Dear Parishioners of St Teresa of Avila Church –
I realize these days have been unusually burdensome, first with the revelations of our former Newark Archbishop McCarrick and then with the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. Today, a Catholic news agency released another terrible story that spoke of accusations at our archdiocesan seminary as well as some about a priest who formerly served here at St Teresa of Avila.
I am feeling so many mixed emotions simultaneously – anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness to name a few – that I am literally numb. It’s become more and more difficult to open my inbox. While it may seem the bad news keeps coming, I hope that you realize that so much has already changed for the better and measures that are in place since 2002 have indeed improved the safety and quality of parish and diocesan life.
As hard as it is to read about these matters, I know too that many of our parishioners are looking for guidance and direction through this terrible storm. I am also keenly aware of my pastoral and other responsibilities as the news gets “closer to home”.
Apart from being well informed, we are all best reminded that ultimately, it is only the Good News of Jesus that we must rely on to navigate this current storm.
As I wrote in this week’s bulletin, I believe that despite belonging to a Church that has more than 2 billion members all around the world, all Church is local, meaning that our success and healing is directly tied to our ability to understand and care for each other here at St Teresa. And while I am still relatively new to Summit, I have heard and felt the pain, suffering and frustration of many of you on these very troubling issues.
Clearly, there is much more for us as a Church to do – especially by those in authority – to address the heinous crimes that have caused us all to suffer this summer of shame.
I have been in contact with our Dean in order to plan a deanery-wide event where we can come together to pray, listen, sing, and beg our God to help us. While the details are being arranged, we must continue to pray for healing and help for all who have suffered. I pray that each of us, regardless of our state or position in life, will recommit ourselves to strive for holiness, so that evil in all its forms will have no place in the Catholic Christian community.
I am also always available to discuss your personal concerns or simply just to pray with you. God bless you!