By Father Leonard Peterson

Note: Father Peterson spoke the following to his parishioners at St. Maria Goretti Parish, Hatfield, at all weekend Masses Feb. 12-13.

Dear Parishioners,

We have learned, through events sad and joyful, that a week can embrace great changes. Consider all the positives for the people of Egypt that came about in just one week.

But I am keenly aware of the sad news revealed by the Philadelphia grand jury this past week about the evil behavior of some priests.

I am only hoping that this will be the end of such reports we all have to endure. But it may not be.

I pray for your faith and mine to be kept strong. I also pray that you always remember that our Catholic faith is not rooted in anybody else but Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today and forever.”

For reasons of His own, one of which I think is meant to compliment our human potential, Christ chose to work out His mission via a very human Church.{{more}}

Once you say “human,” you are also saying “imperfect, flawed, capable of great good as well as great evil, but trying for the most part to reach for the stars.”

That, in a nutshell, is our Church.

Catholic Church history clearly tells us that this current “filth” (as Pope Benedict XVI described it) is only the 21st century manifestation of other sad chapters in the past 2,000 plus years.

But at the same time, bear in mind the incomparable good our Church has done throughout the ages, and which she still does today, through our schools at all levels, our hospitals, nursing homes and charitable outreach to the poor and needy.

Remember the great calendar of saints, stretching back to the early martyrs, and the consoling fact that Philadelphia’s fourth bishop, John Neumann, is one of those saints.

Finally, I ask you to pray for the victims of predator priests and their families, for all of our archdiocesan priests and for each other in the Church of Philadelphia.

Let us all live as Mary directed us to in her valedictory to that head waiter at the wedding at Cana, when, pointing to her Son, she said to him (and to us): “Do whatever He tells you.”

Father Peterson is pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Hatfield.