Bishop’s message: Magnificent churches, weddings, and a spiritual journey to Rome
Magnificent churches, weddings and a spiritual journey to Rome
All of the churches in the Diocese of Greensburg are magnificent because they are where our Catholic people gather as a community of faith to worship God and receive the Eucharist — the body and blood, the soul and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The physical building of a church — the bricks and mortar, the wood and glass — symbolizes what the living and mystical body of the Church is. You see, the Church is much more than its buildings, as beautiful as they can be. The Church, the Body of Christ on earth, us, is made up of living stones, the flesh and blood of the believers in Christ. Together we form the one Church of Christ.
In this issue of The Catholic Accent, we are focusing on weddings and marriage. One of my favorite celebrations of the sacrament of marriage is the annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. It is a gathering of the Church within the mother church of the diocese.
I truly enjoy celebrating with and meeting the hundreds of people who have lived their marriage vows, staying together in sickness and health, in good times and bad for 50 years.
It is always such a joy for me to see how these couples relate to one another. They have really learned how to be friends for life. It is an amazing celebration of God’s grace through the sacrament of marriage.
I will soon take those couples and all of the people of the Diocese of Greensburg with me in my heart and prayers as I travel to Rome. I will make my first ad limina visit to meet with Pope Francis and the many Vatican offices that help him fulfill his responsibilities as the pastor of the Catholic Church in the world.
During the week, I will have the blessed opportunity to worship at some of the most magnificent Catholic churches in the world, the four major basilicas in Rome and the Vatican, and worship at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The Church requires this pilgrimage of its bishops so that we will remember who we are as apostles in the line of those early apostles. Ad limina is a shortened form of “ad limina apostolorum,” which means “to the threshold of the apostles.” I will make this journey with my brother bishops from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will pray at the tomb of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica and the tomb of St. Paul at St. Paul Outside the Walls.
St. Peter was the vicar of Christ and Christ’s representative on earth, the first pope. The popes are the successors of St. Peter, whose faith is the rock on which Jesus built his church. St. Paul was the great evangelist and teacher who preached the word tirelessly. I will ask him to intercede for me and ask the Lord to give me graces that I need to do my ministry in the Diocese of Greensburg.
In advance of the ad limina, the Diocese of Greensburg sent the Vatican the Quinquennial Report, which is a summary of what has transpired in our diocese from 2011-18. It includes a snapshot of the demographics of the diocese, which shows the challenges of an aging and declining population. But the report will also show the Holy Father that we are doing a lot of good things with evangelization, communication, Catholic schools and religious education programs. And we are working to support and foster vocations, which is vital to the success of the Church in Greensburg. The report shows that our diocesan Church is vibrant in its activities and strong in the faith of its people.
During the ad limina, we will meet with 15 Vatican offices, including the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that was established by Pope Francis in 2014. The protection of children is extremely important to the Holy Father and to me and our diocese. I want to share what we have been doing here and talk about transparency, accountability and how we make sure our children are safe.
There will be a lot of work that week, but I am excited about the ad limina. I am excited about meeting with Pope Francis and the leaders of the Vatican offices. I am taking the Diocese of Greensburg to the Holy Father, who is the pastor of the universal Church, to say to him that we are also a part of the larger Church spread throughout the world.
Follow Bishop Malesic on his ad limina at the diocesan Facebook page, facebook.com/dioceseofgreensburg/