Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At this present time our Church is being shaken by revelations of betrayal of trust by Church leadership. The disclosures of criminal behavior by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and those named in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report have been devastating. I can only express how truly and deeply sorrowful I am for the tragic failures of the Church to protect innocent children in the past, and for the sins committed by certain Bishops in violation of their responsibility to protect their flocks into the present time. I apologize principally with all my heart to the victims who endured unthinkable suffering as children and robbed of their innocence, wonder and awe, and who have had to carry that burden throughout their lives. In compassion for all victims of abuse, and in sympathy for those in the parishes who have worked so hard to stop it from happening again, I share the universal outcry that the culture of the Church must be changed.
Last week I participated in meetings of the USCCB Administrative Committee in Washington, DC, as the regional representative of our Bishops’ conference. Cardinal DiNardo, president of the conference, Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice-president, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, General Secretary, departed from that meeting to meet with Pope Francis in Rome. They brought to the Pope our recommendations for goals and next steps to change the culture of Church leadership. I fervently hope that we will now begin to take concrete steps towards our goals in transparency of reporting abuse by Church leaders and holding Bishops accountable for the safety of their flock.
I wish here to earnestly assure you that in our Diocese we have worked hard for years with parish staffs and volunteers to ensure a safe environment. We have strong programs in place for immediately reporting suspected abuse, responding to victims, and removing any priests or ministers responsible for such crimes. Be assured that the protection of our children will be maintained and will continue to be strengthened throughout our Diocese.
As you read this copy of our Today’s Catholic, I pray that you can see the hand of God present in bringing forth our next steps together for the future of our Diocese. Remember that two years ago we ourselves decided to change the culture of our Diocese. We have since initiated a new Strategic Plan, the light to illuminate the path of the future through the deployment of three effective tools: Forming Intentional Disciples, The Four Levels of Happiness, and The Amazing Parish. With this edition, we offer one final, overarching theme, to be easily understood and intuitively grasped by all. According to the wonder-filled spiritual gift of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, we are now invited to prayerfully begin a journey to become, thematically, The Diocese of The Little Way. While we remain canonically, civilly and legally the Diocese of Pueblo, we take an intentional step toward claiming for ourselves the charism of St. Therese, patroness of the missions, a charism chosen 76 years ago for our Diocese by our first Bishop, Joseph C. Willging.
In becoming The Diocese of The Little Way we begin to position our response to the great needs of our Brothers and Sisters in little ways. We begin to consider, discuss, and plan how we can seek to do great things in little ways, inviting the Catholics of the Diocese to join in taking little steps in prayer, faith formation, sacraments and charity. Our Diocese is not a mighty entity by any standards of the world, but in embracing our littleness, we can do mighty and wonderful things for the Kingdom of God. The Little Way is not an easy way, nor a short cut around our issues, nor a means to avoid our challenges. It is an elevation of our standards of conversion to the message of the Gospel with mutual respect and accountability to each other on that journey. We open the doors to answering an expressed, felt need, for deeper prayer and conversion for ourselves and for our Church.
I invite you into prayerful consideration of what is being presented in this edition. This is a wonderful opportunity in a difficult moment to read and reflect on St. Therese’s autobiography, Story of a Soul, and some other resources listed below. To reflect and learn together as families, parishes, schools and throughout the Diocese. The Little Way is a charism which is truly a pure gift, a message of conversion and lifting one’s arms up to the mercy of the Father. The Little Way is truly the real way, through the friendship of Jesus, to conversion, sainthood and to heaven.
On October 1, the Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the Gospel of Luke proclaims: “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” May the Lord bless our Church in its future to receive, protect, and nurture the least among us, our children. May our Diocese now move forward to The Little Way of Jesus. May the Lord Jesus bless you and yours, our Diocese and our Church.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Stephen J. Berg
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,