Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Last weekend, I brought my son to Mass for the very first time in his entire life. Last weekend at that very same Mass, the Vicar General of the diocese announced that the priest of this parish whom I had come to admire and respect had been involved in scandal and resigned his position.

As a church community, our hearts are broken.

A shepherd who earned our trust made a misstep out of his own brokenness. We will never know what struggles he was going through that led to this misstep. That is not our job. Our job is our own healing.

My husband and I were angry that this news broke at our son’s first Mass. But I think this might be prophetic. We pray that we raise our children to carry out bravely the mission of Christ. This is now part of our son’s story, and he gets to live out love in the world counter to the brokenness that the Catholic Church has experienced.

I see a second grace in the timing of these events. Witnessing my son’s intrigue and curiosity as he experienced Mass for the first time was incredibly joyful and moving for me, even in the light of this heavy news. It was a powerful reminder that my Church is so much more than the sins of her people. Our Church will stand firm no matter what it comes up against, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

It is okay to be angry. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be outraged, frustrated, and tired. Feeling our emotions is important.

It is okay to take your time to process. It is okay to process in your own time and your own way.

We are grieving. We are grieving the comfort we once knew in having a trusted pastor and now integrating this new information into how we see the world. We are grieving the wounds dealt by this lack of love for us.

We are acknowledging that our shepherds are human. We are remembering the mercy we have been shown and asking for the grace to show that same mercy, while also feeling the depths of our frustration and anger.

We are taking comfort in knowing that even in our greatest missteps in life, every one of us is good and worthy of the kingdom. God will never love us any less than the day He created us. Nothing we could ever do can separate us from the love of God.

We are broken. We are hurting. We are healing.

In this, we are together.

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