People of the Resurrection...
After some time away last week, on Lake Michigan, in a 2-day priest support group meeting at the abbey, and up North ‘der hey at Morgan Lake, a different kind of ‘being away’ today – at Manitowoc, for the Annual Clergy Congress of the Diocese of Green Bay. It’s 3 days together with parish priests, Parish Leaders & Bishop Ricken.
The last time we were together for retreat in June, reports were just breaking regarding Archbishop McCarrick; and so much has happened, globally, nationally and locally since then!
We took the opportunity to deal with this crisis, begin to process it together, and share how you – The People of God - have begun to process it in the parishes and neighborhoods of our diocese.
I don’t remember a ‘heavier’ day at one of these gatherings in the 25+ years I’ve been coming to them. But it has also been a good day.
Please let me share a few things:
The presence of “International Priests” – over 30 of them – confirms: We have become the Mission Church! Their spirit, goodness, zeal and self-sacrifice, for the Lord, and for us is a beautiful & necessary blessing! Given other present limitations, what would we do without them?
A survivor of sexual abuse (non-clerical) and decades-long Church minister gave a most powerful, personal testimony.
A fine young priest shared from his spiritual and prayer life, his reasons to hope, and to go forward with ordination and priestly service.
A wife, mother & diocesan staffer spoke of ‘small ways’ to cultivate healing, hope & hospitality.
The Diocesan Director of Safe Environment spoke of the Annual Audit and our shared responsibility – in each parish - facilitated by the Local Safe Environment Coordinator (LoSEC) and the pastor – to fully implement the requirements of the 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults – no exceptions.
And some significant ideas from today:
· “The Church is a field hospital right now.”
· Jesus speaks to our Church: “My heart is broken for what you now must carry.”
· “Pain that is not transformed, is transferred.”
· “Love makes us do crazy things.” ...like remaining in the Church...like priestly celibacy...like ministry...like struggling through the present crisis with Hope.
· “You, present leaders in the Church, were made for this crisis.”...to help foster a new generation of saints.
A few days won’t wrap it up, of course. But such a group of disciples, “facing the music” – it’s a start, guided, please God, by the Spirit to fulfillment.
Please we pray - “God bless us...EVERY one”!