October 8, 2021
Dear Companions on the Journey,
I have an application on my computer – don’t we all? – that itemizes “to-do’s,” from the insignificant (change razor blades) to the important. In the second category, last week I reminded myself to keep as front and center in our Paulist Center’s prayer for healing in the clerical sexual abuse of children.
The same week, I received my monthly educational email from Virtus (an independent agency educates people about combatting sexual abuse of children); this email always includes a short test to make sure that we priests both read it and understand its content. We have been doing this for decades now. We cannot let our guard down.
Then I read about the French government’s report on abuse by clerics and church workers in their country: over a span of seventy years, more than 3000 clerics have been credibly identified; their victims number about two-hundred thousand. I felt, again, a terrible weight, on the Church itself (of course, the horror of the report is not about how I feel but how the victims’ suffering).
When evidence of such corruption first became public in our country, many Europeans looked with pity on us, claiming that this abuse was a peculiarly American problem. Then the European stories started to surface, including terrible numbers in Germany, Ireland (on average, much worse than in the USA), and other countries.
This is a worldwide cancer on our Church. But not only on our church.
I also read a book review covering the Afghan war which disclosed that adult abuse of minors is rife in Afghanistan, and that the American government, even though aware, chose to look the other way.
Where, Lord, oh where Lord, can we find
repentance and reform?
With regard to the Church’s problem, the American Catholic Church has made significant strides of reform, in terms of clergy formation and parish practices. Cardinal Seán has been an important leader. But we can never let our guard down – hence, the reason for my periodic reminder to myself mentioned above.
As we gasp in horror, again, at the extent of Church corruption in France, we at the Paulist Center Community recommit ourselves to keeping a safe environment for children, by training our priests, ongoing education, and following strict guidelines for our building and community.
A recent article in the Jesuit magazine America spoke of praying for the victims of clerical sexual abuse is beginning to sound pretty hollow. I understand what she was saying. But I also say we must not let the victims of clerical and church worker sexual abuse ever be forgotten. So they remain at the center of my/our prayer, even as we commit to action to eliminate this scourge.
What do you think?
Please read our Bulletin (for last and this week).
And please set aside 1pm, Sunday, October 17th. NB: It’s very important to register (see link below) so that 1) We have an idea as to how many might come, and 2) you may submit the names of persons our community can pray for.
For All We’ve Lost:
A Prayer Service of Remembrance and Reconnection
Sunday, October 17 @ 1:00 pm in the Boston Common,
directly across the street from the Paulist Center.
Join us for a time of prayer, song, and reflection, as we come together to grieve our individual and communal losses during the pandemic: a time to remember those who have died, for those who have experienced a loss of employment, and for all who have faced illnesses; for the loss of the ability to come together in our Chapel for worship, companionship, and communal support, for our shared grief and anxiety around the uncertainties with regard to our work life and school life – for the loss of safety, social connections, and personal freedoms. And, finally, to remember that through all the tumult and strife, we are a people of hope.
If you plan on attending and/or if you have lost a loved one during the pandemic and would like the person’s name read at the prayer service, please let us know here.
Bring your own chairs if you are able. We will have some available.
Please remain after the service to socialize and reconnect with friends. Individually-wrapped snacks and drinks will be offered.
No rain date. Check the Center website and Facebook page by 11 am the day of if weather is questionable.
This prayer service is being offered by the Center staff to our Paulist Center Community in response to the poignant losses shared in our community survey and to offer us an outdoor gathering opportunity before the colder weather arrives.
For the safety of all, we are requesting everyone to mask.
Finding A Voice…
Voice of the Faithful‘s 2021 Conference: Re-Membering the Church: Moving Forward, October 22-23. For more information, go here.
Interested in Knowing More about becoming a Priest in the Paulist Fathers? Go here.
- Here is the Zoom link:
- Meeting ID: 954 8912 2269; Passcode: 324485
- Here’s the Zoom Link
- Meeting ID: 487 503 158; Passcode: 021078
- Saturday @ 5pm
- Sunday @ 10am
- Sunday @ 6pm
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 7:55am
- Tuesday and Thursday, 12:05pm
- To make a one-time or recurring donation using your bank account or credit card, click on the following link https://tinyurl.com/DonatePaulistCenter
- Giving by text: Text a whole dollar donation amount to 844-899-7511; this will be designated as your “Weekend Offering.”
Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Norm, John, Dorothy, Barbara, Rob, Alvaro, and Sal. Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.