Patience hailed as a virtue at eucharistic congress' closing Mass

IMAGE: CNS photo/Leslie E. Kossoff

By Mark Pattison

(CNS) — Practicing patience can be a great virtue, said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph
N. Perry of Chicago in his homily at the Aug. 7 closing Mass of the African
National Eucharistic Congress in Washington.

greater school for patience is there than family life?” asked Bishop Perry,
who is episcopal liaison to the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and
Religious in the United States, one of the eucharistic congress’ sponsors. “Jesus
calls us to embrace the gift.”

Perry described situations where patience can be a virtue in his homily at the
Mass, celebrated in the crypt church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of
the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

One such
situation: “Imagine for a moment you are stuck in traffic as others lag out of
work,” Bishop Perry said. All that is visible, he added, is a “line of

he said, imagine there’s “someone between you and the exit you call home.” Upon
encountering that person, Bishop Perry added, would you give that person a wave
to allow them to travel safely to their destination, “or would you give them
another kind of hand gesture?” he asked to laughter.

case likely to test one’s patience is being greeted at the other end of a phone
call by a prerecorded voice saying, “Your call is very important to us. … Your
call will be taken in the order in which it was received.”

the bishop noted, also can be diverted into irritation, anger and resentment,
as he cited the situation of a man intentionally arriving early to wait outside
a relative’s house to avoid her likely reproach for being late — and then being
forced to wait an hour before she traipses out of the house entirely oblivious
to his having waited.

The Gospel
of Luke from the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time proclaimed at the Mass included
the parable of the servants waiting for their master to return home from the
wedding feast. Bishop Perry said the servants did not know when the master
would return, but they were happily expectant.

miss the detail how Jesus described his heavenly Father” as the master in the
parable, he said.

Bishop Perry
also lauded the family structure in his homily. “The church looks to you,
families, to be models of the larger family of God,” he said. “Thank you,
families, for your faithful witness of marital love and family life.”

happy to see husbands and wives standing side by side to receive the Eucharist
together,” Bishop Perry added. As food nourishes the body, “the holy Eucharist revives
the soul,” he said.

crypt church was filled to standing-room-only capacity. The vast majority in the congregation were
Africans, although there was a smattering of curious or befuddled non-blacks
who either stuck around for the two-hour-plus Mass or made their way to the
shrine’s main church upstairs.

music reflected the African continent’s culture as well. The opening
processional, “We Are Marching in the Light of God,” was sung in other
languages in addition to English. And the third Communion song, sung by a
combined choir whose members were in ethnic dress and headdress, crescendoed in volume and
intensity as it continued, eliciting shrieking and ululation from some in the
assembly, which rose to give an ovation at its conclusion.

The Third African National Eucharistic Congress, held on the campus of The Catholic University of America, was sponsored by several partner organizations, including the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church and several other offices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; the national shrine and Catholic University; the National Association of African Catholics in the United States; Trinity Washington University; the Knights of Columbus and Knights of St. John; the Catholic Health Association of the United States; and the St. John Paul II Shrine.

The African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States held its own meeting in advance of the eucharistic congress.

– – –

Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article