Celebrating Mass with Bishop Zarama

Getting acquainted with our new Bishop

Holy Cross had the opportunity to meet and learn a little about Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama when he celebrated Mass with us on Sunday, April 29. His interest in youth was evident as he commended the three teens who were altar servers that morning and the time he took to talk with younger children after Mass. His welcoming, engaging personality also was evident in the many hugs he offered while talking with parishioners. Mass was followed by a reception in the parish's Multipurpose Room. Following is a selection of photos from his visit, taken by Renée Nixon. 


Learn more about Bishop Zarama in this recent video interview by Carolina Catholic, the southeast Carolina Catholic Radio Show, in which he talks about his faith, family, and stages in his vocation, including his mother's prayers that he would be assigned to Raleigh as bishop (when she heard that there was a vacancy), his reverence for St. Therese of the Child Jesus, his father, learning to speak English, becoming an American citizen, and the phone call he received announcing he was being named Bishop of Raleigh.

View the full 60-minute video here; get comfortable for an story told with humor, humility, sincerity. 

His journey includes teaching kindergarten through third grade, his call to the priesthood and studies in the seminary that included cannon law, and his transition to the Atlanta Diocese where he became the first Hispanic pastor. About that, he said “The beautiful thing for me is that we grew up together … working with Anglos and Hispanic and building, getting along as a family. … it was beautiful.”

When asked to comment on the Carolinas and Georgia “still being mission areas for the Catholic Church,” he responded: “Doesn’t matter where we are, we are missionaries. It could be in the jungles of the Amazon, it could be the jungles of the very big, noisy city – a different kind of jungle, each has its own noises and dangers.

"All of us are missionaries. Our mission: we share the joy of what we believe,” he said. When asked about his episcopal motto, he responded: "God is love: Without love, life doesn’t have any meaning and faith without love is nothing. … For us to live is to have a relationship with Jesus. What’s important is how we build a relationship with him.” He also talks about the meaning of the word ‘love’ and social justice issues, including human trafficking and speaking out for the dignity of the human person.

Tags: Bishop Luis Zarama, Carolina Catholic News video, Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop Zarama


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