHOTOS BY TROY HULL | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD Hundreds of young people from across the Diocese of Charlotte joined for prayer, fun and fellowship at the 2024 Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage. The day-long event is a component of the diocese’s Eucharistic Congress and brings youth together to deepen their faith and celebrate their devotion to the Eucharist.

Historic St. Peter Church to begin major renovations

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte’s historic St. Peter Church – the oldest church in the Diocese of Charlotte – will begin a major renovation project in mid-May after more than a year of planning and fundraising.

“We’re still in the final stages of planning but our hope is that the project will begin on May 13,” said Jesuit Father Tim Stephens, pastor. “Our last day in the church is May 12, and on May 13 we start emptying the church of everything that can be moved, from chalices to candlesticks and hymnals.”

Mass will be celebrated in the church’s adjacent Benedict Hall, located at 500 S. College St., for the duration of the renovations. The current goal is for the project to be complete by the end of August, Father Stephens said.

It will be the first major renovation for the 131-year-old building since the 1980s. The scope of the project touches almost every part of the structure. The ceiling in the church will be replaced. The original hardwood floors, including subflooring, will also be replaced.

Other improvements will include enhancing weather proofing of the exterior, and repairing and painting of the bell tower. Lighting will be retrofitted and improvements made to the interior and entryway to improve access for all.

The church’s historic pews, a gift from St. Katharine Drexel in 1910 – who donated the pews with the requirement that at least one row be reserved for African Americans – will

of hearing aids, so I’m learning a lot about technology. The last time the sound system was updated was around 2008, and there have been a lot of technological changes since then.”

Parishioners have been enthusiastic about the project. A capital campaign launched in August to fund the renovations exceeded its goal of $2.6 million by collecting more than $2.7 million in pledges, Father Stephens said.

A recent liturgy workshop drew 55 parishioners who asked questions about how Mass will be offered in Benedict Hall, including details about where ushers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion will stand.

Charlotte-based Edifice Inc. is the general contractor for the project. Vincent Ciccarelli of Insight Architects is the architect, and Melissa Countryman of JLL is the project manager.

The parish consulted with the Diocese of Charlotte’s Office of Divine Worship and the Construction and Development offices on the project plans.

be moved to an off-site location to be restored and reinstalled, Father Stephens said.

In response to feedback from parishioners, the church’s sound system is also being updated and improved.

“One of the biggest questions we usually

get from people is how can they hear better. The nice thing is that there are things that can be done, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” Father Stephens said. “We’re trying to determine things like how different sound systems work with different kinds

St. Peter Parish was originally formed in 1851, when Father J.J. O’Connell laid the cornerstone for the original church. Six Benedictine monks served at the church before the original building was declared structurally unsound due to foundation damage caused by a munitions explosion at the end of the Civil War, according to a published parish history.

In 1893, the cornerstone was laid for the Victorian Gothic-style building that currently stands at 507 S. Tryon St. in Charlotte.

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 7 ST. JOSEPH COLLEGE SEMINARY CHAPEL Groundbreaking Ceremony On the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker Wednesday, May 1, 2024 SAVE THE DATE Mandatory RSVP to fakerblom@stjcs.org with number of persons in your party! Please join our beloved Bishop Peter J. Jugis, Rector Fr. Matthew Kauth, and the Seminarians, for the celebration of Groundbreaking for the new chapel at the St. Joseph College Seminary. 5:45–6:30 p.m. Arrival & Aperitivo 6:30 p.m. Groundbreaking Ceremony 7:00 p.m. Food, Drinks, and Socializing in the Barn
TROY HULL | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD Bishop Peter Jugis kneels before the Blessed Sacrament inside St. Peter Church during Holy Hour at the 2023 Eucharistic Congress. Renovations of the 131-year-old church are set to begin in May.

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In Brief

Catholic Charities’ refugee coordinator named one of Charlotte’s ‘40 over 40’

CHARLOTTE — Ashir Haji-Mohamed, refugee case coordinator supervisor for Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, was recently named one of Charlotte “40 over 40” by the Charlotte Ledger, a community newsletter.

In his role at Catholic Charities, Haji-Mohamed secures affordable housing for refugees, leveraging his own experience as a Somali refugee to help others find hope and stability in the U.S. He ensures clients’ smooth transition to self-sufficiency, fostering their community integration and success.

The annual award celebrates local unsung heroes aged 40 or older who are doing great things in their community. This year’s winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges who reviewed hundreds of nominations.

Annual stewardship conference draws attendees from four dioceses

CHARLOTTE — More than 200 participants from across four dioceses turned out for the 18th annual Diocesan Stewardship Conference on April 13 in Concord.

The conference, organized by the Diocese of Charlotte Office of Development, is a collaborative effort by the dioceses of Charlotte, Raleigh and Charleston, S.C., and the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and provided attendees an opportunity to learn from lay and ordained stewards from parishes across the Southeast.

The conference was one of the most well-attended in recent years and featured keynote speaker, author Tracy Welliver. The event also included breakout sessions covering such topics as: hospitality and community building; beginning or renewing your stewardship efforts; inviting, cultivating and nurturing the stewardship of time and talent; Hispanic stewardship; stewardship and social media; and the role of the pastor.

— Catholic News Herald

Eritrean archbishop visits Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — The Eritrean Catholic Community welcomed the archbishop of Asmara, Eritrea, during his first pastoral visit to the Charlotte region April 5-6.

Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam, M.C.C.I., was in Charlotte to visit one of his priests, Father Michael Solomon Debesay, who recently moved here to minister to the Eritrean Catholic Community, and to meet with Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis, who has supported the immigrant African community for many years.

The archbishop met with Bishop Jugis April 5 at the Diocese of Charlotte Pastoral Center as part of their shared effort to meet the spiritual needs of the African Catholic community that now numbers about 300 families. Because of the community’s growth, it has been designated an apostolate of the diocese that will fall under the Charlotte bishop’s authority because Ge’ez Rite Catholics do not have their own bishop here.

On April 6, Archbishop Tesfamariam celebrated a Mass at St. Matthew Church, taking time during the liturgy to speak with the

youth of the Eritrean community and lead them in prayer. Eritrean Catholics first found a spiritual home at St. Gabriel Parish, worshiping monthly at Masses offered by visiting priests, and later moved to St. Vincent de Paul Parish. The community also has a cultural center on donated property in Mint Hill that it uses for youth activities, faith formation classes and community gatherings.

With Father Debesay’s assignment to the diocese in March, the community now has a priest who can regularly offer Mass, the sacraments and other aspects of the faith.

— Catholic News Herald

Synod work continues with focus on Church organization, how to better evangelize in today’s world

CHARLOTTE — Church leaders are continuing to discuss issues of concern for Catholics today in a second series of listening sessions in the ongoing Synod on Synodality – this time, related to Church organization and structure.

Launched by Pope Francis in October 2021, the Synod of Bishops – the theme of which is “communion, participation and mission” – has sought the perspectives of all baptized Catholics on fostering what the pope has described as a “listening Church.”

U.S. dioceses including Charlotte have been conducting more listening sessions as part of the Synod’s “interim stage” – described as a time of reflection and preparation for a second session of the global Synod on Synodality this October in Rome.

This stage of the Synod is building on –not repeating – the work of the Synod that already took place in 2022-23. Specifically, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asked dioceses to host a few more listening sessions and provide feedback to the Vatican on:

n Where have I seen or experienced successes – and distresses – within the Church’s structure(s)/organization/ leadership/life that encourage or hinder the mission?

n How can the structures and organization of the Church help all the baptized to respond to the call to proclaim the Gospel and to live as a community of love and mercy in Christ?

Bishop Peter Jugis enthusiastically responded to the USCCB’s call, resuming the local Synod effort led in 2022-23 by Dr. Alessandro Rovati from Belmont Abbey College and a team of three others: Ibis Centeno (Hispanic ministry coordinator, Salisbury Vicariate), Mary Selby (synod coordinator, St. Eugene Parish, Asheville), and Shane Page (director of evangelization, St. Michael Parish, Gastonia).

Bishop Jugis noted, “The participation of the Diocese of Charlotte … is an important

way to foster the bonds of communion with other U.S. dioceses, the USCCB, and the universal Church and continue the path of listening to the People of God … thus giving a sign of the love and care the Church has for each person.”

In March, the local Synod team held eight listening sessions with selected key leaders – including the Presbyteral Council (a group of priests that advises the bishop), other clergy and parish council representatives, deacons, Hispanic Ministry coordinators,

the African American Affairs Ministry, and the diocesan offices of Catechetical Formation, Youth Ministry, and Campus and Young Adult Ministry.

The local Synod team received positive feedback about the direction the diocese is headed, said team member Shane Page.

“There is eagerness and excitement about the growth of the diocese – especially the growing numbers of Hispanic Catholics and young people, and opportunities for catechesis and learning,” Page said.

The growing use of digital technologies, thanks in part to the pandemic, has also made the online efforts of parishes and ministries easier and more effective, he said.

The listening sessions also identified the need to go “to the peripheries” given the size of the diocese: more than 530,000 Catholics in 92 parishes and missions, spread out over 20,700 square miles.

Participants also acknowledged a need for better integration between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Catholics in parish life.

Participants also expressed the desire for more catechesis and training so people can

better evangelize in their own spheres. Page noted that some participants approached the listening sessions with some cynicism, but afterwards said they enjoyed the experience.

“They saw that they were not alone in their opinions,” he said. “It was very edifying for them.”

Rovati and the local Synod team prepared a summary of the listening sessions for Bishop Jugis and Bishop-elect Martin’s review and sent it to the USCCB.

The USCCB is now preparing a national document based upon the feedback received from the U.S. dioceses and will share it with the Vatican at the beginning of May. In turn, the Vatican will use it and reports from other countries’ bishops conferences to prepare for the October 2024 Synod of Bishops in Rome, where they will decide what concrete proposals to give the pope.

Part of their task is figuring out how decisions are made in the Church in a way faithful to its nature – including discerning how episcopal collegiality is exercised in a synodal Church, where every member shares responsibility for the mission of evangelization.

The worldwide Synod on Synodality is meant to help the Church engage with more people and evangelize in today’s world, Page emphasized, not rewrite Church doctrine. “It’s about how we apply doctrine for the sake of evangelization. Where is the Church doing well, and where is it getting in its own way?”

— OSV News contributed.

More online

At www.charlottediocese.org/faithlife/synod : Learn more about the Synod on Synodality and read the Diocese of Charlotte’s 2023 Synod Report that summarized input from more than 7,000 Catholics who took part in 400 listening sessions in 2021-22.

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 8

Father Jim Turner, former Thomasville pastor, dies

CHILDS, Md. — With sadness, but with faith in the Resurrection, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales recently announced that Father James M. Turner, OSFS, passed away at the age of 72 on April 16, 2024. He was a professed member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 51 years and a priest for 43 years.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 23, 2024, followed by burial in the Oblate Cemetery.

He was born in Paris, Illinois, on Jan. 30, 1952, the son of James Williams and Evelyn (Hynes) Turner.

He attended Holy Rosary Parish School, St. Edmund’s Academy (middle school), and Salesianum School in Wilmington, Delaware. In high school, he was a student-athlete and a member of the track team.

After graduation from Salesianum School in 1970, he entered the Oblate Novitiate and made his first profession of vows on Aug. 18, 1973. He did his student teaching at Father Judge High School from 1975 to 1977, and he made his perpetual profession of vows on Nov. 24, 1979. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at Allentown College (now DeSales University), a Bachelor of Arts in theology from DeSales School of Theology, and

St. Augustine Mission in Upington, South Africa, in the spring of 1981.

He returned to the U.S. and was ordained a priest on June 13, 1981, at Our Lady of Ransom Church in Philadelphia, Pa., by Bishop Edward J. Schlotterback, OSFS, the bishop of Namibia, South Africa.

Following ordination, he returned to Salesianum School, where he served as a science teacher. In 1987, Father Turner moved into parish ministry and became the parochial vicar at Holy Infant Parish in Durham. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he ministered as assistant pastor at St. John Neumann Parish in Reston, Virginia; Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in High Point; Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Vienna, Virginia; St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Wilmington, Delaware; and Holy Redeemer by the Sea Parish in Kitty Hawk.

In 2007, Father Turner was appointed pastor of Our Lady of the Highways Parish in Thomasville and ministered to the closeknit community for the next 13 years. During his time in Thomasville, the church, parish hall and rectory offices were all enhanced to serve the growing number of parishioners. Ministry to Hispanic Catholics became a priority, and Father Turner became a friend and mentor to many families.

After being diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Father Turner retired from ministry in 2020 and moved to Virginia, where he was affectionately cared for by his sister Debby

in Childs, Maryland. There, he shared his love of nature with the Oblate community and the medical staff. Even as his health weakened, Father Turner continued to take after-dinner walks around the property. Soon a small group of Oblates joined him, and they developed a walking routine and a deeper connection as brothers. He also spent many hours engaging with his longtime hobby of jigsaw puzzles.

As a runner throughout his life, Father Turner was committed to staying the course and persevering in every situation. He practiced daily the Salesian virtue of embracing the present moment. As he returns to his heavenly Father, may he make his own the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Father Turner was the loving brother of Debra Read, Margaret Mitchell and Jeffrey Turner. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Condolences may be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Ed Read, 305 Edgewood Dr., Mineral, VA 23117.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions

may be made online to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Wilmington-Philadelphia Province, at www.tinyurl.com/52c6ub59.

— Catholic News Herald

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Monsignor John McSweeney, first priest ordained for Charlotte diocese, celebrates 50th anniversary

CHARLOTTE — John McSweeney was in college and engaged to a lovely young woman with dreams of one day having a family when he first sensed God calling him to a different vocation – one that would require him to forego his own family to shepherd a much larger one.

“I had to make a decision,” he says, now age 83. “I didn’t know if I wanted to continue on with the engagement. She and I are the best of friends to this day, but I just thought I needed to try to become a priest.”

Responding to that nudge from God turned into five decades as a priest filled with success while maintaining his mission to be a servant to God’s people. His vocation parallels the history of the Diocese of Charlotte, established in 1972. He was the first priest ordained for the brand-new diocese, back in 1974, and he began ministering at parishes the very next day. A native of Upstate New York, known for his direct style and wry humor, he would go on to be honored with the title “Monsignor” by then-Pope John Paul II, and would play a key role in running the diocese: serving as its administrator between bishops, then as vicar general and chancellor under two Charlotte bishops. Monsignor McSweeney also led the diocese’s vocations program, guiding more than two dozen young men in their discernment and formation as priests –including one who would later become a bishop. And he had a heart for the hungry and the homeless, starting food banks in at least five parishes where he served. His final assignment, spanning 18 years, was to pastor the fledgling St. Matthew Parish in booming south Charlotte. Under his leadership, St. Matthew grew from having Mass in a gym to becoming one of the largest parishes in the United States, with more than 11,500 registered families today.

“Monsignor McSweeney has played a key role in making our diocese what it is today,” says Monsignor Patrick Winslow, who now serves in the same role Monsignor McSweeney did, as the diocese’s chancellor. “He has had a keen sense of how to marshal people to use their Godgiven talents to benefit the local Church. And no matter how busy he was, he was always available for people, making them feel welcomed and challenging them to grow spiritually.”

The way Judy Schindler sees it: “He builds bridges and not walls.” She was Rabbi of Temple Beth El and recounts how Monsignor McSweeney

Called to be a servant

Monsignor John McSweeney’s assignment history in the Diocese of Charlotte

1974-1976: St. Gabriel Church, Charlotte

1976-1979: Immaculate Conception Church, Hendersonville

1979-1980: St. John the Evangelist, Waynesville

1979-1984: Diocesan director of vocations

1980-1982: Queen of the Apostles Church, Belmont

1981: Director, Office of Planning & Development

1981: Vice chancellor

1982: Full-time director of Planning & Development, continuing as director of vocations and vice chancellor

1983-1986: St. Ann Church, Charlotte

1986-1990: Chancellor, Diocese of Charlotte and vicar general in curia, 1986

1990-1991: St. James Church, Hamlet and Sacred Heart Mission, Wadesboro

1992: National Advisory Committee board member, Catholic Relief Services

1992: Diocesan consultor

1993: Elected diocesan administrator

1994: Vicar general, Diocese of Charlotte, and pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas


consistently reached out to the larger community, building Habitat Homes and providing space for the Jewish community to worship for many years until their temple renovation was complete in 2008.

“We did not have a facility that could hold our congregation during the High Holy Days, so Monsignor McSweeney graciously opened St. Matthew to us,” she says. “With sensitivity and love, he made sure we were at home to celebrate our most holy of times.”

For Monsignor McSweeney – who this year celebrates 50 years as a priest – serving his Church family has been wonderful, challenging and rewarding, just the way every family is, he notes, all thanks to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.


Originally from Oneida, New York, the future Monsignor McSweeney was studying at Catholic University of America in the late 1960s when he made the decision to end his engagement and enter seminary.

Missionary life interested him, but he wasn’t so sure about living in a foreign country. He found direction when Bishop Michael Begley visited the university. Begley was the first bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, which had only recently been carved out from the statewide Diocese of Raleigh.

“He had been a bishop for two months and was telling me about the missionary efforts of North Carolina, and I said, ‘That sounds good to me,’ so I signed up,”

1995: Sabbatical studies, North American Pontifical College, Vatican; diocese chancellor and vicar general

1995-1996: Missionary work in Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands

1996-1999: St. Lawrence Basilica, Asheville

1999-2017: St. Matthew Church, Charlotte

Monsignor McSweeney says.

He continued his studies for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, then went south to Charlotte, where he became the first priest ordained specifically for the new Charlotte

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 10
(Top) Monsignor John McSweeney celebrates Mass at St. Matthew Church in 2014 commemorating his 40th anniversary of priestly ordination. (Above) Monsignor McSweeney and Bishop Michael Begley meet with Pope John Paul II in Rome.

diocese in 1974. Bishop Begley officiated. His discernment experience would prove valuable in assignments throughout his priesthood, including as vocations director.

“If a young man or anyone is even thinking of the priesthood or religious life, they should try it,” he says. “Maybe they’re not called to it, but they should at least give it an attempt to satisfy their curiosity.”

Monsignor McSweeney reminisces about his own trepidation when entering seminary and says he went in with the notion of being open to whatever God was calling him to.

“I had made an internal note to myself: ‘You’re going to try it, and if you can’t do it, say so and get out of it,’” he remembers. “But I stayed.”


Father McSweeney’s priesthood officially began Sept. 29, 1974, auspiciously on the feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Rafael, the archangels. On that day, the parish’s patronal feast day, every priest of the twoyear-old diocese attended his ordination at St. Gabriel Church, the first church where he would serve as a priest.

Faithful from across the diocese filled the pews of the Charlotte church to celebrate the momentous occasion, including the Sisters of Mercy, Catholic school children, and many priests who’d been reassigned from the Raleigh diocese to Charlotte.

Monsignor McSweeney admits he was nervous.

“It was funny because the bishop didn’t really know what he was doing,” he recalls with a laugh. “He had never ordained anyone, and I had never been ordained.” He remembers then-Father Joseph Showfety and seminarian Frank O’Rourke, both of whom would rise in the diocese.

Afterward, Monsignor McSweeney recalls a big spaghetti-and-meatball dinner organized by women of St. Gabriel Parish.

“It was just a fun and very happy day,” he says. “Everything was so special, and then all of a sudden it hit me – I had become a priest!”


The newly ordained Father McSweeney began his priestly ministry the next day as parochial vicar of St. Gabriel Parish. He went on to pastor 12 different churches, earned a master’s degree in administration from Notre Dame, and served as the diocese’s director of planning and development. He also was vicar general and chancellor for eight years under Bishop John F. Donoghue.

When Bishop Donoghue was elevated to Archbishop of Atlanta, Monsignor

McSweeney stepped in to guide the Charlotte diocese as administrator, then returned to the vicar general and chancellor role under the new bishop, William G. Curlin.

“I had the unique privilege of working with the bishops and seeing the different activities and ways to make the diocese available to the parishes,” he says.

He regards his years as the diocesan vocations director, 1979 to 1984, as one of the most rewarding and fruitful times of his priesthood.

“I’m very proud of seeing the many young priests that have come out of that period of time that I had something to do with,” he says. One of those priests was Father Peter Jugis, who was a seminarian during Father McSweeney’s tenure and 20 years later would become Charlotte’s fourth bishop.

In 1988, Father McSweeney received word that Pope John Paul II had bestowed upon him the title of monsignor. This rare honorary title is given for exceptional service to the Church and is granted by the pope typically based on the local bishop’s recommendation.

“That was a surprise because I was actually very young to be named a monsignor, but I always felt that was a huge honor,” he says.

In 1995, Monsignor McSweeney moved from his diocesan administrative posts to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he spent a year serving as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Thomas and of a parish on St. John. His experiences in the Diocese of Charlotte were especially helpful during this assignment.

“The bishop there asked me to be responsible for the formation of three seminarians who eventually became the first priests to serve in the Diocese of St. Thomas, so I was involved with their education and formation in addition to my pastoral roles.”

During this time, he also added a little seafaring to his repertoire.

“It was a unique experience. I would have to take a boat from St. Thomas to the island of St. John’s just to get where I needed to go.”

He returned to the Diocese of Charlotte in 1996 to shepherd the historic and beautiful St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville. Then, in July 1999, he was appointed pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Charlotte.

“As my first pastor, Monsignor McSweeney was and continues to be a mentor,” says Father Pat Cahill, who served as parochial vicar at St. Matthew from 2007 to 2009 and now is a pastor himself, at St. Eugene in Asheville.

“His ability to delegate and empower others while also being on top of things is second to none. I cherish the fact that I spent my first two years of priesthood learning from him.”


Over the years, Monsignor McSweeney became known for his ability to draw out the gifts of others and for the joy he has in doing so. At St. Matthew, he says, the greatest thing he saw happening was the involvement of lay people in the growth and ministry of the parish, noting the highly active parish council and a wide variety of ministries.

“I listen to many different people for consultation, and I try to always identify people of good skill and talent,” he says.

He hired Antoinette Usher as facilities director in 2003. A chemical engineer who had taken time away from work to raise children, she volunteered on St. Matthew’s building committee when they undertook a major building campaign to add 100,000 square feet for a new chapel, parish life center and school.

“He said, ‘Well you built it, now take care of it,’” Usher recalls fondly.

Now chief operating officer of St. Matthew, she says she appreciated Monsignor McSweeney’s directness and the “trust he put in staff members to do what is right.” She also notes his softer side.

“He felt no one was any more special than anyone else, but he did feel that every person carries a sacred title – whether that be mother, daughter, husband or whatever their vocation was in life,” she says. “He tried to portray himself as tough, but he really wasn’t. He had a heart of gold. He would help those in need, often from his own pocket.”

Monsignor McSweeney made special efforts to feed the hungry and started food banks, he recalls, at five parishes. Just two months before retiring, donors honored him by establishing an endowment in his name to enshrine St. Matthew’s annual food drive – a massive project that provides food for the hungry in Charlotte and in Haiti. The effort recently received national media attention for sending its 3 millionth meal to Haiti in 2023 and has been aptly named the Monsignor McSweeney World Hunger Drive.

“We set up a food pantry area underneath the chapel of St. Matthew. The idea was that the chapel is the ‘bread of life’ upstairs and underneath it is the ‘food for life,’” he says. “There was a spiritual idea behind why we built that particular building – it was to feed both the spiritual and material needs of the people.”

After retiring in 2017, Monsignor McSweeney has remained focused on charity, traveling on mission trips to Jamaica to assist the Missionaries of the Poor in alleviating poverty in the Kingston area. Today, he continues to serve God’s people by filling in for other priests to offer Masses at parishes. He also tends a vegetable garden, where he grows a variety of produce, giving it away to people in need.

“I’m still to this day – 50 years now –thankful for being a priest,” he says. “The greatest blessing has been being available to people in their need and letting myself be available. I like to think of myself as being a good listener, not having all the answers but at least being available for people to talk. A big part of my thinking is to be available to God’s people. As a priest, you are called to be a servant.”

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Monsignor McSweeney receives a blessing from Bishop Michael Begley at his ordination to the priesthood on Sept. 29, 1974. The ordination was held at St. Gabriel Chruch, where Monsignor McSweeney would then serve his first assignment as parochial vicar of the parish.


particular they wanted to pray for.

A girl raised her hand and asked if they could pray for their classmate Abby Lynn, pointing to the empty desk next to her. Someone else suggested praying for all the families affected by the crash.

He agreed: “We love you, Jesus, and we want to love you more. We pray for these families. We want to lift them up and ask that you send your healing and comfort to them and to these students. Every student in this class has something in their heart, something they pray for. We entrust those intentions to you.”

The bishop-elect went on to visit with cafeteria workers and students at lunch, then headed to Belmont to see Holy Angels. A community founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1955, Holy Angels now cares for 81 residents – toddlers to seniors – who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and delicate medical conditions.

