it is painful and difficult to own up to shameful actions, especially in what was once a venerated institution

 This Wednesday the Pope has called together the 180 Presidents of Episcopal Conferences throughout the World, and our own Cardinal Sean O’Malley will be in attendance. The Bishops in Massachusetts have written a letter to the Catholic faithful in our Commonwealth to explain what they expect the Conference will address (see bulletin page 5). While it is sad and painful to see the need for this meeting, we should find great hope that the church leadership throughout the world is coming together to address the problems in the church which range from sexual abuse of minors and adults, as well as to force an end to coverups of such crimes by higher-ups.

As you can imagine it is painful and difficult to own up to shameful actions, especially in what was once a venerated institution. However, the pain we are experiencing individually and collectively, will help purge the institution of these evils. As a sign of hope for the Church in the U.S., the Baltimore Archdiocese has established an oversight committee which has a significant number of lay members to oversee any abuse undertaken by its bishops. Last November the USCCB drew up similar protocols for bishops accountability, and it is my expectation that after this February meeting the U.S. Bishops will at their next meeting adopt those same protocols. While the meeting in Rome is one to educate our worldwide bishops of the need for such safety protocols such as the Dallas Charter, it is also a moment for this group to self reflect on the need to combat clericalism in the form of arrogance and denial of the realities of the brokenness of our church.

While the teachings of Jesus Christ remain constant as does his authority, the sad reality is that the church here on earth has lost, and continues to lose, more of its moral authority. The real movement in the church is now happening with the laity, religious, consecrated and parish priests who have not given hope, and have shown tremendous courage and are  now beacons of hope for those who have lost faith. This week let us pray that the Holy Spirit moves this group into action and rebuilding.

I am awaiting a proposal for the installation of an LCD screen in the chapel and a projector in the main church.  This LCD screen is 2’ across by 4’ long and will be placed right beside the St Ann Blessed Mother statue by the front. The projector will hang down beside the first light on the Fish Pond side of the main church, and the wall will be used for the screen. This will allow us to expand our social media presence. Inside the chapel itself we will be able to use the screen to show videos of Novenas, the Holy Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet at various times. So for example, at 3:00pm each day Monday through Friday we will be able to have the Divine Mercy Chaplet; on each weekday at noon we could have a Novena to various saints (i.e. Monday-St. Michael, Tuesday-St Joseph, Wednesday-St Anthony, Thursday-Francis, Friday-St Jude).  In the main church we would be able to show videos of the Catholic Appeal and other Archdiocesan presentations, as well as announcements and other material.

The first week of May, the Constanza Medical Mission is heading down to the mountains of the Dominican Republic to undertake a week-long medical mission. See Catherine Rein’s column for more information. The cost of the trip is $1350.00 and is normally paid by the volunteer, however, I realize that might prevent a parishioner who is a nurse or dental hygienist to attend. It is important to our MISSION PROGRAM that we support this program as well as a parishioner who wants to attend, and so I am offering a scholarship to cover the cost of the trip. If you are interested in more information, please contact either myself or Catherine Rein or drop an email to office@stanns.org.