October 06, 2005

As Year of Eucharist ends, continue to pray for healing

Catholic Sentinel

10/06/2005 Archbishop John Vlazny

The Year of the Eucharist is ending this month. At the cathedral we shall conclude this yearlong observance at the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Oct. 23. I look forward to thanking God for the blessings of the Eucharist in our lives and for the many graces that have been ours during this challenging time in the life of our archdiocesan church.

In many ways it was truly a blessing that the Year of the Eucharist concurred with a year of great frustration and concern for our people because of the declaration of bankruptcy in July 2004, the unfortunate result of the extensive litigation we experienced because of child sexual abuse by some of our own clergy. This has been a terrible scandal that has brought great shame to so many of us. It has been a time of humiliation for our church. It has also been a time of suffering for victims, for perpetrators, for families and friends of both. I thank God every day that Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist where we can still gather as sisters and brothers and pray for the graces of healing and reconciliation which are the only effective vehicles for bringing an end to all the pain.

At recent meetings with the Presbyteral Council, the Pastoral Council, the Finance Council and the Consultors, I have been reminded again and again about your anxiety and uncertainty throughout these months of bankruptcy. Many of you are worried about the impact this will have on your own parishes and ministries. Church employees are understandably concerned about their jobs. Some victims have been led to believe that the church is trying to avoid providing them with just compensation. Those who collaborate with me in providing leadership and pastoral care for the archdiocese are frequently accused of a lack of compassion for victims, incompetence in dealing with these complicated matters and failure to communicate with our people effectively and honestly.

First of all, you need to know that this archdiocesan church has been focused for the past five years on compensating all victims justly within our means. Remember that more than $50 million went to victims before we were forced into bankruptcy. It was only when insurance companies failed to provide the financial support owed us and lending institutions would no longer make funds available to us that we had to seek bankruptcy protection. We did this so that we could carry on the ministries of our church and provide compensation for as many victims as possible, not simply those first in line.

Posted by kshaw at October 6, 2005 06:52 PM