May 13, 2005

Reflecting on the priesthood, Latinos, and moving on

The Lompoc Record

By Steve Pent - Editor, El Tiempo

5/13/05 When Father Richard Vega announced to his parish - La Purisima Concepcion in Lompoc - his plans to leave after nearly 11 years of service, there were gasps of surprise and more than a few groans.

Beginning in July 2006, he is to assume the presidency of theAbuse Tracker Federation of Priest Councils (NFPC), a group that represents 26,000 U.S. parish priests serving in 125 dioceses.

The NFPC elected Vega on April 14 as its first Latino president in its 37-year history.

The 47-year old succeeds the Rev. Robert J. Silva of Stockton, who has served since 2000 and has managed the organization's response to the national sex-abuse scandal. ...

On the issue of sexual-abuse scandal, Vega said he will push for providing a safer environment, one that will be more proactive for children.

And concerning those priests that have been convicted, he commented that "most priests are not pedophiles ... [but] we still need to reach out to those in jail. They're still a part of our family. We can't pretend they're not a part of us."

He added that while the NFPC acknowledges the crimes committed, it also must try to reach out and be of support to abusing priests, without losing sight of the victims, of the betrayal, and of the damage done to the church.

Among the things Vega still wants to get done at the parish between now and when he moves on is to strengthen family catechism, because "children learn faith through a family environment ... and parents play a primary role."

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2005 07:16 PM