April 17, 2006

Catholics were tested by a sex-abuse scandal and church closings. Now the faithful are seeing signs of renewal

Lowell Sun

By DEBBIE HOVANASIAN, Sun Correspondent

Regina Rich grew up surrounded by a large, extended family firmly entrenched in the traditions of the Catholic faith. First Communions, confirmations, and weddings were celebrations. A Tewksbury native, Rich was educated at St. Peter's Grammar School in Lowell and faithfully attended Sunday Mass. She married in 1984 at the aging St. Peter's Church in Lowell for sentimental reasons.

Her triplets were born in 1991, and were baptized.

But when clergy sexual abuse scandalized the Boston Archdiocese in 2002, Rich, 50, did what many other Catholics did. She fell away.

Today, she is slowly finding her way back. So are many others who found their faith tested.

Though anger lingers, a strong devotion to the Gospel, Catholic liturgy and doctrinal teachings appear to have kept many Catholics rooted in their pews through difficult times, local church leaders say.

Posted by kshaw at April 17, 2006 11:02 AM