Bishop Ruggieri celebrates Mass on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

“We’re called to be saints and that doesn’t happen simply by doing nothing.” 

That was Bishop James Ruggieri’s message as he celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, his first Mass since being ordained and installed as bishop of the Diocese of Portland. 

Occurring 40 days after Easter, this year on May 9, the solemnity celebrates Christ’s bodily ascension into heaven, which occurred in the presence of his apostles.  

“One thing that strikes me among other things is the perspective or posture of those apostles. Their eyes, their heads, their faces are turned towards heaven. And then, they are reminded by the two mysterious angelic figures who appear to them that basically it’s good to look at heaven, but there is much to do here on earth,” Bishop Ruggieri said. “As Catholic Christians, obviously our gaze is toward heaven. We are called to heaven…It’s almost like our spiritual GPS. That destination is heaven. But, in the meantime, we have a lot of work to do here on earth. A lot of living to do.” 

The bishop said we are called to be saints but are also called to be human beings who are fully alive, and he said if are to be fully alive in Christ, we must have boundaries. He said boundaries allow us to relate well to others and to love.  

“Boundaries help us to love others well, and that’s the great commandment,” the bishop said. “Jesus gives us that simple commandment. Love one another.” 

 Before Christ ascended, he gave his disciples final instructions, telling them to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit and then “go into the world and proclaim the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). The descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles will be celebrated on Pentecost Sunday, which this year is on May 19. 

Following the Mass at the cathedral, Bishop Ruggieri received many well wishes from parishioners, who wanted to welcome him to Maine. Many also promised to keep him in their prayers in the days and weeks ahead. 

Bishop Ruggieri shares the opening prayer. Father Seamus Griesbach and Msgr. Marc Caron are also pictured.
Father Seamus Griesbach reads the Gospel.
Bishop James Ruggieri shares his homily.
Liturgy of the Eucharist with Bishop Ruggieri, Msgr. Marc Caron, and Fr. Seamus Griesbach
Liturgy of the Eucharist with Bishop Ruggieri, Msgr. Marc Caron, and Fr. Seamus Griesbach
View of the cathedral from the back of the church.
Bishop James Ruggieri holds up the host.
Greeting people after Mass.
Greeting people after Mass
Greeting a couple and their child after Mass.