November 10, 2019

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A week ago the Bishop of Arlington announced a few appointments of pastors and parochial vicars. None of the transfers directly affect St. John the Beloved. However, the recent changes have come about for the most troubling of reasons, which have their effect.

For the first time in my recollection, two pastors in the Diocese have been removed from office because of violations of celibacy. Those announcements came out in the last few weeks. Details are not available to us because of the nature of these things. As much as I hope that the transgressions were less egregious than the imagination might suggest, it still is the case that that some of our shepherds are no longer tending their flocks. Now the parishes of St Andrew in Clifton and St Francis de Sales in Purcellville are receiving new pastoral leadership. Father James Gould is going to be the new pastor of St. Francis de Sales and Father Robert Wagner has been name pastoral administrator of St Andrew. Both parishes have been through a great deal of turmoil whether it be for a few weeks or for well over a year. The good faithful there deserve our prayers and support. Most especially the individuals who have been harmed directly have a very special place in our hearts.

Father Melmer and I have been discussing for quite a while now how we ought to be doing something to atone for the sins of our brother priests. The crisis that has been testing the faithful for so long now deserves more than just some words of encouragement from the pulpit. Father and I will be offering Masses of reparation in which you will be welcome to participate. The month of November and the season of Advent seem to be appropriate moments to start.

The first will be a Latin Mass which I shall offer at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26, the Feast of St. Peter of Alexandria, an Egyptian bishop who undertook severe penances for the sake of the suffering Church and was the last believer to suffer death at the hands of Roman imperial authorities for his faith in Christ.

Do not fall for priests and bishops asking for your sympathy because their lives have become so difficult and their hearts so weary because of the scandals that have rocked the Body of Christ. The Apostles never begged for sympathy. Jesus Christ Our Great High Priest promised troubles and warned of division. Now is the time to beg for forgiveness.

God bless you.

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13,8)