My friend Leah Libresco spotted a Church bulletin from Wayland, MA, where we read these encouragingly penitential words by Boston Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed:



That’s no small thing, but a pretty grueling penitential effort. His full statement reads:

A couple years ago, on a Monday morning, I was informed that I had been named a bishop. When I accepted, I was conscious of the fact that, I also would have to accept whatever the future held with a complete openness to God’s will; much like in a marriage, or when I was ordained a priest.

These days, I find myself deeply disturbed by what is happening in the Church. I know the bishops must act decisively and that the action needs to be thorough, transparent, professional and in cooperation with competent laypeople. But still, I ask the question: what can I do?

All I know is that I can pray and do penance. To that end, and as your pastor, I commit myself to a full day and night of public penance.

On Monday, September 24, 2018, I will celebrate the 9 o’clock Mass in Saint Ann Church as I usually do. Following that Mass I will expose the Blessed Sacrament and remain there in prayer and fasting until the next morning, concluding this period of prayer and penance with the celebration of the 9:00 am Mass on

All throughout this period, the church will remain open. You are most welcome to join me in prayer for a few minutes or for a full hour. In fact, I would welcome your presence as I do the only things I know to do in the face of evil; prayer and penance.

Most sincerely,
Bishop Reed

Acts of public penitence by bishops and pastors are absolutely needed. I’ll repeat myself and say a Holy Hour of Reparation, involving the bishops and simultaneously observed by the whole US Church would be a very good thing, indeed. But absent that, why not ask our own pastors and bishops to join Bishop Reed’s efforts — and invite the people of their diocese and parishes — to participate in at least part of this 12-hour public penance?

This is not terribly difficult to set up, and there is plenty of advance notice, here. I’m going to send this to my bishop, and to others around this area, asking them to follow Reed’s example, either on September 24, or another date, within the month.

Image: Ebutlerctv-cc

1 Comment

Caledon Scott · August 29, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Aren’t Christians supposed to pray in private and not vaunt their piety to the world?

Don’t understand this kind of publicity stunt. I would be very wary of the kind of priest who engages in a “come and watch me be holy” public spectacle.

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