Friday, September 21, 2018

Health Update

Dear Parishioners,
Thanks for all your prayers! I am recovering from foot surgery. The pathology report from Vassar Hospital indicates that a 2nd neuroma has been removed from my foot. Is this the final step? - only time will tell. The wound is healing nicely and the stitches will be taken out on October 2. Beginning on Tuesday, September 25, I will be allowed to begin to put weight on the foot. In time, I hope to gradually increase my physical activity. Depending on how it feels, I may offer public Mass the weekend of September 30 - we will see. Thanks for your patience!
Father Michael

From Cardinal Dolan - About the Abuse Crisis

From Father Michael - Make sure to click his link! It details specifics about Archdiocesan initiatives.

September 20, 2018
by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
September 20, 2018

Dear Family of the Archdiocese of New York:

Over this difficult summer, I’ve done a lot of listening. Many of you have told me that you are upset, angry, bewildered, and frustrated about the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse in the Church. I am not afraid to say that so am I. This has been a painful period for all Catholics. Some of you may have heard me talk about my own mother, now 90 years old and in assisted living, telling me that she’s embarrassed, as a Catholic, to go into the dining room with her fellow residents.

Most stinging, though, is hearing, “Cardinal Dolan, we are beginning to lose trust in you bishops.” And without that trust, I don’t have a lot left.

Yes, since 2002, the Church has made great strides in combating the crime and sin of sexual abuse of minors, especially by “zero tolerance” of any guilty priest, deacon, or bishop, and by reaching out to victim-survivors, who must remain our first concern. I will be announcing some new initiatives today on how to enhance our efforts to protect children as well as vulnerable adults. I will be putting my statement on my blog at, and I hope you take the time to learn about what we’re doing, and that this becomes a good first step in strengthening that trust. But this brief letter is not meant to defend our record or provide a comprehensive list of programs and abuse prevention efforts. There will be time for that later.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that, as your archbishop, I am with you, and I am committed to  transparency, accountability, and action. That’s what I’ve heard you request.

Last week, I had the sad duty of celebrating the funeral Mass of a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who died way-too-soon at the age of 49. There were several dozen priests present, and, as you would probably expect, the Church’s current crisis was a major topic of discussion.

As the procession made its way down the center aisle at the start of Mass, I was moved and inspired by the huge number of people who were there to pray for the repose of the soul of a man they knew to be a good and faithful priest, and to thank God for the gift of his priesthood. The congregation even stood in a prolonged ovation for him at the end of Mass. “Cardinal Dolan,” the pastor said to me, “The people here loved Father Charlie. They love their faith and their priests. They just want to know that the bishops understand the problem and are acting correctly.”

A good reminder.

Might I ask for your prayers -- first and foremost for the victim-survivors of abuse, but also for all of our good and faithful priests and deacons who are suffering, and, finally, for me as your archbishop that the Holy Spirit will guide me as, together, we face this current crisis.
Faithfully in Christ,

+Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Funeral Mass - Grace Geremino

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Grace Geremino on Saturday, September 22 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wedding - Christopher Butting & Kimberly Foutain

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Christopher Butting and Kimberly Foutain on Friday, September 21 at 4:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Wedding - Joseph Chiappalone & Victoria White

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Joseph Chiappalone and Victoria White on Sunday, September 16 at 3:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Wedding - Christopher Hayes & Karen Narewski

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Christopher Hayes and Karen Narewski on Saturday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Kateri (due to Community Day). Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Funeral Mass - Frank DiMaggio

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Frank DiMaggio on Friday, September 14 at 9:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Abuse Crisis

This will be printed in the September 16 Bulletin 

From Father Michael
At our Parish Council last Monday, we had an open discussion about the recent events in the Catholic Church. All expressed sadness that so many lives have been affected and that so many people have been hurt. The question was asked – what can we do as a parish?  I ask your patience for just a little while as I recuperate from surgery. In October, we plan to offer opportunities for parishioners to come together in discussion and in prayer. In the meantime, these resources were mentioned as helpful to Council members:
-         The recent CARA study can be found on “1964,” a research blog published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The post appeared, with updates, beginning on August 28. The study was also published in America Magazine.
-         Bishop Robert Barron can be found on YouTube. Watch “Bishop Barron Q & A about the Sexual Abuse Crisis” and “Why Remain Catholic with So Much Scandal?”
-         A recommended book is “Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics” by Father Thomas Berg (well known to parishioners as he served at St. Columba).

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Funeral Mass - Rachel Githhaiga

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Rachel Githaiga on Friday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family. NOTE - This Mass will be offered in Swahili by Father Frederick.

Funeral Mass - Donald Johnson

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Donald Johnson on Monday, September 10 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family. The celebrant will be Father Emil from Graymoor.

Wedding - Randy Werkmeister & Mary McGovern

Randy Werkmeister and Mary McGovern will exchange the Sacred Vows of Holy Matrimony on Sunday, September 9 at 3:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Presentation Sisters Jubilee - Sept 8, 2018

Your Excellency Bishop Chappetto, Father Jeff, Dear Sisters of the Presentation and Jubilarians, and dear friends.
I am delighted to be with you today. As some may know, I was educated by Presentation Sisters at St. John & Mary in Chappaqua. When I was the Pastor of Sacred Heart in Highland Falls from1996-2002, I worked together with Sister Carol, who is being honored today
This summer, I had the opportunity to journey on the Way of St. Paul in Greece and Turkey. One stop was in Ephesus, the site of the famous riot of the silversmiths. But it also has a connection to Mary and St. John. At the foot of the cross, Jesus said to Mary – Behold, thy son. And to John – Behold, thy Mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his care. For a period, she actually lived with him in Ephesus – called Mary’s House. Years later, in Ephesus, she received the title Mother of God. Her constant Yes to the Father teaches us how to be sons and daughters of God.
Today I am reminded of a wonderful daughter of God - the Venerable Nano Nagle, from the Nagle Mountains in County Cork. She lived in difficult times. As a child, her classroom was among the bushes and trees. The Penal Laws were in force, and it was against the law to educate Catholics. When she reached age 10, her parents decided to secretly send her to France to get a good education. There, Nano had a good life. But one day, she was in a carriage with friends. She passed a group of poor people huddled in the cold waiting for the church to open for Mass. It would change her life. How would she say Yes to God now?
After her dad died she returned home and saw the same terrible poverty. Eventually she would found a small school for poor children – then another. After school, she did not stop, she would visit the poor, sick and elderly. She became – The Lady With The Lantern.  Her moto was “Not words but deeds” a constant yes!
Without any doubt, this can be said to be the motto of the Jubilarians here today:
Sister Clare Roche, who worked in poor Missions in Houma Louisiana & Henry Street in NYC
Sister Mary Lusk, who imitated Nano Nagle’s love for children and taught them.
Sister Julia Ciccolini, who reached out to those suffering with AIDS
Sister Ann Daly, who loved to watch her students grow, and now cares for the dying in Hospice
Sister Joan Dombrowski, who now works in a Safe House for trafficked women.
Sister Christine Liegey, who now trains people in the Ministry of Consolation and volunteers at a funeral home, comforting those who have lost loved ones.
Sister Dale McDonald, who was President of the Community for 2 terms and taught countless children and adults.
Sister Carol Melsopp, who used the Workshop Way to teach God’s special and personal love for each student.
Sister Margaret Murphy, who gave her life to teaching children and leading Catholic schools
Sister Kathleen Treanor, who also taught countless children and was a dedicated leader of Catholic schools
Sister Patricia Morrison who was told recently by a former student – you influenced my integrity, fairness and sense of justice more than anyone else in the world.
Don’t you agree – Nano Nagle would be so proud of these her daughters! They are a shining example to each of us! Daughters of God - Ladies with the Lantern – bearing the light of Christ to all. They said Yes!
I am reminded of the writer, John Ruskin. It was back in the days before electricity. Lamps in town were powered by gas. It was the job of the lamp lighter to light the lamps each evening.
Well, John Ruskin was sitting on his porch with a friend. They had a beautiful view of the valley. As evening came on, the lamplighter appeared. One by one he lit his lamps. After a while, you could no longer see the lamplighter, only the lights.  John Ruskin turned to his friend – "There’s a good illustration of a Christian. People may never have known him, they may never have met him, they may never even have seen him, but they know he passed through their world by the trail of lights he left behind him."
Well, we have been honored to know them, we have met them, we have seen them, and yes, they have left a trail of lights!!! God bless you for all you have done and who you are – Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ad Multos Annos!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

From CARA in America Magazine

This post originally appeared on Aug. 28 on 1964, a research blog published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. It has since been updated with new information, as noted below.
As a survey researcher who has studied Catholic reactions to news of allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors since 2002, I have noticed that there is a detail about the crisis that seems to get distorted at times. In 2012, the last time we asked Catholics about the crisis in a national poll, 21 percent of adult Catholics could correctly identify that the abuse cases were more common before 1985 than since. The fact that any abuse occurred at all, regardless of when, is horrifying to me, and the victims deserve justice and anything that could help them with the damages that resulted from these criminal acts. Yet this detail is important in understanding the causes of the scandal, what legal actions are possible and the steps that can be taken to prevent any future abuse.
Only 21 percent of adult Catholics could correctly identify that the abuse cases were more common before 1985 than since.

