[By Christopher White from Catholic Voices USA] Francis arrived in New York for an evening prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on New York’s 5th avenue. Before entering, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan told him that once he entered the doors of the Cathedral he would be an official New Yorker. He began his remarks by again recalling the sexual abuse crisis and the “shame” of some of the priests that “scandalized the Church.” He praised the courage of the faithful priests for enduring this difficult time. He praised all of those in religious life and reminded them of the obligation to be in solidarity with those most in need. He ended with a special mention of religious sisters and told them of his great love for them and their work.
On sexual abuse he said:
“You suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members… In the words of the Book of Revelation, I know well that you ‘have come forth from the great tribulation.’ I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to his people.”
On religious vocations:
“But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes. To see and evaluate things from God’s perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, great humility.”
“Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous.”
“The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”
“In a special way I would like to express my esteem and gratitude to the religious women of the United States. What would the Church be without you? Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel. To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say “thank you”, a big thank you… and to tell you that I love you very much.”
Click here for the full text of the homily.