From the First Friday Committee
“In the end, we are not Catholics because our leaders are flawless, but because we find the claims of Catholicism both compelling and beautiful. We are Catholics because the Church speaks of the Trinitarian God whose very nature is love; of Jesus the Lord, crucified and risen from the dead; of the Holy Spirit, who inspires the followers of Christ up and down the ages; of the sacraments, which convey the Christ-life to us; and of the saints, who are our friends in the spiritual order. This is the treasure; this is why we stay.”
“… [T]here is simply never a good reason to leave the Church. Never. Good reasons to criticize Church people? Plenty. Legitimate reasons to be angry with corruption, stupidity, careerism, cruelty, greed, and sexual misconduct on the part of leaders of the Church? You bet. But grounds for turning away from the grace of Christ in which eternal life is found? No. Never, under any circumstances.”
With these two powerful statements from his ‘Letter to a Suffering Church’ Bishop Robert Barron reflected on the sexual abuse that has marred the Church in recent years.
“A priest must be devoted to Christ, conformed to him at all levels of his being. His mind, his will, his passions, his body, his private life, his public life, and his friendships must all belong to the Lord. Period,” he writes.
“Priests do not arise from a vacuum….They come, in the overwhelming majority of cases, from Catholic families and they are (or at least ought to be) shaped by a Catholic culture. Therefore, fellow Catholics, this scandal is our problem. All of us Catholics ought to appreciate this painful time, therefore, as an invitation to rediscover and to deepen our own baptismal identity as priests, prophets, and kings.” His well thought out reflection calls us to act responsibly as laity, for we too, are called to holiness.
With this said, another First Friday is upon us. Let us make every effort to continue the culture of First Friday devotions, attend Holy Mass, seek reconciliation, attend Adoration in a parish near you, attend an all-night vigil, consecrate yourself to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and truly pray that the Church may address this issue in a just way that there will be an end to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Church.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Prayer of Reparation
For crimes of abuse committed by clergy
God and Father of Mercy,
We your people come before you today in deep humility,
Aware of our own sins and asking your forgiveness.
Lord, we trust you to take care of us.
Time after time, you have rescued your people from power of their enemies,
You have renewed your covenant when your own people have broken it,
And you have healed the wounds which sin and unfaithfulness have unleashed on your sons and daughters.
Father, today we come before you invoking your mercy,
And offering you our prayers and sacrifices of reparation
For the scandalous crimes that have been committed
By some of those appointed to proclaim your Word and lead your Church.
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
We pray for the victims of these crimes, both known and unknown.
Protect them with your mighty hand,
Heal them with the soothing balm of your Spirit,
And console them with the loving presence of our heavenly Mother.
We pray for those who have committed these crimes.
Give them sincere repentance
And the humility to accept the consequences of their actions.
We pray for those responsible for correcting the abuses that have occurred.
Give them wisdom, a desire for authentic reform, and courage to carry it out.
We pray for those who have been scandalised by these crimes.
As your Son Jesus calmed the winds and waves,
Let Him speak His Word again to calm the confusion and concern in their souls.
Renew the faith of us all—
A faith which acknowledges that you have appointed shepherds to lead us
And a faith that likewise acknowledges that we have only one Master, the Christ,
And all of us are brothers and sisters.
Father, at the beginning of time,
Your Spirit hovered over the darkness and chaos,
And brought about light and life, order and beauty.
After the chaos of Good Friday and the darkness of Holy Saturday,
Your Spirit again breathed on the apostles,
And brought about a new wave of grace for the world.
Send that Spirit now
Upon our souls, upon our Church, and upon our world.
Keep our eyes fixed on you,
And renew our commitment to follow your Son,
In holiness of life,
And with the joy and peace that come only from you,
And that nobody can take away from us.
We pray with humility and with confidence,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
by Fr Frank Pavone, www.PrayerCampaign.org