At one South Philadelphia church, a broken statue of the archangel Gabriel has become a parable in plaster, signaling healing for a church wounded by the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal.
St. Gabriel Parish, located in the city’s Grays Ferry section, celebrated its patronal feast with a Sept. 28 vigil Mass honoring the archangels. A few months before the liturgy, a statue of St. Gabriel — once buried in the parish’s convent basement — was rediscovered by the pastor, Father Carl Braschoss, O. Praem., who arranged to have it repaired and installed in time for the parish’s feast day. (Read the full story here.)
More than 100 parishioners attended the Mass, where notes of thanksgiving for favors received were presented during the offertory rite. At a reception afterward, a number of parishioners expressed hope that the Catholic Church would emerge from the clerical abuse crisis with a deeper sense of mission and outreach. (Photos by Gina Christian)
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