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2,000 Catholics expected at special Mass with papal nuncio Sunday in Lake Placid

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LAKE PLACID — The Diocese of Ogdensburg will have a special guest for a solemn Mass on Sunday for the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith, along with about 2,000 worshippers from all over Northern New York.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Pope Francis’s personal representative to the U.S., will attend the 2:30 p.m. Mass at the Olympic Center alongside priests of the diocese and Bishop Terry R. LaValley, who sent the apostolic nuncio an invitation earlier this year.

Mary Lou Kilian, editor and general manager of North Country Catholic newspaper and a member of the Year of Faith Committee, said this Mass is drawing Catholics from all over the eight counties that make up the diocese. Because there is no church in the diocese big enough to hold more than 1,000 people, the committee decided to have it at the Olympic Center.

“Having the pope’s representative come to our small diocese is quite an honor,” Ms. Kilian said.

The diocese consists of about 100,000 Catholics, and about 2,000 of them are expected to attend the Mass.

“I thought if we filled one bus with 55 people, that would be good, but then I got another bus which holds 34 people,” said the Rev. Donald A. Robinson, Watertown. “Now that’s not big enough, so I called and got another 55-passenger bus instead, and we’re hoping the two 55-passenger buses will be enough.”

Father Robinson, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, 850 Arsenal St., and St. Patrick’s Church, 123 S. Massey St., has been scheduling bus transportation for people who want to travel to attend the Mass.

So far, he has more than 100 from the Watertown area who will travel by bus. Many Catholics will drive on their own.

“This Mass on Sunday in Lake Placid culminates all of the celebrations and is kind of a climax of the entire Year of Faith,” Father Robinson said.

One reason the Mass will be so special is that it is one of the only times all members of the diocese were invited to attend the same service.

“It’s a Mass for the whole region, the whole upper part of New York state,” Father Robinson said.

Ms. Kilian said the last time the diocese held a Mass this large was in 1972, for its 100th anniversary. That also was held at the Olympic Center.

Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, Watertown, major superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who also sits on the Year of Faith Committee, said having Archbishop Vigano join the Mass is a way to celebrate church at a global level.

“It’s an opportunity for all of the people in the north country to gather together as a family of faith to celebrate faith and witness our faith so that we can go back out and live the faith as Jesus Christ commissioned us to do,” she said.

Father Robinson said that although it will be a conventional Mass, “there won’t be anything regular about it.”

The choir will consist of approximately 300 voices, organized by the Rev. Scott R. Seymour, a pastor in Morrisonville and Treadwells Mills.

The Rev. Douglas J. Lucia, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Canton, is the episcopal vicar for worship who has been coordinating the physical setup of the arena.

“There’s a lot of people working behind the scenes,” he said.

Limited seating is still available on a bus leaving for the event at 10:30 a.m. Sunday from St. Patrick’s Church, Watertown. Anyone interested in going can call St. Anthony’s rectory at 782-1190.

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