The authors of the Pennsylvania grand jury report were careful to note, “We know that the bulk of the discussion in this report concerns events that occurred before the early 2000’s” (see Page 6). At the same time they correctly note that abuse “has not yet disappeared” and there are a couple of more recent allegations detailed in their findings.
The most common decade of birth for alleged abusers was the 1930s. (CARA)
As they note, “Many of the priests who we profile here are dead” (Page 12). Dates for birth, year of ordination and death are not available for all the accused in the report (some are seminarians or brothers and were never ordained). But 44 percent of the accused in the report are known to be dead (five were born in the 19th century). Their average age at death was 73. Among the accused who are still alive or presumed alive, the average age today is 71. Priests accused of abuse in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, on average, were born in 1933 and ordained as priests in 1961. Outside of Pennsylvania, allegations of abuse have also been levied recently against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He was similarly born in 1930 and ordained a priest in 1958.
There is something to this generational pattern, and this finding was first uncovered in the scientific study of the abuse crisis in 2004 by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They noted in 2004, “The majority of men in this study were born between 1920 and 1950 and were ordained in their mid- to late-twenties.” The most common decade of birth for alleged abusers was the 1930s and the most common decade of ordination was the 1960s. This profile has not changed in allegations that emerged in the 14 years that have followed—including the recent grand jury report. No new wave of abuse has emerged in the United States.

The same scandal with new details

The clergy sex abuse scandal unfolding in the news today is the same public scandal that erupted with national media reports in 2002 (beginning in Boston). It is likely, but no one can be sure, that the cases in the grand jury report have already been present in existing allegation totals (reports to the John Jay researchers are cited as a source for information about allegations in the grand jury report). Just as then, the abuse in the headlines most often occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s.
What is new in the Pennsylvania grand jury report is a level of detail that previous investigations have not often included. The authors report on a “playbook” that church leaders allegedly used to handle allegations of clergy sex abuse in the state prior to 2002. “It seemed as if there was a script. Through the end of the 20th century, the dioceses developed consistent strategies for hiding child sex abuse” (Page 297). This strategy included the use of euphemisms in documentation that minimized abuse as conduct that was “inappropriate” or related to “boundary issues.” The dioceses’ investigations appeared to be deficient or biased, according to the grand jury. Many accused priests were sent for treatment in a clinical approach to the abuse rather than what should have occurred—criminal reporting. Once these treatments were considered complete, abusers were often returned to ministry in new assignments. The allegations were rarely, if ever, disclosed publicly. Victims rarely received the care they needed, let alone justice. The grand jury concludes, “The repeating pattern of the bishops’ behavior left us with no doubt that, even decades ago, the church understood that the problem was prevalent” (Page 300). Further, “The bishops weren’t just aware of what was going on; they were immersed in it. And they went to great lengths to keep it secret. The secrecy helped spread the disease” (Page 300).
“It seemed as if there was a script. Through the end of the 20th century, the dioceses developed consistent strategies for hiding child sex abuse.”

This strategy is not entirely dissimilar to the responses of other institutions when faced with any accusations of sexual abuse of minors, whether it has been scouting groupspublic schoolsprep schoolsuniversities or youth athletics. These types of institutions seem to attract sexual abusers of minors who seek positions of trust and respect with access to young people. The John Jay researchers noted in 2011: “Sexual victimization of children is a serious and pervasive issue in society. It is present in families, and it is not uncommon in institutions where adults form mentoring and nurturing relationships with adolescents, including schools and religious, sports, and social organizations” (Page 5).
The church failed in responding to accusations of abuse and more often chose to cover up the criminal activity than disclose and report it. The church in some cases sought nondisclosure agreements in civil settlements with victims—a practice that the grand jury believes should be abolished. What was often different in the church than elsewhere, especially prior to 2000, was the clinical response to abuse—sending abusers for treatment and allowing them to return to ministry after this was completed. These were grave errors in judgment. This allowed abusers the potential to return to work and continue to abuse. It also ignored the legal obligation to seek justice for crimes committed.
That playbook, to the degree it was used broadly, appears to have changed in 2002. The grand jury report’s authors note, “On the whole, the 2002 [Dallas] Charter did move things in the right direction” and that “external forces have also generated much of the change” (Page 302). They note with concern that the church’s 2002 Dallas Charter—officially called The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People—still leaves too much of the decision making to diocesan bishops. But the external changes brought by mandated abuse reporter laws, longer statutes of limitations and increased public awareness have created a new reality. They write, “Today we sense some progress is made” (p. 303), often by actors external to the church rather than from within it.

New allegations of abuse

Have new allegations of abuse declined as a result? The John Jay researchers aggregated the number of allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors from 1950 to 2002. Their study included allegations made by 10,667 individuals. CARA has collected the numbers of new allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since 2004. CARA’s studies, through 2017, include 8,694 allegations. The distribution of cases reported to CARA are nearly identical to the distribution of cases, over time, in John Jay’s results. We know the year that each alleged abuse began for 8,206 cases. For 488, this is not known. The chart below left shows the cases where we can place these in time.
New abuse allegations have not disappeared, but they have become far less common.
New abuse allegations have not disappeared. In the last three years, 22 allegations of abuse occurring during 2015-2017 have been made. This is an average of about seven per year nationwide in the church. That is far too many. Nothing is acceptable other than zero. At the same time, to put those reports in some context, 42 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, where the grand jury reported from, lost their licenses to educate for sexual misconduct in 2017. As recently as 2015, 65 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A.U.S.D.) were in “teacher jail” for accusations of sexual abuse or harassment in that county alone. The current wave of educator sexual misconduct has yet to receive the same aggregation and attention that clergy sexual abuse has by the media (although The Washington Post has rung a warning bell and Carol Shakeshaft has written extensively on it in academic work). As the John Jay researchers note, “No other institution has undertaken a public study of sexual abuse and, as a result, there are no comparable data to those collected and reported by the Catholic Church” (Page 5).
The current wave of educator sexual misconduct has yet to receive the same aggregation and attention that clergy sexual abuse has by the media.

“It is happening in other institutions” is by no means any sort of excuse and that is not what is intended by referring to these realities. Instead, these other cases provide a context, which becomes important when someone who reads news of abuse occurring decades ago in churches in Pennsylvania decides to attack a priest today in Indiana or when a parent feels their children will be less safe in a Catholic school than a public school. It also points to the dangers of thinking that incidents of sexual abuse are unique to Catholic institutions.
As the grand jury report authors note, the church has changed in the last 15 years. But you cannot “fix” the past nor can it be erased. This won’t all fade away. It’s nothing that can ever be outrun. You have to deal with it. The church did not sufficiently do so in 2002 and the years that followed. Creating new policies to prevent future abuse are not a sufficient response to the legacy of what happened. Now, in 2018, it is time to lift the veil of any secrecy that remains. If not, the same cases will emerge again and again as if these were a wound that scabs but never heals. Every time that scab is removed it will bleed again and again. As painful as it is now, it is the time to deal with this great injury the church brought upon itself. If anything, the re-emergence of these cases again and again should reveal that this wound has potentially deadly consequences if it is not dealt with completely once and for all.
Update (Aug. 29): Some reactions to this post have asked about the impact of known delays in reporting by victims. There has been no substantial shifting forward in time of the alleged abuse trend between 2002 and 2017. The accusations continue to fit the historical pattern. We would expect the trend to move forward in the last 15 years if reporting delays were evident, but this has not been the case. No new wave of allegations similar to the past has occurred to date. It is also likely that most, if not all, the Pennsylvania cases are already in existing reported accusation totals.
Though there was a spike in the early 1990s of allegations about past sexual abuse, most reports have been made after 2002, regardless of when the abuse was said to have occurred. (CARA)
Update (Aug. 30): We continue to hear feedback about the delays in reporting related to the age of the victim. The data regarding accusations in the Catholic Church specifically appear to be much more event-driven than age-driven. Rather than victims reaching a certain age and coming forward, it has more often been the case that abuse being in the news has led victims to come forward in large numbers. The chart at left is from the John Jay research (Page 9) and shows when allegations were reported up to 2002. One can see the spike in the 1990s, after a series of cases in the news and again in a larger magnitude in 2002 in the wake of news of abuse cases in Boston. Since 2004, new allegations have averaged 618 per year (438 in 2017). Regardless of when reports are made, the accusations often fit the existing pattern described above for when the abuse occurred. Four allegations of abuse occurring in 2017 were made in 2017.