In every parish in the Archdiocese, parishioners pull together for one another. Whether it is visitations to homebound parishioners, social outreach for various human needs, friendly greetings among fellow parishioners in church or school and CYO events, and especially prayers for the parish community at Mass, the parish lives as an extended family in love and support.

There are so many needs for healing and love in every parish. At this time of ongoing crisis in the life of the Archdiocese, one parish applies the traditional approach of care for its members to the present crisis.

As our story this week accounts, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Manayunk is rallying around their brother, an adult survivor of sexual abuse. Joseph Scharff told his story to a gathering of parishioners in a close, supportive environment at the parish. His moving story included disturbing details told in public, no easy task for him or his listeners. {{more}}

Our article tells of his witness and the parishioners’ compassionate, loving response. But the public meeting was only the latest in a number of ways that the parish, especially through discussions with the pastor, Father Charles Zlock, came together around their fellow member of the body of Christ.

One of those ways was Scharff’s participation in a men’s faith-sharing group. Many Catholics together to study Scripture or share their faith in other ways within the men’s and women’s groups of their parish.

Perhaps this story points one way toward healing from the present crisis. The parish is the place where Catholics live their faith in their local community. So it is natural that, with loving outreach and compassion, the parish is also the place where spiritual healing may also occur.

The love of St. Mary’s parishioners, the leadership of their pastor and the courage of one man with needs for human connection as we all have, may be pointing toward a new day.