DAY OF FASTING, PRAYER & PENANCE
"...penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils. May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience."
- Pope Francis (from his letter linked below)
LETTER FROM FR. KEVIN ON THE ABUSE SCANDAL
This message was included in the September 30, 2018 bulletin.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
+ Pax et Bonum!
Welcome to St. Maria Goretti on this the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time and on this last weekend and last day of September! It is great to be together around the Altar of the Lord, and we are glad that you are here with us! We do welcome all of our guests and visitors, especially those praying with us for the first time.
I know we announced this last week, but I wanted to write a little more this week about our special day of fasting, prayer, and penance that we are having on October 10. I’d ask all of us to set aside some time on that Wednesday to come over to church and pray with us as a Parish Family in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We will begin each hour of Adoration that day in the main sanctuary with the Holy Rosary. Both the 8 am and the 5:30 pm Masses will also be moved to the main sanctuary, giving us plenty of room for all of us. We need to fast that day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be food, but all of us can give up something that we enjoy as a sacrifice and as penance. And we can do this even if we can’t make it over to church to be together. My brothers and sisters, we need to do SOMETHING! Our Church, big “C”, the Catholic Church all over the world, is going through some terrible times. There are a lot of things that we can’t do anything about. We certainly can’t change the past. But all of us can pray and put our trust in God, where it always should be, and we can turn to Him in our time of need and ask for His help, His guidance, His mercy, and healing for all of us. We need this special time and day. I want to make clear that you know that this is what we are doing. I think we all know that it is time that we do something. We don’t want to wait. Rome didn’t call for this. Our Diocese isn’t asking us to do this. This is not from our Deanery. This is what we as a Parish Family want to do because it is the right thing and the best thing that we can do at this time.
The near daily reports in the media for over a month now have been heartbreaking for all of us. I know I go back and forth between deep sadness and grief for all those who were hurt, even many years ago, and very red-hot Italian American anger at those who perpetrated the crimes and those who covered them up. We know that children are abused in their homes, at schools, in sports programs, and in multiple other places, but it seems so much worse when it happens at any church or in any church program, and much more difficult to understand when it happens in the Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Pro- Children and Pro-Youth Catholic Church. Having spoken to so many of you in the last five or six weeks, we are all saddened, horrified, and embarrassed by these revelations. And most of these we did know about since 2002. Certainly not in such graphic detail, but maybe we needed to hear some of the details to fire us up and convince us all that this CAN NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN, anywhere! In 2002, the entire Church in the United States embraced the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth. It was designed to protect every child and youth, every priest, every deacon, every youth minister, every teacher, every coach, and everybody who came anywhere near a child in the Catholic Church in United States, and even to protect the Church. Here at St. Maria Goretti, we bought into the Dallas Charter wholeheartedly! It was what we needed to do. It was smart and straightforward, and all everybody had to do was follow the rules! And let me point out, the Dallas Charter was light years ahead of what any other organization was doing at the time to protect children and youth. I often wonder why USA Gymnastics and so many others didn’t adopt similar child protective measures back then. A lot of people could have learned from us back in 2002. Now, 16 years later, we find out that some people in the Catholic Church, including some of our own leadership, didn’t learn the lesson back then either. Then we all must learn now. This must never again happen in any Catholic Church, school, institution, or ministry ever again. We call for and pray for ZERO TOLERANCE for anyone who abuses ANYBODY in the name of God or in the name of the Church. Our leaders must put the necessary reforms in place now to make sure this never happens again.
The Church will not only survive, but will come out of this better in the end. This purification is needed. It is not much fun for any of us. But God will get us through all this, and after all, He is the One we are following. And so, on October 10, all day, we are going to pray, fast, and do some penance for ourselves and others. Oh yeah, we need to do this. Come and join me October 10. Prayer and Faith and trusting in God is exactly what we most need now. And we can take care of that!
Men’s Christ Renews His Parish is next weekend! Keep the guys in your prayers!
Dark days are the stepping-stones on the path of light.
MESSAGE FROM FR. KEVIN ON THE ABUSE SCANDAL
This message was delivered by Fr. Kevin immediately prior to Mass the weekend of August 18th & 19th.
"Good Morning. Before we start Mass this morning, I want to say a few words about the news this past week from the District Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania, and about the serious matters that are on a lot of our minds this morning as we gather for Mass.
First, like you, Fr. Mike, Fr. Derek and I are deeply saddened and disgusted by this weeks news. It has been a hard week for all Catholics. Let me assure you that it has been an even worse week for priests who love the Church and who are trying their best every day to be holy, pure, and honest. I want you to hear from me, in my own voice, clearly where we stand here at St. Maria Goretti.
As pastor of this parish community, we strongly support the Dallas Charter and the protocols of our Diocese for the protection of the children and youth, and we always have! We support and participate in the background checks and periodic training of ALL priests, deacons, seminarians, teachers, scout leaders, and youth ministers that we are required to do and always have. I know that all of you share the same commitment to be part of the Church's mission to respect and protect people of every age!
May each one of us strive to live and pray with holiness, integrity and honesty, worthy of God!"