Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I sit here at my desk, waiting for the 8:15 mass to finish, cup of coffee and thinking what a beautiful morning!  My Nona DeMarco always said to her children that whatever the weather was on Palm Sunday it would be the opposite on Easter Sunday.  She was right again.  Lousy and rainy and cold Palm Sunday and a beautiful Easter Sunday morning.  Of course that goes the other way too.  When I was in Rome on Sabbatical in 2003 and Palm Sunday was gorgeous and 85 degrees, Easter Sunday was mid 60's and rainy.   Even John Paul II couldn't get past my Nona!

We've had beautiful Holy Week and Triduum liturgies.  The people really enter in, Holy Thursday was beautiful, and Father Shawn my associate gave one of the most beautiful Good Friday celebrations I've ever seen.  The Easter Vigil was wonderful and a newly baptized member joined us for the first time at the Lord's table.

This morning it's still a beautiful day to remember that Christ is risen!  He is Risen indeed!  Just as he promised long ago and that the Father would bring salvation to us all by His Son's suffering death and resurrection.  The stone is rolled away, what shall we do.  Christ has gone ahead of us and we must follow with eager anticipation during this Easter Season and beyond.  May you all have a great Easter day, and Easter season filled with much joy, happiness and hope!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tenth Anniversary of Perpetual Adoration May 1 at Resurrection

May 1st at 11:30 a.m. mass Bishop Quinn returns to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Perpetual Adoration here at Resurrection.  When I was assigned here Bishop Quinn mentioned strongly the presence of Perpetual Adoration at Resurrection and how it’s a great grace to a parish.  At my previous parish we began Adoration two year ago with an earnest goal of Perpetual Adoration.  Though in its infancy they push forward and continue to realize that goal.  I realized now how much grace and determination it has taken over the years by the Adoration team here at Resurrection and the faithfulness of many parishioners to take on this prayerful ministry.  I realized now after having been graced at Resurrection with Perpetual Adoration and joining it during its maturing  years, Bp Quinn was correct, the many graces and blessing sitting with the Lord and contemplating our sorrow and need for forgiveness and mercy, praising and thanking him for blessings, graces and mercies received and interceding through the Jesus  Christ to the Father for many prayers, petitions and hopes and blessing, we pray this ministry of prayer continues on in perpetuity at Resurrection so that it might be a grace for our parish, our Church and for the life of the World.

I would be remiss if we didn’t mention the great day of May 1st also includes a great event today.  Our dear departed Pope John Paul II is beatified today and it’s fitting that Pope Benedict XVI has elevated him to this status on this day of Divine Mercy.  We know refer to him as Blessed John Paul II and pray for another miracle attributed to him that he might be canonized in our lifetime.  He stood for Life, he stood for the poor, he believed the Church can and would be an agent of changed as her people would be strengthened by prayer, sacraments and the Word of God and the intercession of Mary.  We’re grateful that he continues to intercede for us with the great communion of saints.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Airport Encounter

An Airport Encounter by Abp Timothy Dolan, New York, NY

It was only the third time it had happened to me in my nearly thirty-five happy years as a priest, all three times over the last nine-and-a-half years.
Other priests tell me it has happened to them a lot more.
Three is enough.  Each time has left me so shaken I was near nausea.
It happened last Friday . . .
I had just arrived at the Denver Airport, there to speak at their popular annual “Living Our Catholic Faith” conference.
As I was waiting with the others for the electronic train to take me to the terminal, a man, maybe in his mid-forties, waiting as well, came closer to me.
“Are you a Catholic priest?” he kindly asked.
“Sure am.  Nice to meet you,” says I, as I offered my hand.
He ignored it.  “I was raised a Catholic,” he replied, almost always a hint of a cut to come, but I was not prepared for the razor sharpness of the stiletto, as he went on, “and now, as a father of two boys, I can’t look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser.”
What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?  Express understanding?  I must admit all such reactions came to mind as I staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.
“Well,” I recovered enough to remark, “I’m sure sorry you feel that way.  But, let me ask you, do you automatically presume a sexual abuser when you see a Rabbi or Protestant minister?”
“Not at all,” he came back through gritted teeth as we both boarded the train.
“How about when you see a coach, or a boy scout leader, or a foster parent, or a counsellor, or physician?”  I continued.
“Of course not!” he came back.  “What’s all that got to do with it?”
“A lot,” I stayed with him, “because each of those professions have as high a percentage of sexual abuse, if not even higher, than that of priests.”
“Well, that may be,” he retorted.  “But the Church is the only group that knew it was going on, did nothing about it, and kept transferring the perverts around.”
“You obviously never heard the stats on public school teachers,” I observed.  “In my home town of New York City alone, experts say the rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is ten times higher than that of priests, and these abusers just get transferred around.”  (Had I known at that time the news in in last Sunday’s New York Times about the high rate of abuse of the most helpless in state supervised homes, with reported abusers simply transferred to another home, I would have mentioned that, too.)
To that he said nothing, so I went in for a further charge.
“Pardon me for being so blunt, but you sure were with me, so, let me ask:  when you look at yourself in a mirror, do you see a sex abuser?”
Now he was as taken aback as I had been two-minutes before.  “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Sadly,” I answered, “studies tell us that most children sexually abused are victims of their own fathers or other family members.”
Enough of the debate, I concluded, as I saw him dazed.  So I tried to calm it down.
“So, I tell you what:  when I look at you, I won’t see a sex abuser, and I would appreciate the same consideration from you.”
The train had arrived at baggage claim, and we both exited together.
“Well then, why do we only hear this garbage about you priests,” he inquired, as he got a bit more pensive.
“We priests wonder the same thing.  I’ve got a few reasons if you’re interested.”
He nodded his head as we slowly walked to the carousel.
“For one,” I continued, “we priests deserve the more intense scrutiny, because people trust us more as we dare claim to represent God, so, when on of us do it – even if only a tiny minority of us ever have — it is more disgusting.”
“Two, I’m afraid there are many out there who have no love for the Church, and are itching to ruin us.  This is the issue they love to endlessly scourge us with.”
“And, three, I hate to say it,” as I wrapped it up, “there’s a lot of money to be made in suing the Catholic Church, while it’s hardly worth suing any of the other groups I mentioned before.”
We both by then had our luggage, and headed for the door.  He then put his hand out, the hand he had not extended five minutes earlier when I had put mine out to him.  We shook.
“Thanks.  Glad I met you.”
He halted a minute.  “You know, I think of the great priests I knew when I was a kid.  And now, because I work in IT at Regis University, I know some devoted Jesuits.  Shouldn’t judge all you guys because of the horrible sins of a few.”
“Thanks!,” I smiled.
I guess things were patched-up, because, as he walked away, he added, “At least I owe you a joke:  What happens when you can’t pay your exorcist?”
“Got me,” I answered.
“You get ‘re-possessed’!”
We both laughed and separated.
Notwithstanding the happy ending, I was still trembling . . . and almost felt like I needed an exorcism to expel my shattered soul, as I had to confront again the horror this whole mess has been to victims and their families, our Catholic people like the man I had just met . . . and to us priests.