Holy Hour of reparation and healing

This past week, during a meeting of the Presbyteral Council (a representative body of the priests, who meet with the bishop periodically throughout the year to share their impressions on the state of the diocese and for the bishop to be able to consult with them about serious matters of the governance of the diocese), it was decided that Holy Hours of Reparation and Healing would be held throughout the diocese on Friday, October 5 at 7 p.m. This was in response to the current crisis in the Church due to revelations of sexual abuse and ecclesiastical cover-ups. 

In the Holy Hour, we will gather before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, exposed on the altar. He is the One Who made reparation for our sins on the cross, He is the One Who can bring healing. 

The devil is very pleased with the current situation — because he hates everyone and he loves to see people suffer and because the Church is supposed to be the Sacrament of Salvation in our world (but these revelations make it very difficult for people to believe that). 

In his 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), in No. 14, St. John Paul II wrote, “[A] generous requirement of forgiveness does not cancel out the objective requirements of justice. Properly understood, justice constitutes, so to speak, the goal of forgiveness. In no passage of the Gospel message does forgiveness, or mercy as its source, mean indulgence towards evil, towards scandals, towards injury or insult. In any case, reparation for evil and scandal, compensation for injury, and satisfaction for insult are conditions for forgiveness.” The sinners themselves are to make reparation, but we can all do so (just as the innocent Jesus did).

In 1899 Pope Leo XIII consecrated the human race to the Divine Heart of Jesus. In a letter marking the centennial of that act, St. John Paul wrote, “The words of Leo XIII still ring true: ‘We must have recourse to Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We have gone astray and we must return to the right path; darkness has overshadowed our minds, and the gloom must be dispelled by the light of truth; death has seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life’ (Annum sacrum, p. 78). Is this not the program of the Second Vatican Council and of my own pontificate?”

He then quoted from Vatican II’s document Gaudium et Spes, No. 10, “The imbalances under which the modern world labors are linked with that more basic imbalance rooted in the human heart.” We are in this crisis because of the imbalances in the hearts of these clerics — the abusers and the enablers. The former had an imbalance regarding how to respectfully treat other people, the latter had an imbalance regarding what was truly best for the Church.

In 2000, when he was beatifying Francisco and Jacinta Marto at Fatima, St. John Paul preached, “According to the Divine plan, ‘a woman clothed with the sun’ (Rv 12: 1) came down from Heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a mother’s voice and heart: she asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that she was ready to lead them safely to God. And behold, they see a light shining from her maternal hands which penetrates them inwardly, so that they feel immersed in God just as —- they explain — a person sees himself in a mirror.

“Later Francisco, one of the three privileged children, exclaimed: ‘We were burning in that light which is God and we were not consumed. What is God like? It is impossible to say. In fact we will never be able to tell people.’ God: a light that burns without consuming. Moses had the same experience when he saw God in the burning bush; he heard God say that He was concerned about the slavery of His people and had decided to deliver them through him: ‘I will be with you’ (cf. Ex 3: 2-12). Those who welcome this presence become the dwelling-place and, consequently, a ‘burning bush’ of the Most High.”

Like the innocent children of Fatima, we are called to come into the presence of God, to be a dwelling place for Him, and to help bring His message of healing into our wounded world. We will pray for all who have been harmed by this current crisis — the victims of sexual abuse and all the members of the Church, who have been scandalized by the behavior of men of God.

This Holy Hour will be led by Bishop Edgar da Cunha, S.D.V., at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Fall River. All are welcome to attend it, but to make it more convenient for people throughout the diocese, it will also be offered at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee, St. Mary’s Parish in New Bedford, St. John the Evangelist Parish in Attleboro, St. Ann’s Parish in Raynham and St. Mary-Our Lady of the Isle Parish on Nantucket. In all of these churches, the Holy Hour will be offered from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 5. 

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts