I have no words

I have no words
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 
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Readings for Today 

“Brothers and sisters:  Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.”
This has been a hard week. There are no words I can use to make this better. This is one of those rare times where I really do not know what to say. I do not know how to make my words helpful. But I know I need to try. I need to do my best.  This is it. The revelations about Archbishop McCarrick, and the grand jury report from Pennsylvania were all too much to absorb. Having been a priest in New England witnessing the horrors of the revelations in Boston, I should have been better prepared. Having seen priests removed from ministry for actions I knew nothing about, was really hard. Were it not for the unbelievable support from the people of God, I do not know what would have become of me.
But I thought, at least, we had moved forward. While in some ways we have, in other ways we have not. There was the failure of Archbishop Finn in Kansas City to report to authorities when he should have done so. There was Archbishop Myers who allowed a priest with credible allegations not only to continue in ministry, but to work with youth. There are other circumstances as well. But you get the point.
Despite these actions, I still (naively) thought that changes had been made. But the problem for many priests in 2002 was the fact bishops exempted themselves from oversight. To be fair, only the Vatican can discipline bishops. But it would have sent an important statement to the Vatican about the seriousness of the offenses. I am really having a hard time with all of this.
But this is not meant to be about me. I will struggle. Many priests will. In fact, I believe most will. But as an official minister of the Church, I must begin with an apology. While it seems like so little, it is a necessary beginning. I am sorry. To the victims of sexual abuse, especially those abused by clergy, I am sorry. To those who loved these persons victimized by clergy and had to watch them suffer, I am sorry. To those whose faith in God and in the Church has been profoundly shaken by these revelations, I am sorry.
I am also not ready to leap to suggestions about what should be done. I am still feeling like I have been punched in the gut. In some ways, I am still numb. But what I do know is this: the bishops of this country must recognize they have no credibility on this issue. The path forward must rightly be led by the laity. And if I had any immediate recommendations for bishops it would be to say that what is needed from you all now is public penance. It is to let go of power and prestige. It is to have the courage to do what is right.
And for me, personally, the path now involves penance. While I am still working out what forms my penance will ultimately take, the first step for me is to read the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. As I read about each victim, I pray for them. This is a very, very hard report to read. But I remind myself it is much harder for the victims who experienced it.
The ultimate path forward must be holiness. It is, as Saint Paul tells us, “to understand what is the will of the Lord.”  Thankfully the Church is bigger than any one of us. The Church is about working to strengthen a relationship with Jesus, and it is his promise to always be with the Church that reminds me that there is hope. But I know I must become more holy. I must pray more. I must work to listen to the voice of God more. And I must focus on allowing God’s grace to work more completely in my life, so that I can be an authentic witness to the gospel. In short, I must become a better priest. There is no other way forward for the Church than holiness. And I am not there yet.
This is not easy. I still sin too much, though in his mercy God forgives me in the sacrament of confession even though I do not deserve it. And every time I sin, I contribute to the circumstances that make greater evil possible. I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief.
Homily given at Our Lady of Lourdes, University City, Missouri on August 18, 2018.
Photo by Pixabay.

I have no words

I have no words
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 
00:00 / 7:54
 
1X
 

Readings for Today 

“Brothers and sisters:  Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.”

This has been a hard week. There are no words I can use to make this better. This is one of those rare times where I really do not know what to say. I do not know how to make my words helpful. But I know I need to try. I need to do my best.  This is it. The revelations about Archbishop McCarrick, and the grand jury report from Pennsylvania were all too much to absorb. Having been a priest in New England witnessing the horrors of the revelations in Boston, I should have been better prepared. Having seen priests removed from ministry for actions I knew nothing about, was really hard. Were it not for the unbelievable support from the people of God, I do not know what would have become of me.

But I thought, at least, we had moved forward. While in some ways we have, in other ways we have not. There was the failure of Archbishop Finn in Kansas City to report to authorities when he should have done so. There was Archbishop Myers who allowed a priest with credible allegations not only to continue in ministry, but to work with youth. There are other circumstances as well. But you get the point.

Despite these actions, I still (naively) thought that changes had been made. But the problem for many priests in 2002 was the fact bishops exempted themselves from oversight. To be fair, only the Vatican can discipline bishops. But it would have sent an important statement to the Vatican about the seriousness of the offenses. I am really having a hard time with all of this.

But this is not meant to be about me. I will struggle. Many priests will. In fact, I believe most will. But as an official minister of the Church, I must begin with an apology. While it seems like so little, it is a necessary beginning. I am sorry. To the victims of sexual abuse, especially those abused by clergy, I am sorry. To those who loved these persons victimized by clergy and had to watch them suffer, I am sorry. To those whose faith in God and in the Church has been profoundly shaken by these revelations, I am sorry.

I am also not ready to leap to suggestions about what should be done. I am still feeling like I have been punched in the gut. In some ways, I am still numb. But what I do know is this: the bishops of this country must recognize they have no credibility on this issue. The path forward must rightly be led by the laity. And if I had any immediate recommendations for bishops it would be to say that what is needed from you all now is public penance. It is to let go of power and prestige. It is to have the courage to do what is right.

And for me, personally, the path now involves penance. While I am still working out what forms my penance will ultimately take, the first step for me is to read the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. As I read about each victim, I pray for them. This is a very, very hard report to read. But I remind myself it is much harder for the victims who experienced it.

The ultimate path forward must be holiness. It is, as Saint Paul tells us, “to understand what is the will of the Lord.”  Thankfully the Church is bigger than any one of us. The Church is about working to strengthen a relationship with Jesus, and it is his promise to always be with the Church that reminds me that there is hope. But I know I must become more holy. I must pray more. I must work to listen to the voice of God more. And I must focus on allowing God’s grace to work more completely in my life, so that I can be an authentic witness to the gospel. In short, I must become a better priest. There is no other way forward for the Church than holiness. And I am not there yet.

This is not easy. I still sin too much, though in his mercy God forgives me in the sacrament of confession even though I do not deserve it. And every time I sin, I contribute to the circumstances that make greater evil possible. I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief.

Homily given at Our Lady of Lourdes, University City, Missouri on August 18, 2018.
Photo by Pixabay.

To be a good shepherd do penance

To be a good shepherd do penance
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:45
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

There is a tremendous responsibility given to any leader. Leadership is not simply the case of giving orders. It is far more important than that. It is about providing the example that inspire others to follow. And, when a leader fails, it is about having the courage to admit wrongdoing, and doing something so that words do not ring hollow, but represent a desire to make up for sin. Fridays are traditionally days when penance is done, so today is a good day to do what it takes to repent.

Homily given at Saint Dominic’s Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on July 27, 2018
Photo courtesy Pixabay.

To be a good shepherd do penance

To be a good shepherd do penance
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:45
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

There is a tremendous responsibility given to any leader. Leadership is not simply the case of giving orders. It is far more important than that. It is about providing the example that inspire others to follow. And, when a leader fails, it is about having the courage to admit wrongdoing, and doing something so that words do not ring hollow, but represent a desire to make up for sin. Fridays are traditionally days when penance is done, so today is a good day to do what it takes to repent.

Homily given at Saint Dominic’s Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on July 27, 2018
Photo courtesy Pixabay.

Do you believe in God’s mercy and forgiveness?

Do you believe in God’s mercy and forgiveness?
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

Today the Church starts readings from the book of Hosea, a wonderful testimony to God’s forgiveness and mercy. You may have heard the phrase, “God is rich in mercy.” But have you considered what that means for you personally? Do you allow yourself to experience that mercy and forgiveness? Do you take the time to find that mercy and forgiveness when God is ready to offer it to you? Can you allow God to change your heart to turn away from sin and to experience the love of God?

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri on July 9, 2018
Image courtesy Pixabay

Come as you are; Sort of: Homily for Sunday, October 15, 2017

Come as you are; Sort of: Homily for Sunday, October 15, 2017
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 
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Readings for Today

Do you love celebrations? Do you get excited when an invitation arrives in the mail? Today’s readings are all about invitations and celebrations.  The first reading uses rich imagery to describe the invitation to the ultimate feast.  Rich food and choice wines are on the menu.  Yum! God has everything prepared. Get ready, because the feast is going to be something really special.

The gospel too is about an invitation. The king invites guests to an amazing feast. Only they do not want to come. Despite his best efforts, the king cannot convince those invited to come to the feast. So he turns to invite others, who do come. God invites us all of the time to deeper life. But do we arrive ready to say yes to God? Or, do we come ill-prepared by thinking we do not need to change? The invitation to faith by God is an invitation to change.  When we really say yes to God, we allow God to change us. That means being open to repenting from our sins. And when we do that, we come properly dressed for the feast.

Confronting the Regret: Homily for Friday, October 13, 2017

Confronting the Regret: Homily for Friday, October 13, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

It is common that someone who is dying will review their life.  They will consider things for which they are proud, and they will seek forgiveness for what they regret.  Sometimes that will mean a conversation with someone they have harmed during their life. That is what might be happening in the first reading today. There may be that regret for the sins committed.  The current situation is the result of past actions.

But God is stronger than past sin. God wants what is best for us. And despite our sinfulness, God forgives whenever we seek mercy from God. These past few weeks have seemed like the end time.  Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, violence, wildfires. Not a bad time to consider a life review.  Not a bad time to think about confession. While sin can be strong, God is stronger.  Always.

The Reluctant Prophet: Homily for Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Reluctant Prophet: Homily for Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

The book of Jonah is a wonderful book.  In parts it is satire, in other parts is speaks a powerful message against close-mindedness.  Jonah is commissioned by God to preach to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, Israel’s arch-enemy.  Yesterday the reading was the story of how Jonah simply did not want to go to preach to Nineveh.  In escaping from God, Jonah winds up in quite a predicament.  Running from God is not the answer.

Today he is going to go to Nineveh, but he is none too happy about it.  He does not like Nineveh or its people.  He is even more frustrated when the message he proclaims is heard and the people of Nineveh repent.  In a time with so much animosity and anger, the message of the book of Jonah serves as a reminder to us to recognize that God will save whomever he wishes.  Our role is not to second-guess God, but to say yes to him and to witness to his message.

Contrition: Daily Prayer for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

The Power of Repentance: Homily for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Power of Repentance: Homily for Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 5:21
 
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To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Tyre and Sidon did not really have a good reputation.  In the book of the prophet Joel, they not only rejected the religion of Joel, but placed the silver and gold from the temple into their own temple.  And when mentioned by Jesus, the big problem is the lack of repentance.  There is no acknowledgement of sin.  There is no desire to change ways.  And for this failure, Jesus chastises them.

What about us?  Do we recognize our sin?  Do we bring this sin to Jesus to be forgiven? Do we seek reconciliation? In the modern day it is easy to excuse sin.  It seems that in modern culture there is simply no longer a sense that there are bad or immoral actions.  There can be a tendency to allow anything as long as it does not seem to bother anyone.  Perhaps the challenge is that we no longer believe in miracles.  We no longer can see the action and presence of God.  Make the first words of the gospel your own.  Repent.