Eucharistic Holy Hour: For healing, truth and hope

In his homily, Bishop Checchio addressed the faithful, saying, "We must not fear the days ahead, but with confidence turn to Him. Do not be afraid to be Catholic, do not be afraid to humbly, and never with pride, hold your head up as a child of God, saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
(Michael Ehrmann/The Catholic Spirit, photo)

August 29, 2018

METUCHEN -- Bishop James F. Checchio presided over a Eucharistic Holy Hour: For healing, truth and hope, intended to pray for victims of clergy sexual abuse, on Aug. 29.

In his homily, Bishop Checchio shared his thoughts about the crisis facing the Church: "I can’t tell you all often enough how deeply saddened and ashamed I have been to hear accounts that one of my predecessors used his authority over seminarians and young priests for his own advantage and lustful desires, affronting their human dignity. It angers me too, that the trust of these young men, who came to the Church to follow their vocation to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, was violated and what a terrible example they were shown. Making matters even worse is that some knew about this, but did not properly face it, refused to face it or simply hoped it would go away.  

I am moved to ask for forgiveness of you for these terrible sins and crimes of commission and omission. I recognize we cannot change the past. It is not at all helpful to try to rationalize, minimize or deny wrongdoing, even when it is gut wrenching to look at. One serious obligation that Church imposes upon us when we seek reconciliation for our sins is to forthrightly name our sins; in their unvarnished truth."  

You are – as the Vatican’s Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons has put it – “a living icon of Christ the servant within the Church” (n. 1). That Congregation was merely echoing the teaching of Pope Paul VI Himself, who wrote that deacons are “a sign or sacrament of the Lord Christ himself, who ‘came not to be served but to serve’” (Ad pascendum, Introduction). So you are servants, yes. But you are not servants simply because there is work to be done and we need someone to do it. You are servants because you are configured by your ordination to Christ the Servant of all.
All of this is indeed a reason for joy. I am confident that the more deeply you reflect on this reality, the more joyful will your ministry become. But it is also a great challenge. In order for you to carry out this service authentically, it is not enough simply to understand your identity, important as that is. It is essential that you continually nourish and protect it, through your own friendship with Jesus. As the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons insists: “deacons must know Christ intimately so that He may shoulder the burdens of their ministry” (n. 50)

WATCH: Bishop Checchio's Homily for the Eucharistic Holy Hour: For healing, truth and hope