Message for Parishioners

Happy Labor-Day weekend. We say goodbye to summer and try to get back to normal—or at least as normal as we can, with these masks, and everything that goes with them.

Over two months ago, I let you know that I had written to the Vatican. I wrote to insist on a proper resolution of our case. When they had previously tried to dismiss the whole thing on a flimsy technicality, it took less than two months for them to do it. So I take no news as good news this time. I hope the rule of law will prevail in the end. Then we can get back to normal.

If Bishop Knestout has a problem with my blog, or with me personally, I remain ready to work that out with him–in a way that does not confuse, or harm, anyone else.

A large group of us traveled to Richmond and to Washington, over the course of the past two months, to try to have a dialogue and get a good resolution to our situation. We did not get any immediate results. But we know from Scripture that the Lord rewards the persistent.

Now Father Carlos Lerma has arrived. Many of us in Martinsville remember Father Carlos’ first Mass as a priest, at St. Joseph’s in June of 2012. I had the privilege of helping him celebrate that Mass. I love Father Carlos as a brother priest and as a friend. I will not interfere with his work, and I wish him well.

Over the course of the past couple weeks I have written a rough draft of a book about everything we have been through. Writing is hard work, of course. But it has helped me a lot, to think it all through and put it down on paper.

I am working on getting it all edited, and finding a publisher. I am pretty sure that people all over the country will want to read about our case.

In the meantime, though, it occurred to me that it might help you to read through the draft chapters, just as it helped me to write them. I will break the whole thing up into shorter passages and publish them on my blog over the course of the next few weeks. I will be glad to hear your thoughts about what you read.

The Lord has sorely tried our faith through this ordeal, but it is nothing compared to what He went through for us in His bitter Passion, and it’s nothing compared to the suffering that many of our brothers and sisters have had to endure because of the pandemic.

We put all our faith in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. We know He has a plan. I love you and look forward to seeing you.

9 thoughts on “Message for Parishioners

  1. Love you, Father Mark. Praying for you. My son and I are battling Covid 19 illness. That is why I did not make the trips to Richmond. God bless you always!

  2. We all love you FR. Mark. God bless you for standing up. Ongoing thoughts and prayers for you. Pray for me as-well Father. Will keep in touch. Keep pushing forward ! Richard Gearheart

  3. God bless you Father Mark giving you the Grace and Strength to endure. You are always in Prayer.

  4. In life, we fight the battles we can win. With the rest, we either accept the results or we move on. As Catholics and more importantly empathetic human beings, we all deplore the acts of those who abused their positions. Can we change the past? Nope. Can we work towards a better tomorrow? Absolutely. Respectfully and lovingly Fr. Mark, finish your book, accept your new assignment, rededicate your obedience to the Bishop, and move on with your priesthood. Only other option is to update your resume and find a new career.

  5. Father Mark,

    Have you tried Regnery? I used to do editorial proofreading some twenty years back at Editorial Experts in Alexandria, and they published a number of the more conservative titles back then. I don’t believe they’ve gone leftwards in the meantime.


    Sandra Molnar-Suhajda


  6. Hey Father Mark. My name is Pam Kelley and my home Parrish is in the Washington DC Archdiocese. I’ve been following your blog and for the first time tonight, Labor Day, heard your message. I want to encourage you stay the course and work toward justice and truth. I wish you Jesus. Simply put. I know your writing will go well – as you keep Jesus at the center of your words.

    I am deeply sickened at what this Catholic hierarchy has become – I no longer call it a
    ‘church’ as we the people are the church. It has taken centuries of pride, power and money to get to this evil place of denigration – but – I believe truly that Truth will win out and our voices will be heard and those who are not with God in this hierarchy will fall. God has His Hand on all of this.

    When, among the hierarchy, there is transparency and kindness and truth, then we are emulating Jesus and, as one Church we can move in His Divine direction toward healing and dispelling the evil that has settled in. Right now – not happening as evidenced by your personal journey. As your sister in Jesus, I stand with you and pray for you to continue to be strengthened by God’s Promise of comfort in the Peace of Jesus, and, His strength for you in his carrying of your burdens. I pray also for God’s Wisdom and Discernment to be upon you as you put into words your journey.

    As parishioners, we should expect no less than having our voices be heard, no matter what our sentiments. Jesus certainly heard people out. Same for our priests and sisters. Even more so as you are our shepherds and must be open with us and hear our concerns and ideas. How on earth will we be able to grow as a church otherwise and heal? Honesty and transparency from those throughout the church ‘leadership’ does not happen. And they need to be called out when that occurs. It’s as simple as that. So keep calling them out. Your voice is joined by many. Thank you sincerely for being strong and courageous in your taking of your first steps. We all need to take our own first steps to make justice happen and demand transparency and accountability of those who ‘lead’ in our church.

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