Msgr Marucci's Weekly Message

FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK -   26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 
September 29-30, 2018

FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK…In last week’s Catholic Star Herald, Bishop Sullivan wrote an excellent article which I chose to republish for my article this week.  Through a private conversation with him, I am keenly aware that this scandal is affecting him deeply; as well as most of my brother priests and myself.  I think his keen observations and wise counsel is worthy to republish.  Bishop Sullivan wrote:

Since the announcement of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, there has been great sorrow and anger toward the Church. Sadly, some of this hostility is well-earned.

This rage and pain has rightly contributed to a rising crescendo of calls for swift investigation. Such is the case with the recent decision by the New Jersey Attorney General to review the five dioceses in the State to determine their compliance with the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding related to the reporting of clergy sex abuse. As I have stated often in the past, we work closely with all law enforcement and will comply with the requests of the task force.

However, amidst a scandal this awful, there are also prayerful things we can do as a community of faith. These include the opportunity to ask God’s intervention that we may never forget our duty to protect the most vulnerable and to ensure the Church always meets a higher standard of oversight.

With that in mind, I invite you to join me on Friday, September 28th at Our Lady of Hope Parish (Saint Agnes Church) in Blackwood at 7 p.m. for an evening of prayer for the victims of abuse and reparation for the sins of the Church.

Many of the priests of the diocese will be present and I invite you to join us as we publicly,                     solemnly, and humbly ask God to bring peace to those abused by priests and to their families. We will also ask that through the Holy Spirit all Church leaders, both laity and clergy, remain energized in their work to ensure safe environments for Catholics in our schools, parishes and ministries. And, we will beg God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those hurt, for the times our Church did not do all it could to protect the victims.

This is no small request to pray for God’s intervention. In our faith, the act of penance, both for ourselves and for the Church as a whole, is an important and ancient tradition. It is not an accident that this prayer service will occur on a Friday, as that is the traditional day of the week for the penitential act of fasting as we recall Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

We are reminded in Psalm 32: 6, “Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of                     distress.” And again in Psalm 51: 12-15, “A clean heart create for me, O God; and renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your Holy Spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.”

You may ask why you, the lay faithful, are invited to join with the clergy in this penitential service. Perhaps Saint Paul explained it best, “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also in Christ… So that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12: 12, 25-26).

Not because you have wronged anyone, but because we as a Church community must show our solidarity that this never happen again. That we as clergy will always protect youth and young adults; that we as Church leaders will continue to immediately engage law enforcement the moment we hear a report of abuse; and that you, the laity, will hold us to these pledges.

I realize that there may be many who wish to attend such a service, but are not able to travel to    Blackwood on September 28th. Therefore, I have asked our Deans to organize local prayer services on October 5th at 7 p.m. at:

· Saint Joseph the Worker, 901 Hopkins Road,  Haddonfield

· Church of The Incarnation, 240 Main Street, Mantua

· Saint Andrew the Apostle, 27 Kresson-Gibbsboro Road, Gibbsboro

· Christ the Good Shepherd, 1655 Magnolia Road, Vineland

· Saint Katharine Drexel, 6075 W. Jersey Avenue,  Egg Harbor Township

· Our Lady Star of The Sea, 525 Washington Mall,  Cape May

These prayer services are important opportunities to add our spiritual weight to the legal, psychological and pastoral work that is already being done in our State, our region and around the world.  I hope you are able to join me on September 28th or attend one of the local prayer services on October 5th.  (End of Article).

As a first step, prayer must be foundational.  Jesus Himself never made an important decision without immersing himself in prayer, and it does the church well to follow his example.  I hope all of our parishioners will take the time to join us for these services; particularly the one hour prayer service that will be celebrated in our very own parish.  I am encouraging all parish staff members, parish leaders and all engaged in our numerous ministries, as well as the entire congregation to attend.  In my opinion, turning to the Lord in prayer, is the very first thing we ought to do, and the Lord will guide us to assure that the accountability measures are actualized to protect the most vulnerable among us, and to assure servant leadership for the future.

Once again, I offer my personal gratitude to those parishioners who have reached out in support to me, Fr. Michael, Msgr. Frey and Carlo.  Your words of kindness, your love, and your encouragement have meant the world to us.  During the week someone sent me a beautiful prayer for priests that she offers daily in her morning prayer.  Perhaps you might reflect over your own life and think of the priests that have been most important to you and your own family and continue to remember them and us in your daily prayer. 

With a loving and grateful heart,

Msgr. Louis Marucci, D.Min. VF

Prayer for Priests

 

Almighty God, look upon the face of Jesus who is the eternal High-priest, and have compassion  on  Your priests in todays world, especially those who are weak and frail human beings.  Stir up in them the grace of their  vocation.

 

O Jesus, I pray Thee for your faithful  and  fervent priests, for the unfaithful and tepid ones, for those laboring at home or abroad  in distant mission fields; for those who are tempted, for those who are lonely and desolate; for those who are young, for those who are ill, for those who are dying, and for those who are in purgatory.

But, above all, I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins, the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who instructed or helped me by their encouragement. I pray devoutly for all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly _________________. O Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart; bless them abundantly to help them to remain the strong and faithful witness(es) to the Gospel they have evidenced in their lives.  May their continued example inspire us to live our own call to holiness.  Extend your hand of blessing now and forever. Amen.

(Submitted by Joanie Okulski)