Bishop Michael F. Burbidge closed the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Raleigh Nov. 19. The special Mass, held at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Southern Pines, was celebrated on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Bishop Burbidge served as principal celebrant and homilist. Father Andrew McNair, pastor, Monsignor Pat McCabe and Monsignor Steve Worsley, chaplain for St. Joseph of the Pines, concelebrated.
“Today the Jubilee Year of Mercy officially closes. Yet, what will never close are the doors to the infinite mercy of God,” Bishop Burbidge said during his homily. “The doors to God’s mercy are … a precious gift through which we experience forgiveness and healing … and a power far greater than any darkness of this world.”
The Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis called for, began Dec. 8, 2015.
Throughout the world, Catholics focused on the joy of rediscovering God’s mercy, as well as both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The faithful gained plenary, or full, indulgences through performing works, such as visiting the sick or counseling the doubtful. They also gained these indulgences - which are remissions of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven - by visiting a pilgrimage church.
Bishop Burbidge designated four such pilgrim churches in the diocese: Sacred Heart Cathedral (Raleigh), Basilica Shrine of St. Mary (Wilmington), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Newton Grove) and Mother of Mercy (Washington).
On the same day Bishop Burbidge celebrated the concluding Mass, he also participated in the annual Community Thanksgiving Meal for the hungry during his visit to St. Anthony of Padua Church. A total of 1,640 meals were served at that location, San Juan Diego Church in Robbins, Moore County Coalition in Southern Pines and two nearby half way houses, according to Deacon Pius Gabriel, who helped organize the event.
The collaborative effort included help from local churches, a Food Lion grocery store in Aberdeen and St. Joseph of Pines - a residential community for seniors - which donated turkeys.
One recipient commented on the meal: “It is so good...because it was prepared and served with love.”
Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Photos by Samantha Scott