I am so grateful that God allowed me the time for pilgrimage to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati’s favorite mountain, Mt. Mucrone, because after hearing about the diabolical Church scandal upon my return I knew I had to desperately hold on to what I learned from my friend Blessed Pier Giorgio about “verso l’alto” (“reach for the heights”) instead of falling to the bowels of depravity.
As you heard from Fr. Bearer and myself at all the Masses, we, too, are disgusted over the suffering of innocence caused by those who were supposed to be sacred in their actions to lead others to holiness. It is sickening that we have to address this issue yet again (as we did when I was a newly ordained), but even if it’s painful, it is necessary to do so. Along with our entire pastoral staff, we are determined to sacrifice everything to bring His healing and hope to every precious life…It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble (Lk 17:2). Here at St. Francis de Sales, anyone who works with children, whether priests, deacons, teachers, parents, staff or volunteers are audited and must be in compliance with the Protecting God’s Children Program.
Repentance is our only hope for the Church…and repentance doesn’t mean saying you’re sorry. As Fr. John Russell wrote, “It means change…a metanoia…a conversion away from the way of death and towards the way of life, away from abuse and toward healing, away from love of privilege and power and toward the love of God and the children of God, His Church.”
In a letter to the entire Church, Pope Francis invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command (for the darkness some put us in)…This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse. Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need…If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.” The Pope also emphasized that a conversion of the Church is “impossible” if it does not include the “active participation” of all the members of the Church. So I ask you to consider joining in some form of communal prayer for healing. From now until the US Bishops meet in November: Pray the Prayer for Priests on the last page of this bulletin, reinstate your Friday fast from meat, pray a family Rosary, come to daily Mass or Eucharistic Adoration, speak the truth of what it really means to be Catholic, pray a novena, like (https://p.praymorenovenas.com/novena-for-the-abusecrisis). We are still His Holy Roman Catholic Church called to be faithful to the Sacramental Life.
Verso l’alto, Fr. Bline