August 26th, 2018 – Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Simon Peter answered Jesus, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and
are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (Gospel of John, ch. 6)
In the deluge of rain this past Monday night, I couldn’t help but think of Noah and the Ark, and immediately in my prayer made a connection with the deluge we are facing in our church right now with the clergy abuse scandal. With the revelation of heinous, criminal, sinful actions on the part of individuals in the Church and its leadership, the sky truly does seem to be falling.
It also occurs to me how quickly disgust and anger turn into division and despair and possible departure. We are at a tipping point. Necessary and quick action are needed to address this scourge and to assure that it in no way ever happens again. We have to reach out to victims and assure them of a beloved place in the Church, the “barque of Peter.” And we have to challenge those who steer the boat to promise us that we will never even approach any activity or way of being that could sink the boat and harm people.
We need to pray and perform penance so that the Church can be what it is called to be, that it can truly witness to a world that experiences abuse in so many evil ways, that we are all called to a life of holiness and wholeness, a life of peace, truth, justice, morality, mercy and compassion, especially for the most vulnerable among us.
Let us begin… and never end!
Sincerely, with love,
August 19th, 2018 – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today, and in these past few Sundays, our Gospel reading is taken from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. This part of John’s Gospel is known as the “Bread of Life discourse”, and these Scriptures give us a privileged opportunity to meditate on the great gift of the Eucharist that we are able to receive every time we go to Mass.
In receiving the Eucharist, Jesus always invites you and I towards a deeper commitment to serving the poor. The Catechism reminds us: “The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, His brothers and sisters” (CCC, n. 1397).
On behalf of Fr. Tim, I would like to thank all those of our staff, parish, and community, who give us such a wonderful example of this service. This is just a word of thanks, and encouragement to keep it up! Know of our prayers, in these beautiful days of August summer.
August 12th, 2018 – Ninteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
An Important Message from our Archbishop:
During these past weeks, we are experiencing painful reminders of the horror of clergy sexual abuse of minors and the failure of Church leaders to address these crimes swiftly and justly.
The media reports of allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick brings forward again the scourges of the past. Pope Francis has rightly accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s resignation and he will now face a canonical process and penalties.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed this issue when he said these accusations “reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church.”
As you know all too well, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee we have experienced the same issues with regard to clergy abuse of minors, the handling of allegations, the treatment of perpetrators, and transparency with communication and information.
It’s easy to dismiss these things as “having been addressed,” because we have implemented policies and procedures, along with checks and balances, including with the input and oversight of both our Community Advisory Board and Diocesan Review Board.
However, our archdiocese is not immune today because of the work that has been done in the past or because of whatever progress that has been made. We must remain vigilant in our commitment to keep children safe and hold perpetrators accountable.
I remind each of you of the pastoral concern we need to exhibit to anyone who has been a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse or any kind of abuse for that matter. We must be watchful and attentive to how the imbalance of power affects these abusive relationships.
I urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse by anyone in the Church to come forward. Reports can be made to our Victim Assistance Coordinator or contact should be made with your local law enforcement. Please know of my gratitude to each of you who have worked so hard to ensure our Safe Environment policies, background checks and other training and formation are in place at our parishes and schools.
Let us together pray for our Church and for those who have experienced the pain and suffering of sexual abuse in any way. May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom and may we always learn from the sins of the past and do everything in our power to ensure those sins are not repeated.
Asking God’s blessing upon you and those you serve, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
August 5th, 2018 – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Pope Francis tells us that holiness is found “in our next-door neighbors, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 7). This past Monday, July 30th, we as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had the opportunity to celebrate the holiness of one such “next-door neighbor”: Blessed Solanus Casey, OFM Cap (1870-1957).
Blessed Solanus Casey was a Capuchin Franciscan priest who was born near Oak Grove, Wisconsin in 1870, to a family of Irish immigrant farmers. Eventually, he experienced God’s call to the priesthood and spent time studying at our own seminary here in Milwaukee, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. Father Solanus would later be ordained as a priest simplex (meaning he was a full priest but did not have faculties to preach homilies or hear confessions) at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Milwaukee. Serving as a “porter” at the Capuchin monastery in Detroit for much of his life, he was known for his simple, but profound life of prayer, great love for the poor and sick, and concern for all those he met. Father Solanus was recently Beatified last November 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Collect, or Opening Prayer, for the optional Memorial of Blessed Solanus Casey reads: “O God, who in your providence conformed Blessed Solanus Casey to the image of your Son making him tireless in service to the poor, by his intercession and example, grant also to us the same generosity and joy in giving of ourselves in service to our neighbor”.
May this “next-door” neighbor of ours, Blessed Solanus Casey, intercede for us, as you and I seek holiness this week by looking no further than to serve our next-door neighbors.