My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
This is the full text of Bishop DiMarzio’s homily delivered on Oct. 27 during the diocesan Marian Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
As we approach All Saints Day, perhaps recognizing the specific contributions that these new saints made might help us to be inspired to live lives of greater holiness. The Gospel of the day was an appropriate one and our Holy Father commented on it in his homily.
This Sunday, the Church Universal celebrates Mission Sunday whose theme this year is, “Through Youth To The World: Voices for Mission.” Our Holy Father, Pope Francis addresses his message for this year’s celebration to young people saying to them, “In speaking to you, I also address all Christians who live out in the Church the adventure of their lives as children of God. What leads me to speak to everyone through this conversation with you is the certainty that the Christian faith remains ever young when it is open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us.”
The month of October has been designated as Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Unfortunately, the amount of domestic violence and sexual abuse that occurs today is overwhelming. In the United States, it has been reported that nearly 20 victims per minute suffer physical and/or sexual violence by intimate partners. This fact gives some idea of the prevalence of violence against persons in our society.
In my column last week, I made a reference between the comparison of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and our own sexual abuse crisis in the Church. The similarity being that when all the bitterness was over, we are left with a lack of trust; with our country being unable to protect us and the Church being unable to protect, most especially, our children. There is a profound sense of betrayal on the part of our laity and also the clergy because those who abused betrayed not only the lay faithful, but also their brother priests, deacons and their bishops. These abusers have shaken the foundations of trust, which are essential to any organization, especially one which is the Church of Jesus Christ.
As a Bishop, it is my responsibility to meet with people who have survived sexual abuse by a member of the clergy. It is among the most painful and challenging ministries, but it is also a privilege. On one hand, hearing their stories of abuse involves coming into contact with pure evil. On the other, I also am able to see how God’s grace works in the lives of the survivors. The evil some of my brothers have done shakes my faith, but the courage and testimony of those who survive confirms that evil is not the last word.
As I return from my trip to Porto San Giorgio and Rome, I would like to report to you some of the events I took part in the days I was there.
This year the Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday on September 16, 2018. The 2018 theme from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ.”
On Sept. 9, we celebrate National Grandparents Day in the United States. It is a day when organizations come together to celebrate the role of grandparents. In the past, when extended families lived close to one another, grandparents played an important part in the education and rearing of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, as our mobile society has separated families, sometimes across the country and the world, for many reasons grandparents seem not to be as critical in helping as they were in the past.
In an extraordinary move, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has written a “Letter to the People of God” regarding the historical sex abuse cases of six dioceses in Pennsylvania, sadly a past problem which extended throughout the United States and even throughout the world.