Lake Placid Catholics from around the North Country celebrated the Year of Faith with the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. on Sunday, Sept. 29.
The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano was the principal celebrant at the Solemn Mass for the Year of Faith, held in the 1932 Rink at the Lake Placid Olympic Center.
The Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, which organized the event, expected around 2,000 Catholics from throughout the region to join the celebration. According to Denny Allen of the Olympic Center, they exceeded expectations.
“This is as packed as I have ever seen this place,” Allen said. “We set up for about 2,200 people and at the beginning (of the Mass) we were near 3,000.”
Faithful members of the church poured onto the floor of the arena and filled the stands, with many standing along the wall for the chance to worship with the personal representative of Pope Francis to the U.S.
“As the Apostolic Nuncio, he is the personal representative of His Holiness to the faithful of our nation,” said Bishop Terry LaValley, head of the Ogdensburg Diocese.
LaValley welcomed Vigano to Lake Placid and the North Country by saying, “Welcome to God’s Country.”
“Welcome to celebrate this special Eucharist to start our Year of Faith,” LaValley said. “Thank you for your ministry with us and for us. Through your holy and gentle or presence, we know Pope Francis’s deep care and loving concern for us.”
The event featured readings and scripture along with music provided by a choir made of members throughout the diocese. The Joyful Youth Choir, made up of members of St. Augustine (Peru), St. Alexander (Morrisonville) the Catholic Community of Keeseville, Holy Name (Au Sable Forks) and St. James (Cadyville) also provided music for the event.
Vigano delivered a simple message to the members in attendance, telling them to carry the likeness of Jesus Christ in their faces.
“Our faces should be bright like the face of Jesus,” Vigano said. “Our dignity comes because we have been created in the image and likeness of God.”
During his visit, Vigano also led Masses in Plattsburgh Sept. 29 and Lake Placid Sept. 30.