Lord, how good it is for us to be here -- Matthew 17

Browsing The Corner Office

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jan 18, 2018


Dear Friends,

It is always a pleasure to share with you what agencies we share our Perpetual Charity Grant with each year.  The grant this year was $10,000, which was split with the 2 recipients: St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center’s Women on the Move program and Prison Ministry of Upstate New York Residents Encounter Christ program.   As you may know since 2006 we have shared the dividend and interest from our Perpetual Charity Fund with local charities.  The Fund was established with some of the proceeds from the 2004 Partners in Faith Capital Campaign organized by the Diocese.  The Fund began with an initial investment of just over $200,000, the capital gain remains in the Fund and the dividend and interest are given away.  Since this fund was established we have distributed $96, 847. 

Changing the topic to clericalism.  Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta, Australia, speaking to the National Council of Priests of Australia, urged an end to clericalism, partially the cause for the sex abuse scandal in the church.  He expressed hope that a newly revitalized Catholic clergy would emerge from the crisis that has wracked the Catholic Church.  I share some of Bishop Long’s comments with you because I believe they are important to ponder as a people of God who are part of a very large institution that still is healing some major wounds and is in need of healing.

The Bishop stated that he himself had been abused by church members as an adult.  He told the priests' group that "we are in a big mess" as priests "bear the brunt of public anger and distrust in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis. It is one of the hardest times to be a priest."

He suggested they look to the example of Pope Francis as a vision of priesthood based on a servant, not an authoritarian, model.  After Francis was elected, he put aside the usual papal trappings and asked for the gathered crowd to pray for him at St. Peter's Square. That gesture, said Long, "was truly the prophetic sign of the century."

Bishop Long went on to say: “The sex abuse crisis was more than the evil acts of a few.  There needs to be an attitudinal change at every level, a conversion of mind and heart that conforms us to the spirit of the Gospel, a new wine in new wineskins, not a merely cosmetic change or worse, a retreat into restorationism."  He added: "the priesthood no longer enjoys the prestige and the power it once had.  For a lot of young people, it is no longer surrounded with the aura of mystique and fascination." In response, he urged priests to embrace what he called a model of servant individuals.

He went on to say we have to have the courage to see how far we have drifted from the vision of Jesus, as priest we have to be prepared to go beyond the symptoms and explore the deeper issues that lurk behind the surface.  He challenged his priests to reclaim the innocence and powerlessness of the servant-leader, thus becoming more truly men of integrity, discipleship and mission.  The line, that the Bishop used, that truly struck my heart is: "When privilege, power and dominance are more evident than love, humility and servant-hood in the church, then the very Gospel of the servant Jesus is at risk."  (For a more coverage of Bishop Long’s remarks please see Peter Feuerherd’s article in the 12/15-28 print edition of the National Catholic Reporter in his series entitled the Field Hospital.)

A reminder, don’t forget to participate in one of the remaining 1 to 1½ hour “Input Sessions” with our Communication Committee for the development of our parish long term plan.  You will be asked your thoughts on 4 issues critical to maintaining and growing parishioner participation in our faith community.  The remaining Input Sessions will be held on the following days and times.  

  1. Sunday, 1/28,10:15 AM (PLC Double Room)
  2. Tuesday, 1/30, 7:00 PM (PLC Double Room)
  3. Wednesday, 1/31, 7:00PM ( Gathering Area) 

For more details, please see my article from last week or check out the parish website.

Finally, I will be away the next couple weekends for a vacation in warmer climates, please do give a warm welcome to the visiting priests who so graciously offered to preside at Mass while I am away.

Please please continue to pray for peace in our world!

In peace and courage,

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