Advent mission brings ‘new awareness of the presence of Christ’


CHARLESTON — Msgr. James Turro, a professor of Scripture and regular contributor to Magnificat magazine, led the Advent mission at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Nov. 28-30. The mission’s theme was growth in Christ, a topic Msgr. Turro delivered in his own unique style.

“My preferred way of expressing myself is to hit hard on a central fact,” he said. “My conviction is that as a speaker one has greater impact expressing a single idea. I don’t like to spend a lot of time talking about various topics; I just want to say what I need to say and let the Holy Spirit work.”

Msgr. Turro teaches Scripture at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., and at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. He also contributes the “Your Word is a Lamp” section to the Magnificat each month.

“I have been writing for the Magnificat since the beginning,” he said. “I enjoy doing that very much, and teaching Scripture is something that I have done for 50 years of my priesthood.”

His goal for his talks was to see more prayerfulness and a greater appreciation for church and the Mass.

“The changing season provided a great matrix for my talks,” he said. “I was able to begin with the season of Thanksgiving and then go into talks about the Christmas season.”

Msgr. Turro, a resident of South Orange, N.J., gives retreats and missions when St. Joseph’s and Holy Apostles are having breaks.

“I don’t usually give missions while school is in session, but when Msgr. Roth (pastor of the Cathedral) asked me to come I didn’t hesitate,” he said. “I have great respect for Msgr. Roth and consider him a very dear friend.”

He said that Advent missions are very important because they highlight the meaning of the whole church year.

“A mission during Advent results in a more fruitful celebration of the feast,” Msgr. Turro said. “The celebration becomes more pronounced as a result of preparing adequately for Christ’s coming to earth.”

Msgr. Joseph Roth first heard Msgr. Turro speak at a mission for the permanent diaconate last year.

“I was very impressed with him and that’s when I knew I wanted him to come speak here,” he said. “The mission brought a new awareness of the presence of Christ in our lives. In conjunction with the Christmas season, it really impacted the parishioners.”

Msgr. Roth said that the mission resulted in a record number of confessions at the Wednesday night penance service.

“We had eight priests here that night and we were all here for hours,” he said. “This indicated to me that the parishioners answered the call to return to Christ. They took to heart what Msgr. Turro said. Overall it was a fantastic mission.”