We are aware of the various reports that have emerged regarding Bishop Howard Hubbard’s request to return to the lay state. Our prayers are with Bishop Hubbard for his well-being and with all who accompany him, that all decisions and actions are in accord with God’s plan.
Prayers also continue for all impacted by this news. As a Church let us stand together, pray together, and walk together, in faith, believing that healing is possible. The needs are many, from the abused, to those in our family of faith who are angry that this happened, also those who don’t understand, and to the abusers. As the body of Christ, we are called to pray for all
We would like to correct a point in some reports that said there is a diocesan policy that forbids an accused bishop from sacramental ministry. A diocesan bishop may regulate, that is, limit, circumscribe, or ban exercise within his diocese of any or all sacramental ministries. Bishop Edward Scharfenberger has done so in some cases, but in the case of Bishop Hubbard, it is he alone who voluntarily removed himself from any public celebration of sacraments.
Healing is possible but it will take time. Let us have the hope to move forward, one step at a time, to work together, as a community in Christ, walking with Christ, caring for each other, sharing His love.
To that extent, we have started a series of Hope and Healing Masses. The first took place at St Gabriel’s Church in Rotterdam on October 23, 2022. The second takes place tomorrow, November 20, 2022 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Bolton Landing. A third is scheduled for December 18, 2022 at St Pius X Church in Loudonville. The goal is to open a healing door to anyone in need. Counselors are on hand, resources are shared, along with a message that no one needs to walk alone.
We have added a Hope and Healing page on our website https://www.rcda.org/hopeandhealing and, just this week, we included a page sharing survivor stories. The Diocese believes we cannot help survivors to heal unless we first understand their suffering.
There is no quick fix here, but there is hope for healing. We pray that as a Church, we can move forward with that hope.