“Suddenly a violent storm came upon the sea so that the boat was being swamped by waves, but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm” (Matthew 8:24 – 26).
Dear Families of Mother Seton Parish,
We welcome them with warm, open hearts and anticipate a beautiful year discovering Christ in our midst.
I also understand if you have some concerns about the safety of children with the crises we are facing within the Church. The news of child sexual abuse by clergy is utterly dismaying. It is my utmost responsibility to ensure that your child is protected and safe and so share with you some information which hopefully will help in establishing trust with us.
I direct you to the Archdiocese of Washington’s web page on its policies which give thorough and comprehensive answers to your questions. First and foremost, know that each catechist, priest and deacon, and in fact all adults with contact with children, are required to undergo background checks and VIRTUS training. The archdiocese has had a written Child Protection Policy since 1986. The policy covers reporting, prevention, and healing. It mandates reporting to civil authorities; education for children and adults; and background checks for clergy, employees, and volunteers who work with minors. The web site also includes information on assistance for those harmed and what to do if there is an allegation. A Child Protection Advisory Board of predominantly lay experts advises on and monitors compliance with child protection efforts.
There is nothing more important than protecting our children. Since the early 2000s, especially since the promulgation of these policies, the incidents of child sexual abuse have dropped significantly. But not one instance is tolerable.
Jesus says in Mark’s gospel to “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for it is to just such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.” (Mk 10:13) And He also says that “whomever harms the least of these little ones, it would be better if they had a millstone around their neck and thrown in the depths of the sea.” (Mt 18:6)
Know that I am praying for you and your families. I entrust our parish to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that we will grow in faith and certainty in His mercy and love for each of us.
Thank you again for allowing us to share the faith with your precious children.
Rev. Lee Fangmeyer
“… stay in the boat in which our Lord has placed you, and let the storm come. You will not perish. It appears to you that Jesus is sleeping, but let it be so. Don’t you know that if he sleeps, his heart vigilantly watches over you? Let him sleep, but at the right time, he will awaken to restore your calm.
~St. Padre Pio
“The Church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes… she will lose many of her social privileges… As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members… It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to be the Church of the meek… The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution–when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain… But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death” – Cardinal Josef Ratzinger from his book, Faith and the Future