Importance of Sunday Mass stressed by cardinal in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) — Cardinal Francis Arinze told attendees at the Diocese of Charlotte’s eucharistic congress that “religion is not an option. It is not an accessory footnote. It is the duty of the human creature in front of God the creator,” he said.

Cardinal Arinze spoke about the importance of Sunday Mass and the observance of Sunday as the Lord’s day in an increasingly secularized world.

“Sunday is the Lord’s day, the day of Christ, the day of the church and also God’s gift to us humans,” said the Nigerian cardinal, retired prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and a leading Vatican scholar on liturgy, Africa and Islam.

“The eucharistic celebration is central to Sunday. It is important to see Sunday as source, summit and center of Catholic life,” he said.

The seventh annual congress, hosted by Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis, attracted a record crowd of more than 11,000 Catholics from around the Carolinas to the Charlotte Convention Center Sept. 23-24. Raleigh Bishop Michael F. Burbidge also spoke during the two-day event, one of the few eucharistic congresses in the U.S. held annually and one of only two held in the Southeast each year.

The congress included a eucharistic procession through downtown Charlotte; Mass and confession; eucharistic adoration at the convention center and at historic St. Peter Catholic Church in downtown Charlotte; and educational programs in both English and Spanish for children and adults.

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