On this First Friday of another Lent, as many will make the way of the cross, the world community is once again awaking to the sad news of a major earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.   It is still too early to know the extent of lives lost, but we know already more than 300 are reported dead and hundreds more missing.

As so many take on good works and acts of sacrifice, penance, and fasting this day, we join our sufferings to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in Japan and others in the path of this tsunami.  At the same time, we join our suffering to those of Jesus. 

As mentioned in this blog yesterday, we are called in these days to firmly fix our eyes on Christ and our gaze on heaven, but we do so with our feet firmly planted on this earth.  As Jesus is the fullest manifestation of the compassion and love of the Father, we, no doubt, will be called upon to offer compassion and love to those who this very hour are hurting and in need of our prayers and support, and in the days ahead will need our compassion expressed in concrete ways.

We join our prayers to all those who suffer this day.  On this First Friday of Lent, we are also painfully aware of the disturbing news in recent weeks that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has allowed over the past ten years over twenty priests to remain in active ministry after accusations of sexual misconduct. 

Given the pain so many have suffered as a result of such abuse, and the commitment of the US Bishops since 2002 to assure our people that we will do everything possible to protect our children, and deal compassionately with those who have suffered abuse, and to responsibly deal with priests accused of misconduct, this is a disquieting development and another sad chapter of our church’s history.

I wish once again to reassure the people of the Diocese of Cheyenne that we take all such accusations of child abuse seriously, and are commited to meeting the needs of abuse victims and responsibly handling anyone accused of misconduct.

Truly, the way of the cross, the way of suffering continues in our own day.  But we walk in faith and hope in our time because we know the cross is not the end.  Though the pain and suffering of Jesus along with his death are very real, they are salvific and were the precursor to the resurrection.  We know and believe that Jesus walks the paths of suffering with us today, and that He is the only answer to the pain and suffering of our human experience.

We also remember today that Mary encountered her Son along His path of suffering, that she stood with Him at the foot of the cross, and she received Him compassionately into her arms as we was removed from the cross.  As He entrusted her to us as our mother, we pray that her deep bonds of love for Her Son become our own, that we may always walk in love with Christ, with hope.

Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us.