January 30, 2006

Sex-abuse case a test for parish's faithful

Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 30, 2006

The choir sang hymns proclaiming God does not abandon the faithful.

The bishop preached a homily stressing God's power to cast out evil.

The priest sat quietly until his time came to remind parishioners he was there to help them heal.

But not once during mass at St. Agatha Catholic Church in Chicago on Sunday did celebrants utter the name of Rev. Daniel McCormack, the priest removed from the pulpit more than a week ago when Cook County prosecutors charged him with sexually abusing two children.

"You may not be ready today to talk," said Rev. Tom Walsh, acting pastor of St. Agatha, 3151 W. Douglas Blvd. "Maybe there's some anger and some fear and some doubt in you. But you will be someday. Believe me. And we all need to ... That's what the healing process is all about."

As counselors hovered in the back of the sanctuary to meet with parishioners and victims advocates demonstrated outside, Auxiliary Bishop John Manz celebrated mass--a gesture intended to show parishioners that the archdiocese had not turned its back on the 112-year-old North Lawndale parish.

Posted by kshaw at January 30, 2006 07:53 AM