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'I know you are hurting.' Bishop Scharfenberger's message to survivors

August 6, 2021


My beloved people,

I know you are hurting. I am hurting with you and for you.

To the victims who have spent their entire lives carrying the cross of a sin committed by someone else, someone who seemed (wrongly) to be all powerful, even godlike…

To the families who have been wounded — sometimes left fractured — by abuse…

To the school communities and parishes that have suffered the shock and betrayal of discovering past abusers…

To the many good priests who have suffered the betrayal of our vows by those who would harm the vulnerable, who are faced with a wariness and held at a distance by the people we give our lives to serve….

 To those suffering from addiction, or from physical and mental illness, those who are lonely, lost, aged, and dispirited…

I speak this to all of you, to each of you.

In the private place where grief settles in and breaks our hearts, the places we think no one can see or reach, He is there already, loving you and treasuring you, seeing all your weakness and wounds and despair, kindling in you hope for a new life, even when we see only a fading fire and cold embers. He is with you even if the Church has failed you, or you have failed the Church .... Loving you unconditionally, exactly as you are, and offering abundant grace to lift you higher.

And, He is here with us in a very real way in the Eucharist, untainted by all the sins of the world, the sins He took with Him into the grave and left there when He rose, Victor over all evil and all that has harmed YOU. He is your Savior, waiting for you in the quiet recesses of your heart and available to you in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.  Human beings will fail us again and again, but the One who heals and saves will never fail us, if we put our trust in Him. Come to him today, and lay your burdens down.

Let us pray for each other as we continue on our journey of faith, asking our Lord to give us the courage and strength we need trust in his promises and, like St. Paul, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger