I attend daily Mass at a different church than my home parish. The church is in the city and is going through a difficult time right now, with an allegation of child abuse against their beloved pastor. It's yet to be fully substantiated, and no one can judge the outcome, but there are a range of emotions and reactions that are circulating around the church right now. Even as an outsider who does not attend mass on the weekend there, I see the impact of this on the church and its people.
The abuse crisis has hit home for me. It's suddenly become more real and more personal.
I am struggling with my own reactions, quite frankly. I know the priest vaguely from my childhood when he was a priest at my church growing up, and remember him as a good, loving priest. He did my First Reconciliation. When I started going to daily Mass at the church, I appreciated his priestly presence and homilies.
There's only about 5 people there at daily Mass these days. Not that there was ever a ton of people -- but clearly a decline. There's a few of us who sustain the 7 am daily Mass by being there every day.
As I process this and have it so 'up close' to me each day -- the pain that a church goes through during something like this -- my eyes are drawn to a certain layman and a certain laywoman who are at the church each day and set up for Mass. They never miss a day.
I don't know what the state of their hearts are, but they are steady servants. They are holding the Church up right now for the people of God. They are doing their duties with diligence and grace. They really inspire me to stay steady, to remain even when I am angered and frustrated with the Church.
I remember when I was first discerning being a third order Franciscan, my formation director told me that all Franciscans are called to rebuild the church in some way. The other day I was thinking about that and the answer came to me finally. My role in rebuilding the church is to be a steady servant.
And I think for most of us, that is our role in the rebuilding of the Church. Remaining. Continuing to serve. Processing our emotions and feelings. Taking them to prayer and trusted sources.
We may be angry. We may be sad. We may be confused. We may not know what to do. We may be losing trust. For all kinds of reasons. But staying steady may be what's being asked of us to help rebuild the Church.
Most of us can't solve the problems of our Church. They are bigger than us. But we can be steady servants and hold the Church up by serving the people of God who are struggling, straying, and processing the difficulties of a Church that has pained them.