Ogdensburg Bishop Had Audience with Pope

By Christopher Robbins
Watertown Daily Times
January 8, 2012

OGDENSBURG On Thanksgiving, many travel long distances to spend time with their families.

For Bishop Terry R. LaValley of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, the day was spent across the Atlantic Ocean at the Vatican, where he had a personal audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

"Thanksgiving Day 2011 was truly a day in which I felt especially blessed," Bishop LaValley said by email of his experiences.

As part of a tradition known as a quinquennial visit ad limina, Catholic bishops travel to the Vatican to report on the state of their diocese to the pope and to visit the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. Bishop LaValley was in Rome from Nov. 22 to Dec. 1.

During his audience with the pope, Bishop LaValley discussed the challenges the church has faced in the north country, including the clergy sex-abuse scandals, increased poverty, secularization and a decline in the number of Catholics who participate in the sacraments.

"I felt that the Holy Father heard, felt and understood the struggles I shared," he wrote. "He inquired about our diocesan efforts to promote the family. He said that so much of the challenges before us stem from the breakdown of the family."

As part of his visit, Bishop LaValley celebrated Mass at each of the four major basilicas of Rome St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, Mary Major and St. John Lateran, which serves as the papal seat.

Bishop LaValley was accompanied on his visit by Msgr. John R. Murphy, a priest in residence at Ogdensburg's Dame Catholic Church.

As part of their visit, they also met leaders of Catholic congregations that assist the pope in his ecumenical duties and visited with the pontifical councils and the Roman Curia, which form the central administration of the church.


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