An Armenian-rite liturgy was celebrated at the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Bishop Mikael A. Mouradian, leader of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg, which covers the United States and Canada, presided over the ceremony concelebrated with the other Eastern Catholic bishops of the United States, the Catholic Pilly reports.
Wearing their own rites’ mainly gold and white vestments, the Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Maronite, Melkite, Syriac, Syro-Malabar, Armenian and Romanian Catholic bishops were assisted at the liturgy by a small choir of Armenian seminarians and by an Armenian deacon who gave a running commentary of the Armenian-rite liturgy and indications to the concelebrants about which prayers to recite,
In his homily, Bishop Mouradian said bishops are called to guide their people to faith as the church sails amid “troubles, difficulties, hardships, challenges,” but they must remember “none of us — not me or any of us — is the captain of this boat. The captain is Jesus Christ.”
“Yes, sometimes as he was with the disciples on the sea (of Galilee), perhaps we feel that he is sleeping,” the bishop said. But as St. Paul said, “we don’t preach only Jesus Christ the crucified one, but we preach Jesus Christ the living one, the eternally living God.”
“As bishops we are called to fix our gaze on him,” the bishop said. “He is the one who called St. Peter, an ordinary fisherman, to become a fisher of men.”
“Each one of us has the same calling as St. Peter,” Bishop Mouradian said. “As bishops, archbishops, we are the successors of the apostles, and we know that all the apostles gave their lives to witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“In front of the tomb of the prince of the apostles, St. Peter, let us renew our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Let us tell him that we trust in him, the merciful Lord, because he will guide us, he will help us live our Christian faith regardless of the difficulties and hardships we have in our lives.”
The bishops, like the 14 groups of U.S. bishops that preceded them on their “ad limina” visits, recited the creed and paused in silence before St. Peter’s tomb.