St. Mary of the Lake Seminary Retreat
A blessed New Year!
You may have heard that Pope Francis directed the bishops of the United States to assemble together for a retreat, given by his own official preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa.
So, off we go! Our retreat is a week-long, and begins today, at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary outside of Chicago.
Why did the Holy Father mandate this retreat? Well, he realizes that the Catholic Church in the United States is in the thick of a crisis over sexual abuse. (He also wisely acknowledges that this is hardly just a “Catholic” or an “American” crisis).
He encourages us in our reform efforts, and actually thanks the Catholic community in the U.S. for providing leadership and a good model for the rest of the world.
But, wise pastor that he is, he also wants us to show that we believe that no merely human effort to reform, as essential as that is, can be sufficient.
At its core, the tumor of sexual abuse is a gross sin, a moral calamity, where darkness smothers light. So, our first reliance is upon the Lord’s grace and mercy. Without intense prayers for healing, guidance, in reparation, we will not be successful.
We bishops are sinners; we are not primarily managers or CEO’s, but, first and foremost, men of faith and prayer; pastors, not attorneys, public relations men, or strategists.
So, we leave desks, computers, and strategic sessions for a week of prayer and guided reflection . . . and, in the end, may accomplish more than another meeting.
Pray with and for us, will you?