Pastoral Response to Recent Sexual Abuse Crisis

Message from Father James Presta, Pastor of St. Emily Parish

My dear St. Emily Parishioners,

I share with you great sadness and anger concerning the devastating news about the grand jury report in Pennsylvania regarding the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests, the abnegation of responsibility by bishops and the recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick. Over the years  I thought we had made slow and steady progress in chipping away at the issue, but obviously, we still have a long way to go. We need to purify our church of this grave and egregious sin called sexual abuse! We are dealing with the devil and he seems to be winning these days. We need to make sure that our bishops and priests deal with the issue in an honest and transparent manner! We have lost people’s trust and confidence in us, and I don’t blame them. This is just awful! Devastating! I have dealt with this issue my entire priesthood. I have seen how it is destroying the Church I love. We must all join together and ask the Lord to make us strong and courageous in dealing with the darkness and evil of the sexual abuse of minors and the vulnerable among us! 

I want to assure you that the staff of St. Emily Parish takes its responsibility for children very seriously. Your children, our children, are safe here at St. Emily. We will continue to screen and train all who have access to children, monitor programs and participants and hold all accountable for their behavior and choices. We will also search for ways that we can heighten awareness of this issue among ourselves and parishioners, not the least of which will be prayer for victims of sexual abuse, the purification of the Church and that our bishops will be accountable for their actions and demonstrate responsibility to protect and defend our young people. As we find additional ways to join together in this sacred mission for the protection of our most precious treasures, our children, we will keep you, our partners in this effort, informed so that you may also join us in whatever way you can.

I also want to thank you for your support of me and my brother priests during these trying times. No doubt, you recognize how difficult it can be to press on beyond suspicious looks and hesitant reactions as people seek to understand that which makes no sense at all. Be assured that we will continue to minister to you in every way that we can. 

God bless,

Fr. Presta 


Letter from Pope Francis

Click here to read the Letter of Pope Francis to the People of God on this issue. If you would prefer, you may also download a printable copy of the Pope’s letter:  LETTER-OF-HIS-HOLINESS-POPE-FRANCIS-regarding-2018-Sexual-Abuse-Crisis.pdf

Letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich

Click here to read the Letter of Cardinal Cupich on this issue. If you would prefer, you may also download a printable copy of the Cardinal’s letter:  Letter-from-Cardinal-Cupich-in-Response-to-the-Pennsylvania-Grand-Jury-Report.August-2018.pdf