Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last Friday, March 29, “with a heavy heart and in the spirit of transparency and accountability,” Bishop Guglielmone published a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or abuse involving a minor in the Diocese of Charleston since 1950. I encourage you to read the Bishop’s letter and the Q & A that accompany the list. You can access them on the diocesan website: sccatholic.org or charlestondiocese.org. None of the priests listed are in active ministry. Almost all of them are deceased.
“In order to experience a resurgence of holiness, we in the Church must continue to strengthen the protections provided to our children and young people in our parishes and schools. I urge you, the faithful of our Diocese, to participate in this resurgence. Trials and tribulations can often become the catalysts for tremendous strengthening to enable us to deal with the problems we face in our lives. With your help, our Church will become stronger and the crisis we now face will result in the purification of the Church.” We have worked diligently over three decades now to ensure that our Catholic parishes and schools offer a truly safe environment.
Also, in your charity please pray for your priests. The vast majority work hard to bring Jesus to you, and it is disheartening to see such betrayal in priestly ministry. Know that the background checks, psychological exams, and extensive evaluations that seminarians have been going through for at least the past twenty-five years or more have aimed at one thing – to give you men with the Heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd. Join me in a new Pentecost – the New Evangelization.
With the Fifth Sunday of Lent, we enter ever more deeply into this marvelous season with a period called Passiontide. Statues and crucifixes are now veiled so that we enter a type of “fasting for the eyes.” Our Masses will end with reflective silence. (Please try to keep the sacred silence until leaving the church building, then please “talk it up” with your friends! We’re not sad… just fasting.)
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. In Jerusalem in the 300s A.D., there is recorded in detail the solemn procession to commemorate the Lord’s entrance into the Holy City. The Church invites us to continue this tradition, which is at least over 1,700 years old, though certainly existed even before Christianity was made legal. At the 11:00am Mass (weather permitting), meet first on the school playground across the street from the church, where we will bless palms and reenact the procession once again.
“And there are very many children in these places – including those who cannot walk on foot; … their parents carry them on their shoulders – all carrying branches, some of palm, others of olive; and so the bishop is led in the same way as the Lord was led then. And from the summit of the Mount [of Olives] to the city, and from there through the whole city to the Tomb [of Christ], … they lead the bishop entirely on foot.” – The Pilgrimage of Egeria, XXXI
Let us pray without ceasing,