After much prayer I am going in a different direction. I hope that it is God’s will and not my own.
Dear Brother Knights,
I am writing to you because I am very aware of your Catholic influence and your power to get things done. You have probably guessed by now that I want something done. I am a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, ordained May 29, 2004. I have to tell you I currently LOVE my priesthood. I have to confess though that was not always the case. In 2002 the Archdiocese of Boston priest sexual scandal was thrust into our national consciousness and soon went worldwide in its scope. Even though the scandal seems to be a bad thing and has been a very difficult situation for all of us who love our Church and our faith ultimately it is good. Things that were done in secret, in darkness, have been exposed to God’s loving and healing light. Just a little background to flesh out who I am; when the reality and the scope of the Boston scandal was revealed I was an ordained transitional deacon. My ordination to the priesthood was set for 2003. It did not come to be. I am also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. The first time I said it out loud was to the psychologist on staff at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University. Saying it out loud did not bring relief. The revelation from Boston threw me into a deep depression. It was nearly impossible for me to function. Although my reaction was noted by seminary formation none of them asked me about it. Subsequently I was not recommended for priestly ordination that year. For me it was piling devastation on top of devastation. In 2005 the District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia convened a grand jury to investigate the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The report they released named my molester as one who had molested at least five other boys. I never came forward so only God knows how many youth were affected by him and other clergy and employees of the archdiocese. Although this report sent me, once again, into deep depression it also spurred me on to finally address the issue in psychological counseling. I took a one year leave of absence, met with my psychologist once a week, met with my spiritual director once a week and worked hard to face my molestation and to integrate it in a healthy way into my life. During this period of struggle I found out about a retreat experience called Grief to Grace, (www.grieftograce.org), for people who have suffered abuse. It is a retreat program that has been designed by Theresa Burke MA, PhD, DAPA, NCP, LPC , (founder of Rachel’s Vineyard), and her husband Kevin Burke, M.S.S., LSW. It is a program that goes far beyond spiritual healing although it uses the passion of Christ and helps individuals unite their suffering to His in a very real and visceral way. I do not exaggerate when I tell you I have witnessed miracles on this four-day retreat. The retreat has an imprimatur from His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, J.C.D. and a nihil obstat from Reverend Monsignor Joseph Anderlonis, S.T.D. Here is where you can help. Of course money is always needed but I am interested first and foremost that as an organization you embrace, endorse, and propagate this ministry in every way that you can. Of course this is an effective tool in the healing of those that have been wounded by clergy but it is also effective when it comes to healing the wounds from every kind of abuse. We are all in this together as the one body of Christ. Please help bring the lost sheep back into the fold and to help to heal the fractured body of Christ. It is our duty as members of the true Church on Earth. It is our mandate from the Triune God of justice and love.