Season of Healing

   “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26).

Dear Parish Family:

This continues to be a time of pain and anger for each of us individually, but also collectively as a parish and as a Church, at the sins and crimes of priests against the innocent and vulnerable and the cover up by bishops. And in our own pain and anger, we also recognize the ongoing pain and trauma that is still afflicting those who have been harmed over the course of so many years by those who should have been caring for them. This pain of trauma, of anger, of frustration, of sadness, of disgust, of disappointment, of doubt is matched by perhaps a certain sense of discouragement that we don’t know what to do to fix this mess.

I invite you to join me in beginning to do something. The Archdiocese of Washington as a Church is going to enter a “Season of Healing” as a first step in the healing of this pain. Every parish in the Archdiocese of Washington will unite in prayer (each in its own way) for six consecutive Fridays, beginning on Friday, September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, for all the victims of this crisis: first, for those who have been horrifically abused and still live with this trauma, and second, for all of us who are suffering from the revelation of these crimes and sins. There will be a Penitential Mass on September 14th at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew celebrated by Cardinal Wuerl that will begin this “Season”. Here at St. Mary’s, we will do the following:

  • Holy Hour from 8:00 – 9:00pm with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in church (Exposition, Rosary, Silent Adoration, Benediction) for 5 Friday’s, from September 14 – October 12

  • 40 Hours Devotion from 3:00pm Friday, October 19 (the sixth Friday), until 7:00am Sunday morning, October 21 (sign up for an hour); Masses will still be celebrated as usual on those days

  • Fast on all 6 Friday’s – this can take the form of fasting from food (skipping one meal, or eating 2 smaller meals and 1 regular meal, or not snacking in-between meals) or if it is not good for your health to fast from food, to fast from TV, social media, or some other activity

In addition, I will offer the following:

  • Series of talks entitled: “Where do we go from here: a catechetical foundation for healing and renewal” for 5 Friday’s (Sept. 21 – Oct. 19) , from 6:00pm – 7:00pm, in the Breen Room, given by myself and Fr. Phil; topics will inlcude sin and redemption, the Church, and our personal call to holiness

  • 2 Town Hall Meetings in church, Saturday, September 22, following the 5pm Mass and Sunday, September 23, following the 5pm Mass where I will be present to have an open and, I hope, candid discussion/listening session for those who would like to voice their comments, opinions, and thoughts on the current crisis in the Church

Even if we cannot take away this pain and bring this healing, the Lord Jesus Christ can. Even if we don’t know how to respond to this crisis, the Lord Jesus Christ does. Even if we cannot change minds and hearts, the Lord Jesus will. Let us as a parish and as a Church come to Him in this time of need.

-        Fr. Anthony Lickteig