ROME—Just as Christ spent his ministry healing and comforting the sick and the needy, bishops also must be a sign of charity in their dioceses, said Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Celebrating an early morning Mass Feb. 10 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Bishop Jugis said, “The love of Christ impels us to be examples of that charity to our local churches.”
“It is a great self-giving in love to which we are called as bishops and the model to which we always look to is Jesus, who loved us to the end by his suffering, death and resurrection,” he said.
Bishop Jugis was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass that included Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone from the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., and the bishops of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, who are celebrating their visit “ad limina apostolorum” — to the threshold of the apostles — to report on the status of their dioceses.
In his homily, Bishop Jugis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Mark, which recalled the many people who brought their sick loved ones to Jesus in hopes that he would heal them.
Jesus’ charity, he said, “transformed every place where he went,” and by his very presence, he moved others “to works of charity, to help the needy, to help the sick.”
The church, he added, “continues unabated that great mission of charity and will to the end of time.”
Bishops must “do all with charity, whether it is to teach — in virtue of our teaching office — the truth in love or even to correct or to admonish others, but always in love,” Bishop Jugis said. “We do all in charity, even to govern with the heart of a pastor, and to sanctify and make holy those under our care to assist them in charity on their pilgrim way to eternal life.”
Citing Pope Francis’ talk to new cardinals during the 2015 consistory, Bishop Jugis reminded his fellow bishops that in the church, “all presiding flows from charity, must be exercised in charity and is ordered toward charity.”
“This pilgrimage ‘ad limina apostolorum’ is a sign of our communion and unity with the chair of Peter. May these days renew in each of us a spirit of Christ-like service to our local churches to build up the whole church in unity and love,” he said.
By Junno Arocho Esteves