Staff briefed him on the facility’s plans for a $21 million expansion, then took the bishop-elect to meet residents. He held Holy Angels’ youngest resident, a 14-month-old girl who requires 24-hour nursing care, on his lap, speaking warmly as she fidgeted with the San Damiano crucifix hanging from his neck.

In the adults’ residence, he met 82-yearold Butch – who is a blind autistic savant, said to be able to play any tune on the piano. The bishop-elect requested “Sweet Caroline,” and Butch delivered, prompting all to sing along.

Finally, he wrapped up a long day with a reception in Charlotte to meet many of the diocese’s priests. Some had driven hours from the mountains, flown back early from vacation, or canceled meetings and other activities to visit with their new shepherd. “I was energized by the people I met everywhere I went,” Bishop-elect Martin said later. “There is such an enthusiasm for sharing the good news of Jesus –whether it be to the poor, the faithful, or those who are searching.”


Bishop-elect Martin will be ordained by longtime friend and colleague Atlanta Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, with Cardinal Pierre and Bishop Jugis serving as co-consecrators. The ordination is set for


Just a few hours after the Vatican announced Bishop Jugis’ retirement and appointed Franciscan Father Michael Martin his successor, the two concelebrated a moving Mass in the chapel of the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Charlotte before the April 9 news conference.

May 29 at St. Mark Church in Huntersville. Archbishop Hartmayer, also a Conventual Franciscan, leads the Church’s three-state province of Georgia and the Carolinas and praised the appointment of Bishop-elect Martin.

“I believe Pope Francis has made an excellent choice for the Church of Charlotte,” he said. “Bishop-elect Martin is a man who is deeply in love with Jesus, and he is a faithful son of St. Francis of Assisi. He comes to the Diocese of Charlotte with many gifts and a wealth of experience, and a love for God’s people. I believe he will be a bishop who listens and leads.”

The Franciscans are a worldwide religious order founded in 1209 by St.

Francis of Assisi. They often serve in urban areas for purposes of evangelization, teaching and service to the poor. The religious habit worn by the Conventual Franciscans is gray in color with a tunic, a capuche (or hood) and a white cord around the waist with three knots signifying their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Bishop Jugis said it had been a delight to meet and talk with his future successor.

“As difficult as it is for me to leave this position that I love,” he said, “I am confident that God has a plan in bringing us Bishop-elect Martin, and I will do everything I can to support his ministry. It has truly been the joy of a lifetime to serve as bishop for the people of our diocese, and I believe Bishop-elect Martin will find that to be true for him as he gets to know the faithful of our diocese and sees firsthand our many ministries that are dedicated to sharing the love of Christ in our communities.”


Bishop Jugis will become bishop emeritus upon his retirement and said he plans to remain in Charlotte and serve wherever he is needed.

A native of Charlotte, he is the Charlotte diocese’s longest-serving bishop. Since his ordination in 2003, he has guided the diocese through unprecedented growth,

with the Catholic population more than doubling over the past 20 years to 530,000 today. Among his achievements:

n As bishop, he has called to holy orders 57 new priests and 65 new permanent deacons for ministry, and established six new parishes.

n In 2016, he founded St. Joseph College Seminary in Mount Holly to form priests for the diocese from among the parishes they will one day serve.

n He has overseen rapid growth at the diocese’s 20 accredited schools, which this year saw a record enrollment of 8,100 students.

n In 2005, he founded the annual Eucharistic Congress, one of the largest public worship events of its kind in the United States, drawing more than 10,000 people to Charlotte each fall to celebrate the Catholic faith.

For more about Bishop Jugis’ tenure as the diocese’s longest-serving bishop, go to the “About” tab at www.charlottediocese.org.

More online

At www.catholicnewsherald.com : See more photos, videos and articles of Bishop-elect Michael Martin.

Please pray for the following deacons who died during the month of April

Robert Kratchman 2017

Guy A. Piché

Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus www.kofcnc.org

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 12

Beloved OLM principal retires after 50 years of service

WINSTON-SALEM — How do you say goodbye to someone like Sister Geri Rogers? A packed Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem showed the way April 14, as more than 300 people gathered for a beautiful tribute celebrating her retirement and inestimable contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Charlotte.

The evening – filled with laughter, love and a few tears – was a testament to the impact Sister Geri has had on the Our Lady of Mercy community where she has been a teacher and principal for more than 40 years.

Those who encounter Sister Geri sense her singular grace for inspiring others to be the best they can be in all things, especially in the Christian life. Some even call it the “Sister Geri effect.”

“The way Sister Geri treats the children and how she brings Christianity and Catholicism to the students in such a gentle way will always be remembered,” said Nancy Farmer, a teacher at Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem for 20 years. “She teaches them by example – who you’re supposed to be, how you should act, and how you treat other people.”

These lessons from Sister Geri have had a deep effect on the students, Farmer said.

“All the kids look up to her for the simple fact that when they think about being a good Christian, that’s who they talk about,” she added. “There’s no other person than Sister Geri because she exemplifies it so phenomenally.”

Now, after more than four decades at Our Lady of Mercy School and 50 years as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Geri is retiring and returning to be near her family in Philadelphia, where her order is also based. The area is home to her eight siblings, as well as many nieces and nephews.

“It went by fast,” Sister Geri said of her time at Our Lady of Mercy. “I’d like to thank the people at Our Lady of Mercy for making Mercy my home away from home.” She plans to stay in touch with the school community and visit often.

The evening opened with a blessing and a rendition of “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music,” performed by the school’s faculty.

Sister Geri applauded, stood up and said she thought the teachers were doing inservice training when they were practicing their performance at school, garnering much laughter from the crowd.

Father David McCanless, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, offered a few remarks before his blessing.

“I want to thank Sister Geri on a personal level for her kind welcome to me when I arrived and her incredible kindness and support over these past three years,” he said. “I really have relied on her probably more than is fair to her, but she’s been such a great help and such a great support.”

Dr. Greg Monroe, superintendent of Catholic schools, was in attendance and offered remarks on Sister Geri’s contributions.

“We don’t always get to see the effects

Sister Geri Rogers, principal of Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem, is known for her unwavering support of students and faculty alike. She is retiring after 40 years as a teacher and principal at Our Lady of Mercy and 50 years as a Sister of St. Joseph. Below, Sister Geri (center) took a moment to pose with many of the school’s current and former teachers during her retirement party April 14.

of the teaching, witness and formation we hope to impress upon our students. Tonight is a realization of the hard work and those day-to-day interactions coming to fruition,” Monroe said. “You can rest easy looking out at this crowd today – from that first first-grade class to the most recent graduates – knowing that your legacy is one where every student here, every alumnus here has been affected in a positive way by your leadership and by you.”

Over 60 years, 46 Sisters of St. Joseph have taught at Our Lady of Mercy and each one really enjoyed being in North Carolina, Sister Geri said. She is the last religious sister serving in the Diocese of Charlotte’s schools.

In a recent interview, Sister Geri reminisced on her vocation and explained how she knew God was calling her to be a religious sister.

“When I was in high school, I took a test to go into nursing school, and that’s really what I wanted to do, but then I just got this overwhelming feeling that this was not what God wanted from me,” she recalled, admitting that she became a little angry about it.

“I really wanted to be a nurse, but the feeling stuck with me for so long, so I talked to one of the Sisters of St. Joseph who was teaching me at the time and she gave me some prayers to pray,” she remembered. “I talked to my parents, and here I am 50-some years later.”

Sister Geri took her final vows in 1974 and worked as a teacher in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey before arriving at Our Lady of Mercy in 1983 as a firstgrade teacher, which was her specialty. School parent Leigh Ann Janjua, who helped organize Sister Geri’s retirement party, has had three children attend Our

Lady of Mercy. Two have graduated, and her youngest is in seventh grade.

“Sister Geri has been a huge part of the community for more than four decades. She has been a wonderful asset in every way,” Janjua said. “She lives her life in a way that we should all strive to live our lives. I’ll always remember her kindness and tact in every situation.”

The Sister Geri effect has extended beyond the Our Lady of Mercy community in many ways, whether it’s the impact her students have made in the diocese and beyond or the development of fellow principals.

She mentored Erin Brinkley, principal of Sacred Heart School in Salisbury, for two years while Brinkley was a new principal. Brinkley credited Sister Geri with being “an amazing example of a servant leader.”

“Sister Geri is still not afraid after all these years to step in and do what needs to be done, whether it’s lunch duty or helping with after-school care,” Brinkley said. “She taught me no matter how long you’re in the job, always be sure to keep your boots on the ground and be a good listener.”

Noting that it’s difficult to put into words what Sister Geri means to her, Brinkley added, “Even after the formal mentorship was over, she was always available if I needed anything. When I’d go to a basketball game, she’d always be there, and I could sit down next to her and talk.”

At the close of the evening, the crowd serenaded Sister Geri with “You Are My Sunshine.” She then received a blessing from Father McCanless, who thanked God for all the years Sister Geri has been with the Our Lady of Mercy community and for her kindness, leadership and love, asking Him to bless her and keep her in the years ahead.

Sister Geri Rogers Endowment Fund created to honor the legacy of longtime Catholic educator

To recognize her decades of service, an endowment will be established in honor of Sister Geri Rogers, a Sister of St. Joseph and longtime teacher and principal of Our Lady of Mercy School in Winston-Salem.

The fund will provide tuition scholarships for generations of Our Lady of Mercy students to come.

“It’s a way to remember and honor Sister in a very special way, and it’s a great way to change the lives of future students,” said Jim Kelley, director of development for the diocese.

Anyone who would like to honor her legacy at Our Lady of Mercy may contribute by writing a check to Our Lady of Mercy, with the memo line “Sister Geri Rogers Endowment Fund.” Checks should be mailed to: Attn: Sister Geri Rogers Endowment Fund, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, 1730 Link Road, WinstonSalem, N.C. 27103.

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 13 Our schools
24-28, 2024

Catholic Charities celebrates 75 years of helping people in need

Caridades Católicas celebra 75 años ayudando a personas necesitadas

Formore than seven decades, hundreds of thousands of people have found help and hope thanks to Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte.

As it launches its 75th anniversary celebrations during Catholic Charities Week (April 28-May 4), Catholic Charities continues to inspire hope and advance the Church’s mission of serving the most vulnerable among us with more than two dozen specialized services – from weekly food pantries, to help for homeless veterans and pregnant women in need, to refugee resettlement, to mental health counseling, to social advocacy and more. Catholic Charities’ work impacts the 46 counties of the diocese through its strategic locations in Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Lenoir, North Wilkesboro, Asheville and Murphy. In the past year alone, the agency served nearly 23,000 people, distributing over 600,000 pounds of food and aiding nearly 900 refugees. Numerous other highlights are detailed on pages 18 and 19.

“Catholic Charities exists because of the dedicated efforts and sacrifices of thousands of volunteers, donors and staff over the past seven decades,” says Executive Director Gerard Carter. “Our commitment today is to continue that legacy of authentic, charitable ministry by living out our passion statement: ‘The love of Christ impels us to serve our neighbors in need – we cannot do otherwise.’”


Catholic Charities’ roots were planted in 1948, when Raleigh Bishop Vincent Waters founded the first Bureau of Catholic Charities to provide social services and assistance across all of North Carolina.

Within a year, sisters from the Missionary Servants of the Blessed Trinity (MSBT) opened a Charlotte branch to provide pregnancy support, maternity care, foster care and adoption services to people living in the western half of the state. In those early years, the agency also helped resettle

Celebrating 75 years of charity

As Catholic Charities celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024, the Catholic News Herald is launching a special series showcasing the many ways that Catholic Charities impacts the lives of thousands of people across our diocese – strengthening families, building communities and reducing poverty.

Over the coming months, we invite you to learn more about how Catholic Charities puts into practice the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. We hope you are inspired to join the mission, sharing the love of Christ with your neighbors in need. Go to www.ccdoc.org/volunteer to learn more about how you can get involved.


más de siete décadas, cientos de miles de personas han encontrado ayuda y esperanza gracias a Caridades Católicas de la Diócesis de Charlotte.

Al iniciar las celebraciones de su 75º aniversario durante la Semana de Caridades Católicas, del 28 de abril al 4 de mayo, Caridades Católicas de la Diócesis de Charlotte continúa inspirando esperanza y avanzando en la misión de la Iglesia de servir a los más vulnerables entre nosotros con más de una veintena de servicios especializados, desde despensas semanales de alimentos hasta ayuda para veteranos sin hogar y mujeres embarazadas en necesidad, reasentamiento de refugiados, asesoramiento en salud mental, defensa social y mucho más.

