The opening statement is from our first reading this morning. I highlighted that notes because it ties in with where my thoughts have been for the past couple of days. On Wednesday night we had a meeting at St. Mary Magdalen to discuss and plan an upcoming Mass we are hosting on the 14th of September. The Mass will be offered for all those affected by the priestly abuse that has occurred in the Catholic Church over too many decades. At the meeting was a woman who revealed to us that she had been abused a number of years ago – not once but three times. As she spoke of the incident, she told us how hard it has been since her abuse to feel safe at Mass. She has been to numerous churches for many years but found it very hard to settle into any one parish. Attending Mass can trigger emotions in her and in doing that, it has been very hard for her to attend Mass – but she does. She also mentioned that many of her friends, because of this ongoing scandal, have stopped attending mass altogether. I found it strange that the one who was abused, although very hard for her, still attends Mass but those who had no direct contact with this abuse can’t find it in them to go. It tells me how much this ripple has gone through our Church; the abuse and the horrible effects of it are not just inflicted on the ones who were directly abused but carries onto family and friends who were not directly abused but still feel the hurt that is inflicted by this abuse.
As this scandal continues to unwind, I seem to grow closer to it with each day. When the list was initially published in our Catholic newspaper, I realized that I had relationships with a few of the priests who were guilty of this abuse. I now know someone who was abused by these “men of God”. I will continue to pray about this; I will continue to pray daily for the victims of this abuse, those affected directly or indirectly; I will also pray for that the perpetrators of this abuse find their way back to God and beg for His forgiveness; I will pray that the hierarchy of our Church learns to humbly profess their role in this scandal trying to cover it all up. In listening to our guest the other night, the best words, the most comforting words that our hierarchy can offer the Church is “We are sorry; we take full responsibility.”
I ask that you join me in prayer for all hurt by this scandal. I ask that you pray for the full conversion of the abusers and the those who attempted to cover the scandal up. I ask that you pray for our Church. Lastly, I ask that if you are in the area on September 14 (Saturday morning) that you find the time to attend this Mass (10 AM) to show your solidarity with the people abused and in need of our support.
Do something great for our Lord today – Rejoice in the Lord, you just! Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.