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With all our heart

We use the word “heart” in so many different ways in our daily speech. If we are being sincere in speaking to someone, we say, “I’m speaking from my heart.” We can be deeply devoted to a cause with all our heart. We say that people can be warm-hearted or open-hearted. They can also be cold-hearted or have hardened hearts.

I fear that many of us have broken hearts in the midst of the crisis in which the Church currently finds itself. Because of the abusive actions of a very small number of priests and because of the inaction of a few, the scandal of sexual abuse of children by priests has broken the hearts of many people. As a people of faith, we are shaken, saddened, angered and ashamed. Yet as a people of faith, we can also take heart that God, even now, is somehow at work in the midst of our suffering, guiding the Church toward healing and reconciliation. We can also take heart that the Church has not abandoned its mission during a difficult time. Even though I, too, have been saddened by recent events, I am also encouraged by the willingness of so many who remain committed to the Church’s many ministries and apostolates that bring the healing love of Christ to the world.

In a time when the priesthood finds itself under intense scrutiny I think it is vitally important that we remember that the vast majority of priests are deeply devoted to their ministry and labor tirelessly on behalf of so many. In this issue of FAITH, we offer profiles of and unique insights into the lives of two seasoned pastors and Bishop Mengeling. Fr. Bernie Reilly, the late Fr. Ray Rademacher, and Bishop Mengeling each share with us their perspectives on priesthood and what keeps them going in good times and bad. They offer a heartfelt look at the challenges and blessings of priestly life and ministry.

On June 8, our diocese celebrated the priestly ordinations of Fr. James Conlon and Fr. Peter Clark. As Bishop Povish shares, both men represent a growing trend in priestly vocations – those who enter seminary after successful professional careers. Take the time to get to know our two newest priests who begin their ministry during a very challenging time in the Church’s life.

In a time of difficulty and confusion, the Psalms are often a welcome refuge. One of my favorites has been Psalm 27, in which we sing, “I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; hope in God, and take heart. Hope in the Lord!” Inspired and encouraged by God’s continued presence and action among us, our journey in FAITH continues.