An Important Message from Our Chaplain

Date: 
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

As a priest I am privileged to journey with amazing and faithful people who inspire me by their love for God and motivate me to become a better servant and disciple. In my few years of ministry, God has allowed me to experience countless moments of grace alongside friends and parishioners celebrating both the joys of life, as well as the sorrows and heartbreak that sometimes accompany it. I pray never to take these moments for granted because I know all too well that these are difficult days to be people of faith. 

This morning, as I put on my collar, I felt a gut-wrenching sadness concerning the most recent revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up in our church. The contradiction was sobering. How did we get here? How did my collar go from being a sign that I am willing to give my life for Christ, to a sign of judgment and distrust by the world? I was overwhelmed with thoughts too difficult to put on paper. 

As I held back tears for what has happened I received a powerful consolation from God. It was undoubtedly one of the greatest instances of grace in recent memory. I was strengthened by remembering the unwavering faith and example of so many God-loving people I have met throughout the years. I had a profound sense that while so many of us priests have been robbed of our credibility, it will be the faith and witness of the laity that will bring about the healing that our church and world so desperately need. 

Priding ourselves as a Catholic institution urges us to acknowledge the devastating reality that has come to light and to join our hearts and prayers to all who have been victims of clerical sin and misconduct. There have been numerous posts on social media attempting to help the situation but the truth is no post, well intentioned or otherwise, will ever be enough. 

We've been praying as an administration about the best way to respond and it was on the feast of our patron that we felt the need to follow in his example as we confront this crisis. Whenever evil presses against our faith, we must return to the center. There is no question that the church is broken and must be restored. Pope St. Pius X inspires us in this task by his motto: Restore all things in Christ. 

We feel that our call during this time is to turn our burdened hearts to Christ for consolation, healing, and strength. Prayer is already a transformative practice; prayer during times of suffering is a witness that magnifies the love of God in a way so mysterious and powerful that it can heal even the deepest and ugliest wounds of humanity.

This Friday we return to our tradition of weekly adoration. We will be joining in prayer before the Lord for all those affected by this evil. As part of our community, we invite you to lift up your own prayers with this intention wherever you find yourself. If you are able to join us on campus, please feel free to stop by as your time permits. 

We will extend this prayerful response throughout the year by offering a mass once a week with the intention of healing and justice for victims of sexual abuse and the purification and restoration of the Church. We will also include this petition every time we celebrate an All-School Mass. 

Our greatest commitment is to ensure the safety of our students. They need to know how loved they are and how sacred their faith and dignity is to us. We want them to excel academically and spiritually, but that begins with knowing their worth. They are immeasurably precious to God and therefore also to us. We take extra precautions to vet all who come into contact with them and we are instructing our faculty and staff to be trustworthy stewards that students can approach should they ever feel unsafe. 

As I begin my ministry at St. Pius X, I recommit myself to Christ by renewing the promises I made when I was ordained four years ago. I alone cannot heal the brokenness, but I will constantly turn to the only One who can. It is my hope and prayer that as we suffer through these horrific revelations we will see saints rise up to renew the Church and transform the world. 

Saint Pius X, pray for us. 

Fr. Rey Pineda
Chaplain