Following is the text of Bishop Jugis’ homily for the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress:
As we come to this closing Mass of our Eucharistic Congress, we come with intention of offering prayers of reparation for the horrible sins of abuse and misconduct, and the sins of the abuse of power and authority that have been committed within our beloved Church.
Three weeks ago, I was celebrating the installation of a new pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point, Oblate Father Peter Leonard. And in my homily for that Mass I said to the faithful, ‘This week we have been presented with scandalous revelations of the sin of sexual misconduct and sex abuse on the part of leaders in the Catholic Church. My heart is very heavy and disgusted. We need to pray for healing in the Church. For the Church to be healed from the wounds inflicted by these sins and pray for the victims to be healed of the effects of these crimes committed against them. And pray for those who committed these criminal acts and for justice to be rendered.’
Since I spoke those words three weeks ago we have all been entirely justified in our continuing expressions of shame, anger, disappointment, disgust and feelings of betrayal. I share your sorrow and I am truly sorry for these crimes that have been perpetrated against the innocent. This abuse imprints lifelong scars on its victims, in addition the entire Church has been very seriously wounded.
To begin to repair and restore trust I agree completely with the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that there must be a Vatican visitation and investigation and the appointment of an independent national lay commission with the authority to follow all leads wherever the truth may lead. And we must support these efforts with our prayers and with our own serious commitments to pursue radical holiness in our own lives.
In this Eucharistic Congress, the whole family of the Diocese of Charlotte; clergy, consecrated religious and lay faithful from all parishes of the diocese, schools and ministries have come together and with one united voice, beseech the most Holy Trinity to have mercy on the Church and grant the grace of cleansing and purification and renewal.
May the Most Holy Trinity, the God of mercy receive the sacrifice of love which we offer Him for these most urgent intentions.
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