Friday, August 26, 2022

Important Message from Fr. David

Dear Friends,

 

This week the Diocese of Fall River announced it had updated its list of credibly accused priests.  Among the names listed was that of Fr. John Gomes, who retired as Pastor of St. Mary’s in 2012.  The announcement from the Diocese stated that the alleged abuse took place decades ago and I will add that it did not occur at St. Mary’s or involve the Parish.  This news is distressing to many people and coming just after the announcement of Fr. Thibault (although a very different case), adds to the distress. I, too, find myself angered, saddened and ashamed all at the same time, yet my thoughts and prayers have been for all of you.  You live faith on the ’front lines’ in the world and must endure not only the pain of this news, but the reaction of coworkers, friends and family.    

In my first assignment as a priest, there was a statue of Our Lady of Hope. Our Lady holds before her an anchor, the symbol of the virtue of Hope. The message is that Hope keeps us connected to God himself, to His promises and His graces. Hope keeps us anchored to Him despite the storms and challenges we will encounter on the journey of faith. We are again being painfully reminded that human beings, in the Church, in government or society at large, are not perfect and are in fact capable of some horrible things. Our faith and hope must be in Jesus Christ who came to redeem us from our brokenness and sinfulness.

Polices and practices in the Church and in our society have changed and continue to change to ensure that all people, particularly our children, are safe and protected.  That is why all clergy, staff and volunteers are required to participate in the ‘Essential Three’: 1. A criminal background check 2. Sign and live up to the Code of Conduct and 3. Participate in regular child and youth protection training. 

Above all, we must remain vigilant in our faith and trust in the Lord.  

Below are some links to resources to assist individuals and families in discussing these issues with their families and others.  The Parish Leadership Team will also be discussing other possible responses as well.

Again, please know of my continued prayers for you and your families and let us all pray for one another and in a special way for the victims of abuse and their families.

Peace,

Fr. David


Coping with the clergy sex abuse crisis - Catholic Digest

Bishop Barron’s Resources on the Sexual Abuse Crisis - Word on Fire

The Darkness of Scandal and the Light of Christ - LifeTeen.com for Catholic Youth


https://www.fallriverdiocese.org/office-of-safe-environment/


Important Message from Fr. David

Dear Friends,   This week the Diocese of Fall River announced it had updated its list of credibly accused priests.  Among the names listed w...