“After telling my story to my family and my friends, my true healing has begun. The anger is giving way to sorrow and now sorrow is giving way to peace in my soul.
“The truth has set me free.”
These words, delivered as part of a homily this past summer, were spoken by a California priest who was sexually
assaulted when he was 18 …some 35 years ago. Since his courageous testimony, he has been contacted by people from all over the country. He still serves as a busy pastor but now, he’s also a support to people who like him, were also abused.
There is great need for healing in our Church, not just for those abused, but for all of us who have been spiritually harmed by this continuing scandal. Last fall, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, NY called for a Eucharistic Congress. At the time, he didn’t know that more bad news
about abuse and subsequent cover-ups would come out as they did recently.
But the Holy Spirit knew!
On September 22, at the historic Shrine of the North American Marytrs (Auriesville, NY), Bishop Ed spoke beautifully about the healing that the Eucharist brings and how it nourishes
our soul. Later, priests from throughout the diocese, joined the Bishop in praying a prayer of re-consecration to Jesus and to His Church. They re-affirmed their vow of chastity and vowed to protect others as well as to safeguard against sexual sin.
Here is a part of that prayer;
“I promise each and every day to conform the pattern of my life ever more closely to Christ the High Priest, who offered
Himself for us to the Father as a pure sacrifice.”
The four thousand people present were witnesses to this
extraordinary re-consecration. Overall, it was a joyful day of witness, strengthening of faith, and healthy, fun interactions.
The aforementioned priest continues (from his homily);
“May we create in our own parish a place for healing; a community of true belonging where all the wounded
are welcomed; as Pope Francis calls it, ‘a field hospital’ here in San Jose.”
Jesus knows that His Church needs healing. Our Bishop responded to that need, in part, by calling on his
brother priests to solemnly re-dedicate themselves
to the service for which they were ordained.
Moreover, the Congress gathered the People of God around the Eucharistic Presence to receive healing.
Last year was extremely stressful for me (Maeve). It
was hard to relax; to ‘let go’ of tension. One day, my husband looked me in the eye and said, “God’s healing love surrounds you.” It was one of the few things that could give me peace.
God’s healing love surrounds us.
He is closer to us than our breath!
Near the end of his homily, that brave priest testified;
“Throughout all the pain, the Lord never left me alone. He has continued to love me, heal me and still calls me to serve Him… He never left me then and he will not leave me now.
“I believe that is true for each of you and for the Church itself.
“He has never left us and He will never leave us alone.”
Please join us in a simple prayer;
Lord Jesus, who is the Healing Love of God and who surrounds us, heal all those victims of abuse and bring them great comfort and restoration.
Lord Jesus, please bring back to the Church all who have left because of the scandal. Help them to come back to the embrace that You, the Good Shepherd, is always ready to give…
-Co-written by Maeve and Glenn