This year has a different feel. The energy and passion for my ministry continues to stir within me. I enjoy teaching and giving witness to my faith. As our religious education year is about to begin another layer surfaces; the stories and reports of bishops, who in the past, shielded predatory priests from criminal prosecution. Anger, frustration, outrage at a clerical culture protecting “one of their own.” All of this weighs heavy on my heart, as I daily pray for the victims who fell prey to these heinous crimes committed by predatory priests.
The most recent grand jury report from Pennsylvania sheds light on the massive cover ups of theses heinous crimes against innocent children. The Attorney Generals of many states are launching investigations into whether other Dioceses in respective states covered up allegations of sexual abuse against children. Throughout the country Diocesan protocols for reporting sexual abuse are changing. Bishops must report predatory priests to law enforcement for prosecution. No more cover-ups!
The Gospels show us Jesus’ love for little children. Several times throughout the Gospel we hear Jesus saying, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And Jesus looked with such tenderness upon the little children. In Luke’s Gospel (17:2) Jesus says to his disciples. “It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
O Holy One, we ask for your tender protection of all children,
especially those victims of sexual abuse who are now adults.
May they find peace and be made whole. May the bishops find a way
to atone for hiding priests who abused children.
May these priests deepen their resolve to seek help
and experience a deep conversion.
O Holy One shatter the systems and structures,
transform this clerical culture.
Send forth your Holy Spirit and renew the Catholic Church.
Continue to stir the hearts and minds of your catechists
called to echo your love in a world in need of healing.
I am a catechist ever mindful of my own limitations ministering in a Church in need of healing and forgiveness. The Greek root word of catechist, means “to echo.” This time I join a “critical mass” of catechists answering the call to echo God’s love and mercy, and to instruct our children in the faith. I am called to join with others to be the instruments of peace and healing and to be ever responsive to the Spirit of the Living God who stirs within our Church. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
May I be found worthy of my call to echo your love and mercy
in a Church in need of healing.