Bishop Kulick meets with Pope Francis in Rome
GREENSBURG – October 20, 2022 – When Bishop Larry J. Kulick visited Rome in September to attend orientation for newly ordained bishops, the highlight of the trip to the Vatican was celebrating Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Following the Mass, the nearly 180 bishops from around the world venerated the relics of St. Peter beneath the Basilica, and were then greeted by His Holiness, Pope Francis, in the Clementine Chapel.
“The Holy Father was so generous with his time,” Bishop Kulick said.
Pope Francis spent more than an hour and a half with the bishops, discussing the great priorities for the Church, allowing for comment and answering questions.
“What pleased me was that in many areas that the Holy Father stressed to us as Bishops is that we need to shepherd our dioceses and the people entrusted to our care,” Bishop Kulick said. “I was so proud that in the Diocese of Greensburg, so many of those areas we are covering, and we are doing. I left that meeting feeling that we here in the Diocese are doing what is the desire of the Holy Father and will continue to do that. Building up the faith, reconciling people.”
The Holy Father reminded them to be “bishops of humility” and shepherds who are out among the people.
“He also reminded us how important it is to show mercy and compassion, especially to those who have strayed from the church or who are feeling alienated from the church,” Bishop Kulick said.
The Mass and gathering with Pope Francis ended the weeklong orientation held by the Congregation for Bishops. Previous orientation sessions were postponed due to the pandemic. For that reason, the orientation included bishops ordained from 2019 through 2022.
Bishop Kulick said it was a magnificent opportunity to gather in fraternity.
“I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Bishop Mark Eckman, the auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and Bishop Dave Bonnar, a Pittsburgh native who is now the Bishop of Youngstown,” he said.
Bishop Kulick also met one of the new Slovak auxiliary bishops, Bishop Peter Venyo of Nitra. On the evening of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Bishop Kulick was invited to be the main celebrant for Mass at Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Rome, where he met the rector and vice rector and graduate students from Slovakia.
“That also led to a wonderful interview on Vatican radio that was broadcast throughout Slovakia,” he said. “I have been getting emails from people all over Slovakia that they heard the radio program.”
The experience, the fraternity and the message from Pope Francis was something Bishop Kulick was anxious to bring back to the Diocese of Greensburg.
“I feel both very affirmed in my vocation and blessed to have had the experience to hear the words of the Holy Father that we here in the Diocese, with the wonderful help of the clergy, our religious, our lay faithful with the cooperation of our parishes, the cooperation of the Curia, and all of the wonderful people that work on the Diocesan and parish levels, that we are very much in line with the vision of the Holy Father and will continue to do that in union with him and will continue to build up the Kingdom of God entrusted to us.”