El trabajo de Caridades Católicas impacta en los 46 condados de la diócesis a través de sus ubicaciones estratégicas en Charlotte, Greensboro, WinstonSalem, Lenoir, North Wilkesboro, Asheville y Murphy.

Solamente el año pasado, la agencia atendió a casi 23,000 personas, distribuyendo más de 600,000 libras de alimentos, y ayudó a casi 900 refugiados, entre muchos otros aspectos destacados detallados en las páginas 18 y 19.

“Caridades Católicas existe gracias a los esfuerzos dedicados y sacrificios de miles de voluntarios, donantes y personal durante las últimas siete décadas”, dijo el director ejecutivo, Gerard A. Carter. “Nuestro compromiso es continuar ese legado de ministerio auténtico y caritativo viviendo nuestro apasionado lema: ‘El amor de Cristo nos impulsa a servir a nuestro prójimo necesitado, no podemos hacer otra cosa’”.


Las raíces de Caridades Católicas se plantaron en 1948, cuando el Obispo de Raleigh, Vincent S. Waters, fundó la primera Oficina de Caridades Católicas para proporcionar servicios sociales y asistencia en toda Carolina del Norte.

Al cabo de un año, las Hermanas de las Misioneras Siervas de la Santísima Trinidad, MSBT por sus

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com FROM THE COVERI 15 FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD Catholic Charities’ staff and volunteers improve the lives of people across 46 counties in western North Carolina through their work at locations in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Lenoir, Murphy, North Wilkesboro and Winston-Salem. CHARITIES, SEE PAGE 16 CHARITIES, PASA A LA PÁGINA 17


more than 1,900 refugees from war-torn Europe after World War II.

outreach even further and, in 2013, renaming the agency to Catholic Charities.

How can you help?

Services offered

n Stay the Course Program FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD From housing and clothing

When the Diocese of Charlotte was carved out of the statewide Diocese of Raleigh in 1972, a new chapter in Catholic Charities’ history began with Charlotte Bishop Michael Begley, an ardent advocate and supporter of Catholic Charities. Under his leadership, the Charlotte bureau was transformed into a full-fledged Catholic Social Services agency for the new diocese. The agency quickly grew thanks to Bishop Begley’s support and the hard work of the MSBT sisters, who opened a Western Office in Asheville in 1982 and a Piedmont Triad Office in Winston-Salem in 1983.

Elizabeth Thurbee, the first layperson to run the agency’s adoption program, later led the agency until her retirement in 2010. She oversaw Catholic Charities’ expansion to encompass food pantries, burial assistance for the poor, counseling, refugee resettlement and elder ministry programs.


As North Carolina’s population soared during the 1990s and 2000s, the need for social services also grew, and Catholic Social Services was there to help – expanding its

Since then, Catholic Charities has continued responding to the shifting needs of a growing population, mounting economic inequalities, and lingering impacts of the global pandemic. Now the agency has even more ways to help people living on the margins – including legal immigration and translation assistance, citizenship training, help for pregnant women in need and youth in crisis (particularly teenage moms), environmental advocacy, human trafficking awareness, support services for veterans, mentoring for at-risk college students, and emergency help with rent and utility bills.

Its continued mission? To lift people out of poverty, strengthen families and build communities – serving all of God’s people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or socioeconomic background.

“At Catholic Charities, we are dedicated to meeting the changing needs of our community,” says David Long, Catholic Charities’ spokesperson. “That’s why we continue to expand our infrastructure and services, driven by our history of charitable outreach rooted in the Church. We are honored to serve our community with love, compassion and dignity, and we are committed to fulfilling the Church’s mission to uplift those in need. Our work continues as long as there are people in need.”

— Catholic News Herald

Financial donations to enable Catholic Charities to assist participants and buy food are an effective way to help serve people in need. Make donations online at www.ccdoc.org (click on “Donate”), or by mail to: Catholic Charities, Central Processing, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, N.C. 28203-4003.

Need assistance?

Catholic Charities assists individuals and families and providing homelessness prevention, family enrichment, immigration, burial assistance and more. All services are provided either free of charge or ethnicity or religion.


n Food and Clothing Assistance

n Transition Out of Poverty Program

n Services for Homeless Veterans

n Mental Health Counseling

n Burial Assistance

n Disaster Relief


n Pregnancy Support

n Adoption Referral Services

n Runaway and Homeless Youth

n FFHL Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte Endowment Fund: Established through the diocese-wide “Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love” campaign and provides general financial support for Catholic Charities.

n Catholic Charities Endowment Fund: Provides for the general needs of Catholic Charities across the Diocese of Charlotte.

n Catholic Charities Asheville Endowment Fund: Provides for the general needs of this ministry in Asheville.

n Catholic Charities Burial Assistance Endowment Fund: Provides for the burial assistance program.

n Catholic Charities Charlotte Endowment Fund: Provides for the general needs of this ministry in Charlotte.

Catholic Charities offers services to people across western North Carolina. Email info@ ccdoc.org or reach out to your local Catholic Charities office: Asheville 828-255-0146

Charlotte 704-370-3262

Greensboro 336-288-1984

Lenoir 828-434-5710

n Elder Ministry


Murphy 828-835-3535

North Wilkesboro 828-434-5710

Winston-Salem 336-727-0705

People who need assistance can also call 2-1-1 to find up-todate information on available community services that may be available. 2-1-1 helps connect people to information about local food pantries, medical resources and possible changes to government benefits.

In the early years of Catholic Charities (known then as Catholic of the Blessed Trinity assisted with running the agency’s Charlotte

Endowments benefit Catholic Charities and its

n Catholic Charities Refugee Endowment Fund: Provides for the general needs of this ministry across the Diocese of Charlotte.

n Catholic Charities Winston-Salem Endowment Fund: Provides for the general needs of this ministry in Winston-Salem.

n Beatrice A. Chase Endowment Fund: Established

through a bequest and provides general financial support for Catholic Charities.

n Maureen Reinehr Gigler Endowment Fund

n Elizabeth Grace Endowment Fund: Provides for the programmatic needs of Catholic Charities.

n Aurelia I. Guffey Catholic Charities Endowment Fund: Established through a bequest and provides for

iiiApril 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com FROM THE 16
assistance to food pantries and pregnancy support, Catholic Charities offers over two dozen services to people in need across the diocese.
FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD A child tries on Bishop William Curlin’s zucchetto (skullcap) as the bishop visits with refugee families in the diocese.

families in need by distributing food and clothing enrichment, refugee resettlement and or on a sliding scale, regardless of race,


n Immigration and Citizenship

n Refugee Resettlement

n After-School and Summer Programs for Refugee Children


n Social Concerns and Advocacy

n Catholic Social Teaching

n Education

n Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services

n Public Policy

n Care of Creation



siglas en inglés, abrieron una sucursal en Charlotte para proporcionar apoyo durante el embarazo, atención de maternidad, cuidado de crianza y servicios de adopción a las personas que viven en la mitad occidental del estado. En esos primeros años, la agencia también ayudó a reasentar a más de 1.900 refugiados de la Europa devastada después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Cuando la Diócesis de Charlotte se escindió de la Diócesis estatal de Raleigh en 1972, comenzó un nuevo capítulo en la historia de Caridades Católicas con el Obispo de Charlotte, Michael J. Begley, un ferviente defensor y partidario de Caridades Católicas. Bajo su liderazgo, la oficina de Charlotte se transformó en una agencia de Servicios Sociales Católicos de pleno derecho para la nueva diócesis. La agencia creció rápidamente gracias al apoyo del Obispo Begley y al arduo trabajo de las hermanas MSBT, quienes abrieron una oficina occidental en Asheville en 1982 y la oficina de Piedmont Triad en Winston-Salem en 1983. Elizabeth Thurbee, primera laica en dirigir el programa de adopción de la Caridades Católicas, más tarde dirigió la agencia hasta su jubilación en 2010. Supervisó la expansión de Caridades Católicas para abarcar despensas de alimentos, asistencia para el entierro de personas en necesidad económica, asesoramiento, reasentamiento de refugiados y programas de ministerio de ancianos.


A medida que la población de Carolina del Norte creció rápidamente durante las décadas de 1990 y 2000, la necesidad de servicios sociales también se extendió, y los

Servicios Sociales Católicos estuvieron allí para ayudar, expandiendo aún más su alcance y, en 2013, retomando su nombre original: Caridades Católicas.

Desde entonces, Caridades Católicas ha seguido respondiendo a las necesidades cambiantes de una población en crecimiento, las crecientes desigualdades económicas y los impactos persistentes de la pandemia mundial. En nuestros tiempos, la agencia tiene aún más formas de ayudar a las personas que viven marginalizadas, incluida la inmigración legal y asistencia de traducción, capacitación para la ciudadanía, ayuda para mujeres embarazadas necesitadas y jóvenes en crisis (particularmente madres adolescentes), defensa del medio ambiente, concientización sobre la trata de personas, servicios de apoyo para veteranos, tutoría para estudiantes universitarios en riesgo y ayuda económica de emergencia con el pago de los alquileres de vivienda y las facturas de servicios públicos básicos.

Es una misión continua el ayudar a salir a las personas de la pobreza, el fortalecer a las familias y la construcción de comunidades sirviendo a todo el pueblo de Dios, independientemente de su edad, raza, etnia, afiliación religiosa o antecedentes socioeconómicos.

“En Caridades Católicas, nos dedicamos a satisfacer las necesidades cambiantes de nuestra comunidad”, señaló David Long, portavoz de Caridades Católicas. “Por ello continuamos expandiendo nuestra infraestructura y servicios, impulsados por nuestra historia de alcance caritativo arraigada en la Iglesia. Nos sentimos honrados de servir a nuestra comunidad con amor, compasión y dignidad, y estamos comprometidos a cumplir la misión de la Iglesia de elevar a los necesitados. Mientras existan personas necesitadas nuestro trabajo continuará”.

— Catholic News Herald

¿Cómo puede ayudar?

Las donaciones financieras para permitir que Caridades Católicas compre alimentos y ayude a los participantes son una forma efectiva de ayuda a las personas necesitadas. Puede realizar sus donaciones online en www.ccdoc. org (haga clic en “Donate”), o por correo a: Catholic Charities, Central Processing, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, N.C. 28203-4003.

¿Necesita asistencia?

Caridades Católicas ofrece servicios a las personas del oeste de Carolina del Norte. Envíe un correo electrónico a info@ccdoc. org o a alguna de nuestras oficinas locales de Caridades Católicas:

Asheville 828-255-0146

Charlotte 704-370-3262 Greensboro 336-288-1984





Winston-Salem 336-727-0705

Las personas que necesiten asistencia también pueden llamar al 2-1-1 para encontrar información actualizada sobre servicios comunitarios disponibles.

El servicio 2-1-1 ayuda a conectar a las personas con información sobre despensas de alimentos locales, recursos médicos y posibles cambios de beneficios gubernamentales.

the programmatic needs of Catholic Charities.

n Peter J. and Catherine P. Hickey Endowment Fund: Provides for the adoption programs of Catholic Charities.

n Lawrence and Patricia Hollett Family Endowment Fund

n Robert H. Moeller Memorial Endowment Fund: Provides housing-related financial assistance for the elderly

across the Diocese of Charlotte.

n John S. Monahan Endowment Fund: Established through a bequest and provides for Catholic Charities’ general needs.

n John and Marlene Olenick Endowment Fund: Supports the pregnancy support services of Catholic Charities in the Piedmont Triad.

n George and Jane Pfaff Catholic Charities Endowment Fund: Established through a bequest and provides for Catholic Charities’ program needs.

n San Lorenzo Ruiz Philippine Heritage Endowment Fund: Provides for the unrestricted general needs and for refugee/immigrant assistance by Catholic Charities in Charlotte.

n Sarmiento-Lang Family Endowment Fund: Provides for pregnancy support services at Catholic Charities across the Diocese of Charlotte.

n Lee and Allan Thurbee Memorial Endowment Fund: Provides financial support for Catholic Charities’ work in the Diocese of Charlotte.

n Kathleen A. Troy Memorial Endowment Fund

THE COVER April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.comiii 17
vital work throughout the Diocese of Charlotte
where the campers have a chance to explore museums and take day trips to parks, pools and other exciting locations. FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD Catholic Social Services), sisters from the Missionary Servants Charlotte location.
Each year, Catholic Charities hosts summer camps for refugee children in grades K-12,

146 Digni ed burials

272 Volunteers contributed

17,520 hours of service AnnualReport



Social Concerns & Advocacy participants

Clothing and baby items given to 640 families


Supportive Services Housing Permanency participants

4 Students in Stay the Course

3 Youth Empowerment Opportunity Program participants


People received nancial assistance

families Holiday assistance provided to


16,229 Individuals provided with

634,069 pounds of food and

15,307 pounds of non-food supplies

42 Apartments Setup

22,994 total people served

226 Zip codes served

797 Elder Ministry participants

2,539 Counseling sessions provided to people


67 Veterans helped by Supportive Services for Veteran Families


Transition Out of Poverty participants

256 Refugees resettled


265 Immigration participants

683 Refugees assisted

Get Involved Go to ccdoc.org to learn more about the impact of Catholic Charities and how you can help a neighbor in need by volunteering or making a donation today. Every gift of time, talent, and treasure helps strengthen families, build communities, and reduce poverty across the 46 counties served by our local o ces. ccdoc.org

e love of Christ impels us (II Cor. 5:14) to serve our neighbors in need (Mt. 25: 31-46) –we cannot do otherwise (Deus Caritas Est, no. 25).

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146 enterramientos

272 Voluntarios contribuyeron

17,520 horas de servicio


Participantes de programas de Atención a Inquietudes Sociales y de Intercesión

Ropa y artículos para bebés fueron distribuidas a 640 familias


Participantes de los servicios de apoyo de permanecia de la vivienda

4 Estudiantes participaron en el programa “Stay the Course”


Participantes del programa de oportunidad de empoderamiento de los jóvenes

Personas recibieron asistencia nanciera 448


Familias recibieron asistencia por los días festivos

16,229 Personas recibieron

634,069 libras de alimentos y

15,307 libras de no-comestibles

Se establecieron

226 Códigos postales servidos

Participantes del ministerio de personas mayores


Se ofrecieron sesiones de consejería a


42 personas



Personas recibieron asistencia

67 Veteranos recibieron servicios de apoyo para familias de veteranos


Participantes en el programa “Transition Out of Poverty”

Se logró el reasentamiento de 256 refugiados


Refugiados recibieron asistencia


Participantes de servicios de inmigración

Para ayudar Visite ccdoc.org para informarse más sobre el impacto de Catholic Charities y cómo usted puede ayudar a un vecino necesitado por medio del voluntariado o haciendo una donación el día de hoy. Toda contribución de tiempo, talento, o dinero ayuda a fortalecer familias, crear comunidades y reducir la pobreza a través de 46 condados donde nuestras oficinas locales ofrecen asistencia. ccdoc.org

El amor de Cristo nos apremia (II Cor. 5:14) a servir a nuestros hermanos necesitados (Mt. 25:31-46) –no podemos hacer otra cosa (Deus Caritas Est. no. 25)

19 April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com FROM THE COVERI
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La diócesis se prepara para el cambio de obispo, ya que un sacerdote Franciscano sucede al Obispo Jugis que se jubila

CHARLOTTE — Por primera vez en 20 años, los católicos de toda la Diócesis de Charlotte se están preparando para un cambio en el liderazgo, a medida que el Obispo Peter Jugis se jubila y un sacerdote franciscano se prepara para convertirse en su sucesor.

La noticia se dio a conocer el 9 de abril, cuando el Vaticano anunció que el Papa Francisco había aceptado la solicitud del Obispo Jugis de retirarse anticipadamente debido a limitaciones de salud y nombró al Padre Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., educador y párroco de una iglesia en Georgia, como el quinto Obispo de Charlotte. La sorpresa por el anuncio de la jubilación del Obispo Jugis se convirtió rápidamente en agradecimiento porque continuará sirviendo a la diócesis como obispo emérito, así como en interrogantes sobre lo que el obispo electo podría significar para la Iglesia y los fieles de los 46 condados de la creciente diócesis. La planificación está ahora en marcha para la ordenación episcopal el 29 de mayo, un elaborado protocolo que atraerá a varios miles de personas, incluidos obispos y el cardenal Christophe Pierre, el Nuncio Apostólico (embajador) del Vaticano en Estados Unidos.

Los ensayos, listas de invitados, fotografías, comida, transporte, alojamiento, vestimentas, la mudanza, todo debe organizarse en medio de la emoción y el nerviosismo, mientras el personal de la Iglesia se prepara en Charlotte, Atlanta y Jonesboro, donde el obispo electo entregará su parroquia, San Felipe Benizi, a un nuevo sacerdote. El Obispo Electo Martin también debe seleccionar un lema episcopal y un escudo de armas, que marcarán el tono de su ministerio.

“Ha sido abrumador”, dice el Obispo Electo Martin, de 62 años. “Mi vida ‘interna’ cambió desde el momento en que recibí la llamada telefónica del Cardenal Pierre, y he pasado tiempo hablando con Jesús en oración sobre mi deseo de servir de la manera en que el Espíritu Santo me guíe, en vez de la manera que yo quiera. Mi vida ‘externa’ también ha cambiado drásticamente, especialmente desde el anuncio público en Charlotte, tanto que parece que no puedo seguir el ritmo de las llamadas telefónicas, los mensajes de texto y los correos electrónicos de tantas personas amables que se han acercado para ofrecer sus felicitaciones, oraciones y amor”.

El Obispo Electo Martin profesa la Orden de los Frailes Menores Conventuales. Tiene profundas raíces en la educación católica, ya que se trabajó como maestro, entrenador y administrador escolar en Baltimore, Nueva York y Durham, donde se desempeñó como director del Centro Católico en la Universidad Duke, entre 2010 y 2022. Aunque está haciendo malabares con sus nuevas tareas, compromisos previos y cientos de simpatizantes, el obispo electo planea ir a un retiro en mayo que lo ayudará a prepararse para su nuevo ministerio.

“Usaré ese tiempo para alabar a Dios por

esta gracia y buscar el consejo del Espíritu Santo para que me guíe en el ministerio a la gente del oeste de Carolina del Norte”, dice. “En cuanto a los muchos detalles, el Señor proveerá. Necesito mantenerme enfocado en lo que es más importante: compartir el amor de Dios con aquellos que llegan a mi vida cada día”.

Tenía la misma filosofía el 9 de abril cuando, por primera vez en su vida, el “Padre Mike” entró en una conferencia de prensa con luces, cámaras de televisión y reporteros enfocados en cada una de sus palabras. De pie junto al Obispo Jugis, quien confirmó su jubilación y agradeció a la diócesis por la “alegría de su vida”, el Obispo Electo Martin pronunció cálidas palabras y respondió a las preguntas de los medios de comunicación, sentando las bases de lo que describió como su ministerio para católicos y no católicos por igual.

“A la gente del oeste de Carolina del Norte, y de Charlotte en particular, que son de otras religiones o de ninguna fe en particular, (les digo que) espero estar con ustedes mientras todos nos esforzamos por hacer de nuestra área un lugar digno, de paz y prosperidad para todos, especialmente para los más marginados”, dijo en la conferencia de prensa.

“A los fieles católicos repartidos en 92 parroquias y misiones, (les digo que) no puedo esperar para estar con ustedes, para escuchar sus historias de discipulado y para saber cuál es la mejor manera de servirles. A los muchos sacerdotes, diáconos y religiosos que caminan con sus hermanos y hermanas laicos en el camino, les prometo mi corazón”. A continuación, el obispo electo emprendió un recorrido lúdico, orante y fiel a su promesa de salir al encuentro de la gente de la diócesis.


El Obispo Electo Martin comenzó con una visita improvisada a la despensa de alimentos de la diócesis, operada por Caridades Católicas todos los martes y jueves en el Centro Pastoral Diocesano, donde estrechó la mano del personal y los voluntarios gratamente sorprendidos, luego salió bajo la lluvia para orar con una familia que esperaba en su automóvil por una despensa.

Luego se dirigió a la escuela secundaria Charlotte Catholic, solo dos días después de que la comunidad escolar se enterara de que dos de sus estudiantes, Abby Lyn Robinson, de 17 años, e Isabella Tarantelli, de 18 años, habían resultado gravemente heridas el 6 de abril en un accidente automovilístico cerca de Asheville que causó la muerte de otros dos adolescentes.

Recibido por una delegación en el vestíbulo de la escuela, inmediatamente preguntó por las niñas heridas (que permanecían hospitalizadas al cierre de esta edición, el 24 de abril) y prometió orar por ellas.

Vestido con su hábito franciscano gris, con el nuevo zucchetto de obispo sobre su cabeza, el Obispo Electo Martin no pudo evitar llamar la atención mientras caminaba por los pasillos con dos líderes estudiantiles. Pasó por cinco aulas, cada vez comandando el salón de la manera que solo un exmaestro puede hacerlo. El Obispo Electo Martin pasó dos décadas en escuelas católicas en Baltimore y Nueva York, como maestro, entrenador de baloncesto, director y presidente de escuela.

Sus visitas a las aulas eran humor, aliento y reflexión. Antes de salir de cada clase, preguntaba si podía guiar a los estudiantes en oración, invocando al Espíritu Santo y

luego haciendo una larga pausa antes de hablar. También pidió a los estudiantes que oraran por él.

“Pienso que es increíble, realmente agradable”, dijo Madeline Lewis, de 17 años, estudiante de último año de Charlotte Catholic. “Me encantó cómo en su primer día (en Charlotte) vino aquí. Es muy importante que todos sientan alguna conexión con su familia católica, y tener una relación personal con el obispo es genial. Me dan ganas de profundizar más en mi fe”.

Cuando el grupo de visitantes llegó a la clase de teología de Brian Mathews, el obispo electo la encontró inusualmente tranquila. Los estudiantes se estaban preparando para un examen sobre el quinto mandamiento.

Les preguntó: “¿Qué está pasando? ¿Qué has aprendido acerca del quinto mandamiento?” Cuando quedó claro que los estudiantes estaban distraídos, preguntó si había algo en particular por lo que quisieran orar.

Una joven levantó la mano y preguntó si podían orar por su compañera de clase Abby Lynn, señalando el escritorio vacío a su lado. Alguien más sugirió orar por todas las familias afectadas por el accidente.

Él estuvo de acuerdo: “Te amamos, Jesús, y queremos amarte más. Oramos por estas familias. Queremos apoyarlos y pedirte que envíes Tu sanidad y consuelo a ellos y a estos estudiantes. Cada estudiante en esta clase tiene algo en su corazón, algo por lo que oran. Te confiamos estas intenciones”. El obispo electo visitó a los trabajadores de la cafetería y a los estudiantes durante el almuerzo, y luego se dirigió a Belmont para visitar Holy Angels, una comunidad fundada por las Hermanas de la Misericordia en 1955, que atiende a 81 residentes, desde niños pequeños hasta personas mayores, que tienen discapacidades intelectuales, del desarrollo, y condiciones médicas delicadas. El personal le informó sobre los planes de expansión de la instalación de $21 millones, y luego llevó al obispo electo a reunirse con los residentes. Sostuvo en su regazo a la residente más joven de Holy Angels, una niña de 14 meses que requiere atención de enfermería las 24 horas del día, hablándole cariñosamente mientras ella jugueteaba con el crucifijo de San Damián que colgaba de su cuello.

En la residencia de adultos, conoció a Butch, de 82 años, autista y ciego, del que se dice que puede tocar cualquier melodía en el piano. El obispo electo pidió “Sweet Caroline”, y Butch cumplió, lo que provocó que todos cantaran con ellos.

Finalmente, concluyó un largo día con una recepción en Charlotte para conocer a muchos de los sacerdotes de la diócesis. Algunos habían conducido varias horas desde las montañas, regresado tempranamente de sus vacaciones o habían cancelado reuniones y otras actividades para visitar a su nuevo pastor.

“Me sentí energizado por las personas que conocí dondequiera que fui”, dijo más tarde el Obispo Electo Martin. “Hay un gran entusiasmo por compartir las buenas

catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 20 FACEBOOK.COM/ CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD ESPAÑOL
El Obispo Electo Michael Martin estrecha sus manos con el Obispo Peter Jugis durante la conferencia de prensa del 9 de abril, anunciando su designación como el quinto Obispo de la Diócesis de Charlotte.

Puede notarse la alegría de los jóvenes que participaron en un retiro de Vida

Reavivando la pastoral juvenil

ASHEVILLE — Una de las metas que nos hemos propuesto como agentes de pastoral en la Vicaría de Asheville es despertar la pastoral juvenil y responder a las exigencias y necesidades que nos requieren los jóvenes. Tanto ellos como los padres de familia están dando un grito desesperado y es necesario que entremos con decisión y valentía al trabajo juvenil.

Pero, ¿qué es la pastoral juvenil? La pastoral juvenil no es nada más y nada menos que un acompañamiento fructífero en la vida del joven en todas sus áreas y, en medio de ese trabajo, llevar adelante la tarea de fomentar una Iglesia que responda a la problemática de una sociedad que cada vez es mas compleja, más alejada de Dios en todos los aspectos.

Por lo tanto, quienes estamos envueltos en este trabajo, creemos que la pastoral

juvenil no es solamente tener retiros de tres días, y esperar falsamente que un retiro sea lo suficiente para animar, comprometer y mantener la atención de un joven.

Para que la pastoral juvenil en verdad sea fructífera, necesitamos comenzar a trabajar mano a mano con quienes están permanentemente en contacto con los jóvenes, los padres de familia. Un retiro de tres días es excelente para que un joven abra su corazón, inicie su camino de conversión y dé los primeros pasos en su encuentro con Dios.

Por ejemplo, un estupendo retiro juvenil de tres días tomó lugar el fin de semana del 1 al 3 de marzo en Swannanoa. El retiro fue coordinado entre agentes de pastoral de la Vicaría de Ashevillle, el ministerio Instrumentos del Señor, y el grupo musical Abdiel. El resultado fue que los jóvenes quedaron con una motivación inmensa y grandes deseos de darle fuerza a la pastoral

juvenil de la vicaría. Tras el retiro, hicimos una invitación a todos los padres de familia y jóvenes a estar atentos a las actividades posteriores que serán organizadas.

Sin embargo, el esfuerzo que hacen los agentes de la pastoral concluye en esfuerzos fallidos cuando los padres de familia son solamente espectadores.

Los primeros en iniciar un camino de conversión deben de ser los padres de familia. Un padre o una madre no puede exigir a su hijo o hija un cambio de conducta, especialmente cuando ellos no buscan mantener una relación con Dios. La pastoral juvenil será verdaderamente un foco de evangelización cuando tengamos padres de familia dispuestos a caminar con sus hijos, y ellos mismos busquen las herramientas que necesitan para acompañarlos efectivamente. Entonces, el trabajo de la pastoral juvenil es amplio y comprende también retiros de adultos, encuentros matrimoniales,

consejería de pareja, consejería individual, clases o conversatorios que expliquen a los adultos cómo ser mejores padres de familia.

Existen padres de familia que encuentran en la vida familiar retos reales sobre cómo ayudar a sus hijos adolescentes y sienten que no tienen las herramientas necesarias para guiar a sus hijos. Pese a ello, no son capaces de hacer el tiempo, dejar su trabajo, sus nociones preconcebidas. En otras palabras, no permiten la acción del Espíritu en sus vidas y luego se preguntan por qué la iglesia no responde a su realidad.

Pero, en verdad, la respuesta ha estado siempre frente a ellos.

En la Vicaría de Asheville estamos dispuestos a trabajar con valentía y entusiasmo en la pastoral juvenil. Pero más dispuestos estaremos si lo hacemos con verdaderos padres comprometidos en la conversión de sus hijos.

Ocho nuevos Caballeros de Colón en Santos Ángeles

SERGIO LÓPEZ selopez@rcdoc.org

MOUNT AIRY — “El martes 5 de marzo, algo extraordinario sucedió en la pequeña parroquia Holy Angels en la ciudad de Mount Airy. Ocho hombres de la comunidad respondieron al llamado de servicio de al prójimo y su comunidad a través de la orden de los Caballeros de Colón. Esa noche, ocho hombres entraron a la ceremonia como amigos, como feligreses, y salieron unidos como hermanos bajo los valores de caridad, unidad y fraternidad”. Así se expresó Miguel Alejandro Flores, promotor de los Caballeros de Colón, un joven adulto al que conocí en 2007, cuando personalmente me encontraba coordinando el grupo juvenil de la parroquia Divino Redentor. Flores tuvo un acercamiento personal

con Cristo cuando viajó a la frontera a tramitar su estatus legal y se encontró con algunos misioneros que le guiaron en la fe. Al regresar a Carolina del Norte se transformó en un ejemplo de conversión, y siguió entregándose al servicio en la que era entonces su parroquia.

Hoy en día, Flores es un gran promotor de los Caballeros de Colón, un apostolado con historia, pero sobre todo con una gran preocupación por las familias hispanas. Él trabaja no solo en la Vicaría de WinstonSalem, sino que ha colaborado mano a mano con la formación del consejo de Caballeros de Colón de la parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Charlotte. Flores, dos semanas antes, ya se había presentado en esta misma parroquia, ante CABALLEROS, PASA A LA PÁGINA 24

En Santos Ángeles, el consejo de los Caballeros de Colón estaba prácticamente desaparecido. La iniciativa de un joven promotor del ministerio logró incentivar a algunas familias hispanas de la parroquia al agregarse a este apostolado.

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 21 FOTO CORTESÍA VICARÍA
en el Espíritu en el Centro de retiros Shepherd of the Hills Retreat Center, Swannanoa, del 1 al 3 de marzo pasado.
Pasando el día con Jesús Cientos de jóvenes se reunieron para orar en el Peregrinaje Juvenil del Obispo

BELMONT — Bajo un cielo soleado en Belmont Abbey College, casi 700 estudiantes de escuela media y secundaria se reunieron para orar, reflexionar y crecer en su devoción a la Eucaristía en la Peregrinación Juvenil del Obispo 2024. La peregrinación, que se celebra cada primavera, lleva el tema del Congreso Eucarístico 2024, “Permanezcan en mí”, basado en las palabras del Evangelio de Juan 15:4.

Autobuses llenos de jóvenes llegaron de parroquias de toda la diócesis para el evento del 13 de abril, incluidos más de 100 jóvenes de Divino Redentor en Booneville y otros 70 de San Francisco de Asís en Lenoir.

El Abad Benedictino Placid Solari dio inicio a los eventos del día pidiendo a los jóvenes que oraran por el Obispo Peter Jugis, quien anunció su retiro por razones de salud después de dirigir la diócesis de Charlotte durante 20 años, y que oraran por el Obispo Electo Michael Martin, OFM Conv., quien será ordenado quinto obispo de la diócesis el 29 de mayo.

“Nos hemos reunido hoy como jóvenes de la Diócesis de Charlotte para alabar y agradecer a Dios, y especialmente en este tiempo de Pascua para dar gracias por el regalo que Jesús nos ha dado

de Su Presencia del sacramento de Su Cuerpo y Sangre”, dijo el Abad Placid. “Y centrándonos en Su Presencia entre nosotros en la Eucaristía, saber que es esa presencia entre nosotros la que nos une a Él y, a través de Él, los unos a los otros”.

El día contó con música en vivo y juegos, oradores motivacionales, Adoración Eucarística, Misa, la oportunidad de recibir el sacramento de la confesión y una Procesión Eucarística para concluir la peregrinación.

El orador principal, el Padre Aaron Huber, capellán de la Escuela Secundaria Cristo Rey en Huntersville, dijo a la multitud de estudiantes que cuando vivimos de cierta manera, estamos alimentando nuestras almas con la Sagrada Eucaristía.

“Cuando permanecemos en Dios como Él permanece en nosotros, no se trata simplemente de hacer algo, se trata de ser algo. ¿Y qué nos llama Dios a ser?”, preguntó.

Después de recibir respuestas de la multitud, el Padre Huber dijo: “Todos estamos llamados a ser santos, ¿verdad? No es como si simplemente te despertaras y tomaras la decisión: ‘Voy a ser un santo’. Tú tomas esa decisión, pero esa decisión significa que tienes que hacer otras cosas. No solo hazlas, sino hazlas con amor. Háganlas como Dios las hace. Permanecemos en Él como Él permanece

en nosotros”.

La cantante y compositora Dana Catherine les dijo a las jóvenes mujeres que asistieron a una sesión de trabajo para estudiantes de secundaria que Dios piensa que son maravillosas.

Catherine, quien profundizó su relación con Dios mientras estaba en la universidad en UNC-Chapel Hill, cantó y habló a las jóvenes en la peregrinación.

“Son tan amadas por Dios”, dijo. “No permitan que otras voces ahoguen la voz de la verdad de Dios. Confíen en la voz de

Cientos de jóvenes de toda la diócesis se reunieron para orar, divertirse y honrar a Dios en el Peregrinaje Juvenil del Obispo 2024. El evento de un día de duración es parte del Congreso Eucarístico diocesano y agrupa a los jóvenes para celebrar su devoción a la Eucaristía.

Dios y en el plan que tiene para ustedes”. Durante la Misa, el Abad Placid habló a los jóvenes sobre el don de la Eucaristía de Jesús.

“Él es el Pan de Vida”, les dijo, animándoles a llevar consigo el don recibido en la Eucaristía a donde viven, a su parroquia, escuela y comunidad.

La Peregrinación Juvenil del Obispo es un evento relacionado con la juventud del Congreso Eucarístico anual de la diócesis, que se llevará a cabo este año en Charlotte el 30 y 31 de agosto.

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 22

Virgen Morena se festeja el 27 de abril

La Virgen de Montserrat, conocida popularmente como “La Moreneta” es la patrona de Cataluña y es una de las siete Patronas de las Comunidades Autónomas de España. Está situada en el Monasterio de Montserrat, es un símbolo para Cataluña y se ha convertido en un punto de peregrinaje para creyentes y de visita obligada para los turistas.

Según la leyenda, la primera imagen de la Virgen de Montserrat la encontraron unos niños pastores en el año 880. Tras ver una luz en la montaña, los niños encontraron la imagen de la Virgen en el interior de una cueva. Al enterarse de la noticia el obispo, intentó trasladar la imagen hasta la ciudad de Manresa pero el traslado fue imposible ya que la estatua pesaba demasiado. El obispo lo interpretó como el deseo de la Virgen de permanecer en el lugar en el que se la había encontrado y ordenó la construcción de la ermita de Santa María, origen del actual monasterio. La imagen que en la actualidad se venera es una talla románica del siglo XII realizada en madera de álamo. Representa a la Virgen con el niño sentado en su regazo y mide unos 95 centímetros de altura. En su mano derecha sostiene una esfera que simboliza el universo; el niño tiene la mano derecha levantada en señal de bendición mientras que en la mano

Lecturas diarias


Domingo: Hechos 9:26-31, 1 Juan 3:18-24, Juan 15:1-8; Lunes (Memoria de Santa Catalina de Siena, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia): Hechos 14:5-18, Juan 14:21-26; Martes (Memoria de San Pio V, papa): Hechos 14:19-28, Juan 14:27-31; Miércoles (Memoria de San José Obrero): Hechos 15:1-6, Juan 15:1-8; Jueves (Memoria de San Atanasio, obispo y doctor de la Iglesia): Hechos 15:7-21, Juan 15:9-11; Viernes (Fiesta de los Santos Felipe y Santiago, Apóstoles): 1 Corintios 15:1-8, Juan 14:6-14; Sábado: Hechos 16:1-10, Juan 15:18-21

MAYO 5-11

Domingo: Hechos 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48, 1 Juan 4:7-10, Juan 15:9-17; Lunes: Hechos 16:11-15, Juan 15:26-16:4; Martes: Hechos 16:22-34, Juan 16:5-11; Miércoles: Hechos 17:15-16, 22–18:1, Juan 16:12-15;

Nuestra Señora de Montserrat


La Virgen de Montserrat y del Niño Jesús sentado en su regazo. La ‘Moreneta’, debe el color de su rostro a la transformación del barniz de su cara y manos a causa del paso del tiempo. La Virgen sostiene con la mano derecha el mundo, y con la mano izquierda, hace el gesto de ponerla sobre el hombro del Niño, indicando así que aquel rey omnipotente es hijo suyo.

izquierda sostiene una piña. Con excepción de la cara y de las manos de María y el niño, la imagen es dorada. La Virgen, sin embargo, es de color negro, lo que le ha dado el apelativo popular de La Moreneta (la morenita). Pertenece al grupo de las llamadas virgen negra que tanto se extendió por la Europa románica y cuyo significado ha dado lugar a múltiples estudios. Si bien en este caso su color parece ser el resultado de la transformación del barniz de su cara y de sus manos a causa del paso del tiempo.

El 11 de septiembre de 1844, el Papa León XIII declaró oficialmente a la Virgen de Montserrat como patrona de la diócesis de Cataluña. Se le concedió también el privilegio de tener misa y oficios propios. Su festividad se celebra el 27 de abril.

La Virgen de Montserrat fue la primera imagen mariana de España en recibir la Coronación Canónica ya en 1881, seguida de la Virgen de la Merced de Barcelona (1886), la Virgen de la Candelaria de Tenerife, Patrona de Canarias (1889), la Virgen de los Reyes de Sevilla (1904) y la Virgen de la Misericordia de Reus (1904).

A la Virgen de Montserrat se la conoce popularmente como “La Moreneta” (La Morenita). En España existen otras vírgenes negras conocidas con el nombre de “morenita” o “moreneta”, como la Virgen de Lluc (Mallorca) o la Virgen de Candelaria (Tenerife).

Oración a Nuestra Señora de Montserrat

Oh Madre Santa, Corazón de amor, Corazón de misericordia, que siempre nos escuchas y consuelas, atiende a nuestras súplicas. Como hijos tuyos, imploramos tu intercesión ante tu Hijo Jesús.

Recibe con comprensión y compasión las peticiones que hoy te presentamos, especialmente [se hace la petición].

¡Qué consuelo saber que tu Corazón está siempre abierto para quienes recurren a ti!

Confiamos a tu tierno cuidado e intercesión a nuestros seres queridos y a todos los que se sienten enfermos, solos o heridos.

Ayúdanos, Santa Madre, a llevar nuestras cargas en esta vida hasta que lleguemos a participar de la gloria eterna y la paz con Dios.


¡Nuestra Señora de Monserrate, Ruega por nosotros!

Más réplicas de la imagen se encuentran en Canarias (España), Perú, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brasil, México y Argentina.

Jueves: Hechos 1:1-11, Efesios 1:17-23, Marcos 16:15-20; Viernes (Memoria de San Juan de Ávila, presbítero y doctor de la Iglesia): Hechos 18:9-18, Juan 16:20-23; Sábado: Hechos 18:23-28, Juan 16:23-28

MAYO 12-18

Domingo (Solemnidad de la Ascención del Señor): Hechos 1:1-11, Efesios 1:17-23, Marcos 16:15-20; Lunes (Memoria de Nuestra Señora de Fátima): Hechos 19:1-8, Juan 16:29-33; Martes (Fiesta de San Matías, Apóstol): Hechos 1:15-17, 20-26, Juan 15:9-17; Miércoles: Hechos 20:28-38, Juan 17:11-19; Jueves: Hechos 22:30, 23:611, Juan 17:20-26; Viernes: Hechos 25:13-21, Juan 21:15-19; Sábado (Memoria de San Juan I, Papa y mártir): Hechos 28:16-20, 30-31, Juan 21:20-25


Caballeros de Colón

Considere unirse a los más de 2 millones de miembros de la organización fraternal católica más grande del mundo y registrándose en línea hoy en: www.kofc.org/joinus/es

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una invitación del párroco, Padre Peter Nouck, quien solicitó al consejo de la parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Merced, en Winston Salem, a que presentara el movimiento a los fieles. Después de celebrar Misa, ese domingo 18 de febrero, varios hombres con sus familias escucharon el llamado a la orden y compartieron el pan con los invitados.


La parroquia Santos Ángeles tiene muy poca participación de los laicos. Desde hace ya algún tiempo involucra a un par de catequistas, ujieres y servidores, pero se mantiene la conciencia de que se tiene y se puede hacer más.

En Santos Ángeles, el consejo de los Caballeros de Colón estaba prácticamente desaparecido. La iniciativa de Flores y logró incentivar a algunas familias hispanas de la parroquia al agregarse a este apostolado. Los hombres, al conocer la orden de los Caballeros de Colón y la visión del fundador, el Beato Padre Micheal J McGivney, respondieron al llamado a ser líderes en su comunidad y comprometerse a formar parte de la orden con las esperanzas de mejorar como hombres, esposos, padres, hermanos y fieles discípulos de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

“Estos hombres hoy forman parte de la orden de feligreses más grande del planeta, que cuenta con más de dos millones de miembros a través del mundo. Los Caballeros de Colón

fueron fundados en el año 1882, y desde entonces han sido, como dijo una vez el gran Santo Papa Juan Pablo II, ‘la fuerte mano derecha de la Iglesia Católica’”, declaró Flores.

Uno de los deseos de joven promotor es que las familias hispanas se beneficien del seguro que ofrecen los Caballeros de Colon, ya que en su apostolado, la ayuda a las familias de los miembros fallecidos es una prioridad.

Hace algunos meses ocurrió un incidente aquí mismo, en la ciudad de Mount Airy, cuando un hombre de nacionalidad mexicana fue asesinado a sangre fría por una persona armada. Este hecho impactó mucho a la comunidad e hizo recapacitar a sus miembros que contar con este tipo de ayuda siempre es bueno para velar por la familia.

Respecto a la misión de los ocho nuevos integrantes, el promotor dijo que es la misma de todo discipulado, dejarse guiar por el Espíritu Santo y producir fruto, crecer en fraternidad y atender las necesidades de su comunidad.

Es verdaderamente encomiable la labor de Flores y de todos los miembros de los Caballeros de Colón de ir a la periferia a buscar a quienes de verdad necesitan una reevangelización.

“Mantengamos a estos hombres en nuestras oraciones y pidamos a Nuestro Señor Jesucristo y Santa Madre María que infunda el deseo en los corazones de más hombres que escuchen el llamado a un discipulado generoso al servicio al prójimo para obedecer el mandato de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo que dijo ‘En verdad os digo que en cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos hermanos míos, aun a los más pequeños, a mí lo hicisteis’ (Mateo 25:40)”.

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nuevas de Jesús, ya sea con los pobres, los fieles o quienes la están buscando”.


El Obispo Electo Martin será ordenado por su viejo amigo y colega, el Arzobispo de Atlanta, Gregory Hartmayer, con el Cardenal Pierre y el Obispo Jugis como coconsagrantes. El evento está programado para el 29 de mayo en la Iglesia San Marcos en Huntersville.

El Arzobispo Hartmayer, también franciscano conventual, dirige la provincia de tres estados de la Iglesia, Georgia y las Carolinas, y elogió el nombramiento del Obispo Electo Martin.

“Creo que el Papa Francisco ha hecho una excelente elección para la Iglesia de Charlotte”, dijo. “El Obispo Electo Martín es un hombre profundamente enamorado de Jesús, y es un fiel hijo de San Francisco de Asís. Llega a la Diócesis de Charlotte con muchos dones y una gran experiencia, y un amor por el pueblo de Dios. Creo que será un obispo que escuche y lidere”.

Los Franciscanos son una orden religiosa mundial fundada en 1209 por San Francisco de Asís. A menudo sirven en áreas urbanas con fines de evangelización, enseñanza y servicio a los pobres. El hábito religioso que usan los franciscanos conventuales es de color gris con una túnica, una capucha, y un cordón blanco alrededor de la cintura con tres nudos que significan sus votos de pobreza, castidad y obediencia.

El Obispo Jugis dijo que había sido un placer conocer y hablar con su futuro sucesor.

“A pesar de lo difícil que es para mí dejar esta posición que amo”, dijo, “confío

en que Dios tiene un plan para traernos al Obispo Electo Martin, y haré todo lo que pueda para apoyar su ministerio. Realmente ha sido la alegría de mi vida servir como obispo para la gente de nuestra diócesis, y creo que el Obispo Electo Martin encontrará que eso es cierto para él, a medida que conozca a los fieles de nuestra diócesis y vea de primera mano nuestros muchos ministerios que están dedicados a compartir el amor de Cristo en nuestras comunidades”.


Oriundo de Charlotte, el Obispo Jugis ha servido como el cuarto Obispo de Charlotte desde 2003. Ha guiado a la diócesis a través de un crecimiento sin precedentes, con una población católica que ha aumentado a más de 530.000 personas. Entre sus logros destaca: n Como obispo, ha llamado a las órdenes sagradas a 57 nuevos sacerdotes y 65 nuevos diáconos permanentes para el ministerio, y ha establecido seis nuevas parroquias.

n En 2016, fundó el Seminario Universitario San José en Mount Holly para formar sacerdotes para la diócesis de entre las parroquias a las que algún día servirán.

n Ha supervisado el rápido crecimiento de las 20 escuelas acreditadas de la diócesis, que este año registraron una matrícula récord de 8.100 estudiantes.

n En 2005, fundó el Congreso Eucarístico anual, uno de los eventos de culto público más grandes de su tipo en los Estados Unidos, que atrae a más de 10,000 personas a Charlotte cada otoño para celebrar la fe católica.

Para obtener más información sobre el mandato del Obispo Jugis como el obispo con más años de servicio en la diócesis, haga click en la pestaña “Acerca de” en www.charlottediocese.org.

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April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 27

Arts & entertainment

Take a spiritual journey with Mother Cabrini

Original writing from America’s first saint inspires courage, faith

CHARLOTTE — The critically acclaimed “Cabrini” movie left many wanting to learn more about the Italian nun and future saint who crossed the Atlantic to battle deeply rooted prejudice, dire poverty and her own illness to give Italian immigrants a better life in New York City at the turn of the century.

Now viewers can hear from St. Frances Xavier Cabrini herself in “The Mother Cabrini Companion: A Spiritual Journey with a Courageous Woman of God” by Kristen Theriault of Sophia Institute Press. The April 9 release was created in collaboration with Angel Studios, which brought Mother Cabrini’s story to the big screen, illustrating her boldness in building an orphanage and hospital in New York City and eventually others around the world.

However, like many Catholics, Theriault, who is editor of Catholic Exchange and author and media spokesperson at Sophia Institute Press, wasn’t fully aware of the story of the first canonized American

saint until viewing the film. She soon became an expert after delving into Mother Cabrini’s own words for the companion, an important complement to the movie.

“Mother Cabrini was someone who existed at the periphery of my consciousness. I knew she was the first American citizen to be canonized, and I knew vaguely about her work in New York but never with such immediacy until I took on this project,” she says.

“I’m very grateful for that because her life is so inspiring, and it sheds light not only on the spiritual aspect of her life but also her humanitarian work. It gives a very interesting snapshot of the turn of the century in New York City and really in all American cities.”

By compiling letters from Mother Cabrini’s international travels and her spiritual retreat notes, Theriault opens a window into Mother Cabrini’s spirituality. Poetic descriptions of creation, the sacraments, the virtues, and the joys of heaven console, encourage and edify those who desire to take this spiritual journey. Theriault recently spoke with the Catholic News Herald about the book and writing it:

CNH: How did the idea for this book originate?

Theriault: Sophia Institute was approached by Angel Studios a few months ago, and we compiled this in less than a month. We wanted to do some companion books to the film, so I was tasked with writing a devotional for Mother Cabrini, and to do this I looked at the primary sources.

CNH: What kind of primary sources did you find?

Theriault: There are quite a few letters she wrote. Many of them are to her sisters from her travels abroad, so after she founded

To order

Sophia Institute Press and Angel Studios has also published a special edition of “The World is Too Small: The Life and Times of Mother Cabrini” and a children’s book titled “Mother Cabrini: A Heart for the World.” For more information and to order these and the devotional companion, go to www. sophiainstitute.com

as themselves. They don’t really favor one over the other – humanitarian work versus conversion. They view it as all one and the same, all working toward the same goal. If you’re not familiar with her more spiritual writings, it might not come through as much in the film, so that’s why I think this book is such an important supplement. It fills in those gaps.

CNH: How do you think Mother Cabrini’s writings can reach people of other denominations or of no particular faith?

Theriault: When she was traveling on ocean liners at that time, passengers took quite a deferential attitude to her, whether they were Catholic or not. Protestants who were prominent in their communities, especially Anglicans, would be so respectful of Mother Cabrini and of her sisters. The captain would often invite them to dine privately with him on board, which is pretty much the highest honor you can get on an ocean liner.

Whether that is through her personal presence or this beatific peaceful calm that she had within her, or from her reputation that she had garnered as someone who gets things done in the in the realm of her charity, Mother Cabrini was able to connect during her lifetime with people who were not Catholic and to plant those seeds with them, or at least mirror charity toward them.

CNH: Do you think Mother Cabrini’s story can help mend some of the divisions of our day?

this orphanage and hospital in New York City, she of course went on to found dozens of others throughout the entire globe. I was able to read letters that she wrote home to her sisters while she was traveling, and they’re very inspirational because they are quite full of encouragement and lots of meditations on her missionary vocation. At this time, she was still serving as their spiritual mother while she was physically away from them, so they have a lot of spiritual guidance and direction in them Her writings lend themselves well to a devotional of this kind because they touch on many universal themes of the faith. I also used her retreat notes, which is called ‘Journal of a Trusting Heart.’ These are more introspective because she’s writing to herself. One common theme that emerged from both of these is her idea of conversion as something that is an ongoing process. She believed in conversion as something that was first and foremost within the heart, so even someone with her degree of holiness, she considered herself to not be fully converted. She was always seeking to grow deeper spiritually, to a deeper relationship with God.

CNH: How was Mother Cabrini’s faith intertwined with her humanitarian work?

Theriault: She really embodied both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and ultimately this is what we see with saints. They are focused on eternal life first and foremost, and they take very seriously the call to love God and to love their neighbor

Theriault: It will take a lot of examination of heart and really an internalization of her words. Then, yes, they can have that effect. The Church is highly involved in advocating for immigration, marginalized groups such as the unborn, and others. If Mother Cabrini were alive today, I think she would certainly not be silent on these issues, emboldening people to seek the truth and not to be content with the status quo. Mother Cabrini quoted one of her favorite saints, St. Francis Xavier, from whom she took her middle name. He was a missionary, too. I’ll paraphrase his quote, but he said something about missionary zeal needing to be tempered with love, charity and kindness. Zeal without charity is somewhat empty and can come off as patronizing, yet zeal with charity is perfect because it shows that it’s motivated from a love of the other. If we can adopt Mother Cabrini’s ability to see human beings as individuals instead of statistics or groups (the way the bureaucracy of her time viewed human beings), if we can instead restore that dignity, I think that will go a long way to solving a lot of these current issues.

CNH: What do you think fueled Mother Cabrini’s courage and perseverance?

Theriault: She had an attitude of joy and acceptance. In addition to the persecution she endured, there was also her own health – something she struggled with her whole life. She had tuberculosis as a child, and that blocked her entry into several convents before she eventually founded her own order. Her health condition was just an accident of nature but something that would have held her back if she hadn’t been so tenacious. She carried that determination forward whenever there was a man-made roadblock in her way, too. She trusted God and never gave up.

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No, Richard Dawkins, cultural Christianity is not enough

In a striking turn of events, renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins recently declared himself a “cultural Christian” during an interview with Rachel S. Johnson of LBC. Dawkins’ declaration was sparked by his reaction to the mayor of London’s decision to celebrate Ramadan with 30,000 lights on Oxford Street rather than Easter.

Well known for his critical stance on religion, Dawkins expressed dismay at promoting Ramadan over Easter. Surprisingly, he defended the cultural trappings of Christianity in England, which he perceives as a fundamentally Christian nation.

Dawkins’ comments underscore a significant but often overlooked conversation in the West. While Dawkins does not embrace Christianity’s spiritual tenets, his appreciation for its cultural and moral contributions to society raises an intriguing paradox: Can the values and achievements attributed to Christianity in the West be preserved without genuine belief?

This question is particularly relevant for Catholics and the broader Christian community. It compels us to reflect on the depth of our commitment to our faith and its role in shaping our civilization. Cultural Christianity, such as Dawkins identifies with, appreciates the aesthetic and moral fruits of the faith without embracing its heart – the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and that a personal relationship with Him matters. However, preserving Western values and achievements that Christianity has influenced – such as human dignity, moral responsibility and the pursuit of the common good – requires more than a superficial attachment to its traditions and moral outlook.

Christianity is a radical thing. The Gospel demands transformation, calling for personal conversion and a lived relationship with God. This transformation extends beyond individual lives, influencing societies through acts of charity, the pursuit of justice and the cultivation of peace. Historical evidence abounds of the pivotal role Christianity has played in the development of Western institutions, including the concept of human rights, the foundation of hospitals and universities, and significant contributions to art, science and philosophy. These contributions were not merely the result of a cultural identity but flowed directly from belief in the Christian understanding of the world and our place in it.

Dawkins’ reflections on the importance of Christianity, even as a cultural marker, illustrate the void that would be left should genuine belief continue to wane. The cultural and ethical framework Christianity provides cannot be sustained in perpetuity without the nourishment of sincere faith. A culture detached from its spiritual roots gradually loses its vitality, becoming unable to defend the very values it cherishes against the erosive forces of nihilism and moral relativism.

The challenge for Christians, then, is not merely to uphold a cultural identity but to live authentically according to the teachings of Christ. This requires a fundamental commitment to evangelization. We must continually enrich our understanding of the faith and reach out to others to invite conversions.

Cultural Christianity is insufficient for the preservation of the West’s greatest values and achievements. Pope Benedict XVI once said, “The conviction that there is a Creator God is what gave rise to the idea of human rights, the idea of the equality of all people before the law, the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity in every single person and the awareness of people’s responsibility for their actions.” Believing in God, or not, has consequences. As Dawkins inadvertently highlights, the beauty, ethics and institutions shaped by Christianity are not merely historical artifacts to be admired but are manifestations of faith that will only continue to offer meaning and direction if people believe it to be true.

Engage your faith this Eastertide

At Easter morning brunch, one of my daughters brought me a beautiful bouquet of tulips.

They were so welcome, and so extraordinary, that I took extra good care of them. I changed their water, recut their stems and used the little packet of powder the florist sent. I placed them where I could see them at dinner time, and at the place where I pray in the morning.

And they began to open. One morning, I peered inside a bright yellow and orange tulip and saw the stamen reaching out toward me. At least, I think it was the stamen; not being much of a horticulturist, I had to look up what the reproductive parts of flowers are called.

‘I suddenly saw in my tulip a tomb being opened, a little symbol of resurrection.’

The inner works of my tulip seemed to be bursting forth from the slowly opening flower. In the morning light, with the tulip nearly translucent, I suddenly saw in my tulip a tomb being opened, a little symbol of resurrection. The tomb was empty, and the stamen and pistil seemed to be radiating out from the empty tomb as if to proclaim that the Risen One, who had been held there so recently, had gone before us into Galilee. It was a lovely, graced moment, a little gift. But here’s the thing. Easter Sunday is many days ago now, and tulips don’t last forever. Mine began to open too broadly and fray a bit at the edges. They bent over and lost their lovely shape. Like our own lives on this earth, they were finite and passing. But they had done what they had come to do, proclaim a daughter’s love and provide beauty and a moment of inspiration.

is challenged. Rather than “do” something, be silent. Reread all the amazing readings from the Gospels of John and Luke. Walk into the garden with Mary and be amazed when the person you thought was the gardener calls you by name. Take a long walk, and imagine you, too, are heading for a getaway in Emmaus. Talk with that man who walks beside you. Put your fingers, like Thomas, into the scars left on the body of Jesus. Rejoice in this incredibly tactile, bodily faith we live.

Would that we can say the same about our own passing lives.

The time between Easter Sunday and Pentecost is so special, but sometimes I fear we leave the Easter season behind us too quickly. Lent gave us something to “do.” We gave something up, we tried to go to morning Mass, we experienced the incredible beauty of Holy Thursday and Good Friday services, something most parishes do well.

Even our secular culture reminded us of Easter, with the jellybeans and bunnies popping up as soon as Valentine’s Day was over. But on Easter Monday, stores immediately put the basket paraphernalia on sale. You want a discounted bunny headband? Go for it.

I think the time between Easter and Pentecost, the actual Easter season, is when the real Christian in us

There won’t be any advertisements for Pentecost baskets, or Pentecost wrapping paper. You won’t be hurrying to get your Pentecost letters out to all your friends. But Pentecost comes, with its fire and wind, to inspire us with the Holy Spirit. Imagine those in that room on Pentecost morning, some of them men who had fled during the crucifixion. Imagine Peter, who denied three times knowing Jesus, and then wept bitterly, becoming a man willing to be crucified himself.

Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter, Sunday May 19 this year. The days, like all our passing days, will fly. Let us use them to experience the hope and glory of Resurrection.

EFFIE CALDAROLA is a wife, mom and grandmother who received her master’s degree in pastoral studies from Seattle University.

CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD catholicnewsherald.com | April 26, 2024 30
FATHER PATRICK BRISCOE is editor of Our Sunday Visitor. Follow him on X @ PatrickMaryOP.

April Parker

Follow the example of Jesus, our model for obedience

The whole of Christ’s passion is obedience. It is obedience out of love – a love for the Father and love for us.

Christ put the greatest trust in the Father’s plan for salvation. Abraham and Isaac were the forerunners of this great trust: Abraham in God, God in Abraham, and Isaac in Abraham.

“Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:6-7).

Jesus did what the first Adam failed to do in obedience. He through whom everything was made and for whom everything was made came as an example of obedience and love for mankind.

John speaks of Jesus’ love even to the end: “... having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1).

Yet, this love did not start with Christ’s passion. Jesus’ whole life was an example of love and obedience. Scripture tells us that as a child He obeyed Mary and Joseph. At the young age of 12, Jesus was already astonishing the teachers in the temple, yet He made Himself humble – humble as a child to the obedience of His parents (Lk 2:46-47). This obedience was also mirrored in Mary and Joseph, for each did all God asked of them in His great plan.

Even as Jesus got older and began His ministry, He still walked in the way of

‘Thankfully, through the Holy Spirit we can ask for grace to strengthen our obedience.’

obedience. Jesus followed the Holy Spirit’s guidance when tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Lk 4:1-13). He was sinless with no need for baptism, yet allowed Himself to be baptized by John as an example for us to follow, to cleanse our bodies and souls of original sin so that we would be ready for salvation, the salvation He would inaugurate with His passion, death and resurrection (Lk 3:21).

In this obedience we hear the Father’s praise of the Son. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).

In the agony of the garden, Jesus asked the Father to take away the cup He was to drink. Though sweating drops of blood, He ended His prayer with the words “not my will, but yours be done” (Mt 26:39).

When speaking to the apostles before His death, He told them, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Lk

9:22). He didn’t plead with them to hide Him from the Father or whine about the trials to come. Jesus remained ever-confident in the Father’s plan.

This obedience is one we must pattern our lives around. Not our will, but His.

When the obedience of Lent and the obligations of Holy Week have passed, we normally breathe a sigh of relief and think to ourselves, “OK, now life can go back to normal.” But can normalcy still mean obedience?

Does normalcy mean that we interpret the doctrine of the Church directed by our own passions? Does normalcy mean rationalizing missing Mass on the weekends and teaching our children to do the same? Does normalcy mean following our own hearts instead of trusting in the Father’s plan for us?

Jesus knew the plan and trusted the Father. Obedience is a much harder calling because it requires deep faith. Jesus embodied this faith in obedience better than any of us ever will. Thankfully, through the Holy Spirit we can ask for grace to strengthen our obedience.

Christ entered the world as the light, the light we are to follow. St. John Chrysostom said we are all lights, “shining in the midst of the world,” with a greater function than He has given even to the sun (“The Fathers Know Best,” 254).

On earth, we are Christ’s hands, heart and feet. People will look to us to see Christ’s example lived out in our lives. Let our light show obedience to the Father. Let us walk in the love of Christ, thanking Him for the obedience that has brought us salvation.


on the web

‘In a society still prisoner of a throwaway culture, I ask you to be protagonists of inclusion; in a world torn by global crises, I ask you to be builders of the future, so that our common home may become a place of fraternity.’

Pope Francis

From online story: “A better world can’t be built ‘lying on the couch,’ pope tells children”

The Catholic News Herald reached the Facebook and Instagram feeds of more than 225,000 people in English and Spanish last month. The most talked about post?

Coverage of Bishop-elect Michael Martin. Join the conversation: www.facebook.com/ CatholicNewsHerald

On YouTube in April so far, videos produced by the Catholic News Herald have been viewed more than 30,100 times. The most popular video? Bishop-elect Martin’s introduction press conference.

So far this month, 56,560 visitors to www.catholicnewsherald.com have viewed a total of 89,172 pages. The top 10 trending headlines are:

n Longtime Charlotte bishop retires after 20 years of leading growing diocese 28,756

n Growing diocese to build new cathedral as ‘mother church’ 3,657

n First day: Bishop-elect greeted by smiles as he travels the region ....................................... 1,944

n Fun facts with Bishop-Elect Martin 1,745

n Diocese welcomes bishop-elect at press conference .................................................................. 1,621

n As diocese continues to grow, more than 1,000 people join the Church at Easter 1,429

n Friends, family and faithful react to Bishop-Elect Martin’s assignment 1,289

n How does a bishop get appointed? ....................................................................................................1,145

n Hundreds of youth gather for prayer and fellowship at Bishop’s Youth Pilgrimage 991

n Holy Trinity Middle School to add single-sex classes, campus improvements 876

Join the conversation online

@CatholicNewsCLT Pinterest.com/ charlottecnh Catholicnewsclt facebook.com/ catholic newsherald Diocese of Charlotte

April 26, 2024 | catholicnewsherald.com CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD I 31
APRIL PARKER is a parishioner and teacher at St. Pius X Parish in Greensboro.
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“Baptism of Christ” by Pietro Perugino, circa 1